Gnome and Away

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August 3rd 2014
Published: September 18th 2014
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Pity they couldn't spell Gnome!!
Gnome and Away

No need for the alarm this morning, the weekend arrived last night, we crammed our weekend chores into one evening and this morning we were both awake as soon as the sun came up. Ok I know you regular readers will know differently, I just thought it sounded good, Andy was up and about long before the sun came up, but I did get up with the sun!

A mini adventure was ahead of us and for a change we were not taking Gypsy, I hope she did not mind, but our plans were for an easy weekend drive, not far from home and an overnighter in a nice country tavern, just giving ourselves a different perspective on WA Life.

A small overnight bag packed we were soon on our way to the Pinjarra Bakery where we had arranged to meet up with our friends, Peter, Leigh, Andy and Karen, a quick stop on the way to top up with some diesel and back on the road.

The Pinjarra Bakery is very popular and had a very good reputation in the area and by all accounts a popular meeting place for 4 wheel drives
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Waiting for a Sermon,!!! Well I took this great photo from the Pulpit, we were all waiting to get going on our adventure
before hitting the tracks for the weekend. When we arrived there was already a large group preparing to leave.

It seems that pies where on the menu for breakfast, I wanted to be a bit more traditional and so had a bacon and egg pie which was really a quiche, all the same a great breakfast accompanied by a skinny flat white.

We had a rough plan for the day, but when I say an easy weekend, I really did mean that, no heavy 4 wheel driving, a nice drive around the countryside, not far from home and good exploration of the area. Our first stop of the day was not on the list, it had been mentioned before and as the subject came up over breakfast so we made a slight detour to Fairbridge Village.

Fairbridge Village is just a 5 minute drive from our meeting point at the Pinjarra Bakery, so being the lead vehicle for the weekend, I am navigating and have us all heading down the driveway in a jiffy.

We did not know much about Fairbridge but the history was soon revealed to us. Started in 1912 by Kingsley Fairbridge to
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Fairbridge Church
give children from England who came from poor backgrounds or broken families a chance in life, over the course of its life a total of 3580 children were cared for and educated at this facility.

Driving up the driveway, this village looked very welcoming and the grounds well kept, we see a church and decide to stop and have a look, nearby we see Fairbridge house, a large group of people were outside cooking on the barbecue. We were not really sure if we were meant to be there but we went into the brick built church, putting a gold coin donation in the box on the way in. It was quite dark inside with the dark red brick exposed, not an ornate church but not as plain as it looked on the outside, with the shingled roof.

We were lucky enough to meet an old Fairbridgian, a lady who originally came from England and now volunteers her time in the onsite museum. She tells us that some children had good experiences, and there were some not so good, but she chose to keep her head down and get on with it. I did see a Magazine cover
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Fairbridge Church, What fantastic brickwork
in the museum with David Cameron (current Prime Minister of the UK) staring back at me, an official apology to the child migrants sent abroad. I won't go into the politics of it but we have come across these stories on our travels around Australia.

Once we had a good look around our little convoy of three vehicles moved on and before we left we all agreed that we would come back and spend a weekend here, either in one of the cottages or camping.

We drove on to a little town called Waroona where , blow me, there was another Pinjarra Bakery outlet and as it was nearly lunch time we just had to stop and have some lunch, we sat outside chatted and watched the world go by, perfect.

Once lunch was done, we made our way our way to Harvey, where we stopped briefly for a visit to the supermarket. Andy and Karen wanted something and actually Andy realised he had forgotten his toothbrush, and then we decided to get a team lottery ticket, Harvey is such a quaint busy little town that we really like.

There is a railway line that runs for quite a few miles from around the side of Harvey and beyond, the road and the train track criss cross for a few miles we see a train but don’t know what it is carrying, it’s pretty long. and as our journey is proceeding well we are several miles ahead of the train and decide to stop to let this behemoth catch up, so we all parked the trucks in a safe place and walked back to where were would have a perfect vantage point which was right next to an unfenced road track junction and as we saw the train moving towards us we all waved and by the time the train was upon us the driver acknowledged us by blowing the horn and man it was loud.

The train went on and so did we, the country side around the Ferguson valley was absolutely spectacular, very green, lush and clearly lots of water, a reflection on the amount of rain we have had in this area during winter.

We arrived at a place that we had heard about ages ago, “Gnomesville” hence the name of our blog, this is where people from all walks of
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The old tunics that the Fairbridge children wore.
life and the world have put together the most unbelievable collection of gnomes, possibly about 3-5000, donated by individuals, school groups, travellers, societies or anyone who just fancies leaving a gnome sometimes with a little story or note, explaining how their gnomes got here and why.

The title of this blogs Gnome and way was a group of gnomes who had been left watching the television and on the screen it said “please don’t turn the TV over we are watching Gnome and Away.”

The place is little tacky but fun, and it’s quite unique.

We had a good look around and took a few photo’s then moved on to our destination which was the Bull and Bush at Boyanup, a quaint little place that looked good with a well rounded dinner menu, able to satisfy all our palates.

We all checked in and were given our rooms, chucked our stuff in and three minutes later we were at the bar ordering a beer.

Sitting aside the fire was awesome, warm fire, cold beer what could be better, Caroline had a well deserved Gin and Tonic as it was heavy going doing such detailed navigations.
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The train lines that carry the Bauxite

We sat and socialised until it was dinner time, the food looked amazing, simple food, but good portion sizes, we had been warned not to have too much in the day as their portion sizes were healthy, but all that was forgotten when we stopped for breakfast and lunch.

The restaurant was busy, we didn’t really expect it to be but it was packed, people must travel to dine their on its reputation which was nice, fortunately we ordered just at the right time so our meals turned up before it got too busy.

After dinner we sat around with the Gang and had a couple more drinks, then went and sat in the accommodation kitchenette and chatted until bedtime, you could hear the landlord push the bolts across to stop guests from entering the bar when it was closed, feeling pretty weary from such a busy day we were happy to climb in to bed.

We awoke to a beautiful Sunday morning, I was up with lark and mooched about until everyone else made an appearance.

We all coffee’d then packed our gear and headed off back towards Perth, but with a detour or
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The Bauxite Train rumbles by
two on the way. Andy Bayley suggested that we detour around Harvey towards some of the big dams around the area and also go and have a look an old historical mill site called Hoffman’s Mill.

We obviously had to stop on route for a coffee break, my words we can’t go 20k’s without stopping for something nowadays and back on route we were soon pulling on to some dirt tracks and putting Jack into 4WD.

It is so much harder on the vehicles being in constant 4 wheel drive, let alone using that much more fuel, but we so much prefer to be on a dirt track any time than the bitumen, it’s so much more exciting and what we came here to enjoy.

We arrived at Waroona Dam, this massive expanse of water, with its ginormous concrete spill way was pretty impressive and sadly the gates had been locked so you could not drive over the dam. No matter, we had a pleasant walk, took a few photos and then headed off, to Hoffman;s mill site.

We arrived at the little camp ground and it was surprisingly busy, with a few day trippers, weekend
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The Bauxite train
campers and people who I would guess just came out to fill their lungs full of fresh air.

There are remnants of the old mill site, but not really that much, so I have uploaded some information from Google.

Hoffman was a tiny sawmill town of about one hundred and fifty souls. There were houses for married couples, huts for single men and a boarding house. The Company provided a general store that included the Post Office and Savings Bank. Mr White had a 'lolly shop', billiard saloon and ran the S.P. Betting Shop. Millars Timber and Trading Co. also provided a hall where a travelling showman ran the movies once a fortnight. Now and again, a dance was organised. The ladies stayed inside and talked; the men stayed outside and talked, drank beer and sometimes brawled. Between dances the children slid up and down the dance floor.

There was a cricket ground cleared and built by weekend busy bees. They also cleared and constructed three tennis courts. The Tennis Club was particularly well organised and well patronised.

The children had an ideal life. Hoffman was in the middle of the jarrah forest at the source
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Santa Gnome's
of the Harvey River. The creeks abounded with gilgies, marron, minnows and trout. Every summer the children built a dam across the creek-bed beside the one room school house. This was the town's swimming pool. Many learned to swim there in spite of no supervision and no one ever drowned.

Again we said that we should have a camping trip here, another place to add to a growing list of “things to do and see”.

We have a four wheel drive trip soon, which we have organised, called Camp ovens and Bush Cocktails, which should be fun, so I think we will drive out here again for another poke about.

Our last leg of the trip was a quick squirt from Harvey back to Mandurah, the Walkers (Peter and Leigh) peel off in Pinjarra and we went back to the housesit in Greenfields, Andy and Karen still had 40 minutes to go back to Leeming.

Our easy weekend jaunt turned into a stunningly fun packed weekend, with glorious weather and great food, great company and lots of laughs. Until next time.


Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


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Footy Gnomes
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The residents at Gnomesville or is it Knomesville
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More residents at Gnomesville
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The old Bull & Bush at Boyanup
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The Old Bull & Bush at Boyanup
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Stirling Dam
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Which one is the old relic, ????
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The information board at Hoffman Mill

18th September 2014

Hi. A very nice, easy weekend trip. Great. I thought the train was possibly grain until I looked at the individual pictures. I love trains. My dad worked on the railway for 44 years and I did some summers between school years. Wonderful to see the solar panels on the pub. Great blog, keep up the interesting writing.
19th September 2014

Magic Word
Hey Gary, You have said the Magic word, Train, The weekend of 25/26 October we will have an interesting blog for you as 6 of us are going on a train Journey. We won't spoil the surprise. Love to you both Kj

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