The charming historic town of Dwellingup is on the Trail between Jarrahdale and Nanga (Section 2). It is nestled between the South Dandalup and Murray Rivers in the stunning jarrah forest of the Darling Range. In addition to cycling the Trail, the town offers a vast range of outdoor activities including fishing, camping, hiking, 4WD-ing, canoeing and white water rafting and plays hosts to one of Western Australia's largest mountain bike races, the Dwellingup 100.
The Dwellingup Visitor Centre is located less than half a kilometre from the Trail and is a good place to stop and find out more about the town and it’s surrounds after winding down from your ride in the adjacent shaded picnic area. Whilst in the area, many visitors take the opportunity to experience the Forest Rail train ride, which is offered by the Hotham Valley Railway. The Hotham Valley Railway allows one to experience the freedom of rail travel in the style of years gone by.
Just south of Dwellinup, the Trail enters the Lane Poole Reserve. Here Melaleuca thickets and flooded gum woodlands fringe the river. The Noongar people used this fertile river valley as a natural access route to the inland wandoo woodland hunting areas, but spent little time on the jarrah-covered bauxite plateau. They visited in winter when the creeks flowed, and they fished along the rivers of the Darling Range and estuaries of the coastal plain. The settlements of the new colonists focussed on pastureland at the fringe of the forest. The reserve is named after Charles Lane Poole (1885-1970), an English Australian forester who introduced systematic, science-based forestry methods to the Western Australian industry.
Nanga is the site of the jarrah mill that was destroyed in the 1961 fires. In its heyday, the mill employed up to 100 men and a small town site included around 56 homes, a hall, store, butchers, school, billiard room and tennis courts. By the 1961 fires, the Nanga Mill and surrounding settlement was already struggling due to the World Wars, the Great Depression and competition with the Dwellingup Mill. After the town was destroyed in 1961, there was no reason to rebuild and the town was declared closed in 1962.
Section 3 of the Trail takes up here in Lane Poole Reserve and makes it’s way to the Bidjar Ngoulin hut. This lies 12.2km from Nanga and has a nearby stream and little waterfall. As the Trail moves south towards Logue Brook dam, it becomes challenging. It is possible to bypass this section by taking a much easier 1.95km diversion. Logue Brook Dam is a popular recreational camping and skiing destination. It is a great place to take a break and have a feed at the nearby caravan park’s café.
The next hut (Yarri) is just over 46km from Logue Brook Dam and is beautifully situated; overlooking a small valley. The Trail from Yarri Hut to Collie is 44km – as usual look out for diversions.
European settlement of the Dwellingup area began in the late 1800s with the new timber harvesting industry. In the early 1900s the area was surveyed for a town following the decision to make the site the terminus of the Pinjarra – Marrinup railway. The town, originally called Dwellingupp after the nearby traditional Aboriginal camping place, became Dwellingup in 1915. In 1961 the town was all but destroyed by a bushfire that raged for five days. 140,000 hectares of forest were damaged and a number of other small timber towns including Banksiadale, Holyoake, Nanga Brook and Marrinup were all destroyed. Of all these towns, Dwellinup was the only one to be rebuilt.
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Photo © Josh Cowling Photography