Painting the Canning Stock Route

Here is a route that is on my list of 4 wheel drive adventures I want to complete before I die:

AUSTRALIA’S ICONIC CANNING STOCK Route, created in 1906, runs for 1800 km through WA from the Kimberley to Wiluna in the state’s mid-west. The history of this famous cattle track has typically been told from a colonial perspective, but a new exhibition at the National Museum of Australia seeks to retell the story through Aboriginal eyes and voices.

“The Canning Stock Route (CSR) is a place where Indigenous and non-Indigenous histories intersect. This exhibition tells the story of the recovery of the Indigenous histories,” says Michael Pickering, head of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program at the museum. “For many years the story of the stock route was represented as a white man’s story. This exhibition, and the collection that forms its heart, allows us to recognise that its history goes back much further and is held in the hearts and minds of the Aboriginal people of the region.”

Alongside stories and objects, the exhibition – called Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route – features paintings by traditional owners of the land which combine both traditional and contemporary styles of art. These paintings reflect the stories that Aboriginal elders have passed on of their experiences as stockmen and other interactions with ‘white fellas’ during the early days of the stock route, while others are interpretations by younger artists.


World’s longest stock route

Surveyor Alfred Canning led an expedition which created the route in 1906, with the ultimate goal of driving cattle from Halls Creek, in the Kimberley, to market in the Kalgoorlie goldfields. It is the longest stock route in the world and runs though the Little Sandy, Gibson, Great Sandy and Tanami deserts, passing 52 wells bored by Canning’s team. (See a map of the CSR)

Earlier expeditions to survey the CSR had failed, but Canning set off with a team of seven men, 23 camels, two ponies, 2.5 tonnes of provisions and 1440 litres of water. All up, they trekked 4000 kilometres over 14 months. Stock routes were created as defined paths along which cattle were driven from pastoral land to markets. They allowed access to waters and grasslands to keep the animals fed.

“There is history – an indigenous history – and it needs to be told in an Indigenous way so that the wider audience can feel both worlds,” says 33-year old co-curator of the exhibition Murungkurr Terry Murray. Terry says that some local Aboriginal people volunteered their assistance to Canning’s team to help them locate waterholes and were later employed as stockmen. Others were captured and put in neck chains and force-fed salt beef or saltwater until they became so thirsty that they had no choice but to lead the team to water.

Some of the elders remember the first European contact they had as children in the desert. Terry tells how people couldn’t believe their eyes and they ran to hide when they first saw white people, thinking they had seen a ghost.  [Australian Geographic]

You can read the rest at the link.

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Picture of the Day: Mitchell Falls, Western Australia

Via AG Outdoor.

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Picture of the Day: Western Australia Bushfire Aftermath

Molten metal flows on the ground from a property destroyed by bushfire, as a firefighter walks past near Toodyay about 75km (47 miles) north east of Perth December 30, 2009. A major bushfire in the West Australian outback has destroyed almost 40 homes, officials said on Wednesday, as firefighters end a third month of fighting bushfires across the country.

A gallery of Western Australia bushfire photos can be seen over at Reuters.

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Seven Westeran Australia National Parks Grouped Into the Walpole Wilderness

It is great see that the beautiful forests of southwest Australia getting the protection and recognition they deserve:

Climb to the pinnacle of one of Western Australia’s newest national parks, and you can soak up a 360-degree view over large parts of the proposed Walpole Wilderness, a 3630 sq. km haven of national parks, nature reserves and forest conservation areas in the state’s south-west. Abundant in towering trees, threatened ecological communities, ancient plants and animals – many endemic to the region – wild rivers and calm coastal inlets, the Walpole Wilderness forms a large chunk of Australia’s only internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot.

Although logging features prominently in the area’s history, an increasing number of visitors are coming to recognise the breathtaking natural environment here. Walpole-Nornalup National Park alone has seen visitor numbers more than double during the past 10 years to about 194,000 per year. This has been partly a result of the construction of the excellent Tree Top Walk, where you can wander in the canopy of giant tingle trees, some 40 m off the ground, on one of the world’s longest canopy walkways.

Located about 450 km south of Perth, the area has a handful of excellent hiking trails, plenty of scope for river and inlet paddling, and some unique interactive forest sites. [AG Outdoor]

You can read more about these amazing forests at the link or view pictures of the area from my trip there here, here, and here.

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Qantas Passengers Revolt After Flight Delay in Perth

This is something that comes as a bit of a surprise considering how laid back Australians tend to be when things like this happen:

POLICE have been called to Perth’s domestic airport to calm outraged passengers stranded overnight after their Qantas flight failed to leave.

One radio listener, John, told radio station 6PR the A330 that passengers were screaming and yelling and Qantas staff called police after ongoing delays.

He said the aircraft had been hit by lightning on its way to Perth from Sydney and had been grounded until engineering advice could be obtained from France.

Qantas confirmed the aircraft had been subject to a lightning strike and was ruled unfit to fly.

Passengers claimed they were kept in the dark with no communication from Qantas, leading to frustration and anger.

Channel 7 reporter John Taylor said all media had been cleared from the terminal by Australian Federal Police amid rowdy scenes.

Just before 8am, after waiting all night, passengers were told the flight had been cancelled and advised to go home and book new flights after 10am.  [Perth Now]

If Qantas had told the passenger they would be delayed all night in Perth the passenger could have spent the night partying with US sailors.

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Perth Brothels Ready for Influx of US Sailors

My brother spent four years in the Navy and he told me when his ship went to Australia has favorite city was Perth.  Now I know why:

PERTH brothels are increasing staff to contend with the arrival of two US warships carrying more than 5400 sailors.

Nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington and guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens docked off Fremantle on Thursday.

Prevalent in groups of five or six on the streets of Perth on Friday, some sailors were asking locals: “Where do you go to party?”.

Business groups estimate the sailors’ arrival will boost the local economy to the tune of $5 million during the ships’ five-day stay.

The owner of Perth brothel Langtrees, Beverly Clarke, said she had put on five extra staff for the weekend, including two from the eastern states.

While there had already been a marginal increase in business, she expected numbers to increase markedly by Friday night.

“Two more (US) sailors just walked in,” she said while being interviewed on Friday afternoon.
“At the moment I’ve even got girls from the eastern states here to assist us.”

When a similar number of sailors appeared in Perth in 2002, Langtrees was overwhelmed with the demand and was forced to shut its doors.

Then brothel madam Mary-Anne Kenworthy said her staff and workers at other brothels had become exhausted and that she would rather stop business than offer customers an inferior service.  [Perth Now]

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My Australia Wish List: Ningaloo Reef

Here is a place I have always wanted to go to in Australia, but never got the chance to is Ningaloo Reef.  However, a lucky writer for Australian Geographic did get a chance to visit the reef and has only further increased my desire to one day visit this scenic area:

The word Ningaloo belongs to the Gnulli people, traditional owners of the coast surrounding the North West Cape of WA. Ningaloo means promontory, but like everything about the stretch of coast between Carnarvon and Exmouth, the name is so much more than it first seems. Just saying Ningaloo conjures images of whale sharks and coral, wilderness and adventure.

magine a promontory shaped like a beckoning finger, nearly 200 km long and jutting into the Indian Ocean. Try to comprehend a landscape that is one of the driest in Australia – with a mere 226mm of rain and an evaporation rate of more than 2.5m annually. Some years, if there isn’t a cyclone, it doesn’t rain at all. On average, the sun shines 320 days out of 365.

Ningaloo is famous not just for its reef, surf breaks and fishing but also its soul-destroying winds, white-hot 45°C temperatures and frontier-like feel. The harshness of the landscape, the swarms of native wasps and bush flies, the fine sand that blows into every nook and cranny, and the burning sun make its gentler moments seem like epiphanies.

Standing sentinel over the northern reef is the Cape Range, a rugged upward fold of limestone packed with fossilised prehistoric marine life including countless perfectly preserved shark teeth that are embedded in the rock and visible to the naked eye.

Inside the boundaries of the surrounding 47,655 ha Cape Range National Park is Mandu Mandu rock shelter, part of a massive system of sinkholes and caves that underpin the peninsula’s weathered spine. Here, archaeologists have confirmed the oldest evidence of the collection and use of fish, shellfish and crabs by indigenous Australians – an astonishing 32,000 years.

Ningaloo Reef itself stretches from the skyscraper-high mili­tary radio antennas, just outside Exmouth, southwards for almost 300km. It’s the nation’s longest fringing coral reef and the name­sake of the 5218 Ningaloo Marine Park.  [Australian Geographic]

Make sure to read the rest because it is a good read as usual from Australian Geographic.

I actually was very close to Ningaloo when my wife and I visited Shark Bay.  We had the option of either traveling further up the coast of Western Australia to see Ningaloo or head back down south and see the southwestern portion of the state.  We decided to head back south because we figured we had already done a lot of swimming and sailing in the area and wanted to see a different part of the state, which the southwest of the state definitely is with the high peaks of the Stirling Ranges and the region’s thick karri forests.  We had an absolutely fantastic time exploring this area, but we both one day look forward to when we can spend time exploring Ningaloo as well.

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Picture of the Day: Karri Trees of Western Australia

Southwestern Australia

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Picture of the Day: The Mornington Desert

Via Australian Geographic

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Picture of the Day: The Tallest Pinnacle

The Pinnacles Desert

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