Photo courtesy of the Birtwistle Local Studies Library
Photo courtesy of the Birtwistle Local Studies Library

European settlement

In November 1829, just five months after the founding of the Swan River Colony in Western Australia, an exploring party led by Governor Sir James Stirling chose a site for a new town on the banks of the Canning River.


The Governor named the new town Kelmscott, as a tribute to Archdeacon Thomas Scott who freely gave his services to establish the Anglican Church in the new settlement. The name Kelmscott honours Scott's birthplace in England.

The first building in Kelmscott was a small barracks, built by soldiers in 1830. Constructed of wattle and daub (a clay or plaster mixture), it later became the homestead of the pioneering Martin family and survived until the 1930s.

The influence of road and rail

At that time one of the first major roads of the colony passed through Kelmscott. A rough bush track, the road ran southwards to link Albany (on King George's Sound) with the Swan River settlement.

Later, in 1836, a new route was built from Kelmscott past the farmhouse of Henry Gibb and through to Albany. The road was first known as the King George's Sound Road, later the Albany Road, and finally the Albany Highway of today.

By 1856, Henry Gibb and his brother-in-law, Thomas Saw, had established a wayside Inn at their farmhouse, which is now known as the Narrogin Inn. The Narrogin Inn is still trading today and holds one of the oldest liquor trading licences in WA. It is interesting to remember that as late as the 1860s, the journey to Albany took five to six days, with at least one overnight bush camp required.

In the 1890s, the South Western Railway was built, passing through the area.

A small group of houses and shops developed near the new station, becoming the nucleus of the present City of Armadale. The district began to prosper as the arrival of regular train services encouraged the production of fruit, vegetables, eggs and dairy produce (for the markets in Perth City) and the beginning of a local brick manufacturing industry.

Pioneering vineyard

In 1893, Armadale resident Martin Edward Jull (the first Public Service Commissioner in WA), planted a large commercial vineyard in partnership with Dr Ferguson Stewart and imported the first cabernet sauvignon and malbec grapes into the State.

This vineyard, built on hill terraces just outside Armadale, was later named Derry na Sura - Gaelic for 'Valley of the Vine'. It became a major producer and exporter of quality wine to Europe over the next 30 years. At its peak in 1928, the vineyard produced 800,000 gallons. Today, faint traces are all that remain of the terraces between houses which overlook Armadale.

The Jull family

Martin Jull married Roberta Fergusson-Stewart, who was the first female medical practitioner in WA. Their only daughter, Henrietta Drake-Brockman, went on to claim fame in her own right as a novelist and historian.

The Jull family home was located near Minnawarra Park, and their family planted the Sugar Gums that are now such a feature of the Park.

Orchard country

In 1893, a number of orchards began in the hills areas of Bedfordale, Roleystone and Karragullen. Illawarra Orchard Company was one of them, with Thomas Price as manager.

By 1907, Mr Price had pioneered the first trial shipment of Western Australian apples to England, setting up a flourishing trade (from Bettenay, 1994).

Kelmscott Roads Board

The State at that time was governed at a local level by Roads Boards.

In 1894, the Southern section of the area known as the Canning Roads Board was separated and the new area of 504 square kilometres became the Kelmscott Roads Board (named after the most important town in the area).

History book - Settlement to City

Settlement to City chronicles the growth of the district of Armadale from its founding as a tiny military outpost at Kelmscott in 1830 to the thriving City that it is today. The City, in commissioning this work, wanted to hear the story ‘warts and all'. The result is a 446 page book in 22 chapters that is both a well indexed tool for future researchers, as well as an extremely readable and sometimes amusing history book. It is complemented with quotes from oral histories, lots of photographs from days gone by, and images of important documents.

How to purchase the book

The book retails for $33 for a soft cover or $55 for a case bound copy (limited numbers available) and can be purchased from the City’s Administration Building, the Armadale, Kelmscott or Seville Grove Libraries, and the Perth Hills Armadale Visitor Centre.

If you live outside the Perth Metropolitan Area and would like arrange purchase and postage, please contact the Armadale Library on (08) 9394 5125.

How to advise of correction

A history book is never complete! You may know the name of someone as yet unidentified in one of the photographs in the book, or be able to provide additional information related to some of the stories recounted. To give us this detail, download the Corrections and Additions Form below.

Origins of roads and locality names in the Armadale district

Research into the origins of roads and locality names in the Armadale district has been undertaken by historians Jennie and Bevan Carter, authors of Settlement to City: a history of the Armadale district and its people which was commissioned by the City of Armadale and published in August 2011.

Details of the history and origin of road and locality names have been compiled from many sources, including information gathered from Council records dating from 1895, historical documents both Government and private from 1830, memoirs, oral history interviews with residents, newspaper articles, and a range of other written materials. We acknowledge the wonderful help given by so many people.

The basis for this website database is the ‘Geonoma’ listing of all named places in the district kindly provided by Landgate. To this listing has been added page references from the Melway Greater Perth Street Directory 2012 and further historical information provided by the historians based on the resources used.

All effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate at the time of publication, but in many cases, there are no records uncovered as to why a particular road or locality was given its name. In some instances a reasonably likely explanation can be determined, particularly where the name commemorates a known local identity or family. We would be very grateful for any further information about these road names so please let us know if details should be added or amended.

This database is copyright © to the City of Armadale, and Landgate 2012. (Data reproduced by permission of Western Australian Land Information Authority 9 May 2012).

Page Last Reviewed 10 June 2024