The Millstream part of this national park used to be Millstream Station It was first settled in the late 1800s and the visitors centre is in what was the Millstream Homestead was built in 1914. Farming continued here up until 1980 when the government resumed the lease. At its peak, this station covered one million acres and had 55,000 sheep. Lawns, including a tennis court, a vegetable garden and banana plantation maintained by a Chinese gardener, surrounded the homestead.
In the morning, we did a walk along the 7km Murlamunyjunha Trail to Crossing Pool. The trail took us along a riverbed and flood plain. It is all quite fertile because of the oasis springs that feed this area. This spring comes from an aquifer, fed by the Fortescue River. The aquifer has an estimated area of 2,000 square kilometres and is believed to contain 1,700 million cubic metres of water. (Mum and dad – that is a lot of Sydney Harbours) The walk was through large River Gums, Cadjiputs (paperbarks) and Millstream Palms.
A bit weird seeing palm trees, and somehow Ben managed to get Sam and Patrick to fan him with them for part of the walk.
The last part of the walk had been washed away but we used our tracking skills and made it to Crossing Pool, our side, could not find the crossing bit. This Did not matter it just meant we did not share it with the people at the campground on the other side. We all went for a swim sans clothes which the boys thought was hysterical, especially when floating on their backs or duck diving.
In the afternoon, we went to Deep Reach Pool. It is believed that this is the home of the Warlu, or the Dreamtime serpent. It is here that it returned to the earth when it had finished creating the earth, carving out the seas, gorges and mountain as he moved. We all swam to the other side of the pool and then while Tom and I read books the boys made ‘fishing rods’ with reeds and other stuff they could find.
In the late afternoon, we did the much shorter homestead walk a mere 1 km. This was a lovely walk and had plaques along the way explaining things from the perspective of a 12-year-old Doug Gordon who was a child here in the 1930s and later went on to manage the property. Included were the sites of the old bathhouse and where the vege garden was. It also went past Jirndawurrunha Pool (one if the spellings) which is very significant to the local Yinjibarndi people. It is very beautiful partly due to the date and cotton palms, oleanders, water lilies and Indian water ferns – all introduced by the settlers at Millstream.
I think it looked something like Monet’s gardens, with gum trees.
Kate especially for you – some wild flowers. The one in the middle I cannot remember the name of but the ranger told us it was very rare. The other flower for all you non botanists is a Desert Pea.