The Great Southern Family History Soc

             Tambellup / Wagin

Tambellup - Town of Friendship

The name Tambellup is derived from a native word meaning Place of the Tamars, which are small marsupials that once flourished in the area, although some also believe it means

Place of Thunder.

Tambellup is situated 328 kilometres south of Perth on the Great Southern Highway.

The region centre is Katanning, 44 kilometres to the north. In 1873 Josiah Norrish and his wife Ellen (nee Cull) took up property east of the present town site, but like many other towns in the region, it wasn't until the opening of the railway line in 1889, that permanent settlers began to arrive in the district. They concentrated initially on sandalwood cutting and later, on sheep breeding. The town site, built around both sides of the railway line, was gazetted in 1899.

The Shire of Tambellup comprised an area of 1,437 square kilometres, with an approximate population of 735. It has now merged with Broomehill to become the Broomehill Tambellup Shire. The district is mainly agricultural, farming mainly coarse grains and clover, as well as sheep for wool and fat lambs, and some cattle and pigs  Although the population is small, members of the Tambellup community enjoy a variety of recreational and sporting facilities, and the town is well known for its avenue of friendship trees at the northern entrance. In addition, at each entrance is a Lions Club big willy sign which depicts the local  fauna.

Wagin - Home of Woolorama

Like Katanning, Wagin owes its establishment as a town to the Great Southern Railway, which was officially opened in 1889, linking Perth and Albany, and several settlements en route. However, it wasn't until 1898 that Wagin was gazetted, and it became the most important town outside Perth and Albany (from the railway's point of view).
The growth of the township and district of Wagin can also partly be attributed to Charles Piesse, brother to Frederick, who was instrumental in the success of Katanning as an agricultural and commercial trade centre.
Apart from their farming pursuits, the brothers formed a partnership to open stores initially in Williams and Arthur River, then later in Narrogin, Wagin and Katanning. Charles was particularly interested in grape growing, and produced a burgundy that gained him first prize in a Paris wine exhibition.
The 1890's also saw an influx of farmers from South Australia, who brought with them new ideas and methods of clearing and developing the land. Up to this period, there were few settlers in the district, consisting mostly of kangaroo hunters, sandalwooders or shepherds based at York or Beverley. As these wanderers moved through they occasionally discovered an area with good soil and water which was fresh and permanent, and decided to stay.
With a suitable climate, sufficient rainfall, and the improvement in farming methods, farmers established fruit, grain and fodder crops, and pasture for sheep. Although in 1906, Wagin, Katanning and Kojonup produced the third largest amount of grain in the state, the emphasis on crops took second place in passing years, and the district gradually became more important as a sheep breeding area.
Complementing the sheep growing industry of the Great Southern, Wagin has become a focal town nationwide through Woolerama, establishing this annual event as the premier sheep and wool showpiece in Western Australia. Woolerama attracts sheep breeders Australia wide, and has from 1972 grown to compare favourably with other major sheep shows in Australia. Situated in one of the most prosperous agricultural and farming areas of the Great Southern, the district has arguably the best sheep, wool and mixed farming areas in Western Australia.

                                                     More about Wagin (Willy Wagtail).    More about Tambellup