Neighbours; everybody needs good neighbours.
Trip Start Oct 31, 2013
14Trip End May 01, 2014
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Everybody needs good neighbours – and we have had them at Dwellingup. We've been so lucky with the people staying at this free site, where we also had a good time last year with the Grey Nomads. This year they were not quite so grey and more international; as well as Australians there have been Kiwis, Swiss, Canadian and German travellers. Vehicles range from cars (with tents or without) to 5 wheelers (large articulated caravans which hook onto the tray of a pick-up). Beer o’clock starts early and Happy hour frequently lasts longer than the hour. Is it any wonder that we stayed over a fortnight? Well – that and the fact that our fridge has been playing up and we were waiting for a part to come from Melbourne! It didn’t completely stop working but sometimes decided to turn itself off for no apparent reason
The free camp is on the site of an old town called Marrinup, which in turn was built to service the local POW camp used in the war for German and Italian prisoners. It’s about 5 Km from Dwellingup along a choice of gravel roads. The Munda Biddi cycle track runs through it (Simon and Craige would love it!) and we walked along that, or the heritage railway track, into Dwellingup for coffee and cake at the Blue Wren café. It is surrounded by Jarrah forest, inhabited by (amongst other things) Fairy Wrens, green parrots, Black Cockatoos, Emus, Wallabies and Kangaroos. Oh, and horse flies, wood cockroaches, spiders and ants……….. incredibly biodiverse. Jarrahs are slow growing, tall, straight trees that have been much in demand for their richly coloured and beautifully grained timber. It’s also very strong and used in building. For these reasons around half of the original Jarrah forests that covered 3.9 million hectares from Perth to the South West have been destroyed by extensive logging and clearing for agriculture. Their importance in the ecosystem has been recognized and there are now reserves but another danger is now the Bauxite mining close to Dwellingup (Bauxite is used for Aluminium). When I researched Alcoa – the mining company – I found they were taking environmental rehabilitation pretty seriously so there is hope for the future of the forests.
To have the fridge repaired we went to the nearby city of Mandurah, reputed to be the fastest growing region in Australia, about 25 miles away. It is a remarkable place developed in the 20 to 30 years from a small holiday destination to a modern Australian city. The foreshores have been developed with canals, lined by residences with moorings. We sat on the boardwalk of a café and watched a couple of dolphins swim by – we felt smug that we hadn’t paid for the dolphin watching cruise that was just leaving the adjacent jetty. Some of our neighbours at Dwellingup were Mandurah residents and were less than impressed by the developments that swapped a more sleepy town with the present extravagance. We certainly wouldn’t be able to afford to live in that neighbourhood!