Merredin Kyle Hughes-Odgers
Three hours on the Great Eastern Highway will bring you to Merredin, the largest regional centre in the eastern Wheatbelt. The town boasts the longest grain storage facilities in the southern hemisphere, as well as a good selection of eating houses and accommodation options, making it the ideal base for exploring the eastern Wheatbelt.
If you’re on the trail to discover some of Western Australia’s 12,000 plus flowering species (making up the largest collection on Earth), make up the largest collection on Earth, make a beeline for the delicate orchids of Tamma Parkland or the vast granite outcrops of Merredin Peak and Totadgin Conservation Park.
The Merredin Peak Heritage Trail will also lead you through native bushland to the remains of a former army field hospital – one of many historic military installations dotted throughout the region as reminders of Merredin’s role as the second line of defence during WW II. If trains and railways are more to your taste, the Merredin Railway Museum pays tribute to the original steam trains before the transfer to standard gauge for locomotives took place. The museum offers a range of displays including a G117 class steam locomotive circa 1897.
In the town, Cummins Theatre built from bricks salvaged from Coolgardie hotels and the original pressed metal ceiling from Coolgardie’s Tivoli Theatre, it also houses one of the best collections of Australian theatre archives in the state.
A look at the infamous Rabbit Proof Fence. Made immortal by Doris Pilkington Garimara’s book about her mother’s epic nine-week walk back along the fence to the desert home she had been taken from, this barrier was originally constructed in the early 1900s in an attempt to keep the rabbits out. You can see a section of it here in Merredin.