You don’t have to travel far in Western Australia to find an Irish connection! The Darling Scarp lies to the east of Perth. It was originally named the General Darling Range in 1827 in honour of General Ralph Darling who was Governor of New South Wales. Ralph Darling (1772 – 1858) was born in Ireland, the eldest son of Sergeant Christopher Darling and has had several geographic features named after him. (For detailed biography of this remarkable and controversial man see here.)
Serpentine National Park is a recreational area set in the foothills of the Darling Scarp, that centres around a river of the same name. The upper reaches of the river flow into Serpentine Reservoir on the Darling Plateau, which is retained by a 55 metre high dam, with a crest of 424 metres. This is one of the sources of drinking water for the metropolitan area of Perth
Serpentine reservoir – 34% full at the time of this photograph
The dam is 55 metres high
At the Dam…
Heavily forested Serpentine Valley
Water from the Serpentine Reservoir is released into the Serpentine Pipehead catchment some 5 kilometers downstream.The Pipehead Dam is 15 metres high and 142 metres across. From here, the water is piped away to the water mains.
Access to Serpentine Pipehead Dam
A tranquil oasis ..
This reservoir is framed by dense forest
Serpentine Pipehead Reservoir
The river then flows off the Scarp at Serpentine Falls as it makes its way to the sea. Being mid-summer the Falls were not as dramatic as in winter when fuelled by rains. At their base is a deep, natural pool that has been hewn out of the rock by the force of the river
Serpentine falls in mid-
When in full flow water cascades over the rock at the top of the falls
A natural pool has been hewn out of the rocks
Serpentine Falls Rock pool
The area is heavily forested , most commonly by Eucalyptus marginata that has the Aboriginal name of Jarrah, a dark wood that resembles Mahogany. There are wonderful amenities in the very scenic park ranging from picnic sites complete with gas barbecues, cycle trails, bushwalks, campsites. and there is a very nice café at the top of the dam, with the original name of the Cafe on the Dam!
Steps down to Reservoir from the Cafe
Lovely view from our table in the cafe
The area is beloved of birdwatchers and just from my table, I snapped these!
A cute little wren
Spot the parrots!
Just 40 kilometers from the hustle and bustle of the city, Serpentine National Park is well worth a visit!
Biography of Ralph Darling at Australian \dictionary of \biography
Governor Ralph darling’s Iron Collar by Marcus Clarke