Coordinates: 33°50′42″S 117°38′02″E
Mean maximum temperature: 22.1C (71.7F)
Mean minimum temperature: 9.3C (48.7F)
Annual rainfall: 478mm (18.81inches)
Broomehill has a population of approximately 400 and is situated 302km south of Perth and 160km north of Albany on the Great Southern Highway. Broomehill (original two words) is named after Sir Frederick Napier Broome, governor of Western Australia between 1883 and 1889 and owes its existance to the Great Southern Railway which was completed in 1889. The railway bypassed the now defunct town of Eticup, forcing settlers there to relocate to Broomehill and establish a township.
These pioneers included the Witham, Walshe and Curnow families who worked hard to establish the town’s early buildings, which included a police station (now St Elizabeth’s Church) and post office, both completed in 1892. The townsite was gazetted by the Western Australian Land Company in 1890, which was not recognised by the State Government until 1897. The townsite plan of that year set out 500 lots and by the turn of the 20th Century, 99 had been sold. The settlement grew rapidly and became a centre for supplies.
In 1893, gold was discovered in the Eastern Goldfields town of Coolgardie, attracting prospectors from around Australia. The only route available from Albany was via Northam, so a shorter track was cut through the bush by an engineer called John Holland who set out to complete the task with a group of workers in April 1893. Now known as the Holland Track, the 500km route between Broomehill and Gnarlbine Rock, south west of Coolgardie, took Holland and his men just two months to complete and at the time was claimed to be the longest cart track cut in one stretch in WA. The track remains open and is a popular four-wheel drive, mountain-biking and walking route.
Broomehill can claim home to one of the State’s oldest remaining bridges which crosses the Wadjekanup River - a former Aboriginal ceremonial site. Nearby, the old Hayfield School, an 1854 pioneer’s grave and a hut built by prisoners of war can be found. The town’s museum was built in 1898 and has served a number of different purposes including town hall, a garage and a church. The Jones Building, completed in 1911, is an impressive heritage-listed structure and former general store which once sold everything from flour to bullets. Today, Broomehill’s economy is dependent on wheat and sheep farming although recently farmers have diversified into viticulture and aquaculture in the form of barramundi farming.
For further information contact the Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup on (08) 9825 3555 - www.shirebt.wa.gov.au.