Merredin

A major regional centre for the surrounding central agricultural district. It is promoted as the Garden Town of the Wheatbelt.

The town's Grain Transfer Terminal, with its capacity of 220,000 tonnes, is the largest horizontal storage facility in the southern hemisphere.

Merredin aerodrome is leased under a 100-year lease arrangement by China Southern Airlines and is used as a pilot training facility by the China Southern West Australian Flying College, who also operate from Jandakot Airport in Perth.

Merredin Railway Museum

Merredin Railway Museum is one of the finest regional railway museums in Australia. The railway line arrived in Merredin in 1893 and the station was built in 1895. It now is a near-perfect re-creation of the old station with just about every piece of railway memorabilia possible. It has a working windmill, a beautifully preserved 1897 G117 steam engine, and the station still has the old scales and cream cans.


Cummins Theatre

One of a number of interesting ande unusual buildings in the town, the theatre was built in 1928 from remnants of some demolished Coolgardie pubs and the old Coolgardie Tivoli Theatre. Local legend has it that the bricks still have small deposits of gold in them. Other buildings of note are the Post Office (1913) and Town Hall (1925).


Pumping Station No. 4

Pumping Station No. 4 (3 km west) is one of 8 stations designed by C.Y. O’Connor used to pump water from Mundaring to the Eastern Goldfields. It was closed as an operational pumping station in 1960 and was replaced by the electrically driven stations located nearby. The precinct contails three generations of pumping stations in one place. Interpretation on site. A picnic area and walk trail around the perimeter of No 4 Pump Station provide a welcome stop on the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail.

Now just the shell of the building remains, all interior machinery and fittings having been removed. The building is rectangular in plan, with door openings and arched and circular windows in opposing walls being quite different. The most prominent feature of northern face to the highway is an arch more than half the height of the wall, a common feature of industrial buildings of the Federation era (turn of the 20th century). The concrete floor contains pits and mounting blocks where the machinery was installed.


Merredin Peak

Located off Benson Road in the townsite of Merredin. Merredin Peak is a naturally occurring outcrop of granites that are about 2,700 million years old. The Peak is set in an area of woodland known locally as Merredin’s National Forest. This 1200 hectares of woodland and sand plain country was originally set aside as a firewood reserve for the town residents. Over the years it was under threat to be converted to farm land. However, the Shire stood firm and it is now protected as a bushland reserve. Take the Merredin Peak Heritage Trail and explore the site of the Army Field Hospital. Interpretation on site.


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Where is it?

260 km east of Perth on Great Eastern Highway, and a little south of the original road to the eastern goldfields. It is roughly midway between Perth and Kalgoorlie, on Route 94, Great Eastern Highway.


Totadgin Conservation Park

South of Merredin along the Merredin-Bruce Rock Road. Totadgin Rock has a walk trail with interpretation and is a good first stop to find out how granite rock outcrops are formed and about the unique habitats they create. There is a profusion of wildflowers in spring. Other granite outcrops in the area include Juterin Rock (296 metres, 13 km from Merredin) and Burraguttin Rocks.


Chandler

Initially established to serve the nearby Alunite, a source of potash, mine at nearby Lake Campion, land was set aside in 1942 for the Chandler townsite. Lots were surveyed soon afterward and the town was gazetted in 1943. The mine was a state government project with government employees that was needed following the supplies of the mineral being cut off after the commencement of World War II. A potash works was erected in the town reserve in 1943.

Following the war, the government closed down the plant once supply of Alunite had normalised. The company, Australian Plaster Industries, then took up a lease in the area and in 1949 commenced production of gypsum that is used in the manufacture of plaster of paris and plasterboard. During that time, the town boomed and had two main streets, over 70 houses, a telephone exchange, a school and powerhouse. Production ceased in 1952; the entire town was sold off in 1953. The name of the town was chosen to honour Mr J Chandler, a farmer, who had discovered the alunite deposits. vThe abandoned townsite is between Merredin and Mukinbudin.


Brief history

When the Yilgarn goldfields around Southern Cross was declared in 1888, the road to the goldfields passed just to the north of "Merredin Rock". A well at the rock made it an important stopping place for prospectors on the way to the goldfields. In 1891, the townsite of Merredin was gazetted. None of the lots ever sold, although a hotel was built just to the south of them.

In 1895 the railway to Southern Cross was opened, and a station named Merredin was established a short distance south west of the original townsite. In 1906 the area around the railway station was added to the townsite of Merredin, and lots made available for sale.

The town's name is of Aboriginal origin, meaning "the place of merritt's", a locally abundant tree, the trunks of which were used for making spears. The name was first recorded in 1889 for Merredin Rock. In 1906 the name Merredin was spelt 3 ways - Merredin for the nearby state forest, Merredin for the railway station and Merredin for the townsite. It was decided to adopt the railway spelling for all names, and all plans were corrected.

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