bigger and better in the southwest

We stopped over at Katanning on our way from Bremer Bay to the Dryandra Woodland area.

Katanning was chosen because it was on the road between Bremer Bay and Narrogin, and a bit of googling found us the Katanning Unit Hotel. Which as we wandered around Katanning, found that the locals call it the ‘Unit’. Built by Frederick H Piesse like many other buildings in Katanning, it was rough as old outback pubs go, but the staff and locals were welcoming and friendly, albeit a bit quiet after the show the night before. There are a lot of long-term residents who work at the local Metro Meat abattoir where meat is slaughtered according to Halal procedures.

The Unit does not provide food on Sundays, so we were recommended Nanas, a Malaysian restaurant just a short walk down the road. There were many menu choices, and as I have not had much Malaysian food, chose my Sunday evening meal by the listed ingredients. Dinner was absolutely delicious and was well accompanied by a bottle of red from the Unit. Unfortunately, I didn’t take note of which winery, as the wine was not bad either for the price. All I remember is that is was from the Mt Barker region – which I guess narrows it down a bit 🙂

Before we left Katanning we visited the Flour Mill Museum and the All Ages Playground.

The Mill closed in 1977 and now houses the Visitors Centre in addition to most of the flour mill equipment, historical photographs and some labels and panels. It was a little disappointing as we could not go up to the next floor as the stairs were deemed unsafe, and many of the displays were placed on the ground floor crowding round the old fixed equipment. But there was enough there of interest to make it worth visiting, and the volunteer staffing the Visitors Centre that morning shared her experience of the earthquake that occurred last month.

The Mill provided power to other Piesse buildings, and supplied the power that enabled Katanning to be the first place in Western Australia (or was it Australia) to have electric street lights?

Next was Mungart Boodja Art Centre, as I had learned at my last uni lecture about the child artists from the former Carrolup Native Settlement (1950). None of their work is currently in Katanning, but I was able to speak to Athol Farmer at the gallery and find out much more of the story and that of the surrounding area. I had already purchased a copy of ‘Nyungar Landscapes’ at the Flour Mill Museum, but was encouraged to purchase a copy of a larger catalogue titled ‘Koorah Coolingah (Children Long Ago)’.

Katanning has a playground that caters for everyone, including grownups. For some of the equipment, you have to be awfully tall or very fit to get onto and play on the equipment. For example, I could not clamber up to join H on the centrifuge.

And the spiral slide just looked too scary.

There are barbeques and gazebos, so you can really make a day of it. I read later that two times a month there is a miniature railway in operation too. Note: Wear your old clothes so you don’t get rust stains on your pants.

Wagin is 30 kms north of Katanning, and boasts the largest ram in the Southern Hemisphere.

Yes it is large and you can tell it is a ram, but it does not say how large. How can you say the largest without providing specifications?

Passing through Broomehill again, I remembered that we had stopped here to eat our lunch on the way down to Bremer Bay. The gazebo and picnic tables include a tablet listing all the Australian Prime Ministers, Western Australian Premiers, and Local Councillors since 1901. I’m wishing that I took a photograph now, as I don’t know where else there is such a succinct record. Might be good for those that are into quiz nights.


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