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

Wooditch – or the Margaret River

margaret river

The Margaret River was first encountered by European immigrants not as a defined channel, but as a confusing network of streams and tributaries. In 1832 John Bussell published his account of an exploration from Augusta to Vasse. Four men and a few dogs spent a week walking through dense forest and scrubland, surveying as they went. Hunting, drinking from the streams, sleeping wet in shelters made from sticks. There and back again. Bussells’ account is deeply observant; rocks, soil, herbaceous plants and trees, tracks of animals and people, but most particularly the… Read More

The power in a name: the new Wooditjup National Park

The old man is on a mission to reach the sea. He runs down from the rocky ranges and onto the flatlands, where the way is obscured by forest and scrub. He emerges onto farmland, his path winding through fields covered with grapevines or dotted with cows, then into the forest surrounding the town of Margaret River. Here he might pause to rest a little by a shady rockpool. With renewed energy he races on through rocky valleys, and on towards the sea. Wadandi-Noongar custodians call him Wooditch: to most people, he… Read More

Calgardup Brook

Redgate Beach is famous for a dramatic 19th century shipwreck, swimming, waves, fishing, and granite framed sunsets. But it is also has a deeper history. The stream that flows out onto the beach is millions of years old. It begins on farmland to the east. One tributary has its catchment on Nindup Plain, close behind Mammoth Cave. There, the bones of marsupial lions, giant kangaroos, wombats, and koalas were found, along with evidence of human occupation dating far back into the ice ages. The tributary flows north, before joining the rest of… Read More

Ten Mile Brook: the Lost Valley

The Margaret River has only a few large named tributaries: the Mowen River, Bramley, Yalgardup, and Ten Mile Brook. The upper river valleys of the Margaret were formed after sediments filled the sunklands left by the breakup of Gondwana. They flow westward and onto the granite of the Leeuwin Block, a remnant of the super-continent left behind by India as it pulled away to the north. The Ten Mile Brook valley was lush and deeply forested, the result of ongoing weathering processes over millions of years. It supported one of the most… Read More

Makuru: on Mermaids and the Winter Solstice.

Mermaids are the river-dreamings of northern Europe. Here in the south-west of Australia, the winter solstice falls with the first rains. The streams and rivers begin to flow, breaking the drought and releasing the dry and dusty old year back into the sea. The cultures of the European colonisers, still dominant in Australia, look back to the German and Celtic lands, where the sun played a major part in the ebb and flow cycles of the year. At Midwinter the sun is at its weakest and all the land is cold and… Read More