Brief History So what is all the fuss about? This long granite overhanging natural
wall, which is shaped like a wave, came into the spotlight in 1967 when a photograph of it appeared in an
edition of the National Geographic Magazine.
Before the local farming community knew it, there was a flood, of not only local but international
visitors to Hyden (a small wheat belt town), in search of this unusual formation.
The locals, who were mainly farmers, were not really prepared for all the
fuss and had to quickly organise enough toilets and accommodation to facilitate the sightseers who by now were
crawling all over the rock. In 1951, long before anyone knew how popular the rock would become, the Western
Australian Water Authority built a concrete retaining wall along the top of the wave to catch the rainwater.
Anyone that has ever visited the rock and taken a photograph will know about this concrete eyesore as it takes
a little bit of maneuvering to avoid it in your shot.
The Hyden Tourist Development CompanyIt wasn't long before a committee was formed to organise a caravan park
and all the things that go with tourism. The Hyden Tourist Development Company was established in the early
1970's. They were instrumental in setting up facilities such as public toilets, a caravan park, a wildlife
park, drive-in cinema, motel, restaurants, souvenir shops and the Hyden Roadhouse.
The Rock ItselfThe rock is located about 4km east of town, in a 160 hectare nature reserve.
The wave section, which is just a small section on the northern face of Hyden Rock, is 110 m long and 15m high.
The rock is believed to have formed over 2700 million years ago, giving
ample time for the softer rock beneath the upper edge to erode and form the impressive wave. It is also
believed that much of the erosion was chemical and occurred below ground before the rock was exposed.
The face of the rock features vertical bands of ochre, brown, yellow and grey which change
constantly during the course of the day as the light changes. The bands are caused by the run-off of water
containing carbonates & iron hydroxide and by algal growth.
Today the granite wave attracts over 100,000 tourists annually.
Other Rock AttractionsIn and around Hyden Rock are several other rock attractions such as
Hippo's Yawn and King Rocks. These rocks are nowhere near as impressive as the Wave but feature prominently in
Aboriginal culture and folklore especially the legend of Mulka the Terrible.
Mulka Cave (also known as Bates Cave) is quite an interesting place to visit. Found just 21km from
Hyden, this quietly eerie, shark head shaped cave is believed to be once home of Mulka the terrible
(Mulka-inall-ak). In Aboriginal legend Mulka was born cross-eyed and as a result he was ostracised from his
tribe and took to hunting the local children. Inside the cave you can see the faintly coloured hand prints
believed to be those of Mulka.