Yilliminning was once a railway community, but there is little left apart from a few ruins, a great story, and a nature reserve in pristine condition.
I have long wondered why the (defunct) Yilliminning Hall, the relocated Lutheran church, and townsite were so separated. The answer lies in a tale of two townsites, which with details of settlers in the district are described in the book The Way Through: The Story of Narrogin. O.E. Pustkuchen 1981 (from page 346).
Settlement in the district began in the early 1900s. Many settlers were immigrants that included German farmers from South Australia. The Lange family established a large farm at Wardering (now Ockley siding) and invited their South Australian friends, the Bacon family to join them. Contact between The newly arrived Bacons and local Noongars at Wardering is shown below.
The first hub of public activity was a survey of the tiny Wardering townsite and a public hall, which was built in 1907. soon after the Narrogin-Merredin railway was built. Mr Schoolar, the first teacher in the district,taught half the week at the rear of the hall, and the other half at the Yilliminning Rock school. The hall was also a place for church services by the various denominations.
In 1914 a Lutheran church was built, mainly by the Lange’s on their property adjoining today’s Ockley siding site. When the Lange’s left the farm, Bert Lange could not bear to see his beloved family church neglected. On his instigation, the church was removed brick by brick and rebuilt in its present location in Lock Street Narrogin.
My colleague Greg Durell recalls a time when there were still houses there and the school building was intact. There was also a small Noongar community. Gregs’ father told him that at one time every Thursday, Yilliminning community members would push an old car on to the road, hop in and the car was towed into Narrogin so they could do their shopping. At the end of the day, they were towed back to Yilliminning. Apparently, police were more tolerant in those days.
Today only plaques and the ruined station masters house remain.
Soil salinity has crept into the townsite, and the dam in the reserve has become saline. In 1993 as part of the Hawke government’s Decade of Landcare, the Yilliminning River Catchment Group ripped these areas and planted 5,000 salt tolerant trees and shrubs, which have thrived. This is one example of the huge amount of conservation and tree planting done by farmers and community members with the assistance of government and industry, which has been largely forgotten.
The upland plain on the western end is a remarkably diverse kwongan plain, which has a wealth of flowering plants. Of particular note are a few rare coloured flower variants of Hakea prostrata near the northern side of Boundain Road
To view more wildflowers at this reserve click HERE