Up Up and Away!
Story and Photography by Colin Kerr
Copyright © On The Road Magazine 2001. Any unauthorised use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.
Peer skywards to see the best of West Australia's tall timber county
early years saw small rough timber towns springing up everywhere, and huge
timber jinkers could be heard creaking their way through the forests.
the years the rough shanty towns started to take on a more permanent look
and it seemed nothing could stop this prosperous timber operation from
going on forever but virtually stop it did. World War I and the Great
Depression of the early 30s saw the whole of the timber operation on its
more homes being built from brick, and timber railway sleepers being
replaced by steel and concrete, the appetite of the community for timber
had taken a breather. But timber towns were not to die altogether, and
some of the larger settlements and the
a more balanced approach to managing the forests with reforestation
programs set up in the 1950s and 60s, and modern equipment being installed
into the mills, an orderly rejuvenation of the West's timber towns was
well on the way.
a visit to this part of Australia reflects the new and the old. Some of
the old settlements have been taken over by the forest, and there are no
bullock-drawn timber jinkers lumbering through the bush. There is
memorabilia everywhere indoor and outdoor museums, and relics of the past.
The larger timber towns now have a modern look about them, with new homes
springing up, shops opening and high-tech equipment churning away in the
mills still standing on the edge of town.
But for all this modernisation, they are unmistakably timber towns and always will be. Many old mill workers cottages, long-abandoned, have now been restored and some public halls built in a bygone era have been brought back to life.
life is more diversified and new industries are being established, but
their allegiance to timber lives on wood turners, wood sculptors and
craftsmen abound, satisfying a new demand for the timbers that these folk
know so well.
much of WAs giant karri, jarrah, marri and tingle tree country has been
visitors to explore and enjoy. The famous 640km Bibbulmun walking track from Perth to Walpole winds its way through sections of the forest.
stand or to walk among some of these giants is a humbling experience.
Some may be 1000 years old, some measure over 80 metres in height and
weigh up to 200 tonnes!
At Dwellingup a Forestry Centre has been opened, giving visitors an excellent eye-opener to the world of timber and outside walk trails, and another tree top boardwalk has also been established. In any visit to WA's south-west, don't miss these fascinating attractions.