Old Set­tle­ment day a golden op­por­tu­nity

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

The Mar­garet River and Dis­tricts His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety will open the doors of the Old Set­tle­ment wide on Novem­ber 25 for its an­nual open day.

The vol­un­teer group was also hard at work this month lay­ing the foun­da­tions for a new her­itage trail along the Wadandi Track.

Vol­un­teer Tom Wen­man said the idea was to give visi­tors and res­i­dents a di­rect way to en­gage with the re­gion’s lesser-known his­tory.

Twelve plaques were al­ready in­stalled along the track at the sites of gold-prospect­ing ten­ders and other his­tor­i­cal events, with a shel­ter at a lo­ca­tion near the Wadandi Track cross­ing at Witch­cliffe planned.

“We’re try­ing to pro­mote tourism and it’s on the main road to the winer­ies,” he said.

“All the un­known his­tor­i­cal sites in Mar­garet River, we’re go­ing to draft.

“It’s a com­bined ef­fort from ev­ery­body.”

Also in the group’s eye was the old Mar­garet River rail­way bridge cross­ing.

Many tourists had no ex­pe­ri­ence of the his­toric sites on of­fer in the re­gion, and for­eign visi­tors in par­tic­u­lar had a chance to gain some hands-on knowl­edge through the plaques and other memo­ri­als.

The Novem­ber 25 open day in Mar­garet River starts from 10am and runs un­til 3pm with a strong fo­cus on Abo­rig­i­nal his­tory as well as the early days of the group set­tle­ment.

There will be free fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties, re­con­struc­tions of group set­tler life, an Abo­rig­i­nal wel­come to coun­try fol­lowed by cul­tural per­for­mances and bush food, and mu­sic from Crooked Brook.

Diehards will also ap­pre­ci­ate the so­ci­ety is rolling out their fa­mous scones with jam and cream.

Mr Wen­man said a lot of his­toric ma­chin­ery would be dis­played on the day and he would give per­sonal demon­stra­tions on how to pan for gold.

Co­in­cid­ing with the fes­tiv­i­ties, the Wadandi peo­ple, the Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River and Na­ture Con­ser­va­tion Mar­garet River would com­bine forces for a Com­mu­nity Heal­ing Walk.

The walk was the first in a se­ries of op­por­tu­ni­ties for res­i­dents to spend time in na­ture, guided by tra­di­tional cus­to­di­ans, to “re­flect, heal, and con­nect”.

Elder Wayne Webb from the Un­dalup As­so­ci­a­tion and con­ser­va­tion­ist Drew McKen­zie will guide the walk and share sto­ries along the way.

At­ten­dees were en­cour­aged to meet at Ro­tary Park at 10am.

Con­tact jblack@amr­shire. wa.gov.au to regis­ter and for more in­for­ma­tion.

His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety vol­un­teer Tom Wen­man will be demon­strat­ing gold pan­ning at the open day.

One of the re­cently in­stalled his­toric plaques.

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