DOUBLEY YOUNG AT DUMBLEYUNG
I was retrieving my boat at Gracetown a few weeks ago when a lady asked me if I would be interested in heading out to Dumbleyung to do skipper’s ticket courses, now that the lake was full of water. I had a few weeks before taking off for Port Hedland and so went home and did a bit of research on this part of the Wheatbelt. Seems they have had a tough time out there lately what with a devastating frost event last year and widespread damage to crops, roads and fences due to the floods. The only silver lining, however, has been the rain filling up Lake Dumbleyung to levels not seen since the early 1980’s. This rare occurrence has not only lifted community spirits but also brought in a steady stream of tourists. Locals that would otherwise have taken their boats to Bunbury or Albany are now out on their water ski boats, stand up paddle boards, kayaks, canoes and basically anything else that floats. Even the Albany Department of Transport have been patrolling the area in their 8.5metre NAIAD. ( see in the background of attached photo )
Dumbleyung became an Australian household name when Donald Campbell broke the water speed record here on December 31,1964, in one of his Bluebird turbo jet boats. Early in the year he had achieved a land speed record of 648km/h at Lake Eyre, but it seemed his opportunity of holding both the land speed and water speed records in one year were dashed when they awoke to a windy morning. Later in the day, however, it abated and the lake was shimmering as he blasted his way on two runs to claim the record at 444km/h. The town has certainly made the most of this event with plaques, tributes, lookouts, framed newspaper articles in the community resource centre and local pub, but best of all is the full size model of bluebird in the main street ( photo of me at the helm )
At 13 kms long and 6 kms wide, there is a lot of lake that can certainly be very wind affected. During last week’s severe weather conditions where the swell hit 6 metres on the west coast, we just managed to find a small corner of the lake near the Sailing Club to run the practicals. We met some great people as always and look forward to heading back there again some time, especially as the lake is expected to hold this water for 2-3 years. Next stop was Wagin for more courses and while setting up camp there another 18mm of rain fell. After quizzing the locals about their water holes, we did a reconnaissance out to Norring Lake where the water was lapping up on the roads. We just managed to access the old ski club areas on the southern side and are looking forward to a few days of training and assessing the wheatbelt farming folk, with an emphasis on safe water skiing practices, before heading home.
To answer last week’s question, Donald Campbell make his final, fatal, water speed record attempt at Corniston, England in 1967. This week’s question is, “What was special about the year 1964, that made the achievement of two speed records possible for Donald Campbell?”
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