Courtesy State Library of Western Australia, /slwa_b1876342_1

Caron railway siding on the Wongan-Mullewa railway and then the township, gazetted in 1921, are assumed to have been named after Carun Spring situated about 26km west.[1] Carun Spring first appeared on plans in 1895, but is incorrectly spelt ‘Caron Spring’ on plans from 1907 to 1955, accounting for the spelling variation retained in the townsite name. Caron is an Aboriginal name of uncertain origin and meaning, but is possibly related to ‘Coron’, a word recorded in Bishop Salvado’s 1851 vocabulary list as meaning ‘hail’ or ‘hailstones’.[2] It is also said that Caron was for a short time called Minjinn, meaning ‘place of the ants.’ Being so like Mingenew, and meaning the same thing, it was then dubbed Caron (pronounced Karonne), meaning place of a different variety of ant.[3]

Caron assumed a central role in the rail transportation network as its good natural water sources made it the essential watering point on the route. A dam was built in 1915 and sealed in 1921, but at times, when the dam was dry, water had to be carted. This was relatively unusual but it happened in 1931 when water for the railway was carted from Buntine and Perenjori.

Loading a water cart at Caron, 1927-8[4]

The siding grew slowly due to the lack of roads which saw farmers cart their grain to Perenjori. Holdings tended to be smaller, but numbers of new settlers grew from the late 1920s. In 1925 a school was established, with the school building being transported from Bilya Rock in March 1925. When it opened it had around 6 students, by the end of 1925 there were 22 students enrolled.

Clubs and activities such as the Caron Social Club, Parents’ and Citizen’s Association, the Red Cross, the Cricket, Football and Golf Clubs brought the community together. In the 1930s the population numbered less than 50, by 1940 it numbered 94 and in 1949 it had grown to 137.

The interpretation at this location would be focused on its significance in rail transportation through the district. Its key role in the provision of coal and water meant that the town was a focal point in the district. The train crews changed at Caron, and the refreshment room and bar built in 1936 were a meeting place until destroyed by fire in 1949. Remains at the town include the former schoolmaster’s house, the coal stage, the railway catchment dam to the south of the town and a large tank stand. There were various difficulties experienced for instance during the War when coal was unavailable and wheat could not be moved. Things were not good at the sidings and at Caron a resident claimed that conditions were a menace to health:

Our food is being contaminated and the children get weevils in their eyes, ears, noses and mouths. They are kept awake at night by them and my wife’s health is giving me great worry as she cannot get enough sleep. All foodstuffs are full of weevils and there is no respite. They are’ with us all day and all night. The smell from the wheat is terrible. I might mention that the wheat has been in this bulkhead for three to four years….[5]

In the following year heat was added to the problem:

To the stink of rotten wheat and the presence of a host of weevils, the West Australian country siding now has the added burden of Marble Bar like heat ….


[2] ibid.

[3] Western Mail, 20 October 1949

[4] State Library of Western Australia 007251D;jsessionid=546D02D8D077190680E9831AB689AAF2?lang=eng&suite=def

[5] Sunday Times, 31 October 1943