Corrigin the dog town of the wheatbelt

Corrigin is a pretty little town that is 230 kilometres south east of Perth.  It’s almost near the eastern boundary of the wheatbelt, and whilst it’s not quite one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it tiny towns, Corrigin is not a thriving metropolis either.

One thing I did like about Corrigin is that, although it is physically quite small, it thinks big.  In order to give the town some grandeur, the good folk of the town have turned their main shopping precinct into a one way street, which makes the town appear to be larger than it really is.

Corrigin is widely known as a ‘Town of Windmills’ due to the abundant supply of ground water.  Almost every home had a windmill until 1960 when the town was supplied with scheme water.

After having visited there, I suggest that they change the name of Corrigin to Dog Town, because they really do seem to like dogs there.

For instance, the town has tried a number of times to garner the world record for the number of dogs in utes.  A little explanation is necessary here.  A ute is what Australians call a pickup, although, they really are vastly different vehicles.  A ute, short for utility vehicle, was invented by farmers many decades ago.  Needing a car for the family, and a truck for the farm, enterprising farmers simply cut their sedans to take out the back seat and replace it with a tray, so they could pile the wife and kids in the front and cart stuff around on the back.  Local car manufacturers saw what the farmers were doing, so built them from scratch, so the Aussie ute was born.

Often, a dog was put on the back of the ute.  Dogs are great workers when you have sheep, and when you have a farm that is several thousand acres in size; it comes in handy to have a dog that is trained to round up your sheep.  Hence, a dog in a ute is an Australian tradition.

At its peak in 2002, the good people of Corrigin managed to get 1527 ute owners, with their dogs in the back, to clog the streets of Corrigin.    

The other reason why Corrigin should be called Dog Town is because they have a prominent Dog Cemetery on the main road into town.  Here you will see the graves of many beloved dogs that have passed away.  Each grave carries a headstone explaining that dog’s importance to its family, and most graves are decorated with little mementos of the occupier of the tiny grave.  It really is quite heart rendering to walk along the rows to read the moving tributes that owners have written about their tiny friends and companions.

Corrigin, Western Australia, a town where dogs are really given their due.

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