Perth August & December 2018 - Day 15

Geraldton to York


Geraldton featured in the news media as the closest town to site where the HMAS Sydney had been sunk in 1942. Subsequently a large memorial was constructed on a headland above the town. This was our first place to visit before we headed east into wildflower territory. We drove east on the Geraldton-Mt Magnet Road as far as Mullewa where we turned south on the Mullewa-Wubin Road. Distances were deceptive. It was 220km to Wubin. But by the time we reached Mullewa the roadsides were covered in wild flowers, mostly yellows. The fields too were full of yellow Canola. At Wubin we joined Highway 95 south through Bindibindi. At New Norcia we turned south-east onto the Old Plains Road that took us through gum forest and farmland. We eventually reached Toodyay, then Northam and finally the town of York. Here we stayed the night at the York Palace Hotel, which we throughly enjoyed. .

HMAS Sydney Memorial at Geraldton

The loss of HMAS Sydney (II) is Australia’s greatest naval tragedy. Its disappearance in 1941 without a trace left a legacy of uncertainty for decades. In March 2008, renewed efforts to find the Sydney came to fruition, confirming her fate and bringing closure to the mystery. HMAS Sydney had been tasked with escorting troopships to South East Asia, along the west coast of Western Australia. It was on the return of one of these voyages that she encountered the German Raider HSK Kormoran, on 19 November 1941. The Kormoran was disguised as a Dutch merchant vessel. Unaware of this, the Sydney approached. Once within range, the Komoran used the advantage of surprise and brought all its armament to bear on the Sydney. Both vessels were lost but the Sydney sank with the loss of all crew.

Entry sign at the HMAS Sydney Memorial
Statue of woman looking out to sea
The dome is composed of thousands of albatross
Part of the memorial wall

The wildflowers near Mullewa

About an hour east of Gerladton is the small town of Mullewa. It has a general store, a cafe (of sorts) and a garage with a petrol pump (which works - we bought fuel here). At Mullewa we turned south where the road sides were covered in flowers of many colours. Nearby the fields were full of yellow canola crops.

The road south from Mullewa
There were many signs like this one in the area
Canola in abundance
War Rock is a granite outcrop that has been walled up to trap water.
The highway south
At New Norcia we turned onto the Old Plains Road for a journey through bush and canola
The Palace Hotel in York

By the time we had reached the end of the old road it was getting late in the day. We continued on to Northam and then to York. The grand old York Palace Hotel was prominent on the main street. "Come inside, ring the bell and Alice will come running" were the instructions. Sure enough, the bell brought a person out of the garden. "You must be Alice!". "No" came the reply, "I'm Nola but it doesn't rhyme very well with Palace". Fair enough!. We atayed in the terrace accommodation that has been recently added to the back of the hotel. Comfortable room and plenty of parking space. Of course we dined at the Palace Hotel and "Alice" looked after us very well.

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Last updated: 20/02/2019