The Irwin District Museum is housed in the former Dongara Police Station, Courthouse and Gaol. The building also served as a ticket of leave hiring depot, and police quarters.
The building was built at a contract price of £1200 by expiree Joseph Walton in 1870-71 using ticket-of-leave labour. You can read Joseph Walton’s amazing story on our Convict Tracks of the Victoria District page
By 1874 the building had a lean-to addition added to the north side which served as a post and telegraph office. The native cell to the west and some of the rear yard walls were demolished in the mid 1950’s.
The building served as a police station, courthouse and quarters until 1983. In early 1984 the building was occupied by the Tourist Centre with the IDHS occupying one room for use as a research centre. Between 1984 and 1987 extensive restorations were funded and carried out by the Dongara Old Police Station Restoration Committee with additional funding through a grant form the WA Heritage Committee.
In 2000, the tourist office moved to the adjacent former Dongara Post Office and the Society opened the Irwin District Museum. Additional museum display space on the site of the former horse stables at the rear of the building jointly funded by LotteryWest Small Museums Grant and the Society was constructed soon after.
Currently the building is leased from the Shire of Irwin and operated by the Irwin District Historical Society as a research office and museum with local history displays including police memorabilia and the story of the convict contribution to the development of the region.
The Dongara Magistrates Court is still convened each month in the former Day Room.
Visit our Virtual Museum Exhibits…..