NEWSFLASH! My book hits the road! Did you miss my Channel 7 Weekend Sunrise 'Downunder Dunnies' appearance? Watch the Video HERE!

Sunday

Unnatural Attractions: The Super Pit, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia

Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mine Super Pit, Western Australia


So what creative uses are there for a whacking great hole in the ground?

A hole 3.8 km long, 1.5 km wide and 600 metres deep that can make a 680 tonne shovel look like a kitchen utensil?? Or a 166 tonne truck like a Matchbox toy???

A hole so large it's colloquially known as the Super Pit?

Red meets Shovel at the Super Pit, Kalgoorlie
That's the question the Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mine (KCGM) needs to answer in approximately 8 years time when the Golden Mile Dolorite Seam runs dry. Post-mining regulatory obligations are quite specific about mining infrastructure, pit sides and site rehabilitation.

And it'd be pretty hard to just bulldoze it over and hope for the best ...

In the meantime, the twin towns of Kalgoorlie-Boulder never sleep.

And not just because of the perfectly natural attractions of the Questa Casa, Australia's oldest working brothel, either.

The thrum, clatter and vibration of fortunes being made is a continual counterpoint to all other activity 24/7, 365 days per year.

Because here in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, perched right on the edge of the massive KCGM Super Pit, the gold rush that started when Paddy Hannan first discovered gold in 1893 never stopped.

A Truck at the Super Pit, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia


And the Golden Mile on which it sits is the richest square mile of gold-bearing earth on the planet.

Although none of the extensive mining activity that's continued unabated ever since would have been possible without the vision of Irish engineer Charles Yelverton O'Connor who defied critics to plan and construct the world's (then) longest freshwater pipeline over the 530 km (330 miles) from Mundaring Weir near Perth to Mt Charlotte Reservoir at the Goldfields.

Mt Charlotte Reservoir, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia


Eight years in the making, The Goldfields Water Supply Scheme still supplies water to the goldfields. It's also still the world's longest steel pipeline and in 2009 was recognised as international historic civil engineering landmark, along with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Snowy Mountains Scheme.

Kalgoorlie Clock Tower, Western Australia
Mining giant KCGM has a lot for which to thank O'Connor, who tragically took his own life during a public campaign of press vilification, including accusations of corruption and incompetence before the scheme was completed and his genius realised.

In the bad old days, a clutch of smaller companies and individual holdings jockeyed for position and battled for survival along the Golden Mile. Then – depending on ones point of view – visionary entrepreneur/environmental vandal Alan Bond started buying up the leases with a view to merging into one big company – and one giant pit. Economies of scale, and increasing size of operation mean greater profits all round.

But just how worthwhile is this consolidated venture? According to signage at the Super Pit lookout, 1600 tonnes of material is processed each hour – containing gold valued at around $AUD70,000. All up, around 800,000 ounces of gold per annum are taken from the Super Pit and neighbouring mine, Mt Charlotte.

SO worth it, that maybe I'll become a 'Void Engineer' after all …

I'll never understand why this wasn't presented as a valid career path in High School careers class – its appeal as a passport occupation conversation starting point is FAR greater than 'nurse' or 'teacher'. I guess those same folks who many years later failed to predict the Global Financial Crisis were cutting their teeth by not being able to predict a future mining boom at that point ...

It's a LONG way down ... Super Pit, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia


From the vantage point of the lookout, it's hard to believe the trucks crawling like ants way WAAAAAY down in the depths of the Pit are HUGE machines worth $AUD4 Million.

Or that the shovels loading each truck with the 4 scoops of high grade ore it takes to fill it weigh 680 tonnes, hold 55 tonnes (and 36 m³) and cost $AUD10+ Million!

Or that each load of this high-grade ore averages gold worth over $10,000.

But on this clear and sunny Outback winter day in August 2012, we only care about the Pyrotechnic Demolition Explosion Choreographer! Although such people are far more likely lumbered with dull, meaningless titles like Blast Engineer ...

 As speculation ran hot over the day's exact blast location in the public viewing area overlooking the Super Pit, I could have run a book if I'd had even a little of Bond's entrepreneurial spirit.

Blasting at the Super Pit, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
The Visitor Information Centre in Kalgoorlie's main street is advised of Super Pit blast times, and visitors are welcome to take the rocky road to the caged-in viewing area. It's a fine view even without the blasting, no matter what the closet pyromaniacs tell you.

Over an hour after the advised blasting time, the countdown started and cameras poised, ready to capture the moment. 

It took us awhile to realise the dust and smoke at the top of the Pit was actually the explosion, with Pilchard and several small children devastated the whole cliff face didn't fall away.

But, we'd seen a real, live Super Pit explosion!

Blasting at the Super Pit, Kalgoorlie


Returning to our campsite seemed a bit anti climactic after that. Strangely, I was finding it quite easy to resist the excitement of purchasing a Black Caviar poster from our campground neighbour. Given that Black Caviar is a horse – albeit the greatest racehorse in living memory – who signed the poster?

But I digress.

So to balance the unnatural with the natural, we took a walk in nearby Karlkurla Bushland Park. Although spectacular, however, landscape like this hasn't been seen along the Golden Mile for over 100 years.

Karlkurla Bushland Park, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia


It's difficult to imagine Kalgoorlie-Boulder without the iconic Super Pit continuing to keep gold mining front and centre. Invoking St Barbara – patron saint of mining, in case you were wondering – just won't cut it once the gold stream runs dry.

While it's tempting to suggest that the Super Pit be fully restored to the original landscape, to completely erase all signs of 'unnatural' mining activity would be to erase Kalgoorlie-Boulder's heritage.

Unnatural Attractions:  Kalgoorlie Mining Activity

If that happened, the Pipeline and all other traces of human habitation – also 'unnatural' – should be erased as well to be consistent. Which would be a unnecessary and unrealistic.

So what's an environmentally conscious, community-minded Super-mining company to do with their enormous hole in the ground?

My suggestions:
  • World's highest Below-Ground-Level Bungee-Jump. Or Sky Dive
  • World's first Outback International-Standard Ice-Skating Rink
  • World's largest Below-Ground Cemetery and Crematorium
    Section of Super Pit, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
  • World's first underground Arboretum and Botanic Gardens

Yeah, OK. I'm not as creative as I sound.

SO … what would YOU do with the largest defunct open pit mine in Australia?

Read MORE:

Wednesday

The Pines, the Portal and the Parallel Universe!


Sugar Pine Walk, Bago State Forest, New South Wales
I'm convinced the Bago State Forest has a portal into another world. Or at the very least, to a parallel universe ...

A few hundred metres down Kopsons Road, off the main road between Batlow and Laurel Hill on the South West Slopes of the New South Wales High country, and you're already in a part of Australia that doesn't look anything like anywhere else in Australia.

Then take just a few steps into the forest – and the world as you know it disappears …

For a start, the pine needles – probably inches thick – muffle the sound.

Walker in the Woods, Sugar Pine Walk, Bago State Forest


Incidentally, fellow Australians concerned that I've reverted to the distant past by my lapse into the long abandoned imperial measurement system of yesteryear need not fear. I'm just paying homage to the provenance of the magnificent Sugar Pines (Pinus lambertiana) towering above me.

Sugar Pine Bark
Because they're native to the US Pacific Coast and common in well known Yosemite National Park, where the tallest recorded specimen, 'Yosemite Giant' at 82m (269 ft) was found until it succumbed to bark beetle attack in 2007.

I'm also paying homage to the great age – greater even than mine – of these spectacular Sugar Pine specimens. Planted in 1928, the trees were still going strong during our March 2013 visit; hardly surprising given their life span in their natural habitat has been estimated as up to 800 years.

Besides, 'centimetres' just doesn't scan …

Needles and Pins
So what's a forest of North American timber doing in a country where the ubiquitous eucalypt – the only genus in the world found in every habitat from Coastal to Alpine – is far more likely to be the tree du jour?

And when, despite the notorious Sugar Pine longevity, they're so prized for timber they'd normally be felled long before reaching this stupendous size??

AND when past experience reluctantly informs us that cash-strapped governments aren't always known for planning beyond the next election, let alone leaving a lucrative 2.4 hectare stand of Sugar Pines uncut for 85 years???

Maybe it's just another manifestation of the magic in the air …

Sky High at Bago State Forest Sugar Pine Walk, New South Wales


Wandering the walk – thankfully short, our 13 km Kosciuszko challenge only a few days past – through the Sugar Pines, time stands still and the warmth of the day does not penetrate. A family enters the forest behind us, children uncharacteristically quiet, and take a side track.


Sugar Pines, Bago State Forest, New South Wales
 Do they reappear? Not while we're watching …

… perhaps the portal worked for them?!
But I'm too intrigued by the challenge to the first-world dilemma of childhood obesity inherent in these prodigious pines.

An inbuilt mechanism prevented the Native Americans, for whom the sugary sap from the heartwood was a delicacy, from over-indulging in the crisp, candy-like beads.

Because eat too much, and the sugar's laxative properties would kick in!

The fat kid solution is so obvious I bet no one's actually thought of it! 

Do I detect a consultancy opportunity coming on???

The staggering natural beauty of this plantation of the largest of the pines is enough to warp time and give the visitor a taste of a universe where things work differently.


Sugar Pine Portal
And a glimpse of what could be in such a world.

Perhaps that's the portal's REAL magic.


Read MORE:

Saturday

Aussie ABC: M is for Mount Kosciuszko



Mt Kosciuszko
Mt Kosciuszko from Charlotte Pass Lookout, Snowy Mountains

'Good on ya, love,' a bloke sang out, one of a trio of pensioners trotting past me as I trudged wearily up the last slight steady impossibly steep incline before the Mt Kosciuszko lookout. Leaving the summit behind I only had 2km of the 13 km (8 miles) round trip summit hike to go, and altitude sickness was kicking in.

Ramshead Range
Ramshead Range, Mt Kosciuszko Summit Hike

At least, that's the only way I can explain the shortness of breath that had turned this last uphill stretch into a taxing climb.

'You're the only person we've passed all day,' chirped the pensioner in the exact tone of voice that made me want to slap him silly as the trio left me in their wake.

Cheeky beggar!

Pedantic peak-bagging purists don't include Mt Kosciuszko as a valid 'climb' for the 7 Summits despite it being Australia's highest point.

Layer upon Layer
Kosciuszko National Park from Mt Kosciuszko Summit

Puncak Jaya (aka Carstensz Pyramid) in Papua, New Guinea is more than twice as high, they say. And the Australian continent includes New Guinea, they say. And the island of New Guinea is on the Australian continental shelf, they say. The purists climb both, thus extending their 7 Summits to 8 peaks. That SO makes sense … NOT! 

Looking down to Rawson Pass Loo
Looking down to Rawsons Pass Loo - Highest Public Amenities in OZ!
Although that COULD be the terminal laziness that dogs my footsteps talking ...

The smart money says the REAL reason to exclude Mt Kosciuszko has nothing to do with peak bagging and everything to do with mountaineering elitism.
View from the Chairlift
Blue View to Thredbo
The ambitious scope, rigorous training schedule and technical skill required to complete the 7 Summits make it a challenge so great that only ~350 climbers have completed since it's 1985 conception …
… compared to the estimated 100,000 climbers who conquer Mt Kosciuszko each year.

So hardly a mountaineering exclusive, although people like me DO take training seriously and prepare for the rigours of the 2228m (7313 ft) summit ascent by a test climb on Mt Wycheproof, the world's smallest mountain!

Yes, you heard it here: The summit climb is embarrassingly easy!

Red at Mt K Track
13 km to go! Start of Kosciuszko Summit Walk
Especially given the most difficult section of the climb – the 600 m (1982 ft) elevation from ski town Thredbo to the Eagle's Nest restaurant (highest in OZ) – can be completed by chairlift. YESSSSS! From there – a tiny 3.5° C (38° F) the day we climbed – we were above the tree line with a 6.5 km (one way) trek to the top undulating upwards over a 300 m (991 ft) elevation.

Its place in the 7 Summit pantheon isn't the only controversy surrounding the mountain. A neighbouring peak was originally thought to be the highest and dubbed Mt Kosciuszko, with the current Mt Kosciuszko called Mt Townsend. When a survey showed the mistake, the names were switched so that Kosciuszko remained the name of Australia's highest peak!

Although 'peak' isn't the right word – it's more of an imposing rounded dome rising above the surrounding landscape often enough to provide a tantalising glimpse of journey's end. Or at least the half-way mark because the shortest way back is to return to the chairlift the way you came.

Looking towards Victoria
Looking towards Victoria - and a bunch of schoolboys ...

But all that is well in the future at the start of the hike with spectacular views WAAAAAY down to Thredbo and up along the rocky Ramshead Range. The kilometres pass quickly along the raised metal walkway that took 17 years to construct that protects the fragile alpine heathland.

Kosciuszko dead ahead 4.5 km to go
Kosciuszko Dead Ahead! 4.5 km to go ... Snowy Mountains, New South Wales

It's a nostalgic moment as we cross the headwaters of the Snowy River. Pastoral country until being phased out in 1969, Aussie poet 'Banjo' Paterson's classic poem 'The Man From Snowy River' superbly captures the legend of this wild high country before the National Park was proclaimed in 1944 and the river harnessed for the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme from 1949.

Headwaters of Snowy River
Headwaters of the Snowy River, Mt Kosciuszko Summit Track, Snowy Mountains

We climb up to a saddle from the river, and now the Australian records come thick and fast. Lake Cootapatamba - highest lake and one of 5 mainland glacial lakes; Rawson's Pass, overlooking highest permanent settlement Charlotte Pass, and location of highest Scenic Public Toilet at 2100 metres; then the final ascent – a relentless climb along the old Charlotte Pass road circling round the dome to the top.

View over Lake Cootapatamba
View over Lake Cootapatamba, Australia's highest lake, Kosciuszko Track


And the staggering 360° view over the Main Range, Monaro tablelands and Victorian High Country.

Strzelecki 1st on Mt Kosciuszko
Explorer Paul Strzelecki Statue, Jindabyne, New South Wales
Explorer Count Paul Strzelecki, whose commemorative statue in nearby Jindabyne portrays him as a cross between previous OZ prime minister Bob Hawke and Dracula, was the first to actually record a climb in 1840, although the peak is likely to have been climbed beforehand by local Indigenous people, who called the mountain Tar Gan Gil, and white settlers.

Until 1974, when the road was closed to traffic to help preserve the fragile environment, visitors could drive to the top. And I'll bet the couple who pushed a pram all the way, and the young man carrying two small children in a backpack wished the road was still open …


Waiting our turn for the obligatory summit shot while an endless stream of school groups took more than their fair share of time at the marker cairn, the clouds rolled in – and justified the winter clothes we'd bought in far below Jindabyne! Although it was worth the purchase price to hear the young salesman describe his phobias – Snakes and even a recent snakebite didn't bother him; but Spiders? No way! Mad fool!! But I digress …


Red and Pilchard at Summit
Summit Proof Shot! Who are these people??!!

The return trip punctuated by the obligatory tinkle in the highest public toilet in OZ, countless rest exhaustion photo stops, and a voluntary go-slow when I tired of the student wisdom pouring out like … well, lets just say waste … behind me.

'Sir said life is short,' one adenoidal youngster stated to a gaggle of giggling comrades. 'That is incorrect. Life is the longest thing you do,' he concluded triumphantly.

Words to live by? Words to live without … they passed me, chattering inanely …


Top of Kosciuszko Express Chairlift
No thanks, I can jump from here! View from Kosciuszko Express Chairlift
The only cure for altitude sickness is to lose altitude quickly, which the Kosciuszko Express chairlift descent delivered in spades. It's almost impossible to take photos while indulging in a long, silent scream with both hands locked in a white-knuckled death grip on the 'safety' bar – the only thing between me and the 600m drop to Thredbo …

Thredbo Getting Closer
Thredbo getting closer ...
And just like that, my birthday present Kosciuszko adventure was over, leaving me with a fine sense of anti-climax and an almost irresistible urge for a tacky piece of memorabilia like a 'Kozzie' snow dome or a 'Get High' T-shirt to mark the occasion.

But I settled for posting some photos on Flickr and writing this blog post instead.

Besides … I've been to the summit before! As shown by this photo from the year … well, I'm sure it'll be immediately identifiable by the superb example of what the well-dressed mountaineer – a random stranger lucky enough to be captured by Dad's camera – was wearing! A small clue – we apparently drove to the top …

Mt Kosciuszko in 1968
Mt Kosciuszko Summit in 19??

Tragically, this means I can't claim to have climbed it twice – but even if I could, it probably doesn't count if I can't remember it ...

So I'm claiming Kosciuszko as Peak #1 in my 7 Summit Challenge! But don't hold your breath for the next instalment – I'm going for the slowest 7 Summits ever!


Read MORE:

RED Alert #8: A Double-half of RED!

Culture in the Box!
Be honest. If YOU saw a blog called Double-half or One Ten without Ham you'd just HAVE to check it out, right?

I first saw Iris' blog name in the sidebar of one of the blogs I followed so, unable to resist, I took the link. And that's how I 'met' Iris! Although she's on the other side of the world in Germany, she's a BIG fan of Australia so we virtually visit each other via our blogs quite frequently!

The photos on her blog are full of RED – so my brilliant analytical mind immediately deduced that this could be one of her favourite colours! Which, as I'm sure you'll agree, makes her the obvious choice for RED Alert Guest #8!

RED : Welcome, and thank you for agreeing to be my next RED Alert guest! You've travelled to Australia twice in the 1990's. What are your favourite memories?
IRIS: I´m so thankful my parents made it possible for me to travel your beautiful place for 6 and later another 7 months. Whenever I feel bad I think of the clear-blue sky at night, the Southern Cross. Western Australia is my fave.

RED : You've probably seen more of OZ than many Aussies! What are your 3 TOP places to visit?
IRIS: Perth, Broome, Carnarvon. Seems like I'm a bit stuck in WA! Loved the Outback, the driving, the stars at night. But I have sweet and funny memories of the rest, too! A retiree who obviously thought "Oh! Guys from WA - and they won´t fit in the deep-garage!!!!" He gestured like crazy, we knew we had about 2-3cm left. Still makes me laugh. Mean, I am, huh?

RED : And your least favourite Australian place?
IRIS: I guess that was Hervey Bay - the (free) showers were awfully cold. I didn´t give Adelaide or Melbourne much of a chance, either, sadly (time-problem).

RED : That's what 'next time' is for, right?  What is your favourite colour?
IRIS: It is indeed RED . And green!

COOL Red Keyboard!

RED : Good answer! How do I get one of those cool RED keyboards?
IRIS: Go to Saturn! :-) No really! http://www.saturn.de/!! Aren´t keyboards like that available in your place? I can send you one!

Red Card
RED : Haha! I wonder will we ever get to go to Saturn for real in our lifetime … That's a cute card! What do the words mean?
IRIS: The card says "There are days full of happiness. Think back to them when things arent just good right now”. And in RED - "everything will be ok".


RED : It's nice to be reminded of happiness. What makes you happy?
IRIS: Health, love and good weather! Family!

RED : Is this card at work or home?
IRIS: At home. At work I have the last birthday card, it shows a beach and my boss wished me "fun at work"!

RED : He must have a great sense of humour!! What does the colour RED mean to you?
IRISRED is a symbol for love. RED is powerful, fast. It can be warm as well as funky.

RED : That table is SO COOL! But what's on it?
IRIS: My purse - with pics of my partner Ingo... and Elmo, last one RED , like the purse (am I childish? Aww, well!)
Cool Table ... with RED Purse!

RED : Being childish is not a bad thing, is it? If so, then I'm in BIIIIIG trouble! Is Ingo happy to be next to a photo of Elmo?
IRIS: About 18 years ago (oh, help!) Elmo somehow ended up being a mascot for us - he was always with us, also throughout Australia, so, yes, I think Ingo is happy with it :-) We were the only adults without kids in "Elmo in Grouchland" in Kalgoorlie...

RED : I know that feeling! That's a cool RED box with the frog (top photo). What is it?
IRIS: It means “Culture in the tent” and it's an "emergency-suitcase" for an event I never went to so far, cause I missed it the one time I was interested! My friend put it in the advent-calendar she makes me since my Dad´s passing.

RED : What is in your emergency suitcase?
IRIS: In our real emergency suitcase is the stuff packed by the producer, oh, how lame this answer is! We never had to open it!  It can be hot. Or cold. Rainy with mozzies (Autan). There is rhythm, that´s what the egg is for.

Emergency Box Contents
RED : Did you ever need an emergency suitcase in Australia?
IRIS: It may be a wonder: No! We gathered firewood with bare hands in 1995... Yes. That IS stupid, dang stupid.

RED: Sadly, I've seen a lot worse from my fellow Australians … What was the worst problem you had in Australia?
IRIS: Insects! Ewww. And I needed to go to the hospital in Wyndham, but the doc fixed me in a sec (back-problems) and didn´t want any money, either! And he gave us tips where to go next.

RED : That's just what us Aussies are like!! Well ... some of us, anyway! When are you coming back to Australia?
IRIS: That is hard to answer! I´d love to hop in a plane right now, but being realistic... it can be a while. But one day I will be back!

RED : Bring on retirement, huh?! This is just one corner of your condo and it's full of RED ! What are all these things?

IRIS: I love IKEA, at times. I need to put real pics in that photo-thingy! The pink suitcase is for my Niece, the "stuff" goes in there in time. The "stones" are for my parents. The first says, "when time ends, eternity begins", the other "You left our lives, but you stay in our hearts". I miss them so much! My Dad died 11 years ago, my Mum just recently. Cancer.

RED : I'm sorry to hear that. They are beautiful thoughts for your parents. The knife guy (below photo) is deadly - what would you MOST like him to destroy?
IRIS: Cancer.

Red Stuff!
RED: Most people I know have been affected by cancer in some way, so you will have a lot of support for that wish. There's a lot of RED in your condo – Why?
IRIS: 13 years of weekend-relationship may be the cause. Our apartments since living together have been colorful! Another wall is orange, there is a green wall and a green "chamber". Colors make us happy.

RED : The knife guy is surrounded by interesting things! Tell us about them!
IRIS: Our kitchen is too small, so this "knife-guy" lives here. With RED . And green. And a frog ;-). And with the Australian flag :-) OH!!!! No relation between those two!! Sigh! Sometimes you see things different through a lens, right? And yes, I love frogs...

RED : What is your most precious RED thing?
IRIS:  A heart Ingo gave me http://www.drachenfels-design.de/) I wear it on a "necklace" of leather!

RED : I'm jealous!  I want one!! What is the meaning of your blog's name?
IRIS: Originally it was "Double half" only - having everything twice due to a weekends-only relationship (with Partner Ingo), and feeling like a half from Mon-Fri. Then when we moved in together in my place I had to give up on my occasional favourite Pizza in my hometown. I don´t know the name so called it "Ten without Ham" because it´s been my favourite since I was 12 or 14 (I bet they changed the menu-card), it used to be #10 and I don´t like the ham on it. The guys know me and even my Mum ordered a "Zehn ohne Schinken" to surprise me. The Pizza guy, Nico, said, "ah, for Braunschweig!" So “One Ten without Ham”!

Knife Guy
RED : What is the best thing about blogging?
IRIS: Keeping the memories, reflect on your life more - and making new friends! And when your Spouse says, "nah, it wasn´t like that!", you may have prove you´re right (or he is! Aw, well...)

RED : Who are your favourite bloggers?
IRIS: Well, yours is one of them :-)

RED : HHHMMMmmm... Good answer!!!

IRIS: In general I like to come back to Australia via blogs at least, so these are great, too (just a few!):
And although I don't have kids, I also love family blogs, especially these:
RED : I look forward to reading them! Do you have a favourite quote?
IRIS: Despite not liking sweets I love the quote used in Forrest Gump, "Life is like a box of chocolate - you never know what you get." I´m glad for not knowing, life would be awful at times!

RED : Do you have any RED words of wisdom for my readers?
IRIS: I do! Visit the beautiful RED places in Australia! And don´t wear white clothes doing so ;-)

RED :  Hahaha!  Couldn't have put it better myself!  Thank you Iris!  If YOU have some RED photos and would like to be my next victim guest on RED Alert, let me know!  I'm sure you won't regret it ... no, REALLY!

Want MORE?  Read ALL the RED Alert Guests:
And ... for even MORE, visit Our World Tuesday for glimpses of life from all round the world!


Tuesday

The Landslide Legacy – Australia's Scenic Public Toilet # 34, Wool Bay

Wool Bay Jetty (and public loos) from old Limestone Kiln, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia


Looking down over the steep limestone cliff into the multicoloured waters of the Southern Yorke Peninsula's Wool Bay can be a parallel universe moment as the flat and unremarkable pastoral country – often dry and arid – gives way to the vividly coloured and splendid panorama of the bay.

Wool Bay from the Jetty, Yorke Peninsula

High on the cliff the now disused limestone kiln, the only remaining one of several which once gave this tiny town its purpose towers above the jetty that gave the town its current name.

The jetty, while built for limestone transportation, is apparently wide enough to roll a bale of wool down and therefore became known as the Wool Bay Jetty. Of course whether anyone ever indulged in the (tragically) lost art of jetty-wool-bale-rolling is unknown AND irrelevant – because the fact of being able to was enough to change the town's name from Pickering to Wool Bay.

Wool Bay Limestone Kiln from Loos, Wool Bay, Yorke Peninsula


Just as well it wasn't re-named 'Limestone Bay'.

Despite the fanfare and great expectations of the opening ceremony on 11 August 1910, the variable wind conditions meant that although Miller's Lime Kiln Co became the main supplier of lime for the Adelaide building industry, the three clifftop kilns were not successful. 


Wool Bay's Limestone Landslide Legacy, the Temporary Toilets! South Australia
So what's a nice temporary toilet doing in a place like this?


Clifftop sign, Wool Bay
Previous Loo site, Wool Bay
A couple of years ago, an uncharacteristically heavy storm dumped so much rain in the area that the fragile limestone cliff above the previous 'permanent' public amenities collapsed and took out the loo. 

BUT … every cloud has a silver lining!
The magnificent coastal views from the new amenities for the many visitors who use the jetty for fishing, diving to spot leafy seadragons and other recreational pursuits are far more extensive than from the old site!


The waters of Wool Bay
The panorama from the top of the old limestone kiln is enhanced by the distinctive 'building site blocks' that add a focal point to the car park and wharf!!

Limestone Kiln, Landslide and Loos from the Wool Bay Jetty
And the temporary toilet's convenient location virtually on the jetty ensures far less 'down time' when nature calls!!!

What's NOT to love?!?!

SO … who needs a lasting loo when these fine fly-by-night fixtures are already a semi-permanent part of the Wool Bay jetty landscape?

The legacy of Wool Bay's limestone landslide might just turn out to be permanent after all!!

Watch this space ...

Read MORE:
The Conveniences Context:  Wool Bay Jetty, Loos and Limestone Kiln with Pt Giles Jetty in the background
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