Pithara is a small wheatbelt town near Dalwallinu, about 240km north of Perth, where the dollars generated through tourism associated with the wildflowers which bloom in spring are becoming increasingly important to the local economy.
This area is also renowned for its wattle trees, celebrated in Dalwallinu with ‘Wattle Week’ in September. Pithara certainly has its share of the thousands of different wildflower varieties which flourish in WA, many of them unique to the state, and many of which have yet to be catalogued.
WA’s wildflowers have evolved over many millions of years in response to three major influences: the early isolation of Australia from the rest of the world; the secondary isolation of WA from the rest of the world and cycles of wet and increasingly arid conditions.
The first graziers in the Pithara district were Benedictine monks from New Norcia who shepherded sheep on vast pastoral leases taken up in the 19th century. However, the first European settlers didn't arrive until 1907 with the primary ambition of growing wheat.
In 1910, land was opened up for selection and the first crops were sown. These pioneers demonstrated tremendous strength and diligence and endured harsh conditions until they established their crops and their farms. The permanent service towns have survived along the railway line which was completed in 1914.