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Lush forest, a babbling brook that turns into a series of rapids, dog friendly and close to Perth, Whistlepipe Gully ticks a lot of boxes for an enjoyable day out.

Once a private property that has since been bought by the local council.
Whistlepipe Gully is a seasonal water course that runs down the face of the Darling Scarp. 
From a height of 200m, it drops down towards the Swan Coastal Plain, carving its way through the granite slope and eventually drains into the Canning River. Surrounded by Jarrah and Marri Forest (along with a few introduced species further upstream), this is a tranquil place to be that has become quite popular with both locals and visitors as the appetite for nature-based activities increases.

Located in Mundy Regional Park on the outskirts of Lesmurdie, from Roe Hwy take the Welshpool Road East exit heading towards the hills and then left onto Lewis Road. Keeping following this road all the way to the end where you’ll find a gravel car park with space for about a dozen cars. 
The trail starts at the white gates leading east up the hill.

see main page (link top of page) for section Location 

best experience FOR Whistlepipe Gully is follow the 3.5km walking trail 
up one side of the creek and then loops back down the other side. 
For the first half it is a constant uphill as you climb up the single track but the benefit of this is that you get to finish with a downhill run. 
A series of rapids and pools can be found along the gully and after a few days of rain in winter and spring, this place comes alive with the sounds of rushing water.

this used to be private property and was the site of the Wallace Greenham House, a concept by a local architect that wanted to build a Japanese style house complete with a water wheel. All that remains today are the foundations but it would have been cool to see back in the 1960s. 

The House

Image may contain: plant, tree, bridge, outdoor and nature

Along the way you will find some concrete foundations of a building that once stood in this magical little valley.



This is an attempt to combine old and new photos to give some idea of how the house looked in the landscape.

clue hidden in a book called 'Western Towns and Buildings' by Margaret Pitt Morrison and John White. 
On page 145 there was a black and white picture of a part of the house that once stood on the old foundations where I had wandered many times.

The caption mentioned an architect named 'Walter' Greenham and part of a paragraph on the preceding page mentioned that 'Walter' had designed and built the home and lived there during the 1960s.   'Walter' was actually 'Wallace'.

Part of the mystery was solved about this ephemeral house that had been on the site from about 1963 to 1981 (1). 

There were no pictures of it on the internet and only vague mentions that it was built in a Japanese style and had connecting walkways across the stream.

The house had apparently incorporated the granite boulders in its structure and the whole concept had been to make the building one with its surroundings in a style known as 'organic architecture'.

Power to the house has been supplied by a Penton wheel that Wallace has designed himself. 

The Penton wheel had originally been invented in the 1870s by Lester Allan Pelton. It is a type of impulse water turbine.

Descriptions of the house included trees growing up through the floor, sloped roofing with raw timber beams, suspended walkways with the central feature being the rushing water of the stream. It sounded like a place of real beauty and magic but there was just one old black and white picture that only gave a tantalising glimpse of what it was really like.

Fast forward to November 2004. 
We had left the area to travel Australia and were touring the south west when we had clutch problems and got stuck at Norman's Inlet for a few days. We bumped into a friend (Gerry) who was also staying there, renting a small shack that sits near the inlet.

As we walked along Norman's Beach we could see a very unusual structure perched up on top of the hill facing the coast. It looked like some sort of huge greenhouse. When we mentioned this to Gerry he said he knew the owner as the owner of the shack he was renting owned the property and lived in the house above the beach. Gerry offered to speak to the owner and find out if we could see the 'dome house'.

The Dome House

We were subsequently introduced to 'Wally' who we found out, was an architect and had designed and constructed this amazing structure that incorporated a large glass dome and had seven concrete tubes radiating from the central area.

Wally kindly showed us his lovely home and I will never forget the view from the kitchen out over Norman's Inlet to Mount Manypeaks in the distance. It was one of the most stunning sights that could ever be seen from someone's private home. It was a living picture window of astonishing beauty. I could only imagine what it would be like to live there and look out over the many moods of the ocean on a daily basis.

The magnificent view - Photo courtesy of Andrew Boyne

Fast forward again to 2016 and I found an article about the Whistlepipe house on an internet site. It mentioned the architect as Wallace Greenham and it also mentioned the dome house near Albany. I realised then that I had actually met the designer and owner of the building I had wondered about for so long and I didn't even know it!

Now armed with the information I needed, I could finally set about searching for some concrete information on the Whistlepipe house and if I was lucky, maybe find a picture or two.

It didn't take long before I found a link to Wally's daughter and once I explained my interest in the Whistlepipe site, she very kindly emailed me a number of photos of the house. It was simply wonderful to finally be able to see, in detail, the building I had so often contemplated the design of. I could never have imagined just how lovely it was.

Now at last, I am able to share this with everyone who has walked along the Whistlepipe trail and wondered what had once stood on those old foundations.

(1) - Some sources say the house was demolished in 1975.

Our sincere thanks to Perri Pires (Wally's daughter) for the black and white photos in the slide show below and to Rhys Brown for the coloured photos.

Photo search


The Arch

extract from fbk grp post

People who walk through whistle pipe gully from orange valley rd will pass a very large metal arch lying unloved in the bush on the side of the track. It is in remarkably good condition for the sixty odd years it has laid there.since the visit of Queen Elizabeth in 1954..It is about 60 feet long and is just half of a gigantic arch which spanned St Georges Tce near Govt House. There were a number of other arches all the way up to the Barracks Arch..They had crowns on top.

I saw the whole arch with it's other components in 1955 as a scout at a camp in Whistle pipe Gully. 
Our scoutmaster said they were from the Royal visit and were to be erected as an imposing entrance for this new youth recreation camping area. This never happened and sixty years later just half the arch remains rusted and alone, a mystery to hundreds of passers by. A piece of history which deserves recognition.

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