The showers and loos at Bullara Station are something to behold. You can shower, shave and …, all in the open air under the sun or stars !
Just about here, 7,188 Kms from home.
Exmouth is a town on the tip of the North West Cape in Western Australia. The town was established in 1967 to support the nearby United States Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt. Beginning in the late 1970’s, the town began hosting U.S. Air Force personnel assigned to Learmonth Solar Observatory, a defence science facility jointly operated with Australia’s Ionospheric Prediction Service. Nowadays the town relies more on tourism than the station for its existence. On 22 March 1999, Tropical Cyclone Vance reached category 5 status as it made landfall near Exmouth. This resulted in the highest ever wind gust reported on the Australian mainland of 267 km/h at Learmonth, only 35 km to the south.
Coral Bay is positioned towards the southern end of Ningaloo Reef. It is famous for its pristine beaches, sparkling blue waters and fish feeding at the beach. The main industries are tourism and fishing. The electricity for the town is provided by a wind-diesel hybrid system. Coral Bay was formally settled in 1968 and was named after a hotel that had been established in the area.
Bullara Station is a working cattle property which sprawls across ¼ million acres is known as Punurrba by the local Yingarrda people, or ‘Seabreeze’, but the name Bullara derives from an early state-owned boat that sailed up the coast in the 1900s. Over three generations the Shallcross family have farmed Merino sheep for wool production but a wild dog problem forced them to move into cattle.
Currently the family breed Droughtmaster cattle with a focus on best practice cattle husbandry, which is crucial for providing top quality and flavoursome beef. Combined with the nature-based outback accommodation the Agritourism story has flourished. The focus is on sustainability, recycling and a quirky ‘live in our shoes’ environment.
‘Damper John’ is a visitor who stays here for 4 or 5 months of the year and almost every evening cooks fantastic damper for all the campers around the communal campfire.
After some more challenges with a water leak in the caravan we head out to Cleaverville, an ideal spot as it is central to the area and lets us visit the local towns of Roebourne, Wickham, Cossack and Point Sampson.
The Millstream Chichester National Park has fantastic views across the Hammersley Ranges, with rolling hills, spectacular escarpments and tree lined water courses, including Python Pool and the large Fortescue River. The park is made up of the old Millstream station which is on the Millstream Creek, just before it joins Fortescue River one of the few permanent watercourses in the area and the Chichester Range. The area is homeland of the Yinjibarndi people, who work as Rangers and contractors in the Park.
The ‘Staircase to the Moon’ is a natural phenomenon caused by the rising of a full moon reflecting off the exposed mudflats in Roebuck Bay at extremely low tide, to create a beautiful optical illusion of a stairway reaching to the moon. This spectacular sight occurs from March through to November.
Located at the tip of the Burrup Peninsula, close to Karratha and Dampier, is the North West Shelf Venture (NWSV) – Australia’s first Liquid Natural Gas project. In 2014, the project celebrates 30 years of domestic gas production and 25 years of LNG cargoes to Japanese customers. The project is based on vast undersea natural gas and crude oil resources. It is currently Australia’s largest operating oil and gas development.
Collectively, six venture participants have invested in onshore and offshore oil and gas facilities totalling more than $29.5 billion. If it was built today, it would cost more than $50 billion. The project is Western Australia’s largest producer of domestic gas – providing about 65 percent of the State’s total production. It also accounts for more than 40 percent of Australia’s oil and gas production and is a major producer of liquefied natural gas, natural gas, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), condensate and crude oil. The North West Shelf is currently the 6th largest LNG producer in the world.
One of Dampier’s main claims to fame is as the home of the famous Red Dog Statue. Red Dog (c. 1971 – 21 November 1979) was a Kelpie/cattle dog cross that was well known for his travels through Western Australia’s Pilbara region, most often visiting Dampier. Red Dog is believed to have been born in the town of Paraburdoo in 1971 and had a variety of names to those who knew him, including: Bluey, Tally Ho, and Dog of the Northwest. Tally Ho was his first name, given to him by a man called Col Cummings, who is believed to have been his first owner and the one who brought him to Dampier. The nickname “Red Dog” has been attributed to the red dirt of the Pilbara Region. His second owner was John Stazzonelli, a bus/truck driver with Hamersley Iron, whose work allowed Red to travel as far as Perth, Broome, Roebourne, Point Samson and Port Hedland.
Following Stazzonelli’s death in 1975, Red spent a lot of time travelling on his own. He was also taken in by many members of the community and a veterinarian who treated him. Red was made a member of the Dampier Salts Sport and Social Club and the Transport Workers’ Union. He was also given a bank account with the Bank of New South Wales, which is said to have used him as a mascot and sales tool with the slogan “If Red banks at the Wales, then you can too.”. Although he had many friends, it is believed that his death in 1979 was caused by deliberate strychnine poisoning. Red is buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in Roebourne, Western Australia.