The best museums in the Wheatbelt
The Wheatbelt is rich with history, and fittingly so, boasts a huge number of museums! The majority of these are suitable for kids, so they can be enjoyed by the whole family! Most of these Museums are run by local volunteers and just ask for a small entry charge and often kids are even free, making them great value for money! Enjoy this opportunity to learn a little bit more about the history of the Wheatbelt on your next road trip.
The Betty Brown Historical Centre located in the Wheatbelt town of Darkan is a museum dedicated to the changing role of women in West Arthur, a rural farming community. Women were integral to the establishment and development of agriculture communities throughout Australia, including West Arthur. The Centre won the 2020 Australian Museums and Art Galleries National Award for Permanent Exhibition or Gallery Fitout, so this one is a must-visit if you're heading to the Southern Wheatbelt region!
Merredin The Merredin Railway Museum pays tribute to the days of steam with a well-restored recreation of the old station. Kids can pretend to drive a steam train and climb the signal tower for an interesting outlook. It is also a real highlight for railway enthusiasts. The Military Museum in the town of Merredin houses Western Australia's largest collection of restored military vehicles and equipment. Kids can wander around the museum to examine the vehicles that were used by the Australian Armed Forces during the two World Wars, as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Westonia The Hood Penn Museum features a variety of scenes showcasing early life in Westonia including a pub scene, a shop/hardware store scene, a petrol station/garage scene, a kitchen scene, a bedroom scene, and a blacksmith/farm workshop scene as well as many artifacts from pioneering daily life, they can even have a go at writing at a school desk with a quill and inkpot. Each scene also includes a realistic lifelike mannequin, complete with wrinkles and blemishes. The museum also includes a vibrating mine tunnel that aims to replicate life in an early Westonian gold mine – just watch your kids face when they experience the mine blast! Then head just out of town to the Edna May Gold Mine Look Out to watch a real gold mine in action!
Nungarin The Heritage Machinery and Army Museum is housed in an original massive Army Vehicle Workshop building constructed in Nungarin in 1942-43 as part of Australia’s defence during WWII. The museum also has an imposing display of Military Memorabilia Including an impressive 10th Light Horse Collection. Other items on display include the rare Dingo Scout Car and the General Grant Tank and other military vehicles. A large collection of Agricultural Development heritage memorabilia and machinery is also displayed – as well as a section dedicated to vintage toys and dolls! Kids will be amazed!
Wyalkatchem The CBH and Agricultural Museum has a fine collection of agricultural history and memorabilia related to life in the central Wheatbelt during the twentieth century, containing over 500 items on display including some very rare tractors restored to original condition. Kids can climb aboard many items on display and even pretend to be driving a tractor!
Corrigin The Corrigin Pioneer Museum houses the history of our days gone by, a worthwhile visit whilst in Corrigin. View the collection of tools and restored farm machinery, including tractors in working order, see the blacksmiths shop, the one-room school, the shearing shed, old district photographs, clothing and other pioneer memorabilia. The Pioneer Memorial Wall at the entrance to the Museum commemorates early settlers. Please call in for a visit, you will be surprised!
Narembeen The Grain Discovery Centre is a modern interpretive centre that tells the story of WA's grain industry from the paddock to the plate. It features brilliant visual and interpretive displays and interactive televisions, with plenty of things for the kids to do and experience to learn how food is grown and even includes a supermarket showing end products, like breakfast cereals and bread.
No trip to the Wheatbelt is complete without visiting the only remaining Australian Inland Mission Hospital. These ‘inland’ hospitals were the vision of John Flynn, a pioneer in his field and a passionate advocate who believed that pioneers in the most remote locations needed access to healthcare and hospitals, just like their city cousins. Lake Grace is not so remote today, and it’s a perfect stopover on your way to Esperance. And as you wander through the hospital’s old old-style wards, duty room, kitchen and laundry, you’ll appreciate the ambience of an early 20th-century rural hospital and the nurses and doctors who went above and beyond to make a difference.
Wave Rock Wildlife Park is three hectares of natural bushland that creates a beautiful haven for the native and exotic animals and birds that live here. Bring a picnic and show the kids the white, grey or silver kangaroos and wallabies, koalas, golden possums, deers, donkeys, alpacas, camels, exotic poultry, water birds, swans, owls, betongs, wombats and many more.