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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 and from there they were later taken to the mainland.
The Kwinana district derives 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 jetty at Kwinana.
The residential part of Kwinana was planned in the early 1950’s by the State Government to accommodate the development of industry in the area. The first suburb to be created, Medina was opened up as a state housing area, and predominantly the families that moved there were newly arrived 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 1800’s, 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, e.g. 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 Kwinana Council had its beginnings with the passing of the Kwinana Roads Districts Act of 1953 on 15 February 1954. The district was originally administered by the Commissioner until a board of 7 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 9 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 to be a City.
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.
The City of Kwinana was planned in the early 1950’s by the State Government to accommodate the development of industry in the area.
The Kwinana Council had its beginnings with the passing of the Kwinana Road Districts Act of 1953.
The District was originally administered by a Commissioner, until a board of seven members was elected in 1961. After the proclamation, of the Local Government Act of 1960, the Kwinana Road District became the Municipality of Kwinana. 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.
Kwinana now has a population of approximately 31,000 people and on 17 September 2012 officially changed its designation to City of Kwinana – proclaimed by His Excellency Malcolm McCusker, Governor of Western Australia.