Gnowangerup is a town located 61 kilometres (38 mi) south-east of Katanning in the Great Southern region of Western Australia.


Gnowangerup is named as the place of the mallee fowl in the Aboriginal Noongar language, being derived from nearby Gnowangerup Creek and Spring, both names being first recorded in 1878. The name means "place where the mallee hen (Gnow) nests".[2]

The town was first gazetted under the spelling of Ngowangerupp. Local dissatisfaction with this spelling led to it being altered to Gnowangerup in 1913.


The traditional owners of the area are the Goreng Noongar peoples who lived on the plains in the area for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European settlers.[3]

The townsite was first gazetted in 1908.

Following a severe drought the town was flooded in 1940 after a torrential downpour. The bridge was covered by water, parts of the railway line, the local tennis courts and pavilion were washed away.[4]


Gnowangerup State School was opened in November 1908 on a site on the northern edge of town. It is now known as Gnowangerup District High School and caters for students from Year 7 to 10.[5]


The local Agricultural Hall was opened on 20 July 1910 by Arnold Piesse, MLA for the Katanning electorate.[6][7]

A branch railway from Tambellup was open for service to Gnowangerup on 1 July 1912. It was extended to Ongerup on 6 January 1913. Train services east of Gnowangerup ceased on 13 October 1957.[8][9]

The Memorial Hall was opened in 1923, the same year that electric light was being installed. The population of the town in the same year was 1,350 people.[10]

A United Aborigines Mission, Gnowangerup Mission, was established on Muir Hill in 1935 on a 61 hectares (151 acres) site to replace the mission run on the Government reserve that ran from 1926 until 1935. The mission ceased operations in 1954 and then reopened as the Agricultural High School for Indigenous Australian boys.[11]

In 1972 the Gnowangerup Noongar Centre was established by the New Era Aboriginal Fellowship operating out of a 1913 former bishop's residence that was also the headquarters of the Gnowangerup Noongar Corporation until 1989. The building was placed on the State Heritage Register. in 2012[12]


The area was being used for cereal cropping and grazing livestock, particularly sheep. The areas around the town were running a flock of around 204,296 sheep in 1917.[13]

The town also consists of a small industrial area where there are many different businesses, such as Auspan Group(sheds), Duraquip (transport engineers), Armadillo (lubricant supplies), BP Harris(engineers), Bulk spreading service, Topaz (roll tarps and seat covers), Browns Ag(spraying).

The surrounding areas produce wheat and other cereal crops. The town is a receival site for Cooperative Bulk Handling.[14]


The Gnowangerup Star (1942–2003), also published as the Gnowangerup Star and Tambellup Ongerup Gazette (1915–1942), was a weekly English language newspaper published in Gnowangerup.


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Gnowangerup (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 September 2008. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names – G". Retrieved 8 June 2007.
  3. ^ "Gnowangerup". Hidden Treasures of the Great Southern. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Western Australia". Western Mail. 55 (2, 854). Western Australia. 14 November 1940. p. 38. Retrieved 1 January 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Gnowangerup District High School". InHerit. Heritage Council of Western Australia. 27 November 1996. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Farm & Station". Western Mail. Perth, Western Australia: National Library of Australia. 6 August 1910. p. 4. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Gnowangerup Agricultural Hall". Great Southern Herald. Katanning, WA. 23 July 1910. p. 3. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  8. ^ Milne, Rod (2002) The Ongerup Branch Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, May, 2002 pp163-170
  9. ^ "Local News". Albany Advertiser. 6 July 1912. p. 2. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Gnowangerup". . IX (967). Western Australia. 5 September 1923. p. 2. Retrieved 15 December 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "United Aborigines Mission, Gnowangerup (1935 - 1954)". Find & Connect. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  12. ^ "State celebrates first Noongar Centre". Media Statements. Government of Western Australia. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Gnowangerup". . III (344). Western Australia. 12 July 1917. p. 2. Retrieved 15 December 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ "CBH receival sites" (PDF). 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.