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Published: April 24th 2009
Valley of Giants Walk
Walk allows Red Tingle forest to be viewed at the canopy level.
Escaping form Perth for a few days I drive along the coast from Walpole to Albany. Attractions during this trip are the Valley of Giants, inlet beaches and the former whaling city of Albany. Walpole
, 450 kms south-west of Perth is located on Walpole Inlet which drains into the larger Nornalup Inlet and hence into the Southern Ocean. Established in the 1930's as a group settlement for farmers its industries grew to include timber milling, beef and dairy farming. Today its main claim to fame is the Red and Yellow Tingle Tree. With a population of 500 people it is a very quiet center with shops closed by 8PM.
The Red Tingle (Eucalpytus Jacksonii) is found only in the vicinity of the Walpole-Nornalup National Park
. It can grow up to 75 metres high. Its shallow root system is countered by having a buttress with a girth up to 26 meters, the largest of any eucalypt. Trees can be viewed at canopy level while participating the Valley of Giants Tree Top Walk. Reaching a height of 38 metres, a series of inclined suspension walkways, connected by horizontal circular platforms allows young and old to view foliage near the tree tops.
The red Tiingle (Eucalyptus Jacksonii) can grow up to 75 metres.
As stress relief is acheived by allowing the walkways to sway it can feel like being on the deck of a boat. Tingle trees are oftened hollow because of fire and fungal attack. They survive because growth occurs from a layer just underneath the bark.
Between Walpole and Albany are many inlet beaches. Known for clean fine grained sand, many rock pools and crystal clear water these beaches are popular for swimming, fishing and surfing. One of these is the pretty Ocean Beach
just south of the town of Denmark. As I am in no particular hurry to reach Albany I spend a few hours here, lounging around in the warm afternoon sun. Sometimes dolphins can be seen surfing the waves, but unfortunately not this afternoon. Albany
, population 34,000 is the oldest continuous European settlement in Western Australia. Founded in 1826, it predates Perth by 3 years. Indigenous people known as Noongar are believed to lived in the area for more than 40,000 years. Relationships between the white settlers and the Noongar were for for most part peaceful. There were a number reasons. First, there was little competition for land, women or hunting. Second because of the efforts
Giant Red Tingle
This hollowed Red Tingle is located on the Hilltop Trail
of a young aboriginal called Mokara, who acted as an effective liasion between black and white. Finally the efforts of a Major Lockyer. He rescued several aboriginal women who had been captured by sealers to be used as sexual slaves. He also had the sealers sent east and committed to trial.
Many fine Victorian buildings are present in Albany. One of the most iconic is the Town Hall Theatre. It is a grand old stone building constructed in 1888 with a four face clock tower. In 1983 it was converted into a 310 seat regional theatre.
Today the main industries are tourism, fishing and farming. Up to the 1950s whaling was a major source of employment and income. Peaking around 1845 when 300 ships operated along the coast in deccline rapidly aften the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania in 1859. The whaling station remained open until 1979, being the last to close in the southern hemisphere. Today it is a whaling museum.
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