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.