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Bruce Rock Hotel

(C) Derek Graham

BRUCE ROCK

 

HEMA map reference 74/C7

 

31 52' 52" S 118 08' 49" E

 

 

Where is this?

 

 

 

Statistics

 

Km from Perth

243

Population

 579

Rainfall

331mm(86)

Max Temp

C

Min Temp

C

Autogas

 Yes

Telecentre

 Yes

 

Caravan Parks

 

Bruce Rock

 

08 9061 1377

 

Services

 

Police

08 9061 1035

Hospital

08 9061 1311

Visitor Centre

08 9061 1687

 

 

Attractions

 

Lin Butler Museum (Mon-Fri 2-4pm), Shackleton bank, Kokerbin Rock, Aquatic centre, Coarin & Myarn Rocks, Bruce's Rock, Ardath Hotel, Nunagin Rock, Smallest bank, Railway dam, Amphitheatre and sculpture park, Noonajin Hill.

 

Buildings of note

 

The smallest bank in Australia.

 

Calendar Of Events

 

September: Agricultural show. October ' March, Amphitheatre season. November, Vietnam Veterans weekend. Third Sunday monthly April to October and First Saturday November: Markets. are at the Federation Amphitheatre or the Shire Hall depending on the weather.

 

Bruce Rock - smallest bank

The smallest bank

(C) gladysclancy

Description

 

Originally called Nunagin (or Noonegin) the town was later renamed after a large granite outcrop east of town that was used by a sandalwood cutter named John Bruce as a depot. Kokerbin Hill is the third largest monolith in Australia. The rock is 122 metres high and covers 9 hectares. A road gives access both to sites at the base of the rock and it is also possible to drive to the top.

 

At the rock there is a sign which reads:

'This marks the camp site of John Rufus Bruce after whom Bruce Rock was named. The small soak was originally a native soak possibly centuries old. The deep well is a good example of the method used in stoning wells in the early 1900s by the Public Works Department.'

There are actually two wells at the site. The important historic site is the rectangular shaped well not the rounded one.

A rare underground orchid can be found in the area. This variety spends its entire life cycle beneath the earth and even flowering takes place underground. I understand they are a bit hard to find.

The area has what is reputed to be Australia's smallest bank. As it measures only 3x4 metres the claim is in all likelihood quite true. It operated until 1997.

Tall tales & true: Murder most foul.

Victor McCaskell, his wife and baby had a farm about 14 miles from Bruce Rock back in 1930. Helping on the farm was a young worker called Billy Halbert.

McCaskell complained to his neighbours about Billy's behaviour and had apparently talked about firing him only to be threatened by Halbert afterwards.

On December 30th 1930 Jack Rae (a neighbour) saw Victor running through the paddock towards him carrying a small bundle. As he got closer Rae was horrified to see that it was Victor's baby covered in blood.

McCaskell said that he had finally had enough of Halbert and had told him to finish up what work he had to do and then leave the farm. McCaskell had gone off to complete his daily tasks and had returned in the afternoon to find his wife and baby dead and Halbert hanging from the front porch in an apparent suicide.

The police began an investigation and slowly it looked like things just didn't add up.

During the autopsy it was found that Halbert was already in an advanced stage of rigor mortis but that McCaskell's wife and baby were not. Very strange as Halbert was supposed to have died AFTER them.

It was also noted that the rope mark around Halbert's neck formed a complete circle, as if he had been strangled rather than hung.

When the police examined the rope, they found that if Halbert had had it around his neck he could have stood on the veranda with six inches of slack rope to spare. Lastly they also found that the box he was supposed to have stood on and kicked away was too heavy to have been moved in such a manner.

Another neighbour stated that he had visited McCaskell's farm the afternoon of the murders and found Halbert lying dead on the porch but there was no sign of a rope around his neck.

McCaskell was kept under watch by the police in the local hotel but as time progressed he became more and more agitated.

Finally he made a break for it and took off in a car towards his farm. The police gave chase but couldn't keep up and McCaskell reached the farm first. Abandoning his car McCaskell ran away on foot behind a hay stack and as the police gave chase again there was a violent explosion from the far side of the stack.

McCaskell had apparently hidden a stick of TNT in the hay and now that the game was up, he put it in his mouth and lit the fuse!

A fitting end for an evil man. The motive' Just money. McCaskell had taken out a two thousand pound life insurance policy on his wife two months earlier.

The Coroner recorded that McCaskell committed the murders while he was insane but the cold calculated way he set Halbert up, strangled him and then waited several more hours before brutally slaying his own wife and child show that the murders were in fact anything but a spur of the moment act of insanity.

 

 

 

Bruce Rock park

(C) Derek Graham

 

 

 

 

I'm lost please take me home...