|All Saints Anglican Church in Donnybrook
Donnybrook (including Boyanup)
Town in the heart of Western Australia's apple growing area
Located on the Preston River 206 km south of Perth and 63 m above sea level, Donnybrook is famous as the town in the centre of Western Australia's premier apple growing area. Apart from apples the town is also a centre for the local timber, beef and dairy industries.
In recent times, as the South West has become a fashionable retreat from Perth, Donnybrook has become a popular haunt in October when the apple blossom is out. The hills around the town are ablaze with the blossom giving the area a very European feel.
Donnybrook takes its name from the town in Ireland. It was named Donnybrook by the first European settlers in the area, a group of five Irishmen. In 1842 the party, with four servants, arrived in the district intending to establish farms on the 130 ha they had been granted. The farms were short lived. The men tried their luck with horses, cattle and sheep but all failed and they abandoned their settlement by February 1843.
The development and settlement of the town was slow. By 1868 the Anchor & Hope Inn was licensed and providing accommodation for travellers through the area but there is little evidence that Donnybrook was anything more than a very tiny settlement.
Gold was found in the area in 1897-98 and the goldfield was officially gazetted. However the rush was brief. Four years later the field had been worked out. In the interim a new hotel had been built, land prices had boomed and the population of the town had leapt as prospectors and miners arrived to try their luck on the fields. The fields were not hugely lucrative. Between 1899-1903 a total of 841 fine ounces of gold were produced from the mines in the area. By 1904 the field had effectively closed down.
The first Granny Smith apple tree was planted in 1900 but the apple industry didn't really get started until after the Great War. A man named George Parke was the first orchardist to plant apples commercially in the area. Today Donnybrook is the largest apple producing area in Western Australia.
Things to see:
Anchor & Hope Inn
It is rare in Western Australia to find an historic home which also offers accommodation. The National Trust listed Anchor & Hope Inn actually dates back to 1845. The National Estate listing of the building points out 'The original pug structure, built by Henry Trigwell and Henry Wood in 1845, was rebuilt by George Lawrence in 1865. The bricks were burnt on the property and the original shingled roof was later covered. The ceiling matchwood was specially imported. Built in a style similar to most early colonial homes, it is the oldest homestead in the district, and was occupied by the Trigwell family for four generations. Situated on the main road, the building was conducted for years as one of a chain of roadside inns on the road to the south-west of the colony.' It now offers bed and breakfast style accommodation.
Glen Karaleea Deer Park
6 km north of Donnybrook is the Glen Karaleea Deer Park which, apart from extensive herds of deer, also has the Lady William Apple Tower (or the Big Apple - it weighs 5 tonnes) which offers excellent views over the surrounding area.
Boyanup and Boyanup Museum
15 km north of Donnybrook is the tiny settlement of Boyanup with its outstanding Boyanup Museum which specialises in Transport and Rural Industries being the home of both the Leschenault Railway Preservation Society and the South West Veteran Car Club. Open on weekends from 10.00 am - 4.00 pm it combines vintage cars, a vintage train - the 'Leschenault Lady' G Class 233 - and historic farm machinery.
Donnybrook is noted for its sandstone which has been used extensively in Perth's public buildings. The G.P.O., St Mary's Cathedral, the AMP building and the University of Western Australia buildings have all been faced with Donnybrook stone. The quarry can be seen from the Upper Capel Road out of town.
There is an interesting history of the town and surrounding area titled Green Gold (the title refers is to the apple industry) by A.C. Frost which is available from the local Shire Council.