"Road to Waroona" Waroona by arianne_1504

Waroona Travel Guide: 4 reviews and 2 photos

Where is Waroona?

Waroona is a little country town about 1.5 hours south of Perth, in Western Australia. It is located in the Peel region along the South Western Highway, between Pinjarra and Harvey.

The town was originally known as Drakesbrook, and was first settled by John Fouracre in 1891.

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.[1] 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 1904-1947.

Development was confused in the early years as Drakesbrook and Waroona both persisted in usage - in the 1890s referring to the separate towns 2km 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.[2]

Waroona Dam, originally Drakesbrook Dam, was built in 1931-1932 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.

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.[3]

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 courthouse, 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.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Quiet, pretty and green
  • Cons:Quiet
  • Last visit to Waroona: Jun 2007
  • Intro Updated Jul 20, 2007
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