A Timeline of Local History

Information provided to the Shire of Wongan-Ballidu by John Rogers. 

The first one hundred and fifty years of white settlement...

A Timeline

1829 Swan River Settlement.

1836 Robert Dale and George Fletcher Moore, Advocate General, explored North of Northam saw the Wongan Hills.

1836  Surveyor General John Septimus Roe (pictured right) surveyed the Wongan Hills area naming Mount Matilda after his wife. 

1842 John Gilbert (memorial pictured) Naturalist came to the Wongan area to study the teeming wildlife.

1843 Slaters increased their extensive pastoral leases from Goomalling to the Wongan Hills borders at Kalguddering.

1846 The Benedictine Monks from New Norcia extended their missionary and grazing interests from the West of the Wongan Hills area.

1844  Scientists came to list the Flora and Fauna of the area. Proffessor Drummond (pictured) and M Darlacher.

1845 First recorded shipment of Sandalwood by Bullock Train from the area.

1846 Bishop Salvado started the Mission at New Norcia.

1853 First recorded freehold land in Wongan Hills 100 acres at Donto Well.

1858 Similar grant at Kalguddering.

1870’s Clunes, Kings, Brown, Conner, Quinlan and Twine took Grazing Right over most of the Wongan Hills area.

1871 Lyell, Government Geologist looking for minerals in the Wongan Hills Area

1873 Bishop Salvado, Clune, Henessy acquired water holes, consolidating their holdings.

1881 Bishop Salvado bought Dumbo Mission, 72,000 acres leasehold, 400 acres freehold.

1882 Bishop Salvado explored the Wongan Hills area.

1889 First wire fencing used

1894 Agricultural Board established in Wongan Hills

1901 Grazing leases ran out and the land opened for settlement and all known springs reserved for the use of settlers.

1903 Wongan Hills area opened for settlement. 

           Twine, Quinlan and Slater took up squatters rights.

1905 Wave of pioneer farmers.

          The first recorded shipment of wheat.

          Stickland and Hornsby blocks surveyed.

1907 Mrs Honey, first white woman in the area, arrived by Bullock train.

1908 First selections made at Kondut and Ballidu

1909 New settlers demand road, mail and food supplies.

1910 Storekeeper, Ivann Royal arrives and in conjunction with First National Bank operate from a tent, awaiting the railway line, and erect a tent as a boarding house. Edward Joseph and Millicent Rogers had already set up a store and stables near the railway line site.

Ivann Royals tent store


Inaugural Progress Picnic Sept 10, 1910

1911 Township gazetted.

         Reverend Sullivan started his Ministry in Wongan Hills (Photo from 1922).

         Extension of the Railway to Wongan Hills officially opened to traffic.  

         No permanent buildings in the township yet.

         First Steam train arrived.


         The water tower was built for the steam trains. Fresh water came from Lake Ninan initially.

1912 EJ Rogers purchased Royals tent store and built the first commercial buildings in the town, a General Store, Boarding House, Bank and Post Office, and stables.

         Railway line to Mullewa started from both ends.

         Railway barracks built.

         First public telephone.

1913 Kondut named.

         Rail water tank and stand built with water piped from the Railway Dam.

1913 The first school at Wongan Hills was opened in June. Ms Cullerton was the first teacher. She travelled from Kondut and stayed in Wongan from Monday to Friday.

1914 Drought, 431 points for the year (4.3 inches) average crop yield 3 bushells ( 1 bag) an acre ( 0.2 tonne per hectare) . Average rainfall is 1527 points (388mm) and good crops in the 1960’s were 10-12 bags per          acre.

         Wongan Agricultural Hall built, a timber building later used as the supper room for the new hall.

         First recorded burial in the Wongan Hills Cemetery with Pioneer burials on the Eastern side of the bisecting road until 1956, with the Western side from 1943 and still in use.

         First State Hotel and Billiard Room built.

1915 Station Masters house built.

1916 Local Government was established. Ballidu Kondut Wongan Hills district formed, 1307 square miles, original boundaries enclosing Goomalling Dalwallinu Koorda and Dowerin

         There were 683 votes cast in the local election as shown below.

         First Melbourne Road Board meeting.

1917 Wongan Hills Farmers Coop opened.

         675 mm (26 inchs) highest rainful ever recorded at Wongan Hills.

1920 Railway Station Buildings erected.

1923 Shire purchases a horse drawn grader. Ballidu School is opened.

1925 Power plant supplies DC current to the town.

         State farm established to research crops and stocking for the wheat belt.

1926 Melbourne Road Board officially renamed Wongan Ballidu Road Board.

1928 Permanent Post Office built in Wilson Street.

         Shops built Corner Quinlan and Fenton Street. for Mr Stonestreet.

         National Bank built of local stone in Quinlan Street.

         Golf club built near the Railway Dam.

         Masonic Lodge built.

1929 Church of England hall built.

1930 Wongan Hills Hospital opened Cnr Mitchell and Camm Sts, currently the Wongan Hills Pioneer Museum.

1932 St Peters Anglican Church built.

         First Petrol Bowser.

         Bakery moves from Wilson St to the Cnr Fenton and Quinlan Sts.

         First tennis courts.

         Farmer Coop burns down.

1936 Dr Lovegrove comes to Wongan Hills.

1940 Town flooded.

          New wing added to the hospital.

1941 Wongan Hills State Hotel built in art deco style on the site of the old hotel.

1947 Volunteer Fire Brigade established.

1953 New Junior Primary School opens in Quinlan Street.

1954 Town Library.

         Infant Health Centre.

1955 Diesel trains started the run to Mullewa.

         Catholic Church opens Moore Street.

         Water supply.

1957 CWA rest room.

         Methodist Church and hall built.

1959 Drive in theatre opens owned by Vic Basham.

         New Post Office opened Elphin Street.

1960 - 1988 Lake Ninan, originally fresh water, was used for Water Skiing Sailing and a Rowing Regatta until the Lake dried up in 1988 as a result of farming practises and climate change.  

1960 Caravan Park. Septic Tanks. Bowling Club.

1963 Opening of the Wongan Hills Olympic Swimming Pool, Pistol Club, New Shire Offices.

1964 Police Station opened.

1965 The current Wongan Hills Hospital was built.

1966 Wongan Aero Club developed on Jack Acklands property. Fire station built in Fenton Street.

1969 Wongan Hills Airstrip built, moving from the Wongan Aero Club on Jack Acklands property, Lake Hinds State Electricity Commision  took over Power supply.

1970 Deep Sewerage . St Johns Ambulance subcentre.

1975 Squash Club and Courts New Civic Centre.

1976 New basketball Courts. Old Hall demolished.