Moorine Rock (town site)

Situated 22km west of Southern Cross, Moorine Rock is named for the rock formation which in turn was an Aboriginal name adopted by explorer and surveyor Charles Hunt when he built one of 26 wells at a natural soak. This became a vital stop for prospectors and teamsters on their way to the Goldfields.

In 1892 a telegraph line was constructed between York and Southern Cross. Where this line crossed over the Parkers Range Road a camping ground developed and became known as “13-mile”. Today this area is at the western end of the township of Moorine Rock and the telegraph track is the Great Eastern Highway.

To cater for travellers, the government sunk a number of wells, bores and dams at 13-mile during 1892 and by September of that year James George Thomas erected a hotel/store. 1894 saw the coming of the railway creating further activity at 13-mile when a railway siding was established. To service the steam engines a large dam was constructed which still stands at the eastern end of town.

A stone brewery was built at the western end of town alongside the well and hotel, however the company never got into production and the idea was abandoned, probably because the well was prone to go dry during summer. The building was left to tumble down.

Following WW1 a plan was hatched between the British and Australian governments to turn a thousand square miles of Yilgarn bush into farms. Returned soldiers would be rewarded with land. The scheme, largely financed by the British Government, offered free passage to ex-servicemen and their families to emigrate. The district experienced another rush, this time golden grain rather than gold.

By 1925 the Parkers Road district was a hive of activity with settlers busily clearing their blocks. A townsite was surveyed opposite the railway siding and gazetted on 1st October 1926. Thirty-two building blocks of ¼ acre size were laid out. Streets were named McInnes, Driver and Morgan. Town lots cost between £10 and £15.

Business was well under way with Dennis and Libbers opening their Trading Co general store in the main street alongside Tyler’s General Store during 1925. September 1926 saw the township renamed Moorine Rock resulting from a petition following mail confusion with Parkers Range. By 1928, a huge area of Moorine Rock was cleared or being made ready. Demand for land in the area attracted many applicants.

With so many settlers living south of Moorine Rock the government constructed a properly formed road for a distance of 17 miles (27km). In June, a telephone exchange was installed at Moorine Rock and 15 farmers were connected up.

June 1929 saw the official opening of the Moorine Public Hall. The annual meeting of Yilgarn rate payers was held there, being the first time it had been conducted outside of Southern Cross. At this meeting it was agreed that settlers at Mount Hampton would clear the road for 12 miles in lieu of paying rates that year.

In February 1930, Moorine Rock finally got its pub. The hotel opened under licensee G J White and owner Andrew Lindberg and still stands in mostly original condition. The pub had been jinkered from nearby Burbidge and comprised 9 bedrooms, 2 sitting rooms, bar, parlour, billiard room, kitchen store room, stabling and motor accommodation.

Dulyalbin, 48km south of Moorine and Mount Hampton, another 20 km south, were known as sub-districts until progressive Dulyalbin settlers with some 46 farms formed themselves into a separate community. Social events were regular and very popular with many community picnics held at Dulyalbin Rock. The small community grew and soon qualified for its own mail service. The demand for water and difficulty of carting it from Moorine Rock saw the need for a second well to be dug at the base of Dulyalbin Rock when the first dried up. Politicians were invited to the grand opening in October 1931.  The first water was pumped by the wife of the local MLA, Mrs Cornell.

By the 1940’s the little township of Moorine Rock and surrounding communities were no longer thriving. The depression, followed by War, saw many farms being abandoned and most of the businesses closed. Only one general store and the Post Office remained. Even the Hotel had closed and became a temporary convent for Highgate Convent School with students from Perth based there during the War for safety. It reopened later.

Over the coming years farms continued to get larger as neighbours bought out neighbours. This meant a reduction in population which had a flow on effect throughout the communities. Machinery undreamed of by the pioneer settlers enabled broad acre farming to become the norm. Today the Moorine Rock/Dulyalbin/Mount Hampton district still ranks as the most prosperous in the Yilgarn.