The Sculpted Shore

limestone cliffs and rainbow

A photo essay on the limestone at the mouth of the Margaret River. The Margaret River empties into a sandy bay sheltered from the north by a limestone Cape. It is a complex liminal space, where fresh and salt water, land and sea meet. The delicate sculptures along the shoreline are easy to overlook. Margaret River has a spectacular coastline, and it’s easy to miss the small-scale beauty in the landscape in favour of those famous grand ocean vistas. The present Rivermouth was not always the shore. The sea has been at… Read More

Earth

Earth Sea Star seeks to explore the aesthetic values of the rocks of Western Australia, by means of geology, storytelling, and art. Earth solidified from a ball of gas around 4.54 billion years ago, and Western Australia is one of the few places on the planet where fragments of the Archaean Earth have survived. The landscape is unimaginably old and has undergone spectacular transformations across billions of years. The surface we walk today is just a flicker in the unraveling of time and space. A grain of zircon crystal from the Jack… Read More

Lake Cave and the Magic Lantern

margaret river tour

On the first images of Lake Cave, Margaret River In November 1900 three men descended into a crater in the far south-west of Western Australia. Abseiling down into a sunken forest and scrambling over rubble, they found the entrance to a stream cave draped with exquisite crystal formations. One of the men was budding explorer and photographer Charles Price Conigrave, and the images he took are the first ever taken in Lake Cave. The suspended table by Charles Conigrave 22 Nov, 1900. Reproduced from a print copy of The Windsor Magazine, date… Read More

Chasing the Winter Blues

Around mid-year in Margaret River we all start feeling the winter blues: cold short days, gusty winds, endless rain. But for those who brave the elements and head out to the coast the blues are edged with gold and silver. Walking the beach in winter is a different story to the lazy sun soakings available for most of the year. Indoor lethargy is blown away by the roaring sea and chill wind. Walking becomes an artform; leaning into the wave- carved sandy slopes, dodging showers, and waves that leap up the beach… Read More

Hamelin Bay: King Karri and the Tempest

king karri

Hamelin is a peaceful looking bay in the far south-west of Australia. For most of the year, its shores are sheltered from the swell by limestone reefs. Stingrays sweep the shallows feeding on scraps, people line-fish from the beach, and small children play in the wavelets. But the bay has a dramatic history. For a few short decades Hamelin was the harbour for the timber industry based at Karridale and Boranup. Many ships lie wrecked in the bay. The safety of the anchorage was deceptive, for the south-west coast lies in the… Read More

Tales From the Earth: the Palaeoclimates of Boranup

There’s no denying that climate change will have a massive impact on Margaret River. Over the past 50 000 years, locals have witnessed dramatic changes to landscape and ecology, and there are likely many more to come. Within the caves of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, Margaret River holds a record of climate change spanning over a million years. There is a fossil record that includes the arrival of the first Australians, the onset of the last ice-age, and the current warm period known as the Holocene. Scientists have studied the extinctions of megafauna;… Read More

Wallcliffe – People and Place

A selection of profiles of historical characters born or resident at Wallcliffe House.  Wallcliffe Estate overlooks the Margaret River, at the final meander before it opens to the sea. Across the black waters lie a stand of brilliant white paperbarks, and the property is sheltered from the ocean winds by ancient dunes and a towering cliff of soft tamala limestone. The cliff is shrouded in vegetation and pitted with caves. The cliff faces north over a small, but high quality and undegraded esturine system. The natural landscape features of river and cliff,… Read More

Wallcliffe

Wainilyinup, the final bend of the Margaret River before it snakes around to the sea. The cliffs are made from fragile sand dune limestone, and are far younger than the river itself. Blown here by wind in a process that began around one million years ago, the carbonate sand has been cemented and weathered into fantastic shapes by the action of the rain. In Noongar, the name means “the dying place.” There are many dreaming stories here, for those prepared to listen. Stories of death, crying, and burial, but also of the… Read More

Cape Mentelle: a Profile

A limestone headland, looking down the prevailing wind from across the Indian Ocean. When the light is right, you can see the profile of a face jutting out from the stone: a vision of the spirit of place, the personification of a wild and rocky coastline. Cape Mentelle is a rugged series of steep, cliff-lined bays. The soft tamala limestone was formed by rain seeping into sand dunes blown onshore by the south-westerly wind. The fragile stone is protected from the waves by a submerged portion of reef, but wind and rain… Read More

Calgardup Cave: the Fall of the Meteroric Shower

Caves were forming in the soft limestone of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge long before people appeared on the continent. Growing softly, the rainfall of a million winters cementing beach sand into stone. Or mixing with plants on the surface and dissolving it, before crystallising it again, drip by drip. Wadandi ancestors took shelter in the caves 50 000 years ago, during the extreme cold of the last ice age. More recently, they were avoided and treated with respect, as places of spiritual significance. And then, not so long ago, newcomers arrived. People with… Read More

Caves Road: a Short History of a Winding Way.

Caves Road deserves special protection as a heritage and tourism icon. Caves Road traverses the limestone ridge between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. It runs south from Yallingup, through tree lined hills and valleys, past vineyards and breweries. Across the Margaret River and down into the Karri country, past Hamelin Bay and onwards to Augusta. It is heralded as one of the iconic experiences to have in Western Australia. It began as a network of sand and gravel tracks taking visitors to the spectacular caves so numerous along the Ridge. Now the… Read More

Margaret River 2018: Year of the Great White Pro

Surfing Margaret River just got a lot more legendary. The cancellation of the 2018 Pro event may seem like a disaster for the surfing industry, but the strength and resilience of local culture means we can turn it to our advantage. Although the risk of shark attack is minimal it takes courage to face the waves. Some, including pro surfers, are just not up to it. Surfing has its roots in alternative culture. The soul of the wave warrior is attuned to risk and adrenaline, which feeds straight back into respect and… Read More

A Monument to the Ephemeral

Granite-gneiss on the Leeuwin-Naturaliste coast. Made from molten rock twice-forged deep underground. Cooled and crystallised into individual components; pegmatite, quartz, garnet, feldspar.  Differences in pressure and temperature created veins, intrusions, domes and weak zones.  Lifted aeons later by the effects of continental drift, and brought to the margins of earth, sea and sky. Released from the weight of the earth, the rock expanded as it surfaced, cracking along lines parallel to the earth. Radiant heat from the sun travels 150 million kilometres to warm and crack the stone. The same light draws… Read More