Dongara, Western Australia
Main Street of Dongara - Moreton Terrace
|Population||1,380 (2016 census)|
|Elevation||34 m (112 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Irwin|
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'.
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. 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.
Notable people from or associated with Dongara
- Sir David Brand (1912–1979), 19th Premier of Western Australia, born at Dongara
- Robert Bruning (1928–2008), born Robert Bell, PMG linesman, sales manager, actor, film producer, screenwriter, script editor
- Jamie Elliott (1992– ), Australian rules footballer who plays for Collingwood in the Australian Football League
- Carmen Lawrence (1948- ), 25th Premier of Western Australia
- Cranston Albury McEachern (1905–1983), Australian army officer and solicitor
- Jaeger O'Meara (1994– ), Australian rules footballer who plays for Hawthorn in the Australian Football League
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Dongara (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Irwin (Shire)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Port Denison-Dongara (Urban Centre and Locality)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
- "Champion Bay". The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News. 1 January 1858. p. 3. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- Watson, Paul (28 October 1996). "Life After Thirty". Australian Financial Review. Sydney. Retrieved 14 November 2019.