Home  >>  History & Culture

HISTORY

and Culture

Wongan Hills
Pioneer Museum

The Museum is housed in the original Wongan Hills Hospital, built in 1930 and now heritage listed. Inside, various themed rooms (wards) show the history of the area through photos and displays, including a ‘telephone room’ with items from the old telegraph exchange; a replica ‘settlers hut’; a sports room and dining room; a room set up like a hospital ward; as well as photographs of the Cadoux earthquake.

Machinery & vehicles collection behind the building includes wagons, buggies, harvesters, dam-sinking scrapers, a CBH wheat auger, and a World War II Stuart Tank.

Open Sundays from 1pm-4pm, April to November, and is run by volunteers. If you are in town on a different day, ring the Visitors Centre to see if you can arrange a viewing. Entry is by donation.

Ballidu Heritage Centre

The Ballidu Heritage Centre houses a fascinating collection of memorabilia through the ages.

The beautiful old hall has display rooms set up like small stage sets – for example, you can be transported to a 1950s lounge room, equipped with film projector and record player playing Elvis records.

The collection is also a delightful exploration of the history of Ballidu, woven together by the Centre’s volunteers. The stage area of the old hall is set up with information about families in Ballidu, including wedding photographs and holiday snaps.

There is also a display of servicemen and women from WWI and WWII.

Call in from 8am Sunday mornings for breakfast, morning tea and lunch and browse a part of local history.

Ballidu Lodge
Art Gallery

In 1954, the Ballidu Masonic Lodge constructed this hall and conducted their meetings in the hall until their numbers declined.

In early 1993, the Ballidu Contemporary Arts Society Inc formed with the intention of providing a fine arts venue in the district. The Ballidu Lodge and Gallery was established at the old Masonic Hall, and in February 1995, the Society purchased the hall and changed the name to the Ballidu Lodge Art Gallery.

The Society holds regular exhibitions, host an artists-in-residence program, and coordinates community art projects, such as the sculptures installed around town. Look out for the Three Emus, Big Bird, and The Time Clock, as well as the four War Memorial Statues which were created in 2015 to commemorate the 100 Years of ANZAC.

Dingo Rock

This large granite outcrop is a location of historical significance – adding to its attraction as a popular bush walk and picnic spot. Features an ancient Aboriginal Gnamma Hole, carved out of the rock face to collect drinking water. Signs along the walk trail direct you to the rock. This fauna and flora reserve is on the Manmanning Road, 25kms east of Wongan Hills. There are parking bays, and a picnic area with tables and seating which is surrounded by natural scrub protecting it from the wind.

Station Master's House

The Station Master’s House in Wongan Hills is a good example of a Federation Bungalow style cottage, and is Heritage listed.

It was built in 1915 on the Northam to Mullewa line, and was the residence of the Wongan Hills Station Master from 1915 to the 1980s. The House is one of the structures that make up the Wongan Hills Railway Reserve Precinct.

The Station Master dealt with the public, oversaw the handling of passenger and freight trains in the station yard, and supervised the station staff.

Railway Barracks

The one-storey, timber framed and clad Railway Barracks has been permanently added to the WA State Heritage Register. It is one of less than ten remaining and intact examples of an early railway barracks in Western Australia.

Built from 1914-1921, the barracks housed train crews and workers maintaining the Northam-Mullewa railway line, which was vital in opening the northeastern wheatbelt. Together with the station buildings, water tank and stand, Station Master’s house and goods shed, the Railway Barracks form part of the Wongan Hills Railway Reserve Precinct – which serves as a reminder of the important part the railway has played in the development of the district and the town since 1911.

 

Railway Reserve Precinct

The Railway Reserve Precinct is possibly the only one in the state with Railway Barracks, Water Tower, Goods Shed and Station Master’s House still in situ, demonstrating a distinct railway identity.

The Precinct comprises:
• Railway Water Tank & Stand;
• Railway Barracks;
• Former Station Master’s House;
• Wongan Hills Railway Station;
• Railway Goods Shed;
• Ramp & Crane;
• Original Railway Station (Booking office);
• Railway Houses site;
• Stockyards site;
• Displaced Persons Camp (Tentland) site; and
• Railway Turntable site.

Wongan Hills
Pioneer Cemetery

The Wongan Hills Cemetery is situated approximately 2kms from the centre of town on Ningham Road. There are many beautiful wildflowers in evidence at the Cemetery. The first recorded burial in the Wongan Hills Cemetery was in 1914.

The Cemetery is in two sections, divided by a central roadway. The area on the left of the roadway is the earliest section in which many members of pioneer families are buried, and which was used until 1956. Use of the area on the right of the roadway was commenced around 1943 and is currently still in use.

Unfortunately, there are many graves in the Pioneer Section of the Cemetery that are unmarked, because we were unsure of grave locations. There are no early records of the Cemetery, but it is presumed that this area was selected for the Cemetery as it is on a sand plain, and is therefore easy to dig.

Wongan Hills Water Tower

The Water Tower was built in the railway yard in 1913 and 1914, and served the steam trains until the diesel era arrived in 1955.

The tank stands 12m (40ft) above the ground, supported by a tower constructed with Karri and Jarrah timbers. The metal water storage tank on top is square and holds 113,650 Lt (25,000 Gal).

The Water Tower was restored in 2010 in time for the Wongan Hills Town Centenary in 2011.