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Mundaring Weir & Lesmurdie Water Fall

a scheme of madness that fostered Western Australia's development

semi-overcast 20 °C

Watering the West - in 1982 gold was discovered in desert country 560km east of Mundaring. Finding more gold was one challenge, finding water was another. People streamed to the goldfields to seek their fortune and over the next 10 years Western Australia's population quadrupled.

Developing WA - The state owes it's development and prosperity to the ingenuity and brave decisions making of its leaders and early engineers, enabling Western Australia's riches to be developed in one of the world's most arid inhabited places.

Water Management - The solution for supplying water to the goldfields was a daring plan to dam the Helena River, engineering the world's longest freshwater pipeline and pump freshwater uphill to Kalgoorlie from Mundaring Weir.

Innovative Engineering - described as a scheme of madness Chief Engineer C Y O'Connor's far sighted solution resulted in one of the world's greatest engineering feats and the development of thriving industries and towns.

Forestry - In one of the first examples of forestry management being used for water quality improvement, lateral thinking was the key to overcoming damaging salinity creeping into the dam's fresh water as a result of timber cutting in the catchment area.

Drying Climate - western Australia is one of the driest inhabited places on earth and becoming dryer. As the State develops, water resource management and the protection of the fragile eco system is critical to the future.

The Last Wave - Looking at the weir, it's difficult to imagine a torrent of white water surging down as we come to the end of the summer. For families in the early days of the Mundaring Settlement, one of the most exciting times of the year was the annual water overflow. Bets would be placed amongst residents to predict the exact time the trickle would begin over the top of the wall. Once the flow really started tourists would arrive to witness the spectacle. Locals could hear the roar of the water from their homes.
The Weir last overflowed in 1996. The Water Corporation carefully managers the storage of water between Perth's major dams, which are interconnected, so another overflow would be unlikely.

Mundaring weir quickly became a popular spot for picnics, especially when the dam overflowed. In the days before most people had cars, hundreds came up on 'railway hikes' from Perth every weekend.
Plants growing in these gardens were chosen to remind workers and visitors of their homelands since many were born overseas.

The dry spillway in front is destined to never flow again.

Built in 1899 the Mundaring Weir Hotel was built for the workers and visitors to the nearby Mundaring Weir, the vision of architect C.Y. O'Connor.
In the construction of the weir over 77,000 barrels of cement were imported from Germany and Britain. When completed in 1903 Mandaring Weir was the highest dam in the southern hemisphere and the water catchment area it enclosed fed into the world's longest freshwater pipeline. IT was also the first major pipeline in the world to be made of steel. Not bad for a colony with the smallest population of any of the Australian states when the project began in the mid 1980's.

In 2009 the Goldfield's and Agricultural Water Supply Scheme was recognised as an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers,. This was only the third project in Australia and he 47th worldwide to be given the award, which places the pipeline alongside the Panama Canal and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco as a projects of international significance.

Whilst walking around the weir, we came across a few kangaroos, all seemed to have joey's with them
Although they seemed to be chilling out, they weren't keen on me getting any closer than this

Lesmurdie Falls
In winter after good rains Lesmurdie rushes through crevices in the orange laterite, then cascades over the exposed granite rocks before tumbling 100 meters over the Darling Scarp. The face of the falls is sheer granite formed from weathering and eroding along vertical fractures within the bedrock. However, at the end of summer, it was somewhat underwhelming
We did spot this little Bandicoot on the walk there
What was spellbounding though, was the view over to the CBD of Perth, in the far distance.
On the foothills below Lesmurdie Brook merges with Yule Brook that meanders across the coastal plain to the Canning River.
The Darling Scarp - the grey rocks in this area are some of the oldest in the world, having formed deep within the earth around 2.6billion years ago. The Darling Fault is over 1,000km long and can be seen from space.
A great day out with Sammy
In the Park you can see the changes of vegetation from Jarrah and Marri tress on the red soils to the wandoo trees amongst the granite rocks and along the brook.

Posted by charlystyles 13:20 Archived in Australia Tagged mundaring_weir

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