Thursday, 12 November 2009

The François Péron National Park

Further north and west than Denham lies the François Péron National Park. Quite small by Australian park standards, having approximately the same area as the Isle of Man. It has become one of the most important natural areas in Australia and is home to many rare and endangered species Unfortunately for us it would require 4WD capability to explore the park itself, but the old homestead is accessible to 2WD.

Once a pastoral homestead, it is now preserved as a museum aimed at providing an insight into what life was like as a sheep farmer in the last century. The view below, taken through the dinner gong, is of the shearing sheds.
Inside the sheds, much of the tools and machinery are there to view, but even here there was automation. Hand shearing was a tough business.
An indication of the severity of the sun out here is the construction of the 'holding' pens. Sheep waiting to be sheared or having been sheared were protected from the worst of the sun's direct glare by vegetation thrown onto netting over the pens.
The grounds of the homestead boasted some incredible plumbing. Water for the farm was from artesian bore, drawn by windmills and pumped via a complex junction and network of pipes to the surrounding land. However one of the outlets produced (and in fact still produces) hot water which fills a tub near the house and can still be used by visitors. we didn't, we were really hot enough!

The home garden pool was very attractive and offered a glimpse of some unusual wildlife. A Gould's Monitor lizard marched purposefully away when he saw us. This fellow was about 18 inches long, quite harmless and rather handsome really.
Just a little further away near the same pool, an emu stalked snootily past not even acknowledging our presence. Probably thought it was Michael Parkinson coming to make peace.

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