A coastal town at the southern end of the karri region, Walpole is a popular destination for tourists during the hot summer months.
Walpole remains relatively small and has not seen a great deal of development despite the obvious potential the area has.
This is, perhaps, a particularly good thing, as over-development has ruined other towns.
Forests dominate the landscape around the town and most people visit the area to enjoy the natural beauty of the extensive National Parks
and the spectacular coastline.
The area was opened up in 1930 when urban families were encouraged to settle on the land after the great depression caused much hardship in the city.
The name was given to the town by Governor James Stirling and originates from a
Captain W. Walpole.
The town was gazetted as Nornalup in 1933 after the Government declared that there was already a Walpole in Tasmania. The locals objected and after finding out that there
was no other Walpole the name was changed back to the original in 1934.
Captain Thomas Bannister discovered the Walpole River in 1831 on his journey
from the Swan River Colony to Albany.
William Clark who rowed up the Nornalup Inlet was very impressed with what he saw and wrote:
'On the right bank there were high towering hills - here the vegetation was luxuriant, wattle trees, tall ferns and wild vetches growing amongst trees of magnificent growth -
some one hundred feet high of enormous girth and as straight as a pole.'
Later in 1872 when Governor Weld visited the area he seems to have been
'The countless grassy knolls and undulations are enlivened with the bright turquoise blue of the dwarf lobelia. The peppermint is greener than most Australian trees - whilst
within the valleys, black stemmed shockheaded xanthorrea fit the Western Australia character unmistakably.'
Despite its natural beauty it wasn't until 1910 that settlers first began to enter the area. The first was Pierre Bellanger and then a year later Frank Thompson.
"You have got everything here, wonderful forest scenery, mountains, landscapes, seascapes, boating, fishing. It is one of the most beautiful single sights I ever saw in all my life."
Prof. Wilson, Harvard University 1920
It was the settlement which began in the 1930s that really saw the area start to fulfil its potential. Mary Tapley describes the early arrival of settlers in her book: ' Full Fifty Years
and Fifty Very Full Years: The Walpole Land Settlement 19301980'
'On arrival at Nornalup in the late afternoon, the first group of men were taken by truck to the Main Camp, or Walpole as we now know it, and issued with tents. The poor
fellows were already soaked to the skin by rain that had not ceased from the time they left the train, and putting up their tents in a deluge must have seemed the last straw.'
TALL TALES AND TRUE
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(c) Destination WA
Walpole/Nornalup National Park, Valley of the Giants, Walpole Inlet, Tingle Tree, Conspicuous Beach,
Peaceful Bay, Mandalay Beach, Frenhook Falls,
Coalmine Beach, Mount Frankland, Hollow Tree, Circular Pool,
Tree-top Walk, Broke inlet.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
WALPOLE NORNALUP NATIONAL PARK
Located 120km west of Albany. Camping is allowed within the park.
Ranger 08 9840 8263
Tree Top Walk and Ancient Empires
From Walpole we went 12km east to the Valley of the Giants turn off. From here it was a short 6km ride to the Tree Top Walk ($6 per head) which is worth the money and something that should be on your 'to do' list if you are down this way. The spans reach 40 metres (only about half the height of the tallest fire tree you can climb in this area) but the view from the top is interesting.
There is also the Ancient Empires walk which although along the ground I found MORE interesting than the tree top walk.
Reviewed: February 2009
State : Blackwood-Stirling
Federal : O'Connor
Postcode : 6398
Local Government : Shire of Manjimup
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