Botanical Journeys, Toodyay to New Norcia
Trace the footsteps of James Drummond and Charles Gardner from Toodyay to New Norcia
About the Trail
Follow in the foot steps of James Drummond and Charles Gardner.
This path travels the back roads of Toodyay and Victoria Plains, past farmland and natural bush. Most of Old Plains Road is unsealed so caution is advised.
James Drummond traveled as far north as the Murchison River, inland to Kellerberrin and as far south-east as West Mt Barren (near Bremer Bay). He collected nearly 50,000 specimens and today there are 119 WA plant species named after him.
James Drummond moved to the Toodyay district in 1838 and established a residence at Hawthornden. In 1842 Drummond blazed a trail in a northerly direction from his home. The winding trail became known as Drummond’s Track and was used by shepherds. In 1846 a Benedictine party trudged along it to found the mission at New Norcia.
Charles Gardner was a passionate collector of plant species and over a period of 50 years traveled throughout WA. Gardner set himself the task of re-collecting all of Drummond’s specimens. One plant Gardner was very keen to rediscover was the Grevillea candolleana from the Toodyay district
In 1947 Gardner set out from New Norcia with forester Dick Perry along Drummond’s old route between New Norcia and Toodyay. Just after turning on to the old track, a patch of the grevillea was spotted in full bloom. This patch was probably the precise location where Drummond had made his collection a century before. The pair picked a sprig and placed it on Drummond’s grave as they journeyed south past Hawthornden.
Quiet bushland of grass tree, sheoak, wandoo and wildflowers.
The reserve has over 400 species of native plants within its boundaries, including two rare and seven priority species.
Rica Erickson Reserve
Rica was an active member of the Bolgart Country Women’s Association. In 1964 the CWA successfully petitioned the Victoria Plains Shire for the protection of 124 hectares along what had been Drummond’s old track. In 1996 this reserve was named the Rica Erickson Nature Reserve. The reserve is an open woodland growing over low heath. Spider Orchids are particularly good in Spring.