Murray is the ancestral home of the Bindjareb people, an Aboriginal Australian group of Noongar speakers, their name taken from the word “pinjar” or “benjas” meaning “wetlands” or “swamps”. The Bindjareb Noongar people were accommodated by Murray’s abundant waterways and diverse natural bushland.
Murray is one of the first areas of European settlement in the state, dating back to the establishment of the town of Pinjarra in the early 1830s.
The early years were characterised by conflict between the settlers and the local Aboriginal people, culminating in one of the area’s darkest events, the Pinjarra Massacre in 1834.
The fertile soils of the area made it an important agricultural producer for the Swan River Colony. The area benefited from convict-built roads and bridges in the mid 1800s, with many ex-convicts settling in the area.
Rail from Perth was pushed through Pinjarra in the 1890s and enabled transport for a developing, largely international, timber industry centralised in Dwellingup in the early part of the twentieth century.
Prominent families have also contributed to the social heritage of the area including the McLarty family who produced three Members of Parliament, including Sir Ross who served the State as Premier from 1947 to 1953.
Today, much of the distinctive fabric that demonstrates the area’s heritage is still very prominent.
Murray’s heritage contributes to its unique character and identity among other social, economic and environmental advantages and our community recognises the need to identify and protect our places of heritage value, in planning for the growth and development of our shire.
The Shire of Murray is named after the Murray River. The Murray River was named after Sir George Murray, Secretary of State for the Colonies.
The Shire of Murray originated as the Murray Road District, which was gazetted on 25 January, 1871. On 1 July, 1961 it became the Shire of Murray following the passage of the Local Government Act 1960, which reformed all remaining road districts into shires.