Harvey was developed as a private town in the 1890s by a group of investors following the opening of a railway station there in 1893. However, Cookernup, little more than a railway stop today, had a great population, and had a telegraph office and school years before Harvey. The population of Harvey was 93 (66 males and 27 females) in 1898. In 1926 the Harvey Road Board sought the declaration of a townsite, but this did not occur until 1938.
Today the town is the centre of the Western Australian beef industry and contains an agricultural college and the headquarters of both the Harvey Fresh (1986) and Harvey Beef (1919) brand names. It hosts an agricultural show each year in April. The town has a high school, primary school, dining and shopping facilities, an hotel, motel and caravan park, and council offices.
Harvey is on Route 20 (South Western Highway... Perth to Bunbury via Pinjarra and Waroona).
Uduc Road, the town's main street, goes to Old Coast Road near Myalup.
Harvey also serves as a stop on the South Western Railway Australind passenger train from Perth to Bunbury. Railway station:
In the mid 1800s Governor Stirling selected 12,800 acres of fertile land in Harvey called the "Harvey River Settlement". The only improvement ever made was to build a cottage known as "The Hut". This convict built cottage. on the banks of the tranquil Harvey River, featured a shingled roof and 'pit-sawn' jarrah walls with hexoganal-shaped paving blocks fitted together to form firm flooring. One of the original paving blocks can be seen in the cotttage history room today. As the "Harvey Estate" was sold quite a few times over the years, the 'cottage' was home to many pioneering families. In 1885 and 1886, May Gibbs, (creator of Snigglepot and Cuddlepie), lived in the cottage with her family. It is believed that she drew much of her inspiration for her stories and illustrations from her experience in Harvey. The original cottage was surrounded by gardens and fruit trees, and had a cellar which was often flooded in winter. A blacksmith workshop and stables were added. Over the years, the cottage fell into disrepair, and by the end of the 1960s only a few bricks and stones remained. A lone pine tree marked the site of the cottage, but this was blown down during a storm in 1985. On Sunday 9th October, 1994, the replica "Stirling Cottage" was open to the public, Modelled on the original Stirling Cottage this building features the shingle roof, jarrah walls and hexoganal paving blocks of the original. A balcony has been added, overlooking the tranquil Harvey River. The 1994 version is located 500 metres downstream from the original site and features extensive landscaped heritage gardens, a 19th century style fountain, a mini orchard, enchanting secret garden and a gift shop, a room on local history and 'Stirling Cottage" tearooms where one can sit and enjoy lunch or afternoon tea on the balcony overlooking the river. (Thanks to Harvey Tourism for this information and the photograph).
We have driven through Harvey many times and often stopped for a light meal or coffee in one the places along the highway. We have also visited the Harvey dam and the township driving down Uduc Road.