Eric Charlton

Eric Charlton

Former Minister for Transport

    Merredin waterfall dedicated to pioneer women

    27/11/1993 12:00 AM



    A waterfall has been built in the Wheatbelt town of Merredin in honour of the district's pioneer women.


    Transport Minister Eric Charlton, who officiated at today's dedication ceremony, said the waterfall was a fitting memorial to the women who helped open up the Eastern Wheatbelt.


    The waterfall was built by the Merredin Museum and Historical Society.


    The Merredin district was opened up to development about 1894 with the arrival in the Nangeenan area of W R Growden.


    "Early settlement in the Merredin district was similar to other Wheatbelt areas and the Goldfields," Mr Charlton said.


    "Life was characterised by rough living conditions, water shortages, isolation, risks to health and lack of educational facilities.


    "The basic services we now take for granted were not available to the area's first settlers.


    "The first women to arrive initially lacked experience in the harsh living conditions.


    "However, they all had a deep resourcefulness and strong character that saw them through the hard times."


    Mr Charlton paid tribute to the society's work in building the waterfall memorial.


    He said the society was also undertaking important work in compiling an historical list of the district's pioneer women which would prove a valuable reference for future generations.


    Today's unveiling ceremony coincides with the celebration of Merredin's rail centenary.


    "Rail played a vital role in opening up the Wheatbelt as it did other parts of the southern half of the State," Mr Charlton said.


    Media contact:  Dean Roberts 321 7333