Crystal Brook – Bowman Park – Merriton Rest Area

I went sightseeing in Crystal Brook today because I liked what I saw on Monday.  The street theme in Bowman Street pays tribute to all explorers, from the early aboriginals exploring on foot, including the famous Wylie and Jacky Jacky, to the sailing ships which began exploring the Great Southern Land as early as the 15th and 16th Centuries.  Whale boats are depicted because early explorers like Sturt and Flinders used them to explore up into the river systems.

As early as 1813 explorers were using horses for riding and pulling drays – horses probably covered more territory in Australia than all other means of transport. Camels also played a part in exploring Australia’s arid regions, with Thomas Elder recognising their ability to go long periods without water.  He imported 124 camels from Pakistan and 31 Afgan minders to care for the camels.

Motor Vehicles and Spacecraft are also featured as both open up our world by exploration of it, to help us better understand our world.  Each area of exploration is depicted by a metal cut-out and a plaque mounted on a large rock.

Crystal Brook has a lot of history, being first explored by Edward John Eyre in 1839, the town was proclaimed and surveyed in 1873.  The beautiful buildings in the town and the wide tree-lined streetscape are attractive – Historic hotels, circa 1878 and 1882 are just two of the original buildings in the main street. The Adelaide Square Rotunda – a memorial to the fallen of the 1914-187 war is spectacular and stands proudly in a very neat park.

I have visited the information centre and armed myself with the walks brochures – there are three – the Historic Town Walk, The Street Theme Walk and Crystal Brook’s Historic Homes snapshot. The Historic Homes takes me on a walk around the streets exploring many beautifully kept forms of architecture.  There is a beautiful example of Queen Anne which was built in 1902. There is everything here including an early transportable home.  A “Gentleman’s Bungalow”, built for Dr Kendrew in 1925 is a gorgeous structure – there are several in the town, One house is built in the Tudor style in 1937.  Most of the houses are in great repair considering their age and the oldest standing home in the town is “Early Settler’s” style. There is one example of an early transportable home – a cottage which was transported from Merriton by an international truck, with a long piece of railway iron attached to an axle and two wagon wheels – very inventive pioneers!! Railway Terrace has a vast array of the early affluence as the rail was the major form of transport. My most memorable moment today has been the amazing smell of the lemon scented gums around the town – it’s almost overpowering but magical.

I picked up a brochure about Bowman Park Recreational Reserve which is 5 kilometres north-east of town so I decided it would be a good lunch spot.  There are the ruins of the Head Station homestead, which was built in 1950 (but destroyed by vandals in 1957) and the Infirmary built in 1852(used to house snakes when this was a reptile park – I avoided going in this building!!), as well as the stables building which was altered in 1960 to be used as camp accommodation.

The function centre has been constructed using the stone and bricks from the old railway goods shed.  These bricks originally came from England as ballast – they were unloaded at Port Germein. I was going to do the walks but the paths were indistinct so I only did the Heysen’s Trail walk, then I headed back into Crystal Brook to swap my gas cylinder and get birthday cards and paper and head to the campsite.

Crystal Brook Streetscape

Crystal Brook Streetscape

Crystal Brook Information

Crystal Brook Information

Crystal Brook Information Board

Crystal Brook Information Board

Camel Exploration

Camel Exploration

Camels

Camels

The Big Goanna

The Big Goanna

Underground Bakery

Underground Bakery

Elder Smiths c1930

Elder Smiths c1930

Weeping Tree

Weeping Tree

3 Generation Cottage

3 Generation Cottage

3 Generation Cottage

Tudor Style House

Package Transportable House
Package Transportable House

Crystal Brook Hotel

Crystal Brook Hotel

Royal Hotel c1882

Royal Hotel c1882

Rotunda

Rotunda

Bowman Park

Bowman Park

Bowman Park

Bowman Park

Bowman Park Infirmary

Bowman Park Infirmary

Head Station Homestead Ruins

Head Station Homestead Ruins

Photo Board

Photo Board

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