Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Norseman WA

Left Esperance this morning in the rain, for Norseman, approx 200 kms. It was mostly gum trees and shrubby country with some huge wheat farms and storage facilities - we should never go short of wheat, we have seen mountains of it since coming south, and that's only the wheat that is stored outside with plastic covers - how much is in silos we couldn't tell, but there were many silos also.

About halfway here there was a sign that said we were entering the Great Western Woodlands, so we assumed these were the gum trees we could see along the road and apparently we were right because this area is the largest area of this type of trees in the world. Ruth and I have now travelled over quite a bit of Australia and there is just a huge amount of trees everywhere we go(almost, with some exceptions). That set us to wondering that probably all of these trees cancel out all of Australia's 'carbon footprint' with a lot more to spare, so why the big fuss over our carbon emissions - politics is the only answer we could come up with (our politicians in power wanted to be voted into the UN Security Council and a carbon tax made us politically correct in the current world's obsession with the climate crisis - so called).

We arrived in Norseman for lunch and went straight to the Information Centre and the guy there turned out to be originally from Toronto and his sister was a missionary in PNG - he was very affable and gave us some good information about travelling across the Nullabour and told us of a Heritage Trail we could do in a couple of hours - which we did this afternoon. Norseman was founded on gold mining and it is still doing it today, together with other minerals like silver, copper and lead. The story goes that, in 1894, a guy called Laurie Sinclair whilst tethering his horse, named Norseman, for the night, found the next morning a chunk of a Gold Reef which his horse had pawed up and exposed in the night. So he set up his claim and called the place after his horse, which then became the name of the town as others came to stake their claims.
Norseman - Camels made of corrugated iron
Explanation of Camels in Norseman
Ruth with Town's namesake - Norseman
This wasn't very far from the town called Dundas, also a gold mining town, but not doing very well so most of the town dwellers moved to Norseman and Dundas became a ghost town and eventually disappeared. All that remains are the streets (modern street signs placed there by the Dundas council) and a sign to tell us what it would have looked like back in its heyday - the main street was called Hicks St. (named after the Mining Warden - Arthur Hicks), there is also a Hicks St in Norseman and Esperance. The photo of the Tailings Dump which is just a Km from Norseman is 40 mtrs high covers 4 hectares and holds 4 million tons of tailing, which all came from underground, so this town must be undermined, so I wouldn't like to be here if an earthquake happened!

Hicks Street, Dundas
Dundas, looking down Hicks Street.
Explanation of what happened to Dundas.
Tailings Dump from underground Gold Mine
We leave tomorrow for the Eyre Highway and starting across the Nullarbor Plain (correct spelling) with a small place called Caiguna as our destination, if we make it that far in one day.