Twertup Field Studies Centre

Background:

Twertup is located within the north-west sector of the Fitzgerald River National Park about 50 km south east of Jerramungup. Overlooking a wide valley, the site includes an old spongolite quarry, a Field Studies Centre and a number of walk trails.

The Twertup Field Studies Centre originally opened in 1981 and was used by the Friends of the Fitzgerald River National Park and other organisations for environmental/nature based activities. These included natural history excursions, study weekends and environmental education for schools.

In January 2008, the Studies Centre was destroyed by a bush fire that was started by lightning.  Since then, the Friends demolished the original cottage and rebuilt the facility. It is now available for use by the public and groups pursuing nature-based activities.

Access:  

Twertup is accessed from Pabelup Drive along a 10km track, suitable for 4WD vehicles only due to sandy sections.  Camper trailers and caravans are not permitted. Approval may be given for other types of vehicles on a case by case basis.  It is open during dry soil conditions only and may be closed for dieback hygiene or bushfire reasons.

Use of the Twertup Field Studies Centre:

The Twertup Field Studies Centre is open to the general public for both day and overnight use, but preference will be given to those individuals and groups that are pursuing a nature-based experience or study. However, any person/groups wishing to use the Studies Centre for a day event/meeting or an overnight stay are required to book through the Albany Parks and Wildlife Service Office in Albany (see below for booking details)

Day Use:

The outside facilities such as the BBQ, cook-top, toilets and picnic benches are available to all members of the public wishing to use the area for day use (picnics etc.). They are permitted to make use of the walking trails and may look around the building. In such instances where there are overnight people staying at the Studies Centre day users may, upon agreement, look around inside the building. There is no fee for the day use facilities and the prescribed park entry fees apply.

The facilities include the following: 

  • 4 bedrooms (total 16 beds/bunks);

  • kitchen includes sink with reticulated water, wood stove (BYO wood), crockery & cutlery;

  • open plan kitchen/dining and lounge area with wood heater (BYO wood);

  • outside static BBQ and single gas cook-top;

  • picnic benches; 

  • 2 outside toilets (long drops), one of which is universal access toilet;

  • 12V solar lighting;

  • limited supply of rain water in adjacent tanks;

  • wide, covered verandahs on three sides of the building. 

A maximum carrying capacity for overnight visitors is set at 30 people. The maximum stay is 7 nights unless otherwise authorised. Organised meetings and events will be permitted within the building and such groups will be required to book and pay for the facility. Weddings, birthday parties and such events will not be permitted at the Studies Centre.   

Bookings:

The department’s gazette schedule of fees will apply to the Studies Centre and are on a per person basis, although a minimum charge of $80/night applies, irrespective of numbers.  All persons/groups wishing to stay overnight must make a prior booking.

Cost of the Study Centre for a day-time meeting/event is $80/day.

Bookings are managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service’s Albany District front office and can be made on the phone (9842 4500) or by email (Albany@dbca.wa.gov.au) Mondays to Fridays (08:00 – 16:30).

History

Mr Horace Worth was a beekeeper who operated his business between Ongerup and Ravensthorpe for many years and throughout that time become familiar with the Fitzgerald River region. In 1963, at age 60, he and his wife Doreen, embarked on a new enterprise: the quarrying of spongolite blocks in the Fitzgerald River valley. Horace built Twertup cottage in 1965 using blocks from the adjacent quarry and he and Doreen lived there until Horace's death in 1973, coincidentally the same year in which the national park was officially gazetted.

Doreen moved away shortly thereafter and although the quarry continued to operate for some years, the building stood vacant, gradually falling into disrepair. In 1980, at the invitation of the then Southern Regional Manager of the National Parks Authority, John Watson, the recently formed Fitzgerald River National Park Association, took on responsibility for the building. Working bees throughout 1980 and 1981 by the association's members saw the spongolite cottage restored to working condition. The Twertup Field Studies Centre was officially opened in December 1981 by Doreen.

Two hills in close proximity to Twertup have been christened Horrie and Dorrie in remembrance of the original owners.

Spongolite

Spongolite is a sedimentary rock composed of siliceous sponge spicules: silica needles that form the 'skeleton' of sponges. These sponges flourished in the warm seas of the Eocene that lasted from about 55.8 to 33.9 million years ago. During this period, when modern orders of mammals began to appear, much of what is now the Fitzgerald River National Park was inundated with sea water.

The Friends of the Fitzgerald River National Park thank the following organisations and businesses for their support:

  • Australian Government - Caring for our Country - Community Action Grants 2010-11 and 2012-13

  • Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions - Parks and Wildlife Service

  • Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Volunteer Grant 2009

  • Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife grant

  • Great Southern Development Commission

  • Great Southern Royalties for Regions Small Grant

  • Lotterywest grant

  • Minister for Environment, Environmental Community Grants 2011 and 2012

  • Royalties for Regions, Great Southern Community Chest Fund 2015 and 2016 grants

  • State Natural Resource Management Program – Community Action Grants 2012 and 2015

  • Albany Allway Roofing

  • BlueScope Distributors, Albany

  • Bunnings, Albany

  • Coates Hire, Ravensthorpe

  • CPC Engineering, Ravensthorpe

  • Men in Sheds Albany

  • Men in Sheds Hopetoun

  • Metroof Albany

  • SRH Transport, Albany

The Friends of the Fitzgerald River National Park are an independent community group bringing people together to appreciate this remarkable National Park.

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© 2014 by Sam Elliott.