Donnelly River Village
This historic mill town marks the halfway point of the Munda Biddi Trail. The mill itself, which closed in 1978, is dilapidated yet the Donnelly Mill worker's cottages became a holiday destination. Enjoy a coffee on the verandah of the General Store and get to know the locals – a large number of very tame kangaroos and emus. In late spring this area comes alive with colour and cyclists will be amazed at the variety of flowering plants. The Donnelly River swimming hole, 500 metres from the Village, is a great spot for a swim.
It is 23.5km from Donnelly River to the Karta Burnu hut. Although the Trail around these parts is a bit challenging, the scenery makes it all worth it! After Karta Burnu hut the ride gets easier again.
The Donnelly River site was first used as a timber mill by the Wheatley family in 1912 to cut cross arms and telegraph poles, but it closed after two years. In 1947, Bunnings made plans to build a new mill on the Wheatley site to work timber in new permit areas held by the company, with a steam engine purchased from Onkaparinga Woollen Mills in South Australia - Donnelly River became the only steam-driven mill in the South West, officially opening in 1951. The town was named for the river which flows through it, which in turn was named by Governor James Stirling after Admiral Ross Donnelly, a friend of his wife's family and Rear Admiral of the Red. Although the town was officially called Wheatley the name Donnelly River is more commonly used.
Accommodation & Services
There is no camping permitted within the Village – it is private property. Cyclists can book into the self-contained cottage accommodation taking advantage of the linen service for a good night's sleep. Or utilise the other facilities offered to cyclists including:
- Bunk accommodation in the old school with access to kitchen and bathing facilities at a budget price.
- Shelter accommodation (the basic shelter at the Village was originally the lunch shelter for the school) free of charge.
- Bed & Breakfast is available at the nearby Loco Shed.
- The General Store is the focal point of the village and offers a range of services including a café with delicious homemade cakes, a lunch menu, basic groceries and locally made giftware. There is a public phone at the store as there is no reliable mobile reception at the Village.
In addition to providing cyclist's supplies, the general store can also pick up your mail packages and keep them in the store for up to two weeks from the arrival date marked on the package. Send packages to C/O Donnelly River Holiday Village, Community Mail Bag, Manjimup, WA, 6258 with your name clearly marked and expected arrival date. Make sure you notify them first - mail is collected from Manjimup once a week.
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