Welcome to new Toodyay Historical Society website


The Town of 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

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.

The Society has a main street presence in Drummond House at 108B Stirling Terrace and a research centre at Donegan's Cottage in the Toodyay Showgrounds. Details below.

Finding Us

Drummond House: Meetings & General Information 

Drummond House
108B StirlingTerrace (adjoining Bendigo Bank)
7pm, third Wednesday of month (not December)
Open for General Enquiries:
limited hours, weekends - Contact Secretary for details.
Postal Address: PO Box 32, Toodyay, WA 6566


Donegan's Cottage Research Centre






Donegan's Cottage ,Toodyay Showgrounds

Donegan's Cottage, Toodyay Showgrounds,
Toodyay West Road,
Toodyay WA, Australia 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.





Special Report: Documenting the 2009 Toodyay Bushfire

Compiled and written by Dr Robyn Taylor

'The devastating fire of 29 December 2009 impacted severely on the entire community of Toodyay and aroused awareness throughout the state and beyond. The extent to which organisations, individuals and communities responded with compassion and practical assistance was astonishing. Emergency measures were put into action with commendable speed, testifying to preparedness of which many in the community only became aware of when demonstrated.

The immediacy of the event left little time for reflection, but later it became apparent that this event, one of the most significant in Toodyay's history, should not be forgotten. It should not become the subject of folklore with little regard to the accuracy of what occurred, who was affected and who coordinated and provided the massive relief effort.'

Dr Brian Shepherd, 2009 Bushfire Projects Group

Click here for the full report:   2009 TOODYAY BUSHFIRE 



 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.



This website is under development. New content will be added as it is completed.



 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

Events and Meetings 2017

October 2017

Wed 18 Oct 7 pm: THS Meeting at Drummond House

Feature speaker: The ever-popular Dr Toby Metcalfe, with Part 2 of Terra Nullius: Cook to Mabo. See the summary of Part 1 under Recent Activities below.

Friday 27 October 6pm-8pm: THS Sundowner, Connor's Mill.

See what's new in the mill exhibits. Please bring a plate to share and BYO drinks. 

Recent Activities

August Feature Speaker: Terra Nullius: Cook to Mabo

Members enjoyed Toby's innovative approach of using rap lyrics to tell the story of James Cook’s 1770 exploration to the southern continent; and the legal consequences of Terra Nullius becoming a foundation Crown Law with its non-recognition of Australia’s indigenous people.

Toby also discussed the different attitudes of the French [explorer and naturalist] Captain Nicholas Baudin, who countermanded his instruction from Napoleon to plant the French flag wherever he could, thus making claim to land for France. Baudin was far more sympathetic to the indigenous people he encountered.

Part 2, in October, will cover events up to and including Mabo.

Conference of the Affiliated Societies of the RWAHS at Wanneroo

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

Talk by Native Plant Specialist Bob Dixon at former Wyening Mission 

Several members attended this morning tea and greatly enjoyed the talk by Bob Dixon,in  particular his extensive knowledge of wheat belt native plants.

Shame, Bikes and Zombies in Toodyay 

Did you know that filming was carried out in Toodyay for three commercial movies during the 1980s?

At the recent Toodyay movie nostalgia night, an appreciative audience watched some very entertaining trailers and short excerpts from Shame, Zombie Brigade and Black Medicine, identifying many Toodyay settings and locals who were 'extras'.

There were also historical local home movies and short talks on the picture shows in Toodyay and the careers of  our member Beth's father and grandfather in the WA film industry. 

Did you miss it? Then visit Donegan's Cottage at the Toodyay Agricultural Show in October. There will be a display of photographs and film of Film and Picture Shows in Toodyay.

Egoline Homestead Visit






A small group of members was lucky enough to be able to visit historic Egoline Homestead prior to the departure of its most recent owners.

The property was taken up by Richard Hinds (1837), then by John Sewell (1854), the Wilkerson family (1870), the Sharman Family (1986-1992).  has There are three sections to the main homestead building, dating from the 1850s, 1870 and 1917. A small cottage was added in the 1930s.


River Avon Training Scheme talk  

At the July meeting, Wayne Clarke presented a fascinating talk on the history of the River Training Scheme implemented by five councils from Brookton to Toodyay. This scheme changed the river forever. We were also treated to a short film relating to this scheme.

Toodyay-Bolgart Railway History excursion 




Jenny led this informative tour for our June excursion. We started with the site of the old railway station (present-day Medical Centre) in Toodyay and ended at St. Philip’s Anglican Church graveyard, Culham, for afternoon tea. 

In between, we visited the remains of the Avon River railway bridge, railway embankments along Toodyay West Road and other railway sites along the Toodyay-Bindi Bindi Road were visited. One of the highlights was viewing what Jenny believes must be the location of Charles Yock Lunn’s homestead and Lunn’s Landing at Coondle.






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