I am a retired English teacher who has retired from teaching but not from life, which I intend to live to the full. With all my hobbies, I'm busier now than ever with my art groups, small business and gardening.
Published June 14th 2018
Ever wanted to experience Australia's glorious Outback?
The Window To The World
It was the right place, the right couple and the right weather for a wedding. The place was Melangata Sheep Station, just north of Yalgoo. From Perth, it's around 500k, which roughly means around 7 hours of driving. I was a tad concerned because I had never been to anything like this, especially with 70K of unsealed road.
It Looked Green and Inviting
Day 1, Friday; We arrived at Melangata around 4 pm, tired and dusty. Mine hosts, Jo and Ken, showed us the important things such as toilets and showers, and where to cook our meals. We were then taken to our unit. The facilities and units had all been shearer's quarters from when Melangata was a working sheep station. They were rustic but serviceable.
I had a shower and dinner in that order. The kitchen had a large wood stove and huge benches and trestle tables. A gas cooker was also available should the stove be a bit daunting. We had been advised to bring our own food and drink. Yalgoo was 70K away and groceries were expensive. Gosh, it was cold, bed socks cold, but it was also cold down in Perth. We crashed and had a sound night's sleep.
Just Like Mum Used To Have
The toilets were a short distance away, so I made sure I went before I went to sleep. Jo was saying that they're going to do the units up soon and toilets are on the list.
The Important Things Of Life
Day 2, Saturday; the wedding day. After we had eaten and readied ourselves for the day, it was time to relax. The weather was incredible; a beautiful, cloud-free sky, warmed by the sun. We sat outside our unit and basked in the sun. I had brought some books I wanted to read and a book of puzzles, just in case. With no mobile phone coverage, TV or internet I was ready. Water was from their own tanks and they generate their own power. These were valuable resources and needed to be used wisely. I enjoyed not being interrupted by my phone or having to check my emails.
Next it was lunch and then time to change for the wedding. After walking down the front path the bridal party, with guests in tow, made its way to the station's chapel.
Cos, We're Going To The Chapel
The service was beautiful and after bride and groom had signed the marriage certificate, the reception started. Everything looked perfect, from the white tablecloths to the table decorations. The food had been prepared by Jo and her daughter and was mouth-watering. I especially liked the marinated "occie". I have a dreadful sweet-tooth so I also enjoyed the range of desserts.
Making It Legal
Then it was off to bed, feeling like a beached whale from overeating.
Day 3, Sunday. The day after. Ken and Jo had arranged a sightseeing tour of the station, for 4 Wheel drives only. After making a packed lunch, we got on board one of the vehicles and headed out convoy style.
As we made our way out, I could see why a 4WD was needed. So far the scenery didn't look inspiring, just lots of red dirt and scrubby bushes.
No Wonder Burke & Wills Got Lost
The convoy stopped andwe got and started to walk. What I saw was awe-inspiring. There was a string of caves, all looking habitable, and with excellent views over the valley; just right for checking out any unwanted guests. The view was no longer flat for kilometres. The height of the amphitheatre rock formation and cliff faces were impressive. The erosion of wind and rain over thousands of years had carved out the rock into wonderful shapes. The sheer enormity of it all made me realise what nature can do when given a chance and without the interference of modern day man.
Jo said the caves had only been recently discovered and had not been named. The caves backed on to a steep drop. My other half forgot his age and charged down the cliff face. Eventually, we all had to wait until he came back and then we were off to lunch.
A Long Way Down
Caves To Live In
Melangata Station certainly deserves to be preserved as part of our heritage. There were times when "Australia travelled on the sheep's back".
Day 4 Monday, Time to go and packing up. How did it all fit in before? Yalgoo, Carnamah, Bindoon and home, trying not to eat too much junk food on the journey home. It was a great wedding and really relaxing break. It was good to experience another way of living and one without a lot of electronic devices. It was interesting to step back in time and feel what it might have been like to be on a working sheep station.
Thank you, Jo and Ken
The Melangata Station Homestead is steeped in local history and has historic significance for its role in the development of the pastoral industry in the Yalgoo district. It is the only privately owned property in Western Australia to have a John Hawes-designed homestead.
C.C. Williamson acquired the property in 1915 and had the homestead commissioned in 1917. The house was designed by priest/architect Monsignor John Hawes, whose parish included Yalgoo at that time. Hawes also supervised the erection of the building, which is his only non-ecclesiastical building in Western Australia.
The home has now been extensively renovated to fit the era it was built in and features its own chapel with an altar. It has a unique turret/stone tower, and pressed metal ceilings that were hand- painted by H.C. Jermy.
If you don't want to drive, Melangata has its own airstrip.
Jo Clews can be contacted on 0899637777, 0458538964
or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about staying/camping at Melangata, check out the following site.