Catchment Road, Mt Observation is a gravel, single lane road, running North-South along and between wooded ridges, on an alignment that defines the separation of the drinking water catchment of the Helena and Darkin Rivers (to Mundaring Weir) and the easterly water flows to the Avon River.

Catchment Road also helps demarcate the Eastern extent of the Wandoo National Park from private property/farmland.

Our Task: Remove all 40 obstructions from Catchment & Drubble Roads.

Outcome: Mission Accomplished.

Our assignment on Thursday 9th November 2023 was to complete the clearing of timber debris, fallen trees and branches along a 10km stretch of the northernmost (and most used) section of Catchment Road between the Great Southern Highway and Helena Road. And then to open up Drubble Road, a lovely 3.5km track providing an alternative route for part of the way back North to the Mount Observation Lookout. (It is not sign-posted – just veers off left about 60m back from Helena Road, and reconnects to Catchment Road, where it ends).

Our group of 7 gathered at the Lookout at 8:00am, and launched into a day of repeatedly jumping in and out of our vehicles to deal with over 40 sites that were interfering with the smooth traversing of the chosen roads.

We were organised into 3 cutters; a photographer, and 3 rakers bringing up the rear.

We all picked up, dragged aside and rolled the cut logs. We dealt with everything from scraps on the road, overhanging branches, trimming bushes and some much bigger obstacles.

Our rakers did their usual mighty job of cleaning up after the cutters had moved on. Their objective was to make the way so clear that a casual observer wouldn’t have been aware that there had ever been an obstacle in the road way. Very skilled operators!

One of our team was a Certificated petrol chainsaw operator (hereby dubbed as a “Chappy”!) His contribution was very effective on clearing the bigger logs expeditiously! He also validated our approach of pollarding the fallen trees/branches using our cordless chainsaws before he started his chainsaw. The unobstructed access and cleared safe footing area that we provided was also essential!

We enjoyed the serenity of the Wandoo woodland while we paused for our morning tea and lunch breaks.

By 2:00pm we had completed our task for the day, and we revelled in the easy, flowing drive back over the roads we had just cleared. Truly wonderful!!

It was opined that it would be a lovely family day out for Anybody: Start at the Mount Observation Lookout; drive South to Helena Road (easy 40kph driving, or slower, with 2 small ironstone ridges to pick your way over) and returning to the Mount Observation Lookout for a BBQ (fire pits), picnic (tables) and/or a Comfort Stop (WC), via the newly re-opened Drubble Road. (It is shown as a dead-end on Google Maps – we can vouch for it being a continuous loop to Catchment Road from either end!)

If you were a follower of the World Rally Championships when they were held in Perth at the turn of this century (pre-National Park status), you’d probably know that this part of Catchment Road was used several times as a Special Stage in those events!

We dawdled along and did a little bit of sight-seeing on our way back to the Great Southern Highway. As we departed from there to our own abodes, there were a lot of weary grins on our faces. We had punched out double the 20 or so clearances of our past Episodes. And it felt Good.

Photos: Rob Christie
Author: dcowley 21/11/2023

Similar Posts