Williams, Western Australia
|Population||338 (2006 census)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Williams|
Williams is a town located in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, 161 kilometres (100 mi) south-southeast of the state capital, Perth along Albany Highway and 32 kilometres (20 mi) west of Narrogin. The Williams River passes through the town. At the 2006 census, Williams had a population of 338.
Williams is named after the Williams River which flows nearby. The river was discovered by Captain Thomas Bannister in 1831 while leading the first overland expedition from the Swan River Colony to King George Sound (now Albany), and was first shown on an 1833 map. More than likely, the name honours King William IV, who reigned in the United Kingdom from June 1830 until June 1837.
The first claims on land in the area occurred in 1832, in 1835 a party led by Governor James Stirling and John Septimus Roe surveyed a route joining King George Sound with York via Williams to encourage inland settlement. No settlement occurred until after Lieutenant Henry Bunbury explored the region in 1836, despite his assessment that "on the Williams the land is generally very bad and the water brackish."
After the building of Albany Highway by convicts in the 1850s, Williams became an important stopover point for passengers and changing of horses and became the main centre in the district. The Williams Hotel was erected in 1871, and a Road Board (predecessor to the current Shire Council) first convened in 1877.
In early 1898 the population of the town was 55, 30 males and 25 females. Later the same year the local Agricultural Hall was opened by Frederick Piesse, it was built at a cost of £250 granted by Parliament.
The original town had been built on the Albany side of the river, but was subject to increasing floods due to the clearing of the land for intensive farming, therefore the town was relocated to the Perth side of the bridge. The town site was surveyed in 1905 and most of the buildings in the present town site were constructed after that time.
Today the town is a centre for the wool, cattle and coarse grains industry, and serves as a stopping point on the Albany Highway. A heritage trail takes visitors past some of Williams's historic buildings and nearby wildflower stands and dryandra forests are also attractions. One unusual feature is the Jesse Martin museum, a historic village and memorabilia collection constructed by a local farmer on his own property from old shops and post offices on the verge of being demolished in country towns, as well as barns full of old cars and farm machinery.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Williams (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
- Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names – W". Retrieved 2007-03-25.
- Jones, H. and D. Johnston (1997). The Story of Avondale. Department of Agriculture, Western Australia. ISBN 0-7244-8743-3.
- "Population of Western Australia". Western Mail (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 22 April 1898. p. 23. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Williams Agricultural Hall.". Western Mail (Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia). 17 June 1898. p. 54. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
- Shire of Williams. "Our Community - History". Retrieved 2006-10-16.
- Walkabout Australia. "Williams". Retrieved 2006-10-16.
- GS1 timetable (1 November 2006) and GE1 timetable (1 November 2006). Retrieved on 25 March 2007.