MURRAY DISTRICTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Located at the Old Schoolmaster's House, Edenvale Heritage Precinct, Pinjarra.
Our volunteers are there to greet you on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am – 3 pm, or by appointment.
The aim of the Historical Society is to research, collect, maintain and share stories of the Murray District that stretches from North Dandalup to Coolup, from West Murray to Dwellingup – and including the vibrant town of Pinjarra. We have a well maintained local history library, interesting displays and a large collection of photographs, documents, and display books.
We also have a strong membership of enthusiastic people and are always looking for additional members to join us. If you have a love of history, in particular of the Murray District, or if you have information to share, please visit us. And if you like what you see, consider becoming a member of our group. Our general meetings with a guest speaker are open to visitors. Other events, including bus trips, are available to members. All visitors are welcome to browse our collections during our ‘open’ hours or by appointment.
NOTE: for All interested persons and All Members
Programme of coming events includes:
Tuesday, 26th October 2021 – 7pm to 9pm
General Meeting @ The Lesser Hall, Pinjarra (next to the Library)
Guest Speaker: John Viska (Pres. Garden History Society, WA) will be our Guest Speaker
- All are welcome to attend the meeting and talk.
- Attendance is $2 for members and $5 for visitors.
- Supper will be served at the conclusion of the evening.
- If you would like to join us please contact Anne Cubitt on:
Mob. 0422 516 283 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW INTERESTING IS THIS!
North Dandalup – Gold Discoveries (excerpt only)
Traces of gold had been found in the South West from time to time, and E.H. Hargraves had been contracted to visit the colony in an attempt to repeat the discovery he had made at Summerhill Creek near Sydney in 1851, thereby starting the Australian gold rushes. He came to Western Australia and passed through the Murray District between the 7th and 10th of February 1863. Although he found some geological formations which could, in his opinion, be gold-bearing, his overall assessment was that there was no gold to be had in Western Australia. However, in October 1869 a settler digging a hole for the corner-post of a fence near North Dandalup found traces of the precious metal, and a cavalcade of diggers rushed to the area. Unfortunately, although more traces were found, no major field turned up.
The 1896 Find
Then, in March 1896 the news was out that gold had been found again at North Dandalup. The West Australian goldfields around Kalgoorlie had been going for some time by 1896, so the reports were taken seriously by a population now used to spectacular finds being reported almost daily at times, and by the 26th of March there were some sixty men on the Dandalup field. After more reports reached Perth, 200 men left almost immediately by train to join them. A whole mountain of gold-bearing quartz was said to exist at North Dandalup, and the pessimists were dismissed with the argument that even if the field did not return as much to the ton as was envisaged, the cheapness of working the deposits would still enable a dividend, even at 5 pennyweights per ton.
The miners were described as mainly ‘… men of mining class, but in one or two instances the parties seemed to comprise the amateur or picnicking prospector …’ Several large companies were soon involved, and it was reported that an English firm had been given the option of purchasing half the shares in the main mine being developed – ‘The Mount Lovett Reward’ – for £20,000. By June there was an ‘eating, lodging and boarding house’ on the field, and three months later there was a general store near the North Dandalup station plus two hotels on the field – the North Dandalup Hotel and the Mount Lovett Hotel. The North Dandalup Hotel, erected by a Mr W.H. Woodfield, had two sitting rooms and four bedrooms; the other one, built by a Mr F. Aflin, boasted three sitting rooms and four bedrooms. Both were of timber and iron and probably of the rough sort of construction to be expected on a goldfield.
Within a short time a Warden’s Court had been set up here, ‘… in a good-sized tent erected for the purpose’, and half a dozen large syndicates were sinking shafts, with quite a lot of money being invested. Surveyors laid out a townsite with provision for a school and ‘several church sites’, and also marked out a line of road from the station which shortened the distance by three-quarters of a mile.
There is no doubt that for a short time North Dandalup really ‘boomed’, with frantic activity on leases…
The alluvial prospectors soon realized that there were not many pickings for them, and in July the Pinjarra policeman reported that miners were leaving the field. Nevertheless, optimism amongst the big investors was boosted after small amounts of the precious metal were found at depth.
Nevertheless, right from the beginning there had been doubts expressed about the authenticity of the original discoveries.
By September 1896 Constable Loveday was complaining that the only people remaining were ‘low larrikins [sic], and that they were causing a nuisance by pilfering from the North Dandalup station; by November most of these men had gone as well. By this time even the most optimistic investors had realised that further work in the area was a waste of money…
Apparently recent geologic reports suggest that there is indeed gold at North Dandalup, but that it is located a long way down. Perhaps a large gold mine will one day be established in the area, as has occurred at Marradong not far from Captain Fawcett’s old property, Mokine, where Alcoa Australia, in extracting bauxite for the Wagerup refinery, came across extensive deposits of gold.
excerpt above from the history book entitled
“Murray and Mandurah – A Sequel History of the Old Murray District of Western Australia”
Ron Richards (author)
Published 1993 by Shire of Murray and City of Mandurah
The entire publication can be read at the Murray Districts Historical Society.
At the Old Schoolmaster’s House in Henry … Come and look through the House as there is much more history to see and learn about!
Do you have an interest in the history of Pinjarra and the Murray Districts?
If you would like to become one of our volunteers, please advise Jill on 0408 846 567 or by email email@example.com
Follow our monthly articles in the Community Newspaper for more information about the history of Pinjarra and the heritage buildings of the Murray District. And we always welcome any stories or photos you are willing to share with us.
And we welcome new members.
For information about the Murray Districts Historical Society, its membership and its activities, please contact
Anne Cubitt – Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org
For assistance with research or general questions about local history, contact Merv Beacham on 0417 986 838, or Val King on 0458 673 608
For more photos and stories of the rich history of the Murray, look at our Website murrayhistory.org.au/home or visit us at the Old Schoolmaster’s House within the Edenvale Heritage Precinct.
You can also Like us on Facebook here.
We are grateful to all of our Sponsors, Supporters and our Volunteers
and we look forward to All Visitors during 2021.