Three Years On – A Corona/Covid Lookback

I know what I have said in the past about mentioning the “C” word. But I realised the other day that the 3rd anniversary is upon us. (Or just passed us by, depending on when I actually post this one.) That is to say it was three years ago that Australia went in to official “lockdown” because of the coronavirus (aka Covid) “pandemic”. .

(“Anniversary”. Hmm…if that is even the right word? Is there anything to celebrate?)

That was the first lockdown, which was more of a mock-down to be fair. There really was not much evidence of covid – then known affectionately as coronavirus. The first lockdown was hardly noticeable in Australia. Many shops remained open but eventually (a little later if I recall) pubs, restaurants and gyms closed. Again no massive panic. But it did kick in a bit when they forced the schools to close. Even that did not last long though and pretty soon places reopened. It was not until the real lockdowns of 2021 that Australia had to endure the kind of crap that Europe and America had to put up with since March  2020. That was a real lockdown and was clearly aimed at coercing people into taking the vaccines. Which worked really well here in Australia. Th part about people taking them. No about how well that actually worked. No. By their own regular figures -whether you believe them or not – NSW Health data clearly shows many times more are dying of covid now than before people started taking vaccines. Before the 2nd lockdown in fact.

I also looked back on some of my posts around that time. We hadn’t been in Australia much more than a month. Although the endless media bombardment of what was to come began pretty much when we arrived.

Here are some links to posts abut this subject. I suggest you go back and read them. I was pretty much spot on the money back then – despite it being a very uncertain time. And I remain adamant: I was right then and I am right now. Just click on the links below to read those posts…

An Old Dad’s Take on this Coronavirus

Coronavirus Update from Oz

Adiós Coronavirus

Poem – At the End of the Day, It’s Just the Flu

Coronavirus Fun – Well, Why Not?

Go on then. Here’s a “C” Word Update from Australia

A Few Moments of Clarity

And a few from exactly (OK, almost) three years ago…. end of March 2020:

Coronavirus – The Curious Case of Australia

It’s Lock-down Time in Oz Folks!

Scaring the People into Lock-down

There are other updates, later, like April 2020 and so on. Just type covid” or “coronavirus” in the search bar if you are interested.

Of course for anyone paying attention the house of cards is falling down these days. So many real facts are emerging that you would like to think some people will be held to account. Please don’t hold you breath on that one.

If you want to know how I rumbled the scam, more or less right at the start, I can tell you. It was so simple. It was when it became obvious that there was no political opposition to the governments plans. None! ZERO! Absolutely f*ck all!

You see, when there is nobody in government asking pertinent questions or challenging the narrative; when all the main parties completely agree; then you have no real democracy. (The mainstream media were of course complicit too let’s never forget that.) In fact the main opposition parties around the (so called) western world were all screaming for even harsher and more strict lockdowns. Yes, there were the odd dissenting voices in various parliaments up and down the globe but I am talking mainly about the two main parties working together and singing from the same hymn sheet. And not in a war time, state of emergency situation. One where an enemy is bombarding your shores forcing their way in. The covid situation was always, always, far from being that clear cut.



In one of my posts (I think a little later than March 2020) I mentioned a now relatively old documentary that somehow stayed online during the “pandemic”, called The World After Armageddon. Here is one link to it but I am sure there are more if you search:

It remains the gold standard in documentaries on this kind of topic. If you have never seen it I strongly suggest you do. That is what a real pandemic would look like. And it’s a lot worse than pubs closing and no toilet paper on the supermarket shelves. Please remember that when our lovely, honest politicians do this to us again. Because they will….

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Albany – The Oldest Settlement in Western Australia

Staying in Ravensthorpe meant  shorter drive to our next port of call. Albany. The city at the southwestern tip of Western Australia – and therefore of Australia as a whole.

Albany Town Hall

The settlement at Albany was founded on 26 December 1826 as a military outpost of New South Wales. It is the oldest colonial settlement in Western Australia– predating Perth and Fremantle by over two years. Although completely the other side of the continent it was a semi-exclave of New South Wales for over four years until it was made part of the Swan River Colony.

Albany Court House

It was founded basically to keep the French out of this remote part of the continent. It is easy to look at things nowadays only through a modern day lens. But back in the early 1800s many parts of the world were still being carved up by European powers. If that military base had not been set up Western Australia could have become a French colony. Thankfully that never happened eh (LOL)…

By the last decade of the 19th century, the town was a gateway to the Eastern Goldfields. For years, it was the colony’s only deep-water port, and so was important stop off point for shipping services between Britain and the eastern Australian colonies. When Fremantle Harbour opened in 1897 Albany’s importance as a port dropped. After that the town turned to other industries such as agriculture, timber and interestingly, whaling. However, the port is now a stop off for large cruise ships.

From top left: Premier Hotel, Post Office and Albany Hotel
London Hotel, York Street view and St. Johns Church

Silo Art

Another one from the WA Public Silo Art trail. The ruby sea dragon (Phyllopteryx dewysea) is painted on the massive silos (35m high x 50m wide) at the Albany grain terminal. This one was painted by artists who go by the names of The Yok & Sheryo.

There’s a great video showing how it was painted with before and after shots; simply visit

The mural art theme is continued in the city centre, a variety of murals by local and international artists. here are some examples…

Chainsaw Sculptures

Just outside of town the art theme continues at Chainsaw Sculpture Drive. This is just a sample there were many more…

Views Across Albany

Just inland from the port/cruise ship area, and a fair old drive uphill, the ANZAC memorials on Mount Clarence commemorate the time when in 1914 the first ANZAC troops departed from King George Sound. The lookouts from Mt. Clarence offer some of the best views across Albany.

Looking out on Shoal Bay, and (inset) Dani at an ANZAC memorial
Views over Albany

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By the time I get around to posting everything about our summer holidays we will be getting ready for the Easter break. Don’t these school terms fly by? I must try to do these things as we go… Easier said than done of course. But stay tuned anyway.

Trips out of Ravensthorpe – Hopetoun and Fitzgerald River National Park

Hopetoun – pronounced Hopetown (I think) – and is named after a place of the same name in Scotland. It is just under 50 km (half hour drive) to the coast from Ravensthorpe. It is a small seaside town originally built to service the mining industry of the area with a port and lies right next to the Fitzgerald River National Park.

Driving around Australia you quickly get used to the yellow kangaroo signs at the side of the roads. Then there are the (less common) wombat and even koala signs. Around this part of Australia there were a few new ones (for us). These on the road down to Hopetoun…

Watch out for camels…
…and low flying white tailed black cockatoos!
We never saw the cockatoos but we did see some camels…

Hopetoun was established in 1900 as the port servicing the Phillips River goldfield and was gazetted on 9 February 1901. The port jetty was a terminus of a railway line between Hopetoun and Ravensthorpe that operated from 1909 to 1935. The port closed in 1937 and the jetty was destroyed in 1983. More recently it has been a site of accommodation for the nickel mine, east of the town of Ravensthorpe (the mine has closed and reopened several times).

What remains is a quiet and attractive seaside village which attracts holiday makers to the nearby beaches and Fitzgerald River National Park.

Port Hotel and beaches at Hopetoun
Old raiwlay station and other buildings in Hopetoun

This is definitely an area and stretch of coast where I would like to spend more time. The national park close to Hopetoun is spectacular…

Fitzgerald River National Park

Yet another national park that we have visited. This one is known for its rugged and spectacular scenery.  The Fitzgerald River National Park is one of the larger national parks in Western Australia with some 330,000 hectares of natural wonderland and a magnificent stretch of coast.

As always on the coast of this vast country the beaches are spectacular and practically deserted. A few of the beaches we strolled along we had to ourselves. Remember this was during school summer holidays and in an area where all accommodation was full !!

Beaches in the Fitzgerald River National Park

Like many places in Australia this national park has some fantastic beaches. I wonder which stretch of coastline is ranked the highest in this vast country? I must look it up… It’s exactly the type of thing someone will have written about online.

As usual, we barely scratched the surface of this vast unspoiled wilderness. To really see this park properly would require a week at least spent either camping in the park or staying in and around Hopetoun. Easier said than done during school holidays of course…

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On – Film Review

OK. You probably haven’t heard of this movie. Neither had I, until I happened across it by accident. Some tweet about it being nominated for an Oscar… Anyway it was nominated in the Animated Film class although at least as much of the action involves humans. It didn’t win the Oscar but at least more people will now know about it.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

It’s the story of Marcel, a shell dwelling creature that lives in a large AirBnB house with his nana Connie. The exact species of animal is unknown and never divulged in the film. But not only can they talk, they can also even read. They even have a favourite TV show; 60Minutes with host Lesley Stahl.


Marcel seems to be living a happy life in the confines of this house when a documentary film-maker (Dean) moves in. Dean befriends Marcel and learns that there was once a thriving community of these shell living creatures. Previous tenants in the house had regular arguments and during one such argument one of them stormed off with a pile of clothes that the rest of Marcel’s family was in the middle of.

Fascinated by Marcel’s incredible story – and doubtless, that he had discovered a talking mollusk – Dean decides to make a short film about Marcel which he then posts online. Marcel’s popularity suddenly sky rockets as millions of fans latch on to the youtube video.

That level of popularity does not bring with it much in the way of help and despite having so many fans none of them seem interested in helping Marcel locate his lost family.

One day while out in the car with Dean (hunting for the car that took his family away) Marcel gets car sickness and also comes to realise the size of the task. The outside world is a very big place. On returning he find his nana has fallen off the washing machine and cracked her shell so Marcel concentrates his energy on helping her recover.

Kinda Spoiler Alert Warning…

Lesley Stahl contacts Dean and Marcel offering to make a show about Marcel’s life and missing family. Marcel does n’t want to but his nana talks him into it. During the making of the show Marcel’s nana passes away. But the news about his family is out to the wider public, and… Well; I am sure you can guess what happens… Right?


This one definitely went under the radar when it was made and first appeared in 2021 yet was not widely released until July 2022. But it may have a major resurgence now it has been nominated for an Oscar. This is a great little film that can be enjoyed by all the family. It’s not going to get in anyone’s top ten all-time list (definitely not mine at least) but it is easy to sit back and just run with it.

This film has been nominated for lots of awards (I had no idea there were so many – but what do I know?) for best animated picture, and actually won a few. It’s sometimes funny and definitely heart-warming. A bit of a feel good movie. The kids will love it. Especially the way Marcel gets around the house and down those tricky stairs…

Marcel’s child-like naivety often points out some of the more ridiculous things that make up modern day life. Most poignantly (for me) when he realises that the huge youtube following is not what it pretends. People turn up to make their Instagram (or whatever) videos to post themselves on line, in their own movies. All the usual ‘been there and bought the T-shirt’ brigade, making it all about themselves with little or no connection to the original cause. Marcel understandably gets disillusioned by what he sees. “This is not a community. It’s an audience”. Yes, indeed. Well said Marcel!

*** I will give this movie 3 stars (out of the usual 5).


Two Up – A Simple Gambling Game

Two-up is a traditional Australian gambling game, involving a designated “spinner” throwing two coins or pennies into the air. Players bet on whether the coins will fall with both heads up, both tails up, or with one coin a head and one a tail (known as “Ewan”). It is traditionally played on Anzac Day in pubs and clubs throughout Australia, in part to mark a shared experience with Diggers through the ages.

The game was known to be popular with convicts as early as 1798. By the 1850s, the game was being played on the goldfields of the eastern colonies, and it spread across the country following subsequent gold rushes.

The game is traditionally played with pennies – their weight, size, and surface design make them ideal for the game. This type of game is obviously not unique to Australia but places like these (see below) may well be.

This place is well signposted…

After World War 1 it was played extensively on ANZAC Day but was illegal on other days. Naturally illegal Two-Up schools sprouted up and still exist. With the onset of other gambling games like cards and (later) poker/slot machines, the game’s popularity dropped. But it still goes on. Sometimes legally sometimes in what looks like an illicit gambling den.

Bush Two Up

Incredible that such places are built for a game of coin tossing eh?

This place looks like it could also house cock fights. Who knows? It may do, although that would definitely be illegal. It is remote – far enough off the main road – and who would go to these places apart from those interested in gambling and the event?

Inside the arena
Dani would not be allowed here if there was a game on. No alcohol and no under 18s.

The organisers even saw fit to build toilets!

Ladies and Gents facilities

This “Bush Two Up” site is mentioned in the Kalgoorlie tourism website (among others). This particular Two-Up venue had a legal event on New Year’s Day. Sadly we had another long drive that day. That was when we headed south to the coastal town of Esperance…

We even saw the Two-Up games on sale in one shop. So of course Dani wanted one. Not exactly authentic copper pennies there but at least the same size as the ones used in the original game. That piece of wood holding the coins is called a “Kip” and the ne whose turn it is to toss the coins is called the “spinner”. Shame really. I was hoping they would be called the “tosser”. Never mind eh?

Trips Out of Ravensthorpe – Wave Rock

Wave Rock

One of the best day trips from Ravensthorpe is definitely Wave Rock. It’s fairly famous as natural rock formations go in Australia. There’s Ayers Rock (aka Uluru) of course and after that… Well, I am not sure what people outside of Australia would have heard of. Some will probably have heard of this place though.

Surf’s Up! Well everyone else was dong it…
Front right and centre…

Wave rock is about a 2 hour drive from Ravensthorpe if you take the direct route. We took a slight detour via small town called Newdegate (see below) so it took us over two and a half hours driving.

On top of the Wave Rock

Views from the top of Wave Rock

I am not sure exactly how water formed the large ocean wave shape into one side of the rock. But it’s one of those things I am quite happy not knowing. It just looks cool and that is more than enough for me on this one.

Dani at Wave Rock. A sense of scale

Nearby is the so called Hippos Yawn rock formation. That’s the good thing about this place. You may not know (or care) exactly how the geological formations were made but at least it’s pretty obvious where they got their names from.

Dani at Hippos Yawn rock

More Silo Art at Newdegate

On the way to Wav Rock we stopped at the small farming town of Newdegate. The reason? Well, it has more from the WA Public Silo Art Trail. This is about 400km south-east (ish) of Perth and the best part of 200km from the south coast.

These silos were painted by Brenton See, the same artist who painted the mural on the Norseman visitors centre (see here for that one). For me these were the best silos we had seen so far in WA – from an art point of view. If you check the Norseman mural you can definitely see it is by the same artist.

Rabbit Cemetery

The rabbit proof fence is well known in Australia. The rabbit is basically frowned upon in Australia – and rightly so. A non-native species that had completely taken over parts of the country and run amok causing havoc and ruin. See this rabbit post from almost two years ago in case you missed it.

To combat the spread of the fluffy big eared vermin, the government erected the Rabbit Proof Fence in the early 20th century. When the 1,139-mile fence was finished, it was the world’s longest unbroken fence. It’s one of those immense human construction projects that goes under the radar but is still a tremendous achievement.

So this next place took us somewhat by surprise. In between Wave Rock and Ravensthorpe in the tiny town of Varley we came across the Rabbit Cemetery.

The Rabbit Cemetery, Varley, WA

This curious little feature was made to commemorate the bunnies who met their demise in the fence’s barbed wires and acres of chicken wire. The local community made the effort, and the deceased rabbits live on in handmade headstones and beautiful mosaic tributes at this unique and comical memorial. Flowers and colourful stuffed rabbit toys line the “graves”. The fence behind the small cemetery is actually a section of the original Rabbit Proof Fence; a stark reminder to try better in the future and not introduce non-native species to fragile ecosystems.

Well, I guess I have covered my fair share of human pioneer/historical cemeteries in this blog. So it’s only fair to give this unique eccentricity a mention…

Note: For those interested and who have not yet read about the historic pioneer cemeteries we have visited simply type in “cemetery” in the search bar on this website and take a look through the results.

Ravensthorpe. An Unexpected Bonus

Try as we might we couldn’t find accommodation in Esperance so only spent a short time there (see here.) Incredibly we couldn’t find anything anywhere near Esperance but finally found a motel with vacancies in the little town of Ravensthorpe – some 2 hours drive west of Esperance!

But it turned out to be a surprisingly good place to stay. Apart from being a nice little town with a few of its own surprises, Ravensthorpe proved to be a good base for some interesting places to visit…

The Big Lollipop

Yes it’s another one of those “Bigs of Australia”. And this one does appear on most of those type of lists. Clearly not a real lollipop but definitely a big one!

This is at the Yummylicious Candy Shack right on the main high street (Route 1) through the town centre. Impossible to miss really. The shop wasn’t open when we were in the area (bank holidays etc) but the sight of the Big Lollipop is free anyway…

It was a great idea by the owners of the sweet shop to put their town of “Ravy” on the map. They also applied for a Guinness World Record but were disqualified because the material of the lollipop was made of two materials — aluminium and steel — instead of one. Who knew that the Guinness World Records people were such sticklers eh? Nobody in Ravensthorpe cares though as their lollipop is 100mm bigger in diameter than what the actual world record stands at. This is definitely a ‘moral victory’ type world record.

Ravensthorpe Silo Art  

At the western end of town these silos are part of the WA Public Silo Art Trail. This silo art celebrates the six different stage of the flowering cycle of this species of Banksia:  from flower buds, to full bloom, to seedpods developing, drying out and opening. One stage painted per side on each of the three silos.

It took 31 days, 338 litres of paint for Fremantle-based, Dutch-born artist Amok Island to complete.

Lithium – The New Gold?

Even here in a rural farmland setting, mining is everywhere. And just outside Ravensthorpe is a large mine for one of the most important minerals of our time – Lithium. This is possibly the mineral of the moment, given its use in the manufacture of batteries used in electric vehicles and storage for the other new ‘big things’ like solar power systems.

It’s the kind of mine that should have a big impact on Ravensthorpe. Ensuring the town’s wealth and growth for the foreseeable future. Well, time will tell I guess. Various other mines have come and gone – and returned – in this area.

The Lithium mine outside Ravensthorpe

Already improving the local infrastructure with new roads being built

More Artwork – Farm Gate Art Trail

Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council have been running a project called the ‘Farm Gate Art Trail’ with over 30 locations displaying some odd and very good sculptures. They have  mainly been crafted from scrap metal found around the farms. We never really tried to follow the ‘trail’ but could not really avoid some of the works.  Here are a few examples that we came across…

Classic striped tea set. What do they call this design? Cornishware?
Pour me a cuppa lad
Seen in the centre of Ravensthorpe
The framer in this place clearly likes motorbikes
Another fine work of large scale art

Coming up in future posts…

Coming up in the next post: Trips from Ravensthorpe to Wave Rock, Fitzgerald River National Park and Hopetoun…

Another bonus of staying in Ravensthorpe was that we were already that bit closer to our next destination. Albany. You can check out our time in Albany in forthcoming posts.

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Kalgoorlie to Esperance

We had planned to stay in Esperance. The small coastal town on the south coast of WA facing the Antarctic Ocean – aka The Great Australian Bight. The problem was that there was nothing available. Seriously nothing! Everything was booked up including caravans and camp grounds. We had to look elsewhere and as it happens that turned out OK. More on that to come however.

The Road South

The trip from Kalgoorlie to the south coast passes several mining areas. It is not as deserted as it looks on (say) google maps. There is a train line (servicing the mine areas) which follows most of the route. The drive can be considered in two parts. First, route 94 to the crossroads town of Norseman. From there we picked up the Aussie circular highway – Route 1, that goes all the way around the continent – and dropped directly south into Esperance. The question has to be: Who’s not going to stop off in a town called Norseman? Eh?


The curiously named Norseman sits about half way between Kalgoorlie and Esperance and is a genuine crossroads town. For Esperance continue south on Route 1. But this is also the start of The Eyre Highway, the 1,600km section of Route 1 linking Western Australia and South Australia via the famed Nullarbor Plain.

Norseman is another mining town (what else in this harsh environment) but where does that name come from? I had no idea before we stopped there as I deliberately didn’t research that question. My first thought was some viking link – however tenuous that may seem. Well the Vikings supposedly reached North America long before Columbus right? But Australia?! And so far inland? No that really would be a stretch. And so it proved. This town is named after an animal. Norseman was a horse!

Statue of Norseman. The horse that the town was named after.

Today there are a number of small goldmining operations in the area but only the Central Norseman Gold Corporation is a major producer. Gold was first found in the Norseman area in 1892, about 10 km south of the town, near Dundas. Then, in August 1894, Lawrence Sinclair,  (together with his brother George Sinclair and Jack Alsopp) discovered a rich gold reef which Sinclair (originally from the Shetland Isles) named after his horse, Hardy Norseman.

Once this area was the second-richest goldfield in Western Australia, next to the Golden Mile of Kalgoorlie. The Norseman Gold Mine is said to be Australia’s longest continuously running gold mining operation. Now the town has a population of about 1,000.

Mural at the visitor’s centre
Norseman Town Hall
Norseman Post Office
The street signs have a horse in Norseman
The Camel Roundabout honours the “ship of the desert” with tin camel sculptures
The centre of Norseman was completely deserted. Well, it was New Year’s Day!


Esperance is a pleasant enough seaside town. We arrived around midday so had some lunch and then took a stroll around the town. The highlights here however lie just outside of town.

Esperance is a working port with beaches and safe swimming areas

If you only pass through Esperance (which we basically did) you have to travel along the Great Ocean Drive. Dramatic cliff top views of some of the best and whitest beaches in WA.

Some of the spectacular scenery and fabulous beaches found along the Great Ocean Drive

It was partly cloudy when we stopped at most of these beaches yet the sea still appeared impossible shades of blue.

I really wanted to spend more time in the area but sadly we could not find accommodation anywhere near. But, we did find some at a place 187 km away (best part of 2 hours drive) in the very small town of Ravensthorpe. And that is where we went next…

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Gold Mining Ghost Towns in Western Australia

As mentioned in previous posts, Western Australia (WA) is a state littered with mines. Gold, nickel, lithium, iron ore, coal. You name it, they mine it, in that enormous state that makes up one third of Australia. Many are still operational and in very remote settings. Others are near well established towns (Kalgoorlie/Boulder is a good example). While yet more are long since closed but their mark remains in the form of the old town that was left behind (Read about Coolgardie here for example). Often referred to as ghost-towns, there are quite a few examples not too far from Kalgoorlie.

Old communities and mines old & new.


Once a thriving gold mining town of up to 10,000 people Menzies now has a population of around 100. It is located 133 kilometres (83 mi) north-northwest of Kalgoorlie. It still has many well preserved buildings. There are plenty of old and working mines between Kal and Menzies as well as other mineral mines just off the Goldfields Highway. The Paddington gold mine being the most prominent. Right beside the town itself is the oddly named Robinson Crusoe mine – long since closed.

Welcome to Menzies…

Gold was discovered in the area in 1894 by Leslie Robert Menzies, a Canadian-born prospector. It was a rich gold find, and in 1895 the town was established named in Menzies’ honour. By 1896 it had become a municipality. A railway line was constructed from Kalgoorlie to Menzies and opened on 22 March 1898. By 1900, Menzies had a population of approximately 10,000 with thirteen hotels and two breweries.

Menzies Town Hall

The town hall was completed in 1901. The hall tower remained without a clock for over 100 years. The original clock was lost in the wreck of the RMS Orizaba off Garden Island in 1905. The clock you can see in the photo was only installed fairly recently to celebrate the new millennium in 2000.

The gold rush lasted for about 10 years and by 1905 most of the miners had left town to try their luck elsewhere. By 1910 the population of the town had declined to less than 1,000. But gold mining continues in and around Menzies to the present day. 

Menzies Cemetery

Here we go again folks. Another old pioneer cemetery. This one is located north east of the town and apparently is one of the largest of the ‘goldrush’ cemeteries, Many of the graves are of typhoid victims.

Menzies Cemetery. Another stark piece of history.

Some graves in all of these places appear to have had a lot more money spent on them than others. Some are just the most basic of headstones (if even that) while there are plenty of examples of separately fenced memorials. Then I noticed these two examples of the latter…

These two graves really made me think. That old saying…

For me it immediately brings to mind that well used old phrase about money: You can’t take it with you. But more than that these two examples say to me that it actually doesn’t matter how much money you have when you are alive. None of it matters. I guess the only thing that really matters is keeping out of these places for as long as possible. Eventually your grave will be in complete disrepair no matter how much money you have. It’s just a case of when. And nobody will be around to care. Apart, perhaps, from the occasional, philosophical old dad like me, who just happens to be passing through…

These places remind you that infant mortality was high in these harsh environment

The Goldfields Highway (aka route 49 ) passes right through the middle of Menzies. The railway still passes through the Menzies station. these are working trains however not passenger services. We actually witnessed quite a lot of railway activity even in this remote setting.

Menzies station is closed but the railway is still big part in this area thanks to mining
The Goldfields Highway runs right through the centre of Menzies

Broad Arrow and Ora Banda

Broad Arrow is a ghost town. It literally has a single pub (the Broad Arrow Tavern) surrounding by remnants of a once-thriving gold mining community. The one building is the Broad Arrow Tavern which was built in 1896 and is considered an authentic outback pub.

The pub is famous for all the names written on the walls, doors and even the side of the bar. Basically any space available has been signed but visitors. You get the feeling that if you stayed long enough you would recognise some of the names.

Broad Arrow Tavern. A real outback pub
Bar and outside views. There’s even a stage for live music
Did you ever put your name on these walls or doors?

Unfortunately we were not able to add our names to the thousands already written. The owners no longer allow you to scribble your name and message. There simply is no space left. The pub put a stop to the practice in 2020 due to people putting inappropriate things as well as writing over existing signatures. People just can’t behave eh? But that does not stop you enjoying a refreshing cold beer and sampling the famous Broady burger.

It looks like the dining room is the only area that escaped the graffiti

Ora Banda is a 20 minutes drive west of Broad Arrow and is another similarly deserted ghost town.

In 1895 the Weston brothers (who had been tea planters in Ceylon) established the Ora Banda mine after which the town is named. By 1910 there were over 2,000 miners in the area which resulted in the construction of a town hall, a post office, a police station, stores, butchers shops and boarding houses. Many of the town’s buildings were constructed of timber and consequently they have either rotted away or been removed. The only intact buildings left were the Ora Banda Historical Inn and the Government Battery. Originally known simply as the Ora Banda Historical Inn the old brick pub was constructed in 1911. It was closed in 1958. Then between 1958 and 1981 it was vandalised but it was revitalised in 1981. It closed again in 2000 but reopened in 2002. For years it was a popular spot for a day out with a few beers and pub meal. Then most recently a fire has virtually destroyed this once proud building. Will it be rebuilt? I hope so.

The burnt remains of the Ora Banda Historical Inn

Did someone ask ‘Just How Big is WA’?

Incidentally, here are some interesting comparisons between the UK, Spain and WA. Using our trusty old friend the mapfight website here are the comparisons…

Western Australia is 10 times as big as the UK
WA is five times bigger than Spain 

Swimming Carnival 2023

This week was the annual swimming carnival (I still have to say “gala” – sorry). Last year it was not a full on gala due to there still being covid restrictions – ugh, spit!!!. No more mention of that. Promise. This year the weather seemed changeable and that is exactly how it turned out. Rain to begin then a fair amount of sun with the odd clouds. But it all went ahead as planned and the kids were excited to be back at the wonderful Drummoyne Swimming Centre. An historical Olympic sized pool. It is just over three years since Dani’s first experience of this event. And here are two photos to compare, now and then…

Dani now (2023)

Dani back in 2020

He hardly seems to have grown LOL. But of course he has…

So, how did he do? Well, he came 7th (out of 8) in the freestyle race. That sounds bad but the winner was well ahead of the pack and the eighth placed swimmer was well behind. there really was only a few seconds between 2nd and 7th places. But he was disappointed. Understandably I guess.

He missed the backstroke – don’t ask how! Obviously not paying attention to the announcements. It does get chaotic at times but still… So, he tried to make amends in the breaststroke competition. He actually did quite well. Again the winner was way out in front and there was not much between 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Hardly anything between 3rd and 4th. Dani finished 4th but I honestly think he could have finished 3rd if he hadn’t spent part of the final 20 metres looking around at the other competitors. Not really a problem as now he has seen the footage he knows he can improve. That’s the main thing to take away from this day. He was a lot happier after his effort in the breaststroke.

Just for context, Dani clocked just over 1 minute (62 seconds) for the 50m freestyle. Not very good but not bad. Yet the school record for that event for that age group is just under 37 seconds! Now that is a bloody good time. As if that is not good enough, the girl’s record for that age group is even better at just over 33 seconds! Incredible eh?

Anyway, here is a quick video – mostly a series of photos taken from the opposite side of the pool – with footage of his two races. Apologies up front, as for some reason the quality is not good. Not sure why, but take a look. Enjoy…

Swimming Carnival 2023 – brief recap