Youndegin is located 19 kilometres south of Cunderdin.
It is the site of an old police outpost that was established in 1866 as a response to the spearing death of settler,
E.J. Clarkson at the hands of local Aborigines.
Edward Clarkson (24) and David Hackett (11) had been shepherding sheep out near what today is the small town of
Natives raided the camp while Clarkson was away and fractured Hackett's arm when he tried to drive them off.
They returned on the night of July 31st and hurled hunting spears at Hackett and Clarkson as they were sitting by the
fire eating their dinner.
Clarkson was struck in the body by a barbed spear that could not be removed. Although in great pain he survived the
night and instructed Hackett to take the sheep out to graze for a couple of hours the following morning.
As Hackett returned he saw four Aborigines plunging spears into the tent and he fired his gun at them to drive them away.
Even though speared multiple times, Clarkson survived a further five days and during that time he instructed Hackett how
to navigate and return to Toodyay.
The natives were still nearby and spent their time killing the penned up sheep.
Clarkson died on August the 6th and Hackett left the following day taking with him the dog that had accompanied the men.
By Sunday night he had reached Yorkanine Rock where there was a hut but instead of sleeping in the hut he decided to camp
some distance away in the bush.
A mangy looking dog appeared by the campfire which gave Hackett a warning and he saw the silhouette of a native on a rise
about a hundred yards away.
He fired his gun, kicked out his fire and moved to another location for the night.
His instincts were good because later it was found that the natives had tracked him and raided the hut, thinking that he
was sleeping inside.
Knowing the natives were still likely to be after him, Hackett left before first light and kept going all day and well in
to the following night.
On the fourth day, while following a track he happened to bump into a Mr. Morgan who he told the whole story to.
He then reached the Eaton homestead and soon afterwards a group set out to recover Clarkson's body.
Of the natives who were involved in the spearing, one was killed by his own companions after a fight, one was shot trying to
escape and two were hanged near where Clarkson had been speared, as a warning to other Aborigines.
Hackett went on to join the police force where he served for 21 years.
His right forearm, that had been fractured in the initial attack, had set slightly crooked and was a reminder for the rest of
his life of how close he had come to sharing Clarkson's fate.
The first police officer to take charge at Youngedin was Constable Allerly and he was followed in 1880 by Constable Alfred Eaton.
Eaton and his wife Mary with their 7 children and two native 'police boys' settled in at Youndegin.
It was later decided to close the police outpost but the Eaton's were now so attached to the area that they applied for and
were granted a lease and they became the first farmers in the Cunderdin area.
In 1888 the discovery of gold to the east meant an increasing level of traffic along the road running past the old police
outpost. Seeing the opportunity, Alfred established the Youndegin Arms and catered to those passing along what became known
(and is still known today) as the Goldfields Road.
With the coming of the railway to the north, traffic along the Goldfields Road greatly diminished but the Eatons remained
as farmers. Mary passed away in 1921 followed by Alfred just a fortnight later.
The old building still stands by the side of the Goldfields Road and is in remarkably good condition. It has been repaired
and maintained over the years and stands as an important historic site and a reminder of days long passed.
If photos are available, click on a thumbnail to see full sized picture.
Video available from July 20th 2024