Sunday, September 8, 2013

O is for ONGERUP

ONGERUP is a town located 410 km south-west of Perth and 54km east of Gnowangerup in the Great Southern region of Western Australia.  The name is derived from "Yongerup" and comes from the local Noongar (Aboriginal) language and means "Place of the male kangaroo".  (In Western Australia towns ending with 'up' usually also mean a place of water).

The area was first explored by Surveyor General John Septimus Roe who passed through in 1848.  In the 1870s the Moir family moved to the area and began grazing sheep along the Warperup Creek.  In 1910 the land was surveyed into 1,000 acre blocks priced at 10 shillings (one dollar in today's currency) per acre before the townsite was gazetted in 1912.

During the Great Depression of the early 1930s kangaroo hunters and mallee bark strippers came to the area; the bark was sent to Germany for use in tanning..

In 1983 the Ongerup Shears event was held for the first time.  This was a shearing competition that was held on the Queens' Birthday long weekend with international and national shearers competing in the run up to the Perth Royal Show.  The event was discontinued in the 1990s.

Eldridge Street, Ongerup:

In 2009 a 13-part documentary, entitled "The Life of the Town", was made by Ronin Films that looked at the life of the town and focussed on the Australian Rules football team which was under threat.  In 2012 the town celebrated its official centenary with a programme of various events.

The 2006 census shows a population of 119 people living in Ongerup.  The town is home to a pub, general store, tyre service, primary school, kindergarten, telecentre, caravan park, ambulance service, 18-hole golf course, sports oval and pavillion, and roadhouse.  The Ongerup and Needilup District Museum was opened in 1978 and is housed in the old railway barracks (constructed in 1918 for engine drivers and railway workers stationed in Ongerup, the building became obsolete when the railway service from Gnowangerup to Ongerup was suspended in 1957.)   Local Noongar artefacts, foods and medicinal plants, natural history items, old machinery and household goods from pioneer days are on display.

The Ongerup Telecentre:  These community telecentres can be used to access telephone, fax, email and internet services and are independent incorporated bodies owned by the community.  They provide services which stimulate the creative use of telecommunications and computer technology for information access, education, employment, training and business enterprises.  (Thanks to 'drivewa' for this information).

A war memorial commemorates the 63 Ongerup lives lost in World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

At the sports oval Australian Rules football, hockey and netball are played in winter and cricket, tennis and basketball in summer.  Well known AFL footballer Mark Williams that played with Victorian team Hawthorn played in Ongerup as a junior player.

The town exists to service the local agricultural community.  Surrounding farms mainly produce wheat, barley, canola and wool, while lesser quantities of lupins, oats, alfalfa and other crops are also grown. Beef cattle, fat lambs, and pigs are sideline industries.  Grain silos belonging to Co-operation Bulk Handing are located at Ongerup and during harvest time these silos store grain from surrounding farms before it is transported to Albany by road for export.

The town is home to the Malleefowl Preservation Group and in 2007 Yongergnow Australian Malleefowl Centre was opened.  Created to support and contribute to the conservation and research of the endangered malleefowl and its habitat, the Centre provides visitors with a rare opportunity to view the malleefowl in its natural environment, while appreciating the sometimes unforgiving and yet always spectacular surrounding mallee bush.

The Ongerup Wildflower Show is held in September and October each year.  The Ongerup district is known to be home to over 1,300 species of wildflowers, which range in size from majestic salmon gums (ecualypts) 30 metres high to small annuals only 5mm high.  (One year we had been holidaying in Albany and drove home through the Stirling Ranges and called into Ongerup when we saw the notice about the wildflower show.  We were amazed at the huge variety of wildflowers on show;  they were  simply dazzling and we were glad we had taken the detour of a few miles to see the beautiful display).  This is the road through the Stirling Ranges showing the beautiful Bluff Knoll:

Ongerup is a stop on the Transwa bus service between Perth and Esperance.  A couple more pics of our lovely Stirling Ranges:  (would you believe we very occasionally have snow on the Stirlings and everyone gets so excited about it).

My thanks to Wikipedia, Hidden Treasures and other sources for the information and photographs shown above.


  1. The scenery in your part of the world is simply breath taking.

    1. We do have some nice scenery Delores but often have to travel quite a long distance to find it. I think your country would have some of the best scenery in the world from what I've seen on film.

  2. Learning about other parts of the world is a wonderful part of blogging. I have enjoyed your post, great photos and information about this town. Thank you so much!

    1. I am glad you are enjoying visiting Australia. I too love to find out about other places and I always enjoy your journeys through America so thank you for them too.

  3. Hari OM
    Oh that photo of the Bluff is spectacular. I love how you put these together Mimsie!... now am wondering what will come with "P"... YAM xx

  4. Bluff Knoll, although not huge compared with other mountains around the world, is always very spectacular. I try to make these posts interesting and search for good pics and as much info as I can find. I have two "P" places which should be along soon. xx

  5. I love that second to last photo with the thick clouds!
    I'm remembering now when ten shillings was a lot of money, but a dollar these days buys you next to nothing.

  6. Some people take some wonderful photographs and I'm always so glad when I find them and can share them. The one you mention is very spectacular.
    Yes ten bob was a lot of money once (we £3/week rent back in the 1960s) but a dollar these days is gone before you know you've got it. : )