The temperature on our last morning at Westonia was 0.0C. Add to that the wind chill factor, and you get C-O-L-D. A layer of ice on the Kruiser wasn’t noticeable at first until I tried to insert a key into a lock that was solidly iced up. Definitely Brass Monkey weather as we prepped for departure.
We left Westonia on a mission – restock the food supplies at Merredin, then head north and get to a camp with TV reception to catch the State of Origin Game 3. A big day of travel through some very pretty wheatbelt country backroads got us to the town of Dalwallinu via Bencubbin and Beacon, where we set up and prepared to assist the Maroons to that big third win. The traditional pre-game text messages of tribal reinforcement – “QueenslanDaaaaar!!” – (the digital equivalent of beating spear on shield) were sent to the boys back home to get the juices going, and we settled in for the game.
The biased shrill of the referee’s whistle still ringing in my ears the following morning, we packed up and pointed the Landy north to Wubin and then north-east to track down the elusive wreath flower (Leschenaultia macrantha) reported to be at a certain location on Goodlands Road. We found them in soil the colour of red ochre but the plants were small and it appeared too early in the season for them to be in flower. Still, we felt lucky to at least have seen the plants. This time of year, there are patches of flowers and wattle pompoms scattered along the roadside but the full explosion of everlastings is yet to happen.
We headed on and took the Mt Gibson/Perenjori Road towards our bush camp site with the appealing name of Camel Soak. As we travelled there, I spotted something on the gravel edge of the road and pulled over to discover a couple of dozen wreath flowers, many large ones in full bloom and smaller ones in the first throws of flowering. Exquisite rings laid flat on the gravel, each made up of dozens of delicate flowers with frilled petals of white, pink and red. How good was that! Di was thrilled as we’d flagged these plants as one of our must do things in WA, and to come across them in bloom earlier than they should be was a real joy.
The bush track in to Camel Soak looked more like a long winding stream and I was reluctant to chance getting bogged in such an isolated spot, so we had lunch by the side of the road, did some wild flower wandering through the scrub, and headed on to the next camp at Canna Townsite. Canna is a town that was supposed to happen but didn’t quite get there. We set up next to the corrugated iron community hall (the school from 1949-1952) and the small brick church that still operates. Add to that the grain rail terminal and a couple of other buildings, and that’s pretty much all there is to Canna. It was a good sheltered camp site with scrub all around, and we took a walk to the nearby “rock” and came across a Malleefowl mound (nest) from last season. We’ve yet to spy a Malleefowl, though.
“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” – A.A. Milne