Karlgarin, Western Australia

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Western Australia
Karlgarin is located in Western Australia
Coordinates 32°29′49″S 118°42′36″E / 32.497°S 118.71°E / -32.497; 118.71Coordinates: 32°29′49″S 118°42′36″E / 32.497°S 118.71°E / -32.497; 118.71
Population 239 (2011 census)[1]
Established 1931
Postcode(s) 6358
Elevation 308 m (1,010 ft)
LGA(s) Shire of Kondinin
State electorate(s) Wagin
Federal Division(s) O'Connor

Karlgarin is a town located 321 kilometres (199 mi) south-east of Perth in the eastern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. A small traditional farming town, in 2010 Karlgarin made national papers, as the poorest town in Western Australia, with an average of $34,054 taxable income. [1]

The first European to visit the area was Surveyor General John Septimus Roe who passed through in 1848. He recorded the name "Carlgarin" as the name of a nearby hill. Karlgarin is an Aboriginal word that is thought to mean "fire hill". Karlgarin was selected as a soldier settlement site and a declaration of a townsite was sought in 1924. It was not until 1930 that the railway came to the area. The townsite was gazetted in 1931.[2]


According to 2011 census data, 57.3% of Karlgarin residents are employed in Sheep, Beef Cattle and Grain Farming. The surrounding areas produce wheat and other cereal crops, as well as being a booming cattle town. The town is a receival site for Cooperative Bulk Handling.[3]


On top of the Cooperative Bulk Handling site to support the booming grain industry, Karlgarin townsite has an abandoned school and shop, both of which were destroyed during the Great Storm of 2013.[4] The main hub of this bustling community is the Karlgarin Country Club, established in 1953. Located on Foundation St, this humble country pub offers the usual pub food and a range of drinks. A large portion of the revenue for 'The Club', as it is commonly known, comes from the associated bowls club.

As well as The Club, Karlgarin offers a diverse range of food options, with a burger van that claims the World Tastiest Burger. With opportunities opening everyday in this metropolis, in 2015 Karlgarin welcomed a new cafe and art gallery at the old CWA building.

Other facilities offered in Karlgarin include the Church of Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church Karlgarin. An acclaimed winner of a range of architecture awards, the Church's Foundation Stone was laid by Rev. Myles McKeon on March 13, 1966. On the main street (Melba Street) is Karlgarin Autos, and the abandoned school, opened in 1932 and closed in 2005.


Karlgarin is home to the annual gilgie races and is often considered 'the gateway to Wave Rock'. The town's proximity to Hyden, along with its location on the Brookton Highway, means reliable tourism potential. To capitalise on this, the popular Trestrail family opened [2] Tressie's Museum and Caravan Park, offering a wide range of facilities.

32 km south-east of Hyden, on Spurr Road, is the peaceful free camping area, McCanns Rock. With a spring fed dam, plenty of shade and level camp sites, the site boasts of beautiful wildflowers, some of which are native only to the McCanns Rock Reserve. Camping facilities include great bush camp with an old shed, and functional toilets tucked away beyond the shed.


Tucked away behind the Cooperative Bulk Handling, Karlgarin has a small cricket oval, used when the combined Karlgarin and Pingaring cricket team. The town also shares a football team with Hyden, the Hyden/Karlgarin Football Club, which competes in the Eastern Districts Football League, and hockey and netball team shares a hockey team, both shared with Hyden.

2013 Storm[edit]

A freak storm swept through the town 16 January 2013, with heavy rain and winds of 90 kilometres per hour (56 mph).[5] Only 25 millimetres (1 in) of rain fell but trees were uprooted and roofs were torn off buildings including the local school, general store and church. Twelve buildings were damaged and the town has never fully recovered.[6]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Community Profile Series : Karlgarin (State Suburb)". 2006 Census of Population and Housing. Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  2. ^ Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names – K". Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  3. ^ "CBH receival sites" (PDF). 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Storm ruins WA town". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "Storm ruins WA town". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Roofs peeled from buildings in Karlgarin". WA Today. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2012.