Gnowangerup is the centre of a sheep breeding area that incorporates several merino studs. Gnowangerup is both the name of the town and the name of the shire. Within the
shire boundaries there are two other towns: Borden and Ongerup. The shire covers about 5,000 square kilometres with most of the
area being part of the oldest land on the planet. It is estimated that rocks in this region are 3,000 million years old.
The Stirling Range that we see today was, 1,500 million years ago, part of a large lake that gradually filled with sediments. After the sediments had
been turned into rock, geological forces pushed them upward to form one of the few true mountain ranges in W.A.
The town's name, like so many in W.A., originates from the Aboriginal language. The closest translation is probably, "Place of the mallee hen eggs" and the name is thought to
originate from an Aboriginal legend about two warriors who fought and killed each other near some mineral springs. One warrior was reincarnated as a mallee hen 'gnow' and the
other as an emu 'waitch' which in turn became the name of the town of Wagin.
The 'Place of the mallee hen' was explored in the 1850s, but not gazetted as a town until 1905 (another source quotes 1908) when the original spelling was Ngowangerupp.
Sandalwood was the main industry in the area in the late 1800s and by 1912 the railway arrived. There are natural mineral springs near the town which
were originally responsible for drawing people to the area.
Arnold Piesse constructed the Agriculatural Hall in 1910. Piesse was the MLA for Katanning.
A rail line from Tambellup opened on July 1st 1912 and the following year it was extended to Ongerup.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
A link to Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly may have been hanged as a bushranger but before he died he did father some children and his daughter moved here and was the publican at the local hotel.
Today a statue of Ned stands near the pub. (This story needs confirmation.)
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Steam tractor, Aylmore mineral spring, Stirling Range, Machinery museum, History Centre, Nobarach Park, Wildflower reserve, Mary Rock.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
Anglican Church 1930, Old police station.
State : Wagin
Federal : O'Connor
Postcode : 6335
Local Government : Shire of Gnowangerup
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