Lake Dundas and Norseman
Lake Dundas is a pretty but shallow saline lake sited about 22km from the goldfields town of Norseman.
The whole area remains fairly low key and you are unlikely to come across any large signage proclaiming a prospective touring attraction. Instead much of the pleasure in investigating Western Australia’s goldfields lies in discovering areas of interest for yourself rather than having everything mapped out.
Which is not to say that tourist facilities are inadequate, it is simply that in regions where past generations searched, lived and dug for elusive gold nuggets - there are too many old shacks, graves, broken tools and old prospecting grounds to list.
The old town site of Dundas was named in honour of Captain Dundas of the Royal Navy and lies nearer to the road. As history has it, a location near Lake Dundas revealed a piece of gold bearing quartz, uncovered by the hoof of ‘Norseman’ - a horse owned by Laurie Sinclair. Sinclair went on to discover a valuable gold reef and the towns of Dundas and Norseman were born.
Dundas eventually fell by the wayside and Norseman continues on today, still producing gold. The 5,000,000 ounce of gold was extracted in November 2002.
Another smaller community existed at Princess Royal 5km east of Norseman and at one stage the region was the second largest goldfield in Western Australia, edged out only by Kalgoorlie.
Interesting and Isolated
The lake at Dundas presents a chance to get some great photographic images at sunrise and sunset as the colours of the rugged landscape bounce off the lake surface and the birdlife moves in. The whole area is virtually unregulated and affords some interesting and very private camping sites.
Things to see in and around the lake include the Dundas Rocks, old telegraph lines, building ruins, rudimentary bush-built mining ‘head frames’ and the lone grave of Stanley Arthur Whitehead who died on April 8 1897 aged 7 months. The whole area is crisscrossed by a series of tracks that may or may not require 4WD.
Other nearby places to visit are Lake Cowan, Peak Charles (100km south of Norseman), Mt Jimberlana, Bromus Dam and Buldania Rocks. Closer to Norseman are the Beacon Hill Lookout and massive tailings dump, the historic cemetery, the Norseman Historical Collection, the 'Dollykissangel’ a 2500 piece memorabilia display and Phoenix Park.
The 300km 'Granite Woodlands Discovery Trail' connects Norseman to the town of Hyden and Wave Rock
Gasteway to the Nullarbor
Norseman is a major stopping point for traffic navigating the Nullarbor Plains either heading to or coming from the east. The Dundas Shire stretches all the way to the South Australian border.
While driving through the arid woodland plains of the goldfield regions of Western Australia it becomes easy to become complacent about the barren look of the place and miss much of what is on offer. However, sparsely populated old goldmining locations such as Dundas - harbour numerous interesting places often not publicly documented. These places present a great chance to explore and investigate the pioneering beginnings of Australia at your leisure without a great deal of intrusion or regulation by well meaning government authorities.
No one is much interested in the goings on out here as long as you aren’t prospecting where you shouldn’t be or are destroying the place.
Just be wary of the multitude of old open gold shafts in any part of the goldfields. Falling down one of these is a recipe for becoming part of gold mining history.
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