I’ve just found, or rather ‘made’, another good reason to visit the Hamelin Station Reserve, located on the edge of the Shark Bay World Heritage Area – the new Homestead Walk Trail.
I had the pleasure of establishing the 1km trail while volunteering on the reserve during a few days of annual leave from my day job. Fellow Bush Heritage volunteers Ron and Meredith McInnes, who were visiting from Victoria, also joined in the fun – helping out with picking-up and laying-down rocks to delineate the path, and generally cleaning-up the route.
The trail – for much of which I merely followed well-worn, existing kangaroo tracks through the bush – winds its way around the perimeter of the Homestead block, passing though characteristic acacia and saltbush mixed shrub, and finishing-up at the station’s old, now happily retired, shearing shed.
Visitors from all over Australia already stop-over at Hamelin between May and October each year to take advantage of the Hamelin Outback Station Stay, and its proximity to the magnificent nearby Stromatolites and other World-Heritage Area attractions. I’m sure the new walk trail will help make their stay even more memorable.
The trail starts near the old Hamelin Station Homestead – which is built out of huge blocks of cockle shells compacted over millennia and naturally cemented into solid material, which was cut into bricks to build a ‘new’ station homestead and outbuildings sometime around 1950.
From there, the trail meanders through the Eremean scrub, with a series of stopping points to take-in some of the more interesting plant species, landscape features, and other attractions.
Walkers will also get a good chance to see some of the many splendid bird species spotted around the homestead, including Red-capped Robins (Petroica goodenovii) and Chiming Wedgebills (Psophodes occidentalis).
The trail finishes at the old eight-stand shearing shed, now silent, but where hard-working, hard-living shearers once toiled for up to six weeks straight – shearing as many as 30,000 sheep, which once grazed Hamelin’s 202,644 hectares.
Hamelin’s pastoral days are well and truly over, and conservation is now the main game. These days conservationists and tourists, not shearers, come to Hamelin to enjoy the Outback experience and the natural attractions of the reserve – the rangelands and the Shark Bay World Heritage Area.
It was a pleasure adding another small attraction – the Homestead Walk Trail – and to subsequently walk it with the first Hamelin hikers.
You can walk it too. Just make a booking at the Hamelin Outback Station Stay.
Richard is the CEO of NACC (Northern Agricultural Catchments Council) – a Natural Resource Management organisation in MidWest WA – and a Bush Heritage volunteer. You can follow Richard on Twitter: @RichardMcLellan