Welcome to the beautiful, historic town of Pinjarra
Pinjarra is one of the earliest settled localities in WA and is home to many heritage-listed buildings and important historic features including:
- Edenvale, home to the influential McLarty Family
- St John’s Church, the spiritual centre of Pinjarra
- The Exchange Hotel, the social hub of the town
- The Traffic Bridge, connecting Pinjarra to Perth
The Pinjarra Heritage Trail is a delightful 30 minute walk that takes you on a journey through the town’s rich history. Explore the heritage places and meet the early pioneers that shaped the development of the town.
The Pinjarra area was first explored along the Murray River in 1829. The search was on for good arable agricultural land especially as the soil around Perth was not suitable. Although Pinjarra was found to have good loamy soil for farmers, the area was the heartland of the Bindjareb Nyungars and European settlement was met by fierce resistance.
In 1834 this led to the most controversial frontier war in Western Australian history, commonly referred to as the Massacre or Battle of Pinjarra.
Officially, 15-20 Bindjareb people died when a party of mounted soldiers charged their campsite; however, other independent reports indicate twice that many deaths.
A military post was built at Pinjarra for fear of Aboriginal reprisals. As Pinjarra developed, a road went to Bunbury, and a bridge connected the town with Perth. By the 1840s Pinjarra was the centre of the Murray River settlement.
Edenvale was built in 1888 for Edward McLarty and family. This elegant residence remained in the family until the death of Sir Ross McLarty in 1962.
The McLarty family have been a prominent pioneering family in the Murray District and in West Australian politics for nearly 70 years.
Edward McLarty was active in both Local and State politics, being a member of the Murray Roads Board for nearly 40 years, as well as being elected to the Legislative Council representing the South-West Province for 22 years.
Edward and his wife Mary worked hard and had many diversified business interests, including; operating the first butchers shop from the back of the Homestead, ran a general store, operated a coach business from Perth to Busselton twice a week, constructed, owned and operated the Premier Hotel in Pinjarra, and farmed cattle, both locally, as well as in the Kimberly.
Edward’s youngest son, Duncan Ross (known as Ross) followed his father into politics, holding the seat of Murray-Wellington (1930-1962). During a distinguished political career Ross was leader of the Liberal Party (1946-1957), State Premier and Treasurer (1947-1953) and Leader of the Opposition (1953-1957). In 1953 he was knighted for his service to the State.
Edenvale Homestead reflects the family’s growing wealth and social influence, and was one of the main social centres in the District.
By the late 1970s, the Homestead and grounds were in a poor state and there was talk that the property would be demolished. The property was bought by the Shire in 1980 after the local community rallied together to demand that the property be saved.
The site is now used by a number of community groups, for events such as the Pinjarra Festival, as a popular wedding venue and is one of Pinjarra’s main tourist attractions.
Further information about the history of the area is available from Murray Districts Historical Society. Their archive is housed at The Old Schoolmaster’s House, Edenvale Homestead, Pinjarra. Opening Hours: Fridays and Saturdays, 11am – 3pm.
Further information about the event, including oral histories and accounts is available at http://www.ourknowledgeourland.com.au/