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Borden, WA

Town on edge of the Stirling Range National Park.

With a population of less than 200 (and unlikely to increase in the forseeable future) Borden is a typical small wheatbelt town committed to providing basic services for the surrounding wheat and sheep farming community. Its importance lies in its access to the Stirling Range National Park which is one of the great natural attractions of the area and its huge grain handling facility which looms over the town.

Location

Borden is located 402 km south-east of Perth via the Albany Highway. It lies 121 km north of Albany on a road which passes through the Stirling Range National Park.

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Origin of Name

Many Australian towns have been named for strange reasons but the decision to name Borden after Sir Robert Laird Borden, the Prime Minister of Canada from 1911-1920, ranks as one of the strangest choices in the country.

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Things to See and Do

The Magpie Flight Path
Full marks have to be awarded for local initiative when it comes to a unique tourist attraction. Every town in Australia could have a "magpie flight path" but tiny Borden was the first. The magpie sculptures are positioned on poles at the entrance to the town and each pole has a plaque recounting stories of the area. You'll see nothing like this anywhere else in Australia.

Cooperative Bulk Handing Facility (CBH)
Most wheatbelt towns have some sort of grain handling facility servicing the needs of the local farming community. Borden's claim to fame is the sheer size of its Bulk Handling Facility. It has a capacity to hold 300,000 tonnes and, as such, is one of the state’s primary grain receival points. Road trains move the wheat south to Albany where it is shipped around the world. The CBH towers over the town.

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Other Attractions in the Area

Stirling Range National Park
The central appeal of the area is the beautiful and dramatic Stirling Range National Park which boasts 15 peaks over 900 m and 50 peaks above 600 m. It is the only significant mountain range in the southern half of Western Australia and offers the visitor jagged cliffs, sheltered gullies, superb panoramic views and a staggering 1500 species of flora - many of which grow nowhere else on the planet. There is a 42 km drive through the park, most of it on good dirt roads suitable for 2WD driving, which allows the visitor to experience the great diversity and beauty of the area.

The geology of the mountains is fascinating. A brochure on the park explains: "The range was formed over 1,000 million years ago when this area was a shallow sea and sediment was deposited on the granite lowland. After the sea receded the area of the range sank. The surrounding area gradually eroded back to basic granite and the range was slowly uplifted, eventually weathering to its present form. The Chester and Red Gum passes mark the courses of river that flowed south during the early stages of formation. Ripple marks can still be seen on the exposed rock."

For many visitors the Sterling Ranges National Park is about bushwalking. The main trails include:

Mount Magog (856 m) - 8 km return. Hard, 3-4 hours. Please note there is no path for the final 1 km to the summit.

Mount Talyuberup (783 m) - 3 km return. Moderate, 2 hours. Caverns and precipitous rocks at the summit of this mountain make this an exciting climb. It is also known as Talyuberup peak.

Mount Hassell (847 m) - 4 km return. Moderate, 2-3 hours. It is suitable for families and can be attempted by young children.

Mount Toolbrunup (1052 m) - 4 km return. Hard, 3 hours. This walk is often regarded as the best in the Park. Excellent 360° views from the summit, and dramatic rocky outcrops provide spectacular scenery.

All walks are steep and uneven. There is detailed information and advice at http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/stirling-range with discussions of the features of each walk.

The flora in the park is incredibly rich and it is reasonable to expect to see scarlet banksia, Cranbrook bells, dryandra, orchids, flowering gums and grass trees. It has been estimated that between August and November it is possible to see over 1,000 species of wildflowers and the park is known to be home to over 180 species of birds including black and white cockatoos, eagles and emus. Hidden Treasures Dawn and Dusk Bird Walks led by Bird Life Australia volunteers depart daily at 8.00 am and 3.00 pm from Stirling Range Retreat’s office from mid-September to the 31st October. All revenues are donated to Bird Life Australia. tel: (08) 9827 9229.

The Lily Windmill
Located at 9793 Chester Pass Road, Borden the Lily Windmill is a wonderful incongruity: a traditional Dutch windmill in the wilds of Western Australia. The owners of The Lily, Pleun Hitzert and his wife Hennie, used recycled bricks and timber from the old Albany jetty to build this "authentic 16th Century design brick 'ground-sail' mill.  The five storey full size Dutch Windmill, with its 22 ton cap and a sail length of 24.6 metres, is one of the largest traditional windmills ever built in Australia. The Lily Windmill is the only operational flour producing windmill on mainland Australia." It produces organic wholemeal stone-ground Spelt flour for sale. Beside the mill are 16th century replica Dutch houses and a restaurant in the original, but relocated, 1924 Federation-style railway station building from Gnowangerup. The place offers accommodation and there are tours of the working windmill. Check out http://www.thelily.com.au/ for details.

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History

* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was inhabited by the Noongar Aboriginal people of the Minang language group. The Wagyl Kaip people were living in the area now known as the Stirling Ranges National Park.

* Europeans moved into the area in the 1860s.

* In 1913 the town came into existence as a railway siding between Gnowangerup and Ongerup.

* In 1916 it was officially gazetted as a town.

* Between 1916-1922 the local Noogar people were moved into the Carrolup Native Settlement reserves at both Borden and Gnowangerup.

* In 1928 a local Agricultural Hall was opened.

* The railway line closed in 1957.

* Today Borden is a quiet little town with a huge grain handling facility which services the surrounding wheat and sheep properties.

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Visitor Information

Borden General Store, Moir Street, tel: (08) 9828 1045

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Useful Websites

There is no dedicated website for the town. However the website for The Lily Windmill is remarkably detailed about the region. Check out http://www.thelily.com.au/

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