A project from the National Trust of WA
A self-guided drive trail between the Perth Hills and Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields. Go with the Flow. Follow the water to discover more about the audacious goldfields water supply scheme and Engineer CY O’Connor.
“Future generations, I am quite certain will think of us and bless us for our far seeing patriotism, and it will be said of us, as Isaiah said of old, ‘They made a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert”
It was such a noteworthy event that New Zealand prospector John Aspinall diarised in March 1895 having a wash here for the first time in three days, “… it was indeed a pleasure” and records:
It is a common saying that anyone who comes here should bring a waterbag, a can opener and a piece of hoopiron to scrape off the dirt with.
Aspinall diarises stopping at the pub all night long and finding the ‘rude comforts quite luxurious’. He had gone by train from Perth to Southern Cross and walked from ‘the Cross’, going along with a teamster to Coolgardie. Yellowdine may be referred to as Reen’s Soak in the earliest documents relating to the road to the Coolgardie goldfields.
Reen’s Soak is situated at the base of a number of large granite outcrops which rise gently out of the plain into the form of low rounded hills, often several miles in circumference. Round these places the Government has constructed races and dams (or tanks as they are called).
He is referring to one of the railway dams built in an attempt to provide suitable water for steam engines as the line from Southern Cross extended further and further east. Even before the dam’s construction, Yellowdine or Reen’s Soak had been an important stopping place on the route to the goldfields because of the soak fed by runoff from the granite outcrop. Then became a railhead as the line was extended.
The contract to extend the railway line from Southern Cross to Coolgardie was awarded to the Wilkie brothers from New Zealand. One of their wives was delayed at Yellowdine in an embarrassing delay. Under instructions Mrs Wilkie’s train was to pull into the Yellowdine siding to wait until another train loaded with railway construction material had passed on the single line. The passengers had last eaten at midday.
Between 10 and 11 p.m. the bored, hungry and thirsty passengers were offered refreshment by a woman camped nearby. Her children guided them to her camp in batches of three. Kept busy cooking johnny cakes, slicing tinned meat and pouring copious quantities of tea until early morning, the woman fairly earned a good financial reward from the grateful customers.
Vera Whittington Gold and Typhoid: two fevers.
Today Yellowdine is a favourite truck stop with the ruins of the railway station and dams opposite.
Click on any map section or place below to discover The Golden Pipeline.