John Septimus Roe, Western Australia’s first Surveyor General, explored the region in 1836.
Merredin’s pioneers were sandalwood cutters who were active in the region in the mid-1800s cutting this sought-after wood for export.
The discovery of gold at Coolgardie in 1892 and the development of the railway line to Southern Cross in 1894 brought settlers to the area. The first land was taken up in 1885 and the townsite developed in 1906, located to the south of Merredin Peak.
The name ‘Merredin’ comes from the merritt trees used by aboriginals to make spears, and translated ‘Merritt in’ (Merredin) means ‘place of trees’.
C.C. Hunt passed the site of present day Merredin on his Koolyanobbing Expedition – his first trip East of York that was essentially a ‘flying trip’ – when he went from Totadgin to Durgacutting Rock and recorded:
Wednesday 23rd – At 8.15am start course about N55oE for 2 miles when we got into dense thicket and forest which we succeeded in getting to a large bald rock named Merriding the water here dried up turned 1 mile due north of this track in a gully trending West S.W. we found a good spring called by the natives Gnerdcutting [Durgacuttin]
There are the remains of a well on the golf course at Merredin and a water harvesting scheme with sluice gates and a dam at the foot of Merredin Rock. It was used for the railway. There is no evidence that the golf course well was constructed by Hunt’s team although it is often referred to as a ‘Hunts Well’.
The reports of the various trips, tours and travels on the Adventures website have a lot of information about place names – their naming and features – toponymy. More information.
© Kim Epton 2016-2019
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