Welcome to new Toodyay Historical Society website

The Town 0f Toodyay 

Toodyay is on the Avon River, 85 km northeast of Perth, in Western Australia. It was one of the earliest inland settlements in the state.

The first Toodyay township was on the site of today's West Toodyay.














We acknowledge the Ballardong people of the Noongar Nation as the  traditional owners in the area. They gave Toodyay its name, which may mean a place of plenty or a place of mist. 



Toodyay Historical Society 

The Toodyay Historical Society, established in 1980, is a knowledgeable, friendly and active organisation within the town.

Members meet monthly and also hold regular activities including excursions, dinners and lectures.

 The Society has a substantial library of publications relating to Toodyay and a growing collection of historical photographs. Members have produced a significant body of oral histories and a number of small publications relating to aspects of the town's history.  

Experienced members provide assistance to researchers, Too

dyay businesses and local organisations in their historical research. 


Postal Address: 
PO Box 32, Toodyay, WA 6566
Drummond House,108B Stirling Terrace
Research Centre: 
Donegan's Cottage, Toodyay Showgrounds 


Drummond House, adjoining Bendigo Bank


7pm, third Wednesday of month (not December).

Also open for book sales, general information & submitting enquiries: 10am-12 noon Saturdays.



Donegan's Cottage Research Centre

Toodyay Showgrounds 

Toodyay West Rd  Toodyay WA 6566

Opening Hours:  

Thursdays 1-3pm

 (Other times by appointment)

 Driving to Donegan's Cottage: See Map below
Follow Stirling Terrace, cross Newcastle Bridge and take the first street on the left, Toodyay West Road.



Did you visit Newgain Granary after it was opened for tourists in 1996?


Newgain Granary 2019



St Aloysius Convent  Buildings


Image from J Mensforth Collection,Toodyay Historical Society Inc.

At the June meeting, members enjoyed a fascinating slideshow of the historic buildings in the St Aloysius Convent complex at the Society's June meeting. 
Beth and Jenny provided a brief history and commentary while members viewed early images of the site followed by many slides of the buildings taken on more recent visits.



 Toodyay: a brief history

Toodyay is situated on the Avon River, 85 kilometres northeast of Perth, Western Australia. It was one of the earliest inland settlements in Western Australia. The first township was on the site of today's West Toodyay.

We acknowledge the Ballardong people of the Noongar Nation as the traditional owners in the area. They gave Toodyay its name, which may mean a place of plenty or a place of mist

From 1860, government and business activity was centred on the new townsite of Newcastle, several kilometres upstream. Newcastle's name was officially changed to Toodyay in 1910. The earlier site of Toodyay was renamed West Toodyay.

 The area's history since white settlement has included farming, timber milling, sandalwood cutting, a Convict Hiring Depot, an Immigrant Depot, a gold-rush, tannin factory and historical tourism.

The area remains a 'place of plenty' today, with a busy town, a vigorous farming community and a significant 'tree-change' population. The town features a rich collection of historical buildings.





Special Report! Documenting the 2009 Toodyay Bushfire

 Click Here




Iconic Ringa Bridge 

 THS Visit 



Coming Events


Upcoming Events 

July 2019
August 2019
Wed 21 August
THS Meeting 7 pm Drummond House
Fri 23 & Sat 24 August
Street Raffle outside Toodyay IGA - members please contact Beth to volunteer on ticket sales roster
September 2019
Fri-Sat-Sun 6-8 Sept
Affiliated Societies of Royal WA Historical Soclety Inc
55th State History Conference, South Perth
Wed 18 September
THS Meeting 7 pm Drummond House
Sun 29 September
Syred Cottage Clean-up: Bejoording, 10.30am, bring picnic lunch



 THS Snapshots  

2018-2019 events
Christmas Party
The old Wicklow Shearing Shed was a popular venue for the THS 2018 wind-up - thank you to Margie Eberle and the Shire of Toodyay. 
The night included a delicious feast, background music supplied by Joe Edgecombe, the launch of Beth Frayne's new volume in theToodyay Chronology series and a tricky quiz devised by Bob Frayne.

Historic Connor's Mill

In October, members  viewed the new Coorinja Winery display, shared a sumptuous spread, caught up with friends and listened to Beth's lively stories of  the building when it was the Powerhouse generating Toodyay's  electricity in the first half of the 20th Century. 


The Edison Phonograph returns to Toodyay
In September, Richard Rennie entertained a capacity crowd in the Toodyay Library. We heard about Professor Archibald's remarkable demonstration of the Edison Phonograph in the Newcastle  Mechanics' Institute on Sept 3 1891. We were also able to listen to a genuine cylinder being played on an Edison Phonograph.


The Great Ride 

Carmel Charlton charmed the crowd in the Toodyay Memorial Hall in September, with her presentation on an epic WWI trek involving the 10th LIght Horse. 

Butterly Cottages
 Association History
Dr Robyn Taylor presented a fascinating talk at the June THS meeting on the fundi
ng, building and ongoing history of the Butterly Cottages for local retirees in Toodyay. Very few Australian towns can boast such accommodation run by an independent volunteer body. The Committee's fundraising and organisational success over the years has been phenomenal.
Lost Images of Toodyay Rediscovered
At the movie afternoon in June, an enthusiastic crowd thoroughly enjoyed the introductory feature, a short film from the Eastern Goldfields Historical Society. It told the fascinating story of the completion of the Trans Australian railway, with many wonderful images.  
The main feature was a film made by Rick Mason, who was involved in the exciting rescue and identification of a wonderful recently-discovered collection of Toodyay-related glass negatives in the collection of Robert Faust, who was manager of the Toodyay CLub 1911-1931. Members were able to view a display of copies of some of the prints from these negatives during afternoon tea.

Nursing at Toodyay

The July meeting was enlivened by a real treat: Desrae Clarke's Oral History interview with former Toodyay nurse, Agnes Cook. Agnes described with great good humour the very basic living and nursing conditions which existed at Toodyay Hospital in earlier years, around the 1930s-1940s.

Historic York

A very cheery group of members enjoyed the recent Historical Society visit to York, which included a fascinating tour of the Residency Museum. After a picnic lunch in the museum grounds we explored the wonderful new ANZAC display in the York Town Hall. 

Moondyne Festival

This year's Moondyne Festival in Tooday was a great success, in spite of the changeable weather. Our Historical Society stall was popular. Visitors enjoyed studying our display on Moondyne Joe. Others were keen to make  inquiries about their own Toodyay ancestors.  

E.L. Mitchell: the photographer who shaped Australia

Joanna Sassoon, special guest at our AGM in April, gave a fascinating talk on her recent book about E.L.Mitchell, the boy from Yorkshire who became a commercial photographer, much in demand. 
Mitchell moved to W.A. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work was often published in Western Mail features and the Battye Library holds large numbers of his works, which have tremendous value now for historians.
He was a superb photographer. Toodyay Historical Society has obtained copies of 19 wonderful images of Toodyay and surrounds, c.1920, believed to be the work of Mitchell.
 Jenny Edgecombe showed copies of these Toodyay images at the April general meeting. These included iconic local buildings such as  Masonic Lodge, Gaol and St Stephen's,St Philip's Church and rare shots of what were probably Yock Lunn's orchard and  Coondle School.







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