The name of the region was suggested by JS Clarkson during an expedition in October 1830 because of its similarity to his own county in England, Yorkshire.:22[lower-alpha 1]
After thousands of years of occupation by Ballardong Nyoongar people, the area was first settled by Europeans in 1831, two years after Perth was settled in 1829. A town was established in 1835 with the release of town allotments and the first buildings were erected in 1836.
The region was important throughout the 19th century for sheep and grain farming, sandalwood, cattle, goats, pigs and horse breeding.
York boomed during the gold rush as it was one of the last rail stops before the walk to the goldfields.
Today, the town attracts tourists for its beauty, history, buildings, festivals and art.
The Ballardong people, a sub-group of the Nyoongar, occupied the land before European settlement.
Post settlement history
With the increasing population of the Swan River Settlement in 1830, it became evident that suitable land would have to be discovered for the growing of crops needed to provide necessary food.
EnsignRobert Dale, a 20-year-old officer of the 63rd Regiment, led a small party in the first exploratory journey over the Darling Range, during the winter months of 1830 into what was later to be known as the Avon Valley.
He returned with a report of "park-like lands with scattered trees", and after a second expedition, Lieutenant-Governor Stirling concluded that there appeared to be 1,000 square miles of "the finest imaginable sheep-land".:16 and 25
As a result, Stirling decided that the new district should be thrown open for selection and this was done by Government Notice on 11 November 1830.:23 By December 1830, 250,000 acres had been allotted, and in January 1831, 80,000 acres. Before the end of 1831 a further 6,030 acres in small lots had been taken up.
In September 1831 Dale escorted the first party of settlers to the district, reaching the Avon valley on 16 September. They immediately set about the construction of huts, the preparation required for their stock and the cultivation of new land. Dale proposed an area two miles south of the summit of Mt Bakewell as the site for a future town to serve the district.
In September 1833 a garrison of eight troops of the 21st North British Fusiliers was stationed at York. Rules and regulations for the assignment of town allotments at York were gazetted in September 1834 and allotments were advertised for sale from July 1835.
A township did not begin to appear until 1836. In July 1836 York comprised two houses, a barn, an army barracks and some out-houses, with about 50 acres of cleared land. The town grew slowly at first due to difficulties with the local aboriginals, as well as problems associated with using English farming techniques in an unfamiliar climate.
In 1831, Rivett Henry Bland settled in York, and with his business partner, Arthur Trimmer, leased a 10 acre site north of the town (on which they had built the first house, by the end of September 1831) and took a grant over a 4,000 acre block to the south which they established as a farm, later called Balladong Farm, after the Ballardong Noongar, the Aboriginal occupiers of the area. Later, part of the land to the south came to be called Bland's Town or Bland Town. Bland was resident magistrate from 1834 to 1842.
In 1836, John Henry Monger Snr arrived and bought the 10 acres of land immediately north of the town site from Bland and Trimmer for £100 on which the first house in York had been constructed of wattle and daub.:53 Monger opened a hotel by early 1837, constructing in 1842 a "long, low building" opposite the hotel for a store,:55 and 74 and “every three months his wagons would journey to Guildford or Perth for supplies”.:53 and 74
In July 1836 Lieutenant Henry William St Pierre Bunbury of the 21st Regiment was sent to York to respond to rising levels of violence between colonial settlers and Ballardong Noongar people. His mission was to "to make war upon the native". After many individual skirmishes and killings of Ballardong people, rumours of an attack on the natives, in which "several ... were wounded, and one woman was killed", were reported. In response to this, Ballardong people speared a shepherd called Knott. Bunbury initially tried to cover up Knott's death to avoid further conflict.
In July 1837 Bunbury was again sent to the York district after the spearing deaths of two young settlers called Chidlow and Jones. In the ensuing violence soldiers and settlers killed at least 18 Ballardong Noongar people.
In 1840, the York Agricultural Society was established,:75 which became very influential in the following years, holding annual shows to the present day. The York Racing Club was established in 1843. Both societies continue today.
A shortage of labour was a problem for the farming community, particularly at harvest time.:132 et seq A sandalwood boom in the late 1840s lifted the town.:165,173 and 218
At the request of the influential York Agricultural Society, from 1851, convicts were transported to the Colony and relieved the labour shortages. As "ticket-of-leave" men, they constructed many of the early buildings.[lower-alpha 2]
York was connected by rail in 1885. Following the discovery of gold in the Yilgarn in 1887, the town was teeming with miners, all alighting from the train and preparing to make the long journey across the plains to the goldfields.
In the 1880s the question as to whether or not the railway line to the Goldfields should be run through York or Northam was the subject of bitter debate. "Tradition is that State Parliamentarians became so tired of hearing the rival Notham/York arguments that they suggested that representatives of the two towns decide the issue by a game of cards." In December 1891, the State Government decided that the line should run through Northam because the distance to Yilgarn was 15 miles shorter and £500 cheaper.
Between 1968 and 1971, due to the general downturn in rural activities, and a progressive reduction in railway operations in favour of Northam, many York businesses closed and the population reduced to some extent.
York is located in the valley between Mt Bakewell and Mt Brown, known to the Ballardong Noongar as Walwalling and Wongborel. On the road to York in Spring are canola fields which draw many tourists.
In addition to its heritage and Arts and Crafts buildings and other architecture (refer below), the town features the York Motor Museum, the Courthouse complex, galleries, bric-à-brac and book shops, skydiving and paragliding, and walks along the picturesque Avon River and up Mt Brown.
The main attractions in the town include:
Avon Terrace, the main street, lined with heritage buildings
The York Motor Museum, holding 60 vintage cars and 16 motor cycles and other vehicles as well as motor memorabilia
The town is popular with walkers, cyclists, and photographers. Faversham House, Laurelville, the Imperial Hotel, the York Racecourse, and the Olive Branch provide a venue for weddings and small conferences or other corporate events, as does Lavendale Farm.
York offers a splendid wildflower garden behind Faversham House, as well as Avon Park, next to the town on the river, and Peace Park.
The York Agricultural Show and The York Festival are normally held in September and October each year.
For a town of its size, there are more heritage buildings in York than in any other town in Western Australia. not only that, the entire town has been declared a "Historic Town" by the National Trust of Australia. The streets of York are lined with buildings both big and small that evoke the essence of the nineteenth century. The main street, Avon Terrace, remains almost exactly as it was in 1911, the year that the spectacular Town Hall was constructed. But behind the main street lie a wealth of historic houses and cottages and places of interest each with its own story and of the generation of people who lived in them.
With its hamlet Bland's Town, York has buildings from each decade from the early settlers (1830s and 1840s), the convict period (1850s and 1860s), the coming of rail (1885), the Gold Rush (1887 to 1900), and the Federation boom, culminating in the York Town Hall (1911).
Faversham House, overlooking the north end of Avon Terrace, is one of the grandest surviving Colonial homes in the State.
More than 200 buildings or sites in York are heritage listed, most within the town itself. Many of York's older homes and buildings have now been restored and, while some have retained their original use (e.g. the York Post Office), others have been adaptively re-used with success, such as the former York Primary School (1886).
Federation Free Style buildings (the commercial equivalent of Arts and Crafts style) include the York Post Office (1893), the Courthouse and police station (c. 1896). All are designed by Temple-Poole and are on the State Heritage Register.
The centre of the town has fine examples of a dozen other Victorian and Federation architectural styles, virtually uninterrupted by modern buildings. The Victorian Georgian style buildings include the old sections of Settlers House and the Castle Hotel.
Early 20th century buildings include the stunning Federation Mannerist (or Edwardian Opulence) style Town Hall (also designed by Wright, and built in 1911), and an exemplar of Federation Filigree style, the Castle Hotel (1905), designed by William G Wolf, who designed His Majesty's Theatre.
Gallery of some buildings in York of architectural interest
The York Visitor Centre is located in the Town Hall.
York is well serviced with all essential facilities, including York District High School for students from kindergarten to Year 10. The York Community Resource Centre enables access to tertiary education. There is a 24/7 medical service, the York District Hospital, library, and swimming pool.
York has had a community radio station, Voice of the Avon 101.3FM, since 1994. Beginning life as York FM in the old convent the current location is at the corner of Barker St and Forrest St. The volunteer-driven station presents a 24/7 music service with presenters providing their own programs for 82 hours per week between 6am and 10pm.
At the post office site, the mean annual daily maximum temperature is 24.7°C (76.5°F) and the mean annual daily minimum temperature is 10.5°C (50.9°F). The hottest month is January with a mean maximum temperature of 33.6°C (92.5°F), while the coolest month is July with a mean minimum temperature of 5.3°C (41.5°F). Mean temperatures are based on data from 1880 to 1996. York has a mean annual rainfall of 449.8 millimetres (17.71in). The wettest month is June with 87.9 millimetres (3.46in) and the driest is January with 9.5 millimetres (0.37in).
A severe thunderstorm lashed the town and surrounding areas on 27 January 2011, resulting in roofs being ripped off, trees being uprooted and power lines being brought down. About 40 houses were damaged in the town as a result of the storm but no injuries were reported.
Climate data for York and York Post Office (averages: 1880–1996; extremes: 1934–2016)
Henry William St Pierre Bunbury (1812–1875), Lieutenant of 21st Regiment, stationed in York in 1836, led attack in Avon Valley against aborigines, established military post in Bunbury which was named after him, his letters were published in 1930.
Lockier Burges (1814–1886), emigrated to Western Australia with his two brothers William Burges and Samuel Evans Burges. They took up 5,600 acres (2,300 ha) of land at York in 1837, which they named Tipperary after their birthplace.
William Burges (1806 or 1808–1876), brother of Lockier. As secretary of the York Agricultural Society in 1847, he was closely involved in that body's ultimately successful petition for Western Australia to become a penal colony. He strongly opposed female convicts.
Solomon Cook (1812–1871) was an American engineer who constructed a substantial mill and one of Western Australia’s first steam engines at York.
James Cowan (1848–1937), York Clerk of Courts and Postmaster (1864–1870) who became registrar and Master of the Supreme Court; husband of Edith Cowan.
Walkinshaw Cowan (1808–1888) was the Protector of Natives at York (from 1848), also a Police Magistrate and then Resident Magistrate of York and Beverley (1863–1887).
William Cowan (1854–1940), York Clerk of Courts (1870–1875), resident magistrate (1897–1919). During the whole term of occupancy on the bench, none of his decisions was upset on appeal, including an appeal to the High Court.
Cowits (c.1832–1868), first Aboriginal Assistant at the York Police Station, who at 10 years of age accompanied Henry Landor and Henry Maxwell Lefroy on their 1842 expedition south east of Beverley, and later accompanied Lefroy's 1863 expedition to what is now called Lake Lefroy.
Samuel Smale Craig (1802–1869), established Castle Hotel in 1853 using ticket of leave men, after his death being run by his wife Mary Craig and then daughter Amelia, who built the 1905 corner extension.
Louis Giustiniani was an Italian missionary who came to Western Australia in 1836 with his wife Maria to establish a Moravian style mission employing aborigines at Guildford. He also visited York. He formed the view that the settlers were always at fault in conflicts with aborigines, reporting his findings to Lord Glenelg. He was attacked for his views and was recalled to London.
James William Hope (1851-1918) appointed as Resident Medical Officer for the York District in 1874, married Helena Aurora Monger in 1878, in 1882 became Medical Officer at Fremantle Prison and then superintendent of the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum, later became Commissioner of Health.
William Hoops (1819–1893), farmed with Samuel Burges before becoming a storekeeper and postmaster in York.
Henry Horton (1818–1887), licensee of the "Lakes Inn" from 1859, and ran a passenger service from Guildford to York.
Edward Wilson Landor (1816–1878), lawyer, scholar, writer and pioneer, who wrote about Western Australia including visits to Balladong Farm and going to the York Fair in the 1840s, brother of Henry Landor.
Henry Landor (1816–1877), settler, farmer, physician, scientist and explorer who farmed with Nathan Knight on Bland's 4,000 acre farm Balladong from 1841 to 1844, and was active in the community. He emigrated to Ontario and became the first medical superintendent of the Asylum For The Insane, London, Ontario and an advocate of moral treatment of mental patients.
Joseph Pyke (1831–1910) who settled in York in 1856 is an example of how a bootmaker and his wife Eliza, could, through hard work, become store keepers and land owners, Pyke taking a prominent and active role in town affairs.
Arthur Trimmer (1805-1877) was one of the first settlers in York, being with Rivett Henry Bland the first to breed merino sheep (later Balladong Farm). Bland and Trimmer built the first building in the town, which was sold to John Henry Monger Snr in 1836, and he later moved to the Albany region.
↑ Jewell was the architect for the Sisters of Mercy at the time.
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↑ "Government Notice". The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal. 12 October 1833. p.161. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
↑ "Government Notice". The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal. 20 September 1834. p.357. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
↑ Documentary evidence in Heritage Conservation Plan for Marwick's Shed, Rachel Plug et al., p. 11.
↑ This was on Suburban Lot A1, and according to George Fletcher Moore, the house was 100 yards above the Ford: Lesley Brooker (Compiler and Editor): Explorers Routes Revisited Western Australia 1836-1864, Roe Expedition 1836, p.11.
↑ A.M. Clack and Jenni McColl: York Sketchbook, p. 30.
↑ Landgate, Deeds and Ordinances I/166/625 Deed of Conveyance dated 30 April 1838.
↑ Pamela Statham Drew and AM (Tony) Clack: York, Western Australia, A Documentary History, p.14.
↑ Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal 8 April 1837, p.880.
↑ Stowe, W.E. (introduced by), The Avon Valley: embracing Newcastle, Northam, York, Beverley, 1905, p. 58.
↑ AM (Tony) Clack and Jenni McColl, York Sketchbook, The York Society, 2003, back cover.
↑ This section summarises material from the List of heritage places above.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Apperly, Richard; Irving, Robert; Reynolds, Peter L. (1989). A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture, Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present. North Ryde: Angus and Robertson. ISBN0207162018.
1 2 Oldham, Ray; Oldham, John (1980). George Temple Poole: Architect of the Golden Years 1885–1897. Drawings by Tish Phillips. Nedlands: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN9780855641733.
↑ Davey, P: Arts and Crafts Architecture: The Search for Earthly Paradise, The Architectural Press: London, 1980, p.24.
↑ Inquirer and Commercial News, 2 September 1863, p.2; K. Epton: CC Hunt's 1864 Koolyanobbing Expedition, Hesperian Press, p.viii; Peter Cowan: A Colonial Experience: Swan River 1839–1888, From the Diary and Reports of Walkingshaw Cowan, Perth, Peter Cowan, 1978, pp.79–80.
↑ Pamela Statham Drew and AM (Tony) Clack: York, Western Australia, A Documentary History, p80.
↑ Erickson, Rica [comp] The Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australia pre 1829-1888, Vol II, p. 840.
↑ The Inquirer and Commercial News, 4 December 1896, p.4
↑ The Inquirer and Commercial News, 25 November 1898, p.14
↑ Pamela Statham Drew and AM (Tony) Clack: York, Western Australia, A Documentary History, p125.
↑ Kimberly, WB: History of West Australia: A Narrative Of Her Past Together With Biographies Of Her Leading Men, 1897; and his reference on Wikitree.
↑ Pamela Statham Drew and AM (Tony) Clack: York, Western Australia, A Documentary History, p79.
↑ Tuckfield, Trevor, The Old York Road (1975), pp 13 and 23.
↑ Elliot, Ian (1978). Moondyne Joe: The Man and the Myth. Nedlands, Western Australia: University of Western Australia Press. ISBN0-85564-130-4. Republished in 1998 by Carlisle, Western Australia: Hesperian Press, p.40. ISBN0-85905-244-3.
↑ Inquirer and Commercial News 30 March 1870, p.2; West Australian, 15 February 1905, p.5; Western Mail, 4 March 1905, p.30; West Australian 25 July 1919, p.8.
↑ Pamela Statham Drew and AM (Tony) Clack: York, Western Australia, A Documentary History, p269.