Visitor Information

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Heritage and Culture

 Explore the fascinating history of Dongara – Port Denison and the Shire of Irwin.

Irwin District Museum located at 5 Waldeck Street run by volunteers from the Irwin District Historical Society is part of the Heritage Walk. Built in 1870 it was the former Dongara Police Station, Courthouse and Gaol. Now houses a collection from years gone by, a great place to learn all about the hardship and triumphs of the region’s pioneers. Open Monday – Saturday 10am –12pm and entry is $2.50. 

Russ Cottage built in the late 1860’s by Titus Russ located on the corner of Point Leander Drive and St Dominics Road, restored by the Irwin District Historical Society and furnished as a 1870s yeoman’s cottage. 

Denison House  Dr Bartlett purchased the Smith’s Mill property on the southern bank of the Irwin River in 1897. He used stone from the mill to build the house from which he operated his medical practice. The Benedictine Community of New Norcia bought the land in 1944 – to use as a retreat. The land was sub-divided for housing in 2004 and the Shire of Irwin purchased the building. It is now used by community groups.

The old Dongara Post Office was constructed in 1894, the building incorporated the telegraph office and manual telephone exchange. The building is currently owned by the Shire of Irwin and is used as a library, visitors’ information centre and licencing centre.

The Priory Hotel is a magnificent building rich in history, located at 11 St Dominics Road on the banks of the Irwin River. Original built in 1881 as a colonial inn then later housed the St Dominic’s Priory for seventy years as a private boarding school. Now restored as a hotel with accommodation, restaurant and colonial bar more details can be found here

Dongara Cemetery located on Church Street contains some interesting headstones dating back to 1874. It also contains a Wall of Remembrance dedicated to the Dominican Nuns of the region. Of special interest are the graves of Sophia Mitchell, nee Dent, believed to be the first white female born in Western Australia. You can learn all about the facts from the Irwin District Historical Society’s ‘Self-Guided Tour of the Dongara Cemetery’ flyer for sale at the Visitor Centre.

The Fishermen’s Lookout Obelisk at Port Denison offers panoramic views of the harbour and surrounds. A plaque depicting local shipwrecks is on display at the Obelisk. A boardwalk surrounds the Obelisk to allow easy viewing. This is the start of Trail 4 on the Thungara Trails.

Moreton Terrace Take a stroll down our main street lined with Moreton Bay and Port Jackson Fig Trees planted in 1906. To learn more about the shops, you can purchase the Irwin Districts Historical Society Moreton Terrace Heritage Walk brochure from the Visitors Centre.

Ship Wrecks In the 19th Century Port Irwin offered a safe natural harbour. There was so much damage done to ships calling into this area that some companies refused to provide insurance cover. Many ships have been wrecked or damaged along this windy coastline. You can learn about them on the Ship Wreck Walk located in the Port Denison Foreshore, pick up a free flyer from the Visitors Centre.


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