Watheroo History

It seems that in about 1851, a man by the name of James Oliver came to this area and settled on a property of 20,000 acres which we assume he named 'Marah'. This assumption arises as in all the information that I have found it has always been referred to as 'Marah' or 'Marah Mission'.

James Oliver sold out to Joseph Purser of Gingin in about 1855 - 60. It does not appear the Joseph Purser ever resided on 'Marah'; it seems that most of Mr. Purser's life was spent at Bindoon and York, with his wife Frances York.

On 12th November 1868, 'Marah' was signed over to the Benedictine Community of New Norcia. The agreement that John Purser and Thomas Elliot signed as executors stated that:

Assign all the mixed stock of sheep, consisting of three thousand then depasturing in the charge of Thomas Sweetman at Marco at or near Watheroo in the Victoria Plains District, together with the prospective increase thereof. And also all those Crown Leases known in the survey office of the said colony as Melbourne Number 1211 consisting of twenty thousand acres. Melbourne Number 3253 consisting of four thousand acres, Melbourne Number 2179, consisting of four thousand acres, Melbourne Number 2177, consisting of six thousand acres, Melbourne Number 2178 consisting of four thousand acres.

This was the beginning for some huge changes to 'Marah' and in turn to the small community of Watheroo. The Benedictine Community retained ownership of the property right up until 1912.

The signing of the Waddington Agreement began a new journey, with the onset of a railway line that would extend from Guildford to Walkaway. Some two hundred and seventy seven miles in distance. By 1894 the small town of Watheroo was buzzing with new people. The English company that had been engaged to build the line began the erection of the Watheroo Railway Station in early 1894. By November 1894, the building had been completed, and the first train stopped at the new Watheroo Station on 24th November 1894.

The man who built the station was a Mr. Fredreich Gustav Leibe, he was a German gentleman who had been engaged to build many of the station along this line. The work that he completed has shown that he was an extremely knowledgeable man, as the Watheroo Station remains standing after a period of over one hundred years. The first station master that was employed by the Midland Railway Company was George York. George York had come to Watheroo in the mid 1890's with his two brothers, Walter York and James (Murray) York.

George York remained the Station Master until about 1907. George with the assistance of his family ran the Refreshment Rooms. The Refreshment Rooms were only licensed to sell alcohol for twenty minutes before the train arrived, for the duration of the time the train was in the station and for twenty minutes after. How things have changed since then! When we now consider the Railway Station is operating as a Tavern.

From 1894, when the station began operation, the Station Master took three separate positions on, he was not only the station master, but also the post master, and was responsible for the operation of the Refreshment Rooms The station master continued to have these three tasks up until September 1907, when a post office was opened. Mr. W Thomsett took on the position as Post Master at this time. Sometime around 1910-1916 Mr. Jonathan Hoar arrived in Watheroo and became the new Post Master. The Hoars were an elderly couple who had come down from the goldfields. Mr. Hoar and his wife also ran the Refreshment Rooms for quite a few years, though the exact time frame is not known.

By 1916, the Postal Service had become rather important, and a new postmaster had come to the district.

taken up land south east of Namban siding. Ian Hudson is now the owner. Harry Ward, after his share farming operations

An Austrian couple by the name of Caviglia opened the first shop in Watheroo. The shop was built of corrugated iron and was located where the C.W.A Hall is now. Mr. Caviglia tried his hand at farming for a few years, while his wife remained in town and ran their shop.