Mundaring Weir Dam was built in the 1890’s with the aim to provide water to the Goldfields Water Scheme. The Eastern Goldfields development was desperate of water at the time. The idea originated from C.Y. O’Connor, the colony’s chief engineer, who planned to raise the water the 400km up to Kalgoorlie via pumping stations. He was both scorned and ridiculed, still he continued to acquire funds for the scheme and eventually committed suicide on the beach in Fremantle just months before water finally flowed into Kalgoorlie’s Mt Charlotte Reservoir in 1903.
Around 26kms from Perth is the John Forrest National Park. The park covers 1577 hectares in the Darling Ranges. The trees in the park are mainly Jarrah, Marri and Wandoo along with some Banksia and Sheoak which is typical of the area. The area was first preserved in 1898 and was declared an A class reserve in 1900.
Kangaroo’s, Echidna’s, Short-nosed Bandicoot and Wallabies can be found as well as a variety of birds and reptiles. There is limited facilities for backpack camping only and you need to book with the park’s ranger. BBq’s are free and found in the main area and at Rock Pool, good areas for picnicking and for the disabled. There is an admission to the park per car however there is a loop around the park which is not charged.
There are great views back to Perth and surrounding areas at various vantage points around the initial drive into the park. There is also extensive walking trails for the bushwalkers which go to Hovea Falls, Railways tunnel and along the firebreaks within the park.
John Forrest National Park is the oldest national park in Western Australia and is an important part of the Hills Forest. Most of the park is laterite but in places where Jane Brook and other streams have cut into the surface, you will find rounded boulders of granite in fact some are said to be the oldest rocks on Earth.
Originally the area was known as Greenmount National Park but later became known as Forrest National Park, then John Forrest National Park in 1947 after Lord Forrest who was one of Australia’s well-known statesmen and explorers.
The title of this sculpture is “Goodbye Cruel World, I’m off to join the Circus, but I missed the last train” by artist Ron Gumboc. Kind of quirky.
At South Ledge is the new Golden View Observation deck where you can get a great view especially back to the Mundaring Weir Dam and the Lower Helena Valley.
The dam was so popular that special trains were put on and run from Perth just to cater for the many tourists wishing to see the overflow. The wall was raised in the 1950’s.
A beautiful sight in the Darling Ranges, the dam in its day was the highest overflow dam in the world and quite spectacular when it overflowed during the winter months.