In a district that supplies about 40 per cent of WA’s wheat, 245km due east of Perth and 50km south-west of Merredin, the little settlement of Shackleton, just outside Bruce Rock, claimed for a long time to have Australia’s smallest bank. But these days, of course, as far as country towns and their people are concerned, any bank at all will do.
Bruce Rock was named for sandalwood cutter John Rufus Bruce who set up his camp near a soak at the base of a small granite outcrop near the town.
There’s a straight road from Bruce Rock up to the Totadjin Dam Reserve, which is a favourite cooling-off spot for locals.
While there are a lot of beautiful, purple-flowered jacaranda trees around these parts, especially in Merredin, it’s the native merritt trees - after which this town was named - that grow in profusion. The local Aborigines used the strong, straight wood from these trees to make their spears.
About 45 km west of Bruce Rock you’ll find a large granite outcrop called Kokerbin which is very impressive indeed. You can drive to the top of this rock and experience some terrific views.