When the Honourable Kim Beazley, Governor of Western Australia, comes to your region, it provides an incredible opportunity to take stock. From industry to the arts, sport and recreation, tourism and education, it turns out that Moora certainly has a lot to offer.
On alighting his vehicle at the Moora Speedway, the Governor commented, “I wasn’t sure what to expect from my visit to Moora, but this region has facilities and its people have energy far beyond what I had envisioned.”
First stop on the Governor’s itinerary took in Harvest Road Group’s cattle finishing farm at Koojan Downs. Due to begin commissioning in July 2021, an investment of $70M by the Harvest Road Group will ensure that this facility is the largest, most efficient cattle finishing facility in Western Australia. The employment opportunities, plus the domestic feed grain market for local farmers will see this venture creating huge positive economic benefits for the Shire of Moora and beyond. Harvest Road’s General Manager of Agriculture, Kim McDougall, explained that once fully operational the farm will turn off up to 1200 cattle per week, employ 50 staff full-time, and a further 120 indirect jobs in the local area. “Sustainable food production, and traceable food in particular, is where growth will be into the future,” said the Governor. “This is such an exciting project for the Moora region, the State and Australia.”
Moora Shire President Tracy Lefroy says that Moora is thrilled that Harvest Road Group are heavily committed to their ‘good neighbour’ policy, whereby the staff of their enterprises integrate into the town and community in which they work. “The Koojan Downs venture offers such incredible benefits to our community ranging from employment and training, to flow on effects to our town’s retail, education, sport and arts facilities. The sense of pride and ownership in this project is tangible within the town and we cannot wait to be involved,” said Mrs Lefroy.
From Koojan, the Governor headed to Moora to meet with Shire executive staff and elected members. Mr Beazely has a particular interest in the sustainability of regional towns and was delighted to hear of the wide range of projects slated for the future in Moora. “The concept of an early education and learning centre for the town and surrounds speaks highly of the positive future planned for Moora. I can see that this is a town that is thriving and moving forward – the energy of the people here is astounding,” said Mr Beazley.
The Governor’s well-known interest in the military, stemming both from his time as Defence Minister and his lifelong interest in military matters, came to the fore with his visit to the Moora Historical Society. Kaye Lewis shared her knowledge of all things Moora, with a particular focus on the army camps stationed in the Moora region during the War.
Rachel Walmsley then showcased ‘Carnaby-cam’ and the Moore Catchment Council’s work rehabilitating Candy’s bush reserve. Mr Beazley said he could envisage tourists stopping for a bush picnic, enjoying the bushland and learning from the interpretive signage at the site.
Cheryl Chipper welcomed the Governor to the iconic mural at the Moora Speedway, explaining the significance of the site and the long-time relationship between the Aboriginal community and Speedway. Ms Chipper’s work with Central Midlands Senior High School students on the 19 m mural, including interpretation of Yued stories segued perfectly into Donna Vanzetti and Carol Redford’s ‘Star Tracks’ documentary and astrotourism. Ms Vanzetti’s passion for developing Yued-storytelling, a micro-film industry based on our night skies, and astrotourism were evident.
The Governor was impressed by local artist, teacher and Yued leader, Madeleine Anderson who has been working with ‘Pop Kevin’ Barron in developing an astrotourism business.
Following on from a sumptuous lunch at Jeanne d’Moore, the Governor stepped into the Gardiner Street Arts Collective (GSAC) where his first question was, “How many people live in Moora?” Once he learned that the Shire is home to under 3000 people, he was amazed. “This town is unusual in its facilities and the fact that your volunteers achieve so very much with such a small population base,” said Mr Beazley.
GSAC Creative Director, Nyree Taylor, explained that Moora draws from a large geographic area and attracts many visitors as a result of the retail, education, health, sport and arts opportunities in the town. “Our aim with the Collective was to introduce an inclusive arts group which acts as an umbrella group to house all creative pursuits here in Moora. We currently welcome dancers, artists, musicians and other creatives to our space and have big plans for the future,” Ms Taylor said.
The Governor’s visit to the Shire of Moora was rounded out with time at Moora Citrus; the importance of the wheatbelt to the horticultural sector being highlighted to the Governor. The orchard delivers citrus to the local market eight months of the year; creating employment for locals and diversifying the region’s product offering.