A Potted History:
The town of Bolgart, and its district are unique among the many rural settlements that span the West Australian landscape. Though only around 75 people live in the township, there is a large agricultural community which live in the farmland around the township. Bejoording contributes children and sportspeople to the local school and sporting clubs, and about 30 children attend the Bolgart Primary School. Bolgart has a lot to offer, and it’s easy to see why locals love the town – for its beautiful location and climate.
From Bullgert to Bolgart
You may wonder about the name Bolgart. The town was originally named after Bullgert Springs, which means “magic swampy place”. Bolgart’s first farm was established by Captain John Scully just south of the town and, in 1840, was the most northerly in the colony.
Great Venue for Local Sports
Bolgart people have the distinction of owning their own sporting facilities, and the Bolgart Sports Club is situated on the hill above town. It is home to the Golf, Bowls and Tennis Clubs, which are all self-sufficient.
Impressive Workhorse on Show
A huge 1914 oil-fuelled Model E Marshall tractor will appeal to visitors which a love of machinery and tinkering with engines. It was donated to the town by local farmer, Angus Clarke, and was the first tractor in the district. Originally imported by Mr Robert Falconer, an early farmer in the district, it is thought to be one of only three such machines in Australia. The huge machine has been fully restored to driving condition by the late Mr Norm Bates, a well-known West Australian collector.
Other old vehicles and equipment are gradually being added to the collection of memorabilia which will no doubt interest many town visitors. A handsome vintage Chevrolet truck once owned by Walter Meston has also been loaned by his family for the implement display.
Wildflowers along the Roads
The historic Old Plains Road northwest of Bolgart is one of the finest rural drives in WA. A wealth of magnificent native flora can be seen from the road. The Rica Erickson Nature Reserve was named after a former Bolgart resident who was passionate about recording the state’s flora and history. At the time it was the first reserve to be named after a living recipient. Most local roads are studded by pockets of wildflowers to admire.
Gold Found in the Bolgart Hills
Bolgart was one of many rural towns to experience a minor gold rush in the 1890’s. At Blackboy Hill, just north of Bolgart, it is said that over 100 men came to try their luck at prospecting an area over three miles long and one mile wide. Unfortunately, it was never lucrative, and only about 300 pounds worth of gold was discovered. The area is now a working farm from which the original tractor came.
Three Schools in 100 Years
The first of three schools which have served Bolgart was opened in 1916 with 30 students 100 years ago. It was located in an Agricultural Hall, an inconvenience because, when there was a dance, all of the furniture had to be shifted to one side. The government would not build a new school while the hall could be used. It remained there until 1932 when the hall, and all the school’s records were destroyed by fire.
Grain Growing is Main Industry
Today our local farmers concentrate on growing wheat, barley, canola, and lupins. A few still run sheep for wool and cattle for meat.
Belltower Parodies Swan Bells
You may have heard the story of the Bolgart Belltower, and how a group of locals designed and laboriously built their own version of the then Premier’s Swan Belltower, which still stands on Perth’s foreshore.
The Bolgart version was built in nine days, and was done much more inexpensively that the one erected by the government.
The Premier, The Honourable Richard Court MLA came and officially opened the belltower on November 21st 1999, where he gifted the community a bell replica as a memento of the occasion.
Tiny Library has Diverse Titles
The Bogart public library was opened on June 12th, 1991, and has the distinction of having the first public library in WA to be located in a store. Since then it has been moved to both the in the Post Office Store and the Bolgart Hall, the final of which is where it now currently resides. It is arguably the smallest library in WA, but nevertheless boasts a wide variety of books. It is staffed by volunteers three days a week, and has an internet facility for the public.