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History of Wanneroo

A Brief History

The origins of European interaction in the Wanneroo area date back to 1834. A timeline summary is listed below. Leaflets on the History of Wanneroo and the Lime Kilns of Wanneroo are available from City of Wanneroo libraries, museum, Civic Centre and the Wanneroo Library and Cultural Centre, or to download by clicking here.

1834 - Explorer John Butler led the first recorded excursion to the Wanneroo Area looking for lost cattle. They had a friendly meeting with men from the Yellagonga tribe.

1838 - Lieutenant George Grey travelled through Wanneroo and his party was given 27 fresh-water tortoises by the local aborigines. They were told that the lake was called Mooloore. Grey noted 'remarkable' caves in the Yanchep area.

1838 - T Watson conducted first land surveys in Wanneroo area. Later that year the first land (parcels of 1000 acres) was taken up - by a partnership of Hodges, Connolly, Hester and Dobbins. A second syndicate of Shenton, Moore, Rogers and Jeffers soon purchased land.

1841 - Surveyor John Septimus Roe and Governor Hutt travelled to Yanchep and visited - the Yanchep Caves.

1844 - Methodist missionary Rev John Smithes established Mission Farm near Lake Goollelal as a farm to be worked and lived on by aboriginal people under the guidance of the church.

1849 - Mr Patrick Marmion established a whaling station at Sorrento (now Surf Lifesaving Club site).

1850 - James Cockman and his wife Mary Anne, who were among the first Wanneroo settlers, arrived.

1852 – The barque ‘Eglinton’ was wrecked on a reef – now Eglinton Rocks.

1871 - Local government started in WA. Wanneroo was part of the Perth Districts Road Board and there were about 60 European families in the Wanneroo area.

1874 - First Wanneroo school opened near Lake Goollelal.

1883 - Wanneroo received its first mail service.

1887 - Aborigines were granted 809 hectares at Gnangara for a reserve.

1889 – North West Stock Route gazetted.

1899 – The Wanneroo State School was opened with 14 students. (The School house has been moved to Perry’s Paddock.)

1901 - Gnangara land was taken back from the Aborigines.

1902 - Wanneroo Road Board was gazetted on 29 October 1902.

1903 – 16 January - first meeting of the Wanneroo Road Board was held in School house. Cockman House was used for meetings for the next two years.

1904 – East Wanneroo School opened. The classroom was moved to the Wanneroo School in 1928 and has now been moved to Perry’s Paddock.

1907 - Town site gazetted as ‘Wanneru’.

1908 - Wanneroo residents called for a rail link with Perth.

1909 - The Agricultural Society organised the first Wanneroo Show and built a hall.

1917 – The schooner ‘Alex T Brown’ was wrecked south of Wreck Point in Two Rocks.

1920 – The Agricultural Hall was purchased by the Road Board to become their offices with a façade on the front.

1921 - A Memorial Stone was erected in Wanneroo in honour of the nine local men who lost their lives in World War I.

1931 – Wanneroo Road extended to Yanchep. Grand opening of Yanchep (National) Park.

1932 - The first church, St Anthony's, was opened.

1944 – 10th Light Horse Regiment in camp at what is now the 10th Light Horse Trail.

1950 - March. Wanneroo Road Board was disbanded because of local conflict (such as the beach shacks) and it was replaced by a commissioner. June. A new Road Board was elected.

1953 - Spelling of Wanneroo officially adopted, rather than Wanneru.

1954 - Electricity arrived in Wanneroo. First naturalisation ceremony held.

1957 - The Wanneroo Road Board was again replaced by a Commissioner because of community disharmony.

1959 – Street lighting installed in Wanneroo townsite. Replacement Wanneroo Primary School opened.

1960 – The new Wanneroo Road, Health and Vermin Board Office was opened in July at 935 Wanneroo Rd.

1961 - The Wanneroo Road Board becomes a Shire.

1970 - The State Government's adoption of the Corridor Plan signalled the beginning of rapid development in the district. Development of Yanchep Sun City project begins.

1971 - The third Shire Office (now the Wanneroo Community Centre) was opened.

1974 – First High School in Wanneroo was opened at Girrawheen.

1975 – Wanneroo Recreation Centre was opened.

1976 - The Wangara Industrial Estate was opened.

1977 – The Girrawheen Library was opened.

1978 - A mobile library service, the most modern in Australia, was established.

1979 - The Wanneroo Shire Council moved to a new administration building in Joondalup. Gloucester Lodge Museum opened.

1980 – new Wanneroo library opened in former Shire Offices.

1982 - Wanneroo's population reached 100,000.

1985 - The Council achieved City status. Buckingham House opened as a museum.

1988 - Wanneroo's population passed 150,000. Cockman House opened as a museum.

1997 - A new City of Wanneroo library and Council Chambers was opened in Joondalup.

1997 –Following a Royal Commission in 1996 the Wanneroo Council was suspended and Commissioners appointed.

1998 - The City of Wanneroo was split into the Shire of Wanneroo and the City of Joondalup.

1999 - The Shire of Wanneroo regains City status on 1 July 1999, and operates as a separate Local Government Authority from the City of Joondalup. A celebration at in the Wanneroo Town Centre is held to celebrate the new City of Wanneroo. The Premier of Western Australia, Mr Richard Court, attended this celebration.

1999 - Construction commences on the new City of Wanneroo Administration Centre & Council Chambers on Dundebar Road. Part of Wanneroo Town Centre Redevelopment.

1999 - Inaugural council of the new City of Wanneroo elected on 11 December 1999. Mayor Jon Kelly plus fourteen ward councillors elected.

2000 – the new City of Wanneroo reaches a population of 80,000 people. A new St Anthony’s Church and School was opened.

2001 City of Wanneroo Administration and Civic Centre opened in Dundebar Rd.

2005 Clarkson Library opened. Wanneroo War Memorial moved to new site in Civic Drive. Refurbished Wanneroo Community Centre opened.

23 Dundebar Road, Wanneroo WA 6065 | Locked Bag 1, Wanneroo WA 6946
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