Exhibition at Irwin District Museum.
Finalist 2014 Community Heritage Awards.


The IDHS was founded in 1964 and is dedicated to preserving the history of the Irwin District of Western Australia through our research office and museums located at the Old Police Station and Russ Cottage.

The Society is not for profit organisation entirely staffed by volunteers.

Irwin District won this year's Merit Award with a presentation at the recent State History Conference in Geraldton. The Affiliated Societies Committee chose Irwin District because the Society has been extremely active during the past year. They have achieved high visitor numbers to their museum and have set up a 'pop up museum' at several local functions such as the Easter Market Day, Anzac and Remembrance Days at the National Australia Bank, the Healthy Living Expo and the Lobster festival. The presentation of History Medals to students from Dongara District High School was also considered to be an innovative way to engender interest in local history. Members attended this year's Museum Australia's State and National Conferences and their President, Mrs Anne Jefferys, was a presenter at the state conference. Irwin District Historical Society was also a finalist in the 2014 State Heritage Awards.

Visitors are welcome to visit the Research Centre, staff are available to personally assist with your inquiries on Mondays and Wednesdays between 9am and 12noon.

To contact us please use our secure contact page to make inquiries or send feedback.

Please feel free to browse our genealogy listings or visit the museum pages and read our history texts.


The Irwin District Museum will host a travelling exhibition "War at Sea - The Navy in WWI" from the Australian National Maritime Museum from 14 December 2015 to 26 February 2016. The ANMM has a wonderful website well worth exploring.

Photographs of the opening by Irwin Shire President Ian West and some of the displays can be found here..

The Irwin District Historical Society will also be commemorating the Irwin District's participation in the Great War and the effects it had on those left to carry on as best they could with an exhibition at the Old Police Station Museum.

The exhibition will remember with respect and sadness life in Dongara 1914-1918.

The Great War came to Dongara when news of the death of Lt. William Armstrong Burges, Royal Irish Rifles was received at Irwin House in March 1915. At that time Dongara would have been a small country town, with farming as the main industry. About 400 people lived in the town and surrounding area.

The town was linked to outside world by telegraph; roads were mostly bush tracks and land transport by horse. People wishing to travel to Perth took the overnight train. Stores on the Perth road, now Moreton Terrace catered for most of the day to day needs of the local populace.

Recruitment campaigns for the war effort by the government encouraged young men to join up, to fight for king and empire and 150 local men enlisted, 25 are recorded on the Dongara War Memorial as losing their lives. Recent research by the Society has identified another 14 men of the Irwin District who were killed in the 'war to end all wars'. Most who did join up had never travelled far, almost certainly none had been overseas. At first the war seemed to be a great adventure; ignorance is bliss. The war, which was supposed to be 'over by Christmas' dragged on for four long years.

The stories of the 1915 recruits are now available on the World War I page.


Easter Market Day - Stallholders registration.. More...

IDHS Corporate Members

The Society wishes to recognise the ongoing support from our Corporate members.


Prospective sellers please download the stalls site map and application

Market Day 2015.pdf


Download a copy of the latest IDHS newsletters to view the recent activities of the Society.

IDHS Newsletter2012-05.pdf
IDHS Newsletter2012-08.pdf
IDHS Newsletter2013-02.pdf
IDHS Newsletter2013-11.pdf
IDHS Newsletter2015-03.pdf
IDHS Newsletter2015-08.pdf

The IDHS is a non profit organisation your donation will assist us to continue our work in preserving the history of the Irwin District. Thank you.