Walk among the tingle trees

Valley of the Giants 7By Jocelyn Watts

If only trees could talk. Imagine the tales the ancient tingle trees in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park could tell.

King Charles I of England, who ruled from 1625 to 1649, was a pup about the time many of the gigantic tingle trees in the Valley of the Giants took root.

European settlers would have walked among the growing tingles while pioneering WA’s south-west corner.

Four hundred years later, the trees stand about 60-metres tall, silently watching as mums, dads, children and grandparents take in bird’s eye views from the famous Tree Top Walk.

The suspended steel walkways, linked with circular platforms, form a 600-metre one-way loop that takes viewers into the forest canopy, about 40 metres above the ground.

The red tingle is one of the biggest trees in WA, measuring up to 16 metres around the base. They have relatively small root systems so develop large buttresses to support themselves.

Descending from the Tree Top Walk, a path leads to the Ancient Empire Walk where the forest understorey can be explored.
Valley of the Giants blog collage

Exploring Wave Rock

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Boulders on top of Wave Rock.

By Jocelyn Watts

Climbing Wave Rock during a fly plague and with the mercury hitting 41 degrees wasn’t the best decision we made on our trip to Western Australia.

In hindsight, visiting the spectacular granite cliff at Hyden, 340km east of Perth, would have been better in the cool of winter or during spring when wildflowers produce carpets of colour over the surrounding landscape.

Instead, with the grey nomad lifestyle still some years away and only a short timeframe now in which to see the south-west corner of the state, hubby and I high-tailed it for Wave Rock soon after our flight touched down in Perth.

Arriving at Hyden about 4pm, we checked into our caravan park cabin and headed straight for the rock, a mere 150 metres from the door.

Hikers descending from Wave Rock swatting flies and wiping sweat from their brows didn’t faze us but, after our trek to the top, hubby joked that he wouldn’t be needing dinner … he’d already swallowed enough flies.

A repeat run at dawn, before the flies had risen for another day of torment, was more enjoyable and gave us time to appreciate the unique foundation.

Wave Rock is 15 metres high, 110 metres long and its shape has been caused by weathering and water erosion, which has undercut the base and left a rounded overhang. In 1960, crystals from the rock were dated as being 2700 million years old, among the oldest in the Australia.

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Hippos Yawn.

About 1.5km from Wave Rock is another unusually shaped outcrop known as Hippos Yawn, the second most visited site in the area.

Nearby, stones used by Aborigines have been found at early campsites and painted hand marks could still be seen on rocks at the Humps.

A short walk from Wave Rock, a museum housed items dating from the 1870s. Tabacco tins, cigars and a bottle collection gave fascinating insights into early life in the outback.

The Lace Place took us back in time with its exquisite wedding dress collection, gramophone display, vintage cars and a buggy.

A wildlife park introduced visitors to kangaroos, wallabies and wombats. Meals were available at the kiosk and country kitchen.

Visiting Wave Rock was worth the near 700km round drive from Perth, but like most things in life, timing was everything.

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View of salt lakes from the top of Wave Rock.

 

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Richness is in the stories

“We need to find new ways of doing things.”

That was the message made clear when Sydney philosopher Dr Mark Strom came to USQ Fraser Coast.

“The richness is in the stories,” Dr Strom said after wrapping up a workshop on May 23, attended by nine regional people dedicated to finding the keys that will boost regional development through teamwork.

“In anything like this, it’s tempting to say ‘Here’s the program, this has been done in five other countries in the world, just apply this program and that will bring about all the changes you need’.

“However, that approach tends to alienate people and ignores the fact there is already brilliance on the Fraser Coast.

“What I mean by brilliance is not IQ but the ability for people to shine. There are already great stories, not just the wonderful stories you hear when there’s a flood and people pull together in extraordinary ways, but even in the times without crisis.

“There is always a school somewhere where teachers are knocking themselves out doing some great things with the kids, or a health service with someone doing an amazing job of taking care of people who would otherwise fall through the cracks.

“The richness that gives you the insights on how to bring about deep, lasting change is in the stories that you’d otherwise ignore, the stories of everyday brilliance.”

Fraser Coast Councillor Robert Garland said the workshop gave him a refreshing view of the world and greater insight into what regional development meant.

“It means different things to different people. For one person it might be he simply wants a job for his son, for another it could be she wants a $150,000 per year job.

“We need to look at their stories and see what’s different, to put everything into perspective, look at the successes and build on them, and to take centres of excellence and build around them.

“But rather than tackle a ‘dinosaur’, we want to break it down to the five top things that might stimulate development and look at the mechanics to get that happening.”

Dr Strom led the workshop at the invitation of USQ Fraser Coast’s Associate Professor Paul Collits (Research Director, Economic Development and Enterprise Collaboration) and researcher Dr Robert Mangoyana.

They believe the secret to the Fraser Coast’s fiscal success is the collaboration of its myriad economic development groups and bringing together of resources. The challenge is inspiring people to collaborate outside their traditional silos.

“The Holy Grail of regional development is ‘How do you encourage collaboration between people?’ It’s a difficult thing anywhere not just the Fraser Coast,” Dr Strom said.

“On Friday we looked for different approaches to regional development, given that traditional project models so often don’t work.

“I have seen this time and again in all kinds of industries and projects where there are complex social contexts, yet people continue to apply cookie cutter approaches that don’t work. Here we have a group of people who want to do better than that.

“Whether I’m working with governments, corporations or groups like this, all my work is about opening up conversations: first, about the ways of thinking and acting we’ve inherited that stop us working together well; and then about developing more natural, more human, and more effective ways of working.

“Fundamentally it’s about what it means to be wise and what it means to live well together.

“When you start there and encourage those conversations, all the management jargon evaporates. We see the patterns that shape our lives and discover the kinds of dialogue together where we create new meaning.

“Influence and change come down to relationships – you can’t have more influence than your relationships will bear.”

For a brief CV and more information about Dr Strom, log on to http://www.linkedin.com/in/markstrom, http://www.facebook.com/DrMarkStrom, or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEISLatc57I.

 

CAPTION: Dr Mark Strom leads a workshop on economic development at USQ Fraser Coast on May 23, 2013. Pictured are (l-r) Abbie Grant-Taylor, Megan Smith, Tracy Hetherton, Kerry Fullarton, Nathan Spruce, Dr Mark Strom, Nigel Hill, USQ Fraser Coast Associate Professor Paul Collits, Fraser Coast Councillor Robert Garland and USQ Researcher Dr Robert Mangoyana. PHOTO: Jocelyn Watts