Sunday, 19 July 2015

Researching Lower Kalgan

Common Forest Heath
Having heard of our reason for visiting Albany, our host Jim suggested that we talk to one of his friends Don, a historian of the area.
Discovering that the property in my novel would likely have been an orchard, he suggested we head out in the direction of Lower Kalgan to check out the scenery.

By today's standards Lower Kalgan is about 20 minutes north east of Albany town centre, but 100 years ago, it is likely that it would have taken closer to an hour to make the journey, particularly as it is possible the route was a little less direct than the one we took.
Though such a short distance away, the landscape is completely different. The township is focused down towards the waterfront and harbour, while Lower Kalgan centres on the Kalgan river that winds through the hills before emptying into Oyster Bay just east of Princess Royal Harbour.

The hill in the distance is the back end of Mt Clarence

Some parts were scarcely above the water table, and obviously flooded in the wet winter months as the trees that lined the road were plastered with the bright red mud of the road.

I'm sure that in summer the colours would gravitate towards the reds and yellows of a sun-dried landscape. But for us there was a strange vibrancy to what otherwise appeared as a serene and dramatic landscape.

Velvet Fanflower

Continuing along the meandering road, we climbed up the hillside and stumbled upon a perfect setting. It was an orchard that specialised in stone fruits, jams and macadamia nuts, but best of all were the views down across the Kalgan river and out into Oyster Bay.

If any location was going to be hijacked as a setting in my novel, this would have to be it.

Wandering back down the hill we crossed a creek and the river before deciding to head north and check out the Porongurups. After all, we were 'in the area'.

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