Major regional service town on Great Eastern Highway.
Northam is the first large town encountered after travelling east
from Perth and one of the oldest settlements in the central Wheatbelt
area. It has long been a major rail centre and main depot for the
Goldfields Water Scheme.
The town and hinterland of Northam are located in the Avon Valley -
so named after the river the Avon River. It has been periodically
flooded, and man-made banks protect the town from inundation.
Burlong Pool a pool just south of the town was known as the Burlong
swimming pool, and in the 1890s the location of the source of water for
the Goldfields Water Trains.
Buildings of note
A two storey brick and iron residential hotel with its original
timber verandah still intact, this building illustrates the trend
towards decoration out of construction, characteristic of the Arts and
Crafts revival of vernacular types of building, this trend also being a
forerunner to the Modern Movement. Historically significant as one of
the few remaining turn-of-the-century hotels intact with verandahs and
one of only two left in Northam. Built in 1895, for Michael Cody, who
was also instrumental in building the Commercial Hotel further along
Fitzgerald Street. After the new West Northam railway station was built
in 1900, the new Grand Hotel was built opposite, during 1904-05. 426
Fitzgerald Street, Northam, WA.
Avon Bridge Hotel
The oldest section, Wildings Hotel, being a Georgian style
composition, was built in 1860 of local stone with squared stone quoins
and a corrugated iron roof. The verandah, of a very simple design, has
been removed. The later part, the Avon Bridge Hotel built in 1897, is a
good surviving example of a typical Victorian brick building with
stucco dressings. The main building on the corner of Gardiner Street
(built in 1897) is a two storey red brick and corrugated iron
residential hotel with a delicate cast iron balustrade to the balcony
and decorated with stucco cornices, string courses and arches. It
replaces an earlier single storey vernacular styled section. 322
Fitzgerald Street, Northam, WA.
Northam Town Council Offices and Public Library
The Northam Town Council took a brave step in the late 1960s when
they selected designs in the Late 20th-Century Brutalist architectural
style for their Council Offices and Public Library. Designed by
Bulgarian born Western Australian architect, Ivan Ivanoff, the
buildings were erected between 1971-74. The Brutalist style is rarely
seen in Australia outside of the capital cities. Grey cement brick
buildings set behind landscaped gardens that appear almost sculptural
in appearnace, the fortress-like nature, bold composition and strong
vertical accent is achieved using concrete blocks and vertical 'slit'
windows. 298 Fitzgerald Street, Northam, WA.
Avon Valley National Park
One of the smaller National Parks in the hills beyond Perth, Avon
Valley National Park is one of the lesser known Parks, because of its
isolation, limited accessability and lack of facilities. Anyone who has
travelled on the Indian Pacific train from Perth to the Eastern States
will be familar it, as that train passes up the valley and through the
park on its way to Northam.