Local History

Learn about the fascinating history of the City of Kalamunda.

Find books, maps, photographs, oral histories, ephemera and local newspaper clippings which provide insight into the interesting and unique background of our City.

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Whadjuk Noongar People as the Custodians of this land. We also pay respect to all Aboriginal community Elders, past, present and future who have and continue to reside in the area and have been an integral part of the history of this region.

Regional History

Of the fourteen *Noongar language groups, the people who live in the Perth region are known as the Whadjuk people. The Canning River is the border between the two Whadjuk clans, the Bilya (Beeliar) and Beeloo (Beelu) people. The land south of the Swan River and west of the Canning River to the coast is known as Bilya (Beeliar). The land east of the Canning River to the Helena River is Beeloo land. The Youran (bobtail lizard) is the totem animal for the Bilya people; and the Nyingarn (echidna) is the totem animal for the Beeloo people. The Beeloo people hunted tortoises in the wetlands (Mundy Swamp), carrying them to higher ground in the east for cooking and eating.

During the early days of settlement, Mundy (Munday) (pronounced mun-dee) was one of the most important and successful negotiators for the Whadjuk community. The name can be recognised in Mundy Regional Park and Mundy Swamp, a wetland located against the north-eastern perimeter fence of Perth airport, south-west of King road and west of the Forrestfield and Kewdale railway yards. 

In 1827 the Colonial Botanist Mr Charles Fraser and Captain James Stirling explored the region to evaluate its suitability for farming. Initially the area was used for forestry and orchards; fruit growing continues to be one of the major industries in the City today. The Townsite of Kalamunda was approved in 1902 and quickly established itself as a tourism destination. Advertised as a ‘health resort’, City folk would travel to Kalamunda to experience nature, fresh air and a change of climate. This rich heritage now provides a range of  historical and cultural attractions for tourists.

*Noongar is the general name for Aboriginal people in the south-west of Western Australia. 

Aboriginal Stories and Artwork
The Six Seasons
Story of Maamba
Story of Joobaitch
Story of Lesmurdie Falls

Local History Collection

The City of Kalamunda Local History Collection was established in 1984 with the help of the Kalamunda and Districts Historical Society. A collection of historic records were established as useful for research purposes and general interest.

The Collection

The Local History Collection provides information about Kalamunda, Lesmurdie, Forrestfield, Wattle Grove, High Wycombe, Maida Vale, Pickering Brook and neighbouring suburbs and localities within the City of Kalamunda. This collection is housed at Kalamunda Library.

The collection is a valuable repository containing information on the development, society and culture of the City, including the people, places and events that have shaped the history of the region. Types of material include books, pamphlets, diaries, letters, local government archives, maps, photographs, oral histories, ephemera and local newspaper clippings of articles of a biographical nature and of relevance to the City of Kalamunda.

    Local History Pictorial Collection

    An online collection of historic images.

    Photographs of local people, places and events viewable online.  The City of Kalamunda Local History Pictorial Collection is incorporated in the City of Kalamunda Library Services Online Catalogue.  Select ‘Local History Collection’ in the Home search targets dropdown. Enter a search term or select SEARCH to explore the collection. 

    Images of WA History

    A collaborative project with the aim of highlighting local history collections.

    Catalogue

    Oral Histories are available thanks to the efforts of the Bill Shaw Oral History Group.

    Contact Us

    Enquiries should be directed to the Kalamunda Library front desk during Opening Hours. Alternatively, you can email us at libraries@kalamunda.wa.gov.au.

    If extensive help is required to research the collection, please make an appointment with the Local History Librarian via telephone on (08) 9257 9852

    Follow us on the Kalamunda Libraries Facebook Page where images are selected from our Local History Collection and shared along with known details about the image. These posts highlight our wonderful collection and stories of our area. 

    Useful sites for researching local and family history

    AncestryLibrary.com
    WA Genealogical Society
    Birtwistle Local Studies Collection
    Heritage Council of WA
    ‘Foothills Connection’ Community Heritage Project
    Pickering Brook Heritage Group
    Royal Historical Society of WA
    Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
    Trove
    Kalamunda and Districts Historical Society
    The Western Australian Post Office Directories 1893-1949
    Carnamah Historical Society & Museum
    National Archives of Australia
    © City of Kalamunda 2021