IN the good old days in Hyden you couldn't buy a bottle of beer - but you could buy a gallon.
Local resident and farmer Colin Nicholls, 80, who has spent his whole life in the small Wheatbelt town recalls when the 'gallon licence' was one of the quirks of their general store, at a time when it was 'king browns' rather than stubbies and it was crates rather than cartons of beer.
He also remembers attending primary school when there was one teacher, Ms Jones, who taught 30 students, spread across years one to six.
"One of the students wasn't very happy about the fact that she used to have to travel about 10 miles to go to school every day, so she got a shoe box of white ants and put that into the ceiling, with a plan for them to eat the school down," Mr Nicholls said.
"The white ants did - it just took them about 30 years to do it."
Living outside the area that the local school bus serviced, Mr Nicholls would board with the local teacher from Monday night to Friday morning, returning home on weekends.
Stories like these highlight the vibrancy of Hyden, which will be celebrating 100 years since the town was first settled in October.
The Hyden Progress Association and Hyden 100 committee members are putting on an event from October 7-9 to commemorate the milestone, which will include a historical walking trail through the town as well as live music, fireworks, a fashion parade and kids entertainment.
A book titled 'Hyden the People' which provides a historical account of the town's families, past and present and a pictorial book covering the history of the town will both be launched on the Saturday of festivities.
Part of the town's history and one of the first pioneers of the district was senator Paddy Lynch, who was commissioned by the Federal government to find land for returned soldiers from World War I and is commonly referred to as the 'father of the district'.
"He found the land out here and put it to the Federal government, who rejected it initially because it was too far from any services or roads - with the nearest railway line at Kondinin," Mr Nicholl said.
"Senator Lynch had family up at Three Springs and said to his nephews there is a good parcel of land that I've discovered, the government rejected it, how about going and having a look at it - and that's how Hyden started."
With the district initially largely populated with salmon gums, axemen would clear about two acres of land a week for a wage of about two pounds a week.
While the Depression and the 1930s saw a lot of people leave the town due to the severity of the times, for those who stayed on, the mechanisation of farming, including a switch from horses to tractors, as well as the introduction of trace elements, enabled much more land to be cropped and created an economic boost for the district.
The first bit of prosperity for Hyden occurred around the same time in the 1950s when the price of wool increased.
"Things like the Hyden Memorial Hall went up and the CWA was built," Mr Nicholl said.
"Initially they were started by local people who made contributions and wanted to see the town grow."
Probably one of the few towns in Australia to have two churches before a hotel, community members including Mr Nicholl's own father paid two builders to construct the Hyden's first hotel.
"One of those two builders then took over the hotel's manager's shift with his wife and became the town's first hotelier," he said.
Reflecting on the region's agricultural sector, the former WAFarmers president said in the 1930s the district produced about 5000-6000 tonnes of grain per year, compared to about 250,000t today.
Besides the agricultural sector, Wave Rock, about four kilometres east of Hyden, has continued to support the local economy, attracting about 100,000 people to the region each year.
Hyden 100 committee chair and retired local farmer Brian Mayfield came to WA from South Australia when he was 21 and worked in Kalgarin before convincing his father to buy a scrub block at east Hyden in 1968 to farm.
"I saw the opportunities in agriculture were a lot better over here than they were in South Australia," he said.
Now 75 years old, he and his wife Marlene passed on their original cropping farm to their son, Craig, who has gone on to expand the property with his partner Catherine and their three children.
Acknowledging that the town had both its bleak and boom periods, Mr Mayfield said two events which significantly impacted the standard of living for the local community was when the town was first connected to mains power and when the telephone was introduced in 1973.
The community's resilience has certainly been tested over the years, with floods impacting the town on a number of occasions, including in 2000, when about 150mm of rain fell in one day.
"Cyclone Alby also blew through a lot of paddocks and caused a lot of wind erosion in our district," he said.
The provision of education and health services have also posed a challenge for locals, with no hospital or resident doctor in the area - only a Silver Chain centre which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.
"When the Silver Chain centre was opened in Hyden, that was a great boost for us because the nearest medical facility was Kondinin, which is another 60km further to the west," Mr Mayfield said.
However with the introduction of modern day vehicles, airplanes and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Mr Mayfield said isolation in WA's rural areas wasn't what it used to be.
"Usually the further out you get, the greater the community spirit, because a lot of the time if you want things for your rural town, it's the community that has to pitch in to get it done."
A documentary of the town filmed over the past year will be premiered as part of the centenary celebrations.
Tickets for the event are available on Eventbrite.
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