Visit Dwellingup and Pinjarra Magazine 2020/2021

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Find your perfect place to reconnect with nature


Discover the rich history behind this ancient region



Get ready to kayak, climb, ride or hike your way around | visitpinjarra


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16 62 44 PUBLISHER Premium Publishers, 26 John St, Northbridge WA 6003 Phone: (08) 9273 8933 EDITOR Gabi Mills DESIGNER Cally Browning












PHOTOGRAPHY Josh Cowling Photography Russell Ord Photography and Visit Mandurah Murray Districts Historical Society Dwellingup Trails and Visitor Centre (formerly Dwellingup History and Visitor Information Centre)


CONTRIBUTORS Mia Lacy Department of Biodiversity Conservations and Attractions (DBCA) WA Parks and Wildlife Murray Districts Historical Society Cassie-Jo Davis


PRINTED BY Vanguard Press

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Welcome to

the Murray Region PERTH METROPOLITAN PEEL Byford Mundijong Jarrahdale Serpentine


MANDURAH Dawesville Channel



North Dandalup


Peel Inlet



Harvey Estuary








15 Kilometres

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breathtaking fun






DWELLINGUP NATIONAL TRAILS CENTRE PROJECT DWELLINGUP IS TRANSFORMING ... how we got here. Establishment of a National Trails Centre in Dwellingup comes as no surprise to those people who have held the vision and have worked tirelessly to achieve it. The early leadership shown by the community in giving a resounding ‘yes’ to the idea of creating trails for visitors and locals, which would yield economic opportunities for tourism, jobs and a new industry, provided the initial inspiration needed to pursue the project. Also fundamental to the success of the project has been the strong collaborative partnership developed between the Dwellingup community and the Shire of Murray, together with Federal, State and commercial funding partners that have ultimately enabled completion of a Trail and Visitor Centre of national significance. At the forefront of the long-held vision to establish Dwellingup as a trails destination is the ‘Dwellingup Community Compact’ (DCC), a local community group, who set about putting together a Tourism Strategy and Plan. Timing for the Strategy was opportune, as implementation of the Western Australian Strategic Trails Blueprint, the WA Mountain Bike Master Plan, Perth and Peel Mountain Bike Master Plan and the Peel Tourism Economic Development Infrastructure Plan were also being developed. Encouraged by the ground swell of state, regional and local interest in mountain biking and trails, in 2016 the Compact supported their Strategy with a business plan. This plan cemented the need for a National Trails Centre, the construction of trails with associated infrastructure and identified the economic and social outcomes that could be achieved. Embracing the initial community led initiative and committed to working with community to deliver transformational projects, the Shire successfully pitched the shared vision for Dwellingup to the Commonwealth, State and corporate funding partners, and consequently, the necessary funding needed to achieve the project was realised. Keen to build on the momentum created and the range of visitor experiences available in Dwellingup, an adventure and activity enclave adjacent to the Centre was also realised through successful funding, which enabled development of a new pump track, skate park, barbecues and nature space with playground and facilities for trail users, as well as an impressive train turntable for the Hotham Valley Railway. All in all, without initiative, a shared vision, ongoing commitment and the strong and effective partnerships between community and all levels of Government, the exciting outcomes achieved in Dwellingup would not have been realised. For more information on funding of this project, contact the Shire of Murray: ph 08 9531 7777. DWELLINGUP TRAILS AND VISITOR CENTRE 4 Marinup Street, Dwellingup WA 6213 Open:

9am to 4pm, 7 days Closed Christmas Day

Phone: 08 9538 1108 Email: VisitDwellingup | 6 | S H I R E O F M U R R AY

DWELLINGUP ADVENTURE TRAILS PROJECT In 2012 the State Government set a vision to create what were then termed ‘trail hubs’ in Western Australia. From that early vision, led by the then Departments of Sport and Recreation and Parks and Wildlife, the town of Dwellingup and Shire of Murray embraced the idea and pushed hard to see Dwellingup become WA’s first Trail Town. From this vision and enthusiasm, the Dwellingup Adventure Trails project emerged, a transformational $8.4M project that supports the National Trail Centre in Dwellingup. In combination, the projects will transform Dwellingup and surrounding area into a world class trails destination. There will be more than 50km of new mountain bike trails to complement the existing mountain bike and walk trails, upgrades to scenic drive trails and 10km of canoe trails. Dwellingup will be WA’s first Trail Town, buzzing with bikes, walkers, and watercraft. Find out more at dwellingup/

IMAGE Josh Cowling Photography



A river A runs through it

water corridor is the perfect description for the Murray River. In times past, the river played a significant role in the expansion of settlement into the region, its waters becoming a conduit for barges bringing building materials for expectant families. Today, families still flock to the river and its tributaries, drawn by the appeal of water and forest; the elements providing the basis of unending exploration on this corridor of adventure and discovery. A major river only 100kms from Perth (but devoid of dams for public water supply), the Murray has an extensive catchment area. The first of two major tributaries, the Hotham River, starts its journey near Narrogin. The other major tributary, the Williams, begins between

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IMAGE Josh Cowling Photography

Williams and Narrogin and together these main rivers drain the Eastern wheatbelt. The Murray River then flows through forested, high rainfall areas of the Darling Range before it emerges near Pinjarra. Another tributary, the Dandalup, joins in a short distance downstream from Pinjarra. This section is known as the lower Murray and is navigable in small boats. It features the canal and riverside suburbs of North and South Yunderup and Ravenswood where the river flows across the sand plain between the Darling Scarp and the coast to empty into the Peel Estuary. The 134kms of water corridor is well utilised - and loved - with adventure activities such as canoeing, white-water rafting and mountain biking the flood plains being the most popular. Most

centre on the section of the river that traverses Lane Poole Reserve, which at 500 hectares is the largest state park in WA’s northern jarrah forest. After spending nearly three decades on and around the Murray, Peter White knows the river and the reserve intimately.

His knowledge is born of operating Dwellingup Adventures for 28 winters and summers, and he says the seasonal changing characteristics of the river are what make it so popular and accessible. “In the warmer months, the lower levels and warmer temperature provide VISITOR GUIDE | 9 |

a water experience for family and novice paddlers,” says Peter. “In the cooler months, the increased flow caters to the more adventurous with the upper section offering fast moving channels, some small rapids and deep pools. The middle to lower section provides white water experiences for rafters, white water canoeists and kayakers. The upper section to Nanga Bridge has good road access on both sides which satisfies safety requirements and makes it an ideal location for educational use.” One of Peter’s favourite sections is the middle river where Grade 3 rapids and interesting boulder formations are a feature. He says the river’s access and on shore facilities have been dramatically improved of late. “There’s safe and secure access at key river locations, big improvements in camp site facilities and an increased ranger presence. While some of the changes haven’t been well received by all, I’ve always believed it is better to provide a quality and memorable experience to a smaller number rather than a mediocre experience to a large number of visitors competing with over stretched facilities and locations.” Dwellingup Adventures offers a potent cocktail of adrenalin and discovery from

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the thrills of white water rafting to a leisurely paddle and picnic. There’s a pack and paddle option too where guests can safely leave their vehicle in Dwellingup and walk the 13kms to Swamp Oak Hut along the Bibbulmun Track. They are met with a canoe the next morning, their gear transported to town as they paddle 6kms to Baden Powell Water Spout where they are met again and returned to Dwellingup. Canoes, rafts and bikes can be hired too, along with all the camping equipment needed to enjoy the serenity of Lane Poole Reserve. School, youth and group camps’ activities

Oars up - where to stay are located around the Dwellingup area. It’s a virtually limitless menu: there are games, teamwork, campcraft and even orienteering by the stars. Peter and his Dwellingup Adventures colleagues are frequently thanked for their extensive knowledge of the river’s recreational capabilities. “We focus on delivering quality personal experiences via sound local knowledge and the ability to provide advice in response to visitors’ personal aspirations,” he says. “Often, I’ve guided inquiries to an outcome to suit the age, experience and expectations of visitors that have been quite different from their initial inquiry. We often get thanked for our knowledge.” Peter and his wife Naomi have also taken the unusual step of offering discounts to clients who stay overnight in the town of Dwellingup. “When we began white water rafting in 1994, it was clear the key to visitation was to offer more than just a day experience. Our $20 per person discount for anyone staying the night before or after rafting encourages visitors to spend more at Dwellingup’s attractions and accommodation, and they depart with a better experience for it!” It also has a practical application, making it easier for customers to get to the day’s activities (which invariably have an early start) as well as taking the pressure off a return drive home.

The Snottygobble bush

Peter and Naomi have joined the ranks of Dwellingup’s accommodation providers, offering the Dwellingup Holiday House as a short stay option. Their recently renovated threebedroom, two-storey home sleeps up to six and is in a prime central location next to Dwellingup Adventures shopfront, close to the town’s parks and playground, hotel and cafes. Holiday houses present the perfect option for a family or group, and the owners of Dwellingup’s short stay accommodation and holiday homes know exactly what their clientele expect and cater accordingly. Some have a minimum stay, and others will welcome pets. Why not escape to luxury to River Road Estate (pictured above), a stunning Air BnB close to Dwellingup which includes an infinity pool

overlooking the property’s vineyard? It sleeps a family of four and is the perfect hideaway. On the outskirts of town, Noble River Estate offers six different cabins set in the forest. There’s also the the curiously named Snottygobble House (named after the bush, pictured left) where you can literally walk out the back door and be in state forest. Legend has it that back in the day settler’s children would call squishy fruits with a hard centre ‘snotty globs’, and the Western Australian wildflower persoonia saccate, a low shrub with yellow-green fruits called snottygobbles, was also highly desirable bush tucker. Dwellingup’s mill houses or cottages hark back to the timber milling heritage of the area and are a cosy accommodation option. The Dwellingup Mill House, located in the heritage precinct, is also renovated and welcoming, and has extensive gardens and abundant birdlife. On the edge of Dwellingup, Marri Cottage is the ideal choice for a family getaway and is also within easy walking distance of the township and its surrounding attractions. For larger groups, the Jarrah Forest Lodge offers tranquil, back to nature accommodation and Nanga Bush Camp, Jarrahfall Bush Camp offers great large group camp facilities, and Redgum Estate has the large main house for large groups.

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THE NEW DWELLINGUP TRAILS AND VISITOR CENTRE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS - AND IT’S THE PERFECT PLACE TO HEAD TO IF YOU’RE KEEN TO EXPLORE THIS FASCINATING REGION. t’s taken several years and millions of dollars, but now the wraps are off and the doors thrown open of Dwellingup’s newest visitor attraction. The Dwellingup Trails and Visitor Centre (DTVC) is set to take its place as an iconic trails and visitor centre in the state, with its official opening set for September 2020. Visitors to the region will discover a beautifully designed adventure-focused tourism resource entirely dedicated to making a visit to the Dwellingup and its surrounds an unforgettable experience. The $4.5m Dwellingup National Trails Project includes one of Australia’s best skate park and pump tracks, extension and development of the previous Dwellingup History and Visitor Information Centre, upgrades to carparks, ablutions and showers, lockers, laundromat facilities, additional parking and the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway realignment. PERFECTLY POSITIONED The DTVC is set among the towering trees - trees which have been such an important part of Dwellingup’s rich history. It’s close to the skate park and pump track (both of which rival some of the best nationally), and is located adjacent to the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway with its vintage locomotives and carriages. It is one place where the Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi meet, offers access to an array of various trails including

walking, mountain biking, canoeing, horse riding and is only 15 minutes from the beautiful Lane Poole Reserve. A NEW TOURISM HUB The DTVC will also be a place for those enjoying an epic trail adventure such as the Dwellingup Adventure Trails, the Bibbulmun Track or the Munda Biddi, to stop, replenish, relax, wash their gear down at the bike wash facilities, clean their clothes at the laundromat, have a hot shower, charge their devices, access the free WiFi before heading off on their journey, or maybe refuelling with a hearty meal and drink at one of the local cafes or pub. As you enter this aesthetically beautiful space, be amazed at the 166cm diameter Cross Cut Saw blade suspended in glass opposite the iconic bright orange vintage Mack truck which takes pride of place in the new centre. LOCAL KNOWLEDGE SHARED The DTVC will offer friendly conciergestyle visitor servicing with knowledgeable staff supported with state-of-the-art large interactive screens where visitors

can access area information including accommodation, tours, history, culture and environmental information as well as brochures, booklets and other attractions of our state. Experience a virtual trail in the Trails space where you can virtually access a mountain bike trail, fly like a bird over the Murray Valley Trail, or go kayaking (without getting wet or dirty) and research all the amazing trails Dwellingup has to offer on the interactive map table. Learn about Alcoa Australia rehabilitative mining processes in the Alcoa Booth through augmented reality, and go in the draw to win an epic aluminiumframed mountain bike, worth over $5,000 (terms and conditions apply). Soon, there will also be the establishment of a café and a trail’s equipment hire and shuttle service – so watch this space and be sure to add the Dwellingup Trails and Visitor Centre to your list of must-see places when you next visit Dwellingup. Dwellingup Trails and Visitor Centre would not have been possible without the support of these funding partners.

Supported by Royalties for Regions

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Adventure time WHETHER IT’S ZIPPING ALONG A WIRE IN A JARRAH FOREST OR PITTING YOUR WITS AGAINST WHITE WATERS IN A RAFTING TRIP, THERE’S AN ADVENTURE FOR EVERYBODY IN DWELLINGUP AND PINJARRA. TREES ADVENTURE Lane Poole Reserve, Off Nanga Road, Dwellingup. Tel: 08 94263 4064 Visit: Aim high with WA’s first treetop and zip line adventure experience, built around the | 14 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

beautiful pine and jarrah trees of the Nanga Mill campground in the Lane Poole Reserve. “It’s basically a giant obstacle course set up in the trees with zip lines in-between each challenge,” says Ryan Hansen, assistant manager of Trees Adventure. There are currently seven parks across Australia and Lane Poole Park’s park has been open since December 2015. Having seen the success of the operations over east with families and schools, establishing WA’s first course in the Dwellingup location was an obvious next step, says Ryan. “Dwellingup has quickly become an adventure hub,” he says. “Not only do you have our high ropes and zip line park, there’s also world class mountain biking trails dotted all around, there’s the river that runs through the reserve offering everything from a fun family paddle to white water kayaking or rafting in the winter.” Working at Trees Adventure is the perfect career move for Ryan.

“Outdoor adventure is my passion, not only because I enjoy adrenaline-fuelled activities but because of the impact it can have on others,” he says. “I love instilling a sense of adventure in people, showing them things they might not have done before and getting people to face their fears in a safe and supportive way.” The courses on offer are suitable for ages four and up, with two different time limits for sessions – a two and a half hour and a three and a half our one. “We currently have two courses for our mini adventurers aged four to seven years

old, and eight courses for those aged eight and above with varying age limits on those,” says Ryan. “Our hardest course is our extreme black which definitely lives up to its name. It reaches a massive 18m up in the air and is a challenge even for our fittest and strongest adult participants. All of our courses have zip lines mixed between all different obstacles and there’s even a course that is all zip lines.” If time is short, there’s an interactive adventure app that the company has developed. “It takes groups of a bush walk through a small section of the Lane Pool reserve, searching for hidden activities,” says Ryan. “Using a tablet equipped with a compass to guide them through the reserve, participants search for QR codes to scan and load up fun activities and information about the local area. It’s like a big treasure hunt through the forest with games thrown in.” Corporate group bookings and school groups are especially welcome, with a discounted rate offered for groups over 10. “We have catered for groups of up to 90 people in the past,” says Ryan. We also have marquees available for hire and groups can hire an instructor to climb with them if need be.” There’s also café facilities with snacks, drinks and barista-made coffees available for visitors – perfect for ground level cheer squads and climbers in need of refreshment. DARE ADVENTURES AND JARRAHFALL BUSHCAMP Lot 1379 Vandals Road, Dwellingup (Corner of Pinjarra Williams Rd) Tel: 08 9538 1314 Visit: Dare Adventures has gone through a few reinventions over the years. Since Clayton Fredericks bought the business over 14 years ago, the adventure-based site in the heart of Lane Pool Reserve also now encompasses Jarrahfall Bushcamp. “I grew up playing sport and was lucky enough to play baseball in Europe and for the Perth Heat,” says Clayton. “I’ve coached baseball for over 20 years and love coaching whether it be kids or adults.” Bringing the best out of kids and adults runs through the heart of Dare Adventures and Jarrahfall Bushcamp.

Dwellingup is so special, sitting so close to the Bibbulmum and the Munda Biddi - and Lane Pool Reserve is a magical place

Bushwalking, mountain biking, paintballing, abseiling, flying fox and team building make up the extensive menu of activities on offer and thanks to the very special location, participants leave with more than just awesome memories of their time with Clayton and his team. “Dwellingup is so special, sitting so close to the Bibbulmum and the Munda Biddi and Lane Pool Reserve is a magical place.” The bushcamp is surrounded by native jarrah and marri forest, some over 400 years old, with easy access trails allowing visitors to immerse themselves fully in the abounding nature. “They’ll see families of emus, Western grey kangaroos, the majestic forest red tail and Carnaby’s black cockatoos during their stay,” says Clayton. Simple, comfortable accommodation and camping facilities within the 50,000ha Lane Pool Reserve are on offer with newly renovated facilities, ideal for schools and private groups.

“School camps are our speciality,” says Clayton. “To date, we have run more than 600 successful school camps that kids adore. In fact, more than 50,000 kids have enjoyed making life-long memories here at Dare Adventure Camps.” Family Fun Days have proved to be a popular addition to the business model and there are plans to expand Jarrahfall Bushcamp’s offering to include weddings, private functions and more festivals, like the successful inaugural Jarrahfall Food and Folk Festival held in October 2019. There are plans to build a new function centre and upgrade the accommodation, as well as creating a new adventure playground over the next few years. Despite living in such stunning surroundings for over two decades, Clayton still finds pleasure in the simple things. “My favourite activity is to take a bushwalk down to Lane Pool,” he says. V I S I T O R G U I D E | 15 |



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afé culture has become a way of life to Australians, not just fuel to get you through the day. We care about quality and taste, and we encourage our café owners to be as personable and passionate about our daily fix as we are. Nic Willis is a woman of many hats, including her lovely trademark flower crowns. As the owner of Jarra Infusion, Nic has given Pinjarra and the Murray community a nexus where great food and coffee mingle with art and live music. It’s a whimsical world, wholly created by Nic, with four separate seating areas including the popular outdoor garden which offers river views (and a bowl of water for your dog). “What brings people here to Jarra Infusion is knowing that someone genuinely cares about what you’re

... we attract a certain sub-culture which is carefree and really enjoys the energy of this space

TIME TO CHILL Opposite and this page, Jarra Infusion in Pinjarra has a gorgeous shaded garden next to the river. Top right, take your pick from Pinjarra Bakery’s award winning bakes.

choosing to order and about serving you. I’m lucky we attract a certain sub-culture which is carefree and really enjoys the energy of this space,” says Nic. On weekends, Jarra Infusion is full of live music and a crowd who are thoroughly enjoying the Aussie concept of BYO (Bring Your Own alcohol) onto the premises in the sunshine by the river. Nic’s food is locally sourced and made on the premises, with a menu carefully curated to satisfy the wide range of her clientele: choose from a beef chili con carne to a gluten free cauliflower pizza. Kids are welcome and well catered for with firm favourites like air-fried chips dusted in (vegan) chicken salt. Pinjarra Bakery, another highly distinctive local eatery, is owned by a family who have been rolling out award-winning goodness for more than 20 years. The large trophy cabinet which takes pride of place in the Pinjarra store is a V I S I T O R G U I D E | 17 |

Blue Wren Café

testament to their bakers’ perfectionism. It’s chock-full of state and national awards, including Australia’s best ‘creative footy pie’, a sensational seafood pie, and officially the Best Meat Pie in Australia 2019. It’s worth signing up to Pinjarra Bakery’s loyalty card (just so you can get your fifth coffee free) and, as one Facebook fan put it succinctly, ‘Your jam donuts and coffee – there is no greater love!’ Many people think great coffee and consistency are the hallmarks of a good café experience, and DOME Pinjarra delivers both from its convenient main street location. The attractive heritage-style brick building has ample seating both inside and out, and the well curated menu is delivered with style and certainty by Evan and his highly able crew. Highlights include sweet potato wedges, freshly made smoothies and the best and yummiest Florentines in the Murray region. Fancy tucking into a Hog, or a Ghostrider pizza? Whether you ride a motorbike, aspire to a Longriders’ coat or you just loved the ‘80s movie, you’re going to be satisfied at Dwellingup’s newest eatery, Longriders Woodfired Pizza & Café. | 18 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

Owner John de Marni hails from Canada and owns up to having ‘a few Harleys’. “I’d ride my hog in Canada in a Longrider coat, but I love WA because you have 12 months of summer,” he says. He and his wife Sally have created a welcoming and eclectic restaurant which serves up delicious, freshly made wood-fired pizzas (try the Longrider Deluxe), yummy pasta dishes and burgers such as Pulled Pork Rider. It’s licensed too, and nursing a cocktail called the Classic Canuck in front of the roaring fireplace was no particular hardship. John’s included a children’s menu – the Little Rider Burger, and for Cool Hand Lukes, the pool table here gets a workout, and there’s off street parking for your steel steed too. Perched on the corner of Dwellingup’s

main street, the Blue Wren Café is an icon of the town and a very popular eatery. Online reviews are unanimous, celebrating its service, food and value for money. Café owner, Ros Munroe, is passionate about delivering what guests have come to expect, and serves up her extensive menu with a side of humour. Venture out into the lovely gardens and you’ll encounter the Teapot tree, as well as a few other quirky talking points. Don’t miss the sausage rolls and homemade pies - and the coffee machine gets a regular workout all day for baristamade lattes and espressos. There are classic favourites, kids meals, add-ons and popular sides. Breakfast is a very busy time here, and The Blue Wren’s breaky menu runs till 11am daily.




here’s an amazing smell wafting out of the kitchen at Vergone’s Fruit Stall, and it’s finding a target on my taste buds. I’m seated in their new café with owner Jaime Cocivera (nee Vergone), so I ask her what it is. She grins widely and answers: ‘It’s our carrot and walnut cake – it’s become the best-selling item at our café; we’re now selling the cakes whole and taking orders.’ Even just a small sample does indeed prove it’s a slice of heaven. The Vergone farm, just outside Dwellingup, is well known to locals, many of whom are regular buyers of the super-fresh produce Jaime and her family have been marketing out of their farm shed. “We always have our own farm produce, but other local growers supply us as well now. My dad, Lou Vergone, still helps to grow much of the fruit and vegetables we harvest, and is also my mentor in teaching me about orcharding,” explains Jaime. As well as fresh produce, the Vergones sell their own home-made Italian passata and a mouth-watering range of preserves and jams. “The fig jam and tomato relish are the

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popular lines and the demand for our passata is off the charts – we just made double last year’s output and it barely lasted a week.” The motto of the Vergone story then, is to check in regularly and see what’s on offer. And here’s a tip – during the raspberry and boysenberry season coming up about November, you can pick your own berries. Several hundred metres along the road into Dwellingup is the turn off to | 20 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

Caraholly Orchard. Caraholly is a great story of doing one amazing thing really, really well. Open one Sunday per month and every Sunday during the school holidays, the family-run farm, which has been owned by the Birmingham family since 1912, welcomes the public from 9am until 2pm. Hayley and Aaron Birmingham and their team have transformed their lovely property into a must-visit destination which draws a crowd who come for seasonal produce, coffee and tea, food

trucks, live music and more - all in the beautiful orchard setting which needs no other window dressing than the seasons of the Murray Shire. Caraholly is wearing its late autumn best when I visit and the ripe, pink persimmons adorn their grey, bare branches like a flock of galahs. Hayley explains that during the cooler winter months the team simply moves the entire show inside the farm’s cavernous packing shed and the fun continues. And Caraholly is all about having a good time. “We encourage people to enjoy farm life - laughter and fresh air are free,” Hayley says. “Bring your own picnic set up, or use our seating and market umbrellas. Go for a tractor ride around the farm with your family – you’re never

too old to go and hand feed the cows, who are always happy to see you.” Caraholly cows are partial to an apple or two, apparently. And with seasonal pick-your-own apples from $1/kg, you’d pluck your own Grannies I reckon. Personally, I’m coming back to pick in pluot season. That’s a plum and apricot cross variety, and harvesting happens around Easter time. With a twinkle in her eye, Hayley tells me about a recent VIP visitor. “FastEd from Better Homes & Gardens came and cooked in my kitchen,” she says. Indeed he did, whipping up Grandma’s country apple cake with honeycomb cream. “He made it from our apples and our honey,” Hayley says. On the other side of town, beautiful FRUITFUL PICKINGS Bring the family to Caraholly Orchard and show them where fresh fruit comes from. Check their Facebook page for forth coming eventsBelow, try before you buy at Wine Tree Cidery.

Dwellingup apples also take centre stage at Wine Tree Cidery. On the day I visited, owners Tracey and Ken Oliver were busy turning 450 kilogram tubs of gleaming applies into cider. Tracey explained this crush will be next year’s beverage. “It takes 12 months to make a batch of Wine Tree cider. This year we are using predominately Granny Smith apples because they are so fantastic right now. We crush about nine tubs a day and the whole process takes about six weeks. Last year we crushed 22-tonnes of apple, which is quite a lot for a business the size of ours.” The apple cider fermentation process occurs as yeast converts the apple sugars into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. First, yeast converts the sugar to alcohol and then lactic acid bacteria convert the natural malic acid into carbon dioxide. As well as sweet, medium or dry sparkling apple ciders, Tracey and Ian make port and small batch wines from locally-grown fruits such as quince

and raspberry. Another excellent option served up by Wine Tree are their unique, bubbly spritzers. Sold only on tap on the premises, the boysenberry, plum, raspberry or nectarine flavours are all equally popular. Wine Tree is a great spot to gather some friends; as well as a cosy indoor venue with a welcoming fire, there’s a spacious veranda overlooking the orchards and a grassed area for the children to let off energy. The yummy tasting plate is more than enough for lunch, and there’s also a delicious non-alcoholic ginger beer for the designated driver to enjoy. TIP For something different, ask for a local favourite – the “Fluffy Ginger” – a mix of ginger beer and apple cider. The Oliver’s lovely Holyoake Valley property also features Redgum Retreat, a peaceful haven perfect for craft workshops, corporate training events, or just a group of friends seeking a rural retreat.

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Maitland lives in Dwellingup, which he tells me is on a Songline (ancient Dreaming trail) in the tribal region called Wilman. He wears a sheoak nut as part of his boodja (country) around his neck, a soft kangaroo skin caresses his shoulder and his spear is dressed with emu feathers. “The yongka (kangaroo) and the waitj (emu) are our two Australian icons – they are on the crest of our country – and they are two of the main sources of food we survived on,” he says.


ost Western Australians know the call of a red-tailed black cockatoo. Sometimes it sounds like a branch breaking in the forest. “Kaaaarraak . . . Karrrrrrrrakkkkk!” The familiar shape and flight motion of these magnificent birds endear them to all, and the red-tailed black is easily recognised by its sunset, orange-to-red plumage. The iconic cockatoo resides in the eucalypt forests of our south west and is known to the Noongar people as Kaarak. The birds can live up to 50 years, enjoying a varied diet of seeding marri, jarrah, blackbutt, karri, sheoak and snottygobble. Cultural custodian Maitland Hill has the utmost respect for these forest comedians – Kaarak is both his totem and the name of his Dwellingup business where he shares cultural katadjin (knowledge) with locals and visitors. “As men and women of this era, we really have to step up to keep our culture alive,” says Maitland. “Noongar culture is the oldest in the world today, and it’s our generation’s responsibility to take on the role of sharing cultural knowledge from our elders and their elders before them.” V I S I T O R G U I D E | 23 |

FUN FOR ALL (Left) Jarrahfall has welcomed over 40,000 children over the years and is an excellent place for them to rediscover a connection to nature. Above, Dare Adventures gives young and old the chance to challenge themselves. Far right, good times at the historic Dwellingup Pub.

Maitland explains how storytelling, dance and the unique percussion instruments of the Noongar keep the culture alive, as well as connecting his community to each other and to their tribal country. “We rely on our ceremonial spears, tapsticks and other instruments to create our ceremonial dances and celebrate our traditions. We listen to our country – to its animals. Even its quietness speaks to us.” We are standing in a small clearing on the Bibbulmun Track surrounded by tall marri trees which is one of the key locations Maitland uses for his indigenous tour business, Karaak Dreaming. “I use this place to share my cultural knowledge because of its energy and its | 24 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

special location in our Songline. You could say it chose me,” he smiles. The Bibbulmun Track is one of the world’s great long distance walking trails, stretching nearly 1000km from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills to Albany on the south west coast. Dwellingup is a

significant connector on the trail, and a location which anchors people of many different cultures to the magnificent country that surrounds it. The towns’ annual Nanga Music Festival is a rustic event where music meets nature, embracing a connection

with the beautiful natural setting while musicians perform acoustic music on a single central stage set amid the forest. Nanga Bush Camp, the site of the festival, has a natural backdrop of towering forest, a swimming hole and many bush trails to see the delightful, and often shy, wildlife. It’s the type of experience which initiates a special connection to country for many, and ensures town and country folk mix easily. The festival also boosts patronage at the local’s favourite destination, The Dwellingup Hotel. This community owned building was one of the very few town assets to survive the 1961 Dwellingup fire, and it’s a rare day you don’t see the shine of chrome from a long line of motorbikes reflected in its windows. The Dwellingup Community Association which owns the hotel is a notfor-profit entity comprised of residents living within 15kms of the township. Funds generated by leasing the pub flow back into the community, renovating the kitchen of the Country Women’s Association, paying for jumpers for the local women’s footy team, and buying airfares for the community’s sports stars to attend and

compete at interstate meets. The Dwellingup Hotel is a cultural icon in the town, and rightly so. Wander through its beautifully restored rooms and you sense the past. Order a pint, and you’re plunged straight into the present with discussion about the immediate future swirling around you like cockatoos on a flowering marri. For many, the pub is the centre of Dwellingup’s culture, and indeed a connection to their piece of this country through the ebb and flow of life in a small town which passes through its one and only hotel. I’ve come almost full circle to where I started and am back on the fringes of the forest again at Jarrahfall with owner Clayton Fredericks. We are standing on the top floor verandah of a timber chalet, looking out across the impressive facilities which make up this 35-acre bush camp. It’s back to nature, certainly, but there’s also much, much more going on here,” says Clayton, listing the options and has major plans to expand Jarrahfall. “Part of my ‘Why’ is helping people, and I particularly enjoy mentoring the youth who pass through our courses,” he says. “We do all kinds of events from bush

weddings to milestone birthdays, corporate challenge courses and school camps. Over 42,000 children have made memories of the great outdoors at Jarrahfall, and this place gives them a chance to truly connect with this amazing countryside through what I call ‘challenge by choice’ activities such as abseiling, flying foxes and other courses designed to build confidence.” Ring of Fire is Jarrahfall’s annual Easter campout, and it’s kind of a city-comes-to-country event with many, many families and extended groups camping out and enjoying a long weekend full of music, workshops and adventure designed to connect people to the outdoors – and to each other. As well as providing an opportunity to connect and escape (mountain bike trails and walking trails surround Jarrahfall), Ring of Fire ties in beautifully with the Dwellingup Pumpkin Festival which is held on Easter Saturday. I bid Clayton farewell, with images of firepits and strumming guitars juxtaposed with an Easter egg hunt filling my head. It all works, naturally. V I S I T O R G U I D E | 25 |


To Dwellingup r




ive ay R


Lane Poole Reserve Entry Station R IV ER RD


Baden Powell


Nanga Bush Camp

Dwaarlindjirraap Bobs Crossing

Murray Valley MTB Trailhead


Charlies Flat The Roost RI


Lane Poole Reserve





Chuditch Campground

Chuditch Picnic Area



Island Pool Nanga Mill Tonys Bend

Nanga Entry Station

Yarragil Stringers

Nanga Townsite


To Waroona and Captain Fawcett Track (4WD)


Trees Adventure


Nanga Brook iver

Murray R

Camping Fees Apply

Gate - No Access

Proposed Reserve

Camping (Booking Required)

Walk Trail

Unsealed Rd (2WD) Vehicle Track (AWD or 4WD)

State Forest

Camping (No Booking)

Interpretive Walk Trail

Bibbulmun Track


No Camping

Canoe Launch Area

Entry Fee

Picnic Table

Automated External Defibrillator


Sheltered Picnic Table

Dogs on leash at all times

No Motorbikes



Sheltered BBQ

Easy MTB Trail (Green)

Universal Access

Fire ring

Moderate MTB Trail (Blue)

RV Dump Point

No Campfires

Difficult MTB Trail (Black)

Sealed Rd (2WD)

Munda Biddi Cycle Trail Chuditch Walk Trail King Jarrah Walk Trail Nanga Brook Walk Trail

Island Pool Walk Trail River and creekline

MTB Trail Access


To North Dandalup DE


To Alcoa Rd








South Dandalup Dam

Turner Hill MTB Trail Network



Oakley Dam
















Marrinup State Forest Marrinup POW Camp

Marrinup Falls GR



To Pinjarra



Marrinup Camping Area and MTB Trail G








Visitor Centre Information





Walk Trail

Sealed Rd (2WD)


Universal Access

Interpretive Walk Trail

Unsealed Rd (2WD) Vehicle Track (AWD or 4WD)

Food / Drink

Picnic Table



Gas Barbecue Camping

MTB Trail Access

Historic Site Camping Fees Apply

Fire ring

Bibbulmun Track Munda Biddi Cycle Trail Marrinup POW Walk Trail Marrinup Falls Walk Trail

Dogs on leash at all times

No Camping

Oakley Dam Walk Trail

No Motorbikes

No Campfires

Easy MTB Trail (Green)

Moderate MTB Trail (Blue) Difficult MTB Trail (Black) Creekline

V I S I T O R G U I D E | 27 |

Hero Dirt &Heroes Dirt | 28 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y



hat holy grail of the perfect consistency of soil moisture, soil makeup and perfect traction – that’s hero dirt. While Western Australian mountain bike trails are better known for the ball bearing gravel common to the jarrah forest, the trails in the Murray Valley near Dwellingup have a distinctive orange soil that provides the perfect conditions for hero dirt. Three trail building companies have been busy crafting something special for riders of all abilities, trails with flow, enough challenge to keep the best riders focussed and everyone with a beaming smile on their faces when they finish a ride. John Dingey (JD) from trail building company Magic Dirt says spending time in the valley shaping the new trails has been something special. “In the early mornings the fog hangs in the valley and from the ridge lines you can look down onto the river and watch the blanket of swirling mist. That backdrop, the slope, landscape and soil here allow us to make something that everyone will love,” said JD. Common Ground Trails have also been busy in Murray Valley and lead builder Jordon Virgl, says it’s been a great project to be involved with. “The dirt, the landscape and setting here make it one of the best places to

build trails in WA. Working with the natural forms to make the trails ride really well and feel like they were born there is how Common Ground approach trail building. I hope that everyone will love these trails – I can’t stop coming back myself,” said Jordan. Paul Neve from Three Chillies Design says he has been building trails as long as he can remember. “I love it, working with the land,

revealing its special qualities, giving riders the opportunity to access the best views, the environment and get the best trail experience is what we aim for,” he said. “We have also been lucky on this build to have the experience and expertise of multiple world champion mountain biker Sam Hill on our build team. I think riders are going to love what Sam has bought to the trail design,” Paul said. Hero dirt here we come.

did you know? Mountain bike trail design and building is a specialised skill, with many steps before the building starts. Check out the WA Mountain Bike Management Guidelines for more information 193-trails To stay up to date with the latest project updates for Dwellingup Adventure trails go to

V I S I T O R G U I D E | 29 |

ARTISTIC HUB Lost Eden Creative Gallery is an important artistic collective, created by leading local artist, Monique Tippett (pictured below).



| 30 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y


he inspiration artists derive from their environment is crystal clear in the work of Dwellingup artist Monique Tippett. Her abstract works on wood are a direct response to the natural environment of her property - 20 acres of farmland in the centre of a vast jarrah forest. Monique’s two dimensional artworks inhabit numerous public, corporate and private collections in Australia and overseas. Her pieces span the gap between painting and sculpture and each has a common hero: the wood of Australia’s south west. “After living in the heart of the forest for 18 years, its soul has infiltrated mine,” says Monique. “I feel a strong connection, and I can only wonder at the depth of connection to country a whole people

achieved over 60,000 years.” Most creatives would dream of such a studio workshop; however Monique and her husband Peter went further, realising a lifelong ambition in their Lost Eden Creative Gallery project. It incorporates an art gallery, creative project space, artist residency and Gallery House, a three-bedroom residence for visiting artists in the heart of Dwellingup. “Our vision is to provide creative souls a place in which to work, research and replenish in an environment removed from their everyday life. We’ve made it perfect for artists (visual, performance and environmental), photographers, craft practitioners, designers, writers, musicians and curators,” Monique says. The Lost Eden art gallery has seen many reincarnations as local creatives

The Centre functions as a hub for artists

ANIMAL MAGIC Artist Wendy Binks (above), has populated a trail with her signature characters, including Stripey the Emu (left).

weave a path through it, sustaining exhibitions, bringing on new artists and collaborating through a network of Western Australian arts and crafts people. Built in the 1940s as a general haberdashery emporium, it survived the Dwellingup fire of 1961. Monique and Peter settled in the Murray

region 20 years ago, drawn by the School of Fine Wood at the Forest Discovery Centre where Monique undertook a diploma in fine furniture design. The Centre functions as a hub for artists and offers an excellent range workshops for adults and children ranging from soap making to wood turning. It’s

located an easy 1.2km walk from the centre of Dwellingup town and the trail is marked by colourful artworks by Western Australian artist Wendy Binks. The nine large aluminium signs feature Wendy’s signature creation, Stripey the Emu, and a cast of other charming characters. Wendy says she spends a lot of time on her bush block in Dwellingup. “I derive energy and calm from our natural landscapes. Being among trees is important to me,” says Wendy. A keen conservationist, Wendy’s love and curiosity of birds and animals was inspired by her upbringing on a Western Australian dairy farm. “I believe that as a children’s book creator, I have a unique opportunity (and responsibility) to engage children and adults in ways they may not otherwise. If I can help instil an interest in the natural world and its value, in any way, then that’s incredible.” To help teachers, Wendy adds information about all the animals which feature in her books at the back of each title. V I S I T O R G U I D E | 31 |

Nic’s Jarra Infusion Café also supports local Murray region artists by stocking and selling work such as that produced by artist and ceramic sculptress Susan Savage and Dimensions of Art, a resin, glass fusing, mosaicking and lead lighting collective. “Art is creativity – it’s a mind set – it can be expressed through food, horticulture, and traditional art forms. Art problem solves, it creates better adventures,” she says. Another strong community collective centred in town is the Pinjarra Art Hub at Edenvale (formerly known as the Murray Districts Arts & Crafts Society). The organisation runs art classes and workshops, with its members selling their creations at both the Craft Gallery and

MAKING CONNECTIONS Above, Nic Willis, local art lover and community connector, creates opportunities for locals to develop their artistic skills via Pinjarra Connect.

“I included Toot, the criticallyendangered Western Ground Parrot (I have been a volunteer with Parks and Wildlife surveying for these beautiful birds) in my book ‘Invisible Me’. Also in ‘Scrambled Egg’, there is Snap, the endangered Western Swamp turtle, and the book I am working on now is about a Boobook owl. Most people would be horrified to know that many of the common rodenticides also kill owls, which are declining in numbers. If I could simply educate people about which poisons not to use, then how many owls could be saved?” At Pinjarra, the transformed Court House plays host to a rotating space of | 32 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

makers who create and display items for sale. Nic Willis, art lover and community connector, was involved in setting up the Court House’s local place-making group. “A critical ingredient to creating Pinjarra Connect was unlocking the creative skills, talents and interests within our community,” says Nic. “I knew a few artists and we got more together and it manifested from there. Its purpose is to create engagement and a sense of community in the main street in Pinjarra to drive activation and vibrancy.” Community is clearly a passion which runs very deep with Nic. “Community is our core foundation. To focus on community is the best way to keep people strong. We are very fortunate here in Pinjarra to have a very strong and creative community.”

Liveringa Art Gallery within the homestead. The diversity of art and crafts represented here is quite astounding, and reflects the heritage and origins of the creators. MDACS artists enjoy creating anything from leatherwork and leadlighting to jewellery and porcelain painting. And if you’ve ever wanted to learn to patchwork or scrapbook – or even smash mosaic tiles and re-craft them- you’ll find a group to suit or a workshop to join via their Facebook page.

FACT BOX: VISIT @pinjarraArtHub;; wendybinks.; pinjarraconnect/



oger May is an iconic character in Pinjarra whose passion for vintage machinery, old tractors and carts is legendary in the region. His dedication for over half a century to restoring historic machinery that was fundamental to establishing early agricultural activity in the region, was the foundation to establishing the Roger May Machinery Museum in 2001. Among a range of classic machinery on site, the Museum is also home to a fully-restored 1938 Ruston 5VQB Stationary Diesel Engine which is believed to be the only known remaining operating example, along with a classic 1946 Fergie tractor. Although no longer involved in the day to day management, Roger’s passion and commitment is shared by

a team of highly dedicated and skilled volunteers who ensure the ongoing operations of the museum continue. The friendly Roger May team are a great resource and are always willing to share information and stories about the diverse range of machinery, carts and vehicles on site. The Museum is located within the picturesque grounds of the Edenvale Homestead in Pinjarra and opened seven days a week, from 9 am to 3 pm. A gold coin donation is all that’s needed for those keen to view the incredible range of pieces on display and chat to the dedicated volunteers on site, all of whom are heritage machinery enthusiasts, with a wealth of local knowledge and happy to share their passion for restoration of fantastic old machinery. V I S I T O R G U I D E | 33 |


Past, present & future S

omeone wiser once said ‘the past is your lesson, the present is your gift, the future is your motivation’. If wisdom is insight, then the past of the Murray region provides a rich path into the future. Penny Hoffman, a very active octogenarian known to many shire residents, is a source of endless wisdom about local history and heritage for this article. Penny makes you think about things differently. In 2010, she was awarded Citizen of the Year for establishing the Murray Districts Historical Society and a decade later she was back on the dais receiving the Senior Citizen of the Year award. As a young history teacher, Penny had a passion for the past and says she always tried to bring the subject alive. “It wasn’t easy – there was no internet and heritage didn’t have the same perceived value it does today.” When a small group, including Penny, established the Murray Districts Historical Society she noticed a distinct change. “The change occurred in the community, supported by a change in attitude at the local government level,” notes Penny. “In the wider community, social media has generated an enormous interest in the past through various sites – Lost Perth, Museum of Perth, Western Australian Pioneers, to name a few.”

| 34 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

EARLY SETTLERS Below, the McLarty family lived at Edenvale in the 1800s. Right, the recently restored St John’s Church.

Penny believes heritage plays a role in creating a sense of place for a community. “Within our Shire, there have been examples of the need to preserve the historic and cultural value of buildings and precincts to save them for future generations. A great one is the community support, in partnership with the Shire of Murray, to save and restore St John’s Church.” Penny believes Pinjarra is very fortunate to have many descendants of pioneer families living in the Murray region. “And there are many newer residents– and even others who live outside the area but have a connection with the Murray – who are recognising its historic value.” Pinjarra was established in 1834 and is one of Western Australia’s most historic towns. It is the central hub of the Murray region and boasts many significant heritage sites such as Edenvale, which was the grand home of former WA Premier Sir Ross McLarty. The McLarty family were prominent in Western Australian politics for nearly 70 years. Edward McLarty and his family arrived at Edenvale, c1900. John and Mary McLarty arrived in WA in 1839 from Scotland and settled into life as successful farmers. They had 11 children, including Edward who built the historic Edenvale.

By 1888, Edward McLarty had six children of his own; William Ernest, Amy, Edward Aubrey, Donald, Neil and Douglas, and the pressure of a big family required the building of a larger house than their residence Liveringa. The new house was called Edenvale, and incorporated one of Liveringa’s sheds into its west wing. Edward McLarty held a seat in the Legislative Council for 22 years and his seventh son, Sir Ross McLarty, held a seat in the Legislative Assembly and became Premier of the State of WA. Another founding settler family were the Beachams. William Beacham was born about 1794 in Sussex, England, and arrived in WA aboard the ship Lotus on the 6th October 1829 with his wife Mary and their five children. They lived in Perth and Guildford for a time before settling on the Murray River at Pinjarra on the Jim Jam property on about 1836. One of the highlights of Pinjarra is the parklands and wetlands adjoining the Murray River in the town centre. Today, the Murray River Square and foreshore are being revitalised in a major project which will see improved water access via a new jetty, an amphitheatre and stage, and the installation of specially chosen public artworks. The revamp will integrate the heritage Exchange Hotel site with the foreshore design, with provisions for

extended alfresco areas and more. Installations to house Noongar interpretations of the significant riverside area are also being designed. Penny Hoffman says the Murray Districts Historical Society’s future plans are in full swing, despite the recent covid-19 set-backs. “As a not-for-profit organisation, we are dependent on grant funding, donations, membership fees and the generosity of our sponsors which include the Shire of Murray, Alcoa, Pinjarra Community Shopping Centre, (MZI) Doral and Bendigo Bank. We are homed in the Old Schoolmaster’s House at the Edenvale Heritage Precinct, and our wonderful volunteer members are looking at the Society’s collections and creating a names register to assist information searches across all collections and are sorting photographic display material. In the coming months, we are seeking funding including the second stage of historical displays at the Edenvale Homestead and myriad of projects centred on St John’s Church which was deconsecrated in 2018, restored and reopened for community use in 2019.” The 1861 heritage building is highly valued for its association with the district’s early settler families and beloved rectors, many of whom are buried in its churchyard. V I S I T O R G U I D E | 35 |



In 1974, a small group of enthusiasts met with one simple aim: to preserve steam locomotives and the railway line from Pinjarra to Dwellingup. After the devastating fire of 1961, the thriving timber industry was brought to a halt. The original station building at Dwellingup, along with most of the town, | 36 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

was destroyed, and the mill towns of Holyoak and Nanga Brook were similarly devastated. The mills fell silent for the first time and Dwellingup’s future was in question. Without timber at its heart, what would become of the locomotives which transported the timber out to the rest of the state? It was feared the railway would fall into disrepair, bu those train-loving locals who had lived with the familiar sound of locomotives coming and going had other ideas. They recognised that the railway line had potential – this time to attract visitors to the region – and the Pinjarra Steam and Hills Preservation Society was born. Thanks to the countless hours spent restoring and maintaining the Mountain type ‘W’ class of locomotives, the railway came to life again on September 12, 1976. The line was finally handed over to the society in 1985 and since then, the crew of volunteer engineers has maintained the line to a high standard. As a remnant of the early pioneering

IMAGES James Merrin

All aboard

days, the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway as it is now known, gives visitors access to some of the state’s most picturesque views from their carriage windows, and is a reminder of the region’s living history. Ian Willis, a long-time train enthusiast, is the general manager of Hotham Valley Tourist Railway and believes the trains mean, offer and provide different things to different people. “For some it’s the experience of enjoying heritage equipment still in operation,” he says. “For others it’s an opportunity to bring their children on an experience they were taken on by their parents when they were children, while others come for the relaxing ride through countryside, forest and general scenery.” For children, the thrill of seeing Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends – for real – is an unmissable treat, something they’ll never forget. There’s also the unique opportunity for a very special Saturday night supper – a five course meal aboard the 1919 Vintage


Celebrating 45 years of steam operations in Dwellingup, this family-friendly festival includes steam machinery, classic and vintage cars, sausage sizzle as well as the chance to ride aboard the Hotham Valley Tourism Railway trains. Visit for more details from Dwellingup to Isandra Siding, and back again to Dwellingup. It’s fallen silent in recent months due to the Covid-19 situation, but hopes are high it will run again soon. “It’s good to be part of an organisation that’s preserving and using industrial and social heritage equipment,” says Ian. “Seeing the smiles on faces, and the clear enjoyment of the really young and the really old is priceless.” For full details and train departure times, visit THE AGE OF STEAM The Hotham Valley Tourist Railway is a popular drawcard for visitors keen to experience the thrill of a ride aboard a steam train. Below, dine aboard a 19th century carriage.

IMAGE Brett Mohen

Dining Car and 1884 Club Car. “Guests can enjoy an all-Australian five-course roast dinner, served from the onboard wood stove as the train meanders through the night forest, softly floodlit from the train,” says Ian. The volunteers’ work on the existing stock is a continual process, with the restoration and use of a genuine Western Australian heritage passenger carriage planned throughout the year. Where else is it possible to travel back in time aboard a forest train, enjoying the views from Dwellingup to Etmilyn along the state’s last surviving lightly built developmental railway? Hauled by historic diesel locos, at the end of the trip, guests take a 25-minute walk along a trail in the heart of a rare jarrah forest. From May to October, the Steam Ranger train offers a spectacular opportunity to climb aboard for the steepest and most spectacular section of railway, through the Darling Range Escarpment as the locomotive travels

V I S I T O R G U I D E | 37 |

Fire no match for local spirit OVER JUST FIVE SHORT DAYS IN 1961 DWELLINGUP’S



n Thursday 19 January 1961, cyclonic winds off the north west coast produced a chain of storms that swept from Mundaring to Mandjiup. The resulting lightning strikes ignited 10 fires around Dwellingup, setting the stage for a disaster which would change the district forever. It soon became apparent these fires were anything but normal. Usually, firefighters have a chance at night when the wind and the heat drop to launch an offensive on the flanks of the fires. However with the wind rising and the high temperatures showing no sign of easing, the firefighters had no chance of containing the multiple blazes. Just 24 hours later, under similar conditions, lightning strikes created nine more fires just a short distance from Dwellingup. The fire crews fought hard to contain the now 19 fires, all fanned by high winds and scorching temperatures. Then the unthinkable happened: a major fire broke free and blazed quickly in the direction of Dwellingup town – and the temperatures were heading towards 40 degrees. During the weekend, a fierce north | 38 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

west wind pushed the flames further south as the firefighters fought back where they could. The fires were now six kilometres from Dwellingup. But fires had broken out across the entire south west and, with the region’s fire crews battling their own blazes, the calls for back-up went unanswered. During Saturday night, the exhausted local firemen fought a break-out fire looming just four kilometres from the town fanned by a late wind change. Sunday brought welcome reinforcements

from other fire stations, and that night, the combined crews somehow managed to hold the fire away from Dwellingup. However, by now over 50,000 hectares of forest had now been burnt. Monday brought a glimmer of hope that the crews had the fire under control, but this was a false dawn. On Tuesday 24 January 1961, with over 80,000 hectares already destroyed, the temperature climbed to 41 degrees and the winds rose alarmingly. It was the worst possible scenario. Fires burning north of Dwellingup


It was the worst possible scenario

combined together and bore down on the town, a fall of terrifying heat and flames. With roads cut by fire and communications impacted, the fire crews attempted to regroup amid the gusting winds. Late in the afternoon, an evacuation order was issued to the districts surrounding Dwellingup. But by dinnertime that evening, the fires hit the township with the ferocity of ‘a thousand trains’. As ember storms bore down on the town and in the confusion and hot, windy darkness, the firemen fought the flames, while trying to manage their fears for their own loved ones, so close and threatened. Nearly every building in the town was engulfed, and families sought to escape in hastily packed vehicles, wrapping children in water-soaked blankets. Homes and businesses were transformed into fireballs which exploded like mocking fireworks in the ember-filled skies. Two local residents were interviewed in 1982, sharing their memories of the devastating few nights which claimed their town. Doreen Smith has vivid memories of fleeing with her three children. “The road to Pinjarra was a nightmare but we couldn’t turn back; we had to

THE WORST OF DAYS A chain of storms set of 10 fires around Dwellingup in 1961 changing the region forever. This page, photos from the time capture the pain of losing everything to the fire.

push through the tunnel of fire. Even the road was alight with burning trees and the smoke was so dense we could hardly breathe. As we came to the last tree across the road it was so big and burning from one end to the other I doubted I could drive over it, but somehow we did. I had to get the children through.” Resident Meg Pollard’s family lost everything except their geese and the toilet. “All we left with was the pram and our car. I put out a spark which landed near the petrol tank of the car while we were getting the children into it. The sky looked like a bonfire night. We headed towards Waroona and stopped to get a drink at a stream but were unable to as it was so very hard to breathe.” Almost 140,000 hectares burnt. The night of terror gave away to a morning

of discovery as the Army arrived and exhausted and injured firefighters were reunited with their loved ones. Dwellingup lost 116 homes, shops and service station, the mill, hospital and the church, post office, town hall and forestry headquarters. Miraculously, there was no loss of life. A resulting Royal Commission into the situation praised the actions of those in charge in effecting and managing residents’ evacuations. The resounding message, then as now, was the importance of having a fire plan, and in making the decision to stay and defend or to evacuate well before the time comes to act. Read all about this momentous few days at the new Dwellingup Trails and Visitor Centre. V I S I T O R G U I D E | 39 |



t’s so great when you get to experience a dream come true. Ranger Red has wanted to have his own zoo since he was a kid. And, in one of life’s twists that turned out just like a movie screenplay, he now does. Red – AKA Bradley Holland – is an actor, chef, author, publisher and, since September 2019, a highly dedicated zoo owner. Ranger Red’s Zoo (until recently known as Peel Zoo) is now home to Red’s own extensive bird collection, which

brings the feathered population at the attraction to over 400. He has also added venomous reptiles such as dugites and tiger snakes to the zoo’s inventory, explaining to me how visitors can now see these elapids up close and personal as he carefully takes Olivia the olive python out of her enclosure for some exercise – around his neck. Originally from Perth, Red started out working in the entertainment industry but says animals – particularly reptiles – have

CUTE AND CUDDLY Ranger Red’s Zoo is the perfect place to bring your animal-loving little ones, where they can get up close and personal with native fauna.

IMAGE Russell Ord Photography

always featured heavily in his life. “It wasn’t legal to keep reptiles when I was a kid, so I kept birds,” he tells me. “I kept adding to my collection and when I brought Peel Zoo I think I added about 300 birds to it.” Educating children with handson wildlife experiences is his passion and Ranger Red was one of Western Australia’s early pioneers, operating Red’s Roving Australian Wildlife Displays which featured reptiles, birds and marsupials.

IMAGE Russell Ord Photography

However, his major ambition has always been to have his own zoo. The species list here is awesome. You’ll meet a wombat named Matilda who lives in the neighbourhood of Aria and Tank – two Tasmanian Devils. The zoo has long had a Devil breeding program, and Red plans to expand the zoo’s inhabitants to sugar gliders and … crocodiles. “Crocodiles are my favourite animal,” says Red. “They are very misunderstood and persecuted – but they’re just these amazing,

prehistoric survivors. We are working towards having a crocodile display here and offering visitors croc photos as well.” Red explains his theory of why zoos are still a hit in the digital age. “People are always looking to connect, whether with each other or with nature and wildlife. The more they see a zoo embracing educational and conservation projects - like our successful Devil’s Breeding program - the more they want to join in and contribute. Whether that is V I S I T O R G U I D E | 41 |

The farm-themed playground is a fantastic hangout for children of all ages . . .

by helping educate their children here or by paying our entry fee which supports the feeding and housing of Australia’s unique wildlife, people are invariably drawn to zoos.” Ranger Red’s Zoo also runs special camps for schools, has a Zookeeper for a Day program and offers the option of an overnight backpacker’s package where guests can undertake a night walk to experience the zoo’s nocturnal inhabitants. Venture out and about with the children to other Murray region family attractions and chances are you’re going to encounter wildlife in its natural setting. At Cantwell Park in Pinjarra’s main street, the birdlife is fantastic and the children will love to stretch their legs out traversing the suspension bridge across the Murray River. Large, mature trees here give loads of cover from the sun’s rays and the main playground is well shaded. Popular | 42 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

features include a big Spiderman climbing frame and Big Bird’s nest swing. We spent a morning at South Yunderup’s giant adventure playground Adventurescape, and who should be checking us out but two very inquisitive red-tailed black cockatoos. A part of Austin Lakes Estate, this farm-themed playground is a fantastic hangout for children of all ages who can spin off energy climbing a nine metre windmill tower and zipping across space on a flying fox. There’s a bright red tractor half buried in the sand, a giant pig slide and you can bring canoes and kayaks to use in the lake before finishing up with a family barbeque. With plenty to do here that would fill up more than a day and a family resort close by, many have chosen to make an entire weekend of this extensive park playground. South Yunderup is also a popular

hangout for houseboats, and you can hire your own floating resort from Ravenswood on the Murray River just a few kilometres from Adventurescape. Discovering the waterways of the Murray region by houseboat is both easy and idyllic – no Skippers License is required and after an hour’s briefing and a quick test run you can go your own way. The houseboats have many sleeping configurations and bathrooms with hot showers, modern kitchens and tvs, shady decks, tracking systems and crab nets for capturing the tasty wildlife known as blue manna crabs. If it’s not your lucky day, then pull into one of the many riverfront eateries like Sandy Cove Tavern, Jetty’s Bar & Grill, Pelicans Café or the iconic Ravenswood Hotel where you can have a snack or go the whole hog and order a feast.

IMAGE Josh Cowling Photography

MEET RANGER RED The newly renamed Ranger Red’s Zoo is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with the whole family. Left, the Austin Lakes playground Adventurescape - is lots of fun. Above, grab a bite to eat right on the water.

V I S I T O R G U I D E | 43 |


Did you know . . . All pubs in South Yunderup and Ravenswood are all accessible by boat?

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n a clear day, you can be at the mouth of the Murray River and see east across the Swan Coastal Plain up to the distant Darling Scarp. The peak of Mt Keats, the headwaters of the river the Murray region draws its name from, stands out from the Dwellingup State Forest. For 134 kilometres, the river twists and turns through farms and forests, its banks nudging the townships. For Murray residents, the river is synonymous with R’n’R – and they love to share their patch of paradise with visitors.

Did you know. . .

Dwellingup means ‘place of nearby water’?

Did you know. . . Pinjarra has one of Australia’s most historic race courses?

TIME OUT Hire a houseboat and get to know the tranquil waterways around Yunderup.

A Weekend in Yunderup


ust five minutes from the Forest Highway, the canal and riverside district of Yunderup is divided by the beautiful Murray River into Northern and Southern sections. Kick off the weekend by checking into one of the area’s holiday apartments or BnBs – you simply can’t beat the local knowledge of hosts like Jill and John Orchard from North Yunderup’s award-winning Murray River Lodge. As well as serving up a welcome platter of wine and cheese, John gives guests the lowdown like only a local can.

“We are very fortunate to be central to so many of the Murray region’s best experiences,” he says. The Lodge -and nearby Ravenswood Retreat with its deep water jetty - are indeed ideally positioned. Sitting out on the balcony overlooking the water, the serenity of the river is seductive, but venture out - toss a fishing line off the banks or bike around the district and scope it out. Stroll along the river at sunset and watch the night herons capture their evening meal, enjoy dinner at the nearby Jetty’s Bar

and Grill or catch up with friends at the Ravenswood Hotel or Sandy Cove Tavern. Yunderup is ideal for birdwatching as there is walking access to shallow water sites and mudflats inhabited by graceful waterbirds. Imagine slipping along the river in a houseboat from Mandurah Houseboats (available for hire at Ravenswood) while watching the wildlife go about their daily routines. It’s common to see dolphins at all times of the year here. Hire a boat, attach a tow tube and you’ll be whizzing around the inlets in no time at all. V I S I T O R G U I D E | 45 |

ON YOUR BIKE Dwellingup has become a vibrant hub for those seeking adventure and thrills.

dip into dwellingup


or starters, duck into the excellent new Dwellingup Trails & Visitor Centre and discover just how much you can fit into your visit wih the advice and inside knowledge from the local staff. The Munda Biddi Trail and Bibbulmun Track have been realigned through the Dwellingup township so they now connect at the Centre and it really is a case of ‘Where the Trails Meet’ here. If you’ve come to conquer one of the district’s many mountain bike trails, they may suggest that you warm up by doing a few laps at the asphalt circuit at the Pump Track. Visiting skaters will love carving up the ramps, pipes, banks and ledges of the adjacent state-of-the-art Skate Park. For train enthusiasts, the 80ft Hotham Valley Tourist Railway rail turntable which | 46 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

was recently re-sited at the Centre provides a close up and personal viewing option. The forest, restaurant and Steam Ranger train schedules vary and the Centre has the latest timetables. Across the street, Dwellingup Adventures is the place to hire canoes, rafts, mountain bikes and camping equipment, or book yourself an awesome river kayaking trip with an experienced local guide. Once you’ve had your caffeine fix and wrapped your head around how much there is to do in Dwellingup, take off through the beautiful state forest and enter Lane Poole Reserve. This is a fantastic camping destination, a nature lovers’ paradise and, well – just a great place to hang out. If you’ve got energy to burn, venture up to Trees Adventure and

hang out in the treetops; their familyfriendly zipline adventures will really take you to new heights. To refuel, check out one of WA’s only community owned hotels, The Dwelly Pub, which is well known for serving up yummy pizzas (the pork belly rates too). The town’s cafés – including the popular Blue Wren Café located on the corner of McLarty Street – are consistently cosy and welcoming. If you fancy a cider or a delicious, locallymade wine then head on over to The Wine Tree. The Forest Discovery Centre, located a short distance from the Dwellingup Trails and Visitor Centre, is open to the public on weekends from 10am to 4pm. This unique building houses locally-made wood furniture and items, a gallery, a great selection of giftwares and an interesting interpretive centre. A visit to the forest walk to the tree top platform is a must. Other activities for all ages include Dare Adventures’ Paintballistics and, of course, a train ride through the forest on the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway.

A SENSE OF HISTORY Discover the heritage of Pinjarra as well as plenty to keep youngsters amused too.

a pinjarra getaway W

hether your getaway style is a holiday park, cabins, a resort or even a high-end luxury bed and breakfast like The Lazy River Boutique BnB, you’ll find unequalled hospitality in and around historic Pinjarra. As you’d expect of one of the oldest settled areas in Western Australia, Pinjarra is keenly focussed on heritage and culture. To really get to know the town at the heart of the Murray region, begin with The Heritage Trail; a 1.2km easy walk through the highlights of the town’s history. Start the trail at the Edenvale Homstead Precinct, a fabulous asset which includes St John’s Church (1861); the Old Schoolhouse (1896); the colonial Georgian homestead of Liveringa (1885); and Edenvale, the gracious Victorian Regency home of former State Premier, Sir Ross McLarty. This huge dwelling of 17 rooms was built in 1888 from locally fired bricks and is an unusual rural example of this style of architecture. Head up and down George Street past Gilmore’s Garage, the Mechanics’ Hall, drop into the Pinjarra Court House (1935) and meet the talented local ‘maker’ (artisan) currently in residence; located right next door to the Post Office (1935), then grab the best view

of the Murray River from the pedestrian suspension bridge overlooking the recently upgraded and completed Pinjarra Foreshore. Continue to Cantwell Park and The Weir, cross the Traffic Bridge onto the riverbanks and meander around St John’s Churchyard and The Old Rectory admiring the roses. The Heritage Trail will only take around 30 minutes, and you can revive yourself with a cuppa at one of the town’s delightful cafés. Jarra Infusion is packed full of treasures (their menu is just one of them) and has an open-air courtyard overlooking the river valley. The Pinjarra Dome is right in the centre of town and their menu and service is consistently great. For lunch munchies, the gourmet Pinjarra Bakery is a must-do. You can pick up a tasty filled pastry billed as ‘officially the best meat pie in Australia’ or a collection of some of the best sweet bakes this side of the Nullaboor. As the afternoon rolls in, consider playing a round at the picturesque Pinjarra Golf Club – the course is easy to play and very well maintained. Or, venture across to Ranger Red’s Zoo and meet some unusual ‘locals’ like Godzilla the frill-necked lizard or Quintin the quokka. The WA Skydiving Academy operate from a zone just south of

the township, and you can book a tandem jump by phone or online. When it’s time for a sundowner, drop into a friendly local pub. The aptly named Premier Hotel has strong links to Pinjarra’s history: it was built in 1894 by Edward McLarty, father of Sir Ross McLarty the decorated war hero and former Premier of Western Australia. Redcliffe on the Murray is a lively tavern restaurant which often has live music and is known as the place for a tasty chicken parmy or a porterhouse. Finally, here’s a tip – pop in a visit to the Pinjarra Paceway. The Pinjarra Harness Racing Club is the largest outside of the Perth Metro area and the atmosphere trackside at a meet here is heart-stopping on occasion.

for more information Visit for more itinerary ideas.

V I S I T O R G U I D E | 47 |


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he country town bakery is rightly, an iconic part of any road trip. That moment you anticipate biting into a slightly wobbly vanilla slice, or a scoldthe-top-of-your mouth meat pie- is the stuff of childhood dreams. Fortunately, Pinjarra Bakery proves that dreams do come true, with their award-winning lineup of pastries, cakes and pies. However, it wasn’t always this way. Director Jodie Pantaleo, says the family didn’t start out as bakers, but their Italian roots inspired a love of food and coming together as family- which are the same values that continues to drive their business, 23 years later. “The bakery was founded in the mid 90’s when mum and dad (Larry and Narda Pantaleo) decided to start producing a small selection of specialty baked goods within their existing fresh food mart business,” says Jodie. “The bakery component of the business became so successful that they decided to move next door into an independent bricks and mortar store and in 1997, Pinjarra Bakery & Patisserie was born.” Word-of-mouth proved to be a

powerful marketing tool for the business, and people from all over the south west and beyond began to head to the bakery, to try the superbly prepared bread, cakes and pie. “Our earliest entries at local awards shows were triumphant and we’ve continued to enter every single year since then,” says Jodie. After 10 years of operation and now three adult kids involved, Jodie and the

team finally moved into a brand-new purpose-built flagship store in Pinjarra. With an eye to keep building on their undoubted success, there are now stores in Waroona, Maddington and most recently Port Kennedy. There are pipe dreams too to potentially expand internationally, exporting their famous pies overseas and opening up a whole new market. Even a cursory glance at the

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KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY The Pantaleo family own Pinjarra Bakery, a thriving business which creates delicious - and awardwinning - pies and bakes.

impressive chilled cabinets filled with an abundance of fresh cakes, slices, donuts and of course those sensational pies, reveals creative baking brains behind the bakery’s ever-evolving line-up. However, it’s undoubtedly the pies that bring in the crowds. “Our pies are the stars of the show,” says Jodie. “If we had a dollar for every time a customer told us that our pies and pastries are “the best!” we’d have enough money to open another bakery.” The meat pie - in all its incarnations - has become something of a national treasure, and Pinjarra Bakery have taken its creation to something of an art-form, | 50 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

Did you know . . . the bread shift starts at 10.30pm at the bakery, opening the doors at 6am. scooping the top gong in 2019’s Official Great Aussie Pie competition. “Fortunately for us, the humble meat pie has become an unwavering thread in our rich cultural tapestry, embedding itself into the hearts of Australians as our national food of choice,” says Jodie. “It’s been a whirlwind since we won the Official Best Meat Pie in Australia at the Great Aussie Pie comp late last year. I think our loyal customers have really taken ownership of the tagline. It’s been a powerful message to help drive both new and existing customers to our stores, supporting our goals to continue building a strong, successful brand.” To keep things interesting, the team launch a limited edition ‘Invention Pie’ each month, which are, she says, “always our wackiest and most creative”. Think Vegemite and Cheese, Nacho Beef, Pulled pork and apple cider, Honey Mustard Chicken with candied bacon, Beef, Camembert and Caramelised Onion to name a few. “They cause quite the stir on social media, and sell out quickly, especially highly sought-after flavours like Bacon Double Cheeseburger,” says Jodie. “We literally cannot keep up with the crazy demand when we release those pies once a year.” Jodie’s clever use of social media, tempting customers with gorgeous food photography highlighting their famous wares on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok- has been a major driver in bringing new fans through the doors. “Social media has been monumental in our brand awareness and growth strategy,” says Jodie. “It allows us to keep our finger on the pulse with what’s happening both globally and locally- really staying in tune with our customer’s needs and wants. We spend a lot of time and energy engaging with our fans/followers – and aim to produce value-added content that both entertains and educates. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and genuinely have a lot of fun….which really resonates with our audience.” Nothing will ever replace the real life experience however, something Jodie and the team witness every time a customer comes through the door, pausing to make the most important decision of their day (which pie? which cake?) before leaving with a smile on their face. “Growing up, everyone has a favourite childhood bakery memory,” says Jodie. “We hope in some small way we’ve seamlessly embedded ourselves into the West Australian way of life, helping families re-visit nostalgic memories, and create new ones.”


THE BAKEHOUSE TEAM starts around 10.30pm and begins the bread shift, followed by the cakes and then lastly, pies and pastries. Although the shift is staggered, generally, we need all hands-on deck to produce the pies and pastries- as it’s such a massive chunk of our production run. It’s really quite fascinating to watch the bakehouse in action! Front-of-house, the team begin to arrive around 5.30am- before we open the doors at 6am. Then it’s all systems go until we close. Serving customers, stocking fridges, heating up pies, making rolls and sandwiches and brewing the perfect coffee- just to name a few…and of course, plenty of cleaning, ordering and re-organising for the following day. It can at times, be a very fast-paced environment with the team juggle multiple hats. They do an awesome job, and honestly, we wouldn’t even have a business if it wasn’t for our amazing, hard-working crew who show up every day, with a smile on their face, ready to be of service. Visit - and follow the bakery on Instagram, Facebook and Tick Tock.

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Mine’s a


cold one

inding the perfect spot for a cold beer or a locally made glass of wine is pretty high on most visitors’ to-do list when they’ve had their fill of exploring the waterways and trails of Dwellingup and Pinjarra, but where to start when the choices are so varied?. Our advice? Follow the locals and you won’t go far wrong - here’s your guide to a Murray River pub crawl. Back in the 1880s, the Ravenswood Hotel welcomed its first weary traveler. In those days, the lodging was operated | 52 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

by a Welsh family named Thomas whose patriarch, Captain John Thomas, built the original two storey dwelling as a residence for his large family of seven offspring. In 1899, a bridge was built over the Murray at Ravenswood and this soon became the popular route between Bunbury and Fremantle. Today, people flock to the ‘Ravo’ for their regular iconic events and quality pub grub, and boaties love the waterside convenience. Being able to moor alongside its grassy banks and enjoy the views from the pub’s beer garden over a long

lunch with friends is the true essence of the Murray region lifestyle. These days, The Ravenswood plays host to big names such as Jimmy Barnes, Casey Chambers, Ian Moss and many more. Check out their website for forthcoming events - and get ready for a taste of true blue Aussie country pub hospitality. Another great place to slip a line and put down a cold one is the Sandy Cove Tavern in South Yunderup. You glide into the cove past lovely established canal homes and pull up directly onto a wide

boating tips Sapphire Waters boat ramp is closest to the estuary head but it can be difficult to launch or pull up your boat on a low tide. Sandy Cove Boat ramp has a high jetty and can be difficult for those with mobility issues. sandy beach in front of the restaurant. There’s a great al fresco dining veranda and better still, the tavern has an adjacent bottleshop for takeaway purchases. Pelicans Café on the Murray is at the end of Pelican Road, South Yunderup, and has a lovely aspect directly overlooking a pretty section of the Murray River. This busy little café is open for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and nearby public toilets and a children’s playground are also a big drawcard to boaties. Pelicans in the Murray also offers takeaway alcohol and is the only location on the Murray where you can fuel up your boat Towards Pinjarra and over the suspension bridge, Redcliffe on the Murray has a great beer garden and supports local artists with frequent live music events. Likewise, Pinjarra’s Premier

TUCK IN One of the great pleasures of a visit to the region is finding a special spot to enjoy lunch by the water - or a cold one with friends.

Hotel is a super place to chill on a Sunday (or any day of the week!) with generoussized pub meals, a beer garden and enough history on its walls from its origins in 1894 to satisfy culture buffs. Don’t miss the chance to dine right on the water at Jetty’s Bar and Grill in South Yunderup. If you’re on a houseboat trip, you can moor overnight here or at one of four other locations in North and South Yunderup. There’s a man-made beach and plenty of room to stretch your legs after a good feed.

for more information Visit for more food and drink inspo.

Tatham’s Boat ramp is a fair jetty for embarking and disembarking with good parking facilities. It’s also close to the fuel supply at Pelican’s Cafe. North Yunderup Boat ramp is a fair jetty to launch your vessel with easy embarking and disembarking. Parking can be restricted during busy periods. Crabbing season is closed from September 1 to October 31 each year to allow for breeding. There are strict size and bag limits which apply. Beware: hefty fines can be enforced if rules aren’t followed. Go to the Department of Fisheries website for more information.

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GIDDY UP The Pinjarra Harness Racing Club’s annual roster of races means it’s time to get dressed up, below.


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It’s Race 3 on a sunny Monday afternoon in Pinjarra and the Murray region is live to the rest of the country via Sky One. Eight starters are being held in check by the mobile race starter, all itching to get onto the 2,185 metre course. As the impatient spider-like carts are released, race caller Matt McDermott starts his

easy monologue. Pocket The Cash is three wide, but it’s The Embezzler by a nose in the photo finish. And it’s a popular outcome, with $4.60 for the win. The Murray region equine racing industry is an important economic sector, contributing a total gross value add of $82.4 million and employing almost 800

2020 racing


full time equivalent staff members across the industry. It’s also an enthusiastic and vibrant culture all of its own. Matt McDermott began practicing aged 17 and called his first TAB meeting not long after turning 18. From the age of four he accompanied with his father, a hobby trotting trainer, to the stables and helped out. “I used to pretend I was driving in races and added phantom race calls. As I got older, I took more and more of an interest in race calling by watching the callers work on race days at the track or listening to their on air roll on the radio,” he explains. Matt says he keeps his audience firmly in mind as he broadcasts the race as it unfolds over the on-course public address and his call is carried for radio and TV audiences around Australia. “I try to be as accurate and descriptive as possible so anyone listening on the radio can paint a clear picture in their mind of what’s happening based on what I’m saying, and people watching on screens are able to easily identify any particular horse they’re


Dates of interest

Dates of interest

Alcoa Family Day Monday 28 September 2020

Alcoa Christmas Family Day Sunday 6 Dec 2020

Pinjarra Classic Monday 4 January 2021

100 Club Mandurah Cup New Year’s Day – Friday 1 Jan 2021

Australia Day Tuesday 26 January 2021

Magic Millions Day Saturday 6 Feb 2021

Pinjarra Cup Monday 1 March 2021

Pinjarra Classic Sunday 21 Feb 2021

CONTACT 7 Paceway Court, Pinjarra 08 9531 1941

Pinjarra Cup Sunday 11 April 2021

following in the run.” One of the best parts of being a race caller is the travel, and Matt has been all over Western Australia to broadcast race meetings, visiting places he never dreamed he would go. He says Pinjarra is always one of the best attended tracks he works, especially public holidays.

CONTACT Racecourse road, Pinjarra 08 9531 1956 “It’s fantastic our Shire of Murray is a stronghold for the equine industry, and I think racing is imperative for social days and community spirit. I love seeing people enjoying what they do, whether it be race club officials, owners, hobby trainers and drivers. They deserve any success that comes their way,” he smiles. V I S I T O R G U I D E | 55 |

Trailblazers welcome


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wellingup is making a name for itself as a trails hub, so here’s some useful information for trail users, whether you’re a first time bushwalker or an experienced explorer on foot or on two wheels. BIBBULMUN TRACK HEADING NORTH FROM DWELLINGUP Nearest campsite – Chadoora Campsite (20.7km from Dwellingup) Chadoora sleeps 12 – 15. Built by WA Rogaining Association volunteers in 1997. Vehicle access heading north: Inglehope Rail Crossing – From Dwellingup go 10km east on PinjarraWilliams Road, turn left on to Inglehope Road for 200m. TO FIND THE TRACK HEADING NORTH DEPARTING FROM DWELLINGUP TRAILS & VISITORS CENTRE Walk east towards the public toilets, following the Hotham Valley Railway line heading for the sports pavillion at the smaller playground. Pass the pavillion and veer to the right following the access road that runs along the football oval. At the bitumen road (Wallace Road) turn left and continue past the Marginata Road intersection. With the timber mill to your left, leave the bitumen road heading into the forest on the trail. Stay on the smaller trail to the right of the vehicle track. The vehicle track joins from the left.

River Road (South of Nanga Road) – From Dwellingup town centre, travel 1km east of Pinjarra-Williams Road. Turn right down Nanga Road and travel for 2km and turn left on to River Road at a 4 way intersection. Follow River Road for another approximate 3.7km to track crossing near Davis Brook. Gate is another 200m on. Vehicles are not permitted on all other roads as they are within disease risk area. TO FIND THE TRACK HEADING SOUTH DEPARTING FROM DWELLINGUP TRAILS & VISITORS CENTRE Walk past the Dwellingup Hotel and turn left on to Newton Street, heading towards Dwellingup IGA General Store. Reach the main intersection (only stop sign in Dwellingup!) with the Dwellingup IGA General store on one corner and the

Blue Wren Café on the opposite corner. Cross the street, still heading up Newton Street towards Dwellingup Primary School. Pass between the Primary School on the left and the Pre-Primary building on your right and continue on to the gravel track. You will see the wooden Bibbulmun Track sign, continue through the sign and enter the bush on to the Bibbulmun Track. MUNDA BIDDI TRAIL INFORMATION Nearest campsites Heading south from Dwellingup – Dwellingup to Nanga (16km) Heading north from Dwellingup – Dwellingup to Dandalup Hut (42km) Dwellingup to Marrinup Mountain Bike Trail (5km) Dwellingup to Marrinup Mountain Bike Trail, complete trail and return to Dwellingup (18km)

BIBBULMUN TRACK HEADING SOUTH FROM DWELLINGUP Nearest campsite – Swamp Oak (13.3km from Dwellingup) Swamp Oak sleeps 12 comfortably. Built by Karnet Prison Farm crew in the winter of 1996. Vehicle Access heading south: Nanga Road – from Dwellingup town centre, travel 1km east on PinjarraWilliams Road and turn right down Nanga Road. Travel approx. 4.5km to track crossing. River Road (North of Nanga Road) – From Dwellingup town centre, travel 0.5km west along Pinjarra-Williams Road and turn left on to River Road. Travel approx. 2km to track crossing (at junction with Linto Road). V I S I T O R G U I D E | 57 |

It is highly recommended hard copy maps are used in conjunction with digital information. The Dwellingup Trails and Visitor Centre stocks maps, and can provide current information that may be important to your journey. This information was true and correct at time of printing, please be aware that trails and track conditions are subject to change.

TO FIND MUNDA BIDDI TRAIL HEADING SOUTH, DEPARTING FROM DWELLINGUP TRAILS & VISITORS CENTRE Ride towards Dwellingup Hotel, turning left on to Newton Street and head towards the Dwellingup IGA Store. At the stop sign, turn right and follow McLarty Street until you get to the wooden Dwellingup entrance sign on your right. To your left is River Road. You should see the Munda Biddi markers along River Road. TO FIND MUNDA BIDDI TRAIL HEADING NORTH, DEPARTING FROM DWELLINGUP VISITORS TRAILS & CENTRE Ride towards Dwellingup Hotel, turning right on to Newton Street. Cross over the Hotham Valley Railway train line and you will see the wooden Munda Biddi trail sign and marker immediately to your left. SUGGESTED DAY WALKS* Etmilyn Siding to Dwellingup (10km) | 58 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

one way. Etmilyn Siding is where the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway’s diesel train stops to turn around to head back to Dwellingup. People often ride the Hotham Valley to Etmilyn and walk back to Dwellingup – the best of both worlds! Nanga Road to Swamp Oak Campsite and back (14km) Yarragil Form to Swamp Oak Campsite and back (15km) SUGGESTED OVERNIGHT WALKS Dwellingup to Swamp Oak Campsite and back (27km, 2 days & 1 night) Dwellingup to Driver Road, one way (49km, 3 days & 2 nights) Dwellingup to Harvey-Quindanning Road, one way (67km, 4 days & 3 nights) Dwellingup to Collie, one way (128km, 7 days & 6 nights) *(Source – Bibbulmun Track Guidebook 2: Dwellingup) TRAILS INFORMATION FOR LANE POOLE RESERVE Entry - $15.00 per vehicle Island Pool Walk Trail – 2.1km (approx. 1hr)

The trail leaves the southern corner of the upper car park, up a flight of steps and a steep rise though jarrah forest and wattles. At this point, the forest begins to thin a little and the balgas (grass tree) become more numerous. Continue along a gentle slope up the valley side. Balgas begin to dominate as the trail passes between granite outcrops. You are now at the highest part of the trail. There is a seat where you can rest awhile and take in the views of the valley below. Begin your decent down a gentle slope. The track zig zags for a short distance down a steeper part of the valley side and moves back in to the jarrah forest. From here, it is a short distance back to the upper car park Facilities available: car parking, toilet facilities at the start/finish of walk trail loop. Picnic tables available across from the trailhead at Island Pool day use area. Nanga Brook Walk Trail – 2km, one way (approx. 90mins) The Nanga Brook Walk Trail passes through the Nanga area which was once a thriving timber mill town, operating from 1900 until the devastating fires of 1961. The trail can be started from either Nanga townsite or Nanga Mill campground. Entrance to the trail at Nanga Townsite is towards the western end of the campground, opposite a parking bay, near the brook. Pass the trailhead sign through a grove of tea trees down to the creek across the bridge, then uphill thought the dense undergrowth of the jarrah forest. The trail meanders along Nanga Brook through to Nanga Mill campground assisted from time to time with wooden steps. The walk returns along the same path to Nanga Townsite where the remains of orchards planted by the early residents can be seen. Entrance to the trail at Nanga Mill campground is towards the eastern end of the site, above the small wooden bridge that crosses the creek. Facilities available: Car parking, picnic tables, campsites and toilet facilities available at both ends of the walk trail. Chuditch Walk Trail – short loop 6km (approx. 3hrs) medium loop 7km (approx. 3.5hrs) long loop 9km (approx. 4.5hrs) This trail can be started at either Chuditch or Nanga Brook Campgrounds. The majority of this track is on wide trails with gentle gradients. There is a short

section of narrower trail near Chuditch that has short steep sections. The walk passes mostly through jarrah forest with impressive stands of grass trees. Observe small woodland birds such as scarlet robins and red-winged fairy wrens among the understory, or red-tailed black cockatoos feeding high up in the canopy. Be aware of vehicles and bikes as the trail shares sections of the Munda Biddi Trail and 4WD Tracks. Facilities available: car parking, picnic tables, campsites and toilet facilities available at both Chuditch and Nanga Mill campgrounds. An undercover camp kitchen with gas BBQs are available at Chuditch campsite. King Jarrah Walk Trail – 18km (approx. 5-6hrs) The King Jarrah trail traces the former transportation routes of the once vibrant timber industry. The much-prized hard woods of Jarrah, Marri and Blackbutt saw a proliferation of timber towns in the late nineteenth century and were an important source of employment for the early pioneers. The trail commences at Nanga Mill campground. A trailhead sign marks the start of the trail and can be located on the southern side of the road that passes through the campground. Follow North Junction Form for 7.5km. This was once a rail formation from the days of timber harvesting in the area. North Junction Form becomes King Jarrah Form. Continue on King Jarrah Form for 1.7km past the locked gate until the trail turns right off the form. From this point, walkers looking for a picnic spot may wish to continue south on the King Jarrah Form for 200m to a small cleared area and toilet. After leaving King Jarrah Form, the walk trail passes the King Jarrah tree. The trail crosses Dawn Creek Road. From here it is 5.2km back to Nanga Mill with some steeper sections. Along the way, the trail crosses a number of old vehicle tracks and small creeks. Be aware of vehicles and bikes as the trail shares sections of the Munda Biddi Trail and 4WD Tracks. Facilities available: car parking, picnic tables, campsites and toilet facilities are available at Nanga Mill Campsite.

DWELLINGUP ADVENTURE TRAILS MURRAY VALLEY MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS Lane Poole Reserve - Dwellingup Lane Poole Reserve is where you will find the stunning Murray Valley Mountain Bike Trails which cater for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. The network includes descending trails that can be accessed by easy and moderate climbing trails or via the shuttle road off Murray Valley Road. The Roost is the site at the top of the descending trails where you can overlook the Murray Valley – magic any time of the day. These trails offer a great ride, striking scenery and a diverse range of native flora and fauna. Facilities: Car parking at the Murray Valley trail head and The Roost, unisex toilets at the Murray Valley Trailhead. Phone reception is very limited at the trail head, reception at The Roost is good, but not excellent. How to get there: Enter Lane Poole Reserve through the main entry station or Nanga, follow signage to Bobs Crossing and then onto the Murray Valley MTB trail network. Consider your skill level and experience before choosing a trail

TRAIL CLASSIFICATIONS: Green = Easy Blue = Moderate Black = Difficult EASY TRAILS (Green) Typically flowing open trails on firm terrain with gentle gradients. Surface may be uneven, loose or muddy at times. Riders may encounter small rollable obstacles and technical trail features. Recommended for beginner mountain bikers. MODERATE TRAILS (Blue) Typically narrow trail with loose, soft, rocky or slippery sections and hills with short steep sections. Riders will encounter obstacles and technical trail features. Recommended for intermediate riders with some technical mountain biking experience. DIFFICULT TRAILS (Black) Trails with variable surfaces and/or steep gradients. Riders will encounter large obstacles and technical trail features. Recommended for experienced riders with good technical skill levels.

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MURRAY VALLEY MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS Lane Poole Reserve - Dwellingup YEAR 1 Length: 2.3km Class: Green Description: Year 1 is a descending trail suitable for beginners – it’s a good place to start your mountain bike adventure. The trail is a steeper and faster flow trail with wide open rollers and big berms. YARRI UP Length: 2.3km Class: Green Description: Yarri Up is a cross country trail connecting to the downhill trails, providing an easy alternative to shuttling. SNOTTY GOBBLE Length: 900m Class: Green Description: Snotty Gobble is an easy cross country trail offering a short loop option from the Munda Biddi Trail. ROCK ON Length: 2.1km Class: Green Description: Rock On is a cross country trail with a rocky climb that rewards riders with rolling, flowy descent. QUOLLITY STREET Length: 1.4km Class: Green Description: Quollity Street is an easy cross country trial providing an enjoyable loop option off the Munda Biddi and views up the river valley, linking to the Chuditch Campground. BOOM BOOM Length: 1.4km Class: Blue Description: Boom Boom is a descending flow trail for experienced riders which has large table tops, step downs and step ups, rollers and berms. TOMBSTONE Length: 1.3km Class: Blue Description: Tombstone is a hand-built all mountain trail that winds its way down the ridge to the downhill trails. | 60 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y

HOW TO GET There Enter Lane Poole Reserve through the main entry station or Nanga, follow signage to Bobs Crossing and then onto the Murray Valley MTB trail network. Consider your skill level and experience before choosing a trail Also please note that these directions will change once the new bridge is built at Dwaarlindjirraap. References: Department of Biodiversity Conservations and Attractions (DBCA): Parks and Wildlife: Trails WA: BUSTED NUTS: Length: 1.6km Class: Blue Description: Busted Nuts is an all mountain descent. This fast, feature packed trail will have you on your toes with big jumps and berms. CAPTAIN HOOK Length: 1.1km Class: Blue Description: Captain Hook is a cross country climb with tight and steep climbing switchbacks which are sure to get your heart pumping! QUOKKAMOLY Length: 1.3km Class: Blue Description: Quokkamoly is a descending cross country trail. It has technical rocky features and fast berms which lead onto a short dual slalom track to race your mates. Test your XCO skills by linking with Captain Hook to create an XCO race loop.

GRANITE GRIND Length: 3km Class: Blue Description: Granite Grind is a long cross country trail. A short climb rewards you with a fast, technical descent through ancient granite boulders with sweeping views over the valley. FAULT LINE Length: 2.4km Class: Blue Description: A blue climbing trail which primarily provides access to the all mountain descents. INZAMIA Length: 2.3km Class: Blue Description: An all mountain descent, Inzamia is a long, leg burning pump trail. This trail will have you grinning from start to finish. BAM BAM Length: 1.3km Class: Black Description: A black descending flow trail. This trail is not for the feint hearted, with challenging double whale back jumps and rollers, steep step downs and rock gardens.

To North Dandalup


To Alcoa Rd RD





Turner Hill MTB Trail Network

Legend Sealed Rd (2WD) Unsealed Rd (2WD) Vehicle Track (AWD or 4WD)

South Dandalup Dam

Bibbulmun Track

Oakley Dam

Munda Biddi Cycle Trail Les Couzens Bridle Trail


Captain Fawcett Track (4WD)






King Jarrah Walk Trail Reserve Proposed Reserve State Forest



Marrinup MTB Trail

Marrinup POW Camp

Marrinup Falls

River and creekline Gate - No Access Visitor Centre Information Fuel Food / Drink


To Pinjarra




Mountain Bike Trail Access



To Lane Poole

























Murray Valley MTB Trail Network


Lane Poole Reserve


Scarp Pool



y Riv

Lane Poole Reserve Entry Station D PARK R




Nanga Entry Station OK






To Waroona


Murray R


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upcoming EVENTS 2020-21

For further information and dates go to | visit

Blues n Roots Festival - Ravenswood Hotel


MAX Pinjarra


Dwellingup Pumpkin Festival


Fairbridge Festival


– Pinjarra Pacing Cup Day


| 62 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y


– Pinjarra Festival



Mountain Bike State Series Marrinup/Turner Hill

Dwellingup 100


Hotham Valley Anniversary Festival


Bindjareb Boodja - Back to Pinjarra



Music Festivals (Nanga Music Festival, Jarrahfall Food & Folk Festival

Wellard Star of the West Campdraft

december Pinjarra Cup Season Open

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trails meet GO OFF GRID

Find your perfect place to reconnect with nature | 64 | S H I R E O F M U R R A Y


Discover the rich history behind this ancient region


Get ready to kayak, climb, ride or hike your way around | visitpinjarra