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Ongerup, WA

Small wheat belt town noted for its Malleefowl Centre

Ongerup is a typical small wheat and sheep service town which has achieved a degree of fame with birdlovers because of the Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre which is devoted to the conservation of the endangered malleefowl.

Location

Ongerup is located 420 km south-east of Perth and 149 km north of Albany.

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Origin of Name

It is widely accepted that 'Ongerup' is a corruption of a Noongar word, "yongerup' meaning 'place of the male kangaroo'.

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Things to See and Do

Ongerup and Needilup District Museum
The Ongerup and Needilup District Museum is located in the Old Railway Barracks in Eldridge Street. It is a typical local folk museum with displays focussing on local domestic memorabilia, farm equipment, and the natural history of the area. Each year since 1978 there has been a Wildflower Display in the grounds of the Museum between late September - early October. The Wildflower Display features up to 400 species all labelled with their botanical names.

Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre
Located on the Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Road on the way into Ongerup, this centre which has been operating for over twenty years was specifically created to conserve and research the endangered Malleefowl and its habitat. The Malleefowl has become rare or even locally extinct in much of its original range in the semi-arid and arid areas of southern Australia due to loss of habitat and introduced predators. It is possible to see the Malleefowl in its natural environment and, if it is breeding season, to view the newly born chicks from a safe distance. The centre combined an interpretative display, bushwalking trails, a cafe and gift shop and a gallery. It is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9.00 am - 4.00 pm and Saturday and Sunday 10.00 am - 4.00 pm. For more information check out http://www.gnowangerup.crc.net.au/our-community/tourism-information/attractions or tel: (08) 9828 2325

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Other Attractions in the Area

Stirling Range National Park
The central appeal of the area is the beautiful and dramatic Stirling Range National Park which boasts 15 peaks over 900 m and 50 peaks above 600 m. It is the only significant mountain range in the southern half of Western Australia and offers the visitor jagged cliffs, sheltered gullies, superb panoramic views and a staggering 1500 species of flora - many of which grow nowhere else on the planet. There is a 42 km drive through the park, most of it on good dirt roads suitable for 2WD driving, allows the visitor to experience an area of great diversity and beauty.

The geology is fascinating. A brochure on the park explains: "The Range was formed over 1000 million years ago when this area was a shallow sea and sediment was deposited on the granite lowland. After the sea receded the area of the range sank. The surrounding area gradually eroded back to basic granite and the Range was slowly uplifted, eventually weathering to its present form. The Chester and Red Gum passes mark the courses of river that flowed south during the early stages of formation. Ripple marks can still be seen on the exposed rock."

For many visitors the Sterling Ranges National Park is about bushwalking. The main trails include:

Mount Magog (856 m) - 8 km return. Hard, 3-4 hours. Please note there is no path for the final 1 km to the summit.

Mount Talyuberlup (783 m) - 3 km return. Moderate, 2 hours. Caverns and precipitous rocks at the summit of this mountain make this an exciting climb. It is also known as Talyuberlup peak.

Mount Hassell (847 m) - 4 km return. Moderate, 2-3 hours. It is suitable for families and can be attempted by young children.

Mount Toolbrunup (1052 m) - 4 km return. Hard, 3 hours. This walk is often regarded as the best in the Park. Excellent 360° views from the summit, and dramatic rocky outcrops provide spectacular scenery.

All walks are steep and uneven. There is detailed information and advice at http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/stirling-range with discussions of the features of each walk.

The flora in the park is incredibly rich and it is reasonable to expect to see scarlet banksia, Cranbrook bells, dryandra, orchids, flowering gums and grass trees. It has been estimated that between August and November it is possible to see over 1,000 species of wildflowers and the park is known to be home to over 180 species of birds including black and white cockatoos, eagles and emus. Hidden Treasures Dawn and Dusk Bird Walks led by Bird Life Australia volunteers depart daily at 8.00 am and 3.00 pm from Stirling Range Retreat’s office from mid-September to the 31st October. All revenues are donated to Bird Life Australia. tel: (08) 9827 9229.

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History

* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was inhabited by the Noongar Aboriginal people of the Minang language group.

* In 1848, on one of his many journey of exploration the Western Australian Surveyor-General, John Septimus Roe, became the first European to pass through the area.

* It wasn't until 1870 that the Moir family moved to the area and began grazing sheep along Warperup Creek.

* In 1910 the land around Ongerup was surveyed and divided into 1,000 acre (405 ha) lots which were sold for 10 shillings ($1.00) an acre.

* This denser settlement combined with the arrival of the railway in 1913 resulted in the development of the town to service the surrounding area.

* The Noongar people from the district were placed in the Carrolup Native Settlement reserve which lasted from 1915-1922.

* During the Depression in the 1930s kangaroo hunters and mallee bark strippers were drawn to the region to eke out a meagre living.

* The railway closed down in 1957 and grain from the area is now taken by road to the terminal in Albany.

* Today Ongerup is a quiet rural service centre.

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Visitor Information

There is information available at the Australian Malleefowl Centre, Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Road, (08) 9828 2325 and the Ongerup Roadhouse, Gnowangerup-Jerramungup Road, (08) 9828 2043.

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Useful Websites

There is a good, comprehensive brochure available to be downloaded. Check out http://www.gnowangerup.wa.gov.au/files/2113/6514/5997/GnowTourismMapBrochure-PRINTV3.pdf

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