History of Gidgegannup

Little is known of the Aboriginal groups inhabiting the Hills region now known as Gidgegannup. However it seems that, according to newspaper reports of the early 1830s, a “Hills Tribe” was often in conflict with the “Weeips Tribe” of the upper Swan area. It is certain to have been a good area for hunting kangaroo and other native animals.

In 1836 a direct route for travellers to Toodyay was surveyed. This road went through the southern part of the present Gidgegannup area. At that time it took at least two days travel on horseback to reach Toodyay from Guildford, and consequently a wayside inn was built at Bailup, the approximate halfway mark between the two towns.

In the 1850s when transported convicts were brought to Western Australia, ticket-of-leave men were deployed from the Guildford Depot to road maintenance on the Toodyay Road. A road station was developed at Greenmount, now known as Red Hill.

There was little settlement in the area apart from small timber cutters until 1886 when a large parcel of Crown land was exchanged for the building of a railway line between Guildford and Walkaway. The bankers family named Copley purchased this land and later sold part of it to the Bunning Brothers Sawmilling Company. The jarrah timber from this area supported the Lion Mill in Mount Helena and later Smiths Mill on Toodyay Road, which remained in operation until the 1960s. During this time the district gradually developed into an area for mixed farming.

In the years between the two World Wars the district was named Hampstead Hills. Later, in 1946, it was changed to Gidgegannup, after the Gidgegannup Brook which runs through the area.

From then on Gidgegannup has made steady progress. The creation of sub-divisions on land re-zoned to “special rural” has boosted population numbers. With population growth opportunities arose for new businesses, and community services like a primary school, a sports oval and other recreational facilities became feasible. Now for many Gidgegannup is the ideal place to live; a semi-rural community in a beautiful natural setting, yet close enough to Perth CBD and other metropolitan facilities.

You can read a more detailed account of Gidgegannup’s history in the following sections: Origins, Timber, Convicts, Show, Present, John Laurie, Reen Road Bridge, Newspaper article April 1994.

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