Woodanilling was named after a spring in the Boyerine Creek one kilometre south of the townsite. This spring, situated among the Casuarinas and flooded gums, used to flow into a beautiful pool which became a gathering place for the districts new settlers and became known as Round Pool.

The Woodanilling District was first explored by Europeans in 1830/31, when Captain Thomas Bannister led the first overland expedition from Perth to King George III Sound.

Governor James Stirling, accompanied by surveyor General John Septimus Roe visited the area Bannister had explored in 1835. Governor Stirling revisited the area with Alfred Hillman in 1837.

Further exploration of the area was undertaken in 1843 by Henry Landor and Henry Maxwell Lefroy while searching for a large inland sea said to exist south east of York. The lake they found, with the help of Aboriginal guides, is approximately 40 kilometers north east of Woodanilling and was called Dambeling by the Aborigines. This was later changed to Dumbleyung by early European Settlers.

The construction of the Perth/Albany Road in the early 1850’s brought the fine grazing lands in this region to the attention of many pastoralists, who took up leases while retaining their permanent properties at places like York.

One of the first to graze sheep in the area was Elijah Quartermaine around 1850/51.

Another pioneer to take up the early leases was Edward Hammersley who took up 10,000 acres in 1852.

The Woodanilling area was also a rich source of sandalwood and for many early settlers it was a valuable source of income while they were establishing their homesteads.

Woodanilling was among the many districts to benefit from the opening of the Great Southern Railway in 1889. The Woodanilling townsite was gazetted in 1892.

The Woodanilling Road Board was formed in 1906 and had an average population of 800.

Around this time Woodanilling could boast a Blacksmith, Wheelwright, 5 General Stores, Post Office, Banks, Hotel, Hospital, School, Bakery, Church, Barbers, Boarding House, Saddlery Shop, Railway Station, and the first trotting track outside the Perth Metropolitan area.

By 1984 the Shire’s population had diminished to only 470 with a number of factors contributing to the decline, including falling market prices during the 1930 Depression and the demise of the Sandalwood Industry and the amalgamation of farms.

Bibliography Of Area

Shire of Woodanilling bibliography information
Book NameAuthor
Round Pool to Woodanilling J Bird
Birds of the Great Southern R Garstone
Back To Woody DVD Community Project

Round Pool To Woodanilling

The Round Pool to Woodanilling, is a historical biography on Woodanilling. The book was first launched during the Shire of Woodanilling’s 80th Birthday (1906 – 1986), Saturday 21st June 1986.

Since its original release, the book has been re-printed once. If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, please contact us.

Back To Woody DVD

Sponsored By Lottery West

During the months of August, September and October 2012 Wendy (project officer) and cameraman Adrian Gaspari from Greenman Media Productions recorded more than 20 interviews of people who have shared their stories of growing up in the Woodanilling Shire. The video material has been produced into professionally made DVD’s. The Back to Woody History Stories DVD was launched on Australia Day 2013. Copies of the DVD are now available at the Shire of Woodanilling for $12 per copy with FREE postage within WA. This project has been kindly funded by Lotterywest. A sincere thank you to all those who have given their time and effort to share their stories and historical photos for this project.