Malyalling reserve is an attractive 52-hectare bush reserve that was a hub of activity for surrounding residents in the early 20th century. Read about this at the information bay on the corner of Kirk Rock and Wickepin-Yealering roads.
A short track on the south side of Kirk Rock Road leads to a plaque commemorating the first one-teacher Malyalling School from 1910 to 1925. These schools were dotted all over the agricultural areas where an intrepid teacher taught all primary grades of children in fairly primitive conditions. Student numbers were often low to the extent that underage children were enrolled to meet the minimum number required.
The image below is particularly significant for my wife Aileen, as the teacher is Sir Fred Chaney who went on to become the minister for the navy in the Fraser federal government at the time of the Voyager disaster. The Chaney’s were also Aileen’s childhood neighbours in Kensington, and she has fond memories of playing with Freddy (AO), Michael (AO), and Rick Chaney.
A quaint school garden of introduced Sparaxis bulbs with rock borders remains.
When these schools closed due to lack of pupils they were carted off to another spot. I met a disgruntled grey nomad at Malyalling who was sick of going out to historic WA sites, only to find a plaque on a rock (can’t blame her).
The adjoining low granite rock has a nice covering of lichens and native plants, and gives a view of farm land to the south. Granite sun orchids and tiny little laughing leek orchids flower there in spring. Surrounding York gum-jam woodland is infested with wild oats (probably brought in by horses ridden by school kids and families attending events), but you can find fringed mantis orchids and donkey orchids around the base of the rock. Please take care to avoid lichens on the rock, particularly when they are dry and brittle
A hub for local sport from 1920 to 1960,it is covered in regrowth. After much hunting around I found the football shed and tennis net support posts, the oval, and cricket pitch,
The largely intact morning tea shed was unfortunately littered from an evening drinking session by a fire.
There are some lovely areas of bush in the reserve. A highlight is the York gum woodland patch containing spring flowering blood spider orchids and stark white orchids, and orchid rich bushland on the other side of the road where I found an ant orchid. Splendid open salmon gum- wandoo forest on the south east area is a good bird watching and bushwalking area. I found a really unusual morel fungus there.
A flora survey of Malyalling and Rich Road reserves can be downloaded below
The average tourist, arriving here without information will be disappointed, but with on-site interpretive panels and a brochure, it would be a nice spot for them