Narrogin to Katanning

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A beautiful sunny but cold morning to get on the road after another rub down for Mat and I from from Brendan Firman at Medial Massage Therapy Centre Narrogin before setting off for Katanning via Wagin today. It was certainly a crispy 7 degree cold ride ahead so the lungs and muscles were feeling it, therefore, the massage prior helped regardless of the correct warm clothing we had on due to the wind chill factor over a long duration. I'm certain It may take a few weeks for me to acclimatise to the old Aussie spring temperatures, so please roll on the warmer weather.
 
Arrived in Wagin to see the big sheep, a famous landmark, and also to be recognised by a few friendly Wagin ladies - Jane Matera (Mother of the Matera boys West Coast AFL Premier football players) Joan Trent and Rosemary Warren who donated to our travelling TLRH donation bucket. Thank you ladies from myself and the long ride home team.
 
Beautiful country side along the route today more Canola fields which I couldn't resist getting photographs. Juvy (John) Matten and Trevor Gunning (Gunney) alias "The Twins" have fitted into the support role quite well which makes me feel very safe whilst hoofing along for my 100 km daily rides knowing they're there in support.
 
Great roads with lots of rolling hills and narrow edges therefore nice as mentioned to have "The Twins" watching the front and rear.
 
Arrived in Katanning and now in the recovery mode for another big day tomorrow. Having been on the road for quite awhile now I tend to forget how polite, friendly and generous country folk tend to be. It was the same throughout SE Asia and already I'm seeing that in this part of the South West of Western Australia. People have been acknowledging the long ride home team whilst driving past by tooting their horns.
 
Also fantastic people like the Oates family of Narrogin and after arriving in Katanning today we were on the hunt for a caravan park to cater for the TLRH team, truck and van at which time the owner of the BP Roadhouse and "Cafe on Cornwall" gave the team a massive discount on a campsite and added to that by donating a huge fish and chips dinner to a very hungry team. Thank you to the Oates family again for multiple assistance at great expense over the last couple of weeks and to Graham Jones of the BP Roadhouse Katanning for your generous donation. All for a great cause and assisting me and the team on our way through to Sydney on the long ride home from Hanoi Vietnam.
 
I passed a lot of the most beautiful historical buildings in the region over the last couple of days in Narrogin, Wagin and here in Katanning, so if you're from Perth and never ventured through this part of the country it's worth the trip to see the beauty of some of these historical buildings and houses, which certainly are a big part of the history of Western Australia from the earlier days when it was a colony.
 
The meaning of Katanning is unknown but it is thought to be a local aboriginal word that is "Kart-annin" that literally means "meeting place of the heads of tribes", "Kartanup" that means "clear pool of sweet water", or "Katanning", which means "spiders on your back". Others suggest that the place is named after a local aboriginal woman.
 
The first Europeans to explore the Katanning area were Governor James Stirling and Surveyor General John Septimus Roe who travelled through the area in 1835 en route from Perth to Albany.
 
In about 1870, sandalwood cutters moved into the area but they did not settle. It was not until the arrival of the Great Southern Railway from Perth to Albany in 1889 that the township came into existence.
 
The town-site was initially developed by the same company that built the railway, the Western Australian Land Company. The state government purchased the railway and the town-site in 1896 and later formally gazetted the town in 1898, when the population of the town was 226, 107 males and 119 females.
 
Katanning remains an important centre on the Great Southern Railway to Albany.
 
A roller flour mill, later known as the Premier Flour Mill, was constructed close to the centre of the town in 1891 by brothers, Frederick Henry Piesse and Charles Austin Piesse; this in turn encouraged the local farmers to grow wheat which was at the heart of the town's early economic success. The mill is now a museum.
 
An earthquake with its epicenter just south of Katanning occurred at 8:00 am 10 October 2007. It measured 4.8 on the Richter scale, and was rated as the strongest earthquake in the region for four decades.
 
Notable residents:
• Kevin O'Halloran, gold medallist in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne was born and raised in nearby Kojonup, and the pool is named after him.
• Mark Williams, Essendon footballer.
• Lydia Williams, Football Goalkeeper for the Westfield Matildas, Australian Women's National Football Team.
• Percival Eric (Percy) Gratwick VC (19 October 1902 – 26 October 1942) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Early life
 
Gratwick was born in Katanning, Western Australia on 19 October 1902, the fifth son of the local postmaster. Leaving school at the age of 16, he took up various jobs which included a period as a messenger at Parliament House. Later he worked as a blacksmith, a drover and a prospector.
 
 
World War II
Upon the outbreak of World War II, Gratwick attempted to join the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). However, issues with his nose, which had been broken years earlier, led to the rejection of his application. In late 1940, after expensive medical treatment on his nose, he attempted to enlist in the Australian Army again, this time successfully.
 
Following completion of his training in July 1941, Gratwick embarked for Libya, where he was assigned to the 2/48th Battalion(a South Australian unit) with the rank of private. The battalion was among the defenders of Tobruk but was transferred to Palestine in October 1941. By June 1942, the battalion was in Egypt.
 
On the night of 25/26 October 1942 during the attack at Miteiriya Ridge, Egypt, the platoon to which Gratwick belonged suffered considerable casualties, including the platoon commander and sergeant. Gratwick, realising the seriousness of the situation, charged a German machine-gun position by himself, and killed the crew with hand grenades. He also killed a mortar crew. Under heavy machine-gun fire Gratwick then charged a second post, using his rifle and bayonet. In inflicting further casualties he was killed by machine-gun fire, but his brave and determined action, for which he would be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, enabled his company to capture the final objective.
 
Gratwick is buried in El Alamein Commonwealth cemetery, and his Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Museum of Western Australia in Fremantle, Western Australia. In Port Hedland, Western Australia, Gratwick Street, the Gratwick Aquatic Centre and the town theatre and community hall are all named in his honour.
 
The SAS soldiers club at Campbell Barracks Swanbourne is know as "The Gratwick Club" where a framed photograph of Percy Gratwick VC is proudly displayed on the wall at the club house
 
Sadly, Mat Jones has left the long ride home today so it's solo riding for me until I meet my son William in Whyalla SA who will ride with me to Adelaide at which time the young and bold Troy Lockyer comes back to join me for a bit.
 
Until then it's on the road solo riding for me but a great support crew at hand with Juvy and Gunney across Australia.
 
Bye for now and warmest regards to you all.
 
Please keep the donations coming in for the TLRH cause at www.thelongridehome.com.au
 
Truck, Juvy and Gunney, on the long ride home in Katanning