Springtime in the wheatbelt means yellow canola fields as far as the eye can see.
Well, not quite, but it does seem a bit like it from some vantage points. it was a lovely day, I had some time so I jumped in the car and headed out to York, which is a couple of hours drive from me to see if I could find some photogenic fields.
I headed straight for Mt Brown on the outskirts of York. Its a large hill that overlooks the town in the Avon river valley and the surrounding countryside – not sure I’d call it a mountain, but hey, I drove up it, unlike Mr Brown, who presumably had to walk. If it was 40 degrees outside when he did it, he’s probably welcome to call it a mountain and stick his moniker on it.
Of course, Mr Brown wasn’t the first person to walk up this hill – our Aboriginal friends have been here for just a tad longer. Given that the landscape is the very thing that means everything to them and their entire culture, I did a little digging to see what Mt Brown and the landscape means to them.
From the powers of the interwebs..
To the Nyungar people the taller mountain (Mt Bakewell) overlooking York was called Walwalling (Place of weeping) and the lower hill (Mt Brown) Wongboral (sleeping woman). Long ago in the Dreamtime, the Hills People used to meet the Plains and Valley People at the foot of Walwalling for games and sports.
Wunding was a handsome young warrior of the Hills People who excelled in the skills of spear throwing etc. Lots of the young ladies had their eyes on him. However, Wilura, a beautiful young girl from the Valley People was the one he loved. In their family groupings this would have been a forbidden relationship. The two decided to ignore the taboo and they eloped together.
When it was discovered that Wilura was missing, the Valley People demanded the return of the young girl. The Hills People said they didn’t know where the young couple were. The Valley People didn’t believe this and they declared war.
The Hill People came down over the slopes outnumbering the challengers and a bloodthirsty battle ensued, with the Valley People doing badly. They called in their Muburum (wise man) and asked him to use his magic powers. He was able to change all the Hills fighting men into blackboy (grass tree) bushes. To this day you can see the wide band of grass trees where in the Dream-time the warriors from the hills were coming over the top of Walwalling and down the eastern slope, and they stand there still.
The Muburum then turned his powers on the two missing young people who had caused such bloodshed, and pronounced a curse on them. Their dead bodies were found later and his curse was that the man’s spirit would stay on Walwalling (Mt. Bakewell) and her spirit was sent to Wongboral (Mt. Brown) and that they would never meet again until the mountains crumbled together.
So a sort of Romeo and Juliet meets Braveheart and Lord of the Rings. Wow.
I wish I’d known this when I went there, I love how the stories of the land (or Country as Aboriginal people call it) is the thing that connects and explains everything (even if it doesn’t always make a lot of sense to outsiders).
Anyways – on to the photos. First – from the top of Mt Brown.
York – one of the larger towns in the wheatbelt.
Looking over York towards Mt Bakewell (probably not named after the famous tart empire)
I spent some time just soaking it all in. The views are amazing and it’s so peaceful up there. It can get bloody hot in the summer, so I’d recommend any other time of year to be honest – spring being probably the best time to enjoy the colour, although autumn is also good as the landscape looks so very different in it’s summer beiges and browns.
Pretty much a perfect day then. If you’re ever in Australia in August/September, take some time to head inland, experience the peace and quiet and never ending skies and landscape.
Driving off again from York, I went home via the backroads through the middle of the most gorgeous yellow fields.
It was an awesome day out – a lot of driving though – everywhere in Australia is a long way away from everything else, so you have to be prepared and put some effort in!