Merredin is a town in Western Australia, located in the Central Wheatbelt roughly mid-way between Perth (256kms away) and Kalgoorlie (326 km away), on Route 94, Great Eastern Highway. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in June 2005 it had an estimated resident population of 3,428.
The agricultural land around Merredin produces 40% of Western Australia’s wheat quota. As a focal point for the region, Merredin’s local bulk handling co-operative receives and processes in excess of a million tonnes of grain every year. In fact, the silos at the train facilities to the west of the main town are the biggest of their type in the southern hemisphere.
One of the biggest problems to face the agricultural industry in Merredin is salinity. Extensive damage to buildings and roads is being caused by rising saline groundwater. A recent study showed that the main source of this water is Merredin town site itself. Roads, footpaths, buildings and open space have replaced native vegetation adapted to use up every drop of rain. Since the problem arose in the early 1970’s, farmers and townspeople have been participating in a number of programs to improve the soil conditions, with some limited success.