Our History and Heritage

The Shire of West Arthur was originally settled in the 1850s when the road from Perth to Albany was constructed.  Pastoralists first took up land around 125 Mile (or Arthur River as it is now known) before moving west and settling around Darkan Rock in the mid 1860s.  Early settlement in Moodiarrup occurred around the same time.  The construction of the Narrogin to Collie railway line in 1906 resulted in the official gazetting of the Darkan townsite on 7 December 1906.  The construction of the Wagin to Bowelling section of the railway line passed through Duranillin in 1918 creating a thriving centre in the middle of the Shire.  


The Shire of West Arthur recognises the importance of protecting places of cultural heritage significance.  Ensuring these places are preserved enhances our sense of identity and preserves our history for future generations.  


Heritage and Future Developments

The Shire maintains a list of important heritage places on its Heritage Survey and List  Our most important places are included on the Heritage List in our Heritage Local Planning Policy.  The objectives of the Heritage List are to facilitate the conservation of places of heritage value and ensure that development occurs with due regard to identified heritage values in the interest of the community.  More information on this can be found in this Information Sheet  When a place is listed on the heritage list development (town planning) approval is generally required for most works.  In considering the application, the Council will have regard to what impact the works will have on the heritage values of the site.


Inclusion in the Local Heritage List or Local Heritage Survey does not affect ownership and/or permit public access to a private property. A recognised place remains the property of the landowner/manager and normal access arrangements will remain.


Further Information can be found at the following websites:


Betty Brown Historical Centre

The Shire manages the award winning Betty Brown Historical Centre which details the history of the contribution made by women in rural communities.  More information on the Betty Brown Centre is available here Places Of Interest » Shire of West Arthur. You can view the full collection on the Collections WA website (https://collectionswa.net.au/organisations/betty-brown-historical-centre-shire-west-arthur).


Community Archives

Housed in the Shire strong room are a collection of documents from local community groups, some of which no longer exist.  This collection of Community Archives is available to access by contacting the Shire.  The collection includes minute books, financials, photos and correspondence from many of the local community groups.  


Local Stories

The Shire Library located in the West Arthur CRC, has many books on local history.  These books will help with researching your family history or history about the district.  We are continuing to add to our collection all the time.  If you or your family have written a book or know of historical books relevant to the local district we would love to add them to the collection.   "West of the Arthur" by John Bird is a book that was written about the Shire of West Arthur.  Copies of this book are available for purchase from the Shire office.