The Wheatbelt is one of nine regions of Western Australia defined as administrative areas for the state's regional development, and a vernacular term for the area converted to agriculture during colonisation. 154,862 square kilometres (59,793 sq mi) (including islands).It partially surrounds the Perth metropolitan area, extending north from Perth to the Mid West region, and east to the Goldfields-Esperance region. It is bordered to the south by the South West and Great Southern regions, and to the west by the Indian Ocean, the Perth metropolitan area, and the Peel region. Altogether, it has an area of
The region has 42 local government authorities, with an estimated population of 75,000 residents. The Wheatbelt accounts for approximately three per cent of Western Australia's population.
The area, once a diverse ecosystem, reduced when clearing began in the 1890s with the removal of plant species such as eucalypt woodlands and mallee, is now home to around 11% of Australia's critically endangered plants.
A number of nationally threatened birds reside in the Wheatbelt, including the endangered Carnaby's black cockatoo and the vulnerable malleefowl.
The Wheatbelt encompasses a range of ecosystems and, as a result, there are a range of industries operating in the region.[ clarification needed ]
In the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia there are a number of subdivisions such as the Avon Wheatbelt (AVW), and a further breakdown of Avon Wheatbelt P1 (AW1) and Avon Wheatbelt P2 (AW2), Jarrah Forest, Geraldton Sandplains and Mallee regions.
Near the coast, the region receives relatively high rainfall and mild temperatures, and its 150 kilometres (93 mi) of coastline is a significant tourist area. In contrast, the eastern fringe is very arid, and is mainly used for pastoral farming of sheep. Mining of gold, nickel and iron ore also occurs. The remainder of the region is highly suited to agriculture, and is the source of nearly two thirds of the state's wheat production, half of its wool production, and the majority of its lamb and mutton, oranges, honey, cut flowers and a range of other agricultural and pastoral products.
With a range of climate and economic changes in the region, considerable effort is made by government at all levels to cope with the decline of some communities, and create opportunities for ventures that keep population in the region.
The Wheatbelt once had an extensive railway system, which transported bulk wheat grain. It has been reduced in part, while the main lines are being supported.
Six main highways radiating out from Perth serve the Wheatbelt: Brand Highway (north-west to), Great Northern Highway (north-east to ), Great Eastern Highway (east to ), Great Southern Highway (east to , then south to ), Brookton Highway (east-south-east to ), and Albany Highway (south-east to ). A network of main roads connects towns within the Wheatbelt to each other, the highways, and neighbouring regions, with local roads providing additional links and access to smaller townsites. Roads are often named after the towns they connect.
The following list is the shires listed in the Wheatbelt as designated by the Wheatbelt Development Commission.Some shires in adjoining regions are traditionally considered part of the Wheatbelt – there are shires in the Great Southern, Goldfields-Esperance and Mid West regions that are dominantly grain growing areas.
There are numerous subdivisions of the Wheatbelt, and in most cases the separation is by local government areas.
The Wheatbelt Development Commission(WDC) breaks the region up into five sub-regions with four offices:
In some schemes, such as one of the Western Australian tourism regions, all of the Wheatbelt is included in the larger Australia's Golden Outback.
However the shires within the Wheatbelt are also in tourist terms further divided into internal regions:
The Wheatbelt is separated into other designations at various times as well:
Northam is a town in the Australian state of Western Australia, situated at the confluence of the Avon and Mortlock Rivers, about 97 kilometres (60 mi) east-northeast of Perth in the Avon Valley. At the 2016 census, Northam had a population of 6,548. Northam is the largest town in the Avon region. It is also the largest inland town in the state not founded on mining.
Toodyay, known as Newcastle between 1860 and 1910, is a town on the Avon River in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, 85 kilometres (53 mi) north-east of Perth on Ballardong Noongar land. The first European settlement occurred in the area in 1836. After flooding in the 1850s, the townsite was moved to its current location in the 1860s. It is connected by railway and road to Perth. During the 1860s, it was home to bushranger Moondyne Joe.
Transwa is Western Australia's regional public transport provider, linking 240 destinations, from Kalbarri in the north to Augusta in the south west to Esperance in the south east.
Great Southern Highway is a highway in the southern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, starting from Great Eastern Highway at The Lakes, 50 km (31 mi) from Perth, and ending at Albany Highway near Cranbrook. It is the primary thoroughfare for this part of Western Australia and runs parallel with the Perth-Albany railway for its entire length. It is signed as State Route 120 from York to Cranbrook, and was first named in 1949, although it was built well before that time.
Cunderdin is a town located in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia 156 km east of Perth, along the Great Eastern Highway. Due to it being on the route of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme it is also on the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail. It is a rural community consisting of a district high school and an agricultural college.
The AvonLink is a rural passenger train service in Western Australia operated by Transwa between Midland and Northam.
Brookton is a town in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, 138 kilometres (86 mi) from the state capital, Perth via the Brookton Highway where it crosses the Great Southern Highway. The town is on the Great Southern railway line. It is within, and is the seat of government for, the Shire of Brookton. At the 2006 census, Brookton had a population of 576.
Bruce Rock is a town in the eastern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, approximately 243 kilometres (151 mi) east of Perth and 48 kilometres (30 mi) southwest of Merredin. It is the main town in the Shire of Bruce Rock.
Kulin is a town in the eastern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, approximately 280 km from Perth. It is the main town in the Shire of Kulin.
Pingelly is a town and shire located in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, 158 kilometres (98 mi) from Perth via the Brookton Highway and Great Southern Highway. The town is also located on the Great Southern railway line.
The Shire of Brookton is a local government area in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, about 140 kilometres (87 mi) southeast of Perth, the state capital. The Shire covers an area of 1,602 square kilometres (619 sq mi) and its seat of government is the town of Brookton.
Kondinin is a town located in the eastern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, 279 kilometres (173 mi) east of the state capital, Perth via the Brookton Highway and State Route 40 between Corrigin and Hyden. It is one of three towns in the Shire of Kondinin. At the 2006 census, Kondinin had a population of 311.
Trayning is a town in the north-eastern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, 236 kilometres (147 mi) east of the state capital, Perth, on the Nungarin–Wyalkatchem Road. At the 2006 census, Trayning had a population of 122.
Central Wheatbelt is an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of Western Australia.
C. Y. O'Connor College of TAFE, established in July 1994, is a Technical and Further Education institute servicing the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.
The wheatbelt railway lines of Western Australia were, in most cases, a network of railway lines in Western Australia that primarily served the Wheatbelt region.
CBH grain receival points are grain silos spread around Western Australia, primarily in the wheatbelt region. Historically they have been linked with the wheatbelt railway lines, and the transport of grain to ports for export.
Western Australian Government Railways railway system during its peak operational time in the 1930s to 1950s was a large system of over 6,400 kilometres (4,000 mi) of railway line.
Highways and main roads in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia form the basis of a road network, which is primarily used by the mining, agriculture, and tourism industries. Main Roads Western Australia maintains and controls these major roads, with offices based in Northam and Narrogin.
This is a list of newspapers published in, or for, the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.
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