Arthur River, Western Australia

Coordinates: 33°20′19″S 117°02′04″E / 33.33861°S 117.03444°E / -33.33861; 117.03444
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Arthur River
Western Australia
Arthur River Hall on Albany Highway
Arthur River is located in Western Australia
Arthur River
Arthur River
Location in Western Australia
Coordinates33°20′19″S 117°02′04″E / 33.33861°S 117.03444°E / -33.33861; 117.03444
Population66 (SAL 2021)[1]
Elevation290 m (951 ft)
Area476.9 km2 (184.1 sq mi)
  • 197 km (122 mi) SSE of Perth
  • 30 km (19 mi) W of Wagin
LGA(s)Shire of West Arthur
State electorate(s)Roe
Federal division(s)O'Connor

Arthur River is a small town located in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, between Williams and Kojonup on the Albany Highway.


The town is named after the Arthur River, which flows through it, a headwater of the Blackwood River. The river was named by Governor James Stirling in October 1835 after Arthur Trimmer who was a member of the exploring expedition led by the Stirling. Trimmer arrived in Western Australia in April 1831 and selected land at York. In 1836, he married Mary Ann, one of King George Sound Government Resident Sir Richard Spencer’s daughters.[2]

Following the introduction of convicts in Western Australia labour to the Swan River Colony in the early 1850s, the road from Perth to Albany was completed and a number of small settlements sprang up along it to support pastoralists who had been granted grazing leases in the area from as early as 1854. Arthur River gradually developed into a thriving centre with a police barracks and gaol (1866), the Mount Pleasant Inn (1869), St Paul's Church (1885) still surviving to this day as remnants of the original settlement, and a post office, blacksmith, doctor and trading post also being built around that time. By the end of the century it was the major centre in the area.

The towns post office originally operated out of the inn. Mary Ann Spratt was appointed as the post mistress in 1866. The post office itself was not gazetted until 1892 which was the same year that the telegraph line was connected. The first telephone subscriber service commenced in 1913.

When the Great Southern Railway opened in 1889, much of the existing trade moved to new railway towns further east and many of the centres along the old "Coach Road" closed.[3][4]

A bridge over the Arthur River was built in 1907 at Nobles Crossing.[5]

Arthur River gained attention in January 2022 after an earthquake swarm started just north of the town. From 5 to 25 January the area recorded over 40 small earthquakes, with one peaking at 4.7 magnitude. This is typical of the South West Seismic Zone region.[6]

Present day[edit]

Old Post Office building

Arthur River mainly serves as a fuel stop for travellers, with some of the historic buildings open to tourists.

The Arthur Wool Shed Group, with shearing shed, shearers' quarters, sheep dip and concrete cricket pitch, is one of the most prominent buildings in the town. It was first established in 1910 and opened as a one-stop-shop for community shearers in the 1950s. It was extensively restored in the three years to 2002, at which point the complex was heritage listed by the Heritage Council of WA.[7]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Arthur River (WA) (suburb and locality)". Australian Census 2021 QuickStats. Retrieved 28 June 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "History of river names – A". Western Australian Land Information Authority. Archived from the original on 19 April 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2007.
  3. ^ "Albany Gateway - Arthur River". March 2003. Archived from the original on 1 September 2006. Retrieved 14 October 2006.
  4. ^ Shire of West Arthur. "About The Shire". Archived from the original on 19 September 2006. Retrieved 14 October 2006.
  5. ^ "Country". The West Australian. Vol. XXIII, no. 6, 746. Western Australia. 5 November 1907. p. 5. Retrieved 30 August 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "Earthquake 'swarm' rattles WA's south with more than 40 over three weeks". ABC News. Retrieved 25 January 2022.
  7. ^ Heritage Council of WA (20 September 2002). "Register of Heritage Places - Arthur Wool Shed Group" (PDF). Retrieved 14 October 2006.