Day 181 – Monday, 21 November 2022

First thing this morning we spoke with mum. Ann sent a text advising that she has Covid for the second time and is on anti-viral medication and was feeling better than previously. Trev is still good.

Today it was a beautiful sunny day at Mt Barker. I washed all the towels and hung them out on the line to dry before we headed to Albany and the Bird Walk at Lake Seppings. At 10:17am when we left the temperature was 17 degrees.

On the way through town, we put my scripts into the chemist for pick up on the way back.

We travelled to Albany a different way via Porongurup which is a very scenic drive. We passed a dead snake on the road.

As we travelled we saw the sign, once again, for The Lily which is an accommodation place for tourists (if you have a lot of money) but sounds fascinating.

The Lily Windmill is an authentic 16th Century design brick “ground-sail” mill on the property. The five-story full size Dutch Windmill, with its 22 Ton cap and a sail length of 24.6 meters, is one of the largest traditional windmills ever built in Australia. The mill is a fully operational windmill producing wholemeal stone-ground Spelt flour for their own kitchen and home users around Australia can buy the product.

According to their blurb, ‘It is a well-known fact that wholemeal flour is far superior in nutritional value than white flour. At The Lily we produce only wholemeal Spelt flour without removing or adding anything to the flour in the process.’

Adjacent to the windmill you can find 16th Century replica Dutch Houses and the reconstructed 1924 Federation style Railway Station from Gnowangerup, the local Shire, is the Reception and entrance area for guests.

The Lily has been selected as one of the 10 best self-contained accommodations in the Footprint – West Coast Australia Handbook and is (as previously stated) expensive accommodation unless it is for a special occasion.

All the accommodation is unique and private. Each has its own outside seating area and is fully self-contained. High quality linen and towels are provided. Firewood is supplied for the Scandinavian wood heaters. There’s also reverse cycle Air Conditioning.

The bathroom has a hairdryer, iron and ironing board. There’s TV (all major channels) and DVD, radio/CD player, books, games, DVD’s and CD’s.

The kitchen is well equipped, with fridge, stove, microwave and cooking essentials such as (real) coffee, tea, sugar, milk, spices, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

A washing machine and dryer are available on site. There is Telstra mobile reception. Free WI-FI is available. Also, an electric Car Charging station, 3-Phase and Tesla.

Breakfast Baskets are available for our accommodation guests (7-days).

Their latest accommodation addition is a DAKOTA – DC-3 (C-47) – $289 a night for two people.

Restoration on the Dakota (DC-3 or rather the military version, the C-47) began in September 2012. This aircraft is one of the thousands manufactured for the war effort and built in the USA in 1943/44. It was delivered to the Dutch East Indies in 1944 and did service in Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia.

In her day, she was a technological marvel and is still one of the most iconic and successful planes ever build. As far as the people at The Lily know, this is the only Dakota short term accommodation in the world.

On to Albany, which is a big tourist destination and heaps larger than when we visited fifteen years ago.

Before European settlement, the Albany region was inhabited principally by the Menang Aborigines of the larger Noongar group. The area was called Kinjarling which means “place of rain”. Evidence of an Aboriginal presence in the area dates back to about 25,000 years.

The first recorded European sighting of our southern coastline was made in 1627 by Dutch mariner, Peter Nuyts. In 1791, British naval officer George Vancouver claimed the area for the British Crown naming King George the Third’s Sound and Princess Royal Harbour. Informed by Vancouver’s charts and journal, British navigator Matthew Flinders resurveyed the coastline in 1802.

Voyages of scientific discovery by the French paralleled the British, including the expeditions of Joseph-Antoine Bruny d’Entrecasteaux (1792), Louis de Freycinet and Nicolas Baudin (1803) and Jules Dumont d’Urville (1826).

In December 1826, Major Edmund Lockyer arrived on the brig Amity to establish a military outpost at Mammang-Koort/ King George Sound. On the 21st of January 1827, an official ceremony was held proclaiming the foundation of the first settlement in Western Australia.

In 1832, Sir James Stirling, governor of the Swan River Colony visited the settlement, renaming Lockyer’s preferred ‘Frederick’s Town’ to

‘Albany’, both names recognising Frederick Augustus, Duke of York and Albany.

Albany quickly established itself as an important and strategic coaling port for steamships delivering a regular mail service, cargo and passengers from Europe, vessels taking on coal and water supplies before sailing to the eastern colonies. The first exports derived from early sealing and bay whaling operations in the 1830s and ‘40s soon made way for other industries.

Jetties were built, shipping agencies established, and services provided, evidenced by the construction of hotels, shops, banks, houses and a post office, customs and courthouse building, all of which began appearing along Stirling Terrace and the waterfront in the 1850s.

The discovery of gold in the state’s eastern goldfields in the 1880s and the construction, then the opening of the Great Southern Railway in 1889 brought further expansion to the region with rapid increases in population, commerce and industries such as agriculture. Early exports of whale oil, sealskins, wool, sheep and horses expanded to include perishables of meat, fruit and vegetables.

Community services associated with education, entertainment, religion, health, sport and municipal administration emerged and grew, and by the end of the 1880s, schools, theatres, churches, a hospital and town hall were prominent landmarks in the town.

Albany is one of the few, if not the only place in the world where evidence exists of pelagic (relating to the open sea), bay and shore-based whaling practices. In 1952, the Cheyne Beach Whaling Company began its operations at Frenchman Bay, continuing until November 1978 when it made history as the last whaling station to close in Australia.

Albany’s natural landforms and expansive views over the deep, sheltered waters of Mammang-Koort/ King George Sound and smaller inner harbour, gave it strategic importance as a defensive port.

Vital to the 19th-century communication routes from Europe to Australia, shipping was offered safe and protected anchorage in local waters. Colonial concerns around international tensions, the vulnerability of the port and the need to protect shipping lanes saw

coastal defences established on Mt Adelaide in 1892 with the construction of Princess Royal Fortress and the Plantagenet Battery.

Albany was crucial to the Australian coastal defence system during two world wars, being the departure point for two convoys of transports carrying Australian and New Zealand troops to the First World War at the end of 1914 and as a United States submarine base in 1942. (I didn’t know that!)

We first went to Middleton Beach and saw some well-fed Laughing Doves – beautiful colours on their feathers. We then went to the Lake Seppings car park and had our lunch before heading out around the lake.

Stef rang me while we were walking to tell us that it was snowing in her backyard at Ballarat.

Lake Seppings has an interesting history. The lake was declared a Botanic Garden in 1888, and in 1900 it had been named Albany Park and protected as a natural wetland.

Somewhere between 1900 and 1970 the lake became a Rubbish Tip – so much for protection. However, in 1972 the Department of Fisheries and Fauna recommended the lake become a Waterfowl Reserve.

Contrary to that advise, in 1973 the Albany Council investigated the possibility of discharging treated sewerage into the Lake. Thankfully, this did not happen and in the 1980s the Apex Park of Albany started work on the Bird Walk around the lake.

So, in 2000 the Albany community suggested that the lake be protected and restored, and by 2004 the circuit trail was completed. The level of the lake is controlled by using excess water on the adjacent Golf Course.

We both enjoyed the walk and were accompanied by a mild, cool breeze which added to the pleasant experience. We took lots of photos and got shots of a New Holland Honeyeater, Pacific Black Ducks, Straw-Necked Ibis, Laughing Kookaburra and a Red-Capped Parrot. There were some flowers and scenery along the way and on the final leg of the walk we came across a Motorbike Frog.

Back in Mt Barker we went in to pick up my scripts, but they advised me that my Motilium was not in stock but should be delivered by 9:30am tomorrow morning, so I paid for everything, and we went back to the van.

The washing on the line was dry and then we took down the awning in preparation for our move to Ravensthorpe tomorrow. For most of the next week we will probably be using the air conditioner as it is expected to be high twenties to middle thirties.

The Mildura Apex Caravan Park is now under water as is the Lawn Tennis Courts and much of the jetty. On our weather station at the house, it has recorded almost two inches of rain during the last six days.