Kondinin Quiet wheatbelt town with an impressive lakes and interesting art works
Kondinin is a small wheatbelt town servicing the surrounding sheep and grain farming land where wheat and canola are grown. The main attractions in the district are the natural features and the fauna and flora. It is an area noted for its wildflower displays which occur between September and October, the lookout at Yeerakine Rock and the impressive Kondinin Lake.
Kondinin is located 273 km east of Perth.^ TOP
Origin of Name
No one is sure about the origin of the name. It was adopted to describe the lake - hence Kondinin Lake - and when the town grew up it was duly named after the lake but no one is sure what 'kondinin' means. It was a local Aboriginal word first recorded by Surveyor General John Septimus Roe in 1848.^ TOP
Things to See and Do
Located 5 km west of the town this 1500 ha lake (when full) is popular with bird watchers, sail boat, kayakers and water skiing enthusiasts.
Sculpture Park and Sculptures
Located near the Sports Oval, off Graham Street, the Sculpture Park is a result of exhibits displayed during the annual Kondinin Art Prize. Check out https://www.kondinin.wa.gov.au/file/Kondinin_Art_Trail_Brochure__Inside_pages1.pdf which provides a downloadable brochure which lists 14 art works around the town.
Six Seasons Noongar Poles
Located in the Community Garden Nature Play area on Graham Street, these Noongar Poles were created by the community. It was led by former resident Ashley Collard (he was named NAIDOC Indigenous Artist of the year in 2013) and the poles represent the six seasons - Birak (December-January), Bunuru (February and March), Djeran (April and May), Makuru (June and July), Djilba (August and September) and Kambarang (October and November). For more information about the seasons, check out https://www.derbalnara.org.au/boodjar-six-seasons.
John Septimus Roe Mural
Located near the Sports Oval in the Information Bay, off Graham Street, the mural records the journey of the Surveyor General, John Septimus Roe, who travelled through the area and paused at Yeerakine Rock. For more information check out https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/landscape/settlement/display/95323-john-septimus-roe.
Located behind the Railway Station, this short walk passes through 54 ha of woodland which lies between the railway line and Connell Street.
Other Attractions in the Area
Located 13 km south of Kondinin via the Williams-Kondinin Road, Yeerakine Rock, like so many rocks in the wheatbelt, was initially used as a vital supply of rainwater. It was first sighted by Europeans when John Septimus Roe travelled through the area. It offers excellent views across the wheatfields and has a pleasant shady picnic area at the base. It is also an excellent starting point for those wanting to explore the wildflowers in the district. Located at the top of the rock is the Light Horseman Statue. It was installed in 2015 to mark the centenary of the ANZAC and recognises those from the Kondinin district who served in the 10th Light Horse Brigade in World War I.
Sculptures in the Salt Lakes
Located 10 km west of the town on the Corrigin-Kondinin Road, this sculpture, which is titled "Waiting for Hay" was created by Kelly Browning, a local farmer, using star pickets. The images created are 'Clearing the Land', 'Waiting for Rain', 'Shearing the Sheep' and 'Inspecting the Crop'. The lake, known locally as the Statues Lake, is also a special place. At various times of the year it turns a brilliant yellow/green as a result of the formation of algae. It reputedly commonly happens around November.
How to See WA Wildflowers - A Guide
When planning a trip there are a number of very simple rules.
(1) Start by downloading Your Holiday Guide to Western Australia’s Wildflowers at http://www.westernaustralia.com/en/things_to_do/forest_and_flowers/pages/wawildflowers.aspx#/. It is a comprehensive guide to the wildflowers. There are over 12,000 species and 60% of them are found nowhere else on the planet.
(2) There is a tendency to say "But I won't know what I'm looking at" but that is rubbish. There are a number of great books and the best, by far, is the answer to "Wildflowers for Dummies" titled "Colour Guide to Spring Wildflowers of Western Australia". It is privately published by Wajon Publishing Company, written by Eddie Wajon, and comes in three volumes – 1. Kalbarri and the Goldfields, 2. Perth and the Southwest and 3. Esperance and the Wheatbelt. They can all be purchased online from Kings Park & Botanic Garden in Perth. Check out https://www.aspectsofkingspark.com.au.
The publication's design masterstroke is that the flowers are listed according to their colours and all the pages are colour coded. Thus Mr and Mrs Wildflower Illiterate, when gazing at a Spiny Synaphea, only need to open at the "yellow flowers" section and flick through until they find the colour photo which matches the reality. The company can be contacted directly on (08) 9310 2936.
(3) No one should ever underestimate the power of local knowledge and assistance. The Western Australian wheatbelt, probably because of the declining prices for both wool and wheat and the increased levels of salinity, has decided that the spring wildflowers are a good for the local economy and worthy of patronage. When innocently asking where I might see a wreath flower (they are a flower which naturally forms itself in a circle like a wreath – particularly appealing to those with a morbid interest in death) at the local coffee shop in Morowa I was told that there were some in the area but the person who knew was at the information office.
At the information office I was advised, and this is verbatim, to "drive down the main street until you see the road that crosses over the railway line, drive across the line and past the Police Station and Fire Station (or is it the SES), turn right at the next road, continue up past the sheds for a couple of hundred yards [metres haven't arrived here yet] and you'll see some beside the road". Absorbing the instructions I headed off and three minutes later, having noticed a sign reading "Wreath Flowers" on a fence, I found the plant.
Morowa also publish a leaflet titled "Morowa Wildflower Drives" which, if you were thorough, could keep you in the area for a couple of days.
At the next town, Mingenew (which, for lovers of Australian Big Things now boasts the Big Wheat Stalk – known locally as "Big Ears") the information centre provides both a map and a list of locations with details like "20 km on the Pingelly road on the left hand side there are some excellent wreath flowers". And at Watheroo there's a wonderful local mud map with wryly enthusiastic comments like "Heaps of banksia, grevillea, snake bush etc along the road" and, getting quite technical "Rare and Endangered. E. Rhodantha (rose mallee) Only large patch in the world".
(4) There is a logical route which can be honed or expanded according to the amount of time you want to spend.
The best starting place, if you want to get a good foretaste of what you are about to experience in the wild, is to visit Kings Park & Botanic Garden in the heart of Perth. Apart from offering sensational views over the Swan River and the Perth CBD the gardens boast a 17 hectare area which has more than 1700 native species of wildflowers. This is, not surprisingly, rather pristine and not very wild but it does allow you to develop a working knowledge of devils pins, kangaroo paws, desert peas, everlastings, starflowers, grevilleas, firebush, a range of orchids and hundreds of other natives.
You really don't need to be a flora expert. All you need are your eyes and a sense of wonder because the Western Australian wildflowers in spring really are as remarkable and significant as a unique part of Australia as Uluru, the Great Ocean Road or Cradle Mountain.
* It is estimated that the granite outcrops in the area were formed around 2.63 billion years ago.
* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to the Njakinjaki Aboriginal people.
* The first European through the area was the Surveyor and Explorer, John Septimus Roe, on his 1848-1849 expedition.
* The first Europeans in the area was sandalwood cutters who moved through searching for the precious timber.
* The first European settler was Michael Brown who took up land in the district in 1905.
* Leases were terminated in 1909-1910 and the land was subdivided.
* A railway line was built from near Narrogin, and Kondinin was created as a railway stop in 1915.
* The townsite was gazetted in 1915.
* A railway between Kondinin and Hyden was built in 1930.
* In 1955 the Kondinin Group was created in the town to study farm machinery.^ TOP
Visitor Information is available at the Community Resource Centre, (08) 9889 1117 which is open from 9.00 am - 4.00 pm and the Kondinin Shire Council, (08) 9889 1006, Open 8.30 am - 4.30 pm.^ TOP
There is a useful local website. Check out https://www.kondinin.wa.gov.au/top/tourism. It has useful guides to the town.^ TOP