The first European to explore our region was Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson in 1829.
He was a surgeon in the Royal Navy and responsible for the welfare of convicts transported here between 1822-1829.

Smithy Ahern

He named the hill overlooking the townsite Mount Barker after Captain Collet Barker, the Commandant at King George Sound in Albany 50 km to the south.
The captain had supplied the provisions for the expedition.

Wilsons' report on the area read in part "A country beautifully diversified by moderately elevated hills and fertile verdant valleys adorned and enriched by streams of the purest water."

Several years after, land was purchased by Sir Richard Spencer for grazing sheep.

Other settlers soon arrived. Our famous St Werburghs chapel was built in 1872 by George Egerton-Warburton to serve the early pioneers. The township began in 1860 with the establishment of the Bush Inn, serving as a rest point between Albany and Perth. In 1867 convicts built the police station, now housing the museum.

In 1890 the railway line linking Perth and Albany was opened, serving to increase the population of the area. Between 1920-1960's apples became the main produce of the area.

Our climate provides ideal conditions for vineyards, and we are now part of the largest wine growing region in Australia.
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