Saturday, 13 August 2016

Karalee Rock

After leaving the goldfield area around Kalgoorlie we drove down the Eastern Highway, travelling parallel to the rail line and the water pipeline and stopped for lunch at Karalee Rock about 50 km east of Southern Cross. There is a small signpost on the highway and the gravel road in is about seven kilometres leading to a picnic area and campground next to a dam.

Yes, a dam in the middle of the Semi Arid Eucalypt Woodland. Where does the water come from? Off a rock, a granite outcrop. You can't actually see the rock from the camp ground but it's only a short walk and well worth it.

Karalee Rock
See that low wall at the base of the rock? The wall is six kilometres long and totally surrounds the rock outcrop, engineered to catch all water and direct it to one outlet leading to the dam that holds 48 million litres. The wall was built in 1890 to supply water to the steam trains on the Kalgoorlie line.

Karalee Rock. Funnel directing water off the rock to the dam.
Karalee Rock water chute
Karalee Dam
The granite outcrop was fascinating. It has rained recently so there were rock pools on the surface that still held water. There was a suite of plants that have adapted to the harsh granite environment and living quite happily in the small pockets of soil in rock crevices and depressions, many flowering. There were large tadpoles were in one of the rock pools.

Tadpoles in the clear shallow water
These plants were growing on the Karalee Rock.



And these plants were growing in the area around the base of the rock.

Greenhood orchids



And there was even a bolete fungus on the footpath.


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