Groovy Greenbushes

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Groovy Greenbushes

We’ve driven past the turn off to Greenbushes so many times. It’s on a hill within spitting distance of Bridgetown, and to tell you the truth because we’ve always so close to our destination by then, we’ve never turned off for a proper look-see.

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But having been to the Bridgetown Blues festival and stayed at Maranup Ford camp site on the Greenbushes road, we decided to stop there on the way home.

From my Journal: Our night was so peaceful that apart from the breeze in the eucalyptus trees there was no sound. We woke to a beautiful sunny morning, Dave went for a photographic walk, I lay in the tent and listened to the dawn chorus which included a raucous Kookaburra cackling away, before heading to the well kempt ablution block for a shower. Then, after boiling and enjoying a cup of billy tea with our friends we headed off to Greenbushes.

The town is sleepy, and feels as if it’s been largely forgotten, overlooked for its bigger neighbor, Bridgetown, and that’s a joy. The streets are quiet and wide, and you get the feeling of being in a forest clearing.

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There are some old historic buildings worth a look at and a couple of hotels that would have tales to tell. There’s a fabulous swimming dam with a playground, and of course the old mine site.

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Our first stop was for breakfast at Tasty Edibles, a delightful café that’s owned by Shannon and Luke, who 7 years ago headed down to the south west for a tree change, leaving Perth for a quieter life.

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“Which in fact has turned out to be anything but a quiet life,” Luke told me as he was busy in the kitchen making traditional sour dough bread using artisan techniques.

Shannon told me that the café has expanded from being a bakery, and a place for her to bake and decorate specialty cakes, and that they are busier than ever.

“We bake cakes, slices, pies, sausage rolls and pizzas, and offer cake decorating classes. We’ve just had a specialist cake decorator down from Perth to do a workshop,” Shannon explained.

Our breakfast is gargantuan, and my Gypsy Eggs with baked egg and spicy beans is something out of the ordinary, but delicious. I loved the vintage tea cups.

Greenbushes-jo-castro-zigazagOldest mine in WA

Greenbushes has the oldest tin mine in WA.  We popped up to the Cornwall Pit, a huge open pit that was started in 1980.  It’s an incredible sight, and quite took my breath away.

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The mine now produces tantalum and spodumene, both in underground shafts and in open pits. The product produced from spodumene is lithium which is used in batteries. Tantalum is used in jet engines, electronics and aerospace structures and spodumene is used in flat glass, ceramics and batteries as well as rubber products and pharmaceuticals – so Greenbushes is on the international map due to its mining, but it’s just a quiet little bush village at heart.

History of the mine

The mine began back in 1888 when David Stinton pegged the first mining lease at Greenbushes for Bunbury Tin Mining Company and this started a mining rush because lots of prospectors soon followed, and put up make shift accommodation, some more salubrious than others. From 1899 – 1943, I read on one of the many and very informative information boards around the viewing area, that the tin field production totaled 910.31 alluvial tons.

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In the picture above is a tyre from one of the huge mining trucks used on the mine, and on the bottom right is a picture of the sort of accommodation they might have erected in the early days for the miners, and this one was marked as a ‘more permanent example.’

Then we headed to Greenbushes Pool

This lovely expanse of water was originally created by a tin dredge which operated in the creeks and waterways along the spring gully. It’s a gorgeous natural pool, far larger than a swimming pool, surrounded by bushland. There’s a small beach, a jetty, a playground and a deck from which children were enjoying jumping off.

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From here you could do the Greenbushes Loop Walk Trail which is a 15km loop walk that links Greenbushes with the Bibbulmun Track through jarrah and marri forests and several large dams. But there are several walks around Greenbushes of various lengths and description and you’ll find a  helpful little booklet available at local information centres, or at Tasty Edibles café where they have a selection of helpful brochures and magazines.

My lasting memory

My endearing memory of Greenbushes though will be the locals who are so friendly. Everybody had a friendly smile and hello, or ‘no worries’ attitude, and as we were leaving I popped into the convenience store/garage for the Weekend West.

“They’ve all sold out, but we have the Sunday papers,” the friendly lady behind the counter said to me. “But if you really want one, here have this one, it’s my Mother’s. I’m sure she’s read it by now.”

I tried to thrust some money into her hand, but she wouldn’t take it.

Friendly? More than that. The kindness of strangers … ‘n all ‘n all.

Where’s your favourite country town, ZigaZag readers? And why is it special?

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Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Once again, every time I finish reading a post of your’s I sigh and repeat the same thing, “Gosh, I wish I was there.” For real! Those foothills up at the top are a replica of driving back home from Reno, Nv (my home now) to my hometown in Lodi, California. And you’ve probably learned by now, Johanna, that when you mention food I sit up in my seat and start salivating! I’ve seen some of the open mines here in the States so I totally appreciate how stunningly huge Cornwell Pit is! Fantastic post as always :)
    Mike recently posted..How Street Racing Changed My Life And Was A Shoot To ThrillMy Profile

  2. Muza-chan
    Twitter:
    says:

    The mine looks incredible indeed…
    Muza-chan recently posted..Popular Japanese food, Zaru sobaMy Profile

  3. Thanks for reading Muza-chan – yes the mine site is awe inspiring :)

  4. Thank you Mike! What a lovely comment and I’m so glad that you enjoyed reading my post :)

  5. Rae
    Twitter:
    says:

    Loved your post, can’t believe I haven’t actually been to Green Bushes, passed it enough though. You just can’t beat country folks can you, they are gems. Rae xxx
    Rae recently posted..Oh That Bloody Christmas TreeMy Profile

  6. Bonny
    Twitter:
    says:

    What an interesting article! Great to read about somewhere off the beaten track :-). I’ve never before detoured off the highway into Greenbushes town (same as you, always on my way somewhere like Bridgetown or Walpole!), so was surprised that it’s such a substantial place. Now looking at it in Google maps I see that huge mine is right on the edge of town. I will have to stop and have a look around next time I’m down that way.
    Bonny recently posted..My Top 7 Favourite Places for Watching the Sun Go Down in the Margaret River Region – (Plus 1 Magical Moonrise ) | Sunsets Down South Part 1 – Margaret River RegionMy Profile

  7. Thanks Rae, yes it’s the country folk who are the real gems in our little south west towns. One day you’ll have to veer off to Greenbushes in the same way we did :)

  8. I can feel a destination piece coming on Bonny! I think you’d love Greenbushes and find lots more interesting things to do and see :)

  9. I love exploring old towns like this and getting the low down on the history, people and of course the food, thanks for a fun tour of the area!
    noel morata recently posted..Japanese outdoor marketsMy Profile

  10. What a charming town and I love that picture of the foothills with the rolls of hay. I’ve never seen a tin mine so that would have been an awesome visit. It’s always a pleasure to visit little towns like these full of history but especially the people make quite a difference. Glad you finally stopped and had a good visit. Such a cool town name too.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Celebrating December Nights Festival in San DiegoMy Profile

  11. Thanks Mary. The name Greenbushes is cool, isn’t it, and it absolutely describes the town :)

  12. Ahh, glad you enjoyed this little tour with me Noel! Thanks for stopping by :)

  13. Looks like a gorgeous spot. I love a natural freshwater swimming hole :)
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot recently posted..52 Exercises No. 49: Kundalini Yoga and Finding Your Inner TruthMy Profile

  14. Yes, the freshwater swimming hole is brilliant. We have quite a few in the South West, icy cold and popular on hot days like today. Thanks, Annabel :)

  15. Rachel M
    Twitter:
    says:

    Green bushes – love the name, love the post, but i’d be scared of standing close to that huge open pit.

  16. Marisol
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Jo,what a lovely post. I always love the “kindness of strangers” story. That’s why I love little towns because kindness is always so prevalent, not to mention they’re always so relaxed and there’s always something to charm you. I love the shot of the hills with rolls of hay. It looks so peaceful and bucolic. Also love that shot of a bike in front of the colorful shops. So charming and looks so laidback. I haven’t heard of Gypsy Egg; looks hearty and delicious. Thank you for introducing us to yet another beautiful place in your neck of the woods.
    Marisol recently posted..Iceland: The Winter Wonders of Snaefellsnes PeninsulaMy Profile

  17. You can’t get too close Rachel, but it is enormous and neither would I want to stand too close! Thanks for commenting today :)

  18. Thanks for your lovely comments Marisol … The sylvan photo of the bales of hay seems to attract lots of people, so I’m glad you commented on that one too :)

  19. Neva Fels
    Twitter:
    says:

    I loved the pic of the bike on such a quaint street. It really gives the spirit of this town. The open pit mine in Salt Lake City, Utah looks so similar with those huge tires. It brings home the fact that two countries are so similar although so far away.
    Neva Fels recently posted..Thanksgiving Traditions, wacky or normalMy Profile

  20. Yes, so many similarities it seems Neva. One day we shall both have to cross oceans with our cameras and experience them for real, hey! Thanks for stopping by :)

  21. Leigh
    Twitter:
    says:

    Looks like a gorgeous spot – and no shortage of colour or calories by the look of the cafe.
    Leigh recently posted..My 10 Favourite Books of 2013My Profile

  22. Ha ha Leigh – absolutely no shortage of calories … or desire to consume them :)

  23. Tasty Edibles. Your photos make me wish I could pop in tomorrow! How well looked after this little town is.
    budget jan recently posted..Tuesday in Townsville – SkydiveMy Profile

  24. It is a charming little place and the food you would love Jan!

  25. Ray says:

    A great little town. Off the highway, so there are no road-trains roaring past. Not a lot to do, but then, who wants bustle all the time.

  26. Marcia
    Twitter:
    says:

    I love Shannon and Luke’s plan for a simpler life in this friendly town. Doesn’t always turn out how we expect, eh? Anyway, had to look up billy tea — never heard of it before.
    Marcia recently posted..Sorrel, a Popular Jamaican Christmas DrinkMy Profile

  27. True, Marcia … Life generally can’t be planned to a Tee! I should have reminded myself to let people not from australia know that Billy tea is tea taken in the bush out in the open boiled up in a kettle often over an open fire.

  28. Exactly Ray, who needs hustle and bustle :)

  29. Wanda says:

    Groovy is right. We drove past that turnoff so many times, but finally took the plunge. We were single minded, however, and were looking for a friend’s piece of gorilla knitting. We didn’t find the knitting, and ended up missing out on everything else by the looks of it. This post calls for a revisit and a stop at Tasty Edibles, that’s for sure. Can’t wait!

  30. Gorilla knitting – now that sounds interesting Wanda! No wonder you missed everything else! Yep, a return is in order I reckon :)

  31. Ray says:

    I had a really good meal at the Pub near the post office. I think it was the Federal. Really friendly, a great atmosphere.

  32. Ahh, thanks for that Ray. I’m going to put it on our list and give it a try next time we’re there :)

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