Kulin – Narrogin – Wagin – Katanning – Broomehill – Gnowangerup – Borden

Today’s journey took me mostly through agricultural country, wheat and sheep – merino studs seem to be the norm.  I left Kulin after many phone calls home (finally had some coverage) and headed through country similar to yesterday but with more sheep grazing on the stubble.  I went through small settlements like Jitarning and Wickepin, where there was a novel turnoff for a property (a motorbike and mannequin made of fuel drums – very cleverly done!!).

Huge gums line the highway and the country becomes a bit hilly. I’m following the water pipe that I saw the end of at Kalgoorlie – seems so far away. I see many shearing sheds and the farm buildings are closer now. The country near Narrogin is quite rocky, with outcrops in lots of the paddocks. One interesting thing I have noted – the main roads actually replant the roadside when they do road works – I’ve seen several sites – great idea. The entry to Narrogin is well done –Four silos depicting the town’s activities and the farm gate – an important part of their economy and lifestyle. The lookout at Narrogin is above the town – not able to see much except houses and trees. This town is the Wheat Belt South’s commercial centre but, being Sunday is quiet. After fuelling up I head south towards Wagin.

I pass through Highbury (established in 1894), it has a tavern and a few houses on the highway – only a few kilometres out of town there are Alpacas grazing with the sheep on one side of the highway and horses on the other. It’s real she-oak country here.

Wagin is the home of the Giant Ram and Woolarama (one of the state’s largest agricultural shows), so I make it my lunch spot and investigate what it has to offer.  The Old Wagin Well has a picnic area so I take advantage of that and walk to the well, which was built around 1886.  It was built for the early carters and sandalwood cutters but was used for the water supply of the early Wagin Pioneers.  It has been restored and is now a tourist attraction, as are the witty sculptures across the road. After lunch I ventured into the Wetlands Park where the Giant Ram sits proudly. He is the largest Ram in the Southern Hemisphere and was placed here in 1985. In the wetlands there was an interesting information board on an endangered Red Tailed Phascogale (I’d never heard of such a creature – but apparently it does well in the Wagin area because of the Wandoo Eucalypts and the Rock Oak). It looks a little like a mouse in the pictures, but with a tail like a possum. Also, the street signs all are prefaced by a picture of the ram.

54 kilometres down the highway, I visit Katanning where there is a monument to the Hon Frederick Piesse – founder of Katanning.  The hotels are grand and the streets very wide – I’m told there are quite a lot of Christmas Island folk who call this town home and work in the Abattoir. 21 kilometres south of town is the village of Broomehill – this historic place has buildings from the 1890’s. (It also has a great entry sign).

I leave the Southern Highway just out of Broomehill as I’m heading to Gnowangerup where a friend of mine, Jill, used to work as a nurse many years ago.  I’ve come to pay homage to her memory, and retrace some of her steps. The Gnowangerup District Hospital, the CBD and of course, the Hotel are some of the places I remember her telling us about when she came to Quilpie to work. RIP Jill, thanks for great memories. Gnowangerup is known for its livestock and cropping industries, focussing on quality merino sheep and I see many instances of this on my travels.

It’s getting quite late so I head off to Borden for my night’s camp. Heading into Borden – the Stirling Ranges in the distance are shrouded with low cloud – quite an eerie sight.

Wikepin Property Turnoff

Wikepin Property Turnoff

Gums lining Highway at Narrogin

Gums lining Highway at Narrogin

Narrogin Main Roads Re-plantings

Narrogin Main Roads Re-plantings

Narrogin Entrance Sign
Narrogin Entrance Sign

Wagin Witty Sculpture

Wagin Witty Sculpture

Wagin Entrance Sign

Wagin Entrance Sign

Wagin Giant Ram

Wagin Giant Ram

Wagin Old Well

Wagin Old Well

Wagin Streetscape

Wagin Streetscape

Wagin Ram Street Signs

Wagin Ram Street Signs

Wagin Hotel

Wagin Hotel

Katanning Entrance

Katanning Entrance

Katanning Building

Katanning Building

Frederick Piesse Monument

Frederick Piesse Monument

Gnowangerup Country

Gnowangerup Country

Gnowangerup Entrance Sign

Gnowangerup Entrance Sign

Gnowangerup District Hospital

Gnowangerup District Hospital

Gnowangerup Hotel

Gnowangerup Hotel

Gnowangerup Streetscape

Gnowangerup Streetscape

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