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In the Wild West

Written on: Sunday June 17th, 2007

G?DAY FOLKS,

IT?S BEEN A  FEW WEEKS SINCE OUR LAST BLOG AND WE THOUGHT WE BETTER UPDATE WHILE THE INTERNET IS AVAILABLE.

WE CROSSED INTO WESTERN AUSTRALIA WHICH IS WHERE WE SAW OUR FIRST LIZARD,  THE BLUE TONGUE LIZARD .(I THINK YOU CAN GUESS WHAT COLOR HIS TONGUE WAS). AFTER HELPING HIM OFF THE HWY SO HE WOULDN?T BECOME THE BLUE SQUASHED LIZARD WE CONTINUED ON AND HEADED NORTH TO KALGOORLIE.  THIS TOWN WAS ESTABLISHED BECAUSE GOLD WAS FOUND IN 1893 AND BECAME A REAL BOOMTOWN. ALL THE SHAFTS THAT WERE DUG HAVE NOW BECAME ONE HUGE OPEN CUT MINE . THE WORLDS BIGGEST OPEN-CUT GOLD MINE.  WE STOOD ON THE RIM ON THIS SUPER PIT AND IT IS HUGE. THE OLD BUILDINGS  ARE STILL THERE WITH  WROUGHT-IRON LACE VERANDAHS AND ITS LIKE STUMBLING  ONTO  A WESTERN MOVIE SET.  JUST AN INTERESTING TIDBIT OF INFO ON  THE CITY ? KALGOORLIE LIKE ALL CITIES ORIGINALLY HAD DIRT STREETS AND WHEN IT RAINED  THE STREETS IMMEDIATELY TURNED INTO MUDPITS. MEANWHILE THE TOWNS MINERS WERE DIGGING UP HUGE AMOUNTS OF A BLACK STONE CALLED TELLURIDE IN THEIR SEARCH FOR GOLD AND DIDN?T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT. SOMEONE CAME UP WITH A GREAT IDEA THAT THE TELLURIDE COULD BE USED TO PAVE THE STREETS, KILLING 2 BIRDS WITH 1 STONE. IT WASN?T  UNTIL THE JOB WAS DONE THAT A SCIENTIST DETERMINED THAT TELLURIDE  WAS COMPOSED  OF 40% GOLD. KALGOOLIE?S STREETS HAD LITERALLY  BEEN PAVED WITH GOLD AND THE STREETS WERE RIPPED UP IN ONE BIG HURRY. THE TOWN HAD TO WAIT A LITTLE LONGER TO SOLVE ITS MUD PROBLEMS FOR GOOD.  WE STAYED A FEW DAYS HERE BECAUSE WE NEEDED AN OIL CHANGE AND WANTED TO PURCHASE AN EXTRA SPARE TIRE AND EXTRA LEAF SPRING AND WE WANTED TO FIND A  FLAG WHIP.  WE FOUND THIS ONE FELLOW WHOS PRICE WAS THE BEST AND HE EVEN  SPENT EXTRA TIME ON THE VEHICLE CHECKING THINGS OUT AND GIVING SOME ADVISE.  NOW OUR ONLY PROBLEM WAS OUR WHIP. WE DIDN?T WANT TO SPEND $150.00 AND UP  BUT WE KNEW WE NEEDED ONE. SO SCOTT CAME UP WITH A BRILLIANT IDEA.  WE WENT TO THE DOLLAR STORE AND BOUGHT TENT POLES THAT WERE ON SALE FOR $1.54 AND A ROLE OF TAPE FOR $1.OO AND VOILA, OUR 2.4 METRE WHIP WAS MANUFACTURED FOR A WHOLE $2.54. WE PROUDLY STUCK OUR CANADIAN FLAG ON TOP AND MOUNTED IT ON THE FRONT GRILL FOR ALL TO  ADMIRE WITH ENVY.

WE HEADED NORTH  ON THE GOLDFIELDS HWY AND STOPPED AT SEVERAL LITTLE  TOWNS THAT WERE BUILT UP DURING THE GOLD RUSH. DAYS.  SOME TOWNS ARE JUST RUINS NOW AND SOME HAVE  THE OLD 1800?S BUILDINGS RESTORED. IT WAS INTERESTING BECAUSE A LOT OF THESE  TOWNS BACK THEN MAY HAVE HAD A POPULATION OF 30,000  AND WHEN THE GOLD RAN OUT EVERYONE MOVED OUT AND ONLY RUINS EXIST NOW.

WE STOPPED AT THIS ONE TOWN, KOOKYNIE. THE  MAIN PUB WAS THE  GRAND HOTEL BUILT IN THE LATE 1800?S WHICH IS STILL THERE ALONG WITH  4 OTHER HOUSES.  THE THING IS,  IT?S  SO FAR OFF THE BEATEN TRACK  WE  COULDN?T FIGURE OUT HOW THEY CAN POSSIBLY STAY IN BUSINESS. SO WE THOUGHT WE WOULD BRING IN SOME REVENUE FOR THEM AND HAD A FEW BEERS. IT WAS THE LEAST WE COULD DO AFTER DRIVING DOWN A DUSTY OLD ROAD. FROM THE  OUTSIDE THE PUB DIDN?T LOOK LIKE MUCH BUT IT WAS BEAUTIFUL FROM THE INSIDE WITH LARGE ARCHED HALLWAYS AND TIN CEILINGS JUST LIKE 100 YRS AGO.  BY THE WAY IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED IT?S UP FOR SALE. 

HOW ABOUT IT PAUL, YOU WOULD LOVE IT HERE AND YOU SHOULD SEE THE STARS, THEY ARE FABULOUS.

WE TRAVELLED ON TO LEONARA/GWALIA AND VIEWED ANOTHER HUGE OPEN PIT GOLD MINE. THESE ONCE WERE  A SERIES OF SHAFTS AND TUNNELS  OVER A KILOMETER DEEP. THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT THIS MINE IS THAT BACK IN THE LATE I800?S THEY USED HORSES TO HAUL OUT ALL THE ROCK AND MATERIALS. THERE IS ONE INFAMOUS HORSE THAT SPENT 13 YEARS DOWN IN THE MINE SHAFTS WITHOUT SEEING ANY DAYLIGHT AND FINALLY RETURNED TO THE SURFACE TO RETIRE AND LIVED TO THE AGE OF 21. TO LOWER THE HORSES DOWN TO THE SHAFTS THEY TAUGHT THEM TO LAY DOWN AND LOWERED THEM IN A BUCKET. ANOTHER TID BIT OF INFO IS THAT THE INITIAL MANAGER OF THE MINE WAS HOOVER WHO WOULD LATER BECOME THE PRESIDENT OF THE USA..

WE THEN HEADED ON NORTH TO WILUNA WHICH IS THE START OF THE CANNING STOCK ROUTE (CSR). ON THE WAY THERE WE STOPPED COUNTING THE DEAD ROOS AND COUNTED 10 DEAD EAGLES. THEY FEAST ON THE ROOS AND DON?T GET AWAY FAST ENOUGH.  ITS SO BAD ON THIS STRETCH THAT THERE ARE EAGLE WARNING SIGNS. YOU WOULDN?T WANT TO HIT ONE OF THESE BECAUSE THEY ARE ENORMOUS AND COULD TAKE OUT YOUR WINDSCREEN.

WILUNA DURING ITS BOOM YEARS HAD A POPULATION OF 9000 AND WAS ONCE CONSIDERED THE WILDEST TOWN IN AUSTRALIA. TODAY IT HAS LESS THAN 300. IT IS  SUPPOSE TO BE THE BIGGEST AND BEST EQUIPPED SUPPLY CENTRE IN THE AREA WHICH IS HILARIOUS BECAUSE IT HAS ONE GAS STATION/GROCERY STORE , A RUN DOWN PUB AND A POLICE STATION. UNFORTUNATELY AS A FORIGN TOURIST IT IS A BIT INTIMIDATING  WHEN DRIVING IN. IT?S A BIT RUN DOWN AND ALONG THE STREETS YOU SEE ABORIGINALS WALKING ABOUT BAREFOOT AND DIRTY LOOKING. THEY TALK LOUDLY BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN EACH OTHER AND MOST CANNOT SPEAK ENGLISH. EVEN 80% OF ABORIG. KIDS DON?T SPEAK ENGLISH. MOST JUST WONDER AROUND WITH NO AGENDA AND ARE ON WELFARE. ALCOHOL IS A REAL PROBLEM AND SOME ABORIG. RESERVES ARE NOW DRY. THIS IS WHY MANY MAKE THE LONG DRIVE TO TOWN TO PURCHASE AND CONSUME IT BEFORE HEADING HOME AGAIN. ABUSE IS A LARGE PROBLEM AND ALSO AT ONE TIME PETROL SNIFFING.  IF THE PETROL IS AVAILABLE AT THE RESERVE, A SUBSTANCE IS FIRST REMOVED AND REPLACED WITH SOMETHING ELSE TO PREVENT THE KIDS FROM GETTING A HIGH. THIS MAKES FUEL MORE EXPENSIVE THERE.  KIDS ARE NOT FORCED TO GO TO SCHOOL OR BE EDUCATED AND THE WHOLE CYCLE JUST CONTINUES.  WE JUST HEARD ON THE RADIO THAT THE GOV. IS THINKING OF LEGISLATING MANDITORY ENGLISH CLASSES.  UNFORTUNATELY THEIR HISTORY IS SIMILAR TO OUR NATIVE AMERICANS. THEIR LAND WAS TAKEN FROM THEM AND  IN 1918 SOME.CHILDREN WERE TAKEN AWAY FROM THEIR PARENTS TO BE INTEGRATED INTO THE EUROPEAN WAY OF LIFE. MANY ABORIG. ARE STILL SUFFERING THE EFFECTS OF BEING SEPERATED FROM THEIR FAMILIES  AND FORCED TO GROW UP APART FROM THEIR PEOPLE. BELIEVE IT BUT THIS PRACTICE CONTINUED ON INTO THE 1970?S.  ANOTHER LITTLE TIDBIT OF INFO- THE ANANGULA PEOPLE OF THE WESTERN DESERT WERE THE LAST ABORIS. TO HAVE FIRST CONTACT WITH THE WHITE MAN.  THE LAST ANANGULA TO ABANDON THEIR HUNTING-GATHERING LIFESTYLE LEFT THE DESERT IN 1984.