The Great Southern  Family History Soc


Gnowangerup - Gateway to the Stirlings  The name Gnowangerup is derived from Gnow the Noongar, or south west aboriginal, word for Malleefowl. For thousands of years the plains were hunting grounds for the Goreng Noongars -evidenced by stone implements still found along the creeks. Gnowangerup, situated 342 kms from Perth, provides access to the Stirling Range National Park approximately 56 kms to the south, and is the centre of a major sheep producing and grain growing area.


Gnowangerup forms the eastern point of a triangle connecting with Tambellup and Broomehill. The first European to report on this area was the Surveyor General, John Septimus Roe, who passed through the area in 1835. In the nineteenth century Sandalwood cutting played an important role in the area, as it did in other areas in the Great Southern, and a sandalwood cutters' camp was established to the east in the 1840's. While some settlement took place in these condition half of the nineteenth century, it wasn't until 1905 that Gnowangerup was surveyed for town lots. A number of attractive buildings constructed during the pioneering days still remain, including the Memorial Hall, present Shire Office, Banks, early Hospital, St Margaret's Anglican Church and the Hotel.


Gnowangerup's population is now approximately 900 and supports a number of light industries including Silo Manufacturing, Fencing Wire Fabrication, and Transport. It also boasts a District high School, Agricultural Farm School, Hospital, Pharmacy, Post Office, Banks and Sporting Facilities. A local tourist attraction is the large steam tractor, imported in 1889, which is now situated adjacent to the Shire Office. As it was used to clear much of the local countryside, it stands as a monument to the settlers of the district                                 




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