York

The historic town of York, located an hour's drive east of Perth, has become a popular tourist destination.

The reasons for its appeal are twofold. Firstly it is ideally located just over and hour from Perth, and secondly, as it was the first inland European settlement in WA, it is full of really beautiful old buildings. There is little doubt that it is one of the best preserved and restored nineteenth century towns in Australia. A true monument to the architecture of the late nineteenth century.

It was during the period 1886 to 1900 that most of the town's impressive, and very solid, buildings were constructed. Most of those buildings have survived and have been restored to the old splendour. The town is today classified by the National Trust as York Historic Town.

Around Town

York Town Hall: When completed in 1911 the Town Hall boasted the largest floor area of any such building in WA. Total restoration has returned the hall to it's original splendour. The Tourist Bureau offices are located in this building.
On 14th October 1968, an earthquake shook the region, destroying the nearby town of Meckering. York Town Hall suffered some structural damage and the Imperial Hotel's balcony collapsed.

Holy Trinity Church: Completed in 1854 and consecrated in 1858. The interior is richly ornamented with stained glass windows designed by WA artist Robert Juniper. The original High Alter and Walsingham Shrine feature Juniper's paintings. The church also contains a rare Albert Piesse pipe organ with eight bells.

Uniting Church: Built and opened in 1888 - the first minister, Rev John Smithies, who came to York to establish the church and a native mission, built what is now the 'Church hall' in 1852.

St Patrick's Church: The present Church's foundation stone was laid on St Patrick's day, 1875, and completed in 1886. It features imported Italian windows.

Residency Museum: One of the oldest colonial houses in York built in the 1840's as a home for the Resident Magistrate. It now houses an interesting and vital record of early colonial life.

St Patrick's Church Hall: The original Catholic Church commenced in 1859 and dedicated to St. Patrick in 1860, still stands today is now used as the Church Hall, situated in South Street on the front lawns of the Presbytery.

Old York Hospital: Opened in 1896 which still retains a shingled roof.

Post Office: built in 1893 to the design of noted government architect George Temple-Poole.

Old Gaol & Court House: Build from local stone and opened in 1895 by Sir John Forrest the Court House has been restored by the National Trust - you may view the restored prison cells and court rooms. It is still used as Court of Petty Sessions.


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Where is it?

97 km east of Perth.


Trooper's Cottage (c1865): within the stable yard of the old police station to house the trooper responsible for the gaol behind the high wall. Tommy Windich, the Aboriginal tracker who later worked for John Forrest was attached to the York constabulary in the early 1860s.

Castle Hotel: in 1853 Samuel Smale Craig used ticket-of-leave convicts to build an elegant Georgian two-story brick building. Opposite the Castle Hotel is the site of the Royal Hotel (also known as the Railway Hotel). This hotel was damaged in the 1968 Meckering earthquake and subsequently demolished.

York Railway Station: Built in 1885 a reminder of York's busy and vital transport past. It now houses a historical railway display - open on weekends.


York Motor Museum

Recognised as one of the finest private collections of Veteran, Vintage, Classic and Racing Cars in Australia. Housing the Peter Briggs collection of approximately 150 vehicles, the museum presents the evolution of motor transport. Vehicles range from an 1894 Peugeot to the Williams FW07, which Australian Alan Jones drove on his way to becoming the 1980 World Grand Prix Champion. The building was formerly a motor garage and showroom and was the site of the oldest Ford dealership in WA.


History

York was first surveyed by Ensign Robert Dale in 1831 and named after the city of York in northern England. It was settled in the 1830s by farmers who concentrated their efforts on sheep and wheat with the occasional field of barley.

The first settlers in the area arrived in 1831 and included such well known Western Australian identities as Rivett Henry Bland and the Reverend J. B. Wittenoom. A township did not begin to appear until 1835/36 when an army barracks and store were built and some 50 acres of land were cleared.

York may have continued as an attractive and small settlement had it not been for the discovery of gold at Southern Cross and later at Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. This meant that by the late 1880s the town was teeming with miners, prospectors and fossickers all alighting from the train and preparing to make the long journey across the plains to the goldfields.

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