Irwin District Historical Society Inc.
Irwin District Museum and Research Centre

The IDHS was founded in 1964 and is dedicated to preserving the history of the Irwin District of Western Australia through our research office and museums located at the Old Police Station and Russ Cottage.

The Society is not for profit organisation entirely staffed by volunteers.

Visitors are welcome to visit the Research Centre, staff are available to personally assist with your inquiries on Mondays and Wednesdays between 9am and 12noon. Please advise of your visit using our contact page.

Please feel free to browse our genealogy listings or visit the museum pages and read our history texts.

To contact us please use our secure contact page to make inquiries or send feedback.

----Please note: There are no stall places available for the 2019 Easter Market----


Irwin District Historical Society is commemorating the Irwin District's participation in the Great War and the effects it had on those left to carry on, with an exhibition at Old Police Station Museum.

The exhibition will remember with respect and sadness life in Dongara 1914-1918.

The Great War came to Dongara when news of the death of Lt. William A. Burges, Royal Irish Rifles was received at Irwin House in March 1915. At that time Dongara would have been a small country town, with farming as the main industry. About 400 people lived in the town and surrounding area.

The town was linked to outside world by telegraph; roads were mostly bush tracks and land transport by horse. People wishing to travel to Perth took the overnight train. Stores along the Perth Road, now Moreton Terrace catered for most of the day to day needs of the local populace.

Recruitment campaigns for the war effort by the government encouraged young men to join up, to fight for King and Empire. One hundred and thirty local men enlisted, forty losing their lives in awful circumstances, a long way from their homes. Most who did join up had never travelled far, almost certainly none had been overseas. At first the war seemed to be a great adventure; ignorance is bliss. The war, which was supposed to be 'over by Christmas' dragged on for four long years.

The stories of the recruits are now available on the World War I page.


Exhibition Sponsors


...a community driven project

Lynton Convict Hiring Station
Lynton Convict Hiring Station 1853-1857
Photo: B. Baskerville

The last 108 British convicts arrived in Fremantle on the Hougoumont on January 9 1868 and this series of exhibitions examines the convict system in the British Empire with reference to South East Asia and Western Australia and each of the contributing districts, Irwin, Greenough, Geraldton, Chapman Valley and Northampton.

Over 2000 Ticket of Leave men were sent to the Victoria District and we have traced the tracks of over 700 who lived and worked in Upper and Lower Irwin. Their contribution to the development of the Victoria District is recognised.

Exhibition Participants

Irwin District Museum
Chapman Valley Museum
Greenough Museum and Gardens
Chiverton House Museum
Geraldton Old Gaol Craft Centre
Lynton Convict Hiring Station

IDHS Corporate Members
The Society sincerely thanks our Corporate Members for their ongoing support.


Download a copy of the IDHS newsletters to view the recent activities of the Society.

Sea Lion V1 No2.pdf
Sea Lion V1 No1.pdf

The IDHS is a non profit organisation your donation will assist us to continue our work in preserving the history of the Irwin District. Thank you.