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Lake Grace

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Lake Grace is a town in the Eastern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, 345km from Perth along State Route 107 between Wagin and Ravensthorpe. It is the main town in the Shire of Lake Grace. At the 2006 census, Lake Grace had a population of 507.HistoryThe area was first taken up for agriculture around 1911, and in 1913 a school was established here and named Lake Grace after the nearby lake. In 1914 the government planned to extend the railway network from Kukerin to Lake Grace, and local settlers lobbied for a townsite to be declared at the terminus. The railway was completed on 25 November 1916, and terminated close to the site of the existing school. The townsite of Lake Grace was gazetted later in 1916. The branch railway was extended to the ultimate terminus at Newdegate on 15 February 1926 and a further branch from Lake Grace to Hyden opened on 5 April 1933, thus making Lake Grace a junction and therefore some importance for train working operations.In 1922 the Reverend John Flynn visited the town to assess the suitability for establishing an Australian Inland Mission (AIM) hospital. The Western Australian Government agreed to subsidise the building of the hospital, which was subsequently built by AIM and opened in April 1926 staffed by two nurses, Olive Bennett and Helen Cousin. In July 1934 the Lake Grace Hospital Board repaid the loan from the Australian Inland Mission and took over the ownership of the hospital. The hospital served an area of 26000km2 including providing maternity ward facilities. The hospital ceased operation in 1952 with the construction and replacement by the Lake Grace Memorial Hospital. The Lake Grace AIM Hospital building was in disrepair by 1983 with the state Government deciding to demolish the building. Protests by former staff and the local community halted the destruction, and the building was restored as a museum with the help of the Lake Grace Shire Council and the local community. The building is one of three remaining Australian Inland Mission hospitals and is listed on local, state and national heritage registers.
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