• Town Heritage






    In 2001 the Wundowie Progress Association engaged Relix to prepare a Community Strategic Plan. The plan was completed in 2003 and included a recommendation to seek National Trust of Australia (WA) historic town status. The association successfully sought funding from Lotterywest and engaged Relix in association with Fiona Bush Heritage and Archaeology to fulfil the recommendation through a conservation plan based on Heritage Council of WA guidelines followed by preparation for a nomination document for consideration by the National Trust of Australia (WA) for historic town status. This conservation plan is the first part of that process.





    The area for this conservation plan is the townsite of Wundowie as identified in the Shire of Northam Town Planning Scheme No.3 gazetted in 2005.





    Wundowie was conceived during World War II as a post-war town to address the issue of desirable industrial development and employment for returning servicemen and women. Design was carried out by the Town Planning Department and construction commenced in the mid 1940’s by the government agencies for housing and infrastructure such as water, power and roads. The town grew in two major stages identified by the curvilinear street pattern and the later grid pattern. The industrial fortune of the town fluctuated from post-war times and the industrial base moved from the original iron and coke production to the foundry operations of today.





    Wundowie townsite is clearly identified as possessing a unique ‘Garden City’ style curvilinear street pattern for its central core with a later expansion reverting to a typical grid pattern to the north. It is located in a small valley than joins the major valley of the natural drainage system of Woorooloo Brook and the settlement pattern generally accommodates the natural contours of the land. The townsite excludes the industrial complex to the south but it’s presence is a strong visual cue with large extant buildings and two 30m high redundant retorts of stainless steel.





    Wundowie was revealed as possessing cultural significance that included aesthetic value for its Garden City design form, a design concept transferred from Britain, and its setting, plus the consistency of its urban form of a vernacular housing style that are interpreted through public artworks. It is a successful and unique design for a regional industrial town with intact streetscapes. The historic significance is its wartime initiative and demonstrated positive future planning for WA’s first 20th century industrial town that subsequently produced high standard products and techniques. Wundowie has scientific value due to its coke and iron ore production being the birth of WA’s iron ore industry. It also possesses social significance through the continuing community vitality that demonstrates that industrial towns of the future can be successfully designed to answer social, cultural and industrial issues.





    The Wundowie Progress Association, in conjunction with the appropriate bodies, will pursue the implementation of the Wundowie Community Strategic Plan of 2003. This conservation plan identifies sufficient evidence to support a nomination to the National Trust of Australia for the town to be declared a Historic Town. The adoption of this conservation plan by the Shire of Northam (the draft plan has already been adopted) will provide guidance for the Shire to maintain and conserve the public domain and this guidance will protect the heritage significance of the place.





    The Wundowie Progress Association and the Shire of Northam will establish a liaison

    procedure with which to implement the outcomes of this conservation plan and provide

    advice to the National Trust of Australia (WA) in the subsequent submission for seeking Historic Town Status. Achieving Historic Town status will complete the objective of this conservation plan and the recommendation from the 2003 Wundowie Community Strategic Plan.

    The Shire of Northam as the responsible local government authority will manage the

    public domain of the town and, through its planning and development controls of its town planning scheme, control new development in the town. The strategy is contained in a suite of guidelines on the future development in the town and expansion of the townsite.






    The assistance and contributions from the following people has been substantial and

    is greatly appreciated in the preparation of the Wundowie Conservation Plan.

    The Wundowie Progress Association

    Steering Group members

    Benjamin Seabrook

    Bill Pearce

    Joan Renton Spencer

    Harry Ball

    John Treloar

    Douglas Collins




    The Conservation Plan has been researched and prepared by Relix in association with Fiona Bush Heritage and Archaeology with the following responsibilities:


    Michael Jefferson BSc., Dip Ed –

    Management, editing and community liaison


    Donald Newman A(Arch)PTC, DipTP, MPhil.

    Physical evidence, research and preparation of drafts


    Fiona Bush BA(Hons), MBEnv

    History, research and preparation of



    View the Plan

    Format: PDF

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