Wyalkatchem can only be described as a 'typical wheat belt town'. Known to locals as 'Wylie', the area around the town produces approximately 56,000 tones of wheat
and 896,000 kilos of wool annually.
As with most towns in the wheat belt, the local industry is centered around wheat and sheep farming.
What, you may ask, would attract visitors to a town like Wylie? Well there is more to see and do than you might imagine.
First there is the Visitor Centre And CBH Museum on Railway Tce. Here there is a collection of farming and transportation equipment from the early 1900s to present day.
The 'Waterloo Boy' was one of the first John Deere tractors and was made in 1920. There are very few examples of this type left and this one is still in working order.
Next comes the Old School House Museum on Flint St. Viewing is by appointment phone 08 9681 1036 or 08 9681 1397.
Other attractions include walk track and wildflowers, Water Wise Garden, Murals and even the Wyalkatchem Cemetery where the graves date from 1915.
Out of town you can find natural attractions such as Korrelocking Reserve and Yorkrakine Rock.
The area seems to have been popular with early explorers as it was traversed by the
C.C. Hunt and
Land was leased for farming in 1904 by J. Lindsay and J.H. Riches. James Sinclair took up the first freehold land.
The townsite was gazetted in 1908 (one source says 1911) and the railway finally came to the area in 1910. Note: Latest research suggests that the correct dates are:
Gazettal, November 1910 and railway arrival, 1911.
The earliest known form of the name was Walkatching and was used first in 1874. By 1884 the name had been changed to Wyalcatching and ended up as its current form
(Wyalkatchem) when the town was gazetted.
Despite the gazettal using the 'k' spelling, many people continued to use the 'c' spelling including the Road Board in 1920.
Folk lore has it that the name is derived from a trooper with exceptional tracking skills who was called 'Wylie catchem' by the local Aborigines. Although a rather romantic
story, it isn't likely to be true as the name was originally associated with a waterhole.
There were no medical services in the town until 1913 with the nearest help some 70 kilometres away at Goomalling.
By 1917 a hospital had finally opened.
In 1919 a railway locomotive on its way to Northam for repairs was struck by lightning and the cab and floor were severely damaged. Luckily for the
crew they were away from the train at the time and no one was injured.
Passengers were not so lucky after a rail derailment in 1928. 7 people were injured with one (Nelson Jacobs) dying the following day from his injuries.
Jacobs and a companion had purchased a ticket to Nukarni but had stayed on the train past their destination (concealing themselves in a car carrying a boiler.)
Bolts holding the boiler down had worked loose and this was found to be one of the major contributing factors in the accident.
Just 4 years later there was another derailment with 17 wagons jumping off the rails and piling up. Luckily the passenger car was one of the few to remain upright and no
one was injured.
There was a small scale mining operation in the area starting in 1908. Gypsum was extracted from Lake Cowcowing and it went on for many years without any major expansion.
Salt mining also took place but was quickly abandoned.
The town was the first to convert from wheat bagging to the more modern and efficient process of bulk handling. The first load of bulk wheat was railed from the town in 1931.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
In May 1911, Coe and Hatton were camping about a mile from town when a large explosion was heard. Coe claimed to be away from the camp when the explosion
took place and Hatton was found dead, blown up by gunpowder. The matter was investigated but no finding was ever made as to the reason for Hatton's death.
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Old bulk handling stores museum, Yorkakine Rock, School house museum, Walk-A-Wyal Walk Track, Water Wise Garden, Murals, Steel Magnolias,
Endangered Species Garden, Korrelocking Reserve.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
Hotel, Railway station, Railway barracks, CBH museum, National Australia bank, Post office, Bank of New South Wales, Freemanson's hall,
Town hall, Catholic church, Uniting church.
FAMOUS SONS AND DAUGHTERS
State : Central Wheatbelt
Federal : Durack
Postcode : 6485
Local Government : Shire of Wyalkatchem
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