The Great Southern Family History Soc


Katanning - Heart of the Great Southern Katanning (known originally as Ke'-tungain or Ke'tungup) was the junction point of three aboriginal tribal grounds whose people lived in the area long before it was occupied by its first white settlers. Katanning's name originated from the languages of these tribes, and the most popular version of its meaning is meeting place.


The aboriginal use of words ending with up or ing, both suffixes meaning place of, is evident in many Western Australian town names. Agricultural farmers and sandalwood cutters settled the area from the 1840's, and Katanning became a meeting place for traders and landowners alike. In 1889 the Great Southern Railway was opened, and although Katanning didn't officially become a town until 1898, its founding father, F.H. Piesse, had already established his farm and orchard, a hotel, and other buildings including shops and a bank. A dam on his property, which he allowed the townsfolk to use free of  charge, supplied water to his brickworks, aerated water factory and roller flourmill.


The entire Piesse complex was supplied with electric power generated by the flour mill machinery, and in 1902 Katanning became the first country town in Western Australia to have street lighting. Later, the establishment of the stock-selling yards, the largest in Western Australia outside the metropolitan area, strengthened Katanning's role as an important commercial centre for industries associated with stock production. The export abattoir was opened in 1974, and with the arrival of a large number of Christmas Islander workers and their families, Katanning became a town with an ethnic influence. Today, more than a hundred years after its foundation, Katanning remains an important centre for the trading and transportation of stock and agricultural based activities in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, and a meeting place for shopping, sport entertainment  and Commerce                                                                                     


                                                                                  More about Katanning . . . . . . .