Day Three Monday 25/09/2006
We all slept extremely well after being in bed very early & quite exciting so we were away about 8-00. Not far along we came across two more tanks 100ks from Norseman, 50ks would be a good days work with the horses so we figure this would be where they camped on trips to town.
Drove straight past the Fraser Range road as Tim was speeding (about 20kph) so I had to stop him as the computer GPS shouted at me to go back – it was an amazing tool. Fraser Range road was no better as there had been a fire through. When it is burnt nothing existing survives, all the trees are dead but the regrowth is phenomenal, this is why there are so many trees on the road. Stopped at a rock waterhole for a look. This spot would have been amazing for droving as the Fraser Range road goes for miles, the rock hole was built up with rocks to help it hold more water. What a wonderful sight when we found the Western gate to Southern Hills, about 10-30 now & we are here, it feels like such an achievement.
Not far inside the property we came across a hill which we climbed & added a rock as Tom would have done. In the distance we could see Mt Malcolm so it gave us a good idea of the size & location of the station. Excitement rising now as we are looking for the homestead, Don looking at the map Barry looking at the computer, Don & Barry arguing which way to go, as it turned out we got to know the roads very well & either way would have done. The Southern Hills road in was graded & like a highway & then we came across a miners camp so we were starting to get the gist of current day happenings. Not much further we could see a very large cleared area (100s acres) with the shearing shed in the distance on the hill & what looked like the statue of an enormous camel, then it ran off so we figured it wasn’t a statue after all. Turned off the highway into the homestead & here we are, first thing we noticed was prickles everywhere.
The homestead site was very much visible, although sadly the house has burnt down. In later years they have obviously built asbestos shearing quarters up against the back veranda & they are still standing, although rather scorched from the fire. We found the blacksmiths shop but no building remains. The shearing shed has been rebuilt but they have retained many of the old features like bush timber for the fleece bays & two very old wool presses. All the yards remain & are intact, the dip could be used immediately. East of the homestead are more remains of a house but looks like it was built later, we had lunch under a tree beside an old windmill. Went for a drive South then as we had arrived from the North West & before Mt Malcolm was the mine, hundreds of thousands perhaps millions of dollars worth of machinery just sitting, it almost looks like the place is in receivership. Had a good look around but decided we would catch up with Derek Louwe tomorrow as he will be arriving from Perth to do some work at the mine. Had a bit more of a look around the station at the mills & dams but most are dry so back to homestead to find a place to set up camp.
There seemed to be less prickles near where we had lunch so found a nice spot there at the base of the rocky outcrop, there has been a lot of work put in here trapping water. As the water runs down the rock face they have built catchments to steer the water into small dams. One spot would have been deep enough to swim in & we feel that would be the one Norah refers to in her story. Spent a lot more time poking around the house & sheds before an early night, we feel great tonight as we have made it.