The historic town of Jarrahdale sits amid the forest on the Darling Scarp - inland from the coastal city of Rockingham.
The two tows have a linked past as timber was cut in areas around Jarrahdale and then sent by rail to be shipped overseas from Rockingham.
Jarrahdale is popular with day-trippers from the suburbs on the coastal plain as there are a number of things to see and do in the area.
One of the main attractions, Goorolong Park, was closed off to easy access and Langford Park is a mere shadow of its former self but there are some good bush walks and good picnic sites at Serpentine and Pipehead dams.
In the town itself, there are a number of historic buildings including a church, timber mill manager's house and mill workers cottages. The cottages, despite being fenced off, have been badly damaged by vandals.
In 1997 the town was added to the National Trust's List of Classified Heritage places.
The local tavern is still a popular place to sit and enjoy views out over the bush on lazy Sunday afternoons.
Milling in the area has a long history with various mills opening. Some were destroyed by bush fires and rebuilt others were abandoned.
Today the Jarrahdale Heritage park includes the old mill manager's residence, a reconstructed milling shed that is on the site of the old No. 1 mill and some ancillary storage buildings.
In a small fenced off compound are the remnants of the workers cottages which have been badly vandalised.
The Mill Manager's cottage and No.1 mill building were offered for lease in 2019.
Rodney Croft attempted to re-start some limited milling operations in late 2014 but for reasons only known to the local shire, his efforts were stymied and he lost a huge amount of money.
He initially won a court battle against the shire but his fight for compensation was unsuccessful and faced to major financial losses.
He was involved in a stand off with bailiffs in January 2019 as they attempted to seize his home.
Sadly this led to his wife's tragic death all thanks to the bloody-minded stance taken by the shire. Something that was completely avoidable.
An all new electric mill was constructed in 1968. It operated until 1997. It was the 15th mill in the area and it was the last one to close. Timber milling had been part of the area for 125 years.
RV REST AREA
There is an RV rest area available at Jarrahdale for vehicles that are fully self contained.
This means that vehicles must have cooking facilities, black and grey water tanks and not allow and waste water to drop to the ground.
There is a 3 night limit and dogs are allowed as long as they remain on a leash.
Pipehead dam is the smaller of two dams located on the Serpentine River.
It was opened in November 1957 and has been an important part of the metropolitan areas water supply system.
The area near the dam has picnic facilities and toilets available but there are times when access to this dam is restricted.
Nearby Serpentine Dam is a major source of water for Perth but few people know, that beneath the water lies the old settlement of Big Brook. This was a timber town that was once home to around 1000 people.
Serpentine Dam, opened in 1961 and still remains an important water source.
There are attractive picnic and barbeque facilities available at both the upper and lower areas. The upper picnic site has views of the dam while the lower has pleasant grassed areas and plenty of shade.
For those who prefer a prepared meal indoors, there is a restaurant available.
Goorolong Park was once a very popular recreation reserve and campsite.
When the park was absorbed into Serpentine National Park all vehicle access was cut off and the only way to access the area was by walking quite a distance down and increasingly rutted dirt road.
At the time vehicle access was first closed off the public was told it was 'temporary' and was due to 'dangerous trees' in the pine plantation area.
Over a decade later the 'temporary' closure has been revealed as a complete lie and access to the park for older or infirm people is now all but impossible.
The closure of such a popular public space is little more than land theft and is a disgraceful act that we still want to see reversed.
Infrastructure at the park that included toilets, Tables, BBQs etc. has all been left to rot as you can clearly see from our pictures.
Goorolong was once the site of a flour mill, known at the time as Batt's Mill after Joseph Batt who was the mills builder.
There are some good walk trails with one going 11 kilometres to Serpentine Falls.
A shorter walk to Kitty's Gorge is very pleasant but all walks are best done in the cooler months. (Kitty was apparently a cow that escaped and was found months later living happily by the Gorge that now bears her name.)
Millbrook Wines has cellar door sales and a restaurant located in a very picturesque setting next to a man made lake.
The winery is part of Chestnut farm which can trace its origins back to Joseph Batt who planted the first grapevines in 1865.
The winery sells a number of different wines including shiraz, cabernet, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.
Cellar door sales are available as is a tasting room which opens Thursday to Monday from 10.00am to 5.00pm.
There is also a restaurant with A la carte food and some more unusual menus such as 'no waste Monday'.
Kitty's Gorge. 3 separate walk trails from 1 to 11 kilometres long. All start at Gooralong Park. Difficulty - moderate.
Stacey's Track. 3 kilometres walk through Gooralong Park, forest and the town. Difficulty - moderate.
Mundlimup Trail. Access from Balmoral Rd. Passes through an old logging area tree growing experiment. Difficulty - easy.
Wetlands Walk. Circuit trail suitable for wheelchairs. Difficulty - easy.
Heritage Railway Hike. 4 or 7 kilometre loop trails. Follows the route of the old 1872 railway. Difficulty - easy to moderate.
Prisoner Of War Camp Hike. Old camp ruins and former railway route. Difficulty - easy.
Blue Rocks Walks. 1.5 or 3 kilometre walk trail over Blue Rock and through forest recovering from mining and timber milling. Difficulty - moderate.
The town dates back to 1872 and the granting of several timber concessions. The Jarrahdale Timber Company constructed a railway to move timber down to the coast atRockingham.
The first site selected for the town was a little east of the current location. A bushfire in 1895 destroyed most of the buildings and the town was moved to where it sits today.
Originally a private town, it was finally gazetted in 1913. The town's name comes from the large stands of jarrah forest that surround it.
In 1907 there was a major strike at the mills after workers conditions and wages were adversely affected by a ruling about the timber industry. A fighting fund was established and an enormous sum (for the time) of over 7400 pounds was raised. All mills in the south west (except Karridale) closed down.
The strike started on March 15th and continued until June 17th. The workers had won a small victory in pay and conditions but the loss of income had longer term effects on the viability of some mills.
Jarrahdale has relied on the timber industry for most of its income in the past but today fruit and vegetables have been added to the local industry and bauxite mining began in the 1960s.
Alcoa opened the first bauxite mine in 1963 and the ore was sent down to the Kwinana refinery to be turned into aluminium.
When No.1 mine site was closed down the area was rehabilitated and became Langford Park.
It was named after the first mine manager, Jim Langford. Once there were nice grassed areas but when the lake dried up the grass died and the park is only a shadow of its former self. Toilets, seats, BBQs and tables shelters are still provided for public use.
Today about 16% of the world's demand for aluminium is produced in W.A.
Mining operations at Jarrahdale closed in 1998 and were moved to the Huntly site.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
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Serpentine Dam, Goorolong Park, Langford Park.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
Old post office, Mill manager's house, Church, Workers cottages.
State : Darling Range
Federal : Canning
Postcode : 6124
Local Government : Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale
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