|The Cuballing Hotel
Tiny township which has changed little in 50 years
Located 192 km south-east of Perth, on the Great Southern Highway, the Cuballing district embraces the townships of Cuballing, Yornaning and Popanyinning. The hotel, the old bank (now closed), the Agricultural Hall (which seems no longer to be used), the Cuballing Roads Board Office (now the town's CWA Rooms) are all held in time as though nothing has happened in sixty years. The effect is that visiting Cuballing is like visiting a town in the 1920s or 1930s.
The explanation for this strange phenomenon is that in the 1880s there was a rumour that Cuballing was going to become the main junction town where the railway lines from the north and the east met. It was a good theory and speculators and investors moved into the town but, unfortunately for Cuballing, the growth occurred in a town14 km away. The town which was chosen as the junction was Narrogin (it had a better water supply) and by 1920 Cuballing was dying and Narrogin was surging ahead.
In recent times things have begun to change as people, looking for a country lifestyle, have been able to pick up parcels of land at very reasonable costs in the district.
Things to see:
Today Cuballing has a number of interesting old buildings - the Roads Board dates from 1898; the W.A. Bank, now a private residence, dates from 1903; St Peters Church - also a private residence was built in1911 and the Post Office, Agricultural Hall and Hotel all date from 1912.
The determination of the local farmers and the townsfolk to keep the town alive is probably best symbolised by the Town Hall which was built by voluntary labour on Sundays in an attempt to give the small community some importance and status.
Dryandra State Forest
The major attraction in the area is the Dryandra State Forest, 28 000 ha of woodland surrounded by cleared wheatbelt country. It is now widely accepted that the damage done to the ecology of the whole West Australian wheatbelt by the clearing of land has caused major salination problems and created a situation where significant numbers of local fauna and flora species have become extinct. The Dryandra State Forest is one of the largest remaining areas of natural woodland in the Western Australian wheatbelt. To enter this forest is to be reminded what the wheatbelt was like before it was cleared. Here are stands of wandoo and powderbark, pockets of jarrah and marri, some dryandra heath and rock sheoak. In these natural forests are colonies of such rare mammals as the small kangaroo-like woylie, the tammar and the numbat. There are also over 100 species of bird, including the mallee fowl, living in the forest.
Attractions within Dryandra include 'Barna Mia', an animal sanctuary located in the heart of the woodlands, where visitors can view at close range a number of threatened native marsupials. There is also an arboretum, where an interesting range of Australian natives are growing, and an ochre trail walk to an ochre pit which was once quarried by local Aborigines. A radio drive trail, unique in Australia, provides solar-powered radio transmitters which broadcast stories of Dryandra history. At set times during the year Dryandra Woodland Ecology Courses are held.
There are a number of interesting walks through the forest and the local Lions Club have taken the old forestry settlement and turned it into a holiday camp. For more details contact (08) 9883 6020. There is a useful and detailed CALM brochure available titled Dryandra State Forest which has a good map and illustrations to help identify the local fauna and flora.