Report:Intrastate covid borders

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During the COVID-19 pandemic the Western Australian Government introduced regional travel restrictions from the 1st April, the purpose was to limit any spread of the virus into regional areas where medical facilities are extremely limited with the very limited ICU facilities many hundreds of kilometres apart.[1] The initial regions were[2];

  • Perth - Peel
  • Southwest
  • Great Southern
  • Wheatbelt
  • Mid-West
  • Gascoyne
  • Pilbara
  • Kimberley
  • Goldfields-Esperance

Remote Indigenous communities were further isolated due high risk factors and lack of medical support in these communities. Following an Outbreak in Broome the Kimberley was further divided. The people of Esperance also requested that they be a separate region to that of Goldfields, especially with the Easter weekend approaching as this normally cause an influx of people from the Kalgoorlie area to the town.

The purpose is this proposal was to document as many of the Perth-Peel boundaries as possible, it wasnt proposed until such time that restrictions on gathering had been lifted from 2 people to 10 people and people were permitted to visit family within their region. Given the size of the Perth - Peel region it was suggested to divide the proposal into three Journeys, one north, one east, and one south the Western boundary of the region is the Indian Ocean.

Journey 1

Fuel pump, with COVID-19 signage
Bayswater entry, exit point of the Forrestfield rail tunnel

Northern route: The police manned boundaries near Yanchep on Indian Ocean drive, near Muchea covering great Norther Hwy and Brand Hwy. The third site of Toodyay road to the northwest will included in this if possible.

The last of the routes to be covered was done on the 14 May 2020. Departing along Roe hwy to Tokin Hwy I stopped in to pickup JarrahTree(JT) before continuing north on Tonkin Hwy. We circled around the site where the new Forrestfield-airport link rail tunnel surfaces where cranes continue to dismantle the first of two boring machines. Since the restrictions began the Northern bypass has been opened to our unexpected pleasure the journey was significantly easier, JT was able to snap shots of the various intersections, bridges, and other features as we traveled this new stretch of highway avoiding all of the Swan Valley, townsites of Bullsbrook, and Muchea in the process. We eventually reach the check point at Dunnings Chittering Roadhouse. Speaking with the folks on the checkpoint they asked not to be photographed, the checkpoint was manned by WA Police and the Australian Army Perth Reserve Brigade.

Heading back south we exit the Northern Bypass onto Great Northern Hwy into the original Brand Hwy turn off, all the while JT continued to take photographs. We headed up through where the old and the new Brand Hwy joined each other before north again after travelling for a reasonible distance we hadnt encountered the expected checkpoint so decided to turn back. Following the railroad south we joined Neaves road at the rear of RAAF Pearce. We Neaves road west until reach what was pinjar road and now called Old Yanchep Road. At that point we stopped to photograph the expanding suburb of Banksia Grove before heading north to Yanchep National Park where we joined the Indian Ocean drive. That stretch of bush was burnt during by a significant bushfire in December 2019 one of many that season across Australia, we reach Breakwater drive, this was where we expected to reach the third checkpoint of the day. With no valid reason to continue north we headed for Two Rocks Perth northern most residential suburb. While passing through Two Rock we came across a new development and was able to photograph a cross section of the sand dune as they were leveling the area. From there we headed south and then rejoined Indian Ocean Drice where it become Wanneroo Road, near the intersection stopped to photograph the old petrol station that was also destroyed during the same fire.

Heading back to home we noted that new works are way to connect Joondalup with Tonkin Hwy somewhere near Ellenbrook, and that there are also additional road works at Ocean Reef road and Wanneroo road where the intersection is now in its fourth iteration. Originally being a stop sign controlled intersection, then traffic lights, then a large roundabout, they are now building a bridge over wanneroo road for east west traffic. At this point headed east along Gnangara road before rejoining Tokin effectively closing the loop.

On 16 May I did an additional trip because of the Campaign Checkin to the checkpoint on Brookton hwy, with borders lifting on the 18 May it appears that this checkpoint has already been removed. While in the area I noted that a many of the roadside fruit growers had reopened their roadside stalls with appropriate precautions. I stopped at S&G Fiolo Fruit Growers on Brookton Hwy, in Karragullen to record how they have adjusted to this new post COVID-19 pandemic environment.

Great Northern Hwy checkpoint in Chittering

S&C Fiolo, Orchid Direct Produce, Karragullen

A family owned & operated orchid direct store in Karragullen with signage related to the COVID-19 pandemic trading requirements.

Let's go on a Bear Hunt

Two Rocks' development

A northern coastal suburb of Perth where to develop the sand hills need to be leveled.

4 months after December 2019 Yanchep fires

Journey statistics

Journey 2

Eastern route: Perth Hills Great Eastern Highway near El Cabello, Great Southern Hwy at The Lakes are the two key points. Toodyay road, and Brookton Hwy will possibly be included in this journey

Great Eastern Hwy, Mundaring during the restrictions

Monday 11th May I chose to do this journey, it started by heading out to refuel after the Journey 3 as I hadnt used the car during the intervening time. I Followed Roe highway to Midland where I exited on the Great Eastern Hwy and headed up Greenmount Hill. As I entered Mundaring I noticed the that the main street was rather quite even though restrictions had started to lift so stopped to photograph the main street, which is Great Eastern Hwy. From there I head towards where the first checkpoint was expected to be, again checkpoints arent where they were initially described on available maps. The Great Eastern Hwy Checkpoint was before The Lakes, that meant that the Great Southern Hwy checkpoint was combined into that one location. Unfortunately not expecting the checkpoint so soon I was forced to proceed through it, after discussion with a senior officer about the purpose of the journey I was given instructions to park take the photographs from a distance and leave as quickly as possible. Accepting this fair offer rather than risking a $1,000 fine I took the photos from Eastern side and left.

With my planned route across to Toodyay road not accessible, the the fact that both checkpoints are being operated by the same Mundaring policing district, I opted not to use an alternative route and risk being on the wrong side of that checkpoint as I had done on the previous journey. I decided to return to Mundaring them take the Mundaring Weir road across to focusing instead on other aspect of the COVID-19 restriction being the closure of National Parks, picnicking facilities, and shops. Stopping at Mundaring Weir then headed across the hills and down towards Maddington. I detoured to take more photographs of Banksia telmatiaea as it just starting to flower and I hadnt been back there since a fire went through in 2007 just before it went to FAC. During the FAC the question Why is it called Swamp *Fox* Banksia? - there's no explanation in the article nor through the B. sphaerocarpa (Fox Banksia) link that I can find., from todays photographs I can offer a visual speculation based on the way the inflorescence develops. Along with exploring Banksia sphaerocarpa or Fox Banksia to confirm if the same flowering pattern also appears it would create a nice piece for submission to the WikiJournal of Science.

Back to COVID-19 issues I headed in to Maddington where there was a group of charity operated, secondhand stores. One being the Salvo's and the other Vinnies both of which had closed down due to their reliance on volunteers primarily seniors. This just leaves Journey 1 to completed before the regional restrictions are adjusted on the 18th May.

Great Eastern Hwy, The Lakes

Maddington stores closed

Banksia telmatiaea

Traffic counter, on exit from checkpoint

Mundaring Weir

Journey statistics

  • Drive time: 3.5 hours
  • Drive distance: 141 km
  • Processing time: 1 hour
  • Uploading time: 4 hours Commons lagging on 11 May
  • reporting: 4 hours WMAU site lagging when saving changes each save takes approximately 6 minutes
  • Article on EN.Wikipedia:WP Banksia new updates to featured article, potential resolution of 13 year old question. Improve photo on Traffic count

Journey 3

Southern route: Forrest Hwy and Old Mandurah road intersection in Lake Clifton, Southwest Hwy near Wagerup and Albany Hwy near Jarrahdale.

This was chosen to be the priority journey because the media frequently used the Forrest Hwy area as a back backdrop in their reporting. I knew that this location would be the recognisable point historically if the region restrictions are lifted before completing the proposal. May 5 & 6 all of the South-West including the Perth-Peel region was subject to a severe weather warning[3] that meant the conditions werent going to be conducive for photography. With the weather expected to reduce wednesday morning I chose to do this journey in the afternoon. Initially joining Kwinana freeway/Forrest Highway at Thomas road I headed south before exiting at Mandjoogoordap to join the Old Coast road. The choice of this approach was because the Old Coast Road terminates at Forrest Highway, there is picnic area created by the building of Forrest Hwy which would enable me to access the COVID border safely on foot.

Travelling along the Old Coast Road I saw a sign to a Tim's Thicket beach which is a 4WD accessible beach that runs south to Preston Beach, I had heard that access to beach by vehicles had closed to prevent people bypassing the regional border on Forrest Hwy. At Tim's Thicket I was able to drive onto the beach but due to the weather the sands were significantly softer and saturated, combined with requiring driving in the wave wash area to round a rocky headland as I was alone it was a risk I wasnt prepared to take. Leaving the beach and returning to the Old Coast road I continued south photographing the approach to the checkpoint. Parking in the Picnic area I proceeded on foot to photograph the the checkpoint from Old Coast Road, and from its southern approach on Forrest Hwy. At this locations I was also able to photograph some grey fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa).

The road across to Waroona where I could join the Southwest hwy before the Wagerup checkpoint wasnt accessible due to the Forrest Hwy check point, that meant heading north to Greenlands road near Pinjara to join the Southwest Hwy adding at least an hour to the overall journey. When I reach the Southwest Highway it was clear that the weather along the Darling scarp had deteriorated significantly I chose to to photograph that intersection with the warnings about the checkpoints and head for Jarrahdale. Jarrahdale is a former logging town in the scarp through it runs serpentine road that link Southwest Hwy to Albany Hwy it steep climb from the old Serpentine town site to Jarrahdale make the route generally unsuitable for trucks, but on this journey I saw what would normally be a significant of truck traffic.

According the MRD information on checkpoints I expected to find a check point where Serpentine Road met Albany Hwy this was not the case which possibly explains why extra truck traffic using the road. Turning back towards Perth the boundary is mapped as crossing to Brookton Hwy along Ashendon Road with heavy rain and deteriorating light I continue towards Perth photographing point on Albany hwy. As I neared Perth in Bedfordale at the roadtrain assembly access point was the check point that meant I had crossed over one boundary without knowing it. Like everyone I stopped and was questioned as to why I was entering the Perth-Peel region, I was then further questioned to explain how and why I had managed to exit the Perth - Peel region. I was told to keep going with little light, heavy rain and having already drawn unwanted attention upon myself, combined with the lack of safe place to park I chose not to photograph this checkpoint and risk further inflaming the situation.

Each check point I observed was manned by WA Police, Australian Army personnel, there was also an SES support crew, and traffic management team to maintain approach signage and traffic flow barriers.

Forrest Hwy Checkpoint, Lake Clifton

Albany Hwy Checkpoint, Bedfordale

South Western Hwy, Pinjarra

Tim's Thicket 4WD Beach

Grey fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa)

Journey statistics

  • Drive time: 5 hours
  • Drive distance: 282 km
  • Processing time: 1 hour
  • Uploading time(include writing report, and identifying Grey fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa)): 2.5 hours
  • Article on EN.Wikipedia [4] & Wikidata item[5] item on Tim's Thicket created


Overall summary

This has been an interesting challenge for which I thank the WMAU committee for supporting. Each of the checkpoints co-operation was different and dependent in persons on the spot. A common factor was the individuals didnt want to be a significant part of any recording. On all but one occasion the checkpoints didnt turn out to be where they were indicated by available information, on the occasion I found myself to have crossed a border the reception and co-operation was at its lowest.

Time take was a factor I under estimated for each journey, which was based solely on looking at the distance on google and my previous experiences in driving through those areas. Time for processing images was as expected, uploading and reporting varied heavily on external factors. The WMAU website was the most problematic with a couple of lost session and very long update times both accessing pages and saving changes, I have already let the WMAU tech guru know of the challenges though it's probably due to volumes at the server farm the pandemic rather than something WMAU can fix.

Personal perspective it's nice to focus on just the act of collecting and contributing with out the need for additional co-ordination of activity with others. I think this has rekindled my desire to work quietly as a contributor to the projects, and I'll look to WMAU for support for other individual activities relating to improving the sum of all knowledge. My thanks to WMAU committee for the support of this project and for Pru in approaching me to look at ways I could help WMAU engage. Gnangarra 17:04, 17 May 2020 (AEST)