Looking at old farmyards has never been high on my sightseeing list but I happily made an exception for the Peregrandes Sheepyards.
Situated between the Wheatbelt towns of Bencubbin and Mukinbudin, the sheepyards were built by early settlers using granite and it gives a fascinating insight into the lives of these Wheatbelt pioneers.
The remains of the Peregrandes homestead, built in 1913, are still on site. Ted and Annie Peregrandes and their daughter Teresa were a very prominent family in the Mt Marshall area. They built a swimming pool on their land, as well as a nine-hole golf course and a tennis court. Local people were encouraged to use the pool and later the Peregrandes family were active in getting the Bencuddin swimming facility constructed.
Ted Peregrandes was a busy man – a Justice of the Peace, a coroner, captain of the Rifle club, president of the Parents and Citizens Association and the instigator in the building of a Catholic church in Bencubbin as well as conducting local burial services. He was a staunch advocate for the Mt Marshall area. Retiring to Perth in 1946, Ted must have found city life too tame as he jumped at the chance to become a farming instructor at Bindoon Boys Town where Annie taught English.
But to get back to the sheepyards. As this area was a long, long way from any large towns, the settlers had to be innovative about setting up facilities. Thin slats of rock taken from a nearby granite outcrop were the materials used for building the sheepyards.
The rock was heated using fire and cooled quickly with water before being used for construction. The slabs were then moved to the designated area by horse and cart. Now, of course, the sheepyard is in ruins but enough material remains for visitors to envisage the busy place it once was. It is very easy to imagine what a bustling farm and home once stood on this land and this almost eerie place is a reminder that all things pass.
There are many wildflowers in the area, some carpeting the nearby outcrops. A small picnic table and bbq is available. There are no restrooms. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash and visitors should take all their rubbish home. Parking is limited and be sure to shut the gate when entering and leaving the property, as there is still livestock around.
Peregrandes sheepyards is about 7 kms east of Bencubbin on the road to Mukinbudin and is signposted. I’m not sure if the road to the sheepyards can be classified as a gravel track or an outback red dirt road. There is certainly a lot of red dirt!
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