Late start to lead . .
Mundaring, now the leading business centre in the Shire, was declared a townsite on 20th May 1898. A convict road party often camped in the area in the 1870s, and a few vineyards and orchards were scattered along valleys to the south. However, it was only when a spur line was constructed in 1898, to the site where a reservoir for the goldfields water supply was to be built, did it become settled.
Image: Mundaring Post & Telegraph Office, also an agent for the Commonwealth Bank. Image MHHS collection.
Wine and Wood
The first settler in the area, PA Gugeri, established an extensive vineyard and orchard in 1882 about two kilometres south of today’s township. This coincided with the construction of the Eastern Railway, and a large manufacturing firm, who realised the advantages of the railway, obtained a timber concession torail out logs to their city mill. However, it was not until 1889 that a sawmill was established in the area, and by a different company at that, but it led to the establishment of a railway stopping place.
Aboriginal camping ground
In 1893 the Jacoby brothers purchased Gugeri’s property and turned it into one of the most successful vineyards in the hills. One brother recalled asking the Aboriginal people, who often camped in the area, their name for the locality. He recorded it as Mundaring—meaning a ‘high place on a high place’—and consequently both the Jacoby vineyard, and the railway stopping place were so named.
Named for the vineyard
The decision to build a storage reservoir for the goldfields water supply scheme led to a large encampment springing up near the junction of the Eastern Railway and the spur line to the dam site, populated with men who were looking for work. Both the town that eventuated, and the dam, were to take their name from the vineyard, as did the new railway station built further west of the original stopping place.
Today Mundaring businesses are concentrated on Great Eastern Highway (formerly the old York Road), but originally the focus was further to the south near the railway station. The Mundaring Hotel was built at the junction nearest to the station, and one publican there pioneered the holiday resort trade in Mundaring. Guest houses and cottages sprang up to cater for weekend visitors.
Weekenders to weekday commuters
Mundaring became a leading resort area for those making day trips on the Sunday excursion trains, and for those who could stay longer. Leading Perth businessmen acquired weekend cottages in the hills. From there the idea of commuting from Mundaring took hold, and over the years more and more people chose to live in the hills and commute to work in the city.
In the air
Some settled in the hills so they could have a few fruit trees or chickens, but others moved there for their health. Guest houses championed the beneficial effects of the air 300 metres above sea level, encouraging permanent residents, including tuberculosis sufferers, as well as visitors. During the 1920s and 1930s, more residents moving to Mundaring led to more businesses being established, and it is now the commercial and administrative centre of the Shire.
State Registered Places in Mundaring:
Above: Mundaring Hotel c 1905. The hotel was built by Mr. H.A. Hummerston in 1899. MHHS Collection.
Above: Large jarrah log on a multi-wheeled jinker in a clearing at the edge of the forest in Mundaring, 1966/67. MHHS Collection.