As you head south east from Perth along the Brookton Highway, you are climbing up onto the oldest plateau on earth: a huge slab of granite, part of ancient Gondawana land, sitting in the sun, wind and rain for more than a thousand million years. It has eroded down into the soils of the valleys and the chains of lakes, and the old blind volcanos like Hyden Rock have been exposed.
You’ll travel into the wheatbelt and see the country change along the journey: from the fossil temperate rainforest strip of grey jarrah along the plateau edge, to the ghostly York gums inland, going inland to shiny salmon gums and stumpy mallee near Corrigin, then the rolling, low sand plain heath near Hyden and beyond.
Hyden is situated 340km east of Perth, Western Australia, via the Brookton Highway. The best way there is through Brookton, Corrigin, then Kondinin. The route is signposted. Look at maps.
A genuine outback community, Hyden is the end of the line for a railway from the city that now runs only seasonally, transporting wheat. There are two supermarkets, specialty shops, a bakery, a chemist, a pub, restaurant and motel, a roadhouse, a swimming pool, a primary school, a Telecentre, a Bush Nursing Service, churches, a golf course and other sporting grounds and clubs.
The Njakinjaki Nyungar people lived in the region around Hyden. Many stones used by these people have been found on their campsites throughout the area. Painted hand marks can still be seen on rocks at The Humps and Mulka’s Cave. The area was first explored by Wajellas (white people) in 1848, and sandalwood was harvested there from the 1870s until the early part of the 20th century. The Rabbit Proof Fence was installed through the area in 1901 and Hyden was first settled for wheat farming in 1922. Many of the original settler’s families still live in the district. A railway line to Hyden was opened in 1933, and an airfield, the Hyden Memorial Hall, churches and other community facilities followed in subsequent years. There are many volunteer community organisations and sporting clubs contributing to the social life of the people of Hyden, which now has a population of around 800 in the local area.
The temperature in Hyden in September and October is an average maximum of 22 degrees and an average minimum of 7 degrees. The last few years have been a treat with mid-20′s high’s and 10-12 degree lows. It could be hotter, colder or rainier so be prepared.