History

The Shire of York acknowledges the Ballardong Noongar people who are the Traditional Owners of this Land and their continuing connection to land, waters and community.

We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging and we extend that respect to other First Australians today.

 

The word Noongar describes people whose ancestors first occupied and now continue to occupy the South West region of Western Australia.

The Ballardong people are a specific Noongar language group north-east of Perth (The Noongar language group in the Perth area is called Whadjuk). The Ballardong region includes the towns of Northam, York, Beverley, Goomalling, Cadoux, Koorda, Wyalkatchem, Cunderdin and Kellerberrin.

There are a number of Registered Aboriginal Heritage Places within the Shire of York, including the Avon River.  Although fragmented due to the effects of settlement, Ballardong Noongar culture and identity survives and is gaining strength and wider recognition within the community. Spiritual and traditional ties to Country are deeply felt by Ballardong people today and are acknowledged by the Shire of York.   

York is the oldest inland town in Western Australia, being situated approximately 97 kilometres by road east of Perth in the Avon Valley, which is one of the most fertile areas of the State.

The Swan River Colony was settled by the British in 1829, founding the State of Western Australia. Soon it became evident that suitable land would have to be found beyond Fremantle and Perth for  growing of cereal crops to provide necessary food for the increasing population.

Ensign Robert Dale, a 21 year old Officer of the 63rd Regiment, was assigned the honour of making the first exploratory journey over the Darling Ranges during the winter months of 1830 into what was later to become known as the Avon Valley.

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.

The first explorers saw a resemblance between the valleys traversed and the county of Yorkshire in England. It was decided by the Governor that Yorkshire should be the name given to the district and that York should be the name of the first town.

The first settlers in the district reached the valley on 15 September 1831, and immediately set about the construction of huts, the preparations required for their livestock and the cultivation of new land.

With the natural increase of population, the township began to take shape and great improvements were noted. Private and Government buildings were erected.

The year 2006 marked the 175th anniversary of the State’s oldest inland town, marking the year it first settled by Europeans in 1831. To commemorate this important historical occasion the town had a year of celebrations and a wide variety of cultural and community events.