Mid West tracks lift lid on an evolving landscape

STEPHEN SCOURFIELD explores an outback gift

I feel like a kid who’s just opened a surprise box on his birthday.

I’ve driven up Great Northern Highway, across the Wheatbelt, through Wubin, into the Mid West and turned left up the Yalgoo-Ninghan Road.

I’m in Karara Rangeland Park, a bit over 400km from home.

I stop by Mongers Lake, just to step out of the vehicle and feel my boots in the dirt and look over a broad, unbroken horizon.

I scan a complete circle, across the dry lake, the rouge tint of the flowering samphire flats, and the gentle spine of the Bullajungadeah Hills. Above is a dome of blue sky strafed by streaks of wind-racked clouds.

This is the space I crave.

This is a no-rules breather from the city — an inhalation, a celebration.

This is the accessible outback.

And this is a land changedsince I first saw it.

For today the 5600sqkm of Karara, between Morawa and Perenjori in the west, Paynes Find in the east, and with Yalgoo to the north, is managed for recreation, conservation and heritage protection by Parks and Wildlife.

But it was previously six pastoral leases — Warriedar, Thundelarra, Burnerbinmah, Lochada, Karara and Kadji Kadji.

I know this place from those days — largely from writing stories when the rangelands were being hammered by goats.

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