|A stone well near Bruce Rock
Bruce Rock (including Kokerbin Rock and Shackleton)
Typical wheatbelt town with unusual rock formations in the area
Located 243 km east of Perth, Bruce Rock is a typical wheatbelt town. It was originally known as Nunagin but confusion with other towns in the area led to the change to its present name. Although it has been predominantly a wheat and sheep area since the turn of the century in recent years the area around Bruce Rock has also been used to grow barley, lupins, peas, pigs and goats.
The town got its name from a low granite outcrop which lies to the east of the town and which was named after a sandalwood cutter named John Rufus Bruce who set up his camp near a soak at the base of the rock. The rock is signposted to the east of the town (cross over the railway line and take the Bruce Rock Road until you see signs to the north).
At the rock there is a sign which reads: 'This marks the camp site of John Rufus Bruce after whom Bruce Rock was named. The small soak was originally a native soak possibly centuries old. The deep well is a good example of the method used in stoning wells in the early 1900s by the Public Works Department.' There are actually two wells at the site. The important historic site is the rectangular shaped well not the rounded one.
The area was explored in 1836 by John Septimus Roe but like most of the wheatbelt it was not settled until after 1900 with land being released for agriculture in 1908. In the intervening years the only people in the area were pastoralists with large leaseholdings who grazed sheep and the occasional sandalwood cutter such as John Rufus Bruce.
Bruce Rock is the centre of an area which, unlike most wheatbelt areas, has a number of genuinely very interesting sights and places to visit. There's the tiny bank at Shackleton and the superb Kokerbin Rock which is surely the equal to the more famous Wave Rock near Hyden.
Things to see:
There are two museums in town. Over the road from the Mrs Lin Butler Museum (which is located in the main street) there is a display of agricultural equipment including a particularly well preserved old car.
|Australia's smallest bank measuring only 3 x 4 metres, Shackleton
The Mrs Lin Butler museum is a very good folk museum with large and interesting displays of both domestic and agricultural memorabilia. Behind the museum two interesting old buildings - a tiny one room schoolhouse complete with school desks and blackboard and a typical wheatbelt settlers cottage with its tiny rooms and low ceiling in which are housed a four feet wide double bed and a two feet wide single bed - have been reconstructed complete with the original furnishings. They have been cleverly recreated with the school being moved to the site and the settlers cottage being built out of mudbricks and whitewashed canvas. It is open from 10.00 am-4.00 pm. There is a caretaker's residence at the side of the building.
The bank at Shackleton claims to be Australia's smallest bank. It is a claim few would argue with. Measuring only 3 metres by 4 metres it is only open on Fridays from 3.00 pm - 4.30 pm. It is located out of Bruce Rock on the Quairading Road.
|Kokerbin Rock, near Bruce Rock
Kokerbin Rock, located 45 km west of the town via the charming hamlet of Kwolyin (the pub is really the only building in the hamlet and has Chinese characters under the pub's name - presumably Kwolyin in Chinese), is a large granite outcrop which immediately strikes the visitor with its size and grandeur. It is said that Kokerbin meant 'high or lofty place' in the language of the local Aborigines. There are a number of access points to the rock with a road which runs around the base. It is possible to drive up to the top of the rock where there are excellent views over the surrounding countryside.