Donnybrook, Western Australia

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Donnybrook
Western Australia
Donnybrook main street.jpg
Donnybrook Main Street
Donnybrook is located in Western Australia
Donnybrook
Donnybrook
Location in Western Australia
Coordinates33°35′S 115°49′E / 33.58°S 115.82°E / -33.58; 115.82Coordinates: 33°35′S 115°49′E / 33.58°S 115.82°E / -33.58; 115.82
Population2,824 (2016 census)[1]
Established1894
Postcode(s)6239
Elevation63 m (207 ft)[2]
Location38 km (24 mi) from Bunbury
LGA(s)Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup
State electorate(s)Collie/Preston
Federal division(s)Forrest
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
23.1 °C
74 °F
9.8 °C
50 °F
973.1 mm
38.3 in

Donnybrook is a town situated between Boyanup and Kirup on the South Western Highway, 210 kilometres (130 mi) south of Perth, Western Australia. The town is the centre of apple production in Western Australia. The town is also known for its picturesque abundance of English Oak trees, as well as for the Apple Fun Park, a large outdoor playground in the centre of town.[3][4]

History[edit]

The first humans known to live in the area were the Noongar Aboriginals. It was first settled by Europeans around 1842 when George Nash and others moved to the area.[5] They named the place "Donnybrook" after Donnybrook, then a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, that they came from.[5] The eastern part of the town was formerly called Minninup.[5] The western portion of the townsite is currently known as Irishtown. The town of Donnybrook was gazetted in 1894.[5]

The population of the town was 430 (294 males and 136 females) in 1898.[6]

In 1897, Richard Hunter discovered gold about 6 kilometres south of the Donnybrook townsite.[7] Hunter eventually sold out to Fred Camilleri (a well known prospector from Kalgoorlie) and Camilleri was able to interest the internationally renowned Polish geologist Modest Maryanski.[8] It was on the basis of Maryanski's report that a new company "Donnybrook Goldfields Ltd" was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1899.[8] A mini gold rush occurred, resulting in the Government gazetting the Donnybrook Goldfield - in the process making provision for a new town to be called "Goldtown".[7] From the census of 1901, it was known over 200 gold miners were camped on the goldfields.[7] The excitement was short-lived however, and the Hunters Venture mine closed in August 1903.[7] The area was worked during the Great Depression by locals Laurie and Foster Payne, then re-pegged and explored during the 1980s and again from 2004-5.[7]

Geography[edit]

Climate[edit]

Donnybrook experiences a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). Although summers are usually dry, heavy downpours in the summer are not uncommon. Donnybrook gets 93.9 clear days annually.

Climate data for Donnybrook
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 43.5
(110.3)
44.6
(112.3)
42.4
(108.3)
37.3
(99.1)
30.6
(87.1)
28.5
(83.3)
23.9
(75.0)
26.7
(80.1)
31.6
(88.9)
35.3
(95.5)
39.1
(102.4)
42.6
(108.7)
44.6
(112.3)
Average high °C (°F) 30.6
(87.1)
30.5
(86.9)
28.0
(82.4)
24.1
(75.4)
20.0
(68.0)
17.5
(63.5)
16.5
(61.7)
17.3
(63.1)
18.8
(65.8)
21.2
(70.2)
24.9
(76.8)
28.2
(82.8)
23.1
(73.6)
Average low °C (°F) 14.1
(57.4)
14.4
(57.9)
13.0
(55.4)
10.4
(50.7)
8.2
(46.8)
6.7
(44.1)
5.7
(42.3)
6.1
(43.0)
7.1
(44.8)
8.4
(47.1)
10.5
(50.9)
12.4
(54.3)
9.8
(49.6)
Record low °C (°F) 3.3
(37.9)
1.7
(35.1)
1.6
(34.9)
−0.2
(31.6)
−1.2
(29.8)
−2.5
(27.5)
−3.0
(26.6)
−2.6
(27.3)
−2.2
(28.0)
−0.5
(31.1)
0.4
(32.7)
1.7
(35.1)
−3.0
(26.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 12.7
(0.50)
14.9
(0.59)
25.1
(0.99)
49.6
(1.95)
134.4
(5.29)
187.1
(7.37)
186.8
(7.35)
148.9
(5.86)
102.3
(4.03)
62.9
(2.48)
32.8
(1.29)
16.5
(0.65)
973.1
(38.31)
Average precipitation days 3.2 3.2 4.7 8.7 15.0 18.5 21.0 19.4 16.2 12.4 7.9 4.6 134.8
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) (at 1500) 35 36 39 47 57 64 63 59 56 50 42 37 49
Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology[2]

Industry[edit]

Donnybrook is the home of Western Australia's apple industry.[9] In 1900, the first Granny Smith apple tree was planted, and the apple orchard industry grew after World War I.[10]

Apples are harvested between March and May, with apple blossoms prominent in October.[9] Donnybrook's industries also include timber, beef, dairy and viticulture.[9] Many visiting backpackers earn money picking fruit from orchards in the area between November and June.[11] Many apple trees are being replaced with avocado trees.

Tourism[edit]

Apple decorations along Donnybrook's main street

Donnybrook has many town icons bearing the apple. On the main street, apple-shaped lights line the entrance of the Old Railway Station. These lights have recently been restored. Atop the east Donnybrook hill is a 20-metre-high (66 ft) tower with an apple at the top. The apple is part of The Big Apple Farmstay.(formerly the Big Apple Tourist and Wildlife Park). From the top of the apple, farmstay guests can view Donnybrook and its surrounding areas. The Lady Williams big apple is made of fibreglass and is 7.5 metres (25 ft) tall with a diameter of 6.5 metres (21 ft),[10] making it one of Australia's "Big Things".

Apple festival[edit]

Finalists in the 1954 Apple Queen competition from Donnybrook, Manjimup and Bridgetown

The Donnybrook Apple Festival is held every year during Easter.[9] During the apple festival, the citizens of Donnybrook gather at Egan Park to celebrate the apple. The festival includes agricultural displays, a sideshow alley, a Saturday evening concert & fireworks display and a street parade.[12] During the street parade the Catholic Church of Donnybrook blesses the holy apple, assuring a good harvest in the years to come.

The Apple Festival also had a mascot, Donny Applebrook, created in 1997.[13] Donny was a giant green apple who promoted the festival.

Apple Fun Park playground[edit]

The centre of town is home to the Apple Fun Park outdoor playground, which opened in Easter 2008 in time for the Donnybrook Apple Festival that year.[14] The expansive fruit-themed park contains children's play equipment (including an 8-metre-high (26 ft) tower, swing sets, trampolines, multiple slides and a flying fox), an adult exercise area, as well as a shaded picnic area with public barbecues.[14] At the time of its construction it was the largest free-entry playground in Australia, and it attracts up to 50,000 visitors each year.[4] The playground helped inject over $6 million into the local economy over the first 13 years of its existence, and its success has inspired the construction of similar playgrounds in the region.[15]

In April 2021 the playground was temporarily closed for revitalisation works with much of the play equipment demolished as it had reached the end of its design life.[4] The playground reopened in October 2021 with a larger, updated design, new lighting and expanded shading and greenspaces, and new play equipment and activities (though some original play equipment was also retained).[16][15]

English Oak[edit]

Donnybrook is home to Australia's largest known English Oak.[17] The tree, believed to originate from 1893 is a landmark within the town. There is also a time capsule under this tree.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Donnybrook (State Suburbs)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 6 June 2019. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b "Climate statistics for Donnybrook". Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  3. ^ "How Donnybrook, 'the ugliest town in Australia', reinvented itself". 8 February 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "WA's legendary Apple Fun Park playground in Donnybrook knocked down to make way for new design". 15 May 2021. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d "Landgate History of Country Town Names: D". Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  6. ^ "POPULATION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA". Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 22 April 1898. p. 23. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d e Olsen, Graeme. "South West Life: The Donnybrook Goldrush". Archived from the original on 31 December 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  8. ^ a b "Australia's South West: The Donnybrook Goldrush". Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  9. ^ a b c d "Tourism Western Australia: Donnybrook". Retrieved 11 February 2008.
  10. ^ a b "Next 89km: Big Apple, Donnybrook". Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
  11. ^ "Backpackers Ultimate Guide: Southwest WA". Archived from the original on 28 February 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
  12. ^ "Donnybrook Apple Festival". Retrieved 11 February 2008.
  13. ^ "Donnybrook Apple Festival: 1997". Archived from the original on 5 January 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
  14. ^ a b "Biggest Free Entry Fun Park In Australia To Be Built In Donnybrook". 11 January 2008. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
  15. ^ a b "Iconic Donnybrook Apple Fun Park playground wows visitors after major redevelopment". 8 October 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  16. ^ "Apple Fun Park Revitalisation Project". Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  17. ^ Nina Smith (8 December 2009). "Australia's biggest oak tree" (PDF). Community Profile. Donnybrook-Bridgetown Mail.
  18. ^ "Register of Heritage Places Assessment Documentation" (PDF). Heritage Foundation of Western Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 June 2009.

External links[edit]