Very interesting for State Rally attendees
The Wildflower Tour was included in the Rally Program to provide Club members with the opportunity to visit and explore special areas of the Avon Valley including heritage sites which were not generally available to the public.
They are areas highly acclaimed for growing a beautiful range of Australian wildflowers, native bushes and trees – some unique to this area. The trip also included special historic sites of former road/rail bridges/buildings, towns etc. that have been retained by the local community. The Avon River is a main contributory flow into the Swan River that discharges via Perth into the Indian Ocean at Fremantle.
The local tour bus commenced at 11am and returned to the Rally site at 3.30pm providing an extremely interesting time for all on board.
GENERAL HISTORY: The tour bus driver (Wayne, a local farmer) was asked – because of his community interest and tremendous knowledge both of farming and local history, including people, buildings and sites – to provide a running commentary whist driving and responding to questions regarding each area/site of note. Wayne was able to provide details of initial explorers, property owners and generations up to the present time. The bus tour covered the area from Clackline-Toodyay-York and ventured away from the main roads to side gravel roads into special historically significant sites requiring approval to enter.
GENERAL FARMING: Driver Wayne explained the skills and knowledge required to farm the land which, although very productive, still needed a regular change of crops being planted also to ‘rest’ the land for a season at regular intervals. He also discussed the varieties and types of crops which are being used – lupins, maize, oats, barley, wheat and canola (previously known as rape seed). The latter is being increasingly planted and has yellow flowers which completely cover the crop when ready for harvesting. In earlier years the harvested crops were transported to the local silos for rail transport to the port for export, however road transport is now the general method of transport throughout WA.
BEEKEEPER FARM: During the morning tour we were taken to a beekeeper’s private enterprise site where beehives were collecting honey and, although not entering the actual property, we were able to photograph a range of native flowering plants/bushes for their beauty and variety.
TOODYAY TOWNSHIP: Next was a visit to Toodyay (originally ‘Newcastle’ 1860-1910) for a short lunch snack/coffee break and the opportunity to view and photograph various shops and historic commercial buildings, including Freemason’s Hotel, Victoria Hotel, the Visitor Centre (Connor’s Mill 1870) and parklands alongside the river.
BRIDGES: After Toodyay, we were taken to two special protected historical sites. Clackline Bridge (134 metres long) is a historic road bridge in Clackline being the only bridge in WA to have spanned both a waterway and railway line. The mainly timber bridge has a unique curved and sloped design due to the difficult topography and route of the former EG Railway. It is considered a safety hazard but it remains in use as a part of the local road network. Toodyay disused rail bridge (70 metres) crossing over a waterway and disused road now on private land is not open to the public. It is in badly deteriorated condition and deemed dangerous.
BLACKBOYS ON THE HILL: A special sight viewed from the road were the very large (perhaps 50 or more) flowering black boys (grass trees) growing 4-6 metres high on the side of a hill – an unbelievable scene.
OLIVE FARM: A visit to the Olive Farm/Produce Shop provided the opportunity to consider the purchase of a range of olive products including olive oil, soaps, perfumes plus taste their home made ice-cream! Yummy!
HOMETIME: It was then time to return to York Recreation Centre/Oval in time for us to participate in Happy Hour and refreshments. A tremendous tour which was greatly appreciated by all the passengers who sincerely thanked Wayne for his time, special knowledge and friendly comments throughout the trip.