Norseman – Widgiemooltha – Kambalda 

Lake Cowan Sign

Lake Cowan Sign

The journey today takes me from Norseman on the southern side of Lake Cowan, mainly through the Great Western Woodlands and a couple of large lake systems. Lake Cowan may not have much water in it but it really is an amazing land form – the road and railway go straight through the middle of it. There is a lookout on a small granite island in the middle of this massive salt lake. About 90 kilometres of driving through the woodlands brings me to Widgiemooltha Roadhouse “Widgie” for short, a hive of activity – the home of the Golden Eagle Nugget which was found in 1931 by a young 16 year old working on his father’s lease. There is a large rock at the roadhouse depicting the find.  The outhouse down the back is a popular tourist photo op – a sense of humour obviously!!

20 kilometres further on, still driving through the magnificent Woodlands (they cover an amazing 16 million hectares – the size of England!!) is the turnoff to Kambalda where I’m headed for the night – a caravan park with real washing machines to do the linen. Kambalda is split into East and West – about 5 kilometres apart, so I had a look around the west side, checking out the mining machinery and the colourful land yacht entrances to the town, on my way to the Country Club for my golf hole.  The Country Club is a nice clubhouse, a patio area which is inviting –the club is closed as its Anzac Day so I stamp my receipt and head out to the Silver Lake Par 4.  The tee off is sand and the fairway wider so that’s better for me. The green is sand and has been oiled.  I still only managed an 8 so will not be going on tour any time soon.

In Kambalda I drove around the town – fascinated that the street names have signs explaining who the streets are named after – great idea.  The town is a mining town and the housing depicts that – there is a shopping centre and the usual amenities.  I see the sign for the Red Hill Lookout that I’ve read a bit about and am interested in checking out. There are amazing views from the lookout itself, but there are walks available so I take the chance to do them.  The salt lake which is Lake Lefroy, approximately 510 square kilometres (I’ve been following it since Widgiemooltha), and is mainly used for land sailing – world renowned for land yachting.  Land speed records have been attempted here.  It is named after Henry Maxwell Lefroy who led the first expedition in 1863 in the Eastern Goldfields area.

The Red Hill Circuit Trail is 1700 metres and the terrain is shaly red rock and quite slippery at times but the views are magic.  The lake goes half way around the base of the hill, stretching to the horizon and the township is on the edge of the hill. There are wildflowers out and some of the shrubs are flowering as well.  There are many different types of flora on this hillside.

Kambalda was founded in 1897 during the goldrush frenzy – by 1908 it was all but deserted.  Nickel – one of the largest nickel sulphide deposits in the world was discovered and Kambalda was reborn in the 1960’s.

I head to the caravan park to book in and get the washing underway – its’ very overcast and, while the washing is drying I head for a walk to the Pioneer Cemetery. Some of these folk were buried in 1897 and others early 1900’s – there are five headstones in a small enclosure. On the side of the road leading to the cemetery there is a memorial to a man, Dino (obviously a miner, by the boots).

As I head back into the caravan park, I photograph the accommodation units that the miners live in – two units together in a block, but they look inviting as the gardens are well maintained, there is a gazebo for each block and they are very private.  Three gorgeous ring necked parrots greeted me on my return to the bus. The tavern supplies meals at $15 for a buffet style meal so I head over for dinner before showering and blog.

Lake Cowan

Lake Cowan

Thinking at Widgiemooltha
Thinking at Widgiemooltha

Widgiemooltha Roadhouse

Widgiemooltha Roadhouse

Golden Eagle Nugget
Golden Eagle Nugget

Golden Eagle Information

Golden Eagle Information

Kambalda Land Yachts

Kambalda Land Yachts

Mining Machinery at Kambalda Arts Centre

Mining Machinery at Kambalda Arts Centre

Kambalda Country Club Patio

Kambalda Country Club Patio

Kambalda Silver Lake Hole

Kambalda Silver Lake Hole

Kambalda Street Sign Explanations

Kambalda Street Sign Explanations

Redhill Information

Redhill Information

Red Hill Path

Red Hill Path

Rocks imbedded in Granite

Rocks imbedded in Granite

Lake Lefroy

Lake Lefroy

Kambala Entrance Banners

Kambala Entrance Banners
Kambala Pioneer Grave

Kambala Pioneer Grave

Ring Necked Parrot

Ring Necked Parrot

Lake Lefroy
Lake Lefroy

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

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