Tuesday 31st March 2015
Pemberton township is hilly with tiny timber workers cottages lining the streets. I’m surprised to see one named Koorwingiegaboora, just like the name of the town near Daylesford in Victoria. We visit the historic fire spotting tree called the Gloucester Tree named after the Duke. It’s about 60 metres high and has steel rungs encircling it. It hurts your neck to look at the platform way up at the top. I climbed the first 5 rungs with no intention of going further. Which you may laugh at, but the others didn’t even try.
While waiting for the mill tour we dipped our toes in the tiny waterfall at the cascades. Not knowing the plant names is driving me crazy, but they are quite different here. Shane at our camp had recommended we do the wickedly priced ($5!) mill tour and we meet Albert aka Jim and he decks us out in safety gear. We learn about forestry and the Karri trees this mill processes. It is spellbinding watching the huge logs being sliced. The whole building is filled with rolling equipment and saws. Malformed timber is diverted to wood chipping. Because of the noise of the saws everyone wears ear protection and it is fascinating to watch the way the staff members communicate with a system of hand signals. They seem to be able to carry on quite a conversation without uttering a word. The Pemberton Mill made the first sleepers for the Trans Continental Railway. Karri timber when cut is a beautiful deep red.
By the time we return to camp the hosts are changing the guard. Jim and Flo exchange kisses hugs and photos with the Italian strawberry picker girls who reside in a small tent in the camp and there are cries of “Nonna, Nonna”. Woody and Double or Nuthin’ light the fire and we meet the new hosts and new campers. This life rolls on.
In the distance there is a sound like a motor bike Grand Prix, we are told they are ‘Moaning’ frogs. More like noisy frogs.
Travelling Kms: 0
Note: Shane the chap who recommended we do the mill tour was a young dad doing ‘The Big Lap’ of Australia with his family. Over the years we have met many young families who’ve let the family home, bought a comfortable van and tow vehicle and hit the road for a year of travel. They do the tours available in each town and as Shane put it “The kids soak it all up like a sponge”.