Distance: 420 km Approx. Travel Time: 5 hours
This trail begins with a half-hour drive to Goomalling. The Ballardong Noongars knew this area as a place of possums, particularly the silver-grey Goomal. In 1846, Alfred Hilman, an assistant government surveyor and the brothers Gerard and Anthony LeFroy found water on their way to exploring the country deep in the interior to the north east.
The party noted it was "rich grassy country" but none took up land in the area. It was George Slater who first established a property around Goomalling Spring in the early 1850s. We pass by George Slater's original homestead on the Goomalling Wyalkatchem Road. The owners have preserved the building, and it can be viewed by appointment; contact the Goomalling visitors centre for more details.
Like most of the smaller towns in the Northern and Eastern Wheatbelt, the town of Goomalling owes its existence to the railway The town was gazetted a year after the line was built in 1902. The original railway station can still be seen in the main street. Further along Railway Terrace to the west, you can see Goomalling's unique concrete grain storage domes, capable of holding 44,000 tonnes of grain. The only ones of their kind in the southern hemisphere, the locals call these domes 'The Dolly Twins' which is a country music reference that we don't quite understand.
The next step in our journey, to Oak Park, will not only deepen your understanding of Australian ecology, it will give you a window into Ballardong Nyoongar culture and Australian Indigenous culture overall.