For the weary travellers of old, the water hole known as Chidlow’s Well served as a place to slip the boots off and rest awhile to sip the fresh water and quench a raging thirst.
Named after its rugged founder, William Chidlow, the town site took his name in 1883 and was originally known as Chidlow’s Well. A well commemorating Mr Chidlow as a founding father, was erected on the site of the old school, and greets new travellers as they enter the roundabout of the Childow town site.
With the rapid expansion of Perth city in the 1800’s with the construction of new infrastructure and services, it was decided to extend the Eastern Railway line from Guildford to Northam. This railway line would later continue to the Goldfields of Kalgoorlie by 1897 in answer to the new gold rush era of W.A.’s history. The second extension of the railway line included the terminus of Chidlow’s Well which opened on the 11th March 1884.
As part of the demand for water to service the steam trains using the railway line, a man- made lake was constructed in 1897 and given the name of Lake Leschenaultia after the vibrant blue wildflower common to the area. For 50 years the Lake was an essential source of water for the trains until being converted to a recreational area in 1949. Today the Lake is a family recreational destination for camping, swimming canoeing and hiking.
In 1920 the Chidlow’s Well town site name was amended to Chidlow. The terminus continued to operate until its closure on the 13th February 1966. All that remains as a reminder of Chidlow’s history as an essential supply terminus on the Eastern Railway Line is the Railway Heritage Trail, which is now traversed by bikes, horses and feet rather than the bygone era of steam trains.
The area where the train station once stood is now used as park lands with BBQ facilities and a playground. The Proclamation Train Sculpture is also a recognisable landmark of Chidlow, erected to celebrate the 175th year of Western Australia’s foundation. Chidlow was one of the stopping points for public celebrations as the constitutional documents were delivered by train to Perth.