Celebrating 150 years of the
Beverley Road Board
Formal establishment of what is now known as the Shire of Beverley occurred in 1871 with the creation of the Beverley Roads Board. This began with a local board of directors being appointed to provide a voice on district works, particularly road construction. The original area was immense even by today's standards. The western and northern boundaries of the district were similar to what they are today, but the area continued much further to the east all the way to Eucla on the Great Australian Bight, some 1200 kilometres away! However, the boundaries changed frequently and by 1923 the boundaries that exist today were established.
In 1895, the East Beverley Roads Board was formed. This authority included the eastern part of the current Shire area as well as parts of the current Shires of Quairading, Brookton and Pingelly. In 1906 the East Beverley Roads Board was disbanded with its area divided into the newly formed Roads Boards centred on Quairading, Brookton and Pingelly.
To add to the confusion of frequent changes, between c.1892 and 1913 the Beverley townsite had its own Local Government known as the Beverley Municipal Council. This was a completely separate authority from the Roads Board with both having separate offices in Vincent Street near the Avon River Bridge - both buildings survive today. During 1913, the Beverley Municipal Council was reintegrated into the Beverley Roads Board.
There was a fairly stable period of growth in the Road Board between the 1920's and early 1960's. In 1960 the Road Board was made up of 8 elected members and an appointed Secretary. As the community grew, so too did the functions of the Board. Originally established to make sure adequate roads were provided to support the growing farming community, the Board began to get involved in all manner of issues, such as rabbit control and the provision of public facilities, including the town hall, swimming pool and recreation grounds.
With the passing of the Local Government Act 1960, all Road Boards were reorganised as local government authorities with 8 Councillors replacing the Board Chairman and Board Members. The Shire Clerk replaced the Secretary of the Board. About this time the newly named Shire of Beverley moved from a rather cramped office space in the Town Hall, which had been constructed in 1937, to the former headmaster's house next door at 136 Vincent Street, which had been modified to suit its new purpose.
In 1989, the current Shire Office and Chambers was constructed on the same site as the old office, which had again become too small. At this time the number of Councillors was increased to its current level of 9 representing 3 wards - North, West and South. Further changes to how local government runs in WA occurred in 1995 with the passing of the new Local Government Act. One of the interesting changes was the renaming of the Shire Clerk position as a Chief Executive Officer - reflecting the gradual increase in the importance and complexity of this role.
Celebrating 150 years of the
Dead Finish Museum
The Dead Finish Museum is the oldest building in Beverley. The building was originally called the Wheatsheaf Inn and was built by Alfred Smith in 1872.
The historic building has 10 rooms which included a period kitchen, dining room, nursery and meeting room. Special exhibits can be found in the Beverley Room and Annie Lucy's Room.
The building now houses a fine collection of artifacts depicting life in Beverley since its settlement in 1831. Those artifacts include the settlers' hand-made tools, furniture, clothes, etc. The Dead Finish Museum is operated by the Beverley Historical Society.