Dwellingup is a charming town in Western Australia, located just over an hour and a quarter south of the capital city Perth. Set amongst beautiful Jarrah and Marri forests and water catchment areas it is a leisurely day trip by car. The townsite is only 15 minutes from the district centre of Pinjarra with its historic precinct, picturesque rivers and waterways and modern supermarket, making it ideal for camping supplies. 40 minutes north is the coastal town of Mandurah with large shopping malls, down town city district, coffee shops, restaurants and many seaside bays.
Dwellingup itself has a community and family friendly hotel, a visitor’s centre, a small IGA store, post office, a sporting oval and friendly local cafes where you can get a meal.
WHAT TO DO
There is never a shortage of things to do and during the year there are local festivals such as the Dwellingup 100 MTB event, Log Chop and the popular Easter Saturday Giant Pumpkin Festival.
Dwellingup Adventures hires out mountain bikes and canoes and there are several gift shops and art galleries run by the talented artists living in Dwellingup.
It is worth staying a few days and after a relaxing night sleep in one of the local chalets or camping grounds, you can enjoy canoeing or outdoor activities in the natural setting of the Lane Poole Reserve along the banks of the Murray River. See the Forest Discovery Centre with its artisan shop and the 11-metre platform set in the canopy of the jarrah forest or ride the old timber route on the famous Hotham Valley Railway. You can even enjoy a three-course meal on the Saturday evening dinner train ride, but bookings are essential so phone ahead to avoid disappointment.
Dwellingup is one of the five townsites that the Bibbulmun Track (Western Australia's world class, 1,000 kilometre walk trail) passes through. You're bound to bump into fellow bushwalkers and nature lovers on this section of the track due to its proximity to Perth and the lovely scenery on offer.
The Munda Biddi mountain bike trail which begins in Mundaring and finishes in Albany goes through Dwellingup as it meanders on its way to Collie. The trail passes through some very beautiful countryside and is a highly regarded and popular trail for mountain biking enthusiasts.
There is also a range of accommodation from budget to luxury options available close to town if you are looking for somewhere to stay. Check out our accommodation section in the Directory for greater detail. For those seeking the great Australian outdoor experience but who also appreciate a little bit more warmth and comfort than a traditional camping adventure, there are also a range of Bed and Breakfast facilities and luxury Chalets available close to town.
In a valley surrounded by jarrah forest, near the Murray River, was a traditional Aboriginal camping place called Dwellingupp (an Aboriginal word meaning “place nearby water”).
European settlement of the Dwellingup area commenced in the late 1800s when timber cutters moved into the area and began harvesting the abundant jarrah, marri and blackbutt trees in the area.
In 1909 the area was surveyed for a town following the decision to make this the site for the end of the Pinjarra-Marrinup railway. The then Surveyor General, H.F Johnson selected the name Dwellingupp for the town and it was gazetted in February 2010. The current form of the word Dwellingup was adopted in 1915.
A number of small timber settlements - Holyoake, Banksiadale Nanga Brook, Marrinup, Chadoora - grew up in the area at this time but Dwellingup became the most important centre with a hotel, a doctor, two butchers, a baker and a saddler.
In 1918 the forests around Dwellingup became part of the State Forest and consequently the town became a centre for forest management and research.
The town was virtually destroyed in 1961 when lightning started a bushfire which lasted for five days. It damaged 140 000 ha of forest and wiped out many of the smaller timber towns, including Nanga Brook, Holyoake, Marrinup, Banksiadale and Dwellingup. Of all the towns damaged by the bushfire only Dwellingup was rebuilt.