Looking for information and things to do in Pinjarra WA? Our family have explored this historic town a few times on our trips to the south west region of Western Australia.
Located just an hour’s drive south of Perth, Pinjarra is a charming town often overlooked by visitors to Western Australia. However, this historic town has much to offer, from its rich heritage to its stunning natural landscapes.
So let’s look closely at what makes Pinjarra an interesting destination.
The Dark History of Pinjarra Western Australia
The Bindjareb people
Pinjarra has a rich and complex indigenous history dating back thousands of years. The region was inhabited by the Bindjareb people( their name was taken from the word “pinjar” or “benjas”, meaning “wetlands” or “swamps”). The Bindjareb people were semi-nomadic and would move around the area depending on the season and the availability of food and water.
The Bindjareb people had a deep connection to the land and the animals that lived there, and their culture was based on a complex system of kinship, language, and law. They were skilled hunters, fishers, and gatherers, and they used the resources of the land sustainably, ensuring that the environment remained healthy for future generations.
The British Colonisers
In the early 1830s, the arrival of British colonisers changed the landscape of Pinjarra forever. The area was initially used for farming, and the Bindjareb people were forced off their land.
The settlers cleared vast amounts of land for agriculture and introduced European farming practices. This harmed the environment and disrupted the natural balance that the Bindjareb people had relied on for thousands of years.
The arrival of Europeans also brought diseases that the indigenous population had no immunity to. This led to a significant decrease in the indigenous population in Pinjarra and across Australia. The impact of diseases was exacerbated by other factors, such as dispossession from their lands, the introduction of alcohol and other harmful substances, and the forced removal of children from their families as part of government assimilation policies.
Pinjarra Massacre of Western Australia
The Bindjareb people resisted colonisation in many ways, including through acts of violence and rebellion. One of the most significant events was the Pinjarra Massacre of 1834, which occurred when a group of colonisers attacked a Bindjareb camp near the banks of the Murray River. The attack resulted in the deaths of an estimated 15 to 30 Bindjareb people and the displacement of many others.
In the following years, the Bindjareb people were forced to adapt to the new reality of living under colonial rule. Many were moved onto reserves, where their traditional way of life was severely restricted, and their cultural practices were discouraged.
While the legacy of colonisation continues to be felt today, the Bindjareb people have remained strong and have fought to maintain their cultural identity and traditions. By learning about the indigenous history of Pinjarra, we can gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the rich cultural heritage of this region.
Exploring the Pinjarra Heritage Trail
🕦 1.2 km loop
The easy Pinjarra Heritage Trail walk takes you past historic buildings to the Murray River and across a suspension bridge.
Download a copy of the trail map to see the walk. Some of the highlights are:
Edenvale Village Precinct
Liveringa is the oldest homestead in the precinct – the name taken from an Aboriginal word for a spring near the McLarty family homestead in the Kimberley.
The house was built sometime during the early 1860s for Edward McLarty but was expanded in 1873/74 when he married Mary Jane, the daughter of a local policeman.
It is a late example of Old Colonial Georgian architecture still boasting many original features today.
Edenvale Homestead dates back to 1888, when it was built for Edward McLarty and his family. The McLarty family played a significant role in local and state politics, with Edward being an active member of the Murray Roads Board for almost four decades. He also served as a representative of the South-West Province in the Legislative Council for 22 years, making a remarkable contribution to Western Australia’s political scene.
However, politics was not the only thing that kept the McLarty family busy. Edward and his wife Mary had a diverse range of businesses, including operating the first butchers shop from the back of the homestead, a general store, and a coaching business that travelled from Perth to Busselton twice a week.
This Victorian-style house was also home to Sir Duncan Ross McLarty, former Western Australia Premier from 1947 to 1953.
The Copper Kettle Tearooms
Copper Kettle Tea Rooms, Established in 1936, quickly became a popular destination for travellers and holidaymakers exploring the South West region of the state.
Owned and operated by sisters Gwen and Pam, descendants of the pioneering Fawcett family, the Copper Kettle Tea Rooms were a popular spot to catch up with friends and chat about the latest news and events.
It is now part of the Dome franchise, but some original features have been retained.
This building dates back to 1935 and was the second courthouse to be built in Pinjarra, with the first falling into disrepair.
Pinjarra Post Office, built in 1896, was designed by George Temple-Poole and had a telephone exchange added in 1923.
The Suspension Bridge across the Murray River is a popular tourist attraction but also links the residential area to the town centre. It was built by the Australian Army’s 22nd Construction Squadron, whose primary role is to provide aid to local communities and emergency services during disaster response.
The first settlers in the Murray District worshipped in a barn on George Bouglas’ farm. In 1840, they lobbied for a place of worship, with Thomas Peel offering to donate land but later retracting his offer. The Governor granted allotments for the first church in 1843, but it was dilapidated by 1860.
This St. John’s Church was built by Anthony Cornish in 1861 and consecrated in 1863. Convicts made the interior woodwork, but the church almost got destroyed by fire in 1901. The church has been flooded several times, notably in 1862, 1945, and 1955.
The church is currently closed until major conservation works are completed.
Things to do in Pinjarra WA & Surrounds
The town is situated on the banks of the beautiful Murray River, which is perfect for fishing, kayaking, and other water-based activities. You can also explore the nearby forests and national parks, home to abundant wildlife and offer a range of hiking and cycling trails.
The Murray River was named after Sir George Murray, the Secretary of State for the Colonial Office in London. The area was suitable for agriculture, with fertile soil and access to the ocean, but the river has caused damage to Pinjarra due to flooding on numerous occasions.
Why not pack a rug and picnic on the river banks? With shaded areas, it’s the perfect place to spend time with family.
Other things to do by the river include bike rides, walks, and kayaking.
Held on the second Sunday of the month in the historic gardens of Edenvale Village Precinct.
The Pinjarra Markets are known for their amazing artisanal offerings and farm-fresh produce. Visitors can sample some of the region’s best food or buy handcrafted items.
Pinjarra Harness Racing Club
Pinjarra Paceway is Western Australia’s largest country harness racing venue, with weekly meets. It’s a great family attraction during Wa school holidays with children’s entertainment to occupy them.
If you’ve been to Gloucester Park in Perth, you’ll know what to expect.
The Premier Hotel is a heritage pub in Pinjarra, built-in 1894 by Edward McLarty. Pop in for a cold drink or a casual lunch in the bistro.
Our favourites are further afield in South Yunderup – Sandy Cove Tavern and Jetty’s Bar & Grill.
Ranger’s Red Zoo and Conservation Park, previously Peel Zoo, is a wildlife sanctuary on the banks of the Murray River. This family-friendly attraction boasts a wide array of native species, including koalas, kangaroos, dingoes, and wombats. The park also provides educational experiences and animal encounters.
Adult (16+): A$23
Children (3-15): A$12
Companion Card: A$17.50
Family (2+2): A$60
Fairbridge Village Pinjarra
Kingsley and Ruby Fairbridge opened Fairbridge Village Pinjarra in 1912 as a child migration farm school. The idea was to bring disadvantaged British children from towns to the country of WA, providing them with opportunities for education and agricultural training.
However, many children were falsely told they were orphans, and their families never saw them again. There are also horrific stories of child abuse and slave labour at the Fairbridge Farm School. The farm closed in 1982, but it took the Western Australian government until 1998 to apologise to the former child migrants: “The Western Australian Government apologises to former child migrants who suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse in the state’s institutions”.
The charity Fairbridge Western Australia Inc. has owned and operated Fairbridge Village since 1983.
The village has 55 heritage buildings where visitors can stay in the cottages. Facilities include a café, swimming pool, full-size oval, barbecues, and picnic areas.
We had a family gathering in one of the large houses – it was an interesting weekend (we’re sure the house was haunted!). It also served as a reminder of how badly the children were treated and the ordeals they suffered.
Spend the day exploring Dwellingup with its treetop adventures, kayaking, and fast water rafting. You can ride the Hotham Valley steam train or head to Lane Pool Reserve for mountain bike and hiking trails.
Serpentine National Park
Serpentine Falls are a popular natural attraction about 35 km from Pinjarra. This national park has some beautiful trails; our favourite is Kitty’s Gorge Walk. You are also guaranteed to see wild kangaroos here.
Peel Wine Region
The Peel region’s burgeoning wine scene continues gaining recognition for its exceptional wines. The region’s moderate Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and wet winters, combined with its unique soils, creates favourable conditions for vine cultivation and wine production.
The Peel region primarily focuses on cool-climate grape varieties, including Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz.
The wineries in the Peel region offer cellar-door experiences where visitors can sample a wide range of wines, learn about the winemaking process, and enjoy picturesque vineyard views. Many of these wineries are family-owned and operated, providing an intimate and personalised wine-tasting experience. Some notable wineries in the Peel region include Peel Estate and Drakesbrook Wines.
Accommodation Pinjarra Western Australia
One of the popular accommodation choices is the Pinjarra Holiday Park, with powered and unpowered sites.
For a more luxurious stay, try the Lazy River Boutique Bed & Breakfast, situated on 5 acres along the Murray River. The suites have a spa bath and a spacious living room.
Pinjarra is also conveniently located near Mandurah, which offers a wider range of accommodation options, including hotels, caravan parks, private holiday homes, and serviced apartments. Staying in Mandurah provides easy access to Pinjarra’s attractions but allows you to enjoy the amenities and activities in a larger city.
Where is Pinjarra Western Australia?
Pinjarra is one hour south of Perth, Western Australia, in the Murray region.
What is the population of Pinjarra Western Australia?
According to the 2021 Census, the population of Pinjarra was 4,914.
Save Money Planning Your Trip
Click on the links, which will take you directly to the website.
We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties.
For pet sitting in Western Australia and worldwide, we are members of Trusted Housesitters. Free accommodation for pet and house sitting.
Car Rental 🚘
To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly rated.
Campervan/RV Rental 🚐
DriveNow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, and Jucy as well as smaller ones.
Travel Insurance 🌏