A short history of Perenjori
The name Perenjori is derived from the Aboriginal word “Perangery”, meaning water hole. Sir John Forrest conducted exploration 1869, and surveyed the area in 1896. Gold was discovered in 1894.
Dan Woodall was the first permanent white settler to the region and managed Perangery Station in 1905. In 1906 Matt Farrell first came to Perangery carting goods from Rothsay to Yalgoo and Mount Magnet. He marked trees where he wished to take up land in the area. The four Farrell brothers, Thomas, William, Matthew, George, then took up the land. The Lands Department approved agricultural lots of 1,000 acres, instead of huge pastoral leases granted previously.
The first crops from 1911 to 1913 were sown by hand and used largely for horse feed, home food, hay and seed wheat. When the railway line was officially opened in 1915, the town’s estimated population was 100. Perenjori was officially announced as a town on February 16th 1916.
Over time the spelling of the town and shire changed to Perenjori. Today it is one of the largest agricultural Shires in WA, with a combination of farming, pastoral and mining leases. In 2012 the town hosted a centenary celebration of its history.
To find out more of the history of Perenjori visit the WA State Library and search for Perenjori.
‘Sound of the Cockies, Perenjori: 100 years of stories’
Written by Bill and Jenny Bunbury
Published and launched at the Agricultural Show on the 15th August 2015.
Purchasing is available from the Perenjori Shire and the Perenjori Visitors Centre.
“From Western Australia’s northern Wheatbelt comes tales of courage and resilience from men and women who have lived and farmed in this harsh but beautiful landscape since European settlement. These stories also capture the cultural beliefs and personal histories of local First Australians.
Drawing on historical accounts and interviews with people who have lived or still live in the Shire of Perenjori, ‘Sound of the Cockies, Perenjori: 100 years of stories’, records efforts to keep family farms viable and small towns alive through the tribulations of two world wars, the Great Depression, droughts and rural population decline.
It tells lessons learned and bold experiments to revitalise the shire’s economy through alternative farming practices and by generating new sources of income from mining and land conservation.
But it also tells of deep connection to place and community, an affection that resonates through the stories of all those who have come and gone, and those who never left.”