Built in 1897 this aqueduct and associated stone wall and reservoir are in incredibly good condition, making a very interesting historical site to visit, and one that is suitable for astrophotography. I enjoy being there under the stars imagining what it was like for the people who constructed and lived at the facility in 1897 knowing that the night sky they would have seen then would have looked almost identical to the sky I am looking up at. I’ve been visiting granite outcrops and associated reserves in the Wheatbelt of WA since about 2001, and this is now one of my favorites. Karalee Rocks has a large granite wall which channels the water to this aqueduct and then on to the associated dam.
The Karalee Aqueduct was built to service the Perth to Kalgoorlie (goldfields) railway in the late 1800’s and was in service until desel trains took over after 1950. The project was quite an undertaking for the time and this is obvious in the grand construction of the aqueduct (only the shorter section is shown in this photograph, it goes to well over twice my height eventually) and stone wall around the Karalee Rocks (some slabs of granite being about my height).
In the above photograph the Milky Way shines brightly over the iron aqueduct as I returned from over 5 hours hiking around the Karalee Rocks with my camera gear.
You might think “5 hours hiking, that’s nothing!” but 5 hours dissapears very quickly at night when busy photographing and with no sun to make the changing time so noticable. 5:30pm – 11:30pm flys by and is a long time to be constantly on your feet hiking and taking photo’s. I can tell you after all that time standing up, walking over jagged rock, carrying a bunch of gear and wearing warm enough clothes for the sub-5-degrees temperature, I was very keen to get back to the car and rest! But – I couldn’t help but try and get a decent photo of what I went to Karalee for and ended up spending another 40 minutes on my feet before deciding to call it a night.
Read more about the history of Karalee at this excellent web page. It explains about the goldfields railway for which the Karalee aquifer was built to supply.
Find out more about how to take Nightscape photographs like this at my astrophotography workshops.