The Avon Valley is Western Australia’s first inland settlement, a region rich in green rolling hills, babbling brooks, fertile lands and historic country towns.
An hour’s drive east of Perth, the Avon Valley is home to the Ballardong Noongar people, who are spiritually connected to the Wagyl (Avon River). Prior to European settlement, a thriving population on Noongar people had inhabited the region for tens of thousands of years, living in harmony with the land.
The first European sighting of the Avon River was by 21 year old Ensign Robert Dale of the British Army’s 63rd Regiment in August 1830, who was assigned the task of making the first exploratory journey over the Darling Ranges into what was later to become the Avon Valley.
Not surprisingly, the Noongar people and European settlers clashed repeatedly in the early days of settlement as settlers continued to arrive and establish farms and townships. By 1840, armed Native Police patrols restricted the Noongar people’s movements around Toodyay, Northam, Katrine and York, until an Aboriginal Protection Act was introduced in 1886, and by the late 1890s Aboriginal people in Western Australia were ‘protected, managed and controlled’ under the Aborigines Act of WA. This Act signified the end of violent resistance by Noongar people of the Avon Valley.
Governor Stirling is thought to have named the river after the Avon River in England, and he also decided that York should be the name of the first town, as the first explorers saw a resemblance between the valleys in the County of York in the UK. York was the first inland town settled in WA.Wheat is the state’s major grain crop with about seven million tonnes produced each year followed by barley, canola, oats, lupins and peas.
Today the Avon Valley makes for an authentic Western Australian country experience, whether for a day trip or extended stay. Visit the vintage towns of Northam, Toodyay, York, New Norcia, Beverley, Goomalling and Brookton by road which is a great way to explore the charming Avon Valley region and all of the towns are only a 30 minute drive from each other.
Offering plenty of charming accommodation choices, such as historic hotels or family run Bed and Breakfasts, revisit yesteryear where main streets are lined with bullnose verandas, cafes, bakeries and welcoming locals. Check into an historic hotel restored to its former glory, enjoy a hearty lunch in a country
pub, visit the local museum or indulge in an afternoon Devonshire Tea at a
The Avon Valley is home to hot air ballooning and skydiving in Perth, offering stunning views of the valley, the Avon River and endless fields of barley and canola, which is synonymous with the area. It’s also host to an interesting range of festivals and events all year round; antique fairs and vintage car rallies, flower shows, farmers markets and the famous Avon Descent bring this historic region to life. These friendly country towns showcase local produce such as jams, olives, chocolate and honey. Pile the scones high with jam and cream, relax and feel worlds away on this charming historical adventure!