Once again, we've been rescued from the never-ending boat chores … this time by Rick and Theresa, members of the sailing club and new friends. They've got a wonderful cottage with an acre of land surrounded by state forest in Dwellingup which they lovingly refer to as “the Shack”. They invited us to join them for the day for a ride out to Dwellingup and a BBQ. Once again, boat chores fell by the wayside. They'll get done eventually.
We traveled through the town of Pinjara and across the Murray River to the tiny town of Dwellingup, population ~500, in the center of the timber and fruit-growing area. The orchard industry is waning, but timbering continues and a large Alcoa plant plays a large role in employment and community. We stopped at the very interesting Dwellingup Visitor Center which doubles as a history museum. A scarp iron sculpture of a lumberman entitled “Sleeper Cutter” stood in front of the info center. A “sleeper”, for those who might not know, is a railroad tie.
In 1961, a devastating bushfire leveled the town of Dwellingup, sparing few buildings in its path (the pub survived), but amazingly, taking no lives. We watched a DVD with narratives by local folks recounting the fire's advance and their ineffective efforts to contain it. Can't imagine what they went through.
When we arrived at the cottage, Rick immediately put out some bird feed on the porch. Like us, Theresa and Rick enjoy the feathered friends. Their forested backyard and the inducement of a free lunch had the birds waiting in line for a turn to feed. We had started out the day spotting a pair of pied oystercatchers at the sailing club before we even left. Several hours at the cottage had me firmly attached to my camera so as not to miss any photo opp. On the way home, we spotted several emus in a field. We netted quite a few new species to check off in our Australia bird book and probably the best bird pix I've taken in Western Australia.
Bird collage clockwise from top left: red-eared firetail, splendid fairy wren, pied oystercatchers, twenty eight, western rosella, emus, white-breasted robin.
Lunch was steak and chicken on the barbie with salad and fresh blackberries with vanilla ice cream for dessert. No one left the table hungry.
Before heading back to Mandurah, Rick took us to an animal sanctuary where Margaret, the owner of a local B&B and the sanctuary, introduced us to her mob. What a treat to be in the midst of a mob of friendly kangaroos.
We also stopped at Baden Powell named after the founder of the Boy Scouts and part of the Lane Poole Reserve where huge rocks cause waterfalls, pools and rapids on the Murray River.
Opportunities like this are usually few and far between, but it seems here in Mandurah we've been unbelievably fortunate to meet people who are keen to show us their part of Western Australia and we, of course, are only too willing to see it all. By the way, knowing we were heading north, Rick warned us about “buffaroos”. Evidently they're akin to drop bears on Australia's east coast in that they tend to attack tourists. We think they're probably distant relatives of American jackalopes.