Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
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Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
|Our final destination is in the Kimberley region in the far north of the state. We've already seen an example of Western Australia's mineral wealth in the form of gold mining in the south; our next stop, the Argyle mine, is famous for producing which gemstone?||Western Australian Wonderland
diamonds. Despite being located in Western Australia, the nearest major city to the Argyle Diamond Mine is Darwin, some 550 kilometres away in the Northern Territory. The diamond deposit was discovered in 1979 and the Argyle mine is now the largest single producer of diamonds in the world (since beginning operations, the mine has produced more than 600 Mct (that's 600000 carats!) of diamonds). Most of the diamonds produced by the mine are used for industrial purposes, but the Argyle mine also produces some beautiful coloured diamond specimens, including champagne and pink diamonds. Well, we've come to the end of yet another Australian adventure - I'm going to stay around here for a while to admire all these gorgeous diamonds; I'll see you next time!
|Back into the car again (this is one big state we're driving around!), we point the car northwards once more on the way to a town that is home to both industrial and natural wonders. This town really came into its own in the 19th century when increasing exports from the nearby goldfields led to the building of a jetty and an eight-kilometre causeway making this town the region's major port. What is its name?||Western Australian Wonderland
Port Hedland. Port Hedland, named after the man who explored the region in the mid-19th century, is a blend of the industrial, which drives the town's economy, and the naturally beautiful. The town is at the heart of a mining region and BHP, an Australian mining company, have a huge iron ore processing plant located there. There are numerous natural attractions bringing visitors to the Port Hedland area, such as Eighty Mile Beach, an unbroken stretch of pure white sand and Karijini National Park, whose gorges, rock pools and waterfalls provide breathtaking scenery. If you're into whale-watching, you can do that at Port Hedland too, with Humpback whales frequenting the waters from July to October.
|Northwards bound now, we're headed for the state's capital, Perth. Situated on the banks of the Swan River, Perth is a modern, spacious city and claims to be the most isolated capital city in the world (Adelaide, in South Australia, is the nearest capital city 2200 kilometres to the east). We've done some wandering around Perth and decide to take a day trip to an island just off the coast best-known for being a haven for quokkas. What is this island's name?||Western Australian Wonderland
Rottnest Island. Seventeenth-century Dutch explorers thought the quokkas (small marsupials similar to forest wallabies and tree kangaroos) scurrying over the island were giant rats, and hence named the island "Rotte-nest", meaning "rat's nest". The central "e" was dropped from the name's pronunciation, giving the modern "Rottnest". The island is one of WA's most popular tourist destinations, giving visitors the choice of swimming, surfing and diving as well as providing the opportunity for a look at those cute little quokkas - now a protected species on the island.
|Our next stop is even further west, and still along the coast. The town we're heading for gives its name to a region known for making very fine wines. What is the town's name?||Western Australian Wonderland
Margaret River. The Margaret River Wine Region has become known for producing world-class wines. The town (and river) were named in 1831 after Margaret Wyche, who was a cousin of the founder of the WA town of Busselton. Besides excellent wine, the coast around the Margaret River area is renowned for its excellent surfing breaks (with some waves reaching up to 20 feet high), attracting surfers from all over Australia and the world. About 21 kilometres south of the town is Mammoth Cave (so named for its enormous size). The cave, which was first discovered by European settlers in 1850, features fossils up to 35000 years old and has been open to the public since 1904.
|Hugging the coast, we travel west to reach our next destination. This town, settled in 1826 and overlooking the Southern Ocean, is a place where you can indulge in activities from whale-watching to wildflower-admiration. Where are we going?||Western Australian Wonderland
Albany. The harbour on which Albany is situated was discovered by Captain George Vancouver in 1791 and the coastline was mapped in 1801 by Matthew Flinders; settlers arrived in December, 1826. Before the establishment of Fremantle, the town was a port that serviced mail steamers on their way to the UK. The whale-watching (the old whaling station is now a museum) and wildflower seasons coincide and run from August to October. The coastline of the area provides some spectacular scenery, including a large section of granite eroded to form a natural arch as well as numerous blow-holes, which spurt water high into the air whilst making hissing noises.
|Keeping the promise we made to ourselves on our South Australian trip, we're approaching Western Australia (WA) from the east along the seemingly-endless Eyre Highway. With the Nullarbor Plain to the north and the Great Australian Bight to the south, we keep driving west before taking a detour inland. Our first stop is a town for whom mining is the driving force, being at the centre of the WA gold rush in the late 19th century. What is the town's name?||Western Australian Wonderland
Kalgoorlie. Kalgoorlie (formally Kalgoorlie-Boulder) was born in 1893 when three Irishmen discovered gold in the spot and registered a claim. When it became known that gold was to be found, men came from all over the world to seek their fortune, turning the Kalgoorlie region into the economic heart of the state. Since that time, the WA goldfields have produced over 990 tonnes of gold and mining continues in the region today. About 50 mines are still operating today, 25 of which are gold mines. Other mines in operation include copper, nickel, silver and granite.
|This place used to be a small country town, but is now the site of a large dam which helps supply water to the metropolitan area. In the Noongar lanuage it is where water is found. What is the name of the place?||Western Australian Place Names #1
Dandalup. Dandalup is an hours drive south of Perth and is a great place for a picinc, or for a bush walk. Dwellingup is another Western Australian town whose name means "near water".
Quartz. There is an interesting Transport Museum at Boyanup and it is also close to the City of Bunbury which is the home of the Dolphin Discovery Centre. The district is one of Western Australia's cattle producing areas.
|Tambellup is another small, sheep producing town on the Great Southern Highway. It has the name 'Town of Friendship', and its symbol is the Willy Wagtail bird, but its name means place of what?||Western Australian Place Names #1
Tammars. Tambellup is also close to the Stirling Ranges, and a great place to view magnificent wildflowers in the Spring. The Great Southern Highway, and the Great Southern Railway both pass through Tambellup. Tammars are a small species of kangaroo. Another possible meaning of Tambellup is "place of thunder" and local Noongar people accept either version of the name.
|Jerramungup is another small town near the south coast of WA. Like most of the region, it is noted for its production of wheat and sheep. Its name is taken from a certain type of tree, but what tree ?||Western Australian Place Names #1
tall Yate gum trees. Yate trees are one of many varieties of eucalypts growing in West Australia. Jerramungup is fairly close in Australian terms (185km) to the coastal city of Albany, and on the road to the port of Esperance.
|Nannup is a very pretty little town in the south west, and holds an annual tulip festival. It is also somewhere where the Noongar people found a lot of a certain bird. What is the bird? ||Western Australian Place Names #1
Parrot. Nannup is close to the wine regions of Margaret River, and the interesting tourism regions of Busselton and Dunsborough. The tulip festival in spring is something worth seeing, and there are several nice easy drives to lovely places if you make Nannup your base. There are many different parrots found in Western Australia, and the colours of some are magnificent.
Gnowangerup. Gnowangerup is near the Stirling Ranges, and is a great starting point to explore them. In spring, the wild flowers are sensational. Also in spring, buyers come from all over Australia for the sheep stud sales and field days.
It was also the site of an Aboriginal mission last century, and is now home to a large rural training centre.
Black Snakes. There are karri forests near Nornalup along the Frankland River. It is close to the world famous Valley of the Giants, where unique giant tingle trees can be seen, and the Treetop Walk.
It's located between Denmark and Walpole, and this region is one of the top tourism areas of the state. It's a great place to base yourself to catch fish in the Frankland.
|In the language of the Noongar (indigenous people of the south west of Western Australia), the suffix "up" means "place of".
Of what is Kojonup is the place?||Western Australian Place Names #1
stone axe. Kojonup was where the Noongar people visited to get stone for their axes or kodjas. The Tourist Centre at Kojonup is called "Kodja Place" and is built in the shape of a stone axe. Kojonup was also the first shire in WA to have a million sheep - definitely more sheep than people.
Meeting place. This name derives from the word "Manjar", and is highly appropriate for this coastal city which has grown from a sleepy holiday village to a busy city where many people do indeed meet.
Place where head men meet. Katanning has the largest sheep selling complex in the southern hemisphere, as well as several industrial heritage sites.
Emu. Wagin comes from the Noongar word Wait - Jen. Ongerup is the place of the male kangaroo, Dwarda, a small place in the South West has the meaning of "dingo", while koalas are not native to Western Australia, and therefore have no name in Noongar.
Waterhole. The town and shire of Narrogin, located in the upper Great Southern, is a regional area with a combined population of about 5000 people. It has a large agricultural college, established in the 1920s, where high school age students gain skills in agriculture and trades.
Goomalling. Goomalling is located in the central wheatbelt, about 130km from Perth. There are some interesting things for tourists to do, including picnic at the Gnamma Holes, located about 15 km from town.
Cottesloe Beach. The island was a prison colony in its early days. This event was based on the suggestion that prisoners would be able to escape from the island and make the treacherous swim, through shark patrolled waters, to the mainland. The idea of prisoners swimming to freedom was scoffed at, however, it certainly created an interesting excuse for a competitive dip in ocean. The first crossing from the mainland to the island that was ever documented was that of Gerd Von Dincklage Schulingberg in 1956.
|Fishing and diving are very popular at Rottnest Island. What form of fishing season opens November 15 and runs through until June 30 each year?||Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Crayfish (Rock Lobster). The island has 63 sheltered beaches and 20 bays. It is home to 20 different varieties of coral and 360 species of fish. Strict rules are in place to protect the crayfish supply. The 'bag limit' is eight 'crays' per licence per day or 16 per boat. The crayfish can be captured either by hand (diving) or specially made pots (traps). It is illegal to use any method likely to puncture the crayfish shell.
Vessels wrecked on the island's coast. Despite its small size, Rottnest has recorded a significant number of shipwrecks. The main reasons being (a) Fremantle, which is one of State's major sea lanes is situated only nineteen kilometres away, hence a large flow of water traffic, (b) the island is home to a host of hidden and partly exposed reef structures and (c) the prevailing Westerly winds which buffet the coastline.
The Wadjemup Lighthouse was built in the centre of the island in 1849 to provide a warning to ships but, after an enquiry into the disastrous sinking of the 'Duke of York' in 1899, a further lighthouse was erected on Bathurst Point in 1901.
|Two of Rottnest Island's attractions are sets of cannons installed at Oliver Hill and Bickley Point. What were these guns built to protect?||Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Fremantle Harbour. Two 9.2 inch cannons were erected during World War II at Oliver Hill and a further two six inch cannons at Bickley Point. Railway lines were put in place to run between the cannons, an ammunition dump at the jetty in Thompson's Bay and the Army Barracks at Kingstown. This infrastructure is collectively known as the 'Rottnest Island Fortress' and today is basis for one of the island's major tours.
Wind turbine. The West Australian Government took advantage of the very strong winds (known as the 'Roaring Forties') that blow off the Southern Ocean by installing wind turbines to power the island. The turbines provide just over a third of the island's power needs, have lowered the consumption of diesel by 400,000 litres per year and have been responsible for a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Quokka. The quokka, when originally sighted, was thought to resemble a large rat. When Willem De Vlamingh first saw the island in 1696 he described it as a 'Rats Nest' or 'Rotte Nest' in Dutch.
The quokka actually looks like a very small kangaroo and is very friendly in its nature. Sadly, these days, it tends to make more headlines as the unfortunate victim of 'quokka soccer' by drunken louts.
Place across the water. The Noongar people, who are mainly resident in the south west of Australia, have been known to have inhabited the island over 6500 years ago. This is evidenced by artefacts, that are possibly tens of thousands of years old, being found embedded within the island's limestone. The local aboriginals were not considered to have been seafaring so the inhabitation is likely to have occurred when the island was actually connected to the mainland. The separation of the island has occurred as a result of rising sea levels over the millennia.
About 400 kilometres. To get to Albany from Perth, head south through Armadale onto the Albany Highway. You pass through several small towns, including Williams, Kojonup and the premium wine growing region of Mount Barker. On your left as you head towards Albany are the Stirling and Porongurup Ranges, where in the spring you can find unique wildflowers such as the Cranbrook and Mondurup Bells, and the aptly named Lambs Tails.
|A short drive from Albany is Two Peoples Bay, where in 1961, a population of birds thought to have been extinct from the early 1900s was discovered. What was the name of the bird?||Albany, Western Australia
Noisy Scrub Bird. The Noisy Scrub Bird was believed to have been extinct for many years until a population was found at Two People's Bay. The area is now a bird sanctuary, and the population of birds is still less than 1500 in the wild. A development was planned for the area, but was relocated due to the presence of the bird. Two People's Bay was once famed as a whaling area, and winter storms sometimes uncover whale bones.
|The first ship to bring settlers to Albany was the Brig Amity, and a replica of this small ship now stands on the foreshore. Who was her commander?||Albany, Western Australia
Major Edmund Lockyer. Major Edmund Lockyer was the commander of the ship which carried 3 officers, 18 sailors and 23 convicts, plus animals and six months supplies. There was a total of more than 50 men on the original voyage, and when you see the small size of the boat, you would wonder where they all fitted.
Construction of the replica began in 1975, and was completed in time for the 150th anniversary of her arrival in Albany.
|Mount Clarence overlooks the harbour at Albany. At the top, there is a monument commemorating an event in Australian history. What event?||Albany, Western Australia
Gallipoli (World War One). The monument is the ANZAC Light Horse Memorial, which was originally erected in Egypt, but moved to West Australia after sustaining damage during the Suez crisis in 1956.
Mount Clarence would have been the last view of Australia for many soldiers going overseas, as Albany was the last Australian port visited by the troopships.
Middleton Beach. All the answers are beaches in the general area, but Middleton is a lovely sheltered beach, with a small jetty and good amenities.
The beach was named for Captain Middleton, who arrived at the settlement in 1834.
It was originally the place where larger ships which could not navigate the entrance to the harbour and unload supplies.