Home » Towns » Western Australia » South West WA » Bunbury, WA
Print

Bunbury, WA

A seaside resort and port once known as 'The Brighton of the Colony'

Bunbury is a pleasant, gracious city which is economically driven by a successful industrial base which has been built around the city's port. It was once an important port for the shipment of wheat. Today the port concentrates on woodchip and alumina and the city of Bunbury has become the regional commercial centre.
Bunbury's attractions include the bottlenose dolphins which can be viewed at the shoreline or in the bay aboard a dolphin watching cruise; the surrounding world class vineyards; the many panoramic lookouts; the interesting street art murals; and the numerous relaxing walks. The city has a large number of genuinely interesting historic sites including the old lighthouse, St Marks Church, King Cottage, the Regional Art Gallery Arts Complex and historic Leschenault Homestead. The town boomed in the late 19th century as it acquired a reputation as 'The Brighton of the Colony'. It became a pleasant seaside resort for miners flush with gold from the eastern goldfields. Guest houses, hotels and new swimming baths were built to meet a blossoming demand for accommodation.

Location

Bunbury is located 172 km south of Perth via the Kwinana Freeway and National Highway.

^ TOP

Origin of Name

The city is named after Lieutenant Henry William St Pierre Bunbury (1812-1875) who wrote reports about the area and recommended that it was suitable for settlement.

^ TOP

Things to See and Do

Bunbury Heritage Building Trail
There is an impressive, and entertaining, guide to “Bunbury’s iconic and favourite buildings” titled Bunbury Heritage Building Trail. It can be downloaded at https://visitbunburygeographe.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Bunbury-Heritage-Building-Map-LR-2017.pdf. The fact that there are 41 places of interest within the city is an indication that Bunbury deserves at least a day of careful inspection. This is a city of particularly beautiful old hotels, of interesting streetscapes (looking up Victoria Street and seeing the gothic eminence of St Patricks Roman Catholic Cathedral on the skyline is awe-inspiring) and of excellent walks along the coastline. The walk will take around an hour. The most interesting places include:
1. Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre
Located at 1 Arthur Street, the Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre was opened in 2016. It is an impressive, modern and innovative museum which was financed by the City of Bunbury. It tells the story of how the region developed, the people who left a mark on the area and, as the website (see http://www.bunburymuseum.com.au) explains: “Shipwrecks, the struggles of early settlers, convicts, the Bunbury port, and the people of the town have all contributed to this city’s rich history. The museum cares for a new collection focused on the history of the Bunbury area and displays the highlights of that story with objects, interactive displays and events designed for all ages and imaginations.” It is open from 10.00 am – 4.00 pm Tuesday to Sunday, tel: (08) 9792 7283.

2. Prince of Wales Hotel
Located at 41 Stephen Street, the Prince of Wales Hotel was built in 1882 and has been extended and updated in 1894, 1907, 1983 and recently in 2020. It has been listed by the Heritage Council. They note its significance as “Prince of Wales Hotel, a two-storey hotel in the Federation Filigree style, has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons: the decorative veranda is a dominant streetscape element contributing to the landmark value of the place; the place is a fine example of a hotel in the Federation Filigree style; the place was owned by the Swan Brewery from 1943 to 1978. It was one of 120 premises the Brewery acquired to secure a market for their product; the place is valued by the local and wider community as a social and holiday venue; and, the place contributes significantly to the sense of place of Bunbury residents having operated as a hotel since 1882.” For a very detailed history of the hotel, check out http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/PrintSingleRecord/42c4d64c-e04b-4565-a8b7-ba5b60dd5adc.

3. Austral Chambers
Located at 23 Stephen Street and built in 1912, “Austral Chambers, a two storey brick and iron building has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons: the place has landmark qualities and contributes significantly to the streetscape and the community's sense of place; it was built by J E Hands, who was mayor of Bunbury at the time. Hands was the son of ex-convict and prominent Bunbury businessman, John Hands.” It is listed by the Heritage Council which provides much greater detail at http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/fcbaabb2-1571-4a52-a7e4-12334c4d5f15.

4. Boulters Store
Located at 124 Victoria Street, and built in 1923 and converted in 1937, Boulter’s Store is a “two storey rendered masonry commercial building. It was built in 1923 by Alfred Boulter and was constructed in “the inter-war Art Deco style”. It is listed by the Heritage Council which notes of its construction: “The walls are rendered masonry and the roof is hidden behind a simple parapet wall. There is a truncated corner to the lower and upper levels. The ground floor has large glazed shop fronts with a cantilevered awning above. The upper level has smaller windows with horizontal mullions. The distinctive letter style utilised for the building's name is of the art deco style.” For more details check out http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/fab8c693-5ff9-4c4a-906c-ab1e5d440be3.

5. Bon Marche
Located on the corner of Stephen Street and Victoria Street, Bon Marche, is now known as Bon Marche Mensland. It has provided the largest range of menswear in the Southwest of WA for over 100 years. The building was originally known as ‘Spencer’s Corner’. It was built by William Spencer, who arrived on the ‘Trusty’ in 1841. Spencer began many of the town’s businesses and by 1899 Spencer’s and Sons were operating as general merchants and importers and selling drapery, clothing and groceries. Spencer became Mayor and was an MLC for the South West Province. From 1905 Mr C. Clarke established a clothing store and it is at this time the name changes from Spencers to Bon Marche meaning ‘good value’. Louis J. Craddock bought Bon Marche in 1925 and his family have owned the clothing store and preserved the business name ever since. During 1936 and 1937, the well know builder’s Hough and Son were employed to renovate the building in the Art Deco architectural style. Check out https://bunbury2015.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/bon-marche-buildings.

6. Bunbury Women’s Club
Located at 19 Princep Street, the Bunbury Women’s Club is listed by the Heritage Council which describes the building as “a single storey rendered masonry building with an asymmetrical facade constructed in the Victorian Georgian style of architecture. The walls are rendered and painted masonry. The roof is hipped with two prominent gables along the front facade above two projecting bays. Each projecting section has two timber framed double hung sash windows. Rendered brick chimney is evident.” It was formally the Anglican Deanery and was built in 1889. It became the home of the Bunbury Women’s Club in 1955. For more detailed information check out http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/5e6ebd96-ffbf-4e4b-b70c-ffb9dd5c5df4.

8. Old Railway Station
Located off Wellington Street, the Heritage Council (see http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/4fd9d8ac-cdbb-4a84-ad07-c2ff4b83eace  for more details) describes the building as “Bunbury Railway Station (fmr) is a single-storey brick structure with corrugated steel roof cladding comprises the main station building and detached toilet building designed in the Federation Free Classical style of architecture with strong influences of the Federation Arts and Crafts style in the detailing. It is a long single room width building with pitched roof and verandas each side and a detached toilet building.” In this it is typical of the Federation Free Classical style of architecture which was typical of railway stations at the time. It is also the home of the city’s Visitor Information Centre.

9. CWA House
Located at 54 Wellington Street near the Bus Station, this cute, half-timbered, “Old English” style of cottage was built in 1931 by the Bunbury branch of the County Women’s Association. It is listed by the Heritage Council which describes it as “designed in the Inter War Old English style of architecture. The walls are timber framed and clad with fibre cement sheeting. Dark brown painted timbers are exposed on the exterior of the building giving the distinct Old English appearance to the building. The roof is hipped and gabled and clad with corrugated iron.” See http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/0df310e8-f1d0-4327-ab10-56f42323fe38 for more information. 

10. The Rose Hotel Sample Room
Located at 31 Wellington Street, the Rose Hotel Sample Room is, as the Heritage Council points out, “one of the few extant examples in Western Australia of a detached sample room dating from c. 1900, where commercial travellers could conduct business. … Sample rooms were used by travelling salesman to display and sell their wares. The salesman travelled the State by any means possible; train, foot, coastal shipping or horse and buggy, and had to be accommodated in boarding houses or hotels. After World War Two the use of sample rooms declined as travelling salesman became more mobile and independent due to the widespread use of the car and improved road conditions. It is not known when the sample room ceased to be used for this function.” It is now used as the hotel’s bottle shop. See http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/PrintSingleRecord/df1060e5-c7df-4ef6-b830-64fc154db43f.

11. The Rose Hotel
Located on the corner of Victoria Street and Wellington Street, the handsome hotel built by Samuel Rose, is “a notable example of the historic gold boom hotel class of buildings”. It has been changed over the years and has had a number of owners (see http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/PrintSingleRecord/df1060e5-c7df-4ef6-b830-64fc154db43f for details of its history) and is recognised by the Heritage Council as “an L-shaped, structure addressing the two frontages of its street corner location, being three-storeyed to Victoria Street and to a short return into Wellington Street corresponding to the depth of the three-storeyed structure's rooms. The verandahs to both streets are two-storeyed, sitting above the public footpaths … The hotel was practically rebuilt in 1897-1898, and included a two storey building facing Wellington Street. The new building shared a common rear courtyard with the original building on Victoria Street. Over £7,000 was spent to provide accommodation for 40 guests, a large entrance hall and a fine dining room. There was hot and cold water on tap and Mrs Illingworth was a wonderful hostess. Guests were able to house their horses in a stone wall stable on Wellington Street where the sample room was later built. The Rose Hotel was a popular destination for holiday makers, visitors to Bunbury and locals alike. In 1901, the Rose Hotel was described as ‘one of the favourite watering places in Western Australia’. The Hotel was situated close to the public sea baths and had good views of Bunbury harbour.” 

12. The Hands Building
Located opposite the Rose Hotel on the corner of Wellington Street, the Hands Building was originally built by John Horation Carr who established the interesting combination of a pharmacy and dentist with accommodation on the floor above the street. It was later purchased by Jack Hands, who had been a Mayor of Bunbury, who called it Hands Building and put appropriate signage on the façade. The Heritage Council calls it J H Carr’s Chemist and Dentist, and notes that it was “designed by local architect F W Steere, and is a good example of his work … and it is a good example of the federation Free Classical style of architecture and contributes to the streetscape.” See http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/1b42edb6-a167-4dd8-8856-7c6195e6cdf9 for more information.

16. Clifton Motel and Grittleton Lodge
Located at 2 Molloy Street, behind the Clifton Motel, the Grittleton Lodge is listed by the Heritage Council because it “was built c. 1885 as the home of Robert Forrest and his wife Esther (nee Cons). Forrest’s father, William Forrest, was an early pioneer of the district who also operated the first flour mill in the area. Robert was one of ten children and his brother John became Western Australia’s first premier. Another brother, Alexander, was also a well know politician and explorer. In 1879, Robert and his father established the Koombana Steam Roller Flour Mill. As well as operating the flour mill, Robert was an agent for mail steamers and the ‘Inquirer’ newspaper.” They describe the building, which has been beautifully preserved, as “a two storey brick and iron building with a symmetrical facade and two storey verandahs, designed in the Victorian Georgian style of architecture. The walls are rendered masonry and the roof corrugated iron in a hipped roof form. There are two dormer windows with curved roofs over. The verandah is under a broken back corrugated iron roof and is supported by large square timber posts. There is decorative iron lacework to the upper floor balustrade and ground floor frieze and brackets, all of which has been introduced at a later date.” For more detailed information check out http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/PrintSingleRecord/6bac6397-5414-4c75-a5ff-ad75024c4a34.

18. Burlington Hotel
Located at 51 Victoria Street, the Burlington Hotel is listed by the Heritage Council which describes it as “a two storey brick building with a verandah to one section of the Victoria Street elevation and is an example of the Federation Filigree style of Architecture.” It explains its significance as “the hotel was one of a number built during the Gold Boom period in Bunbury to cater for both the growing population and Bunbury's growing popularity as a sea-side resort … it has been operating on the same site for over 100 years.” For more detailed information check out http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/a821250e-4959-4e67-ba55-16cb71bf6ec9.

21. The Lyric Theatre
Located at 73-77 Victoria Street, and not used as a “theatre” since the late 1930s, the Lyric Theatre has an impressive Art Deco façade which can been seen from the opposite side of the street. It was built in 1905 in a Free Classical Edwardian style but, after a fire, was refurbished in 1937. Major work was done in 2016-2017 and it was a finalist in the WA Heritage Awards 2018. It is listed by the Heritage Council. For more details check http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/PrintSingleRecord/59edd130-01af-4752-be8d-1dbe53a438e3.

22. Grand Central Hostel
Located at 83 Victoria Street, the Grand Central Hostel is now a series of shops but it was originally a Temperance Hotel (ie a hotel that did not serve alcohol) which was built by Charles Eggleston in 1910 to a design by Eustace Cohen. It is listed by the Heritage Council who describe the building as “a white painted two storey Hostel distinguished by its wooden verandah over the footpath which is increasingly rare in the town centre. The verandah covers the length of the street elevation and is supported on square timber posts. There is a gable over the central bay, which has an Art Nouveau type fretwork arch. The balustrade has a pattern of wide and narrow balusters at first floor level with "spade" shaped cut outs, typical of the work of architect, E.G. Cohen in the South West WA. There is a row of narrow consoles forming a frieze under the balustrade. The construction of the original building is of timber floors and roof framing, brick walls and corrugated iron roof with a timber verandah. The facade at ground level is devoted to shop windows with an entrance hall in the centre. This entrance leads to a spacious stair hall and at the rear is a single storey part containing the previous dining room with a lantern roof and the previous kitchen.” For more detailed information check out http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/PrintSingleRecord/73520697-3cc6-4078-990f-262faf77e5f7.

23. WA Bank
Located on the corner of Victoria Street and Wellington Street, the WA Bank was built in 1896 specifically for the WA Bank. The building next door, known as the Solicitors’ Office was completed in 1910.

24. Cronshaw’s Store
Located at 103-107 Victoria Street, “Cronshaw's Manchester House, a two-storey Inter-War Functionalist style structure (with some Art Deco style detailing), of rendered and painted brick with an asbestos cement roof” is listed by the Heritage Council (http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/408340bf-61a0-4fd2-8218-a8b66f6b5b02) because it “it demonstrates the confidence and surety of the abstract aesthetic ideals of the Modern Movement; and it contributes to the aesthetic value of the intersection of Victoria and Wellington streets”.

25. Bunbury Regional Art Gallery
Located at 64 Wittenoom Street the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery is in the handsome Sisters of Mercy Convent School which was built in 1897 with the chapel being added in 1923. It was purchased in 1979 by Bunbury City Council specifically to house the city’s art collection. It is known locally as BRAG (Bunbury Regional Art Gallery) and regularly homes travelling exhibitions as well as an impressive permanent collection. Of particular interest are “A collection of 330 botanical watercolour paintings by Bunbury artist Rosetta Kelly (1861-1961) were purchased in 2010. The works were painted between 1916 and 1940 and are of significant local historical interest.” And an impressive collection of local Noongar Aboriginal art works. For more information check out https://www.brag.org.au.
The building is listed by the Heritage Council which notes: “The Convent [Sancto Patritio Hiberniae Apostolo] is a two storey rendered brick and iron building in the Victorian Gothic style, with a symmetrical front; designed by Michael Cavanagh and built in 1897. There is a Gothic arcade on the first floor between gables with bay windows on both floors. The 1923 Chapel is two storey, the lower floor being below street level. Its style and date are the same as the Convent. Face brickwork is exposed, with bands of render at the rear and west side and the front and east side are rendered. The complex was renovated in 1985 under architect, Ian Molyneux, and is now known as the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries.” See http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/PrintSingleRecord/0609ab9e-be88-4bf4-9ebc-b2cd264bd2e5 for more detail.

26. Masonic Hall
Located at 70 Wittenoom Street, the Masonic Hall, or Freemasons Hall, is, as the Heritage Council notes: “a single storey double volume rendered brick and corrugated iron building constructed in 1893 in the Federation Academic style of architecture and remodelled in 1935 in the Inter-War Art Deco style … by prominent Western Australian architects Herbert Eales and Eustace Cohen.” It is the second oldest purpose-built Masonic Hall in Western Australia. For more detailed information check out http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/091faa81-32da-45e1-abff-8c0440a8269c.

27. Bunbury Council Chambers and Centenary Gardens
Located at 2 Stephen Street, the Bunbury Council Chambers are a fascinating example of Art Deco. It was built in 1896 and renovated and turned into an Art Deco building in 1935 by prominent Western Australian architects Herbert Eales and Eustace Cohen. See http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/47cced44-c3f2-4fba-bf06-7754f24fd60d for more details.

30. Bunbury Post Office and Bonded Store
Located in Stephen Street opposite the Council Chambers (and not looking like a Post Office), this is reputedly the oldest building in the city’s CBD having been built around 1864 as part of the original settlement. It is, as the Heritage Council explains, “a single storey limestone building with a replacement shingle roof constructed in the Victorian Georgian style.” It was designed by James Manning, the Clerk of Works in the Department of Public Works. For more information check out http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Admin/api/file/d219c09b-95e8-00f2-2b4c-50a0fe1d3d7d.

31. Teede’s House
Located at 1 Stirling Street, Teedes House (it was built by George Teede around 1877) “is a single storey, long, brick, timber and iron house designed in the Victorian Georgian style of architecture. The walls are brick and the roof hipped and clad with corrugated iron. There are brick chimneys at the apex of the roof. The verandah is under a continuous corrugated iron roof supported by timber posts with a simple timber cross balustrade. It is a simple, elegant building. Check out http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/be9198d8-5608-42e5-862b-1b5912adadae for more details.

32. Anzac Park – The War Memorial
Located in Stirling Street at the end of Victoria Street, this is a small park with a war memorial. It was completed in 1924 as a tribute to those locals who had died in World War I. Since then other names, and other battles, have been added to the Memorial which is constructed of Donnybrook stone with a marble statue of a soldier. For more detailed information check http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/8ac9696b-82a2-4b6e-a8f9-10bf18639bfd.

OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST
B. St Patrick's Cathedral
Located at 11 Money Street, St Patrick's Cathedral was originally a parish church but in 1954 it became a cathedral when Pope Pius XII established the Catholic Diocese of Bunbury. It is actually two churches. The original one, as the church's website explains, was built with: "The foundation stone of St Patrick’s was laid in 1919. Its doors were opened to the local community just two years later. Some of the older parishioners still recall how local limestone rocks were carried up from the beach on bullock trains, and how, as children, they carried bricks, two at a time, for the exterior works. Others speak of stories they heard from their parents and grandparents about their part in building the Cathedral. Other Bunbury residents again, as well as people from other South West areas, recall watching the Cathedral being built." On 16 May 2005 a tornado shifted the original church on its foundations and it was subsequently demolished. "The New St Patrick’s Cathedral was built over a 5 year period, and was dedicated on 17th March 2011 by Bishop Gerard Holohan, the fourth Bishop of Bunbury." Check https://bunburycatholic.org.au/history/st-patricks-cathedral.
One of Western Australia's greatest artists, Robert Juniper was commissioned to design the stained glass windows for the new church. At the same time he was commissioned to design a tapestry -"Based on a painting by Australian artist, Robert Juniper, the tapestry was hand woven in Nepal. The image of Jesus is woven from gold silk, and the tapestry weighs approximately 80kg. The Tapestry depicts Jesus rising from the tomb, which can be seen in the bottom right hand corner."- and it is now hanging behind the bishop's chair. The church website explains the stained glass windows (see https://bunburycatholic.org.au/the-artwork): "The 14 large windows along the North and South walls of the Cathedral depict scenes from the bible and were painted by Australian artist, Robert Juniper. The original paintings were photographed with a digital camera, enlarged and laminated between two sheets of glass. The process is called ‘digiglass’, and is named after the Melbourne company who invented it. The 7 Northern windows are scenes from the old testament of the Bible, and the 7 Southern windows depict images from the new testament."

C. Boulter’s Heights Lookout
Located between Wittenoom Street and Haig Crescent, Boulter's Heights Lookout was named after A. H. Boulter who established a rotunda on the site in the late 1920s. In 1966, to coincide with a visit from the Queen Mother, the local council built a 26 metre waterfall. The panoramic view from the lookout is dominated by St Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral. It provides good views across Leschenault Inlet.

E. Wardandi Memorial Park
Located and bounded by Ocean Drive, Upper Esplanade, Wellington Street and Symmons Street, the Wardandi Memorial Park was opened in 2013 and is a Noongar Cultural Heritage Site. In 1994 it was identified and linked to an ancient burial ground. Twenty-five sets of Noongar ancestral remains were reburied in a specially designated area within the park. They had previously been held at the Western Australian Museum. 

F. Wyalup Rocky Point, Wyalup
Located down Marlston Drive from the lighthouse, Wyalup Rocky Point is an important Noongar site with the word 'Wyalup' meaning ‘place of mourning’. Historically it was a Noongar burial ground. The dark basalt rock is an estimated 130 million years old and is part of the Kerguelen large igneous province that formed when the great integrated mass of Gondwana (Antarctica, South America, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Australia) started to drift apart. The area has a beach lookout, interpretive information, BBQs, playground and picnic facilities and a wide level path. The Bunbury basalt at Rocky Point cooled in columns giving it the appearance of the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. It was no accident that when Reverend Wollaston drew a map of Bunbury in 1843 he named the rocky outcrop 'Giant's Causeway'. For more information check out https://visitbunburygeographe.com.au/business/wyalup-rocky-point.

G. Chequered Lighthouse
Located off Marlston Drive and overlooking Point Casaurina,  the current Bunbury Lighthouse is the fifth lighthouse used to guide ships into Koombana Bay. The original lighthouse was nothing more than a wooden keg with a storm lantern. It was replaced by a square wooden lighthouse. Then another wooden lighthouse in 1901; a cast iron one in 1903 and the current checkered lighthouse which dates from 1959 which is topped by a more recent section which was built in 1971. Look carefully and you can see a join about 10 m from the ground. The 1959 lighthouse has been attached to the present one. The height of the lighthouse is now 37 metres above sea level and is visible for twenty kilometres in clear weather. There is a booklet on the lighthouse which can be downloaded from http://bunburymuseum.com.au. There are no tours.

Sir John Forrest Monument
Located on Stephen Street (just beyond the corner of Victoria Street) is a huge head of the famous Western Australian explorer and politician, Sir John Forrest. It was sculpted in 1979 by Mark LeBuse and commissioned to coincide with the 150th year anniversary celebrations. The Monument Australia website points out Sir John's remarkable career "born in 1847 at his father's wind-driven flour mill at Mill Point, at the mouth of the Preston river, 7 kilometres from Bunbury. He spent 18 years in state politics, all in executive office, then 18 years in federal politics, almost half as a cabinet minister. First MLA for Bunbury, first Premier of WA, five times Federal Treasurer and, for a time, Forrest was acting Prime Minister. In 1918 he was created Baron Forrest of Bunbury, the first Australian to be raised to the British peerage." Check https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/government---state/display/60205-john-forrest for more information.

Walk-It Bunbury
The City of Bunbury has produced a map with 15 designated walks. It is a superb way of exercising and seeing the city at the same time. The map, and information about the walks, can be accessed at http://www.bunbury.wa.gov.au/pdf/Planning%20and%20Building/Walk%20it%20bunbury%20map.pdf. The walks are:
1. Mangles Walk - 6 km around South Bunbury
2. Cary Park Walk - 2.8 km
3. College Grove Walk - 2.8 km
4. East Bunbury Walk - 4 km
5. Beach Road Walk - 3 km
6. Maidens Walk - 3 km
7. Bellemore Park Walk - 3.5 km
8. Pelican Point Walk - 3.8 km
9. Plaza Walk - 4.7 km
10. Marlston Hill Walk - 2.4 km
11. Koombana Bay Walk - 5.3 km
12. Big Swamp Walk - 2 km
13. Vittoria Heights Walk - 4.2 km
14. Crosslands Walk - 3.7 km
15. Withers Walk - 3 km

Marlston Waterfront Historic Walk
There is a pleasant walk along the promenade on the Marlston Waterfront which has a number of interesting signs where the visitor can learn about Bunbury’s history which includes 29 ships being wrecked in Shipwreck Bay; the story of the convicts who constructed the first jetty using local jarrah; the breakwater off Casaurina Point which was designed by the great CY O’Connor who built the famous pipeline which transported water to Kalgoorlie; and the bust of Nicolas Baudin who sailed down the Western Australian coast in 1800. During that voyage Baudin named Geographe Bay (Baie du Geographe), Point Casuarina and Port Leschenault Estuary and Inlet.

Dolphin Discovery Centre and Trail
Located on the shores of Koombana Bay at Lot 556 Koombana Drive, is the Dolphin Discovery Centre. It is open from 9.00 am - 3.00 pm every day and closed on Tuesdays. The centre has a cafe and a dedicated interpretative centre. The highlights are the Interpretative Centre which, as the website explains, "showcases an expanded range of themed fish and coral aquariums and our amazing 360-degree Digital Dolphinarium, as well as an interpretation of the Koombana Bay environment and its history – geological, indigenous, marine and contemporary." The Dolphin Eco Cruises offer a 90 minute cruise on Koombana Bay which allows visitors to encounter some of the 100 plus bottlenose dolphins who frequent the bay. And the Swim With The Dolphins which occurs between November and April gives visitors an opportunity to swim with the bottlenose dolphins. For more details and prices, check out https://dolphindiscovery.com.au.

Bunbury's Street Art and Public Sculpture
There are two maps - ReDiscover Murals and Outside the Box - which can be downloaded at http://www.sixtwothreezero.com/map-1. They provide detailed information which allows the visitor to explore the 31 murals and art works around the centre of the city. Note particularly the impressive public sculptures which include Jon Tarry's The Navigators on the Koombana Drive and Blair Street roundabout; Howard Taylor's Forrest Trees on Spencer Street; Russell Sheridan's Brother and Sister on the Victoria Street and Wellington Street roundabout; Russell Sheridan's Young Smithy in Scott Street and Mary Knott's Gateway on Victoria Street and Symmons Street.

Wardandi Boodja Sculpture
Located on the foreshore at Koombana Bay, the Wardandi Boodja sculpture, is a five-and-half-metre steel bust of a Noongar face which is designed to represent all South West Noongar families. It was commissioned by the City of Bunbury and funded by the State Government’s Royalty for Regions. The huge sculpture is the work of local artists Alex and Nicole Mickle of Safehaven Studios and design engineer Mike Kimble. It was 12 months in the making and a result of extended consultations with families in the region. Nicole Mickle has noted of the sculpture: “It has been purposefully designed in such a way as to recognise all the families of this region. A comprehensive study of historical photographs dating from the 1870s to the early 1900s, coupled with contemporary images and faces of Noongar people has enabled us to create an image of a generic Noongar man ... The sculpture reflects the resilience and spirit of a proud Noongar man and stands as a reminder to visitors and locals alike that Noongar culture is vibrant and strong. We all live here together on Wardandi saltwater country and we celebrate this.”

Ngalang Wongi Aboriginal Cultural Tours
A local guide, Troy Bennell, has arranged three Aboriginal Cultural Tours around the city. They are all walking tours and can be booked either online (check out https://visitbunburygeographe.com.au/listing/ngalang-wongi-aboriginal-cultural-tours/#/tours/67681) or directly at the Visitor Information Centre. The three tours are:
* Estuary Walkabout Tour - is a walk around the inlet and estuary where Troy tells stories about the local experience, identifies bush tucker and weaves twine from the bulrushes at the edge of the mangroves.
* Ngalang Wongi Dreaming Town Tour - explores the dreaming stories and early history of the Bunbury area.
* Ferguson Valley Aboriginal Cultural and Scenic Tour - heads out to Roelands Village (it was previously an Aboriginal mission) offers traditional and cultural experiences, a lunch at a winery and bush tucker and dreaming stories. It is held on Sundays. There is detailed information available at https://www.ngalangwongi.com.au and an excellent short video at http://www.ngalangwongi.com.au/blog/new-video.

Three Lookouts
a. Marlston Hill Rotary Lookout Tower
Located on the headland at 10a Whale View is the Marlston Hill Rotary Lookout Tower, a Bicentennial project, which offers an excellent view of Bunbury harbour and the breakwater. The hill is a high sand dune which overlooks Koombana Bay and the Indian Ocean. There is a short, steep walk to the lookout and a timber stairway connects the lookout to Victoria Street in the CBD.

b. Boulters Height Lookout
Located between Wittenoom Street and Haig Crescent , Boulters Height Lookout was named after A. H. Boulter who established a rotunda on the site in the late 1920s. In 1966, to coincide with a visit from the Queen Mother, the local council built a 26 metre waterfall. The view from the lookout is dominated by St Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral. It offers panoramic views across Leschenault Inlet.

c. Koombana Park Lookout
Located in Koombana Park opposite the Dolphin Discovery Centre and between Leschenault Inlet and Koombana Bay, the Koombana Park Lookout offers panoramic views over Leschenault Inlet, the Mangrove Boardwalk which edges the inlet and Koombana Beach and Bay. It has an impressive lookout tower, a playground, barbecues and photos which tell the story of Bunbury’s maritime history. The site, having cost $11.5 million to develop, was opened in November, 2019.

St Marks Anglican Church
Located on the corner of Flynn and Charterhouse Close, St Marks Anglican Church is a timber church. It is described by the Heritage Council as "a timber framed weatherboard clad church building constructed in 1842 in the Victorian Carpenter Gothic style of architecture. The church is cruciform in plan form. The walls are clad with weatherboards and lined with painted matchboards. The building was originally of wattle and daub construction using pit sawn timbers. The roof is clad with timber shingles having originally been a thatched roof of rushes and sedges. There are no gutter and downpipes to the building. Internally there are steeply pitched dark oiled timber rafters with cross ties of forged steel rods. The original oil soaked calico cloth windows were replaced with pairs of cast iron casement windows with diamond shaped leadlight glass. The floor is cement, as originally designed by Wollaston. In 1936 an extensive restoration of the church was undertaken by Rev Arnold Fryer. There is a small panel showing original wattle-and-daub construction in the southern wall. This was revealed during the c 1969 restoration by Marshall Clifton. An old ship's bell hangs in the miniature belfry providing a link with wrecks associated with early whaling days. The adjacent cemetery contains the graves of many of the pioneer settlers of the area, including those of William and Margaret Forrest (parents of Sir John Forrest), and the Scott family, buried beneath unusual bed-post wooden grave markers. Other grave monuments and markers include carved marble monuments and cast and wrought iron fences." See http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/PrintSingleRecord/60279e68-3cbd-45df-aebe-8d30857ba04c for more information.
The history of the church is truly remarkable. On 8 July 1840 the American whaler Samuel Wright was wrecked in Koombana Bay. The skipper, Captain C F Coffin, salvaged timber from the whaler and built himself a cottage at Picton. In 1842 the cottage was purchased by Reverend John Ramsden Wollaston. Wollaston had arrived to become chaplain at Australind but by that time the settlement was collapsing and he was told that there were no funds to build a church and nowhere to stay. With the help of local farmers and with remarkable tenacity, Wollaston built his own church out of pitsawn timber using cloth soaked in linseed oil for the windows.
"In the early half of the twentieth century, the church began to lean and was pulled back into place with jacks. Mr R H Rose of “Moorlands” also provided funds for minor repair work. In 1936 St Marks was set to be demolished. Reverend Arnold Fryer (Rector of South Bunbury, 1932 to 1948) fought for its retention and raised funds to have it repaired. Also in 1936, the Bunbury Centenary Committee unveiled a plaque dedicated to the memory of Reverend Wollaston. In the late 1960s, noted architect Marshall Clifton helped to restore St Marks. The church was finally consecrated on 13 July 1969 and certified in the Diocesan Register at Bunbury as "St. Mark the Evangelist."

King Cottage Museum
Located at 77 Forrest Avenue, the King Cottage Museum is open from 10.30 am - 12.30 pm daily. The cottage, built of handmade bricks by Henry King around 1880 and owned by his family until 1923, was purchased by the City of Bunbury in 1966 and later leased to the Bunbury Historical Society. The museum recreates various periods from the 1880s to the 1960s with an emphasis on local history. The sitting room is furnished in typical Victorian style with a painting of Lieutenant Bunbury over the sideboard. The bedroom has interesting displays of old fashioned garments and cosmetics and the kitchen has items like a butter churn, mangle and water pump. For more information tel: (08) 9721 7546 or check out https://visitbunburygeographe.com.au/business/king-cottage-museum.

^ TOP

Other Attractions in the Area

Bunbury Wildlife Park
Located on Prince Philip Drive (4 km south of the Bunbury CBD), the Bunbury Wildlife Park specialises in Australian animals (particularly species from South West Western Australia) and consequently has wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, quokkas, dingoes, most Australian birds and an impressive range of reptiles. Popular activities include feeding the birds and patting the kangaroos.. For more detailed information check out http://www.bunburywildlifepark.com.au. It is open from 10.00 am - 5.00 pm daily.

Big Swamp Wetlands Reserve
Located off Prince Philip Drive (over the road from the Bunbury Wildlife Park) is the Big Swamp Wetlands Reserve which is home to over 70 species of birds as well as mammals and reptiles. There is a pleasant 2.5 km walk around the swamp which offers a series of lookouts, a bird hide and sections of boardwalks. It is a breeding ground for Black swans and long necked turtles. For more information check out http://www.bunburywildlifepark.com.au/Pages/Big-swamp-parkland.aspx and https://trailswa.com.au/trails/big-swamp-walk-bunbury.

^ TOP

History

* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to the the Wardandi Noongar Aboriginal people.

* The first Europeans to sail up the west coast near Bunbury were the Dutch in the 17th century.

* In 1803, a French expedition led by Captain Louis de Freycinet, explored the coast in the Geographe and Casaurina. He named Point Casaurina and mapped part of Port Leschenault, which he named after the expedition's botanist Leschenault de la Tour.

* In 1829 a survey party led by Dr Collie and Lieutenant Preston, sailed down the coast and explored the area around Koombana and Vittoria Bays.

* In 1830 the colony's Surveyor General, John Septimus Roe, explored the region.

* By 1830 a military presence had been established in the area. Members of the 63rd Regiment were sent to a camp east of the mouth of Leschenault Inlet to protect settlers against attacks from Aborigines.

* In 1836 Lieutenant Henry William St Pierre Bunbury travelled through the area while on an expedition from Pinjarra to the Vasse River at what is now Busselton. Bunbury described the area in his journal Early Days in Western Australia: 'we soon got into a more open flat country lightly timbered with Tooats, with abundance of grass and not many bushes, and saw a thick Tea tree swamp about half a mile on our right forming the head of the estuary, upon which we soon arrived ourselves by a well beaten path through a most rich and luxuriant crop of grass and sow-thistles'.

* The first European settlers, John Scott and his family, arrived in 1838.

* Bunbury township was mentioned in the Government Gazette in 1839.

* By 1841 almost 400 Europeans were living in the new town of Bunbury. That year saw land lots in the town offered for sale.

* Whalers who anchored their vessels in Geographe Bay and Koombana Bay between 1830s and 1850s.

St Marks Church, the oldest church in Western Australia, was built at Picton in 1842.

* Bunbury became a municipality in 1871.

* By 1887 there was a railway line from Bunbury to Boyanup.

* The government took control of the railway line in 1891.

* By 1891 Bunbury was connected to Perth by rail. Bunbury had become a major port for the export of karri and jarrah which was being cut and milled in the hinterland.

* In the 1890s the town became an important seaside resort.

* In 1903 the breakwater was constructed.

* In the 1950s rich deposits of mineral sands were found along the coast.

* Bunbury became a city on 8 October 1979.

* The last train from the Old Bunbury departed in 1985.

* By 2005-2006 Bunbury was the fastest growing city in Australia.

^ TOP

Visitor Information

Bunbury Visitor Information Centre, Old Railway Station, Wellington Street, Bunbury, tel: (08) 9792 7205, 1800 286 287.

^ TOP

Useful Websites

Western Australian Tourism have details about Bunbury's eating and accommodation. Check out http://www.westernaustralia.com/au/Search/Pages/Search.aspx?k=Bunbury&cat=None&simple=true and there is a local website - https://visitbunburygeographe.com.au.

^ TOP
Got something to add?

Have we missed something or got a top tip for this town? Have your say below.