Nestling in the rural heartland of the Great Southern region, historic Kojonup is more than just a gateway to the beautiful South. Settled over 150 years ago, this bustling rural town still bears all the trademarks of a traditional country settlement, with its historic buildings and friendly, safe atmosphere.At the heart of Kojonup is the fresh water spring which first attracted European settlers to the town in 1837. Overlooking the Spring is the old Military Barracks, constructed in 1845 and one of the oldest surviving military buildings in Western Australia.Today Kojonup is a thriving country town, proud of its heritage but looking to the future.
Located on Highway 95, running directly from Perth to the historic port of Albany, Kojonup is just a two hour drive from the state capital, and a short 160km from Albany.It is the administrative and commercial centre of a prosperous pastoral district, offering a wealth of business and lifestyle opportunities to those who set store by traditional Australian values.
Kojonup has a long and proud history stretching back centuries to the days when nomadic Aborigines were first attracted to the area by the freshwater spring and abundance of game. The name Kojonup has historical significance, referring to the “Koja” or stone axe made by the Aborigines from the local stone.The first white man arrived in Kojonup in 1837, just nine years after the founding of the Swan River Settlement. Alfred Hillman had been sent north by Governor Stirling to blaze a trail from King George Sound (Albany), by way of York to the Swan River Settlement. He was guided to the freshwater spring by local Aborigines, and his favourable report back to Governor Stirling resulted in a military outpost being set up for the protection of travellers and the mail
By 1845 this outpost had grown to support a military barracks, built on the site of the freshwater spring. Today, the Barracks still stands on its original site and houses the Kojonup Pioneer Museum.The museum holds many relics from the Kojonup of old and tells the history of the town. A four room stone structure , the Barracks is in near perfect condition and is one of the oldest buildings in Western Australia. The first farms in Kojonup were set up by soldiers with settlement grants. A land survey carried out by Hillman in 1840 recommended that a town be established around the freshwater spring.The site covered two square miles, and according to Hillman’s diary had the advantages of good land , an abundance of grass, a permanent supply of good water and plenty of stone suitable for use in buildings.
A Captain Symers was the first land holder in the town, selecting Kojonup Location 1 of 100 acres. He also acquired a grant of land on the Balgarup River, 8 miles south of the townsite, and had sheep, cattle and horses brought in overland from King George Sound in 1840, beginning the areas long association with farming.The town’s first Police Station was built in 1869 and the first hotel licence was granted in 1868.In 1871 the town came of age with the election of the first District Road Board.The appointment in 1865 of a mounted Police Constable marked the phasing out of the military presence at Kojonup.
By the late 1860′s the Military had left and the Barracks became a focus for community gatherings, much as it is today.More recent history is commemorated in a beautiful memorial to the young men of Kojonup who gave their lives in the World War. Located in the foyer of the Town Hall, the memorial has a beautiful lead light ceiling surrounded by wood paneled walls inscribed with the name of each of those who died. It is a beautiful and fitting testimony to a sad, yet proud period in the long history of Kojonup