Noggerup to Boyup Brook 2000

Noggerup to Boyup Brook, day 2, Tuesday 19 September 2000. I left Noggerup at 8:32 on a cold cloudy morning. This was to be a rest day, a ride of 40 km or less. It was the only rest day of the trip and I needed it to get in shape for the two days to follow. A light southerly headwind blew. I rested at 120. The hills were typical of the area but nothing extreme. The country was beautiful with everything green and the wattle and other flowers in full bloom.

Boyup Brook

Boyup Brook

I reached Boyup Brook at 143, 10:48. My room was ready, since I had booked a week before. It had two single beds and typical old-fashioned hotel furniture, and a spacious bathroom. But there was no TV – you still had to go to the guests’ lounge. This was typical also – see Wickepin on the 1999 ride. The tariff of $60.50 included GST and a light help-yourself-any-time breakfast, which could be a heavy breakfast if you wanted, a smorgasbord of cereal, toast, cereal and toast.

After lunch and some ‘phone calls, including one to the Nannup hotel to book a unit, I rested then showered, washed my clothes and changed. There was a clothes line on which to hang my washing. It was handy to my room – I just had to go around the corner, through a back door and down the steps.

I did some work on the bike – the back carrier had worked loose and was down on one side so that the supports on the other were sometimes touching the back wheel. This became a bigger problem later. After that I carried the bike in through the back door and put it in my room, against damp and theft.

I looked in at the Boyup Brook Hall, built in 1909. It now houses a tourist information centre staffed by one friendly old volunteer who didn’t have a lot to do that day, and, in the back, the famous Carnaby collection of butterflies and beetles and mantises. This was the life’s work of a man who lived in Swanbourne so I don’t know what it is doing in a small town far from the city, in the back of a hall seemingly visited by few. It is a remarkable collection and deserves to be in Fremantle or Northbridge being properly maintained and mobbed by tourists. I bought a couple of postcards, had a chat with the old man and left.

Boyup Brook is a hilly town – there is a hill from one side of the main street to the other, and a median strip with steps is necessary to let you cross the street. There was a hill in the car park at the shopping centre, where I bough a few things, so that one of the parking spaces was on a steep sideways slope and had a concave surface. A top-heavy vehicle parked there might topple.

My map of the Boyup Brook townsite showed a walk trail starting at the bridge over the Blackwood River. I walked along Bridge Street, up a hill then down again. This is the main road out to Kojonup. I had considered going to Boyup Brook in 1987 and 1996, when I stayed in Kojonup, but it is quite a way into a strong headwind such as prevailed on both occasions when I might have tried it, so instead, on both occasions, I headed northwest to Darkan.

I reached the river, crossed the bridge to look at the river, crossed back again and walked up the trail. I reached the old flax mill, an important employer in the town during the war and for some time afterwards. It is now partly used as a camping and accommodation area. I walked into the huge wall-less shed with its high roof and concrete floor. It must be still used for storing something from time to time but there was nothing and no-one there now.

As I left the shed and moved towards the continuation of the trail, a flock of sheep in the paddock over the fence noticed me and trotted towards the fence to have a look at me, bleating in voices of every pitch and quality. I stood there and watched as they continued to run from the far end of the paddock. They assembled in a throng of a couple of hundred, going baa, baa. I felt like John Howard confronting a mob of gun-owners and 4WD motorists. Petrol’s too deeaar. Gotta have a big caar, baa, baa.

I left the sheep who quickly lost the plot as sheep do, wandering off to find some grazing. The path led through a densely wooded, damp area and I had to find my way around big pools. The old railway reserve ran beside the path, the tracks long since torn up. I passed the ruins of the bridge that had carried the track over Boyup Brook, crossed the brook myself over a footbridge, climbed up and over a new road that had been built across the area and entered the former railway yards.

The old station still stands, used as an information centre but not changed in form from the days when passengers waited there to be chugged slowly to Donnybrook for a change of train to Northcliffe, Augusta, Bunbury or Perth. The old railway barracks are used for back packer accommodation. Bits of the old track are still in place.

I finally climbed the steep hill past the post office and some derelict lots, back to the hotel.

The hotel cook had had to go to Bunbury because her husband had collapsed, so I was invited to seek my dinner elsewhere. I got chicken and chips at the cafe up the street and ate them watching TV in the dreary little lounge. There were no other guests and the licencee came in during the evening to see if I was happy. He brought the stuff in for next morning’s breakfast.

Reading at Boyup Brook: 144km. day: 40 km. Cumulative 108 km, 54 km/day. Speed Noggerup to Boyup Brook: 18.2 kph.

Charles A. Pierce

Other days on this Tour:

  1. Perth to Cape Leeuwin Tour 2000
  2. Perth to Bunbury 2000
  3. Bunbury to Noggerup 2000
  4. Noggerup to Boyup Brook 2000
  5. Boyup Brook to Nannup 2000
  6. Nannup to Augusta 2000
  7. Augusta to Margaret River 2000
  8. Margaret River to Dunsborough 2000
  9. Dunsborough to Busselton 2000
  10. Busselton to Bunbury 2000
  11. Bunbury to Mandurah 2000
  12. Mandurah to Cottesloe 2000

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