Murray River

Pinjarra Traffic Bridge and Weir c. 1905

The Murray River was named by Governor James Stirling after the Secretary of State for the Colonial Office in London, Sir George Murray.

The discovery of the Murray excited Western Australian colonists. Perth and Fremantle were unsuited to agriculture, so a river surrounded by good soil, with access from the sea, was exactly what settlers required in order to successfully propagate from the land.

Chaff Cutting on a Pinjarra Farm 1917

For much of Pinjarra’s existence, the Murray River has caused extensive damage to the town and infrastructure through numerous incidences of flooding. Between the early 1900s until the end of the Second World War, a concerted effort had been made to draining flood-prone areas of the Murray. To this day, approximately one-third of all land within the Peel-Harvey catchment region lies within one hundred meters of a man made stream, river or agricultural drain.

Pinjarra Flood 1945

The Daily Mail reported on the 26th and 27th of June 1945 that 20 families between Pinjarra and Mandurah were forced to leave their homes due to rising flood waters. There was widespread stock and poultry losses and transportation and food services were severely impacted. One of the walls in the Exchange Hotel was badly cracked, though luckily sustained no further major damage. The Pinjarra Baker reportedly drove bread out to Ravenswood where it was loaded onto a boat to desperate families in Yunderup. The bus services between Pinjarra and Mandurah was continued, but as two separate sections. The elderly, children and luggage were ferried across in row boats whilst everyone else had to wade through the floodwater.