Welcome to new Toodyay Historical Society website


We are still operating

(with some restrictions)

See Events column

for details


Click here to find us in Toodyay




Our recent excursion

St Saviour's Church


Above: Katrine Church c. 1960, Rica Erickson collection

July: Our first excursion for some time. Shocking weather, cold rain threatening, but what a marvellous tour! 

Bruce Bott, Northam, spoke about the building's history.

Fortified by afternoon tea, investigating the graveyard. Beth Frayne told fascinating stories of the folk buried there, many with a strong Toodyay connection.

An excellent afternoon! 









PREVIOUS QUIZ: No members  correctly identified the first image in our quiz (BELOW), so the glory was given to a keen-eyed descendant of the James family who will be  visiting Toodyay this week.

Yes, it was.......


Built by Abraham James in the 1880s, it still retains many original features, including the well in the garden.




The Town of 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, Toodyay 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 



Finding Us


 Drummond House

(Bendigo Bank Building, right hand entry)

Meetings moved

till further notice: 

to Anglican Hall, Stirling Terrace

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


Drummond House will still open 10am-12 noon Saturdays for book sales, general information & submitting enquiries.  

Donegan's Cottage Research Centre 

 (Currently open only  by appointment)

Toodyay Showgrounds 

Toodyay West Rd  Toodyay WA 6566

Opening Hours:  

Thursdays 1-3pm


 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.




   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.



Last chance visit to St Aloysius Convent  Buildings

On a baking hot day in November 2019, large crowds took the opportunity to pay a final visit to these historic buildings when an Open Day was held at the site, prior to the planned subdivision and sale of the individual buildings.

Image from J Mensforth Collection,Toodyay Historical Society Inc.

The Toodyay Historical Society's fascinating slideshow of the historic site over the years supplemented an amazing display of photographs and memorabilia assembled by the organisers.



Newgain Granary

Historical Society visit 2019

Iconic Ringa Bridge 

 THS Visit 


From our archives:


Special Report! Documenting the 2009 Toodyay Bushfire

 Click Here



Coming Events



Please note: Social distancing and other precautions will be observed at all events in accordance with  the government regulations in force at the time 
General Meeting
18th November,
Anglican Hall, Toodyay
Research Enquiries 
Still Operating
Submit research enquiries via the usual email address:
Other Activities 
1. Good news!  
Revised Events Programme
A revised programme of meetings and events for 2020 has now been prepared. Please check your THS bulletins regularly, as this will be subject to change in accordance with the wider situation at the time.
2.  More Good news!  
Drummond House in Stirling Terrace
Now Open to the public, Saturdays, 10am-noon. Come in and chat, or leave an information request for our historians.
Ongoing Precautions
due to
Covid 19
Donegan's Cottage Research Centre in Tooodyay Showgrounds
Not Open to the public on Thursdays until further notice, due to space restrictions.
(May be opened by special arrangement
beforehand if members are available)


 THS Snapshots  

Previous years
Some of our fabulous events
Historic Connor's Mill
THS members enjoying Beth's lively stories of  the Connor's Mill building during its period as the Powerhouse generating Toodyay's  electricity in the first half of the 20th Century.  


The Edison Phonograph returns to Toodyay
Richard Rennie entertained a capacity crowd in the Toodyay Library, speaking on Professor Archibald's remarkable demonstration of the Edison Phonograph in the Newcastle  Mechanics' Institute on Sept 3 1891. Richard also demonstrated a genuine cylinder being played on an Edison Phonograph.

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.
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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