Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Bushwalking at Hoffman's Mill, Harvey - Western Australia

Do you like bush-walking? Do you have a favourite walking track? 

I enjoy bush-walking when conditions are not too hot and the wildflowers are blooming. It is always a peaceful way to escape from our usual work-day lives. 

I also like to take photos of wildflowers, and I have always said you can always find something flowering in the Australian bush somewhere. And autumn is no exception.




Last Monday the rain eased and the sun welcomed a beautiful autumn morning. We hadn’t been bush-walking for a while as summer down here really is too hot, but with the arrival of autumn and a rare day to ourselves, we decided to take the opportunity to visit Hoffman’s Mill.  


Please click on "read more" to keep reading and seeing more pics.


Travelling north of Bunbury via the South West Highway we stopped in at the Harvey Visitor Centre to collect some pamphlets about bush-walking trails in the area.  We were told about a wildflower area not far away which evidently is worth a visit in spring (that will wait for another visit).
From Harvey we continued north and then turned east onto Logue Brook Dam Road. The Dam is actually built on Lake Brockman. It is a popular spot particularly for water skiing.  We came here with friends years ago. They tried to teach me to ski – I was hopeless! 

There are two campgrounds – Bush camping (no power & drop toilets) at the Dept Parks & Wildlife campground - DPAW-Logues Brook camping  and camping (with facilities) and huts at the  Lake Brockman Tourist Park 
Below you can see the dam, the camp kitchen and the campsites at the DPAW site.


From here we continued east along Logue Brook Dam Road, and then onto Clarke Road which took us to Hoffmans Mill.

The mill and timber town, New Hoffman, was established in 1919 by Millers Timber and Trading Company. In its heyday before the 1930s Depression it had 35 houses, general store, Post Office, a school with 20-30 students, community hall, tennis court and playing fields. A weekly train brought news, pay packets, supplies, and the doctor to the town. The mill was closed after bush fires destroyed Miller’s Nanga Mill in 1961 and Millers changed their operations.  


Today little remains of the town, but people are free to visit. You can still see evidence of past habitation and the mill, scattered pieces of machinery, and the existence of imported trees including several large fig trees that would have been planted in home gardens. There is an attractive picnic and camping area amongst the trees, with a basic camp kitchen, and flushing toilets.  There is plenty of room to set up if you have a large group and it is ok for caravans, although there is no power.

We sat at one of the picnic tables amongst the trees and ate our lunch before we went for a walk. From the picnic area a walking track crosses the Harvey River via a small wooden bridge and winds its way for three kilometres through the jarrah forest and along the river bank (allow 1 hour). Blue markers let you know you are on the right track.  Part of the way you follow the old rail formations and you can still see jarrah railway sleepers embedded in the track. It was wonderful to see how well the natural bush has regenerated after logging. The track is easy going other than one short uphill section. 

Unfortunately blackberries (an imported plant) have infested the river banks and are almost impossible to eliminate. They are a huge problem along streams throughout the South West. 

Below you can see in this pic some of the old railway sleepers. And in the RH image to remind you to be careful when you are bush-walking - a carpet python - not venomous - but you do need to be careful, you don't know what might be lurking. I wouldn't know what snakes are venomous or not - so best to be wary of them all!

 The banksias were flowering in profusion and the birds were flitting from tree to tree and chirping excitedly enjoying the autumn nectar. According to our guide book Golden Whistlers frequent this area.  We also saw a Robin Red Breast but he wouldn’t stop still long enough to photograph. I love hearing birds when we are out bush-walking. The bird song was in complete contrast to what it would have sounded like in this forest during the logging days. 

My daughter-in-law believes this is a Banksia Littoralis (swamp banksia) - beautiful isn't it? 

We were content to just wander slowly along the track through the sheoaks, banksias and jarrah trees, listening to the birds and enjoying the bush environment. So peaceful and relaxing. The outside world seemed far away.


My husband believes the bird below is a Rufous Whistler - not the more colourful Golden Whistler which evidently lives in this area. I thought I was very lucky to get this pic as I don't have a really long lens for taking bird shots and these birds were darting around everywhere and kept flying from tree to tree as we followed them, not stopping still for long. They are not silly.


I don't remember having visited Hoffman's Mill before, but we decided that it will be worth a camping weekend during spring, however I have since been advised that camping is prohibited between the end of Easter and 1 November. What a pity, as being so close to home it would have been a great weekend getaway spot. Oh well, it is not far for a day visit.

According to the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife, as Hoffman Mill is a water catchment area, they have an agreement with the Water Corporation that it will close for camping during peak catchment period.

From Hoffman’s we decided to drive out along the gravel Harvey-Quindanning Road. A huge bushfire went through here in January and I was keen to see the effects of the fire. The blackened area certainly showed how extensive the bushfire damage was, but already the trees and grass trees (Xanthorrhoea) are sprouting fresh new leaves and fronds.  The bright green was in sharp contrast to the black burnt trunks. You can see the grass tree in the top left image.




Along the road we saw a young echidna crossing the road. I felt a little sorry for him trying to live in this bleak fire devastated area. Some of his quills didn’t look in very good condition, and I hope he hadn’t been burnt trying to escape the fire by burying into the ground or into a log, although he seemed to be walking quite well. 

Particularly devastating along this section was the loss of the historic jarrah Long Gully Bridge, which was completely destroyed in the fire. Because of its location, the severity of the fire front and the thick bush around the bridge fire-fighters were unable to save the bridge, despite it being sprayed with fire retardant and being water bombed from the air. Built in 1949 to service the timber industry, this impressive 128 metre long bridge was part of the Bibbulumun Track which runs from Perth to Albany. The loss of this bridge and the Possum Springs track hut has been devastating to the group.

For more information and images and before and after images of the bridge, please click here - Bibbulmun Track - Long Gully Bridge


The Bibbulmun Track is currently closed and unsafe in this area from Driver Rd (south of Dwellingup) to Harris Dam picnic area near Collie due to the bushfires. The track is also closed between Northcliffe and Mandalay Beach on the South coast due to the January bushfires. Two track huts were destroyed in this section. 

If you are planning to walk on the Bibbulmun Track please go to their website for updates - Bibbulmun Track

Here is a pic of the Harris Dam Bibbulmun Track hut where were walked to and camped overnight a few years ago.



More information on Hoffman’s Mill
Hoffman Mill campground will close on Sunday the 19 April 2015 and reopen 1 November.

This is a very popular camp during school holidays and long weekends.
The large open camping area makes it excellent for group camping 

Camp fires are permitted in fire rings provided between 6pm and 10am, but fire restrictions may be imposed at any time and without notice. Bring your own firewood. Campers own liquid or gas fuel barbeques and stoves can be used at any time, unless a total fire ban has been declared. Note: a fire ban applies December–March; check with authorities for exact dates.

Flushing toilets with disabled access – gas BBQ - no dogs or pets allowed – no drinking water available 

Due to water catchment area - Fishing, marroning and swimming are not allowed.


How to get there: turn east onto Logue Brook Dam Rd from the South Western Hwy, 6 km south of Yarloop, and then onto Clarke Rd. 18km from the Highway.  GPS: S33° 00' 19.6" E116° 05' 08.8"
Fees apply and a ranger visits regularly to collect camping fees  - $7.50/adult, $5.50 concession, $2.20 child (6-15 years)



More information -
Dept Parks & Wildlife WA - DPAW-Hoffman Mill
Timber Towns in Western Australia - Hoffman Mill

A great bush-walking book is "Bushwalks in the South West" published by the Dept of Parks & Wildlife (formerly  Dept of Environment & Conservation" 

Do you have a favourite bushwalking or camping spot? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in the comments.


Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

 



 I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

- Mosaic Monday
- Travel Photo Mondays
- Our World Tuesday
- Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
- Agent Mystery Case
- What's It Wednesday
- Travel Photo Thursday
- Friday Postcards at Walking on Travels 




You might also like -
Deep in the Boranup Karri Forest
Camping with heritage - Karalee & Boondi rocks
Dryandra woodland

22 comments:

  1. Thank you for taking us along this wonderful walk with you Jill... your photos are marvelous! I loved seeing all the different flora and fauna. I've never been on a bush-walk before, but love the idea of being fully enveloped in nature (though admittedly the possibility of running into snakes scares me!).

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  2. Hello Jill, what a pretty spot for a walk and a picnic.. I love seeing the wildlife, the birds and the cute Echidna. The trees and boardwalk trail look very nice.. Thanks for sharing your day, have a happy week ahead!

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  3. What beautiful scenery. Looks like a lovely fall day for you! Have a grand week!

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  4. Hi Jill,

    You are absolutely right: beautiful scenery can be found in our vistas, no matter the season, and autumn in Australia, is no exception! Such a variety of flora and fauna, and cute, little critters who inhabit the place! Thanks for all the interesting narration, full of wonderful information on Hoffman's Hill.

    Wishing you a great week!

    Poppy

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  5. Thanks for taking us along on your bush walk Jill. Until you showed the close up, I thought the echidna was a porcupine but they're quite different looking except for the quills. The bush fires are a sad affair, so much plant growth and wildlife habitat lost.
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday.

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  6. Oh bush-walking something like hiking here but yours is so intriguing...I have never seen an echidna...they remind me of our porcupines.

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  7. Awe that little young Echidna was so very sweet...bless it and all that come under the flames of fire when they occur. Your adventure looks like ti took you to many interesting places! Walking in the wilds is fun and I do have a favorite place, called the Anchorage Trail. Very beautiful and I share it often. You had asked me about my camera lens. I have a 70/300 and it is all that I can handle, for any larger would get to my pinched nerves. I never use a tripod by the way, have never owned one and they would just get in my way. Happy Week~

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  8. Oh - what a charming adventure. Loved all these shots.

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  9. I've really enjoyed your story Jill, you do write an excellent blog. I believe the bird that you photographed is a white-browed scrubwren not a Rufous Whistler, they're not as pretty as the Whistlers

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  10. Jill, That was a great walk. Much that was photo worthy. Thanks. Sylvia D.

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  11. yes I like bush walks too, we have lots of banksias here as well :-)

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  12. Beautiful, informative series. So glad I stopped by, and I do hope you'll come link up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/04/at-keyboard.html

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  13. Aww - that's so cute! A bit like our hedgehogs here. :)

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  14. Aw, that little echidna is so cute! (Now off to find the difference between an echidna and a hedgehog...)

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  15. All I can say is that it's amazing! The scenery, history, wildlife, flora, fauna and of course your stunning photographs, even the snake!
    Thanks for stopping by in Normandy this week.

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  16. Gorgeous photos. What an amazing place to explore.

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  17. Now this is the kind of walk/hike/stroll I would love to do. Great photos as always Jill. Love the idea that you can always find something in bloom. (Doesn't work in the Pacific Northwest :-) )

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  18. These are stunning images! I love exploring natural gardens and parks. Just wish I could grow some of these in the states! Too cold! Would love to have you link up on Walkingontravels.com for #FridayPostcards!

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  19. What a beautiful place! The echidna took the show in here. Have to appreciate an animal that I don't see that often.

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  20. That is one very prickly customer you have there

    mollyxxx

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  21. Hi Jill. Love the vegetation (and sometimes the lack of it!) That yellow plant is pretty. I've never seen one before. Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

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I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.