Lake Mason Conservation Park
After leaving Malcolm Dam near Leonora, we continued north to Leinster & then turned west towards Sandstone. Sandstone was a quiet little town, with a great pub that has an awesome aviary with Major Mitchell's, corella's, rosella's and various other birds. We had some lunch which was a great feed for a remote little town & got back on the road and headed north again towards Lake Mason Conservation Park. It was about 50 km in and the dirt road was really good which surprised us. It was only 3 km from the turn off to the homestead. Lake Mason used to be a large cattle then sheep station that was turned into a conservation park by Department of Environment & Conservation (DEC) in 2000, it is almost 150 000 ha in size. The remains of the homestead, shearing shed, quarters, machinery sheds, workshops, toilets & showers still all exist and you can camp at these or further out on the park.
When we were in Kalgoorlie we went into DEC, to get some information on the place, but they had very little, other to tell us that the wood chip heater for the hot showers had been stolen and that they are trying to get caretakers to look after the place. The chip heater was in fact gone & they definitely could do with some caretakers. The homestead is starting to really decline, it was quite a flash house at one time with pressed tin ceilings & walls & wooden floor boards. It is a pity as the whole station set up was once pretty big, with a 12 bay shearing shed, large sheds & excellent quarters. Now you can explore it & also use the facilities to camp in or near. There is room to roll a swag in the quarters, a kitchen with rainwater tanks, fire pits, flushing toilets and cold showers.
There is no information or maps in regards to the roads or tracks in the park, but there were other campers camped at the Lake Mason itself, a salt lake. We decided to set the trailer up near the quarters & have a shower. In the end we decided to only stay for one night so we didn't unhook the trailer from the car & only got out the basics for an overnight camp.
It was very arid country and we commented that it would of been a very hard life as farmers out here. As the afternoon progressed another car pulled into camp to have a shower, we got talking & they were gold prospectors, prospecting about 8 km up the road. They had been there for 3 weeks & used the station for a shower and to get water. They have been filed into our "interesting characters" memory bank. An older couple who were just really strange!!! Apparently they had some luck that afternoon & found a couple of pieces of gold, he was very vague about exactly where they were camped though, I think they thought we might muscle in on their territory ha ha!
After they finally left for the afternoon, we then had a great fire, an easy dinner of sausage sandwiches, watched the sunset & then the amazing stars, had a few beers & just soaked up the quietness as we were then only ones at that camp.
The next mornings pack up was interesting as the wind had started to blow pretty strongly & it was a nightmare to get the tent down, but we finally managed to get it packed away. As we drove out, we wondered if it was worth driving all the way in, not that it was that far out of the way as we had decided to do the dirt road between Sandstone & Meekatharra anyway. We decide it was worth the trip, but we aren't sure how much more there was to see as we only went to the homestead.
The dirt road to Meekatharra was better than we expected, except for a couple of rough patches. We stopped a few times along the way for photos. The country was still very arid, with not many trees & not much grass either. We came across some cattle and had to get some pictures, we are always interested in how different cattle farming is across the country. We also stopped at hill on the side of the road which was a site where a meteoroid had hit the earth many years ago. We also crossed over the rabbit proof fence. We arrived in Meekatharra and were again surprised at how neat & tidy it was and how many facilities it had. After getting some fuel, a coffee & a couple of things at foodworks, it was time to find our next a campsite further north on the Murchison River (what we found in our next post).