Kulin

The southern wheatbelt town of Kulin is an agricultural centre for a district whose main activities are wheat and sheep farming.

Kulin has the largest water slide in regional Western Australia. The spiral slide stands over 18m high and is 172 metres long.

Kulin is in an area which is noted for its wildflower displays which occur in September and October and include a particularly beautiful flowering gum. There are fine displays of flowering gums on the road to Corrigin.

Buckley's Breakaways

As well as the flower displays there are also the Strange Rock Lakes to the east of the town, a huge granite monolith which overlooks a 1214 hectare lake and is known as Jilakin can been explored 16 km east of the town, the dramatic and unusual Buckley's Breakaways are some unusual formations in pink and white rock (they are 58 km east of the town) and there is the Dragon Rocks Nature Reserve, 75 km east of the town, which is a huge 32 000 hectare flora and fauna display with unusual orchids and wildlife.

There is an interesting Aboriginal legend which concerns an unusual display of jarrah trees which grow nearby. The Aborigines believed that the jarrah trees had grown as the result of two groups of Aborigines driving their spears into the ground as a sign of friendship. The reason for the creation of this story is obvious. There are no jarrah trees on the wheatbelt and the nearest stands of jarrah are 140 km away.


Tin Horse Highway

On the highway east and west of the town, there are scores of amusing “sculptures” - tin horses and riders made from old fuel and lubricant drums distributed alongside the highway. There's one tin horse is sitting on an outback dunny, reading a copy of Playhorse magazine. Just down the road, there's a sprightly tin filly called Fillypoosis brandishing a tennis racket with intent; another equine wonder made from Emu Lager cans; yet another being rescued from the top of a water tank; and four huge, heavy-metal beasts pulling a wagon, also made of tin. Ben Horse, a Charlton Horseton epic, looks set to burn up the bitumen at any minute and there's even a tin horse flying a full-sized plane.

There are over 100 in all over a 20 km stretch of road, the largest is 10 m long and stands 5 m high. The local farmers have spent the past 15 years trying to outdo each other by decorating the roadside with tin horses. Made in secrecy behind closed doors and erected under the cover of darkness, new horses begin to appear in spring in the lead-up to the October races.


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Where is it?

283 km south east of Perth.


Kulin Bush Races

The Kulin Bush Races are a major attraction drawing over 3000 people to the town and raising $50,000 which is used for community development. The Bush Races event includes an art and craft show, camel races, foot races, Clydesdale horse rides and, of course, horse racing.


History

The first European known to have visited the Kulin area was Captain John Septimus Roe, Surveyor General of the Swan River Colony on his 1848-49 expedition to examine the south coast. He encountered a group of Aborigines 34 miles east of Nalyaring (near Brookton) who guided the expedition party to several water sources, including the Kulin Rock soak, before leaving the party at Yeerakine (just south and east of Kondinin) as this was the limit of their territory. These guides used the name 'Coolin' to describe the area now known as Kulin Rock.

In the early years, settlers occasionally encountered groups of Aborigines hunting possums. Although artifacts such as grinding stones and stone choppers have been found in the district, no signs of permanent occupation were found by early settlers other than the mia-mias built by "Europeanised" Aboriginal shepherds from Narrogin in the employ of Michael Brown.

Michael Brown, a businessman from Narrogin, took up large pastoral leases in the Kulin/Kondinin area including Kulin Rock and Gnarming in 1905. These and other leases in the area were terminated in 1909/1910 to allow the government to distribute the land for agricultural purposes.

The first land selected for farming in the Kulin area was at Wogolin and Dudinin in January 1909 - extending from the more established areas of Narrogin and Wickepin. Settlement did not proceed evenly from this direction however as early farmers selected areas with better soils or reliable water sources. This was the case at Kulin Rock with Edward John (Dick) Reardon and Michael Healy arriving there in February 1909 to take up farming land. Much of this activity took place before the official survey at the end of 1909 including James Fitt (previously an overseer for Michael Brown) taking up land adjoining Jilakin Rock and at Jitarning.

Jilakin had been the original name of the location in 1913; in 1915 it was changed to Kulin.

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