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Wyalkatchem

 

WYALKATCHEM

 

HEMA Map reference 74/B5

 

31 10' 54" S 117 22' 48" E

 

 

Where is this?

 

 

 

Statistics

 

Km from Perth

191

Population

620

Rainfall

335mm (90.9)

Max Temp

24.7C (44)

Min Temp

11.4C (-1.2)

Autogas

Available

Telecentre

Yes

 

Caravan Parks

 

Caravan Park

 

08 9681 1166

 

Services

 

Visitor Centre

08 9681 1166

RAC

08 9681 1592

Police

08 9681 1333

Hospital

08 9681 1000

 

 

Attractions

 

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.

 

Calendar Of Events

 

January: State hang gliding championships October (biennial): Tractor and vintage fair.

 

 

 

 

Description

 

Oh no! not another 'typical wheat belt town'. Well according to my research that's just what it is. Known to locals as 'Wylie', the area around the town produces approximately 56,000 tones of wheat and 896,000 kilos of wool.

The area seems to have been popular with early explorers as it was traversed by the
Gregory Brothers, Robert Austin, C.C. Hunt and John Forrest.

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.

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: Blown up.

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.

 

 

 

 

I'm lost please take me home...