Beating Around Boorabbin

The main aim of this Trip was to relocate an historic Bicentennial Plaque, however, there was much to see and do before and after we got to Karalee, scene of our project.

To Mindebooka

Friday night camp was at Mindebooka Hill, one of our ‘get out of town’ locations. Getting to the campsite on Friday afternoon was an adventure in itself. The planned Route was across low lying, salt lake country that, ultimately, is part of the Baandee Lakes system. We reversed out of the slippery area and made for Great Eastern Highway, arriving at Mindebooka just on dark and just as a storm was about to hit.

A couple of popup shelters made what could have been a miserable night into quite a pleasant occasion in front of a great fire. For a change, we camped on the south side of the hill.

The planned Route required us to leave Southern Cross with full fuel tanks. The roadhouse servo was very busy – a sign of the times.

Ghooli Pumping Station

Thirteen kilometres out of Southern Cross we turned into the No. 6 Pumping Station at Ghooli.  The pumps, though inoperable,  are still in good condition.

At Yellowdine we picked up Hunts Track heading to Karalee.  A loader or similar had been used to rework the track from the lake at Yellowdine to just short of Karalee. What was once a tight, twisting, rough, overgrown track was now an easy, pleasant drive.

Morlining Well

Morlining Well was an important water source for hopeful diggers heading to the goldfields along Hunts Track in the 1890s.


The repaired track ended where some new 1080 poison warning signs had been installed. We investigated the water harvesting infrastructure on the southern portion of Karalee Rock.

Installation of Plaque

The diversion channels led us to Hunt’s Dam where we were able to place the Bicentennial Plaque in its correct location. Home after 33 years.

Wooden Pipeline

Leaving Karalee we followed Hunts Track to Koorarawalyee, near where James showed us the remains of a section of the world famous Mundaring to Coolgardie pipeline that was made of wood. It was in use until the 1960s.

After successfully locating the abandoned wooden section of pipeline we continued west along the pipeline to the abandoned Gilgai No. 7 Pumping Station.

Cobb & Co. Well

From Gilgai we headed back to Great Eastern Highway to try to find an old Cobb & Co. well. The key to finding this well is to first locate Campbells Tree (a kurrajong) at the side of the Highway or to find the pipeline crossing 6.3 kilometres to the west of the tree. We located the tree, drove west along a track paralleling the highway for 1300 metres, then clambered over the pipeline and searched for the well which wasn’t too difficult to find. It is reputed that a rabbit shooter fell into it and died before being found.

Camp at Boorabbin

Under threatening skies we made our way to Boorabbin, electing to camp between the reservoir and the quarry. In the morning we checked out the quarry and removed some bushes that were threatening the heritage infrastructure.

The upper reservoir has a surface area of 1600 square metres and the lower reservoir 2500 square metres. These reservoirs along with the one at Woolgangie were substantially drained of water to fight recent  bushfires.

Hermits Hut

It was time to visit the Hermit’s Hut.

WWII Airstrip

The location of this airstrip was considered to be far enough away from the coast so as not to vulnerable if there was a coastal invasion. Little is left although the outline of the strip and some remaining bitumen can be seen.

Pioneer Well

From the airstrip we walked about 750 metres south-west in search of an unnamed well. It was possibly a water supply for people at the airstrip although it is likely to have been dug before the airstrip was constructed.

The leading edge of a storm hit as we walked from the pioneer well back to the abandoned airstrip. The heavy rain persisted all the way through our drive to Boondi. It was clear that the rain had settled in and the country around Boorabbin/Woolgangie is no place to leave a sealed road in the wet. While waiting for Boondi Reservoir to overflow we decided to turn around and head west.

Rather than just head back to Cockburn we elected to visit Kodjerning Well, Moorine Rock Well, and Karolin Rock to check out the results of our handiwork two months earlier.

Karolin Rock and Wells

Further work will be done on these wells to clear trees and vegetation away from them and make them an accessible tourist site.

Baladgie Rock

Leaving Karolin Rock it is only a few kilometres to Baladgie Rock and Lake. This is a popular overnight stop for travellers with basic facilities and fantastic views of the lake from an easy-to-climb rock.

Collection of Model Ts

Our journey took us to Mukinbudin, where we stayed overnight. We were lucky enough to get an invite to see a private collection of veteran cars on a farm just outside of town.

We took back country roads from Mukinbudin to Dowerin, stopping at some pioneer wells along the way, including Moujakine, Trayning and Nanning.

Moujakine Well

The Trip ended at Goomalling.

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Photographs/Images – Kim Epton and Andrew Brooks
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Relocation of Historic Plaque

Re-positioning of an incorrectly-located, well-marking plaque is probably of real interest to only the aficionados of such a recondite subject, however, this undertaking attracted 9 people to engage in a 3.5 day, 1000+ kilometre Road Trip from Cockburn to Boorabbin and return.

Probably the opportunity to visit the wondrous Great Western Woodlands, engage in a project to protect Western Australia’s exploration heritage, and be a part of the ‘conviviality of a weekend in the bush’ was the driving force.


The plaque that was re-located is one of 26 created for the York to Goldfields Heritage Trail. It was to mark the location of a dam at Karalee Rock made by explorer/surveyor Charles Cooke Hunt in 1865. The installation of these plaques was part of Australia’s 1988 Bicentennial celebrations.

The plaque destined for Karalee Rock (shown as Carolling Rocks) was incorrectly installed at Karolin Rock. Though a beautiful picnic site with abundant wildflowers in season, Karolin Rock is not visited as much as its popular neighbour Baladgie Rock, a well used campground overlooking spectacular Lake Baladgie, and so the existence of the out of place plaque was little known.

Until bush historian Gary Arcus visited Karolin Rock in mid 2020, not long after Covid19 related travel restrictions within Western Australia were lifted, nobody had questioned why the spelling on the plaque was different from the name of the rocks. Indeed, someone had gone to the trouble of installing a substantial, but incorrect, sign pointing to ‘Hunts Well’.

After Gary consulted Hunt’s diaries it was clear that the wording on the plaque referred to Carolling Rocks – now known as Karalee Rock. How it ended up at Karolin Rock is not known although clearly there is a similarity in pronunciation. Further, the Western Australian Water Authority booklet The Wells of Explorer Charles Hunt incorrectly recorded that Carolling Rocks (Karalee) is in Karolin Reserve. Combined, these two influences are thought to be the reason for the mis-locating of the historic plaque.

Both Karolin Rock and Carolling Rocks are in the Shire of Yilgarn, which made coordination of the relocation of the plaque hassle free. However, the plaque was not moved to current day Carolling Rocks. The rock Hunt referred to as Carolling/Karolling in 1865-66 is actually current day Karalee Rock. However, the name Karalee wasn’t used until 1890 when recorded by surveyor N.M. Brazier.

Present day Carolling Rocks are 3.4 kilometres south-south-west of Karalee. It is likely that Hunt never visited these rocks.

Hunt’s team established a dam across a gulley at Karalee in 1865 and it is at this location the plaque was to be installed. In the 1890s a dry rock well – in the same style as Hunt’s Wells – was made close to this dam and this fine structure is still in good condition today. Both the dry rock wall well and Hunts Dam are about 400 metres along the Karalee Information Trail.

During the refurbishment of Kodjerning and Moorine Wells in June 2021 the plaque was retrieved from where it had been incorrectly placed at Karolin Rock.

Installation of Plaque

With the intervention of dedicated volunteers from the Cockburn 4WD Club and Mitsubishi 4WD Club, 33 years on, the plaque has finally been placed in its correct location.

Rather than just head back to Cockburn we elected to visit Kodjerning Well, Moorine Rock Well, and Karolin Rock to check out the results of our handiwork two months earlier.

Read more about Hunts Track, his wells, other pioneer wells, and iconic tracks on the Explorer’s Wells and Tracks website.

Retrieval of the Plaque

Kim Epton
Gary Arcus
Scott Overstone
Andrew and Joanne Newhouse
Greg Barndon
Joe Metcalf
Dave Morrison
Rob and Tracey Parker
Graham Salter
Andrew Brooks

Relocation of the Plaque

Kim Epton
Scott Overstone
Gary Arcus
Andrew Brooks
Cliff Hills
Kerry Davies
James Hay



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Chittering Moondyne Day Trip

Twelve vehicles assembled at Bullsbrook around 9.00 o’clock on Sunday morning. Trip Leader Jason presented the trip plan and gave us a rundown of how the day would progress. There were many new faces – a very positive sign. A trip recce had been done the weekend before and both Jason and Gilbert, who were on this Trip, had done the recce. The adventure started around 9.25 a.m.

We headed north on the Great Northern Highway and then cut through a back road across to Muchea Road East. The recent rains had made the scenery really green and we marvelled at how much water would be flowing for the upcoming Avon Descent. We then rejoined the Great Northern Highway just south of Bindoon where we headed west on a more scenic ‘back’ route into Bindoon. Morning tea was at the extremely busy, renowned Bindoon Bakery.

Leaving Bindoon we headed south for a few kilometres before turning east onto Flat Rocks Road. It was a beautiful day with the sun on show. At the turnoff for Julimar State Forrest we aired down – in our case to 30 psi.

We soon hit a steep descent taking us further into the forest. There were quite a few dirt bikes and some other 4WD groups out for the day.

We came across a couple of small water crossings and one larger one. Jason was able to give some great advice on how best to cross. Gilbert, who was Sweep (at the back of the convoy) had jumped into the second vehicle across the obstacle (Jenny’s Toyota Prado) to take some photos as the vehicles crossed the water.

After Andrew drove his vehicle across the water there remained only Gilberts’s Prado on the other side of the creek. Gilbert was presented with the scenario that he would have to get Andrew to take him back to his vehicle or he would be stranded. However, Joanne was still on the other side and so with Gilbert’s instructions to keep the vehicle in second gear she drove the Prado across the water crossing with no dramas.

After progressing through the forest we pulled up to an area with a couple of large washouts.

Greg in his Landrover Defender went down a couple of washouts to explore, followed closely by another vehicle.

Brad decided he was going to take his 80 series through the biggest washout which had muddy water in the bottom. He gave it a really good, hard go but unfortunately just couldn’t make it through.

So Peter, in his Landrover Discovery, pulled up on top of the hill in front of the 80 and Jason clambered down to attach the winch rope. A snatch strap was attached from the Landrover back to Gilbert’s Prado and they pulled Brad’s 80 out of the rut. Jenny then followed Brad down another washout which a couple of the other vehicles had also successfully navigated.

Further along the track a tree was blocking the way. Jason asked if anyone had a chainsaw. Rob and Pete answered in the affirmative and, although there was a new track around the fallen tree, Jason suggested should we do a little track maintenance. Pete brought out his chainsaw, the tree was moved to the side of the track and it was once again open to traffic.

Not long after we went up a steep incline – the planned end of the track from the recce. It was decided that the surface of the track was a little too loose and probably not good for any first timers.

We each turned around and headed back down to the powerline road and stopped for a cuppa and afternoon tea.  Jason said we would head out via the powerline road which led out to the main road. As it was 3.30 p.m. he gave people the choice to leave from here to head home or to follow him to do another small section.

Jason provided great leadership and made it an awesome day out for all of us.

Trip Report by Cherie Lewis.

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The Trip started on a cold Sunday morning in Byford. Shortly after nine o’clock, Brad and Bob Swift in a 105 Toyota Landcruiser, Mark Grey and his daughters in a Kia Sorento, and Trip Leader Gilbert Karel in his 150 series Toyota Prado headed to Wokalup, to meet Andrew and Jo Newhouse in their 120 series Toyota Prado with Jo’s parents Peter and Marilyn.

Time to hit the track. No one in the group had done the track before, so its condition was unknown. We suspected that the heavy rains in the week previous to the trip would have adversely affected the state of the track. It started as an excellent graded gravel road without any problems. There was logging activity in the area. While airing down, some had the forethought to collect some firewood.

We followed the track to a gravel pit with pools of water – a combination that provided us with excellent photo opportunities.

After the photoshoot we continued along the track. It was getting more technical.

And it was not long before we hit our first bog hole. Mark required a quick snatch from Brad to get his vehicle through the boghole.


Further along the track we determined that 4WD was not correctly engaging in Mark’s Sorento. With that in mind, we decided to retrace our route back to the main road.

Unfortunately the return track was now uphill and the Sorento couldn’t make it up the steep ascent without 4WD. We opted to winch it up. The next obstacle was the boghole we had negotiated on the way in and the Sorento had the same issue as previously. A quick snatch easily solved the issue.

We found a place for lunch near the main road. Still unable to get his vehicle to engage 4WD, Mark decided to head home. We remaining three drivers got our vehicles back on the track again. It was not long before we had some challenging hill climbs with a lot of low range action. Mudholes in the low lying, soft valleys.

We then arrived at a significant hill climb. It was to be the highlight of the day – a steep, rocky hill climb with a deep drain gully. I was first to tackle the hill. At the top the Prado slid into a drain – virtually a gully. It was at a precarious angle.

After a shout on the UHF, the others walked up the incline and we all assessed the situation.

Under Bob’s direction and some extra weight on the front provided by Andrew, I was able to reverse the Prado out of the gully. Eventually it was on even ground again.

Andrew was the next to try to conquer the hill.


Open diffs and no traction control was not going to cut it on this hill. Andrew got his Prado about halfway up before it lost traction. Clearly another method was needed to continue the hill climb. He offloaded his passengers and decided to use his traction boards. They were in the back of the Prado and when we tried to access them, the freshly collected firewood rolled down the hill.

With the traction boards in place and the Prado a bit lighter (no passengers, no firewood), Andrew made another attempt on the hill. He managed to take the Prado to the top of the hill with some timely application of the right foot and clever steering.

It was now Bradley’s turn to attempt the hill in his Landcruiser. He made it looks easy. The ‘Cruiser walked up the hill.

We continued on interesting tracks, using 4WD as the need arose, for about another hour.

It was late in the afternoon when we reached the main gravel road so we decided to call it a day and return to Cockburn.


Thanks to everyone who joined the trip and see you all on the next one.

Gilbert Karel

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Rescuing Explorers’ Wells in the Yilgarn

Cockburn 4WD Club is aligned with the Wells and Tracks Project and actively pursues the objectives of finding, refurbishing and protecting explorer and pioneer wells.

In June 2021, in conjunction with three Members of the Mitsubishi 4WD Owners Club of WA, we travelled to the Yilgarn to rescue Kodjerning Well, one of the 26 wells built by explorer/surveyor C.C. Hunt in 1865/66 to secure a track from York to the Hampton Plains. It had been degraded since 2015, and possibly before, and was in danger of imminent collapse.

We set up camp at Moorine Rock and on Thursday afternoon refurbished the well there.

On Friday our convoy of nine vehicles travelled to Karolin Rock and removed the incorrectly placed Bicentennial plaque from there. It will be relocated to Karalee Rocks in the near future.

As part of Australia’s Bicentennial celebrations in 1988, plaques were placed at each of Hunts Wells as part of the York to Goldfields Heritage Trail. For unknown reasons but probably because of the similar sounding names, the plaque destined for Caroling Rocks was placed at Karolin Rock, 90 kilometres away. Bush historian and keen follower of Hunt’s exploits, Gary Arcus, noticed the out-of-place plaque when he visited Karolin Rocks in mid 2020, not long after Covid19 travel restrictions within Western Australia were lifted.

Apart from the fact that Karolin Rock was not on Hunt’s Track, it is clear that the wording on the plaque referred to Carolling Rocks not Karolin Rock.

Both Karolin Rocks and Caroling Rocks are in the Shire of Yilgarn, which made coordination of the relocation of the plaque hassle free. However, the plaque will not be relocated to Carolling Rocks. The rock Hunt referred to as Caroling/Karolling in 1865-66 is actually current day Karalee Rock. However, the name Karalee wasn’t used until 1890 when recorded by surveyor N.M. Brazier. Present day Carolling Rocks are 3.4 kilometres south-south-west of Karalee. It is likely that Hunt never visited these rocks.

I had made made arrangements with Robert Bosenberg, Executive Manager Infrastructure at the Shire of Yilgarn for our IBC to be filled with 1000 litres of water at Moorine Rock (the tiny town on Great Eastern Highway). We had to meet with the Shire team there at 1100. The IBC was filled and we headed to Kodjerning Well, 13 kilometres to the north.

The fence had dropped, the gate wouldn’t open, the well was overgrown with vegetation, trees had fallen on the fence and other vegetation was crowding the area. More importantly three large holes had formed behind the wall of the well and it was unstable and unlikely to withstand many more exceptional rainfall events.

On Saturday we spent all day at Kodjerning to complete the task. Joanne and Tracey worked as hard as the men with Tracey assisting in creating a new oxymoron for the lexicon – “light mattock work”.

After two days of hard work we decided a Road Trip was in order. On Sunday morning we travelled to nearby Keokanie Rock where C.C. Hunt established a depot in 1865 while trying to find a way through to Lake Koorkoordine, north of Southern Cross.

Next stop was Sandford Rocks, a huge granite outcrop along Hunts Track.

We left Sandford Rocks to see the most recently-worked open pit at the Edna May mine at Westonia – just as they were about to blast.

It was then onto Boodallin Soak on the Westonia Commons.

We drove through the Reserve, removed a few trees from across the track, and headed to Burracoppin. Hunt’s Well at Burracoppin is at Lansdowne Hill, where a motocross track has been constructed. A sign with “Hunts Well 1865” painted on it is located at the carpark. Hunt’s Well is not there. Nor, now, is the sign.

Eight hundred metres east of the well is an Information Point about the 1800+ kilometre long Rabbit Proof Fence, surveyed and built 1901-1905. This was early but failed attempt at biosecurity – the rabbits reached the fence before it was finished. The gates and wells along the Fence are numbered from Burracoppin.

We continued along Goldfields Road to Carrabin. A great drive. Andrew’s need to refuel there created a serendipitous moment for the car lovers in the group as we were able to look in a car transporter with a difference – full of exotic and expensive automotive machinery.

On Monday we headed back to Karolin Rock to start clearing access to the well before returning home.

Scott had an appointment at Mukinbudin for a few hours hence so he stayed at Karolin, continuing to clear away overgrown vegetation. In the process he found a third well.

Clearly the three structures are linked, however, until the overgrowth is removed, how the system operated is unclear.

Thanks to Anne Brandis of Mukinbudin for coordination assistance in the planning stages of this Trip/Project.

Thanks to Club Member Steve Cook for valuable advice on how to refurbish Kodjerning Well.


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Esperance-Balladonia-PeakCharles-Lake Sharpe/Lake Hope-Corrigin

A seven day, 1750 kilometre Road Trip out to Balladonia, returning along the Old Coach Road/Telegraph Track to Dundas then Peak Charles before exploring the remote Lake Sharpe Track and Lake Hope Track.

We took Goldfields Road and then Fisheries Road out of Esperance to Condingup.


A tour of the township revealed that Condingup is more than just the tavern and general store. With a population of more than 400 it is quite a bit bigger than one would expect when driving past.

Mount Ragged

Forty seven kilometres along the Track we turned east onto the access track into Mount Ragged. Scott, Howezit, Andrew, Joanne, Peter and Lone elected to make the climb up the Mount. It started raining as they were preparing and continued throughout their walk.

Greg erected his popup gazebo and those who chose not to climb had lunch under the shelter.

We left Mount Ragged and headed north. The track was easy enough.

Further on we searched for and found Juranda Rockhole.

Sixteen kilometres further on we turned into Balbinya.


Balbinya was settled in 1884 by John Paul Brooks, his mother Emily Henrietta and sister Sarah Teresa. They had walked from Albany to Israelite Bay in 1874. Brooks was the first linesman at Israelite Bay Telegraph Station from 1877 to 1883. He managed Balbinya till his death in 1930.

We left Balbinya and continued north. The Track changes markedly from where it intersects with Parmango Road.

The cleared thoroughfare was about 100 metres wide north of from where the Balladonia Track and Parmango Road intersect. The reason for such a wide clearing of vegetation is unknown although it is likely to be the ploughed-in Telstra cable parallel to the track and 50 metres to the east of it.

We turned off the track and drove into Booanya Rock. It was late in the day with rain threatening when we arrived so we continued past the Rock, searching for a suitable campsite, which we found 600 metres along the track.

Booanya Rock

Next morning it was a short drive back on our track to Booanya Rock.

The building at Booanya Rock is being restored.

We headed north and stopped at a dam (empty) where there was plenty of evidence of human activity. One corner of the cement-lined tank and water trough was in good condition.

The next sign of habitation  was Nanambinia, however, the ‘No Trespassing’ signs did not encourage stopping to look around or even take photographs so we continued north towards Balladonia to refuel.

Large Land Snail

As scientists are finding out more about these molluscs, they are more clearly identifying them and allocating them to more precise geographic regions, with resultant name changes. This looks like the Bothriembryon toolinna, however, the location where it was seen is quite a few kilometres from Toolinna Cove. Perhaps it should be known Bothriembryon balladonia. There were thousands of them on the Balladonia Track.


Balladonia was really just a ‘refuelling diversion’ – off our Route and not scheduled for any other activity.

The ‘Road Closed’ sign confronting southbound travellers at the junction of Eyre Highway and the Balladonia Track is an example of bureaucratic laziness. Anecdotally, it is said to have been there for a long time – possibly years. It is totally inaccurate and could cause angst for respectful, law abiding travellers unsure of the ramifications, however, there shouldn’t be ramifications for travelling on a perfectly safe, acceptable road that has no reason to be closed.

Yadadinia Rockhole

Rather than just return south along the Balladonia Track 12 kilometres to the Old Coach Road I decided to take a station track to Yadadinia Rockhole. The decision was the start  of a long and tedious drive that should have taken no more than 20 minutes but in actuality took nearly two hours.

The devastating fire of 2020 that caused the Eyre Highway to be closed for 12 days had caused many trees to fall across the track, necessitating numerous diversions. Nothing if not different.

Old Coach Road/Telegraph Track

After Yadadinia we turned west onto the old Coach Road/Telegraph Track. Today it still serves a vital function as the corridor for the Optus Fibre Optic Cable that connects Western Australia with the eastern states.

The 195 kilometre (Coolgardie Esperance Highway to Eyre Highway) dirt road is in reasonable condition, if a little dusty at the eastern end.

Abandoned Dundas, 21 kilometres south of Norseman, has a rich mining history that is well explained by a series of information plaques.

We pushed on south-west along the Coolgardie Esperance Highway for 33 kilometres and turned onto the Peak Charles Road.

After one false start (and a staked tyre on Jo and Andrew’s Prado) we made our way into Moir Rock and Tank for the night.

Moir Tank

This is a great campsite. Little visited, numerous sites and a good view of Peak Charles from the top of the Rock.

The next morning we drove to the top of Moir Rock. One can see Peak Charles 35 kilometres to the south-west.

Moir Tank was an important water source during the goldrush years.

Peak Charles

The weather was more friendly for climbing than what we had at Mount Ragged.

Scott, Greg and Pete climbed to within 30 metres of the peak. The last stretch requires more specialised gear and, in its absence, the risk was considered unacceptable.

On the way back from Mushroom Rock I came across some Processionary Caterpillars. Said to be dangerous.

We departed Peak Charles through Annes Pass and along Dunns Track (actually an old shotline) looking for the obscure track to Lake Sharp. Special care is needed at the five way junction 10 kilometres south of Peak Charles to ensure the correct track is selected.

Lake Sharpe Track

The turnoff to Lake Sharpe is difficult to see, being partly overgrown, and I needed to travel along it for a few hundred metres to confirm we were on the correct route. Just over two kilometres along the track the margin of the lake appeared. Saltbush and bluebush country. The track follows the edge of the lake for 14 kilometres. Classic outback Australia.

In a number of places the track was difficult to follow and it needed a bit of investigation on foot to find the way forward.

As the track leaves the lake it merges with a recently made two blade firebreak/containment line. Closer to the Lake King Road it narrows to one blade width. The uncertainty of following this firebreak increased when it made a diversion to the east. After a kilometre it again, reassuringly, turned north towards the Lake King Road.

North of the lake much of the country has been burnt out and we surmised that it was to combat this fire that the firebreak/containment line had been made. Our convoy of vehicles was very clearly the first to travel this track since it had been made – probably by a loader. In some places it disappeared or was very difficult to follow.

Surveyor T.A. Ellison named Lake Sharpe in 1929 while doing ‘classification surveying’, however, he failed to record after whom he named it.

After a couple of Y junctions where we guessed at the direction to take we came out onto the Lake King-Norseman Road.

Lake Hope Track

After 20 kilometres of westward travel we turned north onto the Lake Hope Track and a short time later stopped for lunch under a solitary stand of trees.

This remote track leads through the Bremer Range, along the Honman Ridge and past Lake Hope to the Maggie Hayes mine on the Hyden-Norseman Road. There are numerous shotlines crossing the track along its length.

Lake Hope was named by explorer Frank Hann in 1901 after Joseph Hope, Chief Draftsman of the Lands and Surveys Department, 1896 to 1919.

The Breakaways

We turned on to Hyden Norseman Road and I started to look for a suitable campsite – and 23 kilometres to the west we turned into The Breakaways. As per usual we collected firewood just before arrival.


Hyden was an opportunity to refuel and regroup after a stoppage for a mechanical/electrical issue.

Mulkas Cave

Mulkas Cave (previously known as Bates Cave, after an early sandalwood cutter) is one of the most significant rock art sites in Western Australia. A total of 452 motifs have been recorded in the three chambers. Most other sites in the South West have fewer than 20. This is a clear indication of the significance of this site.

The Best for Last

From Mulkas Cave we headed west on Billericay Road – into the rain preceding Tropical Cyclone Seroja. As we progressed westwards the roads got steadily worse. Slip Sliding Around! Scott and Howezit had left us by this time – taking a more northerly course home.

It was time to head for the bitumen. We headed across Lake Kurren Kutten to get to sealed Bendering Road. Like ballet – but no control! Two kilometres later we all reached the bitumen without sliding off the road. Phew!

The expedition finished at Corrigin.

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Text and Layout
Kim Epton

Kim Epton

Lone Neilsen
Graham ‘Howezit’ Howe

Taking Photographs for Trip Reports

These ‘Rules’ won’t turn you into a professional photographer, however, they will make your pics more useful.

With a digital camera it is so easy to just click away. However, a little planning will help save you a lot of time in ‘processing’ your photographs after you return home. And they will be more useful to the person preparing the Trip Report.


  1. Plan your pic. What’s the story you are trying to tell? What is the subject of your photo?
  2. Remember the Rule of Thirds.
  3. If using a smartphone, ensure that Location Services are ON.
  4. Close ups ARE GOOD.
  5. Watch the background for anomalies.
  6. Ensure your shadow is not in the photo.
  7. Not too much foreground; not too much sky.


  1. Don’t cut off limbs or a portion of the head. Ensure that the entire person is in frame – legs may be an exception. If you have taken a great photo but broken this rule you may be able to crop the hapless digital amputee from the photo at a later time.
  2. Do not take photos of people with their back to camera. Forward or side on only.
  3. Limit posed photos, group photos and selfies.
  4. No photos of people taking photos.


  1. Don’t take photos of the back of vehicles – with occasional exceptions.
  2. Don’t cut off any part of a vehicle.
  3. Don’t take photos through the windscreen. If the subject/situation is worth a photo it is worth stopping and alighting from the vehicle.
  4. Try not to include the rego plate, if possible.


  1. Find a good flower. No missing petals. No scars.
  2. Be parallel to the face of the flower.
  3. Use a tripod or similar to steady the camera.
  4. Don’t damage the flower or its plant.


  1. Just one pic will do.


If this is all too much, just remember:



Waroona Dam

Day Trip to Waroona Dam, 80 kilometres south of Cockburn, on Sunday 2 May 2021.

Hynek Bouska, Stuart Clifton-James, Mark Gray Jenny Jaksic, Warren Peers, Glenda Jones, Lance Martin and Trip Leader Elvis Mestric, did a circuit of the Dam, finding fun places along the way to try out their 4WDs.

On to the next challenge.

And so ended a successful day at Waroona Dam.


Black Point-Lake Jasper-Callcup-Yeagarup

Lake Jasper

Off to the Murchison; no! Kalbarri has just been decimated by Cyclone Seroja. So, a last-minute change has been made to travel to Pemberton.

However, lockdown has just been announced in Perth and Peel, so all trip members need to leave Perth by 6.00 p.m. on the Friday of the Anzac Day long weekend. Traffic was heavy on the way to Pemberton, with hundreds of city folk all having similar ideas. Andrew and Jo were last to arrive, well after 10.00 p.m.

In the morning Trip Leader, Mushy set the scene for the weekend and introduced all team members, including new member, Rod Duffy. After fuelling up and stocking up at the bakery, we were off for the first of two terrific days of four wheel driving.

Our Road Trip headed west through the amazing Karri forest.

Time to air down and then to enjoy the sandy track into the D’Entrecasteaux National Park.


The first stop was at Stepping Stones; an impressive beach with an impressive staircase to the water.

The first line up of vehicles – with Lance’s Hilux, Andrew’s Prado, Rod’s Hilux and Mushy’s new MuX!

After a short yet spectacular coastal track, we arrived at The Breakfast Holes on the eastern side of Black Point. This was a chance for the drone to be released and the surfers to be monitored.

On the path back to the vehicles, naturalist Jo had a keen eye to find a frog burying itself.

It was now time to head down to Surfers Beach, a few hundred metres to the north, via an inspiring and descending track for lunch on the beach. This was an opportunity to welcome newest member Rod to the Club.

After visiting Black Point for some shark spotting, it was off to Lake Jasper. Graham called in to report a flat tyre. The team was slick in getting Graham moving again within minutes.

The track to Lake Jasper was very sandy and required focus in the late afternoon. Lake Jasper did not disappoint, looking its very best. The water, the reflections and the sunken picnic tabled were irresistible.

The only river crossing on the trip.

After soaking up the late afternoon sun, it was time to head back to Pemberton, collecting firewood on the way.

Yeagarup Dunes

The cold morning started with a meeting at the bakery to stock up for the day. The drive to Northcliffe was lovely. Finding the track to Callcup was interesting and the drive to the dunes was spectacular. Winding through coastal forest and up the occasional steep ascent with assistance from rubber track protectors made for a great morning. Being a long weekend, the dunes resembled Hay Street. There were some lengthy delays at the various dunes as up to twenty vehicles patiently waited for their turn – characterised by scores of teenage drivers all keen to chop up the dunes for everyone else!

The Callcup Hill descent.

The mouth of the Warren River was closed which made for an easy crossing. With inlet on one side and ocean on the other, this was time to line up and soak up the amazing opportunity to be there.

Time to ascend the main dune to Yeagarup. Once again, traffic was heavy, and patience was needed. Mushy lead the charge with a couple of attempts – the rest of the team then going for it. There was congestion at the top of the hill as drivers jostled for places to park and wait for all the team to regroup.

The picturesque track to the Yeagarup Air Up Point was yet again a highlight.

With plenty of time left in the day, it was off to the cidery to sample the local brew and then a relaxing drive back to camp via Big Brook Dam.

A great day and a great campfire to close the day.

On Monday we had  a relaxing start packing up and heading home, with the prospect of lengthy delays at the checkpoints back into Perth. However, this did not eventuate as we were waved through with no delays.

Thanks to Mushy for leading us in having a great weekend away.


© Cockburn 4WD Club and Andrew Newhouse 2021
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Bremer Bay to Esperance

This first leg of the ten day Remote South East Road Trip was from Bremer Bay to Esperance along the beach (as much as possible) – 520 kilometres over three days.

Departing Bremer Bay our route took us through the Fitzgerald River National Park, a reserve unique in this world but unfriendly to vehicle adventurers – being designed and managed more for walkers.

Fitzgerald River National Park

After a false start trying to find re-aligned roads we made our way through the Park, not intending to visit any of the features/attractions on this western side. Near the turnoff to Quaalup Homestead I stopped to get photographs of the spectacular Royal Hakea shrub/bush. Worldwide, it is found only between Albany and Esperance, concentrated in the Fitzgerald River National Park.


From the Lookout we drove down to the beach at Culham Inlet, looking to get to Hopetoun on the sand.

The 700 metres of beach to the groyne at Hopetoun was inaccessible and we turned around and found a way off the beach. We aired up in a car park and drove into town to regroup with those who had left the beach earlier.

We took Southern Ocean Road out of Hopetoun 30 kilometres to a track that led to the  coast. Two kilometres later we came upon an installation nestled among the rocks. Without confidence – and mainly because of substantial power lines feeding in to the installation – we tentatively proclaimed it as a desalination plant.

We continued on Southern Ocean Road, dropped in to Mason Bay Campground to check it out, and drove on to Starvation Boat Harbour Campground, where we stayed the night.

Starvation Boat Harbour Beach

We left camp and made our way to the beach. After four hundred metres the way was blocked and there was only one, sketchy exit off the sand. Inconveniently positioned rocks at the beginning of the exit made it more difficult. However, with a bit of care, judiciously-placed wheels and application of the right foot at the appropriate time all vehicles made it up the narrow track with ease and with no damage.

Eight hundred metres along a bush track we were again able to access the beach via a rock ledge.

We headed east for nearly five kilometres. The beach narrowed and as it did so its angle increased, both factors mitigating against further eastward travel.

Turning around was easier said than done. With an incoming tide on an already narrow beach it was a hazardous proposition. Ultimately, it required the deployment of four MaxTrax and some confident driving all the way to the water’s edge by Aaron to extricate the heavy Patrol from a precarious position.

Graham was bogged but managed to get unbogged reasonably easily. Joanne reversed the Prado along the beach to a break in the dunes to where she was able to turn around. Peter, Graham and Scott had also turned around at this point. Not easy but also no panic. The MaxTrax were deployed to good effect.


We returned along the beach, drove up the rock ledge and took a bush track out to Springdale Road.

We retreated to Springdale Road and headed to Munglinup Beach to check out the campground. It is small and not suitable for groups. We left, retraced our tracks for a few ks and turned east on Washpool Road. This took us to Washpool Beach (WA Beach 209). We drove all but the last 600 metres of the beach before returning and finding a track off the beach back on to Washpool Road.

The track led to a large area of flat rocks.

Deciding that the beach going forward (east) from these rocks was too hazardous we retreated to Washpool Road, hoping that we could drive through Lake Shaster Nature Reserve. It was not to be and we had to head out to Springdale Road to allow us to find our way back to the coast.


An unnamed track off Springdale Road took us down to  East Munglinup Beach. We drove down to the beach along belting-covered tracks. With a mental flip of the coin we turned east.

We drove carefully around the point on a rocky beach and continued for about 1.5 kilometres. The beach was narrowing, getting soft and looking altogether too hazardous. We made our way back to the beach entry point.

It was time to tackle the 5+ kilometres of the beach to the west.

Within 600 metres a washed away beach forced us up into the vegetation. We were two metres higher than the beach – a steep, unstable drop off. The track was rough and was causing the vehicle to bounce around radically. With each bounce the Patrol moved closer to the drop off. One, two, three, four bounces and the vehicle was right on the edge of the drop off. The fifth bounce could have taken us over the edge or forward to safety. Aaron drove the Patrol back down to the now firm, level, benign sand.

We were presented with a dilemma. We knew that we couldn’t get off the beach by going forward – however good the beach looked – because we had seen at Munglinup that it narrowed and became impassable. We certainly weren’t going back the way we had come.

Our best option was to climb a steep sand dune off the beach and then work our way through the dune system back to where the others were waiting. Easy to say. And after a few anxious moments, successfully completed. With two ‘on the limit’ experiences this was one of the scariest day of my 40+ years of four wheel driving.

We returned to Springdale Road, seeking a camp for the night. At Lone’s suggestion we turned into Skippy Rock and found a perfectly acceptable camp.

Roses Beach/Quallilup Beach

Between Skippy Rock and Roses Beach the coast is accessible at only four points at the end of four tracks. The uncertainty of access due to track closures as a result of disease was a factor in us choosing to travel direct to Roses Beach – 85 kilometres from Skippy Rock.

On the way out we had a look at the Torradup River Inlet that leads into Margaret Cove.

Access to Roses Beach is via Murray Road past a lime quarry. With road trains constantly on the road it is both dusty and very corrugated. On approach to the coast there are tracks everywhere. A headland at the end of the main track provides sweeping ocean and beach views but no hint of how to get down to the beach. We took a track north (away from the beach) that eventually led to the dunes. It was then a matter of finding a safe way through and across the dunes down to sea level.

We were able to follow this beach for many kilometres. Satellite images showed an indistinct track around Buttty Head but no connecting track from the beach. About two kilometres from Butty Head we left the beach and spent considerable time trying to find a way round this headland.

Peter put up his drone and found the track I was looking for. We worked out a possible route through the dunes, did some spadework to even out the track at a pinch point, and started the climb.

A rough, dusty track leads down to Butty Harbour, allowing a further 3.5 kilometres of eastward travel along the beach.

The beach was looking less and less inviting – it was time to find a suitable point to exit. Just over two kilometres further on we were on bitumen – Twilight Beach Road. This coast-hugging road took us into Esperance.


The seven caravan parks in Esperance were all full (school holidays) and we were directed to the Sports Ground. Great facilities and plenty of room.



© Kim Epton 2021
Feel free to use any part of this document but please do the right thing and give attribution. It will enhance the SEO of your website/blog and that of the Cockburn 4WD Club.
1806 words, 61 photographs, 11 images.

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Kim Epton

Kim Epton
Lone Neilsen
Graham Howe

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