Katanning, Western Australia

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"Katanning" redirects here. It is not to be confused with Kittanning (disambiguation).
Western Australia
Katanning playground.jpg
Katanning Playground
Katanning is located in Western Australia
Location in Western Australia
Coordinates 33°41′27″S 117°33′19″E / 33.69083°S 117.55528°E / -33.69083; 117.55528Coordinates: 33°41′27″S 117°33′19″E / 33.69083°S 117.55528°E / -33.69083; 117.55528
Population 3,808 (2006)[1]
Established 1898
Postcode(s) 6317
Elevation 311 m (1,020 ft)
  • 277 km (172 mi) SE of Perth
  • 170 km (106 mi) NNW of Albany
  • 240 km (149 mi) E of Bunbury
LGA(s) Shire of Katanning
State electorate(s) Wagin
Federal Division(s) O'Connor
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
22.1 °C
72 °F
9.3 °C
49 °F
478.9 mm
18.9 in

Katanning is a town located 277 km south-east of Perth, Western Australia on the Great Southern Highway. At the 2006 census, Katanning had a population of 3,808.[1]


The meaning of Katanning is unknown but it is thought to be a local aboriginal word that is either 'Kart-annin' that literally means "meeting place of the heads of tribes",[2] or 'Kartanup' that means "clear pool of sweet water".[3] Others suggest that the place is named after a local aboriginal woman.

The first Europeans to explore the Katanning area were Governor James Stirling and Surveyor General John Septimus Roe who travelled through the area in 1835 en route from Perth to Albany.

In about 1870, sandalwood cutters moved into the area but they did not settle. It was not until the arrival of the Great Southern Railway from Perth to Albany in 1889 that the township came into existence.

The townsite was initially developed by the same company that built the railway, the Western Australian Land Company. The state government purchased the railway and the townsite in 1896 and later formally gazetted the town in 1898,[4] when the population of the town was 226, 107 males and 119 females.[5]

Katanning remains an important centre on the Great Southern Railway to Albany.[6]

A roller flour mill, later known as the Premier Flour Mill, was constructed close to the centre of the town in 1891 by brothers, Frederick Henry Piesse and Charles Austin Piesse;[7] this in turn encouraged the local farmers to grow wheat which was at the heart of the town's early economic success. The mill is now a museum.

An earthquake was centred just south of Katanning at 8:00 am 10 October 2007. The earthquake measured 4.8 on the Richter scale, and was rated as the largest earthquake in the region for four decades.[8]


A statue of Frederick Henry Piesse (by sculptor Pietro Porcelli) was erected in 1916 and stands beside the railway line in Austral Terrace. The Piesse family constructed a regal mansion which was named "Kobeelya" and after being used for many years as a girls' boarding school, is now a conference centre managed by the local Baptist church.

Katanning features a unique playground of over-sized structures named the "All Ages Playground". The town has many other attractions, including a state of the art recreation, leisure and function centre.

Katanning has a relatively large Muslim population, of about 350 people, and consequently has a mosque. The vast majority of local Muslims originated in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and travelled to Katanning to work in the local abattoir, which was established in the late 1970s.

Other religious buildings include churches from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Seventh Day Adventist, Uniting, and Wesleyan denominations, along with a Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall.

The town also has a castle-like structure which was built as a winery. The town's entrance features an antique truck loaded with imitation wool bales, a windmill, and several sculptures of sheep made from corrugated iron.

The town has become a regional service centre for the Great Southern and services the nearby towns of Broomehill, Tambellup and Woodanilling plus several more.


Katanning railway station has an elevation of 1,024 feet (312 m) above sea level and a rail distance of 225 miles (362 km) from Perth.[9]

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Katanning (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names". Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  3. ^ "SMH Travel - Katanning". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2004-02-08. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  4. ^ "BHP Skills.net - Katanning". 2006. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  5. ^ "Population of Western Australia". Western Mail (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 22 April 1898. p. 23. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Milne, Rod (March 1993), "Katanning on the Great Southern Railway", Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin (Australian Railway Historical Society): 59–69 
  7. ^ "Register of Heritage Places - Katanning Roller Flour Mill" (PDF). 1994. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  8. ^ "ABC News WA earthquake rocks southern Wheatbelt". ABC Online. 10 October 2007. 
  9. ^ Timetable, Western Australian Government Railways, 1964, p. 9 

External links[edit]