Renee and her husband Martin Stoetzel with their 9 year old daughter Isabel from Germany and Renee’s Mum Roslyn Hoenger from Perth.AROUND 1977 the Wagin Historical Society started up after a number of years of dormancy.
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The current president of the historical village, Ken Turnor, had previously visited some historical villages in Ballarat and Swan Hill in Victoria and Loxton in South Australia, and saw the advantage of having a historical village set up as a proper village, rather than the society having all their historical memorabilia in just the one building.

“It seemed like a good idea to have a set- up of lots of different buildings pertaining to what they held,” Mr Turnor said.

In 1978 a plan was drawn up in which the members put into place a vision of how they wanted the village to be created and the path they wanted to take.

They have pretty much stuck to that original plan all the way through the years, right up until the present day.

The president at that time was Merv Frost, who organised with the Wagin Shire for the one hectare piece of land at the showgrounds to build the Wagin Historical Village.

Work started on February 22, 1979 on the first buildings, which were the blacksmith’s shop, stables and Wagin Argus.

“We are very fortunate with the artefacts that have been donated,” Mr Turnor said.

We are very appreciative of the efforts by locals and also by some out of towners for kindly supplying us with the artefacts,” he said.

“I would also like to thank the Wagin Shire for always making their works crew available to help out when we need something done at the village” Mr Turnor said.

When it came time to build the kiosk Mr Turnor and Mr Jack Moyses did a stone masonry course through Tafe conducted by a German teacher, so that they would have some knowledge of how to build the kiosk out of the local granite.

The two men went around to all the local farmers and collected the granite that they needed for the build.

It was constructed of two layers of stone, with the cavity filled with concrete and small stones.

One of the attractions at the village is the National Australia Bank, which is originally the bank that operated in Woodanilling.

The Historical Village bought the bank building from the head office of the National Australia Bank in Melbourne for the sum of $160.

In 1982 at the official opening of the National Bank at the village, which was held over the Woolorama weekend, patrons were able to use the bank for transactions and were assisted by a teller dressed in period costume.

The National Australia Bank also handed back the $160 cheque to the Society.

In 1982 nine tractors were taken on the back of a truck up to Claremont for the Perth Royal Show to help publicise the tractor and machinery restoration societies that were operating in country areas.

The following year saw Mr Turnor drive a 1955 D.A. Chamberlin tractor up to Perth.

The journey started in Kukerin when Mr Bob Lukins drove the tractor to Wagin, then bright and early the next morning Mr Turnor set off for the long slow trip to Perth.

He made it as far as Armadale on the first day, and the following morning set off once again on the tractor and delivered it to the Claremont Showgrounds.

Once again this was their participation in “Trach Mac” to publicise vintage tractors and machinery.

Although the historical village has had many volunteers over the years, stalwarts such as Nancy Moran, Mary Smith, Estelle Chellew, Molly Goldsmith, Don Mercer, Horrie Reschke, Glenys Ball, Cay Gell and Wanda Bird, it is thanks to three men; Ken Turnor, Jack Moyses and Merv Frost that we have the buildings that we do in the village and the tireless efforts they have put into restoring the tractors and machinery.

In recent times the latest two buildings the bootmakers and the fire station were built by a local builder.

The historical village has recently received a Lottery west grant and are now waiting on a local builder to extend the main machinery shed and build a workroom.

In the past the men have worked outside in the weather when carrying out restoration work on any of the tractors or farm machinery.

The Society has a few more buildings it is hoping to have built in the near future such as a hotel, a railway station that will be built based on the Dumbleyung station, as that style of station has been used in lots of small towns.

They are also hoping to build a bakery shop and possibly a police station.

By this stage the village will be full to capacity.

Many years ago the society used to have a crop growing as part of their display but with the expansion of the village they soon ran out of space to continue.

The Wagin Historical Village is well patronised with visitors.

Not only do we have locals visiting but also people from all over Australia.

What is exciting is that we also have a steady number of overseas visitors; in particular from Europe, and these visitors typically seem to be from France and Germany.

Wagin is fortunate to have such an interesting and well run Historical Village, and that comes down to the dedication of a band of terrific volunteers, without whom the village would cease to exist.

The Wagin Historical Village is hoping that some younger members of our community would like to join, as the current members are aging and they need some fit and healthy members able to help out with the building and restoration side of things.

If this sound like you and you would be interested in joining the Society to help keep this great tourist attraction of ours going then enquiries can be made on 9861 1232.

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