LAKE GRACE: The town is located in the Eastern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. 345 kilometres (214 miles) from Perth along State Route 107 between Wagin and Ravensthorpe. In the 2006 census there was a population of 507. The townsite was gazetted in 1916.
Sunsets over the beautiful lake:
The area was first taken up for agriculture around 1911 and in 1913 a school was established. In 1914 the government planned to extend the railway network from Kukerin to Lake Grace and local settlers lobbied for a townsite to be declared at the terminus. The railway was completed in 1916 and the townsite gazetted later that year. The branch railway was extended to the ultimate terminus at Newdegate in 1926 and a further branch from Lake Grace to Hyden opened in 1933, thus making Lake Grace a junction and therefore of some importance for train working operations. This is the Lake Grace railway station:
The lake after which the townsite was named was given the name Lake Grace by Marshall Fox, the District Surveyor, in 1910. It is named after Grace Brockman, the wife of the then Surveyor General, Frederick S. Brockman. Grace Brockman became famous in 1876 when she, as Grace Bussell, and her stockman Sam Isaacs, rescued many people from the wreck of the "Georgette" near the mouth of the Margaret River.
In 1922 the Rev. John Flynn visited the town to assess the suitability for establishing an Australian Inland Mission (AIM) hospital. The W.A. government agreed to subsidise the building of the hospital, which was built by AIM, opened in 1926 staffed by 2 nurses. In 1934 the Lake Grace Hospital Board repaid the loan from the Australian Inland Mission and took over the ownership of the hospital. The hospital served an area of 26,000 square kilometres (10,000 square miles) including providing maternity ward facilities. The hospital ceased operation in 1952 with the construction and replacement by the Lake Grace Memorial Hospital. The AIM hospital was in disrepair by 1983 with the state government deciding to demolish the building. Protests by former staff and the local communty halted the demolition, and the building was restored as a museum with the help of the Lake Grace Shire Council and the local people. The building is one of 3 remaining AIM hospitals and is listed on local, state and national heritage registers.
Natural disasters: In late 2005 and early 2006, Lake Grace experienced two natural disasters. The first was a a hail storm on 16 October, 2005 which destroyed 500 hectares of wheat and barley crop and damaged a further 5,500 hectares, with some farmers reporting fields covered by up to 25 cms (10 inches) of hail and kilometres of road turned white. It was accompanied by about 60mm (over 1 inch) of rainfall.
On 13 January, 2006 the town was flooded by Tropical Cyclone Clare, receiving 230mm (9.5 inches) of rainfall. It was declared a disaster zone by the State Government. Just over a week later, the town was hit again by rain from Tropical Cyclone Daryl. Large pumps were brought in to help dry out flooded roads, and the main highway to Perth was reopened six weeks later.
Note: According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Lake Grace normally receives a total of 353.3 mm (14 inches) of rainfall per annum with 16.3mm (just over half an inch) in January.
Lake Grace is located on the 'cross roads' with it being half way between Perth and Esperance as well as acting as a main through point for those travelling between Albany and the wheatbelt. The surrounding area produce wheat and other cereal crops. This town is also a receival site for CBH.
Crops and hay bales: (that canola is such a beautiful yellow isn't it?)
I would like to acknowledge the Camera Club for the photos of the lake and the crops shown here.