A Brief History

The Shire has a rich cultural heritage. Its abundant waterways and resultant plentiful food supply gave rise to a long aboriginal occupation of the area and it was 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.

These early years were characterised by conflict with the local aboriginal population, culminating in one of the areas darkest periods, the Battle of Pinjarra or Pinjarra Massacre in 1834.

The fertile soils of the area lead to it becoming an important agricultural producer for the Swan River Colony. The area benefited from convict built roads and bridges in the mid 1800’s, with many ex convicts settling in the area.

Rail from Perth was pushed through Pinjarra in the 1890’s and enabled transport for a developing, largely international, timber industry centred on Dwellingup in the early part of the 20th centrury.

Prominent families have also contributed to the social heritage of the area including the McLarty family who produced three Members of Parliament, one of which Sir Ross, who went on to become Premier of the state from 1946 to 1962.

Much of the fabric that demonstrates the area’s heritage is still in existence, although many places are in need of restoration and reuse. The Shire has historically been a small, generally farming community experiencing relatively slow growth and even stagnation in recent decades as many of its services have relocated to the more rapidly expanding Mandurah area.

As the metropolitan urban front edges further south and road and rail infrastructure is provided, the Shire has come under significant growth pressure. The Shire’s heritage contributes to its unique character and identity and provides a range of other social, economic and environmental advantages. The Shire therefore recognises the need to identify and protect those places of heritage value in planning for this growth.

Local Government Heritage Inventory

A Local Government Heritage Inventory is a heritage survey of the local area outlining an account of a local government’s history and providing the base information necessary to prepare heritage based policies and the Local Planning Scheme Heritage List.

An original Inventory was prepared for the overall Peel Region in the mid 1990s. The Shire initiated a review of the Inventory in October 2009. The revised Inventory comprehensively identifies the places and areas of cultural heritage significance in the Shire, including geographic coverage of all the Shire’s towns, suburbs or other areas and coverage of all place types (eg public and private buildings; residential and commercial places). It also recognises changes in local heritage since the original inventory was compiled. The revised Inventory was advertised for public submissions and adopted by Council on 29 August 2013.

The revised Inventory identifies some 84 places and 3 heritage areas which retain significant physical fabric from the past.

Shire of Murray Town Planning Scheme No. 4 Heritage List

Places entered in a Local Government Inventory do not have statutory protection unless they are included in a separate Heritage List which is linked to the Town Planning Scheme, or are entered in the State Register of Heritage Places. Heritage Lists must be compiled with regard to the Local Government Inventory, but do not necessarily include all places in the Inventory.

Schedule 6 of the Shire’s current Town Planning Scheme includes a heritage list which includes some 21 places. The Scheme provides a presumption in favour of retaining and enhancing the heritage values of places included on the list and provides flexibility in the application of planning controls to realise positive heritage outcomes. Incentives may include the relaxation of planning requirements in relation to land use, density, plot ratio, car parking or other works.

Heritage Council of WA State Heritage Register

The state register of heritage places is a list of places that have heritage value and importance to Western Australia. The register is maintained by the Heritage Council of WA. Entry in the State Register recognises the significance of the place and helps ensure that it is conserved into the future by requiring Heritage Council approval before any changes are made to the place and by being eligible for financial and professional assistance to maintain and enhance the heritage values.

Information about places entered in the State Register is available from the Heritage Council of WA Website.

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