Tractor fan? Come to Wyalkatchem

It seems visitors to the area have a bit of trouble pronouncing Wyalkatchem, so locals have shortened it to Wylie (as you do in Australia).

Prospectors  in  search  of  gold  once  passed  through  Wyalkatchem  on  their  way  to  Kalgoorlie. The town is also famous for its farming and pioneer heritage. A popular attraction in town, the C.B.H. museum is housed in a 1936 “K” type wheat bin. This wheat bin is also a cultural heritage site and the oldest bin preserved in history. Quite apt considering Wyalkatchem is known as the cradle of bulk wheat handling.

For the tractor fans, it’s your chance to see the ‘Waterloo Boy’ one of the first John Deere tractor models made in 1920 – which still works 100 years later! How’s that for efficiency?

Farming equipment, rare wagons, tractors and agricultural memorabilia also takes pride of place in the C.B.H. museum – with over 500 items on display from the 19th century.

A second shed displaying 40 original tractors was built partly from materials salvaged from a demolished wheat bin. Wyalkatchem is also famous for being the first shire to handle bulk wheat in 1931. Bulk handling and collection of wheat started with Mr Harry Threlfall from Korrelocking on 9 November 1931. A year later, two engine driven grain elevators were installed at the railway to cope with the demand and the first trainload of Wheat departed Wyalkatchem for Fremantle port.

John Lindsay was Wyalkatchem’s early pioneers and a key advocate for the bulk handling of wheat.  He arrived in Western Australia after spending some years in South Africa. While John knew  little  about  farming when he started off, he  was  familiar  with  the  Australian  bush  and  hard  work.

As a farmer, John struggled  from  day  one;  he  scrimped  and  saved  to buy  land  from  the  government,  did  jobs  for  local  people  to  earn  money,  lost  all  his  personal  and  valued  possessions  in  a  fire  that  destroyed  his  camp  and  made  expensive  mistakes  in  farming  his  land.

Later, he entered politics and served in local government. John was appointed as the first  Chairman  of  the  Wyalkatchem  Road  Board,  and as  Minister  for  Public  Works  and  Labour and  J.P. Given Wyalkatchem’s important role in contributing to the grain economy, he continuously advocated to increase the amount of farming land available to people in his electorate. “...I  learned  my  farming,  not  by  driving  a  railway  engine  but  by  going  on  the  land...” said he once in Parliament.

Was he a farmer who was a successful politician?  Or was he a politician with a farmer’s mind?  Whichever  way  you  look  at  it,  John  Lindsay  turned  the  hard  lessons  he  learned  on  the  land  into  progress  and  development for Wyalkatchem.