Darkan, Western Australia

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Western Australia
Darkan is located in Western Australia
Coordinates33°20′S 116°44′E / 33.34°S 116.74°E / -33.34; 116.74Coordinates: 33°20′S 116°44′E / 33.34°S 116.74°E / -33.34; 116.74
Population490 (2011 census)[1]
  • 202 km (126 mi) from Perth
  • 60 km (37 mi) from Wagin
  • 60 km (37 mi) from Collie
LGA(s)Shire of West Arthur
State electorate(s)Roe
Federal Division(s)O'Connor

Darkan is a town in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, between Collie and the Albany Highway on the Coalfields Highway. It is also the seat of the Shire of West Arthur. At the 2011 census, Darkan had a population of 490.[1]


The area was originally settled by William John Gibbs and his family in the 1860s. Gibbs established a property called "Darkan", using a local Aboriginal name which means Black Rock. The townsite developed when the Collie to Narrogin railway line was built, and in 1906, the townsite was gazetted.[2] The town grew quickly thereafter, with a Road Board being established and numerous shops and services being established in the following years. The railway closed in the early 1990s, but the surrounding productive wool growing and mixed farming area along with tourism have ensured the town's survival.[3]

In 1928 a 12 year old girl Ivy Lewis was murdered by John Milner, who was later hanged for his crime.[4]

Present day[edit]

Darkan is the social and political centre in the Shire of West Arthur. The town has a roadhouse, supermarket, telecentre, golf course, shire hall, hotel, synthetic tennis courts, basketball courts, primary school and a skatepark. A more recent[when?] addition is "The Shed", a workshop mainly for the town's retirees that consists of a woodworking and a metal working area for the construction of numerous personal projects. A heritage trail (the Road Board Office, Shire Office and Pioneer Hall (1911)) has been established in the town.

The town is surrounded by a fertile (lateritic/alluvial soils), high rainfall (approx 650mm per year) wheat/sheep area that makes use of a small range of services in the town and the Co-operative Bulk Handling grain storage bin about 3 km to the east. 10 km to the west is Six Mile Cottage, a very small two-room slab house built by a sleeper cutter for the railway in the early 1900s, and jarrah, flood gum and wandoo bushland reserves, filled with wildflowers in spring, are a short drive away.


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "2011 Census Quickstats: Darkan". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 7 October 2012. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names – D". Retrieved 17 January 2007.
  3. ^ West Arthur Telecentre. "Darkan". Archived from the original on 25 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-16.
  4. ^ "Darkan Murder - John Milner Hanged". Daily News. Perth, WA. 21 May 1928. p. 1. Retrieved 5 February 2017.

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