Dongara, Western Australia

Coordinates: 29°15′04″S 114°56′02″E / 29.251°S 114.934°E / -29.251; 114.934
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Western Australia
Main Street of Dongara – Moreton Terrace
Dongara is located in Western Australia
Coordinates29°15′04″S 114°56′02″E / 29.251°S 114.934°E / -29.251; 114.934
Population1,393 (SAL 2021)[1]
Elevation34 m (112 ft)
Area8.3 km2 (3.2 sq mi)
LGA(s)Shire of Irwin
State electorate(s)Moore
Federal division(s)Durack

Dongara is a town 351 kilometres (218 mi) north-northwest of Perth, Western Australia on the Brand Highway. The town is located at the mouth of the Irwin River. The area is marketed as the 'Rock lobster capital of Australia'.[citation needed]

Dongara is the seat of the Shire of Irwin. At the 2016 census the shire had a population of 3,569,[2] with 2,782 residing in the contiguous towns of Dongara and Port Denison.[3]


Dongara Flour Mill

The place name 'Dongara' is an anglicised rendition of Thung-arra, the local Wattandee people's name for the estuary adjacent to the town, meaning 'sea lion place'.[citation needed]

European settlement around the estuary began in 1853 when a harbourmaster, Edward Downes, was stationed there to look out for passing ships. He was employed by Lockier Burges, Edward Hamersley, Samuel Pole Phillips and Bartholomew Urban Vigors' Cattle Company, which was granted 60,000 acres of pastoral leases about 15 kilometres inland.[4] By the 1860s, ex-convict small farmers were occupying the local river flats, and a flour mill (the Irwin or Smith's Mill) was operating. A townsite was surveyed, and in 1871 it became the seat of a local council established that year (now the Irwin Shire Council), and site of a police station and public school. The Anglican Church of St John the Baptist and a Methodist Church were built in the 1880s.

In the 1890s, the larger Royal Steam Roller Flour Mill was built on the flats next to the new Midland Railway line that connected the district to Perth. The town slowly developed, and although still a comparatively small village by the time of Federation in 1901, it had several churches, municipal offices and hall, a variety of shops, two hotels, a public school and a railway station. The nearby localities were populated by wheat and sheep farmers, centred on the hamlets of Bookara, Irwin and Strawberry. There was also a small population of fishermen, including several Chinese men, at Port Denison.

Dongara is the centre for a small oil and natural gas industry that began with the discovery of the Dongara Gas Field in 1966.[5]

Notable people from or associated with Dongara[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Dongara (Suburb and Locality)". Australian Census 2021 QuickStats. Retrieved 28 June 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Irwin (Shire)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 3 July 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Port Denison-Dongara (Urban Centre and Locality)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 3 July 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  4. ^ "Champion Bay". The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News. 1 January 1858. p. 3. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  5. ^ Watson, Paul (28 October 1996). "Life After Thirty". Australian Financial Review. Sydney. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Tattooed Tiger Nathan Broad finds a kindred spirit in Dustin Martin". The West Australian. 5 August 2017.
  7. ^ Triple M with Nathan Broad (7:05). 3 May 2021.

External links[edit]

Media related to Dongara, Western Australia at Wikimedia Commons
Dongara travel guide from Wikivoyage