Day 249 – 254 15/1 – 20/1 Willowbrook

Well the weather finally caught up with us. We haven’t had any rain since we left so it was only a matter of time. The low pressure system left over from Cyclone Joyce decided to go past & dump a lot of rain. We stayed at Jurien Bay an extra day so we didn’t drive in the torrential rain.

We finally made it to Willowbrook Farm which is 90km north of Perth. Lovely little farm which dates back to the 1850’s. Found a nice spot, lucky the neighbours were quiet. They were the family of the original owners.2018 16 Jan_9126

There were some interesting animals on the farm. The Texas Long Horn whilst looking fierce has a great temperament.

Even Billy found a new friend.2018 18 Jan_9275

Lots of other animals.

I got bitten by a duck!2018 16 Jan_9110

If you have ever watched Dr Dolittle they even had a “push me pull u”.2018 18 Jan_9265_edited-1

These are called “28” parrots because the call they make sounds like the number 28. In the right hand side photo they are sitting in a really old mulberry tree. Ah, the memories of mulberry fights in the backyard at Grandma’s.

We went looking for some Bighead & found ourselves at a place called Two Rocks & found these. Tried to get to the big statue but lots of fences & signs saying private property. As it turned out it has a very interesting story. In 1980 Alan Bond built a theme park called “Atlantis”. It was going to be the “Gold Coast” of Perth. The Atlantis statue was the icon. It was surrounded by a theme park & aquarium. They caught 9 wild dolphins & trained them. These dolphins then had 4 babies, the laws at the time meant they had to build a bigger pool. This & declining profit saw the park close in 1991. For nearly 25 years it sat derelict. In 2015 the council & developer (that purchased the land) refurbished the Atlantis statue. Since then nothing has happened.

Guilderton is on the coast 20km away. Nice spot, it has one of the newest (1983) Lighthouses built in Australia. It is all brick.

Down the road from the Caravan Park is West Coast Honey. They are the biggest honey producers in WA & have over 2,500 hives all over WA. What I didn’t know is that they regularly move the hives around following the flowering of different plant species. As always we indulged in the Honey Ice Cream, Creamed Honey & their latest batch from the Goldfields.2018 21 Jan_9367

We spent a great day at New Norcia (I survived another encounter with the dark side). It is a Benedictine community located 130km north of Perth. It was started by monks from Spain in 1847. Lots of really nice architecture to see. We learnt a lot about the Benedictines:-

  • Norcia is named after the birth place of St Benedictine in Spain (who had a twin sister
  • Monk is the plural, individuals are called Dom
  • there are currently only 10 Monks in residence. There were 80 at one stage
  • they live by 73 rules
  • they pray 6 times a day (3 hours), during meals they do not talk but listen to a reading from another monk.
  • to become a Dom you need to spend a year as a Novitate, then 3 years as a temporary Dom.
  • After 4 years they can decide to become a priest (able to take Mass) or just continue their monastic life (I like this as they lead a religious life without trying to impact others).
  • when they are accepted they give up all their worldly goods
  • there is a long history of teaching Aboriginals, orphanages & boarding schools at New Norcia (stolen generation, child sex abuse, etc)
  • they have struggled in recent years but have turned to tourism as a source of funds.
  • Lots of other stuff we forgot. Go there.

The current pub was built in 1927 as a hostel for parents of the boarding school. The Queen of Spain (Maria Christina of Austria) funded the building & died shortly before she was due to visit her building in 1929. They brew their own beer which is 7.3% alcohol. They also bake their own bread, press olives & make port.

2018 18 Jan_9254
New Norcia Hotel





Not a bad drop. $95 a carton!

The tree on the left is a Cacao tree which is at least 150 years old & the one on the right is an olive tree which is over 100 years old.




This are only four of these pipe organs in the world. When it arrived it was too big to fit into church so they had to build an extension. It is the brick part in right hand side photo.

Just down the road is a satellite tracking station owned by the European Space Agency. This & two others in South America & Spain track all the satellites the ESA launch.

On the last night we had a tour of the Gravity Discovery & Observatory. We got to look at lots of stars that I cannot pronounce through 6 different telescopes. We also saw lots of satellites flashing past & were well entertained by the nerdy staff. Much of what they told us was very interesting. Other parts were in a language that I do not understand (Astrospeak). There are lots of stars & they are a long way away. It is difficult to imagine how many there are!

One thing we will remember is the Aboriginal version of Orion. We were shown a constellation that looks like an Echidna.

We are now at Mandurah (80km south of Perth) where we will be based for the next month. Ulrika is heading back to Brisbane for 5 days to see the kids. I’m getting the caravan serviced & hopefully having a game of golf. We are then on a houseboat for 5 days & in between times doing a heap of sight-seeing around Perth.

I also got my Xmas present. An Electric bike! It is nearly as quick as the scooter.2018 20 Jan_9366

Quote of the Week

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

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