Jump to content

Bunbury, Western Australia

Coordinates: 33°19′38″S 115°38′13″E / 33.32722°S 115.63694°E / -33.32722; 115.63694
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Goomburrup (Nyungar)
Western Australia
Panorama of Bunbury from lookout tower
Bunbury is located in Western Australia
Coordinates33°19′38″S 115°38′13″E / 33.32722°S 115.63694°E / -33.32722; 115.63694
Population76,452 (2021)[1] (24th)
 • Density343.14/km2 (888.73/sq mi)
Elevation5 m (16 ft)
Area222.8 km2 (86.0 sq mi)[2] (2021 urban)
Time zoneAWST (UTC+08:00)
RegionSouth West
State electorate(s)
Federal division(s)Forrest

Bunbury (Nyungar: Goomburrup)[3] is a coastal city in the Australian state of Western Australia, approximately 175 kilometres (109 mi) south of the state capital, Perth. It is the state's third most populous city after Perth and Mandurah, with a population of approximately 75,000.

Located at the south of the Leschenault Estuary, Bunbury was established in 1836 on the orders of Governor James Stirling, and named in honour of its founder, Lieutenant (at the time) Henry Bunbury. A port was constructed on the existing natural harbour soon after, and eventually became the main port for the wider South West region. Further economic growth was fuelled by completion of the South Western Railway in 1893, which linked Bunbury with Perth.

Greater Bunbury includes four local government areas (the City of Bunbury and the shires of Capel, Dardanup, and Harvey), and extends between Yarloop in the north, Boyanup to the south and Capel to the southwest.


Pre-European history[edit]

The original inhabitants of Greater Bunbury are the Aboriginal Australian Noongar people. The people hunted and fished throughout the sub-region prior to the first European settlement in the 1830s.[4] The area was originally known as "Goomburrup" before the arrival of Lt. Bunbury.[3]

Early colonial period[edit]

Thomas Colman Dibdin, A view of Koombana Bay, 1840, hand coloured lithograph, National Library of Australia

The first registered sighting of Greater Bunbury was by French explorer Captain Louis de Freycinet from his ship the Casuarina in 1803. He named the area Port Leschenault after the expedition's botanist, Leschenault de La Tour. The bay on Greater Bunbury's western shores was named Geographe after another ship in the fleet.

In 1829, Dr Alexander Collie and Lieutenant Preston explored the area of Bunbury on land. In 1830 Lieutenant Governor Sir James Stirling visited the area and a military post was subsequently established; it only lasted six months.[5] The area was renamed Bunbury by the Governor in recognition of Lieutenant Henry William St Pierre Bunbury, who developed the very difficult inland route from Pinjarra to Bunbury.[6][7] Bunbury's first settlers were John and Helen Scott, their sons Robert, William and John Jr, and step-son Daniel McGregor, who arrived in January 1838.[8] Bunbury township was mentioned in the Government Gazette in 1839, but lots in the township were not surveyed until 1841. In March 1841 lots were declared open for selection.[5]

Intermittent bay whaling activity was conducted on the coast from the 1830s through to the 1850s.[9]

By 1842 Bunbury was home to 16 buildings including an inn. Thereafter, a growing port serviced the settlers and the subsequent local industries that developed.[4]

One of the major industries to open up to cement the importance of Bunbury as a port was the timber industry. Timber logs would be floated down the Collie River to be loaded aboard ships headed to the Northern Hemisphere or to South Africa where the hardwood timbers were used for railway sleepers.[4]

In 1884 the Government decided to construct a railway from Bunbury to Boyanup, 16 miles (26 km) long. When the line was completed in 1887, the contractor who had built it obtained a contract to control and work it, which he did with horses. The line was eventually taken over by the Government in 1891 and operated with locomotives. The inconvenience of a railway isolated from the capital gave rise to agitation and in 1893 the South Western Railway was constructed between East Perth and Picton, connecting Greater Bunbury and Perth. The Boyanup line was extended to Donnybrook in the same year.[10] The railways connected the port of Bunbury to the coal and mineral deposits and agricultural areas to the north and east of Greater Bunbury.[4]

The population of the town was 2,970 (1,700 males and 1,270 females) in 1898.[11]

In 1903 a breakwater to further protect the bay and port area was completed.[4]

Federation to present day[edit]

The Old Bunbury railway station served as the terminal for the Australind passenger train between Perth, transporting its first passengers on 24 November 1947.[12] The last train to use the station departed on 28 May 1985 with a new station opening at East Bunbury, 4 kilometres (2 mi) to the south-east the following day.[13][14][15] The railway land was then sold and Blair Street realigned.

The Bunbury woodchip bombing in 1976 saw the bombing of Bunbury's export port terminal by environmental activists, in an attempt to disrupt the woodchipping industry in the South West. Two of the three bombs planted failed to explode and the resulting damage to the port was estimated at only $300,000 (equivalent to $2,000,000 in 2022), although shrapnel broke windows in a nearby housing estate and the blast was heard up to 20 kilometres (12 mi) away. There were no injuries although a security guard was held at gunpoint by the bombers.[16]


Bunbury is situated 175 kilometres (109 mi) south of Perth, at the original mouth of the Preston River and near the mouth of the Collie River at the southern end of the Leschenault Inlet, which opens to Koombana Bay and the larger Geographe Bay which extends southwards to Cape Naturaliste.


Bunbury has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen classification Csa) with warm to hot, dry summers and cool wet winters. Precipitation peaks from the months of May to September.

Climate data for Bunbury, Western Australia (1995–2022)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 40.8
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 29.9
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 15.4
Record low °C (°F) 5.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 10.8
Average precipitation days 1.4 1.1 2.5 5.3 9.1 13 15.1 13.8 11.5 6 3.3 1.9 84
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) (at 15:00) 44 43 46 55 59 64 65 66 64 58 52 48 55
Average dew point °C (°F) 13.1
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[17]


In 2007 Bunbury was recognised as Australia's fastest growing city for the 2005/06 period by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.[18]

At the 2021 census the urban population of Bunbury was 76,452.[1] At the 2021 Census the median age was 39.[1] It is estimated that by 2031 the population of the Greater Bunbury region will exceed 100,000 people.[19]

In urban Bunbury at the 2021 census, 74.8% of people were born in Australia. The most common other countries of birth were England 5.5%, New Zealand 3.0%, South Africa 1.9%, the Philippines 1.3% and India 0.8%. 85.7% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Afrikaans 0.9%, Mandarin 0.7%, Italian 0.6%, Tagalog 0.6%, and Filipino 0.5%.[1]

In the 2021 Census the most common responses for religion in Bunbury were No religion 47.5%, Catholic 17.2%, Anglican 12.3%, Christian, nfd (not further described) 3.3%.[1]

The most common occupations in Bunbury included Technicians and Trades Workers 18.4%, Professionals 16.3%, Labourers 12.6%, Community and Personal Service Workers 12.0%, and Clerical and Administrative Workers 11.4%. In 2021 Bunbury had an unemployment rate of 4.9%.[1]


Satellite image of Bunbury and surrounds in October 2007

The Greater Bunbury sub-region comprises the four local government areas of the City of Bunbury, Shire of Capel, Shire of Dardanup and Shire of Harvey. The Greater Bunbury Region Scheme, in operation since November 2007, provides the legal basis for planning in the Greater Bunbury sub-region.[19]

The Greater Bunbury sub-region is administered by State and local governments. There is no sub-region government structure in place for Greater Bunbury.

In December 2013 the Western Australian Planning Commission published the Greater Bunbury Strategy to guide urban, industrial and regional land use planning; and associated infrastructure delivery in the Greater Bunbury sub-region in the short, medium and long terms. The Strategy provides for the growth of Greater Bunbury through infill development of existing urban areas and the development of greenfield land in Waterloo east of Eaton, to provide for a population of 150,000 people beyond 2050.[20]


The economy of Bunbury is diverse, reflecting the range of heavy and general industries in the locality, mining, agricultural landscapes, services for the growing population, key transport links and the influence of Perth.[21]

The mining and mineral processing sector remains the main economic driver for Bunbury ($2 billion annual turnover). The agriculture sector however, remains vitally important as the value of production is approximately $146 million per annum (2005/06) which equates to approximately 30 per cent of the South West region's agricultural production.[21]

Other industries that are vital to the economic well-being of Greater Bunbury include retail and service industries, building industry, timber production and tourism. Bunbury is home to SIMCOA, which is Australia's only silicon manufacturing company. The Bunbury Port will continue to be the centre of economic activity for the Greater Bunbury sub-region with the flow of goods through it to and from all parts of the world. The proposed expansion of the port, as identified in the Bunbury Port Inner Harbour Structure Plan, will promote further economic growth for the sub-region, and may in time be an economic stimulus for the corporate support and ancillary services associated with port-based industries locating to Bunbury city centre, further strengthening its role as a regional city.[21]


Education is compulsory in Western Australia between the ages of six and seventeen, corresponding to primary and secondary school.[22] Schools that serve high school students in the area include Bunbury Senior High School, Newton Moore Senior High School, Manea Senior College, College Row School (K–12 education support), Australind Senior High School, Eaton Community College, Dalyellup College, Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School (K–12), Bunbury Catholic College, Grace Christian School, and Our Lady of Mercy College.

Tertiary education[edit]

Tertiary education is available through a number of universities and technical and further education (TAFE) colleges. South Regional TAFE is a State Training Provider providing a range of vocational education with campuses in Bunbury, Albany, and other locations in the southern Western Australia region.

Edith Cowan University also has a campus based in Bunbury.



AM band

  • SEN Spirit 621 Southwest 621 kHz AM – Sports/Talk/Music format. SEN Spirit 621 Southwest. Part of Sports Entertainment Network. Has local content including local sport and local talk back, and national live sport programming.
  • ABC South West WA (6BS): 684 kHz AM – News, talk and sport. Broadcasts breakfast and morning programs from Bunbury.
  • Triple M 963 kHz AM – Adult Contemporary for the 40+, with local news and sport. Mostly 60s, 70s, 80s, & 90s (part of the Southern Cross Austereo LocalWorks network)
  • Vision Radio Network 1017 AM – Christian praise and worship music and talk
  • 6MM 1116 kHz AM – Easy listening format from Mandurah
  • ABC Radio National 1224 kHz AM – Speciality talk and music
  • ABC News Radio 1152 kHz AM – News and sport

FM band

  • 6MM (The Wave) 91.7 kHz FM – Easy listening format from Mandurah
  • ABC Classic FM 93.3 MHz FM – Classical music
  • Triple J 94.1 MHz FM – Alternative music
  • Hit FM 95.7 MHz FM – Hit music (was Hot FM)
  • Bunbury Community Radio 103.7 MHz FM
  • Harvey Community Radio 96.5 MHz FM
  • Coast FM 97.3 MHz FM – Hit music from Mandurah


Television services available include:

The programming schedule is mainly the same as the Seven, Nine and Ten stations in Perth with variations for news bulletins, sport telecasts such as the Australian Football League and National Rugby League, children's and lifestyle programs and infomercials or paid programming.

Seven had its origins in Bunbury as BTW-3 in the late 1960s and then purchased other stations in Kalgoorlie and Geraldton, as well as launching a satellite service in 1986 to form the current network. Seven's studios and offices are based at Roberts Crescent in Bunbury, with its transmitter located at Mount Lennard approximately 25 km to the east. The station produces a nightly 30-minute news program for regional WA at 5:30pm on weeknights.

WIN Television maintains a newsroom in the city; however, the station itself is based in Perth. The WIN newsroom provides regional coverage for sister station STW's Nine News bulletins at 6pm each night, which are simulcast on WIN.

On 28 July 2011, new digital television services from GWN and WIN commenced transmission.[23] A new stand alone Network 10 affiliated channel branded as West Digital Television was the first of the new digital only channels to go on-air. The other new digital only channels that are also now available in Bunbury include 7two, 7mate, ishop tv, RACING.COM, 10 HD, 10 Bold, 10 Peach, A placeholder on channel 54 currently showing WIN Television’s Australian landmark videos, TVSN, Gold, 9Gem, 9Life and 9Go!.

Subscription Television service Foxtel is available via satellite.


Bunbury Herald, South Western Times and Bunbury Mail are local newspapers available in Bunbury and surrounding region.

Newspapers from Perth including The West Australian and The Sunday Times are also available, as well as national newspapers such as The Australian and The Australian Financial Review.


Arts and entertainment[edit]

A number of cultural organisations are located in Bunbury, including:

  • Bunbury Regional Art Galleries
  • Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre, with theatre, film and live performance
  • Stirling Street Arts Centre

The Bunbury Historical Society is located in the historic King Cottage, which was built around 1880. In 1966 the cottage was purchased by the City of Bunbury and subsequently leased to the Society. The rooms of the cottage are furnished and artifacts displayed to reflect the way of life for a family in Bunbury in the period from the 1880s to the 1920s.[24]

The WA Performing Arts Eisteddfod is held annually at the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre.[25]

Tourism and recreation[edit]

There are many tourism and recreational opportunities in Bunbury. Some of the most popular attractions include

  • Dolphin Discovery Centre
  • Bunbury Back Beach
  • Koombana Bay
  • Bunbury Wildlife Park
  • Bunbury Farmers Market
  • Leschenault Inlet

Bunbury is also very close to the Ferguson Valley.


South West Sports Centre, January 2022

A number of Australian rules football clubs are based in Bunbury and play in the South West Football League. A notable stadium is Hands Oval in South Bunbury.

Hay Park Sports Precinct is home to many junior and senior sports codes.[26] Located in the precinct is South West Sports Centre,[27] home to Bunbury Basketball Association.[28]

Bunbury has three clubs in the South West Soccer Association: the Bunbury Dynamos, Bunbury United and Hay Park United.[29]




Bunbury Airport services Greater Bunbury and is located 8 kilometres (5 mi) southeast of the city centre.

TransWA provides rail and coach services from Bunbury Terminal: Australind train, GS3, SW1 and SW2 to Bunbury and services south from Bunbury and South West Coach Lines provides coach services to and from Bunbury. Bus services in Greater Bunbury are run by TransBunbury[30] with 10 routes.

National Route 1 provides road access to the wider region, and includes:

Bussell Highway links to Busselton to the west.

The Eelup Rotary, where Forrest Highway terminates in East Bunbury, was named by the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia as the worst regional intersection in Western Australia and has since undergone a $16m upgrade, which included eight sets of traffic lights (which were switched on in the early hours of Monday 21 May 2012) and extra lanes for each entrance. The government was criticised for breaking a 2008 election promise to build an overpass and underpass.[31][32]

Bunbury is planned to be bypassed when the Bunbury Outer Ring Road is opened in 2024, linked Forrest Highway in Australind to Bussell Highway in Dalyellup.[33]

Notable people[edit]

Notable people who come from or have lived in Bunbury include:

John Forrest was an explorer, surveyor and the first Premier of Western Australia. On 6 February 1918, Forrest was informed that he was to be raised to the British peerage as "Baron Forrest of Bunbury in the Commonwealth of Australia". Despite the announcement, however, no letters patent were issued before his death, so the peerage was not officially created.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Bunbury". 2021 Census QuickStats. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "2021 Community Profiles: Bunbury". 2021 Census of Population and Housing. Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ a b "Name For New Housing Area". South Western Times (Bunbury, WA : 1932 - 1954). 16 November 1950. p. 1. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Bunbury History". Archived from the original on 2 June 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  5. ^ a b asprott. "Town names". www0.landgate.wa.gov.au. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  6. ^ Reed, A. W. (1973) Place Names of Australia, p. 48 Sydney, NSW: A. H. & A. W. Reed, ISBN 0-589-07115-7
  7. ^ Cammilleri, Cara (1966). "Bunbury, Henry William St Pierre (1812–1875)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Vol. 1. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7. ISSN 1833-7538. OCLC 70677943. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Founding family memorial to relocate". 9 March 2017.
  9. ^ Martin Gibbs, The shore whalers of Western Australia; historical archaeology of a maritime frontier, Sydney University Press, Sydney, 2010, p.130-1.
  10. ^ Gibson, Alex J; du Pleiss, D H C (December 1947). Report of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the Management, Workings and Control of the Western Australian Government Railways (without Graphs), Presented to both Houses of Parliament, Second Session of the Nineteenth Parliament (PDF) (Report). Government Printer. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  11. ^ "POPULATION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA". Western Mail. Perth. 22 April 1898. p. 23. Retrieved 28 May 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ "The Australind - Fast Day Train to Bunbury". Kalgoorlie Miner. 26 November 1947. p. 1. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  13. ^ Time-line of Key Dates in Bunbury's History Bunbury Historical Society
  14. ^ "Western Australia" Railway Digest August 1985 page 247
  15. ^ "Greater Bunbury Strategy" (PDF). Government of Western Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  16. ^ O'Donnell, Kate; Ewart, Jacqui (2017). "Reassessing the Bunbury Bombing: Juxtaposition of Political and Media Narratives" (PDF). Salus. Vol. 5, no. 1. pp. 27–47.
  17. ^ "Climate statistics for Bunbury". Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
  18. ^ "3218.0 Regional Population Growth, Australia". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 February 2007. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. ^ a b "Greater Bunbury Region Scheme". Western Australian Planning Commission. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  20. ^ Western Australian Planning Commission (December 2015). Greater Bunbury Strategy (Report). Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  21. ^ a b c Western Australian Planning Commission (2011). Draft Greater Bunbury Strategy (section 4.6) (PDF) (Report). Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  22. ^ Department of Education. "Pre-compulsory and compulsory education period". Government of Western Australia. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  23. ^ "Regional WA ready to switch on new multichannels". tvtonight.com.au. 6 July 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  24. ^ "Bunbury Historical Society, King Cottage Museum". Bunbury Historical Society. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
  25. ^ "WA Performing Arts Eisteddfod". Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  26. ^ Barrett, Jackson (15 July 2021). "Bunbury's new Hay Park sporting pavilion on track for October opening". swtimes.com.au. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  27. ^ Munday, Thomas (7 May 2018). "Sporting organisations campaign for improved courts at South West Sports Centre". bunburymail.com.au. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  28. ^ Fielding, Kate (25 January 2018). "Extra courts an option for SW sports centre". swtimes.com.au. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  29. ^ "South West Soccer Association". Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  30. ^ TransBunbury
  31. ^ "Roundabout lights a 'bandaid' fix". ABC Online. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  32. ^ "Liberals make $500m Bunbury election pledge". ABC Online. 21 August 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  33. ^ "Bunbury Outer Ring Road Stages 2 and 3" (PDF). Main Roads Western Australia. August 2022. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  34. ^ F. K. Crowley (1981). "Forrest, Sir John [Baron Forrest] (1847–1918)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7. ISSN 1833-7538. OCLC 70677943. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
  35. ^ "Essendon Football club – Leon Baker Profile". 2008. Archived from the original on 4 August 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  36. ^ Genine Unsworth, ABC South West WA, "Export: Paul Barnard" Archived 4 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine, 12 June 2002. Accessed 2 October 2007.
  37. ^ "Australians at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics: Swimmers". Australian Sports Commission. Archived from the original on 20 January 2000. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  38. ^ Byrne, Geraldine (2018). "Cullen, Kevin John (1922–1994)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7. ISSN 1833-7538. OCLC 70677943. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  39. ^ Pope, Brian (2005). "Cuper, Mary Ellen (1847–1877)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7. ISSN 1833-7538. OCLC 70677943. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  40. ^ Bainger, Fleur (4 August 2012). "Bunbury girl scores Mad Max part". Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  41. ^ Bolton, Geoffrey Curgenven (1981). "Forrest, Alexander (1849–1901)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7. ISSN 1833-7538. OCLC 70677943. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  42. ^ John Ward, Cricinfo, "Murray Goodwin – a short biography", 20 September 1999. Accessed 2 October 2007.
  43. ^ "West Coast Eagles Football club – Player Profile – Adam Hunter". 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  44. ^ Staples, A. C. "Rose, Edwin (1863–1948)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7. ISSN 1833-7538. OCLC 70677943. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  45. ^ Bolton, G.C. "Sholl, Richard Adolphus (1847–1919)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7. ISSN 1833-7538. OCLC 70677943. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  46. ^ Bolton, G.C. "Sholl, Robert Frederick (1848–1909)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-522-84459-7. ISSN 1833-7538. OCLC 70677943. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  47. ^ "Australians at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics: Athletes". Australian Sports Commission. Archived from the original on 20 January 2000. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  48. ^ "Shani Waugh - European Tour - Golf - Yahoo Sports". Retrieved 6 January 2016.

External links[edit]