In L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, a tin woodsman joins an adventure to the Emerald City to find a heart. Fourteen years earlier and half a world away, a different tin story began in southwest Australia with the discovery of the valuable metal in what would become the town of Greenbushes. Emeralds and greens, tin men and tin mines, the ‘Tin Woodsman’ is a lovely symbol for a town that developed due to tin mining and timber milling in the early 20th century and continues celebrating its history.
For history lovers, the old timber and mining town is full of delight. A series of 77 information boards detailing Greenbushes’ past are posted along the two kilometre Heritage Amble. A highlight is the Mine Lookout at the end of Telluride Street where visitors can get a sense of the operations’ scale. Near the entrance to the lookout is a sombre reminder of how hard things could really be back in the early days of the town. Take a few minutes to stand inside the original little jail building to step back to a much harsher time.
When visiting Greenbushes time at the Discovery Centre is a must. Forget quaint little info booths selling postcards, this place is the ‘Disney World’ of visitors’ centres. It includes a replica underground mine, a virtual forest experience that incorporates a thunderstorm, and a simulated timber truck drive. Children and adults alike will find plenty to explore as they learn what the ‘Archaean Yilgarn Craton’ is or what ‘pegmatite’ means, exactly how many hectares of Karri forest remain in the Southwest and how the traditional land owners, the Noongar people, prepared toxic ‘Jeerjii’ to eat. Call 9764 3883 for Discovery Centre opening times
The displays extend outside the centre to six ‘Walks of Discovery’. If you’re more of a nature enthusiast, head out on the Loop Walk or New Zealand Gully trail and take in the waterways, old growth mixed forest, and heritage mining areas that surround Greenbushes. Mention of ‘mining’ might deter eco-tourists, but don’t be put off – many of the town’s residents chose to live in Greenbushes because of its natural surrounds, which include the unique flora and fauna of the Southwest Ecoregion, 70% of which is not found anywhere else on earth.
And when you’re done doing all those activities it’s time for a cool down at the prettiest waterhole around – the Greenbushes Pool on the outskirts of town.
So on your next visit to Bridgetown don’t forget to put aside some time to explore the sister town of Greenbushes – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Article from “The Bridgetown”