I’m staying a bit closer to home today after Mlle’s adventure in Broome last week (see here for post).
We always enjoy a trip out to the Perth Hills on the eastern edge of the Perth metro area but never seem to get out there as often as we’d like. In fact it’s only a 45 minute drive from our house, which is nearer the coast.
A couple of weeks ago we headed out to the Kalamunda Farmers Markets in search of our preferred olive oil supplier who, alas, no longer comes to our local market. Once you turn off the highway the road leads up a steep scarp lined with native trees and shrubs. There is a spectacular view back across the coastal plain towards Perth City Centre from the lookout point just off the main road.
The pretty suburb of Kalamunda nestling on top of the scarp has the feel and character of a country town. As often happens when I start researching information for these posts I come across new details so, despite many years living here in Perth, I didn’t realise how Kalamunda got its name. According to the Kalamunda & Districts Historical Society,
“Kalamunda is situated approximately 25km inland from Perth, Western Australia in the Darling Ranges. The district evolved from the timber and orchard industries and became a popular holiday venue for the people of Perth and Fremantle. The name Kalamunda derives from the Aboriginal ‘Cala’, meaning bush, and ‘Munnda’, meaning hearth”.
I realised looking back that we’d actually made a similar trip to the markets almost a year ago to the day (how the world has changed since then!). I thought I’d already posted about Kalamunda before but obviously hadn’t so the photos are a mixture of old and new!
The market takes place each Sunday from 8 am to 12 noon just off the main street and is well stocked with stalls selling locally grown produce – seasonal fruit and vegetables, organic meats and smallgoods, cheeses, potted plants, herbs and flowers, artisanal breads and sourdoughs, jams and spices, handmade soaps and other gifts and the list goes on.
We picked up a fine selection of biodynamic olive oils from Angus of Guinea Grove Farm in Gingin – the flavours are superb! I especially love the citrus ones and the basil crush and use them all the time in cooking.
After an hour or so spent wandering round the stalls including picking up some pretty antique china from a 2nd hand shop (I can never resist!), we headed up the street in search of refreshments. Hidden away at the top end of town we found a little square off Railway Road home to the Zig Zag Cultural Centre. The complex includes an art gallery and visitor centre plus a charming little cafe called Mason & Bird where we indulged in morning coffee and cake.
I found the Kalamunda and Districts Historical Society website a treasure trove of information. The local museum is just down the road from the Zig Zag Cultural Centre and is set out in the form of a historical village. The village, which has been reconstructed using original buildings, is situated on the site of the former Upper Darling Range Railway station. Once an important transport hub on the Zig Zag line, the station was built in the 1890s to service timber transportation from Canning Mills to Midland Railway Station. The Historical Centre has reduced its opening times owing to Covid restrictions so check the website if planning a visit – we must make sure we go there one day ourselves before too long!
Another place managed by the historical society and which sounds well worth visiting is Stirk Cottage, a lovely old timber weatherboard home, which was built by early hills pioneers Frederick and Elizabeth Stirk back in 1881 and was home to their brood of 9 children!
How times have changed since 1881! Well stocked up with supplies and provisions, we wended our way past the display of pretty red and white roses back to our car.
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