We left Margaret River by 8.00 am on Monday and headed south to Albany.
It was difficult driving for the first hour or so as we were facing into the low sun, but one unintended benefit was that the sun highlighted lots of spider webs on the roadside fences and bushes. At one place, we stopped to photograph some of the webs that had been spun on a farm fence. I grabbed one of the wires to steady myself only to realize that it was an electrified. Not only did I get a real jolt, I ended up with very wet feet from the dew on the grass.
At Pemberton, we stopped to see the old tramway and the famous Gloucester Tree in the Karri (Eucalyptus Diversaflora) forest. This tree is over 50 metres high and can be climbed on a series of iron rods that have been plugged into the tree in the form of a giant circular staircase. We marvelled at a group of about ten Asian students who had climbed the tree to the very top and were posing for photos on the way down. The thing that was surprising to us, was that in Victoria this type of forest would be found in the mountains, yet here the landscape was relatively flat.
The remainder of the road to Albany took us though many kilometers of forest and tall trees. We passed through a series of small towns, including Walpole and Denmark, and then took a scenic road around the coast for the last thirty kilometres into Albany.
We began our second day in town with a visit to the Light Horse memorial on the top of Mt Clarence. This is a replica of an original memorial at Port Said that was destroyed by the Germans in WW2. Not many people know that the initial 30,000 troops of the 1st AIF assembled in Albany before heading off to Gallipoli. Not only that, but one of the three warships that escorted the fleet of about 30 troopships was a Japanese cruiser. I spent an journey, or so, looking around the old fort and it’s collection of guns, naval equipment and museums.
From there, we headed around to the wind farm and then on to the old whaling station. This pretty much looks like an old factory although one of the original whale chasers is now grounded there as a display piece. The whaling station closed relevantly recently in 1978 and had a long history of processing whale products in the days before any ecological thinking had come to the forefront and when whale products made a significant contribution to the economy.
We made our way back to our motel through some of the coastal locations that are part of this stunning and spectacular coastal area.
It was great to be able to catch up with my friend Dianne at night, and enjoy a lovely dinner together. Dianne was one of the party on my walk along the Kokoda Track. She is a writer of children’s books and is just as vibrant and interesting as when we last met. I really enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with her and hear all of her news about her life, family and work.