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.


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.

Now showing ...

Remembering Them

Exhibition Sponsors
Dongara Irwin Road (now Moreton Terrace) c1900

This exhibition traces the life of Gertrude Imelia Rowland (nee Pell) whose husband and three brothers were killed in World War I

Thanks to IDHS partners...
WA Museum - Lotterywest
Museums Galleries Australia
Royal West Australian Hist Soc.

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.

IDHS AnnualReport2016-11.pdf
IDHS AnnualReport2015-11.pdf
IDHS Newsletter2015-03.pdf
IDHS Newsletter2015-08.pdf
Minutes IDHS General Meeting 14 Feb 2017 .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.