; History of Wanneroo - City of Wanneroo

History of Wanneroo

The City of Wanneroo is one of Western Australia’s largest and fastest growing local government areas. Located on the north-eastern fringe of the Perth metropolitan area, between 12 and 60 kilometres from the Perth CBD.

The City covers 685 square kilometres, is home to more than 216,000 people across 36 distinctive suburbs from Two Rocks to Koondoola, and it continues to grow.

Our rich history dates back to pre-1834, when Whadjuk and Yued people moved around Wanneroo's coastal sandplain according to the six Noongar seasons.

First recognised as a Roads District in 1902, the Wanneroo District held its first elections and Road Board Meeting in January 1903. In 1961, the Wanneroo Roads Board became the Shire of Wanneroo and in 1985, the City of Wanneroo.

We are proud of our City and its heritage, and embrace the ancient Aboriginal culture and the spirit of our pioneers, who forged a future for the City of Wanneroo, as well as a diverse mix of traditions and customs from across the world that have made Wanneroo a cultural centre with its own unique regional history. 

Wanneroo timeline

Pre-1834  - Whadjuk and Yued people, two Nyoongar language groups, moved around Wanneroo's coastal sandplain according to the six Noongar seasons.

1834-1841 -  Explorers and surveyors, John Butler, George Grey, Thomas Watson and John Septimus Roe travelled through the Wanneroo area. First surveys conducted and first land parcels taken up by syndicates.

1844 - Methodist missionary John Smithies established one of the first farms.  Located near Lake Goollelal, this was an experimental farm founded by the Wesleyan Missionary Society to be worked and lived on by Aboriginal people under the guidance of the church.  Fatalities amongst the children from TB due to drinking cow's milk, as well as an economic depression  in Western Australia led to its failure.

1852 - Wanneroo gained its first permanent settlers, James and Mary-Ann Cockman. They started a dairy farm, had 7 children and built a rough limestone house, Cockman House which exists today and is a rare and historically significant dwelling.

1872 -  Wanneroo fell under the jurisdiction of the Perth Roads Board.  and had evolved into a pastoral and farming community of some 60 families living around the shores of the lakes and along the vital north/south route, known as the Wanneroo Road.

1874 - First Wanneroo school opened near Lake Goollelal with 15 pupils enrolled and operated until 1890.

1883 - Wanneroo received its first mail service.

1899 - The Wanneroo State School opened on 30 January with 14 pupils. Located on the corner of Wanneroo Road and Dundebar Street.

1902 - Wanneroo Road Board gazetted, 31 October.

1903 - Wanneroo Road Board held its first meeting attended by seven men on 16 January in the School Room. Herbert Hocking was elected Chairman and the Board fixed a rate of one penny in the pound with a minimum charge of half a crown.

1904 - Agricultural Hall  built by the Wanneroo Agricultural Society and used as the venue for Road Board meetings.

1907 - Town site gazetted as ‘Wanneru’.

1909 - First Wanneroo Show held on 21 April and attracted a crowd of 500 when the population of Wanneroo was only 300.

1921 - War memorial stone obelisk erected in Wanneroo in honour of the nine local men who lost their lives in World War I.

1932 -  Wanneroo's first church, St Anthony's Catholic Church opened

1953 - Spelling of the district's name officially changed to Wanneroo

1954 - 23 June was a landmark day. After years of lobbying, mains electricity arrived as far as the 16 Mile Peg, Wanneroo Road (near Pinjar and Wanneroo Roads). Event celebrated with a buffet tea in the Shire Hall.

1959 - Street lighting installed in the Wanneroo Townsite.

1960 - 2nd Road Board office opened in July at 935 Wanneroo Road. Now known as Enterprise House.

1961 - The Wanneroo Road Board becomes a Shire on 21 June and the first library opens on 3 May

1971 - State Government's Corridor Plan for Perth adopted. This important document proposed development strips called corridors radiating out from Perth and one of these, the north-west corridor, fell within the Shire of Wanneroo. Wanneroo is identified as an area that could accommodate a huge population and swift expansion followed

1971 - The 3rd Shire Office (now the Wanneroo Community Centre) opens 25 November

1974 – 1st high school opens in Girrawheen

1979 - New administration building opened in Joondalup on 1 December

1985 - On 31 October the Shire of Wanneroo becomes the City of Wanneroo

1996 - Population of Wanneroo is 201,000 and the City was managing 785 km² of land and a coastline of 48 kilometres

1997 - A new City of Wanneroo Library and Council Chambers opens in Joondalup.

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

1999 - The Shire of Wanneroo regains City status on 1 July and operates as a separate Local Government Authority from the City of Joondalup. A celebration attended by the Premier, Richard Court is held to celebrate the occasion. The inaugural council of the new City of Wanneroo elected 11 December with Jon Kelly as Mayor and 14 ward councillors

2000 - City of Wanneroo Administration and Civic Centre opens in Dundebar Road on 3 March and the new City's population is 80,000.

2009 - New Wanneroo Library and Culture Centre officially opened on 7 September

2012 - City of Wanneroo was the fastest growing local government authority in Western Australia and Two Rocks Marine Park established

2013 - Wanneroo's population reaches 178,000 and first home lots sell at Alkimos Beach

2016 - Fairway Villages Retirement Community established

2017 - Alkimos Surf Life Saving Club is established and the redevelopment of Wanneroo Central Shopping Centre begins

2019 - Girrawheen Koondoola Local Plan released

2021 - Alkimos Aquatic and Leisure Centre proposed and the East Wanneroo District Structure Plan is finalised.