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  • Writer's pictureOut and About

Mt Brown and Henderson Cliffs

On our way to enjoy the Castaways Sculptures at Rockingham Beach we stopped off to hike the Mt Brown Trail. This short 2 kilometre trail can be hiked as part of the longer 6 kilometre trail which also encompasses Mt Brown Lake but it was quite a hot day so we opted for the shorter walk just to Mt Brown Lookout but will return to explore Mt Brown Lake.

First we stopped off at Henderson Cliffs and walked the very short 250m loop trail. There are other paths along the coastline but we felt we had seen enough. From the viewing platform you have clear views north, south and across to Garden Island in the distance. When we arrived at Mt Brown we realised we could also walk from here to the cliffs (1km each way) along a dual use path.

The trail to Mt Brown is about 1 km each way - uphill of course on the way there. As you join the

trail from the car park there is a warning sign that unexploded ordnance is on this site so stay on the path! The trail follows fire breaks and isn't very interesting on the way up. There were very few wildflowers out and being the middle of the day there were no birds to entertain us in the bush alongside the trail. It is good to see this large area preserved as a Bush Forever site as part of the Beeliar Regional Park.

It is only a 15 minute walk and once you get to the lookout there is definitely a WOW factor as you have 360 degree views....admittedly much of the coastal scenery here is industrial but the ocean backdrop makes even that look nice. Mt Brown is heritage listed as it is reputed to be the site of the earliest European settlement in WA.

We could see Lake Mt Brown in the distance glimmering in the sunshine but it is another good hours walk to get there, around the lake and back. Not today. After our wet winter in 2021 all the lakes are brim full which adds to their appeal. Keep in mind that lakes are seasonal and are at their best in winter when they have good clean water in them. The walk back down the hill was much more pleasant with views across Cockburn Sound.

Directly across from the Mt Brown carpark are the Henderson Naval Base Shacks - rows of 178 beach shacks that run for about a kilometre along the coastline. We wandered in and walked up and down enjoying the quirky nature of the shacks...some of which are well maintained and others which are quite dilapidated.

The Naval Base Shacks have been here since 1933 and are part of a vanishing history of Australia. Individual shacks have changed over time and demonstrate the resourcefulness, versatility and creativity of the shack builders and their occupants. They are now heritage listed as a living reminder of a time when people made do, and could have a good time with a lot less. A formal lease has been in place since 2012 allowing the shack owners to use their shack for a maximum of 120 days per year. The shacks are not for short term lease, hire or use by anyone but the shack owners. The shacks have no running water and no electricity and are powered by gas and solar panels. Water is obtained from nearby communal taps and their are two ablution blocks onsite.

I think the shacks were the highlight of this trail allowing us to step back in time to enjoy a simpler life, as it was before the hustle and bustle of the technological era. This is what Out and About - Family Nature Connection stands for: connecting with our natural environment in a simple way without hours of travel or spending a fortune.

In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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