Toodyay, Western Australia
View of Stirling Terrace, 2013.
|LGA(s)||Shire of Toodyay|
The original village of Toodyay was one of the earliest inland towns in Western Australia. A habitat of the Ballardong Noongar people for thousands of years, the Avon River valley was discovered by Ensign Robert Dale in 1830, leading to exploration by settlers including James Drummond, Captain Francis Whitfield and Alexander Anderson. The first village was established in 1836. Drummond established his homestead Hawthornden nearby. The original location is subject to flooding, which led to its abandonment in the 1850s, and a new townsite was established on higher ground 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) upstream. This was gazetted in 1860 as 'Newcastle' and the original settlement came to be referred to as 'Old Toodyay'. In May 1910 due to confusion with the New South Wales city of Newcastle, a name-change to Toodyay was proposed and the original townsite, which had by this time declined substantially, became 'West Toodyay'.
The meaning of the name is uncertain, although it is Indigenous Noongar in origin - maps in 1836 referred to "Duidgee", while some believe it was named for a local woman named Toodyeep who accompanied early explorers in the area. The Shire of Toodyay's official history gives the meaning as "place of plenty". On the other hand, local anthropologists Ken Macintyre and Dr Barbara Dobson have postulated "that Duidgee most likely mimics a birdcall whose song once reflected the rich seasonal habitat of the bulrush-fringed pools and creek-lines of the Toodyay Valley", possibly the Restless Flycatcher or one of that family. According to Noongar belief, a bird calls its own name. This name "Duidgee" is preserved in the riverside recreation area "Duidgee Park".
In 1861, Western Australia's notorious bushranger Moondyne Joe was imprisoned in Toodyay for stealing a horse, but escaped. After a series of crimes and prison terms, he was on the run again, returning to Toodyay in 1865 to steal supplies for an attempt to escape overland to South Australia. The annual Moondyne Festival is a light-hearted celebration of this darker side of Toodyay's history.
The Newcastle Gaol, in Clinton Street, completed in 1864, was in use as a state prison until 1909. It is now preserved as a heritage building and tourist attraction, the Old Gaol Museum.
In 1870, a steam-driven flour mill, Connor's Mill, was built on Stirling Terrace by George Hasell. The mill was also used to generate electricity in the early twentieth century. Saved from demolition in the 1970s, and restored to demonstrate the milling process and machinery, the mill now forms the museum section of the Toodyay Visitor Centre.
The Heritage Council of Western Australia lists well over one hundred places of historical significance in or near Toodyay, including cottages (some of which are now ruins), homesteads, shops, churches, parks and railway constructions. Its State Register of Heritage Buildings includes the Gaol, Connor's Mill, Toodyay Public Library (built 1874), the old Toodyay Post Office (designed by George Temple-Poole and built 1897) and the old Toodyay Fire Station (designed by Ken Duncan, built 1938), as well as several other historic sites. The historic architecture of shops and residences along the main street, Stirling Terrace, presents a distinctive frontage termed the Stirling Terrace Streetscape Group.
Some of the buildings are also listed on the Australian Heritage Database. They include the Freemasons Hotel (built 1861), the Victoria Hotel (late 1890s), and Old Unwins Store on Stirling Terrace, and Butterly's Cottage (c. 1870) on Harper Road.
Transport and tourism
Being an hour's drive from Perth, Toodyay is a popular venue for tourists. A picturesque circuit of Toodyay Road through Gidgegannup, Toodyay, Chittering Valley and Great Northern Highway attracts motorists and motorcyclists. Other destinations include olive oil farms, lavender farms, holiday retreats, hotels, restaurants, caravan parks, an emu farm and an archery park. Toodyay railway station is served by Avonlink and Prospector passenger trains on the route from Perth to Northam and Kalgoorlie.
A major bushfire, blamed on collapsed power lines, broke out at about noon on 29 December 2009 after outdoor temperature had reached 45.4 °C (113.7 °F) and the "catastrophic" fire risk rating had been used for the first time in the state. Areas to the south, south-west and east of Toodyay were affected, with more than 3,000 hectares (7,410 acres) of forest burnt and 38 homes lost.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Toodyay (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- "Wheatbelt North Region". Mainroads - Western Australia. August 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- History of Toodyay at Shire of Toodyay official website
- Erickson, R. (1974). Old Toodyay and Newcastle. Toodyay Shire Council. p. 8.
- Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names". Retrieved 2007-01-17.
- Macintyre, Ken; Dobson, Barbara. "Duidgee – A Little Bird's Song".
- "Shire of Toodyay Heritage and Tourism - Connor's Mill". Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- "Heritage Council of Western Australia - Stirling Terrace Streetscape Group". Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- "Freemasons Hotel (entry AHD9989)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- "Victoria Hotel (entry AHD9992)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- "Old Unwins Store (entry AHD9990)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- "Butterly's Cottage (entry AHD18096)". Australian Heritage Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- Bureau of Meteorology (30 December 2009). "Northam, Western Australia — December 2009 Daily Weather Observations". Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- "WA South on catastrophic fire alert". ABC Online. 29 December 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- Thomson C., Chalpat S. "Western Power facing $100 million fire damage bill". WAtoday. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Toodyay.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Toodyay, Western Australia.|
|Preceding station||Transwa Trains network||Following station|
Midland - Northam
towards East Perth
East Perth - Merredin