Waroona

 

 

WAROONA

 

GPS 32 50 28 S 115 55 19 E

 

 

 

 

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Coolup

Dwellingup

Preston Beach

Nearby Towns

Yarloop

 

 

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STATISTICS

Distance from Perth

112 Km

Population

2736

Average Rainfall

992mm

Mean Max Temp

23.1C

Mean Min Temp

11.4C

 

SERVICES

Police

08 9733 7400

Fire and Rescue

08 9733 1124

Medical

08 9733 3007

Visitor Centre

08 9733 1506

 

CARAVAN PARKS

Caravan Village

08 9733 1518

Lake Navarino

08 9733 3000

 

HOTEL / MOTEL / B AND B

Waroona Hotel

08 9733 1232

Drakesbrook Hotel

08 9733 1566

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

 

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link to Mingor.net website

 

DESCRIPTION

 

Waroona sits at the foot of the Darling Scarp on the South West Highway between Pinjarra and Harvey.

A short distance to the east in the hills, is Waroona Dam, that caters for swimming and water skiing. The crystal clear waters are refreshing and the surrounding bushland is tranquil. Campsites are available near the dam and fees are payable.

Poor rains over recent years have led to low water levels in the dam and most of the water based activities have been put on hold.

The town supports a thriving agricultural region but in recent time the dairies here and further south around Harvey, have been going through some very hard times. Walk trails and drives in the area include: Waroona Heritage Trail, King Jarrah Track, Lane Poole Reserve (18km loop), Island Poole Walk Trail, Lane Poole Reserve (1.5km loop), 4x4 Nanga Heritage Circuit, Lane Poole Reserve (51.3km loop), Munda Biddi Trail - Waterous Loop, Lake Preston Walk Trail (2km), Noisy Scrub Bird Trail - Drakesbrook Weir, Harvey River Walk Trail at the John Tognela Rest Area Forrest Highway Hamel Wetland Walk, Hamel Nursery Walk.

 

HISTORY

 

Originally called Drake's Brook (after W.H. Drake - a local land holder), the townsite was gazetted in 1895 and Drake's Brook became Drakesbrook in October 1896. (apparently this name was more 'euphonious' - reaches for dictionary - pleasant sounding? I am hard pressed to tell the difference between the two??)

The area was settled in 1891 by John Fouracre (Another source dates the settlement as 1854 or 1856 - Fouracre actually built a house at location 57 at Lake Clifton in 1852 before moving to Wellington location 205 and building the wayside inn in 1854.), whose family gradually moved away until his daughter Leah was the only one left at the old inn. She closed the inn and began farming the property on her own.

On August 18th 1907, George Shenton was passing the farm when he noticed that the building had been damaged by fire. On closer examination he found that most of the structure had been burned down and that Leah lay dead inside.

Initially it looked as though she had died while trying to rescue her possessions from the blaze but her dog kept leading people to an area away from the house and here some bloodstains were found. An examination of her body found that she had been shot. As the matter was investigated it turned out that Leah's rifle, horse and other items were missing.

Prior to Leah's death, a man had been seen staying near the farm and a number of witnesses were able to give a description. The name Berchman was mentioned but no one by that name was found.

When some of Leah's possessions turned up at a pawn shop in Bunbury it was easy enough for the authorities to trace them back to a man named Augustin de Kichilan. Kichilan (a.k.a. Berchman) was arrested, tried and found guilty of murder. He was executed on October 23rd 1907.

A timber mill was developed within the townsite limits and the railway siding, that was initially called McDowell's, then became Waroona Station in March 1899.

The two sites gradually merged and in 1946 Drakesbrook was re-named Waroona that is said to be a misspelled version of Werroona - the home of early settler J. McDowell - in Victoria. (Another source quotes the name change as taking place in 1961 but this appears to be incorrect.)

In 1931-2 the Waroona Dam was constructed but was later re-named Drakesbrook Dam. Another dam (now known as Waroona Dam) was built in 1966.

See Waroona's History Time Line for more details.

 

TALL TALES AND TRUE

 

Another murder.

In 1919, 29 year old Otto Bismark Haub was shot and killed by Robert Phal (56).

There had been an on-going dispute between the two men about shooting ducks on Preston Lake. Haub used to fire into the air to scare the ducks away if he knew Phal was hunting and this eventually boiled over into an argument and Phal shot Haub in the chest.

Phal fled the district but was arrested in Perth but at his trial he was found 'not guilty' on the grounds of insanity. He was held at 'His Majesty's Pleasure' for 10 years before he was released.

Yet another murder?

Albert 'Dingo' Gates was thought to have murdered his fried, Alec Hay, when Alec vanished (in 1920) and Albert was found to be in possession of Alec's saddle, bridal and harness. A search party failed to find any trace of Alec and there was not enough evidence to charge Albert with any wrong doing.

That turned out to be just as well as Alec eventually turned up in 1962! Bob Lyons, when visiting Southern Cross, happened to recognise Alec, who had changed his name, and the mystery was at last solved. Alec had given his saddle etc. to Albert before setting off to make a new start in another town.

Down the well.

In 1978, three year old Julie Styles fell through the rotten wooden cover of a well on the family property. She was being looked after for the day by her aunt, 62 year old Mona Styles.

Mona jumped down the well after the child but was then trapped 28 feet down. Julie's sister, Robyn (5 years old) was the only other person around and Mona asked her to phone for help. She was unable to work out how to use the phone and Mona was left clinging to a pipe in the well while trying to support Julie.

After an hour in the cold water Mona's hands were going numb but luckily Julie's parents arrived home in time and a rescue was affected with a length of rope. Very soon afterwards, Robyn was taught how to use a phone.

 

MAP

 

 

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OTHER INFORMATION

 

ATTRACTIONS

 

Waroona Dam, Samson Dam, Drakesbrook Weir, Hamel wetlands, Alcoa Discovery Tours.

 

BUILDINGS OF NOTE

 

Hotel, Memorial Hall, Road Board building, Landcare centre, Catholic church, railway cottages, Hamel hall.

 

ELECTORAL ZONES

 

State : Murray-Wellington

Federal : Canning

 

OTHER INFO.

 

Postcode : 6215

Local Government : Shire of Waroona

 

PHOTOS

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