Yornaning is an aboriginal word meaning ‘many waters’, and the dam has been an important resource in the district. It was built in 1896 to provide water for steam locomotives on the Albany/Perth railway. Yornaning town boasted a school, a post office/ general store, and a railway station with refreshment rooms. You can see the site of the Yornaning school on the right as you drive from the highway turnoff to the dam.
When the water became brackish, local farmer Robert Henderson used dynamite from his mining days to blast a diversion bank that diverted salty Cuballing creek water from the dam. Up until 1958 the dam was one of the most reliable and freshest regional water sources, and up to 3 trainloads of water went to Narrogin daily for domestic use in dry seasons.
When diesels replaced steam locomotives and Wellington dam water was piped to Narrogin in 1954, the dam fell into disuse and gradually became polluted and saline.
In a Cuballing Land Conservation District initiative, The Cuballing shire and local farmers with technical assistance from Murdoch University completely renovated the dam and installed facilities.
Having a toilet, children’s’ play equipment and picnic tables in a scenic setting, it is a wonderful picnic spot for all the family. It is also a prime bird watching spot for both land birds and visiting water birds, and wildflowers that can be viewed via a short drive and walking trail when the marker posts are installed.The 6km tourist drive and 1.5 km walking trail both start and finish at the information bay.
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0.0 km drive west from information bay, turn left and cross over a collecting drain for the dam and the track then veers left. You are in open wandoo woodland. Look for birds such as rufous tree creeper and orchids, particularly sun orchids in late spring.
0.7 km turn right at the fence and drive through wandoo/jam wattle woodland, then sheoaks at the base of the slope (check for orchids) at the base of the slope before driving uphill through wandoo/grass tree gravelly soil.
1.3 km Prickly dryandra (Banksia armata) and sphere banksia (Banksia sphaerocarpa) scrub. Check for sphere banksia flowers in February to April.
1.7km Powderbark (Eucalyptus accedens) woodland at the top of the slope on water repellent gravel and drooping bitter quandong bushes. Note the powderbark on the fenceline that was ringbarked many decades ago and has produced five new stems from the base.
2.9km Turn right at T-junction
3.2km Turn right on to Yornaning West Road.
5.5km Turn right into the entrance to Yornaning dam
Walk west from information bay, turn left and cross over a collecting drain for the dam and the track then veers left.
1. You are in open wandoo woodland. Look for birds such as rufous tree creeper and orchids, particularly sun orchids in late spring.
Turn left at the fence and cross the waterway.
2. This is the creek that feeds water into the dam.
3. Salmon gum (Eucalyptus salmonophloia) woodland. These magnificent trees indicated desirable land for early farmers who cleared the trees by axe. Salmon gums can be confused with large wandoos, but differ in having shiny leaves (wandoos are dull), and layered foliage (wandoos bunchy).
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