History of Nannup
Nannup is a town that lies on the Blackwood River in the south-west agricultural region of Western Australia.
The district is renowned for its jarrah, karri and pine forests and the economy relies on timber farming and
fruit growing. The word Nannup is an Aboriginal word which was used by the Noongyar people of the region. There are
several theories on the meaning of the word including 'place of the waters', 'place of parrots', 'stopping
Originally known as the Lower Blackwood, Nannup, was first explored by Thomas Turner during his exploration of
the Blackwood River in 1834. The first Europeans to settle in the area were farmers who saw the
agricultural potential in the 1850's.
Life was difficult for the early settlers as they struggled to fell the huge hardwood karri trees with only axes and crosscut saws. Farming was made all the more difficult with cattle
having to graze in the heavily timbered forests.
In 1866 a bridge was built across the Blackwood River which opened up the area and lead to the establishment of
the town. The town site was officially declared in 1890.
During the late 1890's and the early 1900's the timber industry in Western Australia boomed with
much of the exported timbers being used on London streets as paving blocks (under tar). Locally timber was used for
railway sleepers, telegraph poles, jetties and housing. The town flourished during this period as timber mill
workers and farmers moved into the area. The Bunnings mill was one of the first mills to be established in Nannup
and Bunning Bros Pty Ltd remained the major employer in the town during most of the century.
It was in 1886 that Arthur and Robert Bunning arrived in Fremantle on the SS Elderslie. They had arrived from London to visit family with the intention of
heading off to the United States of America. Having decided to stay, the brothers set up a building company and
eventually founded a group of companies known as Bunning Bros Pty Ltd. It was during the timber boom that they
became timber merchants and developed saw mills and timber yards in the South-West of the state to include
Today, Nannup has a population of over 1,200 and the timber and cattle industries continue to dominate
Nannup's economy. Though Nannup is expanding into tourism.