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Moora : Directory 2010-11
Moora Community Directory -- 7 Shire Information A BRIEF HISTORY Western Wildfower farm is a third generation sheep and wheat farm. The wildfower side of the operation was started by Rhonda Tonkin in 1975. Rhonda originally stopped teaching as she was pregnant, and became bored, so answered an add in the rural paper looking for Banksia’s. everyone on the farm laughed at her as she railed her box of fowers to Perth. They were well received and she proceeded to pick more. As time went by, a truck and driver were dispatched from Perth to collect the fowers and Rhonda decided to go and see the company who were buying her fowers. Her logic was if they could afford a truck and driver to come, she wasn’t being paid much for her picking. Once she visited the factory in Perth she discovered that they were selling lots of products that grew on the farm, so she started to familiarize herself with other species and started to employ the local farmers wives to pick. Soon huge quantities were being sent to Perth and a contract was made with a local exporter where Rhonda picked, processed and packaged the shipping containers and the exporter did the documentation and sent them, and they went halves in the proft. This proceeded for a while until the exporter was so rude to Rhonda, that she said "enough" and phoned a Dutch company who had visited and asked if he would buy her product and he said fne, send 4 shipping containers and this is where the export started. She now has a German agent who sells on commission and he sells more than 40 containers a year. The retail started in a similar way. A Perth exporter asked Rhonda to make up 500 posies for him. She completed this with her trusty ladies who still work for her, on the shearing table in the shearing shed and then was informed that the buyer no longer wanted them. Rhonda hadn't heard of this type of behavior, having been bought up with a silver spoon in her mouth, so she proceeded to tell him off, naturally, this did not alter the outcome so she headed to Perth with boxes of posies and proceeded to sell them door to door. Arthur, her husband dropped her off and said "struth, I hope you don’t see anyone we know”. Rhonda sold all the posies and was amazed when shops phoned her and ordered more. By now she had three children and driving to Perth to sell her wares, along with the shopkeepers often saying they didn’t have enough money in the till to pay, made her start to sell products from her home. Then she noticed that if she had 2 or 3 articles they would sell and she learned that often the poor people spent a lot more that the few rich ladies who came by invitation so she built a shed, and made part of it a shop and opened to the public. In March 1995 the shed burned down when a staff member lit the sulpher shed in an unsafe manner. It took 3 years for Rhonda to re-open to the public. Everyone is greeted personally and there is no charge to visit. Everlastings HISTORY OF MOORA The full history of the Moora district is available in the book “Tracks Through The Midlands" by Maxine Laurie. In April 1836, George Fletcher Moore discovered and followed the Moore River upstream to a point around Noondagooda. Between 1841 and 1845 the ‘Victoria Plains’ were discovered, named and subsequently became nearly exclusively used by the shepherds of both the Drummond Family and Captain John Scully. Shepherds had up to 1000 sheep in their fock and moved from one water hole to the next as the grass was eaten out. In 1842, Captain John Scully, James and Johnson Drummond journeyed 25 miles north of the Drummond out-station at Maurin Pool (now New Norcia) to discover the north area of the Moore River and the Dalaroo Lakes. The frst pastoral lease in the Shire of Moora appears to have been claimed in December 1846 by the Lefroy Brothers for an area of 4000 acres. An application for a 4000 acre lease exactly opposite the north side of Lefroy's lease was made on January 11, 1847 by a Berkshire man, James Clinch, a former shepherd for Lt Slade of Toodyay. In December 1847, James Clinch reaped the frst crop in the district. By 1848 Clinch held 12000 acres of pastoral leasehold, the Lefroy's 20000 acres and Ewan MacIntosh, one of the Scotch partners in a 20000 acre lease held with John and Donald MacPherson, occupied land around Koojan. In 1850-51 the Government brought down new land regulations which prohibited the cultivation of pastoral lands. This resulted in pastoralists acquiring about 10 acres of land around wells on their property enabling them to build a house and cultivate crops for domestic consumption. Charles Clinch is believed to have taken up land at ‘West End’ around 1853. The land originally formed part of the lease held by his brother James. George B Clark occupied pastoral leases east of the Lefroy’s and it is estimated that around 1860 his leases were ‘Indara’ (Indarrie) ‘Goonderabby’ and ‘Pankie’. About this time James Clinch changed the name of his property from ‘Bebano’ to ‘Berkshire Valley’. In 1860 the Government introduced land regulations designed to encourage small farmers to buy land. Crown land was reduced in price from (1 to 10/- per acre in lots as small as 40 acres. The larger pastoralists were able to take the greatest advantage of these regulations and by 1868 James Clinch owned some 15 locations, A O’Grady Lefroy - 8 locations, George Clark - 5 locations, the Clune Brothers (east of Clark around Tootra) - 8 locations. New Norcia Mission through Bishop Salvado purchased the leasehold and freehold of ‘Marah’ (near Watheroo) in 1868. This property was originally owned by James Oliver who acquired it around 1850. He sold his leases there to Joseph Purser of Bindoon who died in 1867. Bishop Salvado acquired the leases from Purser's estate.