Typical sleepy wheat and sheep service town.
Gnowangerup is located 335 km south east of
Perth and is a typical wheat and sheep town. It
probably acquired its unusual name from the
local Aboriginal word 'gnowneerup' meaning the
'place of mallee hen eggs'. There was a time
when the local people attempted to change the
town's name but, in spite of a number of
suggestions, the State Lands Department refused.
The first European into the area was John
Septimus Roe, the Western Australian
surveyor-general, who, on one of the eight
expeditions which he made between 1830-1835,
passed through the area.
The area was settled by European pastoralists
in the 1850s. By the 1870s Thomas Quinn had
acquired the area around Gnowangerup Spring and
was using it as pasture for the horses of the
sandalwood cutters who moved through the area.
It wasn't until 1905 that the town was named and
gazetted. The first merino sheep were introduced
into the area in 1908, by 1912 the railway had
arrived and by 1918 there was a butter factory
in the town.
Today Gnowangerup is a typical farming
service centre with its hotel/motel and its
railway line, its farm machinery yards and its
service shops providing the needs for the 2 500
people who live in the shire raising beef cattle
and sheep or growing wheat, barley, lupins, peas
Things to see:
Attractions in and around the town
The town's attractions include the fauna (about
180 species of bird have been recorded in the
area), the wildflower displays between August
and November, the mineral springs at the
northern end of the town (the springs were what
drew people to the area in the first place), and
the old Telyarup Homestead which lies 11 km west
of the town. It was built in 1910 and is a fine
example of a rural homestead from that period.
It is not open to the public.