Merredin Kyle Hughes-Odgers
Read their Stories
I was born in Merredin. I left school at age 14 and went to work at CBH. My family was originally from Perth and came up this way. There’s five brother and five sisters in my family. Two died at birth so it would have been 12 but we ended up with 10 of us. Being a big family, there was a struggle on with looking after mum and that so a friend who was in charge at CBH got me a job there. They said “You can start down there Monday Spike,” and I didn’t know what the hell was down there so I rock up down there as a 14 year old and they give me a job as a cleaner for a while, I was only a little tacker, and when the big bosses came up from Perth, because my age was put up to 17- but I was actually only 14, I’d have to have the day off. I’ve been in Merredin all my life. I’ll probably die here, I’m happy living in the country.
Paddy & Joan Crook
One of the reasons we all got through reasonably all those ups and downs on the farm—and by Christ there were some downs—was because of the women we’d married. And they all got on well together too, which was even more remarkable.
When I first started at CBH it was steam trains and bag wheat. We’ve gone from there to the big set up we have today. I’ve seen a lot of changes.
I guess just by nature of living in a regional area you’re always connected to farming. We’re all linked, so even though I’m not on a farm, the visceral reaction to rain or no rain is there.
I suppose from my viewpoint, living out here, I love the bush, the wildflowers, it’s not too crowded. By and large, people are all sort of like minded. Everyone out here is my brother really.
Fate brought me to Merredin. I grew up in Perth but I left as soon as I could. I just had some sort of yearning for the bush.
Eddie & Margaret Johnston
I joined the army in 1942, when I was only eighteen. At that time practically everyone was joining. A short time after that I was sent to New Guinea where the Japanese were. I spent two years of my service up there. I was there when the Japanese landed. I think I am one of the very few survivors left from the Second World War in Merredin.