The Mullewa District comes alive in late winter and spring each year, when dramatic displays of wildflowers brighten the bushland and road verges. Everlastings form vivid swaying carpets across expansive plains, especially in pastoral areas, while shrubs and small trees spring to life in a blaze of colour. And, of course, the wreath flower is the star attraction.
Lechenaultia macrantha is known as the wreath flower because of its unusual circular shape. It grows well in disturbed areas, and so is commonly found on road verges or in gravel pits or areas that have been recently burnt. It grows from a central root stock, with new branches being produced each year as older ones in the centre die off. It usually flowers between August and October, but this is determined by local rainfall events. Areas east of Mullewa, around Pindar and through the farming country around Tardun and Canna often have excellent displays – but it’s best to ask at the Visitor Centre for up-to-date information.
The Mullewa region is so rich in wildflower species because it straddles both geological and climatic transition zones. This produces great diversity across varying soil types and rainfall/temperature zones. Mullewa also contains both farmland, where human activity provides the “disturbance” favoured by many species, and vast pastoral properties, where nature remains little changed.
Plants of the Asteraceae or daisy family are short-lived annual herbs with soft papery flowers. Most everlastings fall into this family. Star species in the Mullewa area include the pink star everlasting (Schoenia cassiniana), the pom-pom everlasting (Cephalipterum drummondii), the splendid everlasting (Rhodanthe chlorocephalum splendida) and the pink sunray (Rhodanthe manglesii). The country east to Yalgoo and south-east to Payne’s Find is renowned for its everlastings – but again, ask at the Visitor Centre for current information.
Please remember, do not pick the wildflowers, they are protected.
Tired of sitting in a car all day? Ready to stretch your legs and get some exercise? Well, what do you fancy – a walk in the bush, or a stroll around town? Mullewa offers richly interpreted trails in both environments – so go ahead, take your pick! Why not walk them all?
Remember to take a hat, some water and a camera and allow plenty of time to read the interpretive panels.
Mullewa Bushland Trail
A 2,370 metre loop on a well formed natural earth surface (allow at least 40-60 minutes). The trail starts and finishes at the Mullewa Scenic Lookout or can be accessed from the Information Bay on Gray Street, via the Rail Heritage Loop. Interpretation focuses on natural heritage and indigenous culture.
Rail Heritage Loop
A 1,720 metre loop trail, also starting and finishing in the Information Bay (allow 30-40 minutes). It links with both the Bushland Trail and the Wildflower Walk. Explore the fascinating history of the Mullewa railway precinct, once a major operational centre.
This 2,820 metre circuit starts and finishes on Lovers Lane, opposite the caravan park (allow 45 – 70 minutes). Alternatively, access it from the Town Heritage Trail on the Rail Heritage Loop (see map). Interpretation identifies and describes some of the most common and spectacular species.
Town Heritage Trail
This 1,100 metre circuit starts and finishes in the Information Bay (allow 30-40 minutes). It uses wide flat footpaths and is a great way to see and learn about the town’s built heritage.
Two interpretive drive trails take in most of the scenic and heritage attractions of the District. Each of the sites along these trails features a creative rusty steel sculpture with an interpretive panel to explain the main story associated with the place. A number have picnic tables and fire-rings, and all roads can be driven in standard two-wheel drive vehicles (with care on unsealed sections).
Each intersection/turn and all stopping places are well sign-posted, so there’s no risk of losing your way!
The Northern Loop (115km)
This route includes the old Tenindewa settlement and school (with its historic causeway across the lake), and the nearby Wolya Well, a vital water point on the original road to the Murchison.
You will then pass the fascinating Bindoo Glacier Beds on your way to the gorgeous Greenough River and Noondamurra Pool, a place of great significance to local aboriginal people.
Bindoo Hill Nature Reserve is a grand example of the diversity of this landscape (especially in spring), and the Homesteads and Carbon Capture sites tell two vastly different stories of farm life in this area.
The final section of the trail takes you to several historic sites on the old De Grey-Mullewa Stock Route, before returning to town via the poignant Pioneer Cemetery.
The Southern Circuit (145km)
Visit the tragic Butterabby Graves site, a raw reminder of the clash of cultures that occurred when European settlers moved into Wajarri Country.
Then travel via atmospheric Wongoondy Hall to visit Coalseam Conservation Park, an eclectic mix of spring wildflowers, early mining history and stunning cliff-top views.
The once-bustling settlement of Tardun offers the bonus of also having Wildflower Way interpretive sculptures, and not far north is the remarkable Hawes-designed Christian Brothers Agricultural School (Note: no public access; view from Site or road only).
Next comes Pindar, with its historic stone hotel building and its annual wreath flower displays, and then a historic rail siding and a little-known World War II military camp. Return to town via the old showgrounds and Mass Rock, two places redolent of Mullewa’s early history.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church & Priest House Museum
Designed and built by priest architect Monsignor John Hawes during his 22 year stay in Mullewa. The church is considered to be one of his finest designs and is classified by the National Trust.
Attached to the church is the Priest House, which was Monsignor Hawes’ home for many years. It houses many of his personal effects. The museum has limited opening hours from July to September and can also be visited by arrangement through the Visitor Centre.
Just out of town, and a site on the Southern Circuit Drive Trail, is a beautiful place where Monsignor John Hawes carved an alter into the rock and held Mass for the local Aboriginal people. Often the children would decorate the alter with wildflowers.
One of the best ways to get an overview of Mullewa is to visit the Scenic Lookout on the hill to the south of town. Turn off Gray Street at Callaghan Park and follow the signs past the Railway Station.
The Lookout gives expansive views over town and the surrounding bush and farmland, and has eight large interpretive panels which outline key stories of the district. Take a thermos of tea or a sandwich and enjoy the ambience of this lovely location.
Alternately, you can walk to the Lookout via the Railway Heritage and Bushland Trails – allow 15 minutes from the Information Bay. From the Lookout you can set out on the full Bushland Trail circuit, and explore more of our Aboriginal and natural heritage.
Other Places of Interest in Town
Aboriginal Art Workshop and Gallery: In the centre of town you can meet local artists at work and purchase their artworks.
Masonic Lodge: a typical high-windowed but attractive stone hall, built in 1926.
Men’s Shed and Yamatji Sitting Circle: The shed is well equipped for a diverse range of projects. All men are welcome. The Yamatji sitting circle provides a communal place for the men to yarn
Mullewa Town Hall and former Shire Offices: built in 1935, this classic art deco building is a landmark in town. The old shire offices are now home to the Community Resource Centre and Visitor Centre.
Saint Andrews Anglican Church: a lovely old stone building on Padbury Street; the rectory next door was once considered the “finest house in Mullewa”.