Berkshire Valley Folk Museum
The real historical interest in the area is Berkshire Valley, now a Folk Museum, which is located 19 km to the east of the town.
The Berkshire Valley complex - a homestead (1847), stables (1867), a shearing shed (1869), barn, manager's cottage (1856) and bridge (1869) - is both fascinating and bizarre. Here is an attempt in the middle of the nineteenth century in the dry wheatlands of Western Australia to reproduce a Berkshire farm complex down to the finest detail. It is the English equivalent of New Norcia.
The elaborate buildings were made from adobe, pise, hand made bricks and unworked stone. The builder, James Clinch, was himself a poor Berkshire farm hand who had made good in Western Australia and who, obviously since childhood, had harboured deep desires to own the kind of farm that he had only ever worked on. It is built to fulfill a fantasy rather than to sensibly use the local materials.
Clinch built his 'village' over a 25 year period starting in 1847, when he first settled in the area, and continuing until 1869 when he built the huge shearing shed. It is claimed that the two?arched bridge near the entrance to the village was the first of its kind to be built in Western Australia.
Berkshire Village is one of the earliest examples of the desire of successful Western Australians to show everyone how well they have done. The modern equivalent can be seen in Victoria Road in Perth where vacant blocks of land indicate where failed entrepreneur Laurie Connell was planning to build his massive home. Nearby is Alan Bond's mansion.
Berkshire Village can be inspected at any time of the year but it is only officially open (ie. access to the buildings) from noon to 4.00 every second Sunday between April and October. Of particular interest is the Mill Museum which has exhibits of old household equipment and some particularly interesting agricultural photographs. Special group arrangements can be made by contacting (08) 9654 9040 or (08) 9651 1644.
Moora Heritage Trail
The excellent Moora Heritage Trail brochure (it can be obtained from the local shire office) encompassed Berkshire Village as well as a number of interesting local historical locations including the local Court House, three Gothic churches and the Drovers Inn, all of which were built in the period immediately before World War 1.
There is also an interesting Moora Wildflower Drive brochure, also available at the local shire office, which suggests a route from Moora to Watheroo National Park and identifies the flowers the visitor is likely to see.