The town grew up surrounded by timer cutters camps and eventually orchards took over as the main source of produce. When the railway closed
down the town reverted to a sleepy back water and remains so to this day.
A winery called Chidlow Brook has been established and is located on Lakeview Road.
Not far from town is a popular weekend picnic spot at Lake Leschenaultia. This is a man made lake and was
originally constructed to provide a reliable source of water for the railway's steam engines.
This area was originally called Chidlow's Well as it was a watering point on the road to Northam. The townsite was declared in November 1883.
The name Chidlow originates with early settler William Chidlow who constructed the first well here. Residents petitioned for the name to be changed
to Chidlows but the 's' was dropped and the name became Chidlow in 1920. (Another source says the name came from a Peter Chidlow who was speared to
death by Aborigines on July 8th 1837.)
First developed as a signal post on the railway, a station was also constructed but closed when the line was diverted in 1966. A grassed park in
front of the hotel is the original site of the station.
In 1996 a bushfire in the area destroyed several buildings and a fire fighter was killed when struck by a vehicle.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
On the 8th of December 1885 a C class railway engine was sent out to Mahogany Creek to pick up 8 ballast wagons. The brake car was uncoupled before
the wagons were attached and was supposed to be re-attached to the train once it was on its way back. It turned out that the fully laden ballast
wagons were too much for the small engine to control and it was impossible for the crew to pick up the brake car. The train gradually picked up
speed on the steep grade and the crew decided to jump for their lives.
Not far down the track the train came off the rails and was completely wrecked. The driver, who would have undoubtedly been killed if he remained at
his post, was fined three weeks pay for not staying with the train to the end.
The engine was eventually re-built and later went into private service and was christened 'Kate'. Kate can still be seen at the Railway Museum in
The section of track where this accident took place was called Cape Horn by the railway men and it was the scene of a number of accidents.
Eventually the line was re-routed to an area where the maximum grade was easier (1 in 50 instead of 1 in 30). The tracks were in service until
1966 and today much of the old route is used as walk trails and bridle paths.
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Lake Leschenaultia, Railway Reserve Heritage Trail, Walking, Cycling, Horse Riding, Swimming, Camping.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
State : Darling Range
Federal : Pearce
Postcode : 6656
Local Government : Shire of Mundaring
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