HOTEL / MOTEL
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
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Narrogin is one of the largest inland towns in Western Australia.
Cereal crops, pigs and sheep are the area's main industries. The town is a support centre for the surrounding area and businesses include an abattoir,
furniture making, fire appliance manufacture, brick works, concrete products and aluminium and steel construction.
There are two good campsites near Narrogin located at Yornanning Dam and at
Congelin. Both have toilets and BBQs. There is a good range
of other accommodation available in the town and plenty to see in the surrounding area.
The area surrounding the town was settled in the 1870s and the Narrogin Road Board was gazetted in 1892. Five years later the townsite was
gazetted and Narrogin was gazetted as a municipality on the 13th April 1906. (There is some contradiction with these dates as one quite reputable
source states that a private town site was gazetted in 1891 and a government townsite gazetted in 1897 and another source says the government
townsite was gazetted in 1907.)
The name is said to come from the Aboriginal word 'gnargijin' which means place of water and is named after a large pool on Narrogin Creek.
(Other sources quote the meaning as 'place of bats' or 'plenty of everything'.) Our suggestion: 'Plenty of bats by the water'.
The earliest use of the name Narrogin seems to have been that of an inn located closer to Perth in the foothills at Armadale.
The first settlers in the area were sheep herders who had followed water courses and selected property suitable for grazing. Edward Hamersley took up
the first pastoral and tillage lease of 5000 acres in 1853. The lease lapsed in 1858 which may indicate that it was never stocked. It is known that Elijah
Quartermaine took up and settled on 5000 acres in 1860. A number of other settlers soon took up land including the ex-convict John Dodd in 1876.
The town started as a small group of buildings centred on the railway station on the Albany - Beverley line. The
'Father of Narrogin' Michael Brown was responsible for a great deal of building construction in the town and this in turn attracted new settlers. His descendants
are still in the area with one as late as the year 2000, being a town councillor.
'Narrogin was one of the largest towns on the fringe of the wheat belt. It had two hotels, two boarding-houses, two shops, a doctor, a chemist and a small
hospital on a hill away from the railway station. It was on the Great Southern railway line and a train went through once a day from Perth to Albany.'
Albert Facey 1908.
Its emergence as a regional centre for the Central South region can be traced back to the construction of the Great Southern Railway Line between
Albany and Beverley in the late 1880's. Between 1905 and 1926 new railway lines were constructed to
Collie, Wickepin, Kondinin, Dwarda and points beyond. Narrogin remained a
major rail centre until the late 1970's when competition from road transport saw a reduction in the railways workforce from some 280 people to less
than a dozen in 1995. Narrogin's previous role as a major railway junction has acted as an attractant for agricultural service industries as well as
government departments and agencies.
Over the years the town has accumulated significant public infrastructure - mainly in the health and education areas. This infrastructure serves as the
base for the modern regional centre that Narrogin has become today. Unlike many other rural regional centres throughout Australia, Narrogin is enjoying
a strong and constant growth of approximately 2% per year. This growth is sustained through new developments and renewed value in "Country Style"
living in comfort and further to the extent that Narrogin acts as a sponge for the slight population loss from smaller surrounding towns and agricultural
areas. In many ways the loss in population in the surrounding rural areas has acted as a spur to the community in making sure that it has control over
'Operation Bootstrap', the rejuvenation of the CBD through town-scaping, the national award winning Gnarojin Park and the second major supermarket
project are all indicative of a healthy and vibrant community that is keen to remain competitive and attractive. The Narrogin Town Council prides itself
on its progressive approach to economic development. It has financed, built and leased premises for a bank as well as a veterinary practice in order
to create employment opportunities for the town. It was the first local government in the State to employ a Community Arts Officer and the first to
undertake town-scaping with a view to revitalising the town's retail sector.
In 1919 Major Norman Brearley made the first flight over the Great Southern region in his Avro 504-k biplane. He landed at Narrogin and offered the
local residents joy flights. One budding entrepreneur decided to advertise his business by dropping leaflets over the town but he failed to allow for the
wind and they all ended up in the cemetery - where there were very few likely customers.
Narrogin is proud of its history and is noted as the town which provided the highest rate of voluntary enlistment in the British Empire during World War I.
During World War II there was much preparation of defences in case of enemy attack but the invasion did not happen until after the war had officially
ended. Two German prisoners of war awaiting repatriation escaped from Marrinup (near Pinjarra) and
made their way to Narrogin where they were mistaken for sailors on R and R from Fremantle. Eventually the long arm of the law
caught up with them and the 'invasion' was over.
In 1951 Narrogin actually hosted the Australian Grand Prix, the only place outside of the Eastern States ever to have done so.
Narrogin's need for a new hospital was never more evident than on the day it opened in 1954. The day began badly with a train derailment and several
new admissions to the hospital. The Minister for Health who was due to officially open the hospital failed to arrive and eventually the opening was
conducted by the town's Mayor. When the minister finally did arrive he became the first person admitted to the hospital after its official opening as he
was injured when his car rolled on the way up from Perth.
NARROGIN TOWN HALL
Designed by G.G. Lavater, built by Hugh Marsh, officially opened 1908. It was a major venue for social occasions - local amateur and visiting
professional theatre, dances, public meetings, etc. Many VIPs were given civic welcomes there. It was a public library and later an art gallery was
opened in an interior room. In early years the Municipal Council used the front rooms. The building has featured on the Municipal Council Logo for many
years and symbolises the past and present significance of the town
(Sections of the above text were provided for inclusion by the Town of Narrogin.)
TALL TALES AND TRUE
Ernest Wiese provided the prize at a local picnic near Highbury in 1905 - one pig. The competition involved greasing the pig and the person who
caught it first got to keep it. Ernest collected three pounds in entrance fees and the suitably greased pig was let loose.
The competitors chased the pig round and round then off into the bush. Eventually the winner - Ernest Wiese - walked out of the bush with the
squealing pig under his arm. What he didn't let on was that he had spent the last week training the pig to come back to him when he whistled!
"A nurse had been seriously injured in a car accident [120 miles south east of Perth near Narrogin] and was in danger of losing both legs, and possibly her life, if she was not flown to Perth for immediate specialist attention...
We flew out of Guildford airport into darkness so thick as to be almost felt, wondering how we were going to locate Narrogin without navigational aids - and how we were going to land when we found it. We knew the town had two airstrips, both on farm property; one very rough and one with a fence across it. We assumed that some kind of landing guidance would be provided, and flew on with nothing but the glow of the compass to guide us.
We need not have worried. Two large clusters of lights rose over the horizon - one the township itself, the other the headlights of more than a hundred cars. The towns folk had organised themselves to provide this lighting for the airstrip, so that it looked more like an international terminal than a bush airfield.
We learnt that the cars had come in response to an appeal broadcast over the local radio, and the discipline and organisation of the whole manoeuvre was inspiring. None of the motorists left his car, and there was no gaping crowd of people elbowing around. They all stayed quietly in position, waiting for the signal to turn on their lights again for take-off.
The patient was taken to hospital in record time and although the doctors could save only one leg she made a record recovery and is now back at work. A useful life not only preserved by the skill and devotion of the medical teams but also by the scores of anonymous folk who gave their help.
Thus are human beings at their best. It is well to remember such things when encountering them at their worst."
From: Flying Nurse by Robin Miller.
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Centenary Park, Dryandra Woodland, Congelin Camping Ground, Old Court House Museum, Allen Shepherd Park, Yilliminning Rock,
Spring Festival, Fox's Lair, and many heritage buildings.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
Cromwell Hotel, Old court house, War memorial, Brown's House 1910, Burley's Cottage 1902, Trecarne House 1906.
State : Wagin
Federal : O'Connor
Postcode : 6312
Local Government : Town of Narrogin
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