Canning Stock Route - Well 12 north to Durba Springs.

Sunday, Jun 03, 2007 at 00:00


Sunday 3rd June, 2007
Durba Spring,
Canning Stock Route W.A.

We got organized early and bid farewell to our new Canadian friends vowing to catch up again at Durba Spring. The road out to well 13 was again a mixed bag of corrugations, dunes and rocky outcrops. We stopped for morning tea at one such rocky outcrop were we climbed to the summit of the low range and were rewarded with views of the surrounding country side. A cairn had already been built there by previous travellers. The low worn mesa was dotted with small caves. On top there were sink holes that indicated that there were much larger caverns further in but you’d have to be a thin person to crawl into them. Not wanting to meet a taipan face first, it was decided that discretion was indeed the better part of valour.

The rest of the wells were very interesting. We passed the remains of a burnt out landrover, Murray Rankin’s push cart parked forlornly under a grevillia. Filled up with fresh water at well 15, had lunch under the gums at 16 and watched the finches and budgies come in to drink at the well.

After 16, the Durba Hills become evident in the distance, blue and inviting. When you crest the final dune the red jagged ramparts become startlingly apparent. You follow the range to the north till you reach Canning’s Cairn. We duly climbed to the top and were rewarded with a spectacular vista of the Durba ranges and surrounding countryside. A fabulous contrast of green, red, blue, purples(distant ranges) and brown. The twisted white gums clinging to the rock ledges and ranges further enhanced the view. Canning himself built the cairn here in 1906 and nearly every traveller adds a rock to the pile. So it was no different with us although I added one for everyone I could think of.

On clambering down, we continued around the range locating some excellent quality fire wood. The top of the car was duly loaded with four large tree trunks and a bag of smaller wood. Getting a bit bamboozled at one intersection, we turned in to what we thought was Durba. It was rather the very picturesque Killagurra Gorge and spring as well as the site of Well 17.

We back tracked and eventually reached Durba at a bit after 4.30 p.m. after a long day. The camp site had three groups already set up so that was a bit of a shock to us, to see other travellers. The grassy area sits just inside the mouth of the gorge and on along pool, of dark still water. The whole area is shaded by large white gums and surrounded by red rugged walls of the gorge. A fantastic spot. We had a site selected, the Taj up and the fire lit in no time. Hot showers and then dinner of steak and fire roasted Veg. The Canadians arrived right on dusk so set up next to us. A very enjoyable and scenic days travel.

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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