Welcome to new Toodyay Historical Society website


The Town 0f Toodyay   

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 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 can mean both a place of plenty and a place of mist

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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.

Finding Us

Postal Address: PO Box 32, Toodyay, WA 6566

Meetings: Drummond House,108B Stirling Terrace

Research Centre: Donegan's Cottage, Toodyay Showgrounds 

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Drummond House, adjoining Bendigo Bank

Meetings:

7pm, third Wednesday of month (not December). Open for book sales, general information, and submitting enquiries: 10am-2pm 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: Follow Stirling Terrace, cross Newcastle Bridge and take the first street on the left, Toodyay West Road.
 

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Special Report! Documenting the 2009 Toodyay Bushfire, compiled and written by Dr R Taylor

Click here 

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 75 Years Since the Bangka Island Massacre

On 16 February 1942, Sister Alma Beard of Toodyay was one of the twenty-one nurses and one civilian woman who were killed on Bangka Island whilst trying to return to Australia from Singapore during the Second World War.   

However, Alma Beard should be remembered for more than the way she died. Her family had lived in Toodyay for generations and Alma herself had a full and productive life before joining the armed forces.

 

 



 

 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 can mean both a place of plenty and 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.

In 2015, Toodyay was the Australian Title winner of the Keep Australia Beautiful Australian Tidy Towns Awards, also winning three of the eight individual Categories.

 

Coming Events

2018

May 2018 

Sun 6 May:  Moondyne Festival  - THS stall and display in front of Drummond House, adjoining Bendigo Bank.  

Wed 16 May, 7.30 pm: THS Meeting, Drummond House

Sun 27 May, 2.30pm: Members' Visit to Old Toodyay Hospital NOTE CHANGE OF DATE - Please bring a plate of afternoon tea to share (tea and coffee provided). Park off Duke St, behind the house, in the car park for the old Chiropractic Practice building.  

June 2018

Wed 18 June, 7.30 pm: THS Meeting, Drummond House

 

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Past THS Events

 

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. Many visitors enjoyed studying inour display to learn about 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 started in the eastern states, then moved to WA. 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.

We also heard about the social and political aspects of his photography in presenting a particular view of the empire to the world.

It was quite surprising to hear the list of Yorkshiremen in Western Australian business and political circles who were also freemasons, like Mitchell, and apparently assisted in promoting his career. 

In any case, he was a superb photographer. His surviving works include around 20 wonderful images of Toodyay and surrounds, c.1920.

 Jenny Edgecombe showed copies of these Toodyay images at the April general meeting. We followed his Toodyay visit, first to iconic local buildings such as  Masonic Lodge, Gaol and St Stephen's, then up the Toodyay valley as far as  St Philip's Church. We discussed whether some of the intervening shots included Toodyay Brook flats at Hawthornden, Yock Lunn's orchard and  Coondle School.

convicts and shearing sheds

Historical Society members were treated to a special viewing of the new exhibition at the Newcastle Gaol Museum at the final event for 2017. Thank you to  Museum Curator, Margaret Eberle, for arranging this. THS member Beth Frayne, also one of the museum volunteers, played quite a role in research and preparations for this excellent exhibition,  'Toodyay Convict Hiring Depot'.

The evening continued with a convivial shared feast over the road in the Old Wicklow Shearing Shed which is becoming a popular events venue. 

Dr Toby Metcalfe: Terra Nullius: Cook to Mabo Part 2

Part 2 of this fascinating series, presented at the October meeting, covered events up to and including Mabo. As President Robyn Taylor reported in the Herald: “It has been salutary to listen to historical accounts revealing the declaration of ‘terra nullius’ was not universally accepted, and that people holding to the belief in a just system of law knew there should have been treaties with the rightful owners.”  

RWAHSAffiliated Societies Conference 2017: Wanneroo

Four THS members attended this most successful conference. Speakers were inspiring, including members of long-established families involved in local industries, such as market gardening and lime- burning kilns. Those attending were particularly impressed by the City of Wanneroo venues and smooth running of the event. 

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