Mullewa is a wheat and sheep town that is a popular destination during wildflower season.
There is a large Aboriginal population and unfortunately some racial tension has occurred in the past. In 1985 violence erupted when the publican of a hotel attacked an Aborigine
who subsequently died. The pub was then the target of a mob intent on destroying it.
Tensions between black and white simmer just below the surface of many outback towns and as with Halls Creek in 1995 it can explode into violence without
Some effort has obviously been expended to make the town attractive but when we visited a few years back the main street was looking a bit empty. We have since been informed
that fortunes are changing and the town centre is once again coming back to life.
One industry that is likely to breathe new life into the area is Iron ore. The Mt. Gibson mine now operates and there are plans to expand the iron ore industry in
the mid west.
Monsignor John Hawes Trail
The John Hawes Trail follows the places where this remarkable man designed and constructed churches and chapels through out the towns of the Mid-West. His churches can also be
Nanson and Bluff Point.
John Hawes was born at Richmond in England and studied architecture before becoming an Anglican Minister. He worked as a missionary but seems to have had a change of heart
about which brand of religion to follow and joined the Catholic Church.
He came to the Mid-West in 1915 and began designing and building a series of churches through out the region. In 1930 he became the official Diocesan Architect but in 1939 he left
for Cat Island in the Bahamas and never came back to W.A.
He spent 24 years in W.A. and is responsible for the design and building of some 16 different buildings.
The Gregory brothers passed through the area and camped somewhere near the present site of
the town on September 19th 1848.
The early history of the shire is one of conflict with the local Aborigines. To begin with shepherds moved in to the area (in the 1850s) bringing with them large flocks of sheep. They
camped near the most available water sources and when the local tribes realised that these newcomers were not going to go away they began to help themselves to the sheep.
The shepherds were mostly on their own and if they felt threatened they tended to shoot first and ask questions later. Tit-for-tat killings ensued and eventuated in the killings of James
Rudd and Thomas Bott at Butterabby (1864).
Five Aborigines were sentenced to death and one was sentenced to life imprisonment. The executions were carried out at Butterabby (1865) in front of other members of the tribe
and this effectively ended any further opposition from the local Aborigines.
To get to the Butterabby site take the Mingenew Road west of Mullewa and proceed along it until you reach the sign: 'Gravestones - Butterabby'.
The grave is on private ground and is marked by a single piece of stone on which is written 'In these graves lie James Rudd speared here at Butterabby 23 Sept 1864. Also
Garder, Wangayakoo, Yourmacarra, Charlacarra, Williacarra. Natives sentenced in Perth and hanged here 28 Jan 1865 for the spearing of Thomas Bott at
Butterabby 22 August 1864.'
A.J. Keefe wrote of the incident:
'At Butterabby... the graves of five Aborigines... and Jas Rudd are still clearly marked and serve as a reminder of the dream and history that has been woven into the possession
of this land. The Aboriginals had been undisputed masters for at least forty thousand years, leading a contented, well balanced life, in a tribal structure of small family groups which
left them easy prey to the incoming Whites. Most of the shepherds concerned were unwilling immigrants to Australia, having being chosen by some of the best Judges in England
to become the first settlers in this seemingly isolated country.'
Yuin Station was the first permanent settlement in the area and others soon followed. A police station was established at Mt. Wittenoom and a compound gazetted in December 1878.
The town seems to have developed due to the difficulty in getting wool bales over the long sand flats to Geraldton. Heavy 4 wheeled wagons could only get so
far west before becoming bogged in the sand. Smaller two wheeled drays were needed to get the wool all the way to the coast.
The solution was to build a storage shed and a house for the manager and his family (Alexander Gregg and his family became the town's first permanent residents but sadly
Alexander Jr. - aged just 2 - was killed in an accident with a horse and became the first person buried in town on the 16th of January 1889.) The wool store was built in 1885
and it was expanded two years later.
When gold was discovered in the Murchison the town became an important stop over and re-supply base for the prospectors who were drawn to the area in their hundreds.
The shire was declared in 1861 but it was 1894 before the town site was surveyed and it became a municipality in the following year. On July 1st 2011 the shire was slallowed up
when it was incorporated into the City of Greater Geraldton.
The railway reached town in 1894 from Geraldton and it became an important transport hub for the lower Murchison. The railway was to virtually guarantee the town's survival.
One source says name is supposed to be derived from the Aboriginal word for swan but another quotes 'place of fog' and this does seem the more likely of the two considering
the town is located in a shallow valley in which fogs occasionally develop.
Initially it was difficult, considering the size of the shire, to get a Road Board formed and this did not take place until 1911.
Because Mullewa was considered to be too similar to Morawa it was changed to Merkanooka in 1922. The railway station name remained unchanged
(even though it was the Railway board that had originally suggested the name be changed in the first place) and so the town went back to being called Mullewa later the
same year after complaints from local residents.
The town's first agricultural show was held in 1929 and over 2,500 people attended. It was such a success that it was decided to make it an annual event.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
On the slab.
Jack Park was a drover who decided to open up a butcher shop in town. His business was successful and the one thing that his customers made comment on was the large marble slab he used to carve the meat on.
There was all sorts of conjecture about the origin of the marble slab but it was not until Jack sold up and the slab was turned over that the mystery was finally sold.
On the underside were the carved words: "James A. Duncan - Rest in peace."
A shortage of beer in town (one of the greatest tragedies to befall any community) prompted Charles Truslove to write about it. Following is the first verse of his ballad. We take it from the poem that Mullewa should be pronounced Mulle-war.
When Mullewa ran short of beer.
Don't talk to me of hardships on the fighting fields of France
and all the things that happened at the war
There's something I will tell you that you haven't heard perchance
of the suffering that they had in Mullewa
Tis a thing to be remembered plant it firmly inn your mind
We'll never see the like again I fear
And in the distant future years in history books we'll find
the day that Mullewa ran short of beer.
Coalseam NP, Old glacier, Noondumarra Pool, Waterfalls and De Grey Stock Route picnic area, Kembla Zoo, Tallering Peak, Outdoor art gallery,
Pindar 30Km east, 5 different walk trails, Tenindewa 15Km west.
Mullewa Scenic Lookout, Mullewa Murals, Redland Roses, Mass Rock, Aboriginal Art Workshop and Gallery.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
Town Hall 1935, Our Lady of St. Carmel, Doney St. 1921, St. Andrew's church 1921, Pindar hotel (30km east) 1905, Boolardy station 1880, Mt. Narryer station 1920.
State : Moore
Federal : Durack
Postcode : 6630
Local Government : City of Greater Geraldton
Click on a thumbnail to see full sized picture.