Secrets of Gnomesville

Australia’s South West with it’s Mediterranean climate boasts world renowned wineries and restaurants sufficient enough to whet the appetites of seasoned foodies. But past the rolling surf of the Margret River region, multitudes of explorable caves, and towering Karri trees lies a secret deep in the forest. Omitted from the tourist maps and ‘Top 5’ lists is a place home to a phenomenon that few know the origin of. It is said that the town grew from a lone gnome placed in the middle of a neighbouring round-about in ’95, but the story will differ depending on who you ask. Soon enough more gnomes started appearing and the collection grew to the point that the local council had to move the establishment to the side of the road.
Mention to a local that you’re from out of town and the first thing they will ask you is “Have you been to Gnomesville yet?”
dsc_0110_fotor As if a testament to the defiance and strength of forgotten lawn ceramics the world over, the town is now home to an estimated 7000 gnomes.
Taking a visit to Gnomesville is an experience like no other.
Travelling 37km South from the city of Bunbury passing through dairy properties, scenic groves and wineries, we enter working forests harvested for their timbers since just before the 1900’s. Arriving at the site we see the infamous round-about and pull over in the make-shift carpark. By 11am it has been raining all morning, the ground is wet, and we are not alone. Along with the ten cars already parked, we are greeted by a dense expanse of thousands of ceramic faces. dsc_0127_fotor2 A family is seen walking around the meandering paths with dad holding a cardboard box, as we get a bit closer we discover that they are searching for the perfect spot to add their own collection, to leave their mark on this town like thousands have done before them. It is evident the reach this place has when we see gnomes waving flags from around the world and plaques telling us of their stories. dsc_0125_fotor Tracks have been carved that wind around gullies and a stream which flows through the length of the town. We cross a bridge and realise that we are in the heart of Gnomesville. I look around me and the town extends for as far as I can see, a memorial for a beloved visitor has been erected and other groups of gnomes stand like shrines to the kitsch. dsc_0118_fotor

Trouble in Gnomesville

Lack of civic planning and a culture of self-governance has caused issues for many residents of Gnomesville. Defining the Eastern boundary of the town has been problematic with many gnomes placed past broken fence lines onto private property. These rogue gnomes are often detained in the Gnomesville Detention Centre back over the city limit, however with a burgeoning population and real-estate shortages hundreds of gnomes still stand in trespass along with the unknowing visitors who cross the fence to see them. dsc_0112_fotor “We need to get a fence up that won’t get knocked down, won’t get pulled down, won’t get damaged or wrecked, and then bring the gnomes from where they are on the private properties back into Gnomesville,” shire president Mick Bennett told ABC news. Whether or not the shire will recognise the town as a tourist attraction and provide facilities for visitors is still undecided. Regardless of the future of Gnomesville, life goes on as usual for the towns many happy residents and those who choose to visit will have the place indelibly stamped in their hearts. dsc_0113_fotor dsc_0105_fotor dsc_0106_fotor dsc_0126_fotor Gnomesville, Western Australia near the town of Wellington Mills. Half an hour drive from the City of Bunbury which is 2 hours South of Perth.
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