Wednesday, November 22, 2017


On the move again this morning but we haven’t got far to go today… a massive 50kms down the road to Albany.  Rather than take the main highway we decided to drive the scenic route instead.  It really didn’t make much of a difference km wise and it traveled much closer to the ocean.  

 Before we left, Steve had run through and booked us into the Happy Days Caravan Park just out of Albany right on the bank of the Upper King River.  They had a deal going at the moment where we were able to pay for three nights and get an extra night free.   This put our nightly rate back to $26 a night which is excellent in a place like Albany.  

Set up in Albany by the Upper King River
Camped by the river
The park itself is beautiful, and we were given a site right on the bank of the river.  We were able to sit out under own awning and watch the birdlife on the water.  So peaceful and relaxing.  

We had booked into the park before lunchtime, so after a quick lunch we took a drive around town.  Steve was keen to replace the toeball cover which we lost somewhere along the highway today.  (someone, that being me, had forgotten to put it in the back of the car, and had left it on the back bumper.

After replacing it, we decided to head down towards the beach and drove past our first landmark, the iconic Dog Rock. 
Dog Rock in Albany
Dog Rock with his Collar
Dog Rock is a well known local attraction.  It is a large natural granite outcrop that juts from the ground along Middleton Rd.  It’s actually has the shape of a dog’s head when viewed from the western side, hence it’s name.   The  Noongar Aboriginal people know the rock as Yacka which means “wild dog tamed”:  it is thought to be an ancient territorial boundary marker.  Local Aboriginal people will not camp near the rock or shelter beneath it. 
In 1921 the council decided it was dangerous and was going to blow it up.  It caused  so much upset to the people that a referendum was held with a vote of 409 to kept it and 207 to get rid of it, it stayed.  In 1938 the RAC labelled the rock as a danger to traffic as it encroached onto the road.   However,  with current legistation, it now wears a very distinctive white dog collar which has been painted around the base of the rock to make it more visible

From Dog Rock we continued along Middleton Road until we came to Middleton Beach which is the closest beach to Albany City Centre.  It is sheltered from the largest waves by the islands and headlands of King George Sound and is the main swimming beach in the area.  There is even a pontoon out in the bay for jumping and diving into the water.  It is quite a long stretch of beach and stretches 4.5km to Emu Point.  

 We drove along the coast to Emu Point, which is a rocky groyne with views also over King George Sound.  We noticed the very friendly pelican at Emu Point and found out that his name is Percy the Pelican. Apparently he hangs around the Point watching the fishermen.  Sometimes he dives for fish of his own, but does like to help out the fishermen with their catches too.  
From here we decided to head home, and ended up traveling along Mercer Road when Steve suddenly noticed a couple of wooden sculptures at a fence line.  He turned around so that I could take a couple of photos and that is when we discovered that there was a whole drive through a property with bits of art everywhere. 

It turned out that this was the Darrel Radcliffe’s sculpture property that I had researched and had intended visiting whilst we were here, only we had found it by accident.
Darrel  Radcliffe is one of the very few chainsaw artists in Western Australia and has opened up his front gate to the public to view his chainsaw sculpture drive.

Greeting visitors at the gate of the private property is a six-metre-long giant chainsaw, carved out of local timber.

Leading along the drive into the property are sculptures which are mostly carved by chainsaw. 

They range from owls to kangaroos, snakes, big Indian chiefs, cockatoos, and a bear climbing a tree looking for the honey pot.

Apparently when deciding what to create, Darrel looks to the wood itself for inspiration, and he mostly works in Jarrah.  He is quoted as saying that the chainsaw is just an extension of his arm.  He just chips away and the wood takes shape.   He owns 7 chainsaws
They all do different jobs. The larger ones are for blocking out the wood, and then  he works his way down to a small one with a diamond tip half-an-inch (one centimetre) wide so he can really get into detail, like feathers or faces and eyes."
One of my favourite

 Darrel doesn’t charge either to drive through his property to check out all his work.  However, there is a tin there that you can leave a donation in if you like.  I am so glad that he allows people to enjoy his work.  I know we very much enjoyed the drive through and I took lots of photos.  

Another one of my favourites

Time to head back to the van and enjoy the lovely location we are staying at.  A cuppa on the banks of the river seems to be the perfect way to end the day. 


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