Sunday, October 20, 2013

Y is for YORK

YORK is the oldest inland town in Western Australia.  It is situated 97 km (60 miles) east of Perth and is the seat of the Shire of York.  Home to 2,088 people at the 2006 census, it was settled in 1831, only two years after Perth was settled in 1929.   With the increasing population of the Swan River Settlement, it became evident that suitable land would have to be discovered for the growing of cereal crops needed to provide necessary food.

Robert Dale, a 21 year old officer of the 63rd Regiment, was assigned the making of the first exploratory journey over the Darling Range during the winter months of 1830 into what was later to become known as the Avon Valley.  This is the Avon Valley and the Avon River:

As a result of these explorations, Governor Stirling decided that the new district would be thrown open for selection and this was done by Government Notice on 11 November, 1830.  Named after the city of York in England, the first settlers in the district reached the valley on 15 September, 1831 and immediately set about the construction of huts, the preparation required for their stock and the cultivation of new land.

The first decade of settlement in the Avon Valley showed steady progress and a clear indication thar the whole district should develop into a rich and prosperous farming area.  A township did not begin to appear until 1836 when an army barracks and store were built.  It then began to take shape and great improvements were noted as private and Government buildings were erected.

By the late 1880s the town was teeming with miners and fossickers, all alighting from the train and preparing to make the long journey across the plains to the goldfields.  It was during the period 1885 to 1900 that most of the town's impressive buildings were constructed, including the railway station buildings (1885):

The Imperial  Hotel (1886):

 The York Roller Flour Mill, a major source of employment at the entrance to York (1892):

The Telegraph Office (1893), the Court House and Police Station (ca1895):

the York Hospital (ca 1896):

and the School (ca 1897), designed by government architect George Temple Pool.

This large wooden cross on the corner of Avon Terrace and Balladong Street marks the site of the original mud church consecrated in 1848.  The site contains a number of graves, some marked with headstones of early pioneers:

Over the years the town has adapted by changing from a traditional  sheep and wheat agricultural community into a tourist town.  It features music festivals, a motor museum, art galleries, recreational facilities including skydiving and paragliding, many bed and breakfast services and the picturesque Avon River.  The town population in 2010 was approximately 3800 and increasing by about 4% annually.

York is well serviced with all essential facilities, including the York District High School for students from kindergarten to Year 10.  The York Visitor Centre is located in the Town Hall:

The York Telecentre (TAFE/Westlink) enables access to tertiary education and there is a 24/7 medical service, the York District Hospital, library and swimming pool.  York then and now:

York has a temperate climate experiencing distinctly dry (and hot) summers and cool, wet winters.  The mean annual daily maximum temperature is 24.7ºC (76.5ºF) and the mean annual daily temperatures is 10.5ºC (50.9ºF).  Hot hottest month is January with a mean max temp of 33.6ºC (92.5F) while the coolest month is July with a mean min temp of 5.3ºC (41.5ºF).  It has a mean annual rainfall of 449.8 millimetres (17.71 inches) the wettest month being June and the driest January.

This is Mount Brown Lookout which is accessible by foot or vehicle.  It s 342 metres above sea level and provides a beautiful 360º panoramic view of the surrounds and the town below:

(Way back in the 1960s my mum's step-mother paid us a visit from England.  Mum was recovering from a very serious accident so couldn't travel a lot but we brought Mary to York, had a tasty Aussie lunch in a cafe in the main street and afterwards drove up to this lookout.  It looked just as brown as it does in this photograph.)

A severe thunderstorm lashed the town and surrounding areas on 27 January, 2011, resulting in roofs being ripped off, trees being uprooted and power lines being brought down.  About 40 houses were damaged in the town as a result of the storm but fortunately no injuries were reported.

I should have acknowledged Wikipedia where I researched and found most of the above information and other various websites about York where I found the great pictures of historical buildings etc.


  1. Love all the research you have been doing for this series of posts, they have been a pleasure to read, now what is coming for Z I wonder. xxx

    1. Thanks sweetheart, I really appreciate this comment. Z is coming up soon and then what will I write about? Any suggestions? I do nothing, see nothing so it has to be something I can research and then write about or else I am stumped for words!! xxx

    2. How about your trips to NZ? I'm sure there is much you could write about as you and Pop both loved visiting over there so much.

  2. What a beautiful spot (and post). We have transported so many of our cities names from the UK. Same name, and such a different look..

    1. Thanks EC, I am so glad you enjoyed this one. This York is certainly very different to its namesake in the UK. York is really a special town to visit, as is Toodyay and Northam to a lesser extent. I am at a loss to know what I'm going to do after I post Z though.

  3. "roofs being ripped off, trees being uprooted and power lines being brought down."
    Adelaide has storms like that a couple of times a year. It used to be one in April and one in September, now they're more random.
    York looks like a pretty place, I really like the look of the railway building, it's more like a large home than an official building.

    1. We get that type of storm in Perth several times a year as well now. Seems the strong winds are coming further south than they used to.
      York is a nice place and hopefully we just might make it back there again one day.

  4. Something to research and write about?
    Countries? International cities? Amsterdam, Paris, Hamburg, there has to be one starting with Z and probably a Chinese one with X.
    World flags?

    1. Z not a problem as I have one ready. It's more what I'll do after I finish our WA towns. Perhaps towns in Australia with really odd sounding names? Thinking cap on and thanks for your suggestions. Much appreciated.

  5. Thank you for giving us such wonderful tours around the towns of Australia, and telling their wonderful history.

    1. Thanks Denise and glad you've enjoyed the tour of our Western Australian towns. Just the one left now and then hopefully will find something else I can research and share.