About 100km north of last nights camp we came to the town of Wiluna. This is yet another Western Australian town that was once a major gold mining town and in the 1930s had a population of around 9000. Today the population is around 700 and is probably most well know as the southern entrance to the Canning Stock Route and the Western end of the Gunbarrel Highway. It is interesting to us that one of the motivations for the Gunbarrel was to place instruments as part of rocket development at Woomera. While at Woomera earlier in this trip we heard from an Airforce Officer just how valuable the Woomera Rocket Range is because of the length of flight path over un-inhabited territiry it offers.
Along the Great Northern Highway this morning (and also yesterday) the character of the roads traffic has changed completely. It is now dominated by mine traffic and lots of road trains. Also since leaving Menzies yesterday morning we have passed at least a dozen mine entrance roads. This part of Western Australia is defintely "mine central". Just to illustrate the extent of mining in this area take a look at the first photo. This is a hill formed by the spoil from a local mine. Such hills were common along our morning drive.
One of the unexpected treats of our visit to Wiluna was the Gunbarrel and Canning Stock Route Discovery Center which is housed in the fully renovated old hospital building along with the Tjukurba Gallery of works by local aboriginal artists. We found the Discovery Center and the Art Gallery very interesting.
From Wiluna our route took us west to Meekatharra along some more gravel road, though this time in very good condition.
In Meekatherra we camped in the towns only caravan Park. Unfortunately, as warned by the park manager, our site was across the road from the towns truck refueling station and througout the night literally dozens of road trains dropped in to refuel.