Km from Perth
08 9061 1377
08 9061 1035
08 9061 1311
08 9061 1687
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
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.
The smallest bank
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
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
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
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
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
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.