Wyalkatchem

A regional centre for the central agricultural area which produces wheat and wool.

Home to a Cooperative Bulk Handling receival point that can hold nearly 120,000 tonnes of grain and crops, the primary industry in the area are what and sheep farming. The town also supports a gypsum mine that is situated just outside of town at Lake Cowcowing.

The extensive railway barracks in town are leased by the shire council from the Western Australian Governments Railway Commission. The barracks represent one of the few intact examples of its kind in Australia and are currently used as accommodation during Dowerin Field Days and as the headquarters of a hang-gliding club.


Pioneer's Pathway

Wyalkatchem lies on the Pioneers’ Pathway - a self-drive route that traverses the Wheatbelt following the well worn Goldfields Track which was the route taken by fortune seekers making their way toward Kalgoorlie Boulder.


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Where is it?

192 km east north east of Perth and 35 km east of Dowerin.


History

When the extension of the railway east from Dowerin was planned in 1908 land was set aside for a future townsite in the area of Wyalcatchem Tank. The route of the railway and site for a station was not fixed until 1910, and action followed to then fix the position of the townsite and survey town lots. Following the survey of the lots the townsite was gazetted spelt Wyalkatchem in 1911. Wyalkatchem was the first place to convert from the very costly and time consuming process of bagged wheat over to bulk wheat loading facilities.

Wyalkatchem is an Aboriginal name, first recorded for a waterhole spelt Walkatching in the 1870's. When the road from Northam to the Yilgarn Goldfield was surveyed in 1892 the spelling Wyalcatchem was used for the tank. The Walkatching spelling is probably the most accurate, as Aboriginal names in this region rend in "in" and not "em".

The change of spelling from Wyalcatchem to Wyalkatchem in 1911 was done by the Department of Lands & Surveys according to rules the Department had adopted for spelling Aboriginal names (the letter K should always be used for the hard c). The meaning of the name is not known.

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