Donnybrook was the name used by five Irish immigrants who were the first
settlers in the area around 1842. At the time the name referred to immigrant
land holdings and not a town site. The first township was named Minninup - the
name being taken later by a settled property in the region. Donnybrook was
gazetted as a town site, with that name, on the 12th of October 1894. The name
Donnybrook is thought to have been chosen by the early Irish immigrants as a
reminder of their home country - Donnybrook being a suburb of Dublin. The early
settlers needed a clear virgin bush in order to farm the land but the first
attempts failed due to a lack of equipment suitable for that type of work.
Jarrah was the main factor for the development of the Donnybrook region. This
timber is particularly durable and was in great demand for railway sleepers in
Western Australia, the Eastern States and overseas. The timber industry began
slowly but expanded greatly with the arrival of the rail link from Boyanup in
1893. The growth of the timber industry saw the establishment of many timber
mills in the area. Unique in the South West was Donnybrook's "gold
rush". Gold was first discovered in 1897 but unfortunately the rush only
lasted four years. There was lots of interest in the 1930's and a lot of survey
work has been undertaken since 1981 with many old sites being repegged.
Another export from Donnybrook is the Donnybrook Stone. This stone was first found in large deposits in 1899 and quarries were in operation at the turn of the century including one operated by a syndicate headed by the explorer Alexander Forrest. Donnybrook Stone was used in construction of many buildings in Perth including: the Supreme Court Building, Claremont,s Teachers College, St Mary's Cathedral, the General Post Office, the Commonwealth Bank in Forrest Place and several buildings at the University of Western Australia.
In Donnybrook the stone was used in the construction of the War Memorial
Hall, the Anglican and Methodist Churches and the District School. A display of
the stone can be found in Ayer's Garden outside the old Railway Station which is
in the main street of Donnybrook. Donnybrook, of course, is famous as the home
of the Granny Smith apple. Apples made their appearance in the town around 1890
and the apple industry has grown to become a major activity in the Donnybrook
district. As well as apples, the region is well suited to growing all sorts of
fruit including oranges and all sorts of vegetables. Other agricultural
activities carried out in the Donnybrook region include beef cattle, dairying
and deer farming.
The population in the Donnybrook Shire to date is approximately 4700.
The size of the Donnybrook Shire is 1541 square kilometers.
Donnybrook is approximately 210 Kilometers south of Perth which is the capital of Western Australia.
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