Keith’s home from 1977 to 1980 (76/77 in Dryandra) and first visit back since 1981.
Our arrival didn’t start well with a misfire in our Landcruiser which turned out to be a blown head gasket. Further along, the head was beyond being straightened (classic alloy head on cast block problem!) so a new cylinder head was required.
The end result of this was a stay of 6 weeks instead of just the two we had planned. This was made somewhat easier by my old boss from the late 70’s, Gordon and Yvonne McDougall, loaning us their Falcon Ute after not having any contact for 42 years!
Driving and walking around town the biggest change in 40+ years is the growth in retail and other businesses; in the 70s Narrogin had only basic shopping choices but now has two hardware stores, chains like Reject Shop, more cafes and more service industries. The town still has 3 pubs although one has been “closed for renovation” for 3 years – the Imperial, always know as “the top pub” and the largest in town.
The second pub in the town centre, the Duke of York (the bottom pub) is the only one that has had continuous operation and has again recently changed ownership.
The third is on the Eastern side of the railway and was my “local”, the New Cornwall Hotel. Apparently it was closed for a few years after the landlord of my time let it run down and has been opened again only in recent years ; I have to say it looks very little different on the outside to 1980!
Walking into town from the Caravan Park we passed by the War Memorial Park and to our right the old Convent :
“The old CONVENT building. When the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame des Missions arrived in Narrogin to commence a Catholic school in 1918 they occupied a small cottage in the grounds.
The present building was erected in 1929 and housed nuns, boarders and music students for many years. Converted to Westrail offices in 1977, it became the C.Y. O’CONNOR COLLEGE OF TAFE Narrogin Campus in 1994.”
Another few images of the town leading us to the new Narrogin and Dryandra Visitor Centre:
The new Visitor Centre is housed in the beautifully restored railway station building, complete by the Shire of Narrogin with the assistance of a Heritage grant. The railway line is still in use but only for the transfer of rolling stock required during the harvest season; to this end the station platform has been fenced to allow access around the whole building and into the volunteer run visitor area. The centrepiece of the room is a huge “N” Scale model of the railway complex as it was in the 60s (and 70s) and the adjacent part of the town.