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definition - Waroona,_Western_Australia

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Waroona, Western Australia

Western Australia
Waroona hall gnangarra.jpg
Waroona Memorial Hall
Waroona is located in Western Australia
Population: 1,864 (2006 census)[1]
Established: 1895
Postcode: 6215
LGA: Shire of Waroona
State electorate: Murray-Wellington
Federal Division: Canning

Coordinates: 32°52′26″S 115°55′19″E / 32.874°S 115.922°E / -32.874; 115.922

Waroona is a town located in the Peel region of Western Australia along the South Western Highway, between Pinjarra and Harvey. The town is the seat of the Shire of Waroona. At the 2006 census, Waroona had a population of 1,864.[1]



The town was originally known as Drakesbrook, and was first settled by John Fouracre in 1891. A railway station on the Pinjarra to Picton Junction railway line with the name "Drake's Brook", named after William Henry Drake, an Assistant Commissioner General and original landholder in the area (1847), opened in September 1893 and the town was surveyed and gazetted by March 1895. The surveyor-general of the day recommended the name change from Drake's Brook to Drakesbrook as "it is more euphonious and would look better on the plan". The change was made official in October 1896, and in the same year a post office was opened.

In 1895 Joseph McDowell built a timber mill in the northern end of the surveyed townsite at present-day Mill Street, near which a railway siding was opened. Due to the unpopularity of the initial subdivision, new lots were surveyed near the mill, which became known as Waroona. This name was most probably a corruption of Werroona near the Bendigo goldfields in Victoria, believed to be McDowell's hometown. (The original word meant "resting place" in the local Djadja Wurrung Aboriginal language.)

The town was boosted by the building of the railway, for which local timber was milled for sleepers. It catered to the needs of the mill workers with a post office, general store, school, blacksmith, a number of hotels come boarding houses, churches, doctor and dentist. The farms supplied butter, fruit and vegetables for the men of the mills, and chaff for the horse teams that hauled the logs.[2] In March 1899, McDowell's Siding was converted into Waroona Station, and figures for rail traffic on the South Western Railway reveal that total earnings of outgoing traffic from Waroona was the highest of any station from 1904-47.

Development was confused in the early years as Drakesbrook and Waroona both persisted in usage - in the 1890s referring to the separate towns 2 km apart (of which Waroona was the focus of most major development) but often coming to be used interchangeably. The two settlements gradually merged into one town, which became known as Waroona. The name was officially changed in 1946.[3]

Waroona Dam, originally Drakesbrook Dam, was built in 1931-32 under the guidance of the Waroona Irrigation District by unemployed people on work programmes during the Great Depression. The completion of the dam, together with drainage and irrigation works, were the start of a period of considerable development in Waroona. Warooona dam was officially opened in 1966.

The railway cottages, built in 1896 to accommodate railway employees (until about 1970), and which have survived to the modern day and been heritage-listed, are the only surviving timber and iron clad platelayers' cottages in Western Australia and are among a very small number of nineteenth-century timber and iron railway houses extant in 2003.[4]

The local dairy industry included a local Nestle Milk Factory, which was functional until the mid-20th century. It has since become a private compound for heavy machinery.

  Present day

  South western highway Waroona

Waroona is located on South Western Highway, 113 km south of Perth at the foot of the Darling Range and has a population of about 1,800. Agriculture (including dairying) and tourism are the major economic activities, and an irrigation system from the Drakesbrook Weir waters the town and nearby agricultural areas. Every October the town hosts the Waroona Agricultural Show.

Waroona has a recreation centre and two public sports ovals. Until the 1990s, an abattoir operated from the town, but one in nearby Harvey now fulfils this purpose, and some Waroona residents work there. Shopping needs are met by local businesses and supermarkets. Nearby Waroona Dam and Drakesbrook Weir are now popular tourist/picnic spots and camping grounds, offering activities such as canoeing and water-skiing. Several heritage trails and art and craft shops are also located in Waroona. The shire president is Noel Dew.


! There are two local schools: St Joseph's Primary School (Catholic) and the Waroona District High School, which is a primary (elementary) school including kindergarten and junior high school. Senior high school is usually completed by local students in the towns of Pinjarra or Harvey.

On 26 July 2005 the Drakesbrook School House, first opened in 1898 as a one-room school and located in Centennial Park, was burnt down. It had been closed since the 1980s but maintained as a historic site. After police investigations, the remaining structure was removed, but a year later the Council approved a memorial to the school to be built on the site in consultation with the Waroona Historical Society.[5]



The main road route through the town is the South Western Highway (Route 20; Perth to Bunbury via Pinjarra and Harvey).


Waroona serves as a stop on the Australind passenger train from Perth to Bunbury.

Preceding station   Transwa Trains network   Following station
towards Perth
towards Bunbury


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Waroona (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ABSNavigation/prenav/LocationSearch?collection=Census&period=2006&areacode=UCL528000&producttype=QuickStats&breadcrumb=PL&action=401. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Shire of Waroona. "Waroona - In The Beginning". http://www.waroona.wa.gov.au/our_shire/history.html. Retrieved 2006-10-06. 
  3. ^ Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names". http://www.landgate.wa.gov.au/corporate.nsf/web/History+of+country+town+names. Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  4. ^ "Register of Heritage Places - Railway Cottages, Waroona". 30 July 2004. Archived from the original on 2006-08-24. http://web.archive.org/web/20060824033428/http://heritage.wa.gov.au/register/PDF_Files/R+-+A-D/RailwyCotts,Waroona(P-AD).PDF. Retrieved 2006-10-06.  - includes a broad and very detailed history of the town of Waroona.
  5. ^ ABC; Waroona Council minutes (July 2005; July 2006) Heritage Council "Peel Region" (Issue 14, December 2005, p. 2)

  External links



All translations of Waroona,_Western_Australia

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