About Kwinana

​A brief overview of our community's rich heritage

The history of Kwinana goes back to 1829 when Lt. James Stirling established the Swan River Colony. The first settlers were off-loaded from the transport ship Parmelia onto Garden Island after she ran aground. They were later taken to the mainland. 

The Kwinana district gets its name from the Steamship Kwinana. The Kwinana was originally the S.S. Darius and was bought in 1912 by the State Government. At first it was decided to rename her Kimberley, but there were too many ships of this name in Lloyds' Register of Shipping.

Kwinana was finally chosen, the name being taken from a sub-division in the Kimberley district. It is aboriginal for Pretty Maiden.

On Christmas Day, 1920, the Kwinana was damaged by a fire at Carnarvon. A year later she was brought to Fremantle, where she was stripped and towed to a mooring at Careening Bay, Garden Island. During a westerly gale in 1922, a mooring shackle was parted and the vessel drifted across Cockburn Sound to where she lies today.

The rusting hulk of the Kwinana ship was cut down to low water level and the centre was filled with limestone to form a platform as part of the old Kwinana jetty.

The residential part of Kwinana was planned in the early 1950s by the State Government to accommodate the development of industry in the area. The first suburb to be created was Medina. This was opened up as a state housing area and most of the families that moved in were fresh migrants of Anglo Celtic descent.

The residential neighbours in the main townsite of Kwinana were named after the early sailing ships, which brought settlers and others to Western Australia in the early 1800s, such as Medina, Calista and Parmelia.

The streets in these neighbourhoods have been given the names of some of the crew and some of the passengers in those early ships. Pace Road, for instance was named to commemorate the Captain Pace, the Master of the sailing ship Medina, which arrived in Fremantle on 16 July 1830.

The Reserves and open spaces were similarly titled, for example, Ridley Green was named to commemorate Mrs Charles Dawson Ridley and family who arrived on the sailing ship Wanstead in 1830, to join the husband who was an early farmer.

The picnic area adjacent to the Kwinana ship wreck was named Wells Park in the honour of the then post-mistress, Mrs Clara Wells, who in 1922 first marked mailbags Kwinana Wreck at her general store opposite to the wreck.
Further reading: Kwinana Third Time Lucky, Laurie Russell, 1979.

Kwinana Council

The Kwinana Council began through passing the Kwinana Roads Districts Act of 1953 on 15 February 1954. The district was originally administered by the Commissioner until a board of seven members was elected in on 11 February 1961.

After the proclamation of the Local Government Act of 1960, the Kwinana Road District became the Municipality of Kwinana and two additional Councillors were elected in 1970 making a total of nine Councillors - one more than the present number. In 1977, the Council acquired Town status and on 17 September 2012 His Excellency Governor Malcolm McCusker declared Kwinana a City.​

Kwinana Industrial Area (KIA)

Kwinana industry is a major contributor to the success of Western Australia at national and international level.

The relationship between Kwinana industry and the local community is strengthened by a shared environment and a desire to be good neighbours. Effectively balancing the needs of the community, industry and the environment makes Kwinana unique in the metropolitan area.

The Kwinana Industrial Area (KIA) has been in existence for 60 years and continues to make a major contribution to the wealth of the state of Western Australia.

The heavy and supporting industries of the KIA have provided direct and indirect employment opportunities for tens of thousands of Australians. The companies in the Kwinana Industrial Area:

  • generate a combined annual output valued at $15.77 billion per annum;

  • have direct sales of $8.51 billion;

  • directly employ around 4,800 people (64% live locally);

  • provide indirect employment to approximately another 26,000 people;

  • commit hundreds of millions of dollars to capital expenditure every year;

  • provide a wide range of employee services;

  • actively fund and contribute time and talent to community activities; and,

  • sponsor independent research to validate their own high standards and strict code of self-regulation on health, safety and environmental issues.

In order for the benefits of industry to be retained, the businesses concerned must have a sustainable future. Such a future must allow for new investment in the KIA so that businesses can grow. Industry also has a responsibility to the community to preserve the environment for current and future generations.

Growing environmental expectations have seen industry respond with a dramatic influx of technology and innovation. Many Kwinana companies demonstrate world's best practice - not just in production, but also in their environmental safeguards.

Industry is moving towards a more dynamic and innovative future with the community and the environment.

For further information visit Kwinana Industries Council or view the City's Coastcare Program, which works closely with Industry to ensur​e the safety of the environment.

Page reviewed: 12 Jul 2016 8:08pm