Over the years my family and I have visited an interesting group of ruins that nestles below a large granite dome in the Pingeculling Nature Reserve, 14kms east/south east of Brookton. The easiest way to get there is to take the Brookton-Kweda Road from Brookton, turn right on Ashfield Road and right into a gravel entry on a ridge shortly after. From Narrogin the visit could be combined with a stop at Mourambine church and then approach from the south via Mourambine Road, Davis Road then the winding Ashfield Road.
In the excellently written book ‘Kalkarni the Brookton story’, Athol Thomas describes Johan "Jack" Hansen, Brooktons’ first illegal immigrant; a Danish national who jumped off a whaling ship in Albany and made his way to the goldfields before taking up the ‘Rock Hill ‘farm in 1907. For the next 54 years, until his death at 81 in 1961 he only left the district once for a one-day trip to Narrogin.
To quote the book
…he was seen in the town only on Thursdays, when he took his produce to market in his horse-drawn dray. This was mainly fruit and vegetables from his well-maintained orchard and garden. He returned with stores to eke out his meat supply of kangaroos and rabbits. His skills as a shipwright were of little use at Nine-Acre Rock but his manual dexterity enabled him to create axles and pulleys from bush timber and grass-tree butts, make his own bolts and nails on his rough forge, and build his own baker’s oven and meat smoker. He contrived a hay shed on several levels, enabling him to gravity-feed chaff to his horse troughs by pulling on a rope near his bed. His water system also relied on gravity; water was siphoned from a pool high on the rock to supply kitchen and bathroom.
Jack was a man after my own heart who wasted nothing.
Thomas Athol 1924-
Kalkarni: the Brookton story
1. Brookton (WA:shire) – History.I. Brookton Shire (W.A.:Shire). Council