At first glance, the little wheatbelt town of Dumbleyung - about 257km south-east of Perth and 40km west of Wagin - would appear a most unlikely shrine to the world of speed.
But it was at Lake Dumbleyung, just outside town – the largest permanent stretch of natural water in WA and an important wildlife sanctuary – that, in December, 1964, the ill-fated Donald Campbell set the world water speed record of 276.3 mph (444.66km/h).
In July of the same year, Campbell had set a new land speed record of 648.6km/h on Lake Eyre.
On Pussy Cat Hill, on the shores of the lake, there’s a memorial to Campbell, who was killed on Coniston Water at Lancashire in England on January 4, 1967, when his boat broke up while travelling in excess of 480km/h.
Unfortunately, Lake Dumbleyung suffers terribly from salinity these days, a problem for much of this part of WA’s wheatbelt, and can be a forlorn-looking place with a horrible saline odour.
The first recorded sighting of the lake was by explorers Henry Landor and Henry Maxwell Lefroy in 1843, but their description of it is vastly different from today’s, because of the ravages of the salt.