History of country town names - W
The following information is a summary of the origins for towns names in rural Western Australia. Please select the first letter of the town you wish to see.
Please note: The names of all rural towns are being added progressively to the database.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Latitude 32° 00' S Longitude 118° 27' E
The townsite of Wadderin is located in the central agricultural region, 290 km east of Perth and 10 km north east of Narembeen. It is located on the Narembeen to Merredin railway, and when the line was opened in 1924, Wadderin Hill was one of the original sidings. Land was set aside at the siding for a future townsite, and following a request for land, lots were surveyed and the townsite of Wadderin gazetted in 1925. The name of the townsite is derived from nearby Wadderin Hill, an Aboriginal name first recorded by an explorer in 1865. The word is similar to another Aboriginal word which means the "doe kangaroo".
Latitude 32° 57' S Longitude 115° 54' E
The townsite of Wagerup is located in the south west agricultural region, 124 km south of Perth and 12 km south of Waroona. It was gazetted a townsite in 1899, taking its name from the railway station of the same name and nearby Wagerup Brook. The brook was first spelt Waigeerup by a surveyor in 1853 and the same spelling was used when the railway station opened in 1896. However, by 1899 it was spelt Wagerup. A local story has it that the man who originally painted the sign on the railway platform misspelt the name as Wagerup, and this spelling has been in use ever since. Wagerup is an Aboriginal name said to mean "Place of Emus" (Waitch).
Longitude 33° 19' S Longitude 117° 21' E
The townsite of Wagin is located in the great southern agricultural region, 229 km south east of Perth and 49 km south south east of Narrogin. When the Great Southern Railway from Albany to Beverley was completed in 1889 one of the original stations on the line was "Wagin Lake". The company that built the line, the W A land Company, developed a private town at the station, gazetting the town as Wagin Lake in 1891. In 1896 the government purchased the line and the land owned by the company, and soon after considered expanding the townsite to the southward, in an area referred to as "Wagin Bank", as it was on the bank of Wagin Lake. The townsite was resurveyed, and when it came to gazetting the townsite in 1897 the Surveyor General decided it should be renamed Wagin, as "I think the word lake is superfluous, and by its omission the name is more euphonious".
Wagin derives its name from Wagin Lake, a usually dry salt lake south of the town. The name Wagin is Aboriginal, having been first recorded for the lake by a surveyor in 1869-72. The meaning of the name is "place of Emu's".
Latitude 31° 23' S Longitude 118° 34' E
The townsite of Walgoolan is located in the eastern agricultural region, 290 km east north east of Perth and 8 km east of Burracoppin. Located on the main eastern railway, Walgoolan was established as a siding between 1895 and 1899. Land was set aside for a townsite here in 1913, and in 1922 lots were surveyed, and the townsite of Walgoolan gazetted in 1923. In a report on Aboriginal names of the Southern Cross district compiled around 1900 the meaning of Walgoolan is given as "a place where short bushes grow".
Latitude 34° 59' S Longitude 116° 44' E
The townsite of Walpole is located on the south coast, 423 km south south east of Perth and 66 km west of Denmark. It derives its name from Walpole Inlet, being located on the shore of the inlet. Walpole Inlet takes its name from the river flowing into it discovered by Captain Thomas Bannister in 1831, and named by Governor Stirling after Captain W Walpole with whom he served on the "Warspite" in 1808.
In 1910 the government set aside land in the Walpole area as a national park, and in the following years and in the 1920's the area became a popular tourist destination. In 1929 the railway line reached Nornalup, 13 km east of Walpole, and in 1930 the Nornalup Reserves Board proposed the development of an area for small suburban lots for holiday cottages on Nornalup Inlet. A site was selected for a townsite in 1932 and lots surveyed in 1933. When the townsite was gazetted in 1933 the name Walpole was preferred, but it was named Nornalup, as it was believed the name Walpole had already been used in Tasmania. Confusion soon arose, as the name Nornalup related more to the railway terminus 13 km east on the Frankland River. A number of renaming options were considered before the Post Office confirmed that there wasn't a Walpole in Tasmania, and so in 1934 Nornalup was renamed Walpole.
Latitude 32° 41' S Longitude 116° 41' E
Wandering townsite is located in the great southern agricultural region, 120 km south east of Perth and 32 km north east of Boddington. Settlers first moved into the Wandering area around 1860, and by 1877 there was sufficient population in the area for the government to set aside land for a school. By 1911 demand for building lots in the area resulted in the government surveying a lots, and in 1912 gazetting the townsite of Wandering. The name is derived from Wandering Brook, the name first being recorded in 1859 as Wandelring Brook. It was recorded as Wandering Brook in 1866. It is an Aboriginal name, one account of the origin contending that an early settler coined the name after learning that the aboriginal name for the area was "Wandooin" after the Wandoo or White Gum tree that is prevalent there.
Latitude 31° 10' S Longitude 116° 03' E
The townsite of Wannamal is located in the central agricultural region, 115 km north north east of Perth and 31 km north of Bindoon. Land in the area was first taken up for grazing leases in the 1850's, although it was the 1870's before there was any permanent settlement in the area. In 1892 the Midland Railway reached the Wannamal area, and in 1895 a Wannamal siding was opened on the line. Increasing settlement of the district and the growing importance of the area prompted the government to decide to declare a townsite at Wannamal, and following the survey of lots Wannamal was gazetted a townsite in 1908. The townsite derives its name from nearby Wannamal Lake, an Aboriginal name first recorded in 1853 as Wannamal Swamp. The meaning of the name is uncertain, although one source gives it as meaning "lake".
Latitude 26° 49' S Longitude 114° 38' E
The townsite of Wannoo is located on the North West Coastal Highway, 657 km north north west of Perth and 180 km north of Northampton. It is more often known as Billabong, being the site of the Billabong Roadhouse. The townsite was gazetted in 1963 following a request by Tourist Authorities for land to be set aside for a roadhouse and motel development. The name Wannoo is Aboriginal, being the name of a variety of wattle found in the district which is a valuable stock food.
Latitude 32° 51' S Longitude 115° 55' E
Waroona townsite is located in the south west agricultural region, 112 km south of Perth and 25 km south of Pinjarra. When the Pinjarra to Picton railway line opened in 1893 a station named Drake's Brook was opened here, the name being derived from the nearby brook named after W H Drake, an original land holder in the area. In 1895 the government decided to declare a townsite at the station, and following the survey of lots Drake's Brook townsite was gazetted in March 1895. In 1896 the Surveyor General suggested that Drake's Brook should be named Drakesbrook, "as it is more euphonious and would look better on the plan". The change of name was supported, and the name Drakesbrook was adopted forthwith.
In 1895 Joseph McDowell built a timber mill about 2 kilometres north of the initial Drakesbrook subdivision, but still within the townsite. A siding was soon built near the mill, and by 1896 there was a demand for lots near the mill and siding. Only two lots had sold in the first subdivision, so lots were surveyed near the mill, and by 1897 the siding, which had at first been named McDowell's, was referred to as Waroona. All further development was concentrated near McDowell's Waroona mill and the siding, and this soon came to be the name by which the place was known. However, it was not until 1946 that Drakesbrook was officially renamed Waroona. McDowell is said to have come from a " Werroona" in Victoria, and it is believed the name Waroona is a misspelling of the Victorian name.
Latitude 31° 01' S Longitude 118° 42' E
The townsite of Warrachuppin is located 342 km east north east of Perth and 41 km west of Bullfinch. Warrachuppin was first established as a siding when the Lake Brown - Bullfinch railway line was opened in 1928, but land was soon set aside for a townsite at the siding. Following the survey of lots Warrachuppin was gazetted as a townsite in 1931. Warrachuppin is an Aboriginal name of unknown meaning, first recorded for a rock by a surveyor in 1889. It was also recorded in 1864 with the spelling Warradgebin.
Latitude 31° 01' S Longitude 118° 36' E
The townsite of Warralakin is located in the eastern agricultural region, 333 km east north east of Perth and 45 km east south east of Mukinbudin. In 1926 the Geelakin Progress Association sought to have the district officially named, and the name Geelakin, after the Aboriginal name of a hill and well, was proposed. The Post Office opposed this name as it sounded too much like Jilakin near Kulin. "Warralakin" was suggested as an alternative by the Geelakin Progress Association, and this name was approved in August 1927. No information on the name was provided, but it is believed to be a combination of Warrachuppin and Geelakin, the Aboriginal names of two wells in the district.
After the railway was extended to this point in 1928 a petition from 80 landholders for a townsite there was presented to the Surveyor General. Following the survey of lots the townsite of Warralakin was gazetted in 1929.
Latitude 32° 54' S Longitude 115° 59' E
Waterous is a now abandonded former timber milling town, located in the south west jarrah forest region about 10 km south east of Waroona. The townsite was created in 1907 to provide blocks for working men from the nearby Waterous Mill of the Millars Karri and Jarrah Co. The townsite takes its name from the sawmill which was named after the huge single cylinder steam engine that drove it, an engine made by the Waterous Company of England. The mill commenced operation in October 1897.
Latitude 30° 18' S Longitude 116° 04' E
The townsite of Watheroo is located in the northern agricultural region, 214 km north of Perth and 40 km north of Moora. When the Midland Railway Company railway line from Midland to Walkaway was opened in 1894, Watheroo was one of the original stations on the line. By 1907 the government decided there was enough interest in the area to declare a townsite, and Watheroo was gazetted in October 1907. The townsite derives its name from the Aboriginal name of a nearby water source, Watheroo Spring. Land around the spring was taken up by James Oliver in 1851, although the first record of the name by a surveyor is in 1873.
Latitude 30° 50' S Longitude 117° 59' E
The townsite of Welbungin is located in the eastern agricultural region, 287 km east north east of Perth and 13 km east of Bencubbin. Land for a community hall was reserved here in 1915, and in 1921 the location of the Mount Marshall to Lake Brown extension of the railway was determined to pass close by. A site for a station was fixed, and the local branch of the Primary Producers Association requested the declaration of a townsite. Welbungin was used as the address of the Association, but the locality was also referred to as Polkinghorne's Corner. When the townsite was gazetted in 1923 it was named Welbunging after the Aboriginal name of a nearby hill first recorded in 1889, but the local spelling remained Welbungin. Welbunging was officially amended to Welbungin in 1944.
Latitude 34° 30' S Longitude 118° 36' E
The townsite of Wellstead is located in the great southern agricultural region, 476 km south east of Perth and 21 km south west of Boxwood Hill. Farmland in this area was opened up in the early 1960's, and as the population of the area increased there was demand for the government to set aside land for a townsite. A telephone exchange was established in 1965 and named Wellstead at the request of the Postmaster-General's Department. When a townsite was gazetted later the same year it was also named Wellstead. The name commemorates the Wellstead family (John and Ann) who settled in the district around 1860 and held extensive lands between Cape Riche and Bremer Bay.
Latitude 31° 32' S Longitude 116° 26' E
The townsite of West Toodyay Toodyay is located on the Avon River in the central agricultural region, about 90 km north east of Perth and 5 km north west of Toodyay. It was formerly named Toodyay, and is one of the earliest inland towns in the state. It was surveyed in 1833 following the settlement of the Avon region. However, the townsite's location on the Avon was subject to flooding, and in 1860 an alternative site about 5 km higher up the Avon was gazetted as a townsite and named Newcastle (probably named after the Duke of Newcastle, Secretary of State 1853). The focus of development in the area then became Newcastle.
In 1909 the Prime Minister wrote to the state government requesting consideration be given to changing the name of Newcastle because of duplication with Newcastle in New South Wales. The Prime Minister suggested the name Toodyay be considered. The Newcastle Municipality at first opposed the change, but following a referendum of residents the name change to Toodyay was supported. The change was gazetted in May 1910, and at the same time the Toodyay townsite was renamed West Toodyay. Toodyay is an Aboriginal name of uncertain meaning. In 1836 the name was referred to as "Duidgee", and some references refer to it as possibly named after the Aboriginal Toodyeep who was the wife of the Coondebung who accompanied Moore & Dale in exploring the area in 1831.
Latitude 32° 19' S Longitude 116° 37' E
The townsite of Westdale is located in the central agricultural region, 93 km east south east of Perth and 44 km south west of Beverley. The surrounding area was taken up for farming early in the 1900's, and in 1906 the Dale Progress Association asked the government to set aside an area of land for a future townsite. The area was referred to as " West Dale" at that time, and although the government agreed to the request and reserved an area for a future townsite, it was felt there was little likelihood of development unless a proposed railway was constructed in the area. The railway did not eventuate, and for many years the townsite land was used for grazing stock. In 1967 a school was erected, and the Shire of Beverley reported some interest in land in the area. This resulted in the area being gazetted as the townsite of Westdale in 1971. There has been very little development in this townsite. Westdale derives its name from its location west of the Dale River. The Dale River is named after its discoverer, Ensign Robert Dale who discovered it in September 1831.
Latitude 31° 18' S Longitude 118° 42' E
The townsite of Westonia is located in the eastern agricultural region, 310 km north east of Perth and 28 km east north east of Burracoppin. Gold was discovered in this area near Bodallin Soak by A D Weston in 1910, and as a result the area became known as Weston's Reward. The area was referred to as "Westons" and some lots were surveyed in 1913 for a business and residence area, but for many years the government and residents resisted declaring the area a townsite. By 1914 the population was 550, and locals had changed the name and formed the Westonia Progress Association. It was to be another 12 years before the area was finally gazetted a townsite in February 1926.
Latitude 33° 55' S Longitude 122° 35' E
The townsite of Wharton is located on the south coast, 821 km east south east of Perth and 90 km east of Esperance. It is located on the picturesque Duke of Orleans Bay, and in 1882 land for a reserve for recreation was set aside here. The area of the reserve was enlarged in 1903, and in the late 1950's, following the opening up of the district to agriculture it was decided to lay out a townsite in the reserve. Following the design and survey the townsite of Wharton was gazetted in 1964, although development in the townsite has been limited to a caravan park, golf course and camping area. The townsite is named after nearby Wharton Island which was named during a hydrographic survey in 1900 after Admiral Sir Wm. J.L.Wharton Rear Admiral, Hydrographer in the Royal Navy 1887.
Latitude 34° 06' S Longitude 115° 59' E
The townsite of Wheatley is located in the south west forests region, 300 km south of Perth and 28 km north west of Manjimup. A sawmill was established here by Mr Thomas Wheatley around 1912, and the mill was later taken over by Bunning Brothers, and referred to as the Donnelly River mill. In 1950 the State Housing Commission financed the erection of houses for the mill employees, and requested the area be declared a townsite. The townsite was gazetted in 1956, and named Wheatley after Mr Tom Wheatley at the request of the Forests Department. Tom Wheatley (1865-1943) was formerly a Policeman, and settled in the Bridgetown area in the late 1880's. Wheatley is more commonly known locally and in the tourism industry as Donnelly River or Donnelly River Mill.
Latitude 30° 29' S Longitude 118° 07' E
The townsite of Wialki is located in the eastern agricultural region, 341 km north east of Perth and 25 km east of Beacon. An extension to the railway was planned to pass through this area in 1929, and the district surveyor suggested the proposed station be named Datjoin after a nearby Aboriginal soak. However, the Railways Department opposed this name, and Wialki, after another nearby Aboriginal soak was chosen for the station in 1930. Wialki was gazetted a townsite in 1933. The meaning of the name is not known.
Latitude 32° 47' S Longitude 117° 30' E
The townsite of Wickepin is located in the great southern agricultural region, 213 km east south east of Perth and 38 km north east of Narrogin. The planned extension of the railway system from Narrogin to Wickepin in 1908 resulted in requests for land at the terminus of the line. This was planned to be near Yarling Well, and for a time the proposed townsite was referred to as Yarling. Lots were surveyed in 1908, and when it came to gazette the townsite in June the Surveyor General, H F Johnston, decided it should be named Wickepin in preference to Yarling. Land in this area was declared the Wickepin Agricultural Area in 1891, and the name was commonly used for the area. Wickepin is an Aboriginal name, first recorded for a spring by a surveyor in 1881, although the area around the spring was first leased in the early 1870's.
Latitude 20° 41' S Longitude 117° 08' E
Wickham is a townsite in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, located 1572 km north of Perth and 13 km north of Roebourne. The town was announced in 1970 to provide housing and support facilities for the Cliffs Western Australia Mining Company Pty Ltd developments at the nearby port of Cape Lambert. It was gazetted in 1971.
Wickham is named after John Clements Wickham RN, of HMS "Beagle". The choice of name recognises Wickham's work in surveying the intertropical coasts of Australia from 1838 to 1840, including the north west coast in the vicinity of Wickham. Wickham was born in Scotland in 1798, and joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman in 1812. From 1831 to 1836 he sailed on the Beagle's voyage around the world as second in charge under Captain Robert FitzRoy. Wickham was then appointed commander of the expedition to survey the coast of Australia on the "Beagle", with John Lort Stokes his second in charge. Wickham later settled in Australia, and died in France in 1864.
Latitude 31° 30' S Longitude 121° 35' E
Widgiemooltha is an abandoned goldfields townsite located 631 km east of Perth and 41 km south of Kambalda. Gold was discovered in this area in the mid 1890's, and by 1897 the government had decided to survey and gazette a townsite here. Following the survey the townsite was gazetted as "Widgemooltha" in December 1897. The spelling was amended to the current form, Widgiemooltha, in 1944.
There was much doubt about the spelling of this Aboriginal name, which was derived from a nearby hill and rockhole. It was spelt variously as "Wagiemoola", "Woodgiemoola", "Wedgemula" or "Widgemooltha" in early documents from 1893. The meaning of this name appears to be related to the beak of an emu.
Latitude 33° 42' S Longitude 116° 14' E
The townsite of Wilga is located in the south west forest region about 250 km south south west of Perth and 25 km north west of Boyup Brook. It is located on the railway from Donnybrook to Boyup Brook, and when this section of the line was opened in 1909, Wilga was one of the sidings. The siding serviced the Adelaide Timber Company which worked the timber industry in the area, and the government reserved land for a townsite at the siding. In 1912 the local Member of Parliament advised there was interest in lots at the siding and a surveyor was sent to investigate. Following the survey of lots the townsite of Wilga was gazetted in 1915.
The name is Aboriginal, and may be related to the nearby Wilgee Spring which has been shown on maps of the area since 1894. Wilgee is the Aboriginal name for the red ochre or pigment worn for ceremonies. A unique feature of the sawmilling industry in this area was a mill named Woop Woop about 10 km north west of Wilga. It was established in 1925, and it is believed the name is derived from the sound made by frogs common in the area.
Latitude 33° 01' S Longitude 116° 54' E
The townsite of Willams is located in the great southern agricultural region, 160 km south east of Perth and 32 km west south west of Narrogin. Land in the vicinity of Williams was settled in the 1830's, but the area only slowly developed in the 1830's and 40's. In the early 1850's the arrival of convicts in WA resulted in the road from Kelmscott to Albany being developed, and a bridge built over the Williams River. An Inn was built near the bridge, and in 1869 a Police Station was built on the south side of the river.
As most of the land in the area was privately owned, settlers in the area petitioned the government in 1894 to purchase private land on the north side of the Williams River adjacent to the Albany Road Bridge to create a townsite. After negotiations 140 acres were purchased from Mr E Hamersley, survey of lots made, and the townsite of Williams gazetted in 1897. Although only costing 5 pounds per acre, attempts to recover the cost by selling blocks was unsuccessful, and the costs had to be reduced in 1899 before blocks would sell.
In 1902 farm land south of Williams was subdivided by the government and sold as Marjidin Estate. Portion of the land was reserved for government purposes, and when the route of the new Narrogin to Darkan railway was decided in 1905, a subdivisional scheme of 1/4 acre blocks was surveyed and in 1906 was gazetted as the townsite of Marjidin. The Williams railway station was in the townsite, and December 1906 the name of the station was altered to Marjidin. This action so upset the Williams community that 6 months later the name was changed back to Williams, and soon after the Marjidin townsite was renamed as an extension of Williams.
Williams derives its name from the Williams River which flows through the townsite. The river was discovered by the explorer Thomas Bannister in 1831,and first shown named on an 1833 map. It is believed named by Governor Stirling in 1832, most likely after King William IV who ascended the throne in 1831. The name has been shown on maps as William's River and William River.
Latitude 28° 38' S Longitude 115° 38' E
The townsite of Wilroy is located in the northern agricultural region, 447 km north of Perth and 41 km south east of Mullewa. When the route of the Wongan Hills-Mullewa railway was planned in 1910, the site of Wilroy was identified as requiring a future townsite. In 1913 the Works Department was asked to provide a siding at this site, and a townsite was gazetted and named Onteru after a nearby spring. The siding was also named Onteru, but in 1915 the Mullewa Road Board requested that it be renamed Kockatea, as the name Onteru was misleading. Kockatea is the name of a nearby gully, and both the siding and townsite were then changed to Kockatea. In 1921 the Railways Department asked to change the name to Wilroy, advising that local people had petitioned the Mullewa Road Board for a change of name because Kockatea was being confused with a pastoral station of the same name. The reason for the choice of name was not given by the Railways Department, and it is believed it is most likely a made up name comprising two Christian names. (These were probably William and Roy Duncan, settlers in the area before WW1.) No lots were ever surveyed at Wilroy, and the townsite is now a nature reserve.
Latitude 26° 36' S Longitude 120° 14' E
The gold mining town of Wiluna is located in the Murchison Goldfield, 947 km north east of Perth and 182 km east of Meekatharra. The area was first discovered by the explorer L A Wells in 1892, and in his report Wells reported seeing promising auriferous country in the area. Gold was discovered at nearby Lake Way in 1896, and within months there were over 300 diggers in the area. The government soon decided to survey and gazette a townsite, the Mining Warden for the area suggesting it be called "Weeloona" which he advised was "the native name of the place". The spelling was amended by the Department of Lands & Surveys according to rules it had adopted for spelling Aboriginal names, and it was gazetted as Wiluna townsite in 1898. The generally accepted meaning is "place of winds", although Katherine Prichard's book, "Golden Miles" suggests that the name was derived from the cry of the curlew. The area was also locally known as "Lake Way" after the nearby lake for a time.
Latitude 30° 22' S Longitude 121° 15' E
Windanya is an abandoned goldfields townsite located about 643 km east of Perth and 48 km north north west of Kalgoorlie on the road to Menzies. Gold was discovered in the area in the mid 1890's, and when the Australasia mines were established in 1897 the government decided to declare a townsite. The name Windanya was suggested by surveyor H S King, who stated it to be " the native name of some place in the vicinity of Broad Arrow". Windanya townsite was gazetted in October 1897.
Latitude 34° 02' S Longitude 115° 06' E
The townsite of Witchcliffe is located in the south west agricultural region, 286 km south south west of Perth and 9 km south of Margaret River. In 1924 the government extended the railway to Witchcliffe, and at first selected the name Newralingup for the siding, but the name Narawary was approved. However, a Post Office named Witchcliffe had already been opened when the railway siding was named, and Narawary siding was renamed Witchcliffe in February 1925. Also in 1924 interest was shown in blocks of land at Witchcliffe Siding, and after investigation a scheme of subdivision was planned, lots surveyed, and a townsite gazetted in 1926.
The name Witchcliffe was first used in this district for Witchliffe Cave, the name being recorded by a surveyor in 1900. The name was probably given by the Bussell family who settled near here in the 1850's, naming their property "Wallcliffe House". Both the homestead and the cave are in an area of coastal cliffs, hence the "cliffe" part of the name.
Latitude 22° 15' S Longitude 118° 20' E
The townsite of Wittenoom is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, 1644 km north north east of Perth and 128 km north east of Tom Price. Blue asbestos had been mined in the Wittenoom Gorge area by Lang Hancock from 1937, and in 1943 the industry was taken over by C.S.R. By the late 1940's there was a need for a government townsite near the mine, and the Mines Department recommended it be named Wittenoom, advising that adoption of this name was strongly urged by the local people. The name was approved in 1948, but it was 1950 before the townsite was officially gazetted. In 1951 the name was changed to Wittenoom Gorge at the request of the mining company, and in 1974 it was changed back to Wittenoom. The mine closed in 1966, and the townsite is now virtually abandoned.
Wittenoom is named after Mr Frank Wittenoom. Wittenoom was in partnership with Mr George Hancock in the nearby Mulga Downs Station, and the gorge was named by Hancock after his partner.
Latitude 31° 54' S Longitude 118° 32' E
The townsite of Wogarl is located in the central agricultural region, 304 km east of Perth and 24 km north east of Narembeen. It is located on the Narembeen to Merredin railway, and when the line was opened in 1924, Wogarl was one of the original sidings. Land was set aside at the siding for a future townsite, and following a request for land, lots were surveyed and the townsite of Wogarl gazetted in 1931. When the siding was named in 1924 there were no named features nearby, and a list of Aboriginal words for the South West was consulted. The name chosen, Wogarl, means "Carpet Snake", and is from a list of names supplied by Sam Isaacs to F S Brockman.
Latitude 33° 07' S Longitude 115° 53' E
The townsite of Wokalup is located 144 km south of Perth and 4 km south of Harvey. A railway siding of this name was opened in the late 1890's, and a small private town developed. This was gazetted a townsite in 1963 at the request of the Shire of Harvey. The meaning of the name is not known although one humorous source gives it as "the confusion experienced by nocturnal animals during an eclipse".
Latitude 30° 54' S Longitude 116° 43' E
The townsite of Wongan Hills is located in the northern agricultural region, 182 km north east of Perth and 39 km north east of Calingiri. Following a request from local settlers, land in this area was first set aside for a townsite in 1907, although this was located near Lake Hinds about 16 km west north west of the present townsite. In 1910 a further request from settlers sought a townsite at the terminus of the proposed railway from Goomalling. The proposed townsite was referred to as Wongan Hills by the settlers. Following the survey of lots the townsite was gazetted in 1911, the year the railway line opened.
Wongan Hills derives its name from a nearby range of hills, first recorded by Surveyor General J S Roe in 1836. Wongan is an Aboriginal name, the name being variously recorded as "wangan-katta", "wankan" and "woongan". The meaning of the name may be derived from "Kwongan", an Aboriginal word meaning sand plain, although one source describes wongan as meaning "wispering", and wongan katta would then mean "wispering hills" (katta is a word for hill).
Latitude 33° 38' S Longitude 115° 25' E
The townsite of Wonnerup is located 219 km south of Perth and 10 km east of Busselton. It was gazetted a townsite in 1856, deriving its name from the nearby Wonnerup Inlet. The name is Aboriginal, having been shown on maps of the region since 1839. A possible meaning of the name is "place of the Aboriginal woman's
digging or fighting stick" or it may be related to Peppermint Trees common in the area.
Latitude 33° 34' S Longitude 117° 26' E
The townsite of Woodanilling is located in the great southern agricultural region, 254 km south east of Perth and 24 km north west of Katanning. The townsite is located on the Great Southern Railway, and following the opening of the line in 1889 a siding named Round Pool was opened at what is now Woodanilling. The siding was renamed Yarabin in 1895, and then changed to Woodanilling after the government took over the railway line in 1896.
Land adjoining the railway was opened up by the government for settlers in 1892, and a townsite named Woodanilling was gazetted in February 1892. Lots were surveyed and made available, but there were few sales. In 1897 the Government Land Agent, H S Ranford, recommended enlarging the townsite and surveying more lots, as he considered this would be an important town in the near future. There was considerable growth in the townsite in the 1898-99 period.
Woodanilling is an Aboriginal name, first recorded as the alternative name of Round Pool in 1874. Two possible meanings for the name are "place where the bronzewing pigeon nests" and "lot of minnows".
Latitude 27° 56' S Longitude 121° 18' E
Woodarra is an abandoned goldfields townsite located 945 km north east of Perth and 80 km west of Leinster. Gold was discovered in this area in the mid 1890's, the area at the time being referred to as Lake Darlot after a nearby lake. In 1895 the Lake Darlot Progress Committee requested the government declare a townsite, and lots were surveyed there in 1896. Also in 1896 the Progress Committee wrote requesting that the townsite be named Woodarra, "the name given by the Natives to the adjacent Granite rocks from which a supply of water for the residents has so long been derived, and besides being euphonious the name seems therefore quite appropriate". The townsite was gazetted in 1898.
Latitude 31° 48' S Longitude 116° 19' E
The townsite of Wooroloo is located in the Darling Range 60 km east north east of Perth and 26 km north east of Mundaring. Land was first set aside for a future townsite in this area in 1841, and was referred to as Worriloo, but the land was never used for a townsite. The area was first settled by the Byfield brothers in the 1870's and in 1893 a railway stopping place named Byfield's Mill was opened to service the sawmilling industry in the area. A school was established in 1896, and named Wooroloo, and in 1897 the railway station was renamed Wooroloo. Following the establishment of other community facilities in the area, and the opening of the Wooroloo Sanatorium in 1912, the government surveyed blocks and gazetted the townsite of Wooroloo in 1913.
Wooroloo derives its name from the nearby Wooroloo Brook, first discovered by explorers in 1830. The brook was at first recorded as the "Gatta" and then the "Goodmich River", although some pools in were referred to as "Worrilow" in 1834. The current spelling was used from around 1896.
Latitude 33° 18' S Longitude 116° 00' E
The townsite of Worsley is located in the south west forest region, 189 km south south east of Perth and 13 km north west of Collie. A Worsley Siding was opened near here in the late 1890's to service timber mills in the area, and a post office and store later established. In 1906 the Minister for Lands decided a townsite should also be created, and although local sawmill owners objected, lots were surveyed in 1907 and the townsite of Worsley gazetted in 1909.
Worsley is named after the nearby Worsley River, a tributary of the Brunswick. The name was first recorded during surveys of the area in 1845. "Worsley"is a family name of the Clifton family, and the most likely origin of this name. The 1845 survey was of land for the West Australian Co., of which Marshall Waller Clifton was Chief Commissioner. The name "Worsley"is used as the middle name of one of his sons, Leonard Worsley, and is also used by other branches of the Clifton family. Another river in this area, also recorded during the 1845 survey is the Gervase River, and Gervase Clifton is another of Clifton's children.
Latitude 30° 06' S Longitude 116° 38' E
The townsite of Wubin is located in the northern agricultural region, 273 km north north east of Perth and 21 km north of Dalwallinu. Wubin was originally approved as a siding name on the proposed Wongan Hills to Mullewa railway line in April 1913, land also being set aside and a townsite gazetted the same year. The first lots in the townsite were sold in June 1914, and the railway line opened in 1915. Wubin derives its name from the Aboriginal name for a nearby water source, Woobin Well, first recorded by a surveyor in 1907. The spelling Wubin was adopted to conform with spelling rules for Aboriginal names adopted by the Lands & Surveys Department.
Latitude 31° 46' S Longitude 116° 23' E
The townsite of Wundowie is located in the Darling Range 72 km east north east of Perth and 31 km west south west of Northam. It is located adjacent to the original railway track from Perth to Northam, and in 1907 the Railways Department applied for a name for a newly constructed siding at the 53 Mile between Werribee and Karrijine. The name Wundowing was suggested by the Lands Department, and this was shortened to Wundowi by the Surveyor General.
In 1943 the government decided to commence preliminary work for a blast furnace and wood distillation plant at Wundowie, and to develop a townsite for the workers. Following the survey of lots in 1946 the townsite of Wundowie was gazetted in 1947. Wundowie derives its name from Woondowing Spring, an Aboriginal name for a nearby spring first recorded in 1874. The spelling for the siding was changed according to rules for spelling Aboriginal names adopted by the Lands Department. The meaning of the name is not known, but it has been suggested it may be derived from Ngwundow, meaning "to lie down".
Latitude 31° 11' S Longitude 117° 23' E
Wyalkatchem townsite is located in the central agricultural region, 192 km east north east of Perth and 35 km east of Dowerin. When the extension of the railway east from Dowerin was planned in 1908 land was set aside for a future townsite in the area of Wyalcatchem Tank. The route of the railway and site for a station was not fixed until 1910, and action followed to then fix the position of the townsite and survey town lots. Following the survey of the lots the townsite was gazetted spelt Wyalkatchem in 1911.
Wyalkatchem is an Aboriginal name first recorded for a waterhole spelt Walkatching in the 1870's. The spelling Walcatching was used in 1881 when the Toodyay Road Board referred to a tank to be built there, and when the road from Northam to the Yilgarn Goldfield was surveyed in 1892 the spelling Wyalcatchem was used for the tank. The Walkatching spelling is probably the most accurate, as Aboriginal names in this region rarely end
in em. The change of spelling from Wyalcatchem to Wyalkatchem in 1911 was done by the Department of Lands & Surveys according to rules the Department had adopted for spelling Aboriginal names. (the letter K should always be used for the hard c). The meaning of the name is not known.
Latitude 31° 11' S Longitude 116° 29' E
The townsite of Wyening is located in the central agricultural region, 136 km north east of Perth and 10 km north north west of Bolgart. It is located on the Bolgart North railway line, and when the line was planned in 1915 Wyening was selected as the site for a siding. The railway line opened in 1917, and following the survey of lots the townsite was gazetted in 1921. Wyening is an Aboriginal name derived from the nearby Wyening Spring, first recorded by a surveyor in 1858. In the late 1870's Bishop Salvado took up land in this area and established a Mission outpost at first spelt Wyaning, but later changed to Wyening. The meaning of the name is recorded as "place of dread" or "place of the dreaded snake".
Latitude 15° 29' S Longitude 128° 07' E
The most distant town in the state from Perth, Wyndham is located in the Kimberley region, 3216 km north north east of Perth and 100 km north west of Kununurra. In 1885 gold was discovered in the Kimberley, and in March 1886 John Forrest was sent to the Kimberley to select a site for a townsite to service the goldfield. Governor Broome decided it would be named Wyndham, and the townsite was gazetted in September 1886. The town grew rapidly as a port for the Kimberley goldfields, and although the goldfield soon declined, Wyndham remained as a port for the growing pastoral industry of the region.
Wyndham is named after Major Walter George Wyndham (b 1857), the younger son by her first marriage of Mary Anne Broome, wife of the Governor of Western Australia 1883-1890. Wyndham was the son of Mary Anne and Captain George Robert Barker of the Royal Artillery, and changed his name to Crole-Wyndham because of an inheritance.