Hidden Treasures of the Wheatbelt
I love the Wheatbelt. It's like time slows down once you cross over the 'Jarrah Fence' of the Darling Scarp. The further east I go the more the land opens up and the slower time seems to get!
Earlier today I was heading to Bruce Rock and decided there must be a 'rock'. Having not seen it before, I thought it was high time I found Bruce. As one of the main tourist attractions of Bruce Rock it was not difficult to find. Signs pointed me in the right direction and just 2kms out of town, there it was...
Everyone, meet Bruce...
Having now fulfilled my touristic desires for the day, I decided to head off early to Quairading, where I was presenting a workshop in the evening. The task was simple. Drive from A to B, get there nice and early and enjoy what Quairading has to offer.
My touristic desires were once again refreshed when half way between the two towns I saw a sign advertising Australia's Smallest Bank! The main attraction in Shackleton.
This I had to see, and they weren't wrong - I can honestly say I haven't seen a bank this small before.
I took a few photos from a few different angles to try and capture the 'smallness' of it, then set off on my way. A couple of hundred metres away was the Shackleton General Store, so I decided to stop and get a drink and something to eat. A decision which changed my day completely.
I opened the store door (I'm a poet and didn't know it!) and walked into a fairly large room with just a couple of shelves in the corner to my left, a fridge opposite me on the back wall and a cash register and small post office on the right.
As I walked to the fridge, an elderly man came out from a back room and confidently hobbled over to the counter, acknowledging me with a nod as he walked past.
I moved on to select a chocolate bar and while I was looking, the elderly man questioned me - "Are you from Waroona?"
A little surprised by his insight, I politely said yes and wondered how he knew. He could see my car out of the window and the number plate tipped him off!
"I used to be a teacher in Waroona, at a little school before it moved up the hill to where it is now" he said.
I love history. To me it's a time which I will never be able to be a part of, something I will never truly understand, other than to be taken aback by what appears to be a golden era. A time when men were men, women were women and jobs were hard. Manual labour was just something you did. It seems that while times were tough, joy, happiness and community were never far away.
Nothing confirms this more than the sparkle in this man's eyes, the smile on his face and the times and experiences that came flooding back to him as he spoke of his time in Waroona.
This, is Mr Davies.
Mr Davies taught year 5 and 6 children in 1960 and 1961.
In a town I nearly missed, in a shop I nearly never went into, is an elderly man whose smile and affection for Waroona will remain with me for the rest of my days :)
The Wheatbelt really does have hidden treasures...