|Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
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16 May 2006 - Perth to Dalwallinu
We were already on the northern side of the Perth metropolitan area and were quickly out of Perth on the Great Northern Road heading north. There was not much traffic going in our direction but there were many road-trains and B-doubles going the other way. The terrain gradually became drier with sheep and wheat common. Grain storages are a sure sign of a grain producing area and we saw the first of these about 85 km from Perth.
We stopped at New Norcia, described as a "Monastic town". The entire township (except the roadhouse/petrol station) is part of the Benedictine monastery complex established in 1846 with a strong Spanish flavour to the architecture of the churches. Older monastery buildings are on the Northern Highway and there is still a working monastery set back a little from the highway; older church buildings are being used for conferences, weddings, etc.
|One of the many New Norcia buildings lining the highway.|
|New Norcia monastary is also a working sheep farm.|
By the time we reached New Norcia the terrain was gently undulating at about 300 metres elevation and heavily into cropping with some grazing. There are rarely houses visible from the road, an occasional grain storage bin is about the only structure visible apart from some windmills. Occasional patches of mallee grow near the road and quite solid linear patches of trees line several grain paddocks. In some places gum trees have been planted in long lines three or four trees wide - presumably windbreaks (or possibly salt control??)
Our destination for the day was Dalwallinu which advertised the only caravan park in this part of Western Australia. About 35 km from the township we entered the Shire of Dalwallinu which proclaims itself as "The Wheat Shire" and "Gateway to the World of Wattles". The claim to be the wheat shire is supported by continual crop land on both sides of the Highway until we reached the town of Dalwallinu (population 720). Mean annual rainfall for Dalwallinu is 359 mm and rainfall decreases further north; we must be near the edge of wheat growing by now as we head into semi-arid areas. This is wheat planting time in Western Australia but planting has been delayed for lack of rainfall; not surprisingly the soil looks dry and powdery.
|Wheat land at the edge of Dalwallinu.|