Armadale is no longer really separate from the urban sprawl that is greater Perth city. It is situated on the crossroads of Albany and South West
Highways and is nestled at the foot of the Darling Scarp.
Pioneer Village is not at all what it once was. You can wander through some of the village now but the school has taken over part of it and there is little left besides a few shops and a cafe. The pub - that was really great - is now a chapel and a good 15 minute stroll is all you will probably get here.
The Elizabethan Village development has been closed for a number of years but the tavern and restaurant on the site still operate.
An excellent attraction in the area is the Armadale Reptile Centre. It is located on South West Highway not far south of central Armadale.
Another attraction well worth visiting here is Araluen. There is a small entrance fee to visit the gardens here but it is very attractive and theperfect place for a picnic.
The name is thought to originate with a location in Scotland and not with Armidale in New South Wales (which incidentally is the incorrect spelling).
It was first settled in 1830 and a military outpost with 17 troopers established to protect explorers moving through the area.
A road from Perth to Armadale was completed in 1850 and the first inn constructed in the town site in 1853.
An account of the mail run from Perth in 1880 is as follows:
'Roads in bad condition. Started early morning from Terrace, and over Causeway. First eight miles were jarrah blocked. Speed ten miles an hour...
About noon guard Radley heralds our approach to "Ye Olde Narrogin Inne" with a lively tattoo on his bugle. As we cross the old rustic bridge, host Foster and his
attendant stableman is waiting to serve a hurried meal to man and beast. On again, up that wooded slope...'
In 1866 the first saw mill in the area was constructed at Roleystone by Thomas Buckingham.
The railway arrived in 1889 and ensured the survival of the now rapidly expanding township. Locally known as Narrogin this name was already taken
by 1909 when the town site was gazetted so Armadale was chosen instead. It was proclaimed as a city in 1985.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
Murder at the Inn
In February 1874 a murder was reported by the Perth Gazette at the Narrogin Inn on the Albany Road. The article reads:
"The unfortunate victim of the shocking crime was Mr. William Foster, the proprietor of the Narrogin Inn, on the Albany road, who was shot dead in a most
cowardly manner on Friday evening last. The supposed murderer, a conditional-pardon holder named Gill, has been arrested, and the wretched man is now in the safe custody of
the police. The particulars of the sad tragedy disclose the fact that what-ever the assassin's motive may have been, and whatever his real or fancied grievance, the murder
was determined and premeditated. Gill was employed by Mr. Forster as a general servant, and among his other duties were those of a cook. On the day of the murder he made
some complaint to his master of the quality of some meat supplied to him for his dinner. Mr. Forster told him it was off the same piece of beef as he and his family had
just partaken of. Some words ensued between them and Gill went away muttering something to him-self. This was at mid-day. Later in the day he apologised to Mr. Foster for
his insolence, and wished to let bygones be bygones. Matters were apparently thus put on an amicable footing, and during the rest of the day there was nothing whatever in
the man's demeanour to indicate that he meditated mischief. After tea, Mr. Foster on going into the kitchen observed that Gill was absent and that he had not finished his
usual task of washing up the dishes. He shouted his name, but there was no response. Mr. Foster then armed himself with a lanthorn and proceeded in the direction of the
stables to search for him, and whilst approaching an out-building where Gill slept he was shot in the right side. He staggered a few paces, fell on his knees, and exclaimed;
"The wretch has shot me ; send for a doctor." The only inmates on the premises at the time were the murdered man's youngest daughter, a young lady about
l8 years of age, and his daughter-in-law and her children. Miss Matilda Foster hearing the report and seeing the flash of the gun instantly comprehended the state of affairs,
and hurried to obey her father's injunctions to send for a medical man. This involved a journey of eighteen or twenty miles, there being no doctor nearer at hand than Perth.
Miss Foster's first intention was to rush to the stable, saddle a horse, and ride in search of some neighbourly assistance, but the horrible thought struck her that the miscreant
who had shot her father might still be on the premises, and probably lurking in the stables so she abandoned the idea of obtaining a horse, and started off with all speed on foot.
The night was a dark one, and her road lay through the bush, where she became entangled in a dense thicket or scrub. Finding that her outer garments inconvenienced her progress
through the bush she divested herself of a portion of them, and nothing daunted, wended her way to the house of the nearest neighbour, a Mr. Cronin, who is a feeble aged man. When
informed of the occurrence, however, he proceeded with all haste to Narrogin, and Miss Foster went to another neighbour, named Martin. Here, no one was found but Mrs. Martin, with
her young family, and Miss Foster then set out to Fancott's - between three and four miles from Narrogin. A little boy, however,-son of Mr. Martin-was the only person that could be
found available to proceed to Perth, and he was sent off as soon as possible on horseback. He, after proceeding a short distance, was met by his father, who brought on the intelligence,
arriving in town about two in the morning. As speedily as possible the police and a medical man were communicated with, and Dr. Hora at once proceeded to Narrogin. On arriving there,
however, the doctor found that Mr. Foster had been dead for some time, and that, judging from the nature of the wound inflicted by the gun-shot, no medical skill could have availed
in saving his life, the contents of the gun having entered the body on the right side, through and below the ribs, breaking four of the ribs, and causing the liver to protrude.
Mr. Foster remained in the position in which he fell for about two hours, occasionally suffering moments of extreme pain, but conversing quite rationally with his daughter and
daughter-in-law, who, with some young children, were the sole occupants of the house, in momentarily dread, as they were, of being themselves made the victims of the assassin's
rage. Relief, though late, came at last, and Mr. Foster was removed into his dwelling-house ; where he was observed to gradually sink, completely exhausted by the loss of blood.
When the police arrived on the premises a search was made, and Gill was found missing, and tracked for some distance along the Albany road. The gun with which the dastardly and
fatal shot was fired was discovered a few yards from the house, with the outer rim of the nipple blown off, testifying to the heavy charge with which the musket had been loaded.
It had been taken from Mr. Edward Foster's bedroom, which the murderer had broken into for the purpose of arming himself with it ; powder and shot were also obtained in the same
room. An examination of Gill's own bedroom disclosed the fact that the atrocious deed was premeditated, he having carefully packed up in a bundle a quantity of provisions available
for the bush after escaping from the scene of murder. For some reason or other, however, he went away without these rations, but took care to arm himself with a formidable carving
knife which was found concealed on his body after his arrest. The particulars of his arrest will be found in the appended report of a preliminary investigation held before the
Police Magistrate at Perth on Monday last. Mr. Foster, who was one of the earliest colonists, had, by his amiability and courtesy, won the esteem of a large number of friends,
and the shocking occurrence has caused the deepest pain, and excited the tenderest sympathy for his widow and children. The funeral which took place on Sunday was one of the
most numerously and respectably attended we have witnessed in Perth. The mournful procession left the residence of the deceased's brother-in-law, Mr. E. Stirling, in St. G eorge's
Terrace, about four o'clock in the afternoon. Mr. Foster's remains were interred in the Church of England cemetery, Dean Gegg being the officiating clergyman."
Armadale Reptile Centre,
Pioneer world, Champion Lakes, Churchman Brook Dam, Canning Dam, Minnawarra
Park, Bert Tyler Vintage Machinery Museum, History House Museum, Rocksgate
Winery, Elizabethan Village.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
FAMOUS SONS AND DAUGHTERS
State : Armadale / Darling Range
Federal : Canning
Postcode : 6112
Local Government : City of Armadale
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