Drive the Pioneers’ Pathway either from Merredin or Toodyay along the track prospectors once took to the Goldfields (see map page 3).
Heart of the Wheatbelt Merredin, halfway between Perth and Kalgoorlie, is a vibrant regional centre in the Wheatbelt. About 40% of Western Australia’s wheat is grown within a 100 km radius. The CBH wheat storage bin holds a massive amount of grain and is the longest in the southern hemisphere. There are lovely gardens and leafy parks in the town and a range of attractions, cafes, restaurants and accommodation.
The Aboriginal name for Merredin is Merritt-in, the place of the merritt - a tree used in making spears. When the Goldfields were discovered, a stream of prospectors took to the track from Perth to the diggings. The route passed through expanses of waterless country and processions of laden men and wagons moved from one waterhole to the next. One such waterhole was Merredin Peak, a large granite outcrop where a camp soon grew. In 1900 Surveyor King surveyed 20 town lots and Merredin was officially put on the map. Travellers could see the huge granite rock for miles.
Three short years later the railway reached the district, bypassing Merredin and so the townsite was relocated. Agriculture developed and is still the main industry. During WW11, Merredin was an important location as the second line of defence. There was a large military hospital. Today little remains but the foundations.
The Old Railway Station Museum displays the history of Merredin and the station which was built in 1895. Merredin Military Museum contains an impressive display of restored vehicles and memorabilia. The Cummins Theatre was originally the Tivoli Theatre in Coolgardie. In 1928 it was purchased and relocated to Merredin by the Cummins family. It’s a snapshot of the era.
There are a number of granite outcrops and reserves in the district of which Totadgin Rock has a distinct wave shape. Wildflowers have wonderful displays in spring. The China Southern West Australian Flying College is based in Merredin and the young pilots train and live here. The townsfolk like a bit of fun. At Easter 1999 the World Record Longest Road Train went into history books.
Merredin has everything but a beach, so each year one is created to host a beach party to welcome new residents. The latest insanity is a car rally with a difference. A car worth less than $2000 and competitors dressed in undies created a fun day and raised $4500 for the Flying Doctor. For further information, call into: Merredin Tourist Centre Ph (08) 9041 1666