Wagin

Wagin- home of the giant ram.

With the giant ram statue in town, there’s no prizes for guessing what sort of country town Wagin is. You’d be right if you guessed it’s an agricultural town. The township and surrounding farming areas occupies approximately 2000 square kilometres, with a populaton of under 2000. The mainstay of the farming is crops and, you guessed it, sheep.

Wagin advertises itself as an RV friendly town, and offers it’s showgrounds, with power and water to self contained vehicles for $10 a night, with an honour box system for payment. Now that really is RV friendly. We arrived before 10am, quickly set up, and then walked into town. The towns quite large with an assortment of shops to browse through. As always, if the accommodation is provided for nothing, or next to nothing, we make a point of supporting the town. Today we had a cuppa and a slice of old fashioned date and walnut loaf at a cafe in town. Then on to the butchers for some lamb chops, and fresh lambs fry. Next stop the bakers for some bread rolls.

The town has some surprisingly good facilities in it for it’s size. There’s a good sized swimming pool, good sporting ovals, the showgrounds, and even a small cinema.

Only a short walk from the show-grounds where we’re parked is the Wagin Historicial Village. At $5 each for seniors it provided a great look at Wagin’s history from the early settlers times. The replica buildings and donated items are a credit to the town, and are a must see for anyone visiting the area. We have nothing, absolutely nothing, to complain about today. Just take a look at this little house where the local laundress, Mrs Stevens and her seven children lived. (They don’t mention if there was a Mr Stevens).

I was one of seven children and grew up in a small three bedroomed house. We had two reasonably large bedrooms, one with two sets of bunks for the four boys, and the other had one set of bunks, and a single bed for us three girls. Mum and my stepfather slept in the small sunroom. Each bedroom had one small built in wardrobe, and one duchess (dressing table) which we shared. We had a lounge room, a kitchen with a table and chairs, and a bathroom which had a bath and a washbasin (no shower). Just like Mrs Stevens and her seven children, we also only bathed once a week, usually on Sunday nights so as were clean for the start of the school week. We had an inside washhouse/laundry and next to that an inside loo with a flushing toilet. The house was a new build which we moved into into 1961 when I was six, so it really was quite modern. When I think back to it, I always think how shabby and small it was. As the saying goes though, ’everything is relative’. If I compare my childhood home to homes today, naturally it’ll appear shabby and small. Clearly, I need to be comparing it to the house Mrs Stevens lived in with her seven children – wow, I was born in a fortunate era! Our childhood home was sheer luxury.

Next to Mrs Stevens house in the village was a replica bag tent.

There were 26 replica buildings on display from the early history of Wagin – Barber shops, post office, school room, blacksmiths, bookmakers, farm dairy, and many more including the general store.

There were buildings with old tractors and trucks, and all sorts of other implements from ’the olden days’ on display.

One of the buildings was moved here from the Wagin Hospital. It was originally built as the hospital’s quarantine room in 1911 and was used to house people with infectious diseases such as diphtheria and whooping couch. It reminded me that serious diseases capable of devastating a whole community were around not that very long ago, and these diseases are mainly not a problem today because of one thing and one thing only – immunisation. But I’m not going to get on that soap box here….

So that’s a look at the farming community of Wagin (aboriginal for, place of emus). A lovely town to spend a day or two in, the town of the giant ram.

14 thoughts on “Wagin

  1. Australia has that reputation for weird big things. The Ram I can understand. We used to have the Big Prawn a little to the south, but it needed renovation….
    Your description of your childhood home and seeing the bag tent and wattle and daub cottage made me think of how each generation thinks the next a little spoilt. We only had one toilet in my childhood home but did have a shower – the house was built in mid sixties. The house my kids grew up in had only one toilet but we added another in later. We made do with things that my daughter would toss out in a jiffy. As you alluded to, the passage of time changes expectations of what is considered average. Makes me wonder about the next generation and what they will think average is. Or will the planet’s challenges change their thinking somewhat?

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    1. I suspect that hard times are perhaps not to far away in this world. I think my grandchildren will see a reverse in the western worlds prosperity. I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. The world is in sad need of moderation and even scrimping.

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      1. The post war period was a good time in human history to live. We are lucky to experience peace and prosperity. Unfortunately the business model we chose to live with was flawed. We can adapt to different circumstances, so I hope we do.

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  2. They were hard times. I was watching New Gold Mountain in SBS last night and was fascinated with the reproduction of the buildings of the gold rush era. My great grandmother lost 8 of her children when they were living in tents on the goldfields.

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      1. Actually I just looked up my notes, they had 13 children and lost 9 (of varying ages), four of whom died in the same year. Diphtheria would probably have been the cause one would imagine. Thankfully 4 strapping sons made it to adulthood it seems that once they had taken up a selection built a proper house, water tank etc no more died. It’s heartbreaking to contemplate isn’t it?

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