Day 450 | Nala Mia campsite, Munda Biddi Trail at Jarrahwood: continuing slowly, yes, very slowly

17 km | Heading west total: 16,208 km

Rolling into Jarrahwood this morning I was surprised to see a large purpose built shelter for the Munda Biddi trekkers. Not quite four walls, but not requiring a tent to be unfurled, it looked like an easy day was in order.

The town, make that locality, once centred around a timber mill, there used to be many sprinkled in the forest area, with huge logs coming in on the tram tracks and leaving whittled into sleepers for the export market on the train. That lasted from 1908 to 1982 when the mill was bought out and almost immediately shut down. Too small and the main source of easy money logs was worked out.

So from a hospital, school, post office and two shops we are now down to, err, none of the above.

Most of the houses are gone and of the few remaining only half seem occupied.

Now there’s twice as many dogs and wrecked cars as people. And a lifetime of work for any maintenance crew.

I met a few of the locals. Willie, who looks distinctly like Robinson Crusoe, has been here since 1969 and we talk a bit of personal history and discuss his few chooks and ducks out the back of the house he paid $1000 for back when the mill closed. He’s watched most of the neighbouring dwellings sold and driven off on the backs of trucks.

With the sun going down there’s plenty of axe work and smoke from fires. The roos are emerging from the jarrah forest to nibble on the plentiful grass they keep neatly trimmed. They are highly efficient lawn mowers but tend to leave plenty of little round calling cards. The red tailed black cockatoos are more noisily announcing their presence.

Mark had only been here 15 years and seems to spend his time walking 2 old Irish wolfhounds in between taking the twice daily official weather readings.

I’m glad I stayed to soak up some of the local atmosphere. Jarrahwood hasn’t changed in years and I guess won’t until the loyal inhabitants finally drop from the perch.