On Monday 26 March, went on a WOW ecocruise (http://www.wowwilderness.com.au/) at Walpole, south-west WA. The highlight was perhaps the super-charged tour guide, Gary Muir, whose family had farmed down here for many generations. He was incredibly knowledgeable across a wide range of relevant and irrelevant matters, and imparted that knowledge at speed, replete with more “dad jokes” than you could poke a stick at.
We heard of the role of the Swarbrick family in boat building over again many generations; and links to Leo Tolstoy. The original owner of Tinglewood Cottage in Walpole, Frank Skinner Thompson, stayed with Tolstoy and smuggled letters and documents back to Australia. Recently they were found under a false floor in the boat shed. Gary has co-authored a book with Geoff Fernie, called From Tolstoy to Tinglewood.
Gary’s best “dad joke” connected the north pole and the south pole, with Walpole.
Pied Oyster Catchers mate for life, and this pair had lived here for 25 years. The Pacific gull, also lifers, and his mate had lived here for 7.
A family of four Ospreys had also made this home.
We went onto Newdgate Island, once farmed by the Muirs, with highly deadly plants on there used in other places to make 1080 poison. Amazingly the native Quokkas had developed an immunity to the plants poison. It was known by the local aboriginals as “norn norn up” – place of many snakes. As we walked up and over to the ocean side, we kept an eye out, especially after Gary told us how high a Dugite would raise its head to get you.
On the Island were many flowers that I had not seen before.
Certainly a trip well worth doing.