Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

Western Australia at the end of our journey

27-Jul-2005
   

From Karijini we travelled 90kms west to a mining town called 'Tom Price'. It's a relatively new town that was built in 1966 to house the mineworkers and their families. I visited the mine on a guided tour and everything was on a grand scale. It's an open cast iron ore mine, one of six in the Pilbara region run by Hammersley Iron.

[Useless fact No 1: Hamersley Iron is a totally owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto Zinc whose biggest single investor is H.M. Queen! With the price of steel as it is at the moment it must be a nice little earner.]

The open cast iron ore mine near Tom Price

Tom Price Mine
Large Haul Truck

The massive haul trucks can hold up to 200 tonnes of ore at a time. Now these trucks are definitely boy's toys but can you believe that they prefer female drivers because "they treat them more gently"? The company owns the railway that takes the crushed ore to Dampier on the coast 280km away.

[Useless fact No 2: the rails are welded to form one long length and because of the temperature extremes, -5 to +49deg C, the total length varies by up to 1.3km. The track is allowed to slide sideways to compensate!]

Boys Toys!

We drove out to Hammersley Gorge where the rock formations and colours are amazing. It's impossible to imagine the forces that twisted and shaped these rocks.

Hammersley Gorge

Hammersley Gorge
Hammersley Gorge

There was a nice swimming hole at the bottom of the gorge although the water was cool so it was only a short swim!

Hammersley Gorge

Next to our campsite was 'Mount Nameless' (The aboriginals have a name for it: 'Jarndrunmunhna' but on the maps it's Mt Nameless!). It is the highest mountain in Western Australia that you can drive up (with a 4x4). We drove to the top (1128mtrs) to take in the views. Our campsite is in the centre of the picture. In fact if you look very closely you will see me sat at my laptop writing this entry.

View of the campsite from Mount Nameless

View from Mount Nameless