Camels have played a huge part in the history of the Outback and everywhere we have been from the North to the South and now here in the mid west, there have been heroic tales of explorers and pastoralists with teams of camels opening up the country. Here, in Norseman, south of Kalgoorlie, the animals are honoured in corrugated iron statues in the middle of the main street of the town.
Norseman is a small mining town at the very start of the drive across the Nullarbor Plain which is a flat, almost treeless, semi arid country stretching 1,100km from east to west.
The town was named after a horse called “Norseman” and belonging to a gold prospector named Laurie Sinclair. He tied his horse to a tree near his camp one night and noticed in the morning that the horse had been pawing the ground making a hole in which he uncovered a piece of gold bearing quartz. Over the years gold has been mined here – once it was the second richest goldfield in Western Australia and today the Norseman Gold Mine is Australia’s longest continuously running gold mining operation and has been in operation for 78 years.
Beacon Hill Lookout gives a wonderful overview of the countryside around Norseman with 360 degree views. We drove up and enjoyed a picnic lunch before starting the Nullarbor Crossing.
Then we began the drive which was take us two days. Along here is Australia’s longest straight road
As well we had to watch for native animals and the very long road trains.
The Flying Doctor uses part of the road as an airstrip in emergencies and we came across several of these.
About 100km east of Norseman we found our lodgings for the night at the beautiful Fraser Range Station which is a working cattle station as well as providing tourist accommodation in the form of cabins, caravan park and camping grounds. The station is surrounded by the largest hardwood forest in the world.
We had a cabin which was very comfortable and from which we could watch a glorious sunset and several wildlife visitors – emus, wallabies and lots of birds.
Taking a walk around the property we came across “Mr Squiggle” the pet camel whose best friend was a young steer!
And the baby camel was too cute!
We had a station dinner and a nightcap before bed with the prospect of more of the straight road in the morning!
And this is the gorgeous station garden on this treeless plain.