South Western Highway

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South Western Highway

Harvey SW Highway.jpg
View north of Harvey
South Western Highway
General information
Type Highway
Length406 km (252 mi)
Route number(s)
Major junctions
Northwest endAustralian state route 30.svg Albany Highway (State Route 30), Armadale, Perth
Southeast endAustralian national route 1.svg South Coast Highway (National Route 1), Walpole
Major settlements Serpentine, North Dandalup, Pinjarra, Waroona , Yarloop, Harvey, Brunswick Junction, Bunbury , Donnybrook, Bridgetown, Manjimup
Highway system

South Western Highway is a highway in the South West region of Western Australia connecting Perth's southeast with Walpole. It is a part of the Highway 1 network for most of its length. [1] It is about 406 kilometres (252 mi) long.


Route description

Perth to Bunbury

From Perth, the highway, signed as State Route 20, [1] starts from the Albany Highway junction in Armadale, 28 km from Perth, and follows a north–south route 20–30 km inland from the coast, passing through several agricultural and timber towns that sprang up in the 1890s when the nearby railway came through, such as Pinjarra, Waroona, Yarloop and Harvey.

In January 2016, the Samson Brook bridge, one of the highway bridges near Waroona, was damaged by a bushfire. [2]

Just past Brunswick Junction, the highway heads southwest towards Western Australia's third-largest city, Bunbury. The typical scenery on this part of the highway includes small dairy farms and orchards, jarrah and marri remnant forests and pine plantations.

Until the 1980s, the Armadale-Bunbury section was part of National Highway 1, but following the upgrading of Old Coast Road and construction of the Mandurah bypass, Highway 1 now follows the coastal route via Kwinana Freeway and Old Coast Road to Bunbury passing through the resort town of Mandurah.

In Bunbury

The highway does not actually enter Bunbury – it stops at the industrial suburb of Picton, following Robertson Drive (Bunbury's ring road) for 1 km south before turning southeast past Bunbury Airport towards Boyanup. The highway actually used to follow what is now Boyanup-Picton Road from Picton via Dardanup, but changed to the present shorter route in the 1980s.

Bunbury to Walpole

From Bunbury, the highway goes through Boyanup and on to Donnybrook, the heart of WA's apple country. From then on the highway passes through thick forests featuring many native trees like jarrah, marri and karri. The region was settled much later than other parts of south western WA, under a soldier resettlement scheme beginning in 1919. Typical scenery is farmland interspersed with forests and small timber towns.

The highway then goes through Bridgetown (where it meets the Brockman Highway from Augusta and Nannup), Manjimup and finally to Walpole. This part of the highway, especially from Manjimup, is sparsely populated and very thickly forested, with abundant wildlife and wildflowers as well as many old growth trees, especially the giant karri.

From Walpole, the Highway 1 continues as South Coast Highway to Albany.

Major towns

Approximate road distances (in kilometres) of towns from Armadale Swhighwaywa.png
Approximate road distances (in kilometres) of towns from Armadale
Approximate road distances (in kilometres) of towns from Bunbury Swhighwaywa 2.png
Approximate road distances (in kilometres) of towns from Bunbury


Following the establishment of the Swan River Colony, the earliest report of exploration of the district around what is now Bunbury is from Lieutenant H. W. Bunbury in December 1836. The route he – and later others – took was slow and hazardous, taking four days to cover around 80 miles (130 km), and crossing four rivers. The route began with passage from Perth to Pinjarra, before turning south-west and passing through low, open scrubland, and subsequently a medium-timbered area with low marshes. The first river to cross was the Harvey River, which could only be forded by horses at a single point, near the river mouth. Continuing south-westward, the northern tip of Leschenault Estuary was reached, and its shores followed before curving around into Bunbury. The last stretch of approximately 12 miles (19 km) was the most dangerous for many years, as it required precarious crossings at the Collie and Preston Rivers. [3] :1–2

In an initial attempt to settle the area, the government declared the land open for pastoral settlement by ordinary settlers, but little progress was made. By 1840, the population was just fifty-three, and most of those were in or near Bunbury (then known as Port Leschenault). [3] :2 The settlement of Australind by the Western Australian Land Company in 1840–41 prompted the first real need for a good quality road to Perth. [3] :4 [4] Throughout much of 1842, there was much debate and discussion over providing a new route to Bunbury. A coastal route from Fremantle had been proposed, while an alternative proposal published on 11 May 1842 was a new route from Pinjarra to Bunbury, via an upstream crossing of the Harvey River, where a bridge could easily be built. [5] The coastal route would require a ferry to cross the Murray River's estuary, [lower-alpha 1] and did not go through Pinjarra, a significant settlement in the area; however, it would be shorter, had more water along the route, and did go through the village of Mandurah, with a population of twenty-nine people from six families. [3] :5–6 During the winter of 1842, the existing route became impassable, and Clifton decided to undertake the creation of the proposed coastal route. He sent his company's men to clear the path and make a road. [3] :8–9

By the second half of the nineteenth century, the importance of the coast road was diminishing. [3] :15 For most of its length, the road went through well-timbered, sandy limestone country of little value to agriculture, and settlers in the vicinity of the road were scarce. [6] In contrast, settlements had spread and prospered in the foothills of the Darling Scarp, and on 1 July 1853, Colonial Secretary Frederick Barlee announced a new proposal for a Perth–Pinjarra–Bunbury route along the foothills, with a one chain (66 ft; 20 m) width, mostly following the alignment of previous tracks. Between 1864 and 1876, two parties of convicts were involved in the making of the road. [3]

A road from Bunbury to Boyanup, called the Blackwood Road, existed as early as 1864. [7] [8] A bi-weekly mail route from Boyanup to Bridgetown via Preston, Balingup, and Greenbushes was established by 1891; it also extended further south to Balbarrup on a weekly basis. [9] Surveying of a direct Bridgetown–Albany route was requested in January 1871, so that an electric telegraph line could be established, but the government surveyors were overwhelmed by other work. [10] Surveying of the route from Manjimup (south of Bridgetown, adjacent to Balbarrup) was undertaken in 1909 by Fred S. Brockman. [11]

Following World War I, the government intended to settle returning servicemen in the far south-west of the state. To determine the public works required, a flying survey was undertaken. The route between Manjimup and Walpole (then known as Nornalup) was reported to be overgrown and impassable. The Public Works Department was tasked with clearing the route and forming a road, with works gradually progressing from c.1919 onwards. By October 1921, £16,000 had been spent on upgrading the dirt track to a formed and gravelled road, with works expected to be completed over the 1921–22 summer at a cost of £2,000. [12]

The road from Bunbury through Bridgetown to Manjimup was improved in 1926, as one of the Main Road Board's first projects. The worst segments were identified for reconstruction, as part of an ongoing process to create a high-quality highway. [13]

The name South Western Highway was suggested for the road from Armadale to Pemberton in 1940 by the Under-Secretary for Lands. [14] The name was in common usage by March 1941, [15] [16] and in July 1941, the name was officially applied to "the main road from Armadale to Pemberton via Pinjarra, Harvey, Picton Junction, Boyanup, Donnybrook, Bridgetown and Manjimup". [17] The northern end was at the Perth–Albany road [lower-alpha 2] in Armadale, and the southern end was at Brockman Street, Pemberton. [17]

Major intersections

Armadale to Picton

Armadale Armadale-Mount Nasura-Mount Richon tripoint 00.0Australian state route 30.svg Albany Highway (State Route 14) north, east / Australian state route 14.svg Armadale Road (State Route 14) south  Perth, Cockburn Central, Williams, Albany Traffic light intersection; South Western Highway continues as Albany Highway north of this point. State Route 20 northern terminus.
Serpentine-Jarrahdale Byford-Darling Downs boundary6.44.0Australian state route 21.svg Thomas Road (State Route 21)   Kwinana Beach, Rockingham Traffic light intersection; current connection between South Western Highway and the southern terminus of Australian state route 4.svg Tonkin Highway (State Route 4)
Byford 8.35.2Abernethy Road west/ Beenyup Road eastTraffic light intersection
Mundijong-Jarrahdale boundary17.811.1Australian state route 22.svg Watkins Road (State Route 22)   Mundijong, Rockingham State Route 22 northern concurrency terminus
Mundijong-Jarrahdale-Mardella tripoint18.211.3Australian state route 22.svgAustralian Tourist Drive 206.svg Jarrahdale Road (State Route 22/Tourist Drive 206) east   Jarrahdale, Mount Cooke / Shanley Road westState Route 22 southern concurrency terminus, Tourist Drive 206 northern concurrency terminus
Serpentine 24.615.3Karnup Road west / Falls Road east   Baldivis , Serpentine National Park
Serpentine-Keysbrook boundary29.118.1Australian Tourist Drive 206.svg Kingsbury Drive (Tourist Drive 206)- Karnet, Serpentine Dam Tourist Drive 206 southern concurrency terminus
Murray North Dandalup 42.626.5South Street   Nambeelup, Mandurah Connection to Mandurah and the Kwinana Freeway via Lakes Road.
42.826.6Del Park Road   Dwellingup
Pinjarra 57.535.7Pinjarra-Williams Road   Dwellingup, Boddington, Williams, Narrogin Change of street name to George Street
58.136.1 Pinjarra Road   Ravenswood, South Yunderup, Mandurah Traffic light intersection
58.336.2Peel Street northwest / Camp Road southeastChange of street name to McLarty Road.
Blythewood 60.737.7Greenlands Road   West Pinjarra, Nirimba Roundabout, closest direct connection to Forrest Highway. McLarty Road reverts to South Western Highway 1 km further north.
63.439.4Old Bunbury Road   Herron, Lake Clifton
Coolup 70.944.1Murray Street west / Coolup Road East   West Coolup, Meelon
Waroona Waroona 82.451.2McDowell Street   Nanga Brook
83.251.7Coronation Road west / Thatcher Street East   Lake Clifton, Preston Beach, Nanga Brook
Harvey Yarloop 96.760.1Johnston Road   Yarloop, Preston Beach
Cookernup 10263Riverdale Road west/Logue Brook Dam Road east   Myalup, Logue Brook
Harvey 11169Uduc Road west/Weir Road east   Myalup, Quindanning
Brunswick Junction 12880Marriott Road   Kemerton
13282Beela Road east/Clifton Road west   Beela, Australind Road changes name to Ommaney Road 1 km before the intersection, and reverts about 1 km afterwards.
Roelands 13785Australian state route 107.svg Coalfields Highway (State Route 107) east/Raymond Road west   Collie, Darkan, Australind
Bunbury Picton 15093Willinge Drive   Vittoria, Dardanup, Boyanup Traffic light intersection. Connection to Dardanup/Boyanup via Boyanup-Picton Road south of the intersection.
East Bunbury-Glen Iris boundary15395Australian national route 1.svgAustralian state route 10.svg Robertson Drive (National Route 1 / State Route 10) north and south / Picton Road west   Bunbury Traffic light intersection; State Route 20 southern terminus.
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Davenport to Walpole

Bunbury Davenport 00.0Australian national route 1.svgAustralian state route 10.svg Robertson Drive (National Route 1 north / State Route 10 south) / Brittain Road west   Bunbury Traffic light intersection
42.5Western Australia MR-SM-11.svg Hinkler Drive - Bunbury Airport
Bunbury-Capel boundary Davenport-North Boyanup boundary63.7Bunbury Outer Ring Road -   Picton, Dardanup Roundabout intersection
Capel Boyanup 1711Bridge Street   Dardanup, Picton Connects to Boyanup Picton Road
1811Trigwell Road   Stratham Connects to Boyanup West Road
Donnybrook-Balingup Donnybrook 3321Marmion Street   Paynedale, Capel Connects to Goodwood Road
3421Donnybrook-Boyup Brook Road   Mumballup, Boyup Brook
Balingup 6440Australian Tourist Drive 251.svg Brockman Street (Tourist Drive 251)   Southampton, Nannup Blackwood River Tourist Drive
Bridgetown-Greenbushes Greenbushes-North Greenbushes boundary7245Greenbushes-Grimwade Road   North Greenbushes, Grimwade
7446Stanifer Street   Greenbushes , Greenbushes mine
Bridgetown 9056Steere Street east   Boyup Brook / Henry Street westConnection to Bridgetown Boyup Brook Road. Note a street name change to Hampton Street
9157Australian Tourist Drive 251.svg Brockman Highway (Tourist Drive 251)   Nannup, Augusta Blackwood River Tourist Drive
Manjimup Manjimup 12578Graphite Road west / Perup Road east   Nannup, Balbarrup
12779Australian state route 102.svg Muirs Highway (State Route 102) east/ Pritchard Street west   Rocky Gully, Mount Barker
Jardee-Diamond Tree-Middlesex tripoint13584Australian Tourist Drive 259.svg Eastbourne Road (Tourist Drive 259)   Pemberton Karri Tourist Drive
Diamond Tree-Middlesex boundary14188 Vasse Highway   Pemberton
Quinninup-Crowea boundary15596Australian Tourist Drive 259.svg Wheatley Coast Road (Tourist Drive 259)   Northcliffe, Upper Warren Karri Tourist Drive
Shannon-Lake Muir boundary176109Australian state route 10.svg Middleton Road (State Route 10)   Northcliffe, Augusta
Walpole 244152North Walpole Road   North Walpole
245152Vista StreetSouthern terminus. Continues as Australian national route 1.svg South Coast Highway (National Route 1) eastwards.
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. Now known as the Peel Harvey Estuary
  2. Later named Albany Highway

Related Research Articles

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