I enjoy freelance creative writing and being a Mum to my two awesome boys.
Published June 7th 2012
South West of WA between Bunbury and Collie and a little further to the south, you will find Ferguson Valley. Unspoiled by progress, it forces you to be at one with nature, interspersed with rolling green hills and bushland thick with trees.
In this valley, on the corner of Wellington Mill, Wellington Lowden and Ferguson Roads at the roundabout, is the legendary Gnomesville - the home for little people. Around 2000 gnomes (and counting) populate the dirt roadside area, merging back into the forest. Pathways have been put in place to easily view this free attraction, open 365 days a year. Picnic tables are setup for a break and a bite.
There are several ways to get there. The quickest is from Bunbury along the Boyanup-Picton Road, through Dardanup and onto Ferguson Road. In less than 1/2hr reach your destination under 30km away.
Travelling from Collie, you can take the Collie Preston Road onto Donnybrook-Boyup Brook Road and drive 53km, spending just over 3/4hr on the road. If you're interested in a more scenic route from Collie and don't mind dirt roads, then Gnomesville is only 40km away, but be warned that Mungalup Road could take you more than 1 1/4hrs to get there.
Once here you will quickly realise the fascination adopted by many people from all over Australia and the world. Individuals, families and organisations all partake in supplying a new addition. Bring your own gnome or gnomes and place them wherever you like within the town of Gnomesville. You'll find them beside a path, up a tree, along the creek and in any nook.
Name them, pose them engaged in an activity, leave a message or provide a pun. Whatever you choose to do, the latter seems very popular and a big part of the appeal. Some of the gnome puns include, "gnome news is good news, gnome improvement, Gnoman Empire and gnome sweet gnome." Create a new pun and leave a piece of your own ideals.
So, where did it all start? There is doubt as to the exact answer and a few assumptions have been given.
One story is that a group of Dardanup school children declared the intersection a hazard and word got back to the council. While the council began constructing a roundabout to fix the problem, a single gnome was placed in close proximity by a local, as a quiet protest to the project going ahead. Soon after, other gnomes also rallied in objection and a community was borne.
Another theory is that the council workers, during building, used gnomes in the centre of the roundabout to play a game of cricket. Now, I don't know about you, but certainly this lobs close to the truth.
Either way, this spot has now become a focal point and a tourist attraction. Tours are conducted through places such as Crickey Adventure Tours on their "2 Day Weekend Tour" and "5 Day South Tour."
The kids might be the biggest fans of this attraction, so if you're passing through, stop and let them take a look. They'll go crazy if they're not too old to think it's silly. Oh, and if you love gnomes, admire them here. Don't rely on using these to fill your garden back at home. Legend has it that bad luck will surely befall you.