|Brookton Railway Centre and Tourist Information Office
Typical small wheatbelt town
Located 138 km south-east of Perth, Brookton is a typical small wheatbelt town spreading out on both sides of the railway line and the Great Southern Highway.
The area was settled by John Seabrook in 1846 which, as every brochure about the town proudly announces, was only seventeen years after the settlement on the Swan River.
Seabrook remained the only European in the area (apart from the itinerant sandalwood cutters who scoured the land for the lucrative aromatic timber) until his stepson, A. W. Robinson, took up adjacent land in 1864. Throughout the 1860s and 1870s more settlers moved into the area. They all survived on a combination of sandalwood cutting (it sold for £9 per ton) and wheat and sheep farming.
At this time the land around Brookton was heavily timbered with white gums, York gums, jam and she-oak thickets and scrub. This was removed by axe, pick and burning. Not only did the early settlers destroy this vegetation but in the process they killed off wild turkeys, emus, the pouched mouse and the warrin, a small wallaby-like creature.
The Great Southern Railway was the catalyst which gave the isolated farms a centre. It arrived in 1884 with the establishment of the Seabrook Siding (named after the first settler, it was eventually changed to Brookton because there was another Seabrook near York). The siding inevitably attracted a few businesses and by 1903 the tiny settlement of Brookton comprised a school, hotel, bank and a few shops. In 1906 the Brookton Road Board was formed.
Today the town has a population of a little over 1000 people. In spite of this relatively substantial size (for a wheat-belt town), there are only a few attractions for the visitor.
Things to see:
Old Police Station Museum
The Old Police Station Museum, on the corner of Robinson Road and Grosser Street, is open from 1.00 p.m. - 4.00 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. It can be opened on request by contacting (08) 9642 1062. It contains some early artifacts relating to policing in Western Australia as well as a good collection of local memorabilia.
The attractive old railway station in the centre of town has been converted into a tourist information centre from which maps and details of how to get to Nine Acre Rock (a large granite outcrop with a ruined old house nearby) and Yenyenning Lakes, with their picnic facilities, can be obtained.
Boyagin Rock Nature Reserve
Ten km south-west of the town is the Boyagin Rock Nature Reserve which has important stands of powderbark, jarrah and marri. It is the home of numbats and tammar wallabies. Boyagin is a must for anyone interested in what the wheat-belt was like before it was cleared. It is widely recognised as one of the few areas of original fauna and flora left in the wheat-belt. It has picnic facilities.
Boyagin Rock is an imposing outcrop which has been cracked and pitted by weathering. The rock is home to the unusual resurrection plant, a tough little plant known as pin cushions which dries out in summer and appears to have died only to be 'resurrected' by the first rains of winter.