The drive from Camfield Station down The Buntine Highway to the boarder was uneventful and slow. We did see a mob of Donkeys about 50 km back from the boarder and I tried to take some video but wasn’t quick enough – only managing to record some blurry images. In a few years I could call it proof that Yowie’s exist!
The only stop we made was at the Kalkarindji Community for fuel and food. It was a quick stop with Hubbie and I dividing and conquering – he got the fuel and I got the food.
If any of you travel through the area and stop at Kalkarindji for fuel it is important to note the fuel has to be paid for before filling up; the pay station is located on the front wall of the building – like an ATM. To operate enter the amount you’re expecting the fuel to cost – the machine will only charge you for what is actually pumped.
We finally passed through the Western Australian Boarder and turned onto the Duncan Road about 10 km further on. Duncan Road (also know as The Duncan Highway) is marked below in yellow and is an alternative route to Halls Creek from the Victoria Highway inside the Northern Territory.
We noticed a number of interesting spots along Duncan Road on the way to Halls Creek. These included Palm Springs, Sawpit Gorge, Old Halls Creek Township, Caroline’s Pool, and The China Wall.
Palm Springs is about 40 km out of Halls Creek along Duncan Road and is a stunning oasis of palm trees lining an open pool surrounded by different types of grasses and spinifex. The contrasts of lush greens, with the rocky reds and clear blue sky’s make for stunning photos. My amateur photos don’t do this justice..
After traveling for kilometers; crossing nothing but dry waterways, dusty plains and rocky ranges to suddenly come around the corner and find this wonder was amazing – I can only imagine what the explorers thought when they stumbled onto this oasis. It must have saved numerous lives over the years.
We didn’t stay for long as it’s a popular stop for locals and tourists alike – the area isn’t very big. You are allowed to camp overnight with rubbish bins and public toilets located off to the side.
Old Halls Creek Township
Another area of interest was the ‘Old Halls Creek Township’, about halfway between Halls Creek and Palms Springs. It’s marked by stone pillars and plaques listing notable people places and dates. It is a fascinating place to spend some time and the first place in Western Australia that payable Gold was found in 1885.
I keep saying ‘Old Halls Creek’, because the township was moved to its current location sometime in the 1950’s.
It may not look like much at first glance but as you walk around you find more and more points of interest. Its well worth the stop to have a look around
The ‘Old Halls Creek Cemetery
The ‘Old Halls Creek Cemetery’ is located up behind the Lodge – if you decide to go for a look; go through the gates and follow the road up behind the main building. Please be aware that although the cemetery is open to the public the surrounding land is privately owned – please be respectful and stay to the main road and away from the buildings and camp grounds unless you have an invitation.
The following is Text taken from the plaques recognizing Jimmy Darcy and his connection to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. These plaques and James (Jimmy) Darcy’s grave can be found in the cemetery at ‘Old Halls Creek’.
……..Jimmy Darcy – In 1917, the death of Jimmy Darcy a stockman injured near Halls Creek in the Kimberley region of Western Australia ignited a national debate over the lack of medial services in the outback.
After being badly injured in a fall, Darcy was carted over 50 kilometers into Halls Creek expecting to find a Doctor. When he arrived there was no Doctor, but the local Postmaster Fred Tuckett had basic knowledge of First Aid; so contacted Dr Holland 3200 kilometers away in Perth – using Morse code.
“I might kill the man,” the postmaster Tuckett remonstrated in Morse code.
“If you don’t, he’ll die anyway,” was Dr Holland’s reply all the way from Perth
They strapped Jimmy Darcy down to the postmaster’s bench, used alcohol as disinfectant, sharpened kitchen utensils and set about operating on jimmy’s ruptured bladder with a pen-knife. The postmaster was led step-by-step by the doctor using Morse code – for seven hours.
All seemed to go well in the operation but Jimmy wasn’t recovering. Dr Holland made a mercy dash to Halls Creek by cattle boat, where six days later he reached Derby. A Model T Ford was waiting to take him the 165 miles to Fitzroy Crossing. There, the doctor spoke to Jimmy by telephone.
For five more days he continued his journey in another car, which broke down several times on the rough roads, then 30 miles from Halls Creek it gave up altogether, and the trip was finished in an all-night drive by horse buggy.
14 days after leaving Perth he met the Postmaster – but was 24 hours too late – Jimmy had already died.
The post mortem found that the operation had been a success but that Jimmy had died from complications of pneumonia and malaria.
It wasn’t until the 15th May 1928, that the Aerial Medical Service, today known as the Royal Flying Doctor Service was established…….
Halls Creek Today
Halls Creek today is filled with a diverse and vibrant mix of locals and tourists alike. Its no longer the sleepy little town in the outback; but a bustling stop over for those travelling around Australia; for the working holiday visa holders looking for some adventure, or for the Gold detectorists hoping to find a nugget or two. It has a current population of about 1550 full time residents but that number swells as the tourist roll in.
Halls Creek is a cultural rich place with a proud Aboriginal Community and a stunning Heritage and Art Center. You can see the effort the local community has taken in the unique signage identifying areas of interest.
It is worth mentioning that you shouldn’t expect Halls Creek to have everything that opens and closes, or that you can purchase the exact replacement item for something that may have broken. In most cases you will find a similar one if it’s popular, but there will be times you will have to compromise or wait until a part can be ordered in.
The Tourist Information Center is a great stop if you have no idea about where to stay, what to do or just about any question / problem you have. The ladies will soon have you pointed in the right direction and on your way. The information center also has an extensive array of giftware and well worth the look.
In the main street there are about a dozen shops selling a surprising variety of goods; from fresh food and vegie’s to homeware and gifts. An honorable mention goes out to the staff at the IGA Supermarket who always seem to be run off there feet; the wonderful girls at the Bakery who have the most yummie Danishes; and the Butcher who also sell lollies and chocolate – yes you read that correctly… the dark chocolate honeycomb was really, really good.
There was one thing we failed to take into consideration before we arrived in the Halls Creek area… That they have alcohol restrictions!
Yes…. You can only buy alcohol from the bottle shop between 10:30 am to Noon and from 4:30 to 6:00 pm daily – Oh and you can only buy light beer as no other alcohol can be purchased outside the pub. The local hotel does serve the full range of beverages – heavy’s, light’s, spirits ect; but only to be drunk on premises. Just remember to time your re-supply runs to town to correspond with the bottle-o opening times… there where a couple of times we didn’t and had to go back in the next day….. bugger!
By now your probably wondering why going back into town is such a pain in the but… Well – we are not just in Halls Creek to sight-see; we are also trying our hand a gold detecting…. have to at least try and recover some trip money.
Now there is another story… to be written soon