Lake King to Norseman road contitions

Submitted: Friday, Dec 26, 2014 at 19:19
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Merry Christmas to everyone,
Can anyone give us an update on the Lake King - Norseman road condition. We are thinking of heading throught there in Feb as an alternativevto the Hyden - Norseman road. Any comments appreciated. (Wifey went through there with a horse float 40 years ago and said it was ok then but an update would be good)
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Reply By: 08crd - Friday, Dec 26, 2014 at 23:06

Friday, Dec 26, 2014 at 23:06
Ring the Norseman shire offices and the Norseman police station. They both use the road and know of its current condition. February will be hot, for sure.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Dec 26, 2014 at 23:38

Friday, Dec 26, 2014 at 23:38
The middle section through the Frank Hann National Park is not well maintained; expect poholes. The east and west ends usually a passable dirt road. It has never presented us with any real difficulties when towing our caravan, and we have been though when it was rather wet and sloshy.

It was discussed here recently Norseman-Lake King Road thread

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Follow Up By: Yunderup Fox n Wifey - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 00:16

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 00:16
Thanks for the feedback. I think we will give it shot with the usual caution deserved of these areas. We expect it to be hot and will give the coppers a ring closer to departure.
Cheers.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 00:21

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 00:21
The main reservations would be if any cyclonic rain goes through the area Fox. It is a pleasant drive, and being based in the south west, it is our 'short cut' home.

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Follow Up By: Yunderup Fox n Wifey - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 00:47

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 00:47
Normally when we go east we take the Hyden - Norseman road.
We have travelled the first part of the Lake King end a few times going to Cascade and through to Grass patch but not the entire length since wifey did it all those years ago. I work in the Pilbara so am a little used to the heat and the odd wet season.
We are heading over to the big V to pick up our new van so we are getting a little excited..
OYF (old yunderup fox)
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Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 01:13

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 01:13
We went through for the first time to collect and return with our caravan from Queensland (early April). I'm sure it has rained at either Norseman or Balladonia or both every time we've been there. Heat shouldn't be a problem. If a lot of rain goes through as can happen post cyclones they will close the road.

Heading out on our way to Tasmania (February) there had been a cyclone through, and we could not get through the wheatbelt due to flooding. Even going via Jerramungup and Esperance, the Fitzgerald River Bridge had been washed out, and was only opened the day before we got there.

On our return we met rain from Balladonia to Norseman (April), and on turning off onto a very wet and sloshy road, we soon met two campers who had spent the night at 90 mile tank. It was well after lunch and they had only got from the tank to the fork in the road towards the eastern end, finding it too slippery. We did OK.

The next time we wanted to go through and camp at Peak Charles (November this time), there had been some rain since Balladonia, and the road was signed shut. We didn't think it would be anything like as wet as the previous time, so used the satellite phone to try and find out the status of the closure. It was a Saturday afternoon and the Main Roads Road Conditions answered, but being a weekend had not received closure advices from Esperance Shire (the eastern end is in the Esperance Shire). We could not reach them being a weekend, so we had to abandon plans and return to Norseman to go via the Norseman Hyden Road, making it a late stop at Lake Johnston for the night.

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 12:23

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 12:23
I used to travel the Norseman-Lake King and Hyden-Norseman Roads in the 1970's and 1980's in a Holden ute. There were a few sandy patches in those days that were often a couple of kms long that made driving interesting. They've all been built up and gravelled now.

I can recall reading a lot of the graffiti at 90 mile tanks in the early 1970's, and one in particular stood out!

It read, "I broke down here XXth June 1970 (can't recall the precise date), and I walked from here to the Norseman Rd! 54 MILES! It's a bloody LONG WAY!! LOL

The writer was probably fortunate he walked the road in Winter, and not Summer, he might not have made it in Summer!

The brother set off in late 1981 from Lake King to go to Norseman, but he was ambushed by a small dead tree that had fallen across the road.
He didn't see the dull grey tree trunk in the dark until it was too late, and slammed into it about 90kmh.
The tree trunk totally flattened both front rims on the WB Holden ute, deflating the tyres, and he only had the one spare!

He managed to hitch a ride back and I was surprised to see him turn up again next morning, when I thought he would be in Norseman!

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 12:54

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 12:54
Hi Ron

In the early 70s my husband went out from Lake King and on to Lake Johnston in a holden ute where the Department of Ag was running wheat cropping trials :O. He can't remember where they went now, but I recall him mentioning the 90 mile tank at the time, so they probably went due north from there. There appeared to be a very overgrown track northwards from the tank. I walked a little way, and took a photo of it but pre-dating digital photography. The trials couldn't have been satisfactory as the land was not released for wheat farming.

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 13:21

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 13:21
Hi Motherhen

There's reputed to be cleared areas a short distance SE from the intersection of the Hyden-Norseman Rd and the Southern Cross-Lake King Rd.

These are supposed to be early farms that were taken up either in the 1890's or early 1900's. However, they were apparently abandoned before WW1 as the distance from civilisation and the poor rainfall conditions were unsuitable for growing crops.

A British syndicate proposed a York-to-Eucla railway in 1887, and newspaper of the time indicated that landholders had taken up land up to "200 miles (320kms) East of York".
This indicates that areas well East of Hyden were being established by landholders in the late 1880's.

There are strips of country further East towards Cave Hill that seem to regularly get higher levels of rainfall.
I always noticed that every time a rain front came through, these areas would get increased rainfall over surrounding areas.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 14:12

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 14:12
The Forrestania Plots Ron? I have written about them in my 2007 blog. Trialled by the local community and Ag Department in 1958, using newer techniques to enable light land farming. A change of government saw the trial abandoned.

The very early farming ventures in the fringe areas were abandoned during the depression.

It had bucketed down just about every time we have been to Norseman.

At Burra Rock there are remnants of cropping machinery, which indicates they were growing crops during the gold rush. I could find very little about this when researching.

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 14:42

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 14:42
Ahh, yes, the Forrestania plots. I'd forgotten all about them!
No, the area of early development I'm talking about, is further East.

Here's a snapshot of Google Maps Earth view, showing the Lake King-Southern Cross Rd and Hyden-Norseman Rd intersection, with Lake Cronin at far left.

Google Maps snapshot, near Lake Cronin

On the extreme centre right of the snapshot, you will see, almost due East of Lake Cronin, and just South of the Hyden-Norseman Rd, some rectangular areas that show signs of having been cleared and farmed.
There appears to be indications that there were paddocks North of the Hyden-Norseman Rd in the same area as well, but these are much less defined.

These are not exploration gridlines, they are too irregular for that. I was led to understand that some old farming families, currently operating in the area East of Kulin, were some of the early pioneers in the Forrestania area, before they abandoned the region around 1902-1903, and moved back in to East of Kulin.
The big drought of 1899-1902 probably played some part in their decision.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 14:49

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 14:49
Re Burra Rock - It wasn't unknown for small areas in the Goldfields to be turned over to grain-growing in the horse era, to try and provide a cheaper supply of chaff and hay - which otherwise had to be transported long distances from the SW to feed all the horses working in the Goldfields.
I have seen this being done in the 1970's and 1980's as well, North of Kalgoorlie, where the pastoralists got approval from the Govt to carry out cropping on small clear areas, where very little clearing was required. This feed was usually grown for local racehorses then, as I understood.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 16:01

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 16:01
Yes, I can see what you mean Ron. I hope nobody minds our mini hijack, as I find learning about the history of areas we travel a very interesting part of the experience, and much of it involves the heartbreak of our pioneering farmers. So little seems to be recorded yet it is those that battled on and lived in the harshest of environments that made our country strong.

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Follow Up By: Yunderup Fox n Wifey - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 16:53

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 16:53
The hijack is fine.
He original question was answered anyway. We are enjoying the chat about area in general.
Wifey came from the Mallee area south of Norseman as her family were pioneers of the farming area around Salmon Gums and Grass Patch. Her late father (would be about 105 now) used to work between the goldfields and the farming area. He also cut sandlewood through the area. The granddad inlaw had photos of huge dray loads of sandlewood coming into Kumal siding to be loaded onto the train. We have also followed the wood cutters track from the Hyden - Norseman road up to Burra rock, starting at Disappointment rock up to Sunday Soak, Wanaway Well then Ten Mile Rocks and Burra Roack then to Coolgardie for a shower.
Cheers
OYF
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Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 17:24

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 17:24
There's plenty of good material in the SRO, next time you're in town!!!

SRO searches on Hyden and Forrestania




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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 17:56

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 17:56
Thanks OYF. You and Wifey may be able to add even more to this thread.

Thanks Equinox. City is somewhere I don't go :O

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 19:45

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 19:45
Ron, if this link to Google maps works 90 Mile tank I follow a track line northish from 90 Mile Tank, and just after it bends and before hitting Lake Johnston I can see a rectangle that looks more recently cleared than the ones on your map, so it good well be where the cropping trial was held.

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 19:51

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 19:51
On a closer look, it is near Lake Hope, which is to the south of Lake Johnston.

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Follow Up By: Yunderup Fox n Wifey - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 21:23

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 21:23
Motherhen,
No sure what that we can contribute much more in the area of the Norseman - Lake King road area. Wifeys cousin has done a fair bit of work on her side of the family tree, this covers some of the family history with thae farming and also the goldfields stuff. We did have some good photos of full wagons of wool being carted into esperance port bi horse n cart and being loaded onto ships. Unfortunately we gave them all to an inlaw member of the family and that relationship is no longer intact so the photos are gone.
OYF
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 21:29

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 21:29
Thanks OYF. I hope you get good weather to enjoy the drive through the Frank Hann NP in February.

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Follow Up By: Yunderup Fox n Wifey - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 21:36

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 21:36
Thanks Motherhen,
We always look forward to heading off. I am sure we will enjoy the trip. We are heading to Melbourne and then we will take 8 -10 weeks to make our way home again.
All the best for the new year and that goes to all the rest of the eo conributors and to those that had some input into this thread. Ron N and equinox
OYF
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 23:12

Saturday, Dec 27, 2014 at 23:12
Eight to ten weeks coming home sounds a very good plan OYF.

We had four days to get across Australia to get our caravan, from Bundaberg. We came back in five days to do fit in a little touring. It was pretty hectic.

The day before we left, I had a telecommunications technician come to fix something in the office where I worked and he suggesting taking the Lake King road. I only knew it as the track my husband and colleagues went on all those years earlier. It proved an ideal short cut for us there and back.


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