Before we venture into an area I like to indulge in research. Discovering the delights and the possibilities of a region is one of my favourite things. Research usually sets the stage often for a wonderful adventure and I like to dig into history and the promise of the many different places we travel to. I rarely share my research as it is building … mainly because it is an incomplete work but on the rare occasion I come across research that is just too good to keep all to myself. So it is that I’m gunna break my usual practice and share something of this wonderful adventure with you, ahead of time.
We are camped up in an alien landscape, deep in the Western Australian Goldfields Region. The landscape is so alien to us that I have been driven to spring clean … strange that. Spring cleaning is not my primary drive usually but The Man puts it down to expecting visitors. This is indicative of just how alien the landscape is as in travelling around, visitors for us are the people you camp-up with usually. Rarely do people actually drop in as they do when you live in a house. What is it about women that when you find yourself in an alien environment, you are driven to clean up!
Forget the secretive Pine Gap… Gnomesville in the Ferguson Valley SW Western Aus is more secretive and holds greater mystique in quiet places. It has a larger population and is the centre-point of ‘special powers’, those powers common to gnomes. The Man and I found out about Gnomesville quite unexpectedly, sitting over a lovely glass of something on one of those deliciously lazy social afternoons with friends.
We’re presently in Western Australia as most of my regular readers know. I have to admit to some trepidation as we approached the state a few months ago intending to freecamp and explore. In the years before we even got here we had heard of the predatory practices of some WA towns in regards to tourists and travellers and this certainly concerned us.
Visiting WA was not entirely an unknown, we have been here many times before. We have flown in, driven in and stayed for extended periods. I spent 3 months in Kalgoorlie and had a truly wonderful time and we have toured the SW corner on a number of occasions. We’ve explored Walpole, Albany (sorta) and many other places spending long hours in the beautiful tall forests and sandy beaches of the region. We couldn’t find anywhere to park in Esperance so we breezed through there as with many places.
Perth … is the most remote city around the globe and ‘a world unto itself’. If Aus’ is to be considered as sparsely populated then Western Australia holds the crown amongst the States of Australia. Western Aus’ is more than 3½ times bigger than Texas and is the 2nd largest state/province in the world. It is 33% of the Australian continent. It has barely 10% of the Australian population and and 92% of this population live tucked into the SW corner of the state.
Millions of years ago, when life emerged from the waves it was stromatalites and thrombolites that made it possible. They breathed oxygen into the atmosphere and life eventually moved onto the land once water had begun to fall from the heavens, nourishing the earth. 600 million years ago the ancestors of thrombolites and stromatolites produced the oxygen needed for life on land to exist and their ancient colonies can be found today in only a few rare places around the world.
They look like rocks but are really ancient forms of microbial communities that produce energy from sunlight. These ancient forms of life are found in specialized environments around the world. They require water to survive. Stromatalites need saline water and thrombolites require a greater measure of fresh water.