As part of Australia’s Bicentennial celebrations in 1988, plaques were placed at each of Hunts Wells that formed part of the York to Goldfields Heritage Trail.
For unknown reasons but probably because of the similar sounding names or possibly because the 1991 publication The Wells of Explorer Charles Hunt stated that Karolling Rock is in a reserve named Karolin Rock and Tank, the plaque destined for Carolling Rocks was placed at Karolin Rock, 90 kilometres away.
Bush historian and keen follower of Hunt’s exploits, Gary Arcus, noticed the out of place plaque when he visited Karolin Rocks in mid 2020, not long after Covid19 travel restrictions within Western Australia were lifted.
Apart from the fact that Karolin Rock was not on Hunt’s Track, it is clear that the wording on the plaque referred to Carolling Rocks not Karolin Rock.
In June 2021 the incorrectly-located Bicentennial Plaque was removed from its spurious home at Karolin, in preparation for relocation to its new, accurate position.
Both Karolin Rocks and Carolling Rocks are in the Shire of Yilgarn, which made coordination of the relocation of the plaque hassle free. However, the plaque will not be relocated to Caroling Rocks. The rock Hunt referred to as Carolling/Karolling in 1865-66 is actually current day Karalee Rock. However, the name Karalee wasn’t used until 1890 when recorded by surveyor N.M. Brazier.
Present day Carolling Rocks are 3.4 kilometres south-south-west of Karalee. It is likely that Hunt never visited these rocks.
Hunt’s team established a dam across a gulley at Karalee in 1865. In the 1890s a dry rock well – in the same style as Hunt’s Wells – was made close to this dam and this fine structure is still in good condition today. Both of these structures are about 400 metres along the Karalee Information Trail.
The Bicentennial Plaque was relocated in late July 2021 by members of the Cockburn 4WD Club and Mitsubishi 4WD Club.
Text, photographs and layout – Kim Epton
© Kim Epton 2021
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