Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
26-27 May 2006 - Tom Price

Location map In the morning I did a tour of the Hamersley Iron open cut mine at Tom Price (Mary stayed at the A-liner). This tour was clearly supported by the company which had very good information displays set up at the lookouts over the open cut mine and the processing area. The bus appeared to be allowed to wander around the works without limitation. I suspect the driver was a former employee or had devoted so much effort to understanding how the mine worked that the company trusted him not to put the bus in a dangerous place. The ore crushers were not operating (for unknown reasons) when we arrived so the dump trucks were idle; just for our tour one dump truck drove to the current working face and the front end loader loaded up to show us how it was done. Before we left at least one crusher began operating so dump trucks started moving around the mine. As we were leaving we went past the loading area where, by chance, a train was loading; the driver said this was unusual but he made the most of the opportunity. We drove to a good vantage point beside the train and watched while the ore was loaded into trucks as the train crawled past at a regular half a kilometre an hour.

I spent much of the afternoon removing red dust from the A-liner and Territory. Cleaning the Territory completely is not a high priority (as long as heaps of accummulated dust are removed), because the vehicle doesn't look too bad with the red dust on the green paint scheme. But the van looks horrible with red smears and dust on the white surface; we noticed while in Karijini that white caravans looked badly travel-worn when they had red dust on them. At about 2:30 I picked up the repaired Territory tyre, $25 to have the hole made by a screw in Perth repaired. Replacing the spare wheel in its stowage under the back of the Territory is not something to be done wearing good clothes; I had to sit on the ground and push the wheel onto the cradle using my feet.

On Saturday afternoon, Mary watched ARL football on television while I went up the walking track up Mount Nameless (top is at 1016 metres, bottom is at 770 metres). This wasn't really a walking track, it was a climb and scramble, sometimes up near vertical rock holding on to the metal handrail; then straight up a steep hill. Good view from the top.
loading ore Iron-ore being loaded into a dump truck after being loosened by blasting
Open cut mine The open-cut iron-ore mine at Tom Price.
Piles of ore Iron-ore piled up after initial processing at the mine ready to be loaded onto railway trucks and carried to the coast.
Acacia on Mt Nameless Distinctive acacia on Mt Nameless, near Tom Price
Headwaters West from Mt Nameless over the headwaters of rivers flowing to the Indian Ocean
Ridges Ridges of tilted rock strata near Mt Nameless, Tom Price.