A Landmark at Yuin Reef

This post is part of the #OnePlaceLandmark blogging prompts from One-Place Studies.

Satellite image of the old Yuin townsite from Google Maps

From what you can see in the above satellite image, not a lot remains at Yuin Reef, so finding a landmark to write about is a difficult task. I had originally imagined writing about the mine-site, but had decided against it as it already features in a lot of the Yuin Reef posts.

I finally decided on writing a little piece about one of the only remaining landmarks of Yuin Reef, which appears as a little blip in the top centre area of the image. We don’t know a lot about it as of yet, who owned it or what it was used for, but there are a few stories floating around.

The Old House c.1980s

This old house, situated South-East of the mine-site, looks to have been one of the bigger houses in the area. It sits in what would have been a prime position, on a slight hill overlooking the vast Western Australian landscape. A clue to its prominent status lies in its longevity, there are no other remaining brick houses in the area that was once the townsite.

On observation, and through reading documents about the materials used to build houses at Yuin Reef, these bricks look to be mud bricks, also known as sun-dried bricks or colloquially as Egyptian bricks. There is also a render on top of that brick as well as a more fanciful arch in the doorway, which is in line with more of a late Victorian style house. This late Victorian style places the period it was built to be around 1890-1901, which is accurate considering the timeline of the town itself. The roof is no longer there, and possibly would have been made from corrugated iron.

The Old House, looking South, 2020
The Old House, looking North-East, 2020

As you can see from these more recent photos, not much remains of the Old House in 2020.

So who owned it and what was it used for? We can see that this house was a stand-out. Additionally, its location and the longevity of the materials used in its construction suggests that whoever constructed it was a big player at Yuin Reef. Considering that it was built in late Victorian style suggests further that it was built and possibly owned by the mine owner at the time, who was Richard John Carlyon.

Possible location of Carlyon residence, just over 400 m from proposed school site, in line with the Old House. Image from Google Earth.

In the 1901 petition for the development of a State School at Yuin Reef, the site for the proposed school is displayed as being approximately 30 chains (600 metres) South of the Yuin Reef Mine-site. Carlyon’s residence was described as being 20 chains (400 metres- no specified direction) from the proposed school site.

So, it looks like this may possibly have been Carlyon’s residence. There was a family story that the house belonged to our ancestors John Brand and Sarah Jane Gould- who ran the Yuin Club Hotel in the late 1900s, but there is no evidence to prove this. It certainly wasn’t the Yuin Club Hotel itself, as anecdotes from family members have told me that the Hotel was in fact on the left of the Narloo-Yuin road.

Hopefully one day we find the evidence we need to tie the remains of this house to the history of Yuin Reef.

Thanks to One-Place Studies for making such a great prompt!

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