Peppermint Portal, but not an artefact

Day 49, Saturday 12 December 2020, Wonnil, Agonis flexuosa, a plant a day Lowlands Reserve

Lowlands Coastal Reserve, 6 December 2020, Agonis flexuosa and a small lump of dolerite

Wonnil, or Peppies, Agonis flexuosa, have been flowering prolifically for months at Lowlands. Very pretty graceful sprays of flowers looking very attractive. I was looking closer at the flowers, when I noticed a small piece of dolerite underneath this tree beside the 4WD track.

Agonis flexuosa, Lowlands Reserve, 6 December 2020

There is a seam of dolerite, a favoured Aboriginal toolmaking material, that runs all the way from Quaranup, 50 km east of here, to Wilson inlet, 20 km west of here. It pops up at Nudie Beach in Quaranup, Cosy Corner East, Lowlands beach where it has a spectacular intrusion and at the west end of Healing Beach. But where I found the dolerite lump was not particularly near the beach.

Seam of dolerite popping up at West end of Healing beach, view east from Healing beach 18 December 2020

All excited, I rush back to ask Pauly what he thinks — It turns out its probably been broken by a tractor or other vehicle, and not worked up as a stone tool in traditional times by the local Menang people. Ah well. The piece of dolerite got itself moved somehow though. Rocks do move unaided, but infintesimally slowly.

So even though the peppies are looking otherworldly, and like a portal to another world, my lump of dolerite is not overly significant

Wonil (Peppies) Lowlands Reserve 13 November 2020

Wonnil (language name for peppies) is an important tree for the Menang people. The wood is good for making digging sticks and tools, and the aromatic leaves are used in smoking ceremonies. On a rainy day the peppermint aroma is uplifting. One of the reasons there is such a nice atmosphere in the Menang tours shop, Kurrah Mia, in Albany, is that the owners had a smoking ceremony to clear and awaken the place for their new business.

Peppermint Portal to another world , through the grove of Wonnil

I tend to take Wonnil for granted, as it grows so prolifically all over our block. It is a home for possums, but I havent seen possums on our block for years. The Torbay Catchment Group has an active possum spotting program though, so we know the possums are surviving nearby.

Writing this daily blog featuring a plant a day and walking daily is my fundraising effort for Bush Heritage #groundworkchallenge . To join my team or donate go to

Lowlands Coastal Reserve is on Menang Boodja — country. I celebrate the strength, resilience and capacity of the Menang Noongar people who are the traditional owners of the land.

Lowlands Coastal Reserve is managed by the local community and the City of Albany. Bush Heritage Australia manage many other wonderful reserves.

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Sheila Murray

Biodiversity bliss finding, Story minding, cloud watching, awe and wonder for Aboriginal culture, patrolling Lowlands Reserve on foot.