|The main street of Pingelly
Pingelly (including Mourambine)
Medium sized mixed farming town in the wheatbelt.
Located 158 km south-east of Perth and 297 m above sea level, Pingelly is a mixed farming town which is slightly larger and more sophisticated than the usual single street, one pub and a grain silo wheat town.
The town was named in 1898 after Pinge Gully¹ or Pinge Culling¹ at the head of the Avon River. It is claimed that Pinge¹ was an Aboriginal word meaning small gully¹.
The most remarkable thing about Pingelly is Sylvia Lange¹s book Pingelly: Our People and Progress. It is not every town with a population of about 1500 that can boast a book of 576 pages on its history. No mean achievement. Over one-third of a page for every person in the town. It certainly provides everything anyone would ever want to know about the town.
The first settler in the area was Lewis John Bayley who took up land in 1846 and named his house Mourambine¹ it was almost certainly the name given by local Aborigines to a nearby spring. Other settlers followed and within a decade all the land around the present site of Pingelly was being grazed and there were sandalwood cutters moving through the area looking for timber.
The first township in the area was Mourambine which grew slowly until by the 1870s it consisted of a school, church, store, gaol, some houses and some wells.
Mourambine was gazetted in April 1884 in an attempt to legitimise its existence before the arrival of the railway line. The attempt was in vain. The railway line passed 10 km west of the township in 1889 and within a few years the siding of Pingelly (the name was changed from Pingaculling to Pingelly by the railway authorities) was growing and Mourambine was slowly dying.
By 1909 Mourambine was still important enough to be included in the title of the PingellyMourambine Road Board (which was however located in Pingelly) but a few years later the name was changed to Pingelly.
Things to see:
|St Patricks Church, Mourambine near Pingelly
Mourambine Heritage Trail
There is a Moorumbine Heritage Trail brochure (there doesn¹t seem to be any explanation for the variation in spelling Sylvia Lange and the town signs say Mourambine¹ while the Heritage Trail brochure consistently spells it Moorumbine¹) which gives detailed histories of the most prominent buildings remaining in the old town. Located 10 km east of Pingelly, the old buildings, which are spread over quite a wide area, are well worth visiting. They indicate that most of the important building in the town took place in the 1870s. The centrepiece is undoubtedly the stone and shingle St Patrick¹s Anglican Church (it is unusual to find an Anglican church named St Patrick¹s) which was completed in 1872 and consecrated the following year. Its setting on top of a gentle hill with the winds soughing through the branches of the nearby pine trees and the old graves standing silently around it make it one of the most interesting buildings in the district.
The rest of the buildings listed on the Heritage Trail are all private property but it is interesting to see the old Sandalwood Inne which was built in 1872, Atkins¹ Cottage which was built the same year and Ingram¹s Cottage, with its handmade bricks, which was completed in 1889 the year the railway bypassed the town.
|The weather rock outside The Court House Museum
Attractions in Pingelly
There is little to interest the visitor in Pingelly. It is just a typical quiet country town servicing the predominantly sheep and wheat farmers in the surrounding district. Oats, barley, and clover are also grown in the area, and cattle and pigs are raised.
The main attraction in the town is the Old Court House Museum which is located on the corner of Pasture and Parade Streets and contains the usual folk museum memorabilia. A wonderful idiosyncrasy is the amusing rock which swings outside the museum. Don¹t miss it.
Boyagin Rock Nature Reserve
There are a couple of interesting Nature Reserves in the area. Twenty six km north-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.
Tutanning Nature Reserve
Twenty km east of the town is the famous Tutanning Nature Reserve where the botanist Guy Shorteridge collected over 400 species of plants for the British museum between 1903 and 1906. It covers only about 2000 ha and because of its experimental importance (like Boyagin it is a remnant of the original fauna and flora of the region) it has no recreational facilities.