April 2020




Located at the Old Schoolmaster's House, Edenvale Heritage Precinct, Pinjarra. 




Located at the Old Schoolmaster's House, Edenvale Heritage Precinct, Pinjarra. 

We regret the Schoolmaster’s House will not be open to the public during April – and until further notice.  Please note that enquiries about local history will still be answered by our members.  (see contacts below)


Saturday 14th March – members of the Peel Chapter of the WA Branch of Museums and Galleries Australia (AMaGA) met at Edenvale, hosted and fed by the Murray Districts Historical Society.  The 25 men and women present represented 8 Historical Societies and Museums throughout the Peel District: Cockburn, Kwinana, Rockingham, Serpentine, Jarrahdale, Murray Districts, Mandurah, and Waroona.  After morning tea and the business meeting, the attendees heard an illustrated talk on the origin, early days and rectors of St John’s Church.  They were then treated to a tour of the Church and graveyard before enjoying lunch while networking with members from neighbouring Societies.



April was to be special! 

It was to include activities during the Australian Heritage Festival, a day tour of Fairbridge Village and of course, Anzac Day.  Our plans, like those of most Australians, have been disrupted by the onslaught of the Corona virus. 

The Heritage Festival is convened and coordinated by the National Trust of Australia who have already announced the closure of all their properties for the coming weeks.

Sadly, Anzac Day celebrations and commemorations have been cancelled across Australia.

We do hope, however, that our planned tour of Fairbridge is simply postponed and will take place later this year.  


Do You Know That?

As we travel along George Street and continue our discovery of Pinjarra’s heritage buildings, we make a stop at the old Post Office. 

The Post Office was built in 1896 and included upstairs accommodation and living quarters for the Post Master and his family. It was designed by the renowned Colonial Architect George Temple-Poole to accommodate the workings of the Post Office on the ground floor and private residence for the Post Master and family on the upper floor.  In 1923 the building underwent alterations and extensions, including the installation of a telephone exchange. The incorporation of the telephone exchange meant that by 1926 calls could be made 24 hours a day. This meant that the junior messenger boy slept overnight in the Exchange room to attend to any night calls.  The building ceased operating as a Post Office in July 2008.


Before the construction of the Pinjarra Post Office, mail was delivered by civilian contractors. Mrs Mary Ann McLarty, who had settled in the district with her husband John after arriving in the Swan River Colony in 1839 from Scotland, was Postmistress for the district from 1844 to 1868, operating out of Old Blythewood (2 km’s south of Pinjarra).


Agitation from local residents for a more convenient postal service meant that the mail service moved to Pinjarra, with Mrs Sutcliffe acting as Postmistress for 25 years out of her cottage home on the west side of George Street, opposite the Police Station and Court House.  In the early 1890s residents lobbied for the construction of a purpose built Post Office with all modern conveniences, including telegraph services.


During the 1930’s and early 1940’s the Post Office sported a façade of Virginia creeper.   In 1948 the Post Master’s daughter Anne Williams contracted a fever thought to be caused by dampness in her upstairs bedroom of the Post Office.  On the doctor’s recommendation, the creeper was removed from the building.


The Williams family lived at the Post Office during the War years, from 1939 and through to 1950.  Mrs Williams wrote her memories of wartime Pinjarra which included the following recollection. 

‘People collected newspapers which were stored in the old stables in the Post Office residence yard then taken to Perth for re-use.  (Early recycling!) Bits of soap were also saved by families and when enough was saved, the bits would be melted down to make a new bar.  Soap was scarce, as was toilet paper(!!)  People saved things like timed foods but my children were disgusted to find me storing soap and toilet paper!  They thought that if we needed to evacuate we would be the cleanest evacuees if not the fattest’


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.


For more photos and stories of the rich history of the Murray, look at our Website http://www.murrayhistory.org.au/home

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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 alanjill37@hotmail.com


For information about the Murray Districts Historical Society, its membership and its activities,

please contact our secretary Dawn Hodgkinson by email: led.zep@live.com.au


For assistance with research or general questions about local history, contact Merv Beacham on 0417 986 838, Penny Hoffman on 0407 422 771 or Val King on 0458 673 608


In the meantime, look at our Website murrayhistory.org.au/home for more information.


You can also Like us on Facebook here



For information about the Murray Districts Historical Society, its membership and its activities, contact Dawn Hodgkinson, Secretary by email led.zep@live.com.au

Murray Districts Historical Society • Old Schoolmaster's House, Henry Street • Edenvale Precinct • Pinjarra Western Australia