To Perth via York

Friday, 28th of June 2013
When I ventured outside on this Friday morning, one of my shoes was missing. No real hardship – it was a cheap Croc imitation. Still quite annoying – I can’t hop along with only one shoe. I talked to a nearby camper who had a dog. I wasn’t actually accusing the dog, just enquired whether the dog might have brought back a shoe. I mentioned that I knew dingoes were known to pick up shoes. He thought it was more likely to be a fox. Who knows – the shoe is gone.

Changing into a different pair of shoes we headed of towards the west. There was a geocache at the Pink Lake, Quairading.

Situated 11km east of Quairading on the Bruce Rock Road the Pink Lake is regarded locally as a natural phenomenon. At certain times of the year one side of the lake has a distinctive pink colour, where as the other side remains blue. The road has divided the lake into two separate hydrological systems with an algal bloom evident in one section.

Well not at the time we drove past the lake.
(Lesley’s photo)

(Lesley’s photo)

The cache was not where our GPS indicated – with a bit of detective work we eventually found it.
(Lesley’s photo)

Once again a spot we probably would have driven past and that on closer inspection provided some interesting views.

The next geocache along the way was near a cemetery. Most of the graves in it are from the Penny Family. The geocache description of K & C 079 – Henry Penny reads as follows.

The Penny Family

Henry Penny Senior of Green Hills Farm from which the township 24 km from York takes its name, was born at Bowerchalk near Salisbury Wiltshire, England in 1835. In his twenty-first year Henry Penny came to Australia, arriving in Fremantle on the ship “Berkshire” the trip extending over 103 days.

He made his way to the Avon Valley and had his early colonial experiences working on a farm at Katrine near Northam and later at Tipperary, York a property owned by Samuel Burges Esq. Originally he leased a small farm of 40 acres and added to his income by working in the flourishing sandalwood industry. In 1867 he was in a position to seek a larger holding and secured 200 acres of the pastoral lease of the Parker Bros. He thus formed the nucleus of the fine farming estate so prominent in the Greenhills District today. A true pioneer of agriculture, he added to his holdings and surrounded his fine shingle-roofed Georgian Homestead and farm buildings with over 200 acres. At the property today rest the remains (and receipt) for a Sunshine harvester purchased in 1903 for the sum of one hundred and seven pence. It was the sixteenth “Sunshine” produced in Australia and came to Greenhills from Melbourne. Henry Penny’s business interests included many shops in the nearby township of Northam.

Mr Penny was one of the founders and the first chairman of the Greenhills Road Board and was an active participant in all affairs of public concern. He was a key figure in the erection of an Agricultural Hall which was the first institution of its kind in Western Australia. The Church of England was built in 1882 and Mr Penny played a leading role in securing the extension of the railway to this district.

Mr Penny returned to his homeland may times, on occasions taking his daughters for up to six months at a time. No doubt they were very much loved and admired by those in England and daughter Leah Penny from her marriage to Charles Mills produced Beryl, a beautiful young lady who in 1926 was crowned the first Miss Australia. Whilst in England Mr Penny bought equipment such as boots, ploughs and spades to sell to those on their way to the Goldfields as Greenhills was the main route at that time.

The Government Gazette of 1891 notes that Sir John Forrest came to Greenhills to look at the extension of the railway. “By this time the encomiums of the visitors had left nothing further to be said in praise of Green Hills as a ploughman’s paradise. Then turning again onto the main road at its junction with the route to Boonmull and past the new foundations for the Agricultural Hall and a hundred yards further and we were in the hospitable gates of Mr Penny’s homestead where Mrs Penny and her lady friends had prepared a sumptuous repast…”

Green Hills Farm is now called Korrawilla. It is a vast land holding of many thousands of acres and is farmed by the fifth generation of the Penny family. As keenly committed to agricultural advancement and community life as Mr Henry Penny Senior the present Penny family is well known and highly respected for their astute farming practises and determined preservation of historic buildings and sites. Korrawilla is recognised by the National Trust and is on the Heritage Register of Australia. Tourist coaches bring travellers to see the Homestead and stables which are in good condition. A shingle roof is still on the North wing under a new roof.

The notable pioneer’s descendants, Mr Henry Graham Penny and his son Henry Simon Penny now use modern farming practises to run Korrawilla as a traditional wheat and sheep property.

The cemetery is in a beautiful location under tall gum trees.

There are two graves of Henry Penny – not sure which Henry Penny the geocache description refers to.

The cemetery is along a road typical of the roads we have been travelling along in this area. Very good roads flanked by very tall gum trees.

I remember York as an interesting town with lots of historical buildings and a good atmosphere. I was glad to see that this town in the Avon Valley is still similar to my memories. The town hall is a great building.

The pub next door is a completely different style – still it is a grand building reminding us of the past of this town. York was the first inland town to be established in Western Australia, after Perth and Fremantle it actually was the third town to be established in Western Australia.

I am not sure why York has such an association with motoring. We found the York Motor Museum, there is a Bugatti Cafe and there were banners up along the main street advertising a motor meet on the following weekend.

We watched this old timer being pushed out of a storage area next to the old fire station, I guess it was to be displayed in the Motor Show.

Please note the Ferrari symbol on the guys jacket.

Some areas have been built in the old style and they integrate well with the rest of the town. They house trendy coffee shops and other businesses.

We decided to have lunch at Jules Cafe, a cafe that serves a variety of lunches. We both decided on a vegan dish. Lesley had a plate of mushrooms and I had a plate of Falafel with salads. All vegan. Delicious.

We continued to explore the town.

I wonder whether we would qualify…

After leaving York, we passed the turnoff to Chidlow, a place where I used to live. I decided it was a place I wanted to visit without the caravan. We soon arrived at the descent from the Darling Range, a descent that suggests low gear for trucks and I always feel I should follow this advice when towing the Kedron Caravan. Lesley was quite surprised to find this steep descent. She had not realised that there was such a difference in height above sea level before descending into the Swan Valley.

We had booked into the Keswick Convention Centre – a Christian Centre that offers caravan sites to travellers. After being mislead by the GPS (or was it my fault of providing the wrong number?) we arrived at the centre and found a pleasant site in a large area with few caravans/motorhomes.

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2 Responses to To Perth via York

  1. Peter Wigant says:

    Dear Lesley and Erich,

    Did you by any chance stay at the “Settlers House” in York and were you respectable enough? We love to follow your journey and the pictures are very impressive. Hope to see you either in Alice or when you’re back in Brisbane.

    Peter and Denise

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