Our History

History of Serpentine Jarrahdale 

The Shire has evolved from humble beginnings, dating back to 1840 when Thomas Peel established the Serpentine Farm on his land grant on the banks of the Serpentine River (Mann, Wilma, Harnessing Voices, 2001). 

Prior to the Serpentine Road Board being gazetted in 1896, the area was governed by the Canning Road Board. Upon the formation of the Serpentine Road Board, which held its first meeting in 1897, the new Road Board controlled a corridor about 18.5km wide extending from Albany Highway to the coast. (Coy, N.J. The Serpentine, 1984).

In 1902, the Jarrahdale Road Board was formed and the two Road Boards, Serpentine and Jarrahdale functioned independently for almost a decade. In 1913 the Serpentine and Jarrahdale Road Boards combined to become the Serpentine Jarrahdale Road Board. Land west of the Serpentine River system was transferred to the Rockingham Road Board. (Coy, N.j. The Serpentine 1984).

In July 1961, the Serpentine-Jarrahdale Road Board became the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale when seven Road Board members were sworn in as Shire Councillors. (Coy, N.J. The Serpentine, 1984).

With its good soils and access to markets, the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale was a very stable farming and orchard area with other industries based on its natural resources. There was, and still is, timber processing based on local forest product and brickworks based on local shale and clay.

In the late 1970s these were supplemented by Alcoa’s bauxite mining with a crushing plant in Jarrahdale, all of which provided local employment. Today, small holdings and a rural lifestyle have seen the development of several equestrian establishments. 

A steady growth in the value of rural production together with recognition by local government of the Shire's food production capacity, the need for protection of good agricultural land, and the necessity for value added enterprises, have all added to the Shire's reputation as a 'food bowl'.

The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale has a strong sense of history based on the original families to settle in the area, from the early Peel settlers, the group settlement families, and later generations. While the Darling Range escarpment will always hold its appeal, the Shire and the community recognise the cultural significance of the built heritage of the area. 

Today, the Shire is experiencing significant growth and is the fastest growing local government in WA. The Shire is balancing this growth while nurturing the rural lifestyle and character of our region.

History of place names 

Find out how the localities within the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale got their name.


Byford was originally named Beenup.  Surveyor, A.W. Canning, commenced laying out a number of townsite lots in the area west of the railway line where Briggs Park is situated, and "Beenup Townsite" was declared in May that same year although the land was not utilized at this time.  Beenup townsite was gazetted in 1906. 

The name Beenup was taken from the name of the railway siding and is a corruption of the nearby Beenyup Brook.  It is reputed that the signwriter, renowned for his poor spelling of signs on several railway sidings and stations, when painting the sign for Beenyup Siding unfortunately left out the “Y” and so the town was known as Beenup for the next 27 years. 

Following a ballot among the local people, the name 'Byford' was chosen from five selected names, Beenup, Beenyup, Byford, Glengeorge and Winterbourne,  subsequently the name of Byford was gazetted on the 23 April, 1920.


In 1844, Surveyor Robert Austin recorded that Cockburn Sound Location 22 was called Cardoup. The brook joining the northern boundary of this location was shown variously as Cardoup or Cadup Brook. In 1851, the location was purchased by H. Mead, who gave his address as Cardup and this spelling was used for the brook on most subsequent plans and surveys. By 1927, a railway siding had been erected nearby and was called Cardup after the brook and although the siding is no longer in use, the place still retains the name. Cardup is an Aboriginal name said to mean "place of the racehorse goanna"(Kurda).

Darling Downs

An area of farmlet subdivision between Byford and Wungong, Darling Downs derives its name from the nature of the country and its proximity to the Darling Range. The name was first used as an estate name in 1977, and adopted as a suburb name in 1997.


Hopeland is a farming area west of Serpentine that was formerly part of the Peel Estate Group Settlement Scheme. Group 46, formed in 1923, was named Hopeland, and the name was approved as a suburb name in 1997.


Jarrahdale is a descriptive name, derived from its situation in some of Western Australia's best Jarrah forest. The place came about as a result of the granting of timber concessions here in 1872. The Jarrahdale Timber Coy constructed a railway for the transport of timber from Jarrahdale through Mundijong to Rockingham.  Following a fire which destroyed the town in 1895 the townsite was moved to west of its first location.  Jarrahdale was officially gazetted in 1913.


Karrakup is a large area of forest and farm country east of Byford. It derives its name from "Karrak", the Nyoongar word for the red-tailed black cockatoo which is prevalent in the area. It was approved as a suburb name in 1997.


Keysbrook is located within the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale along the South Western Highway. It was first established as a railway siding on the South Western Railway in 1897, and is believed to have been named after Charles Key (1847–1885), who leased land in the area. The townsite was gazetted in 1916, and the locality was established in 1997.


Mardella is a variant form of the Aboriginal name of the nearby Medulla Brook. A farming area between Mundijong and Serpentine, the name Mardella has been in use in this area since 1898, when a railway siding of this name was opened here. It was approved as a suburb name in 1997.


Originally named Jarrahdale Junction, it was at the junction of the Rockingham-Jarrahdale line and the government line from Perth to Bunbury which was built in 1893. A town grew up around the junction, and a timber depot which included a large board mill was constructed. The town was first declared as "Manjedal" in 1893 as it was thought to be the Aboriginal name of the area. In 1897 this was found to be incorrect, and the name was changed to Mundijong.


The suburb of Oakford was named in 1982, and takes its name from the townsite of this name declared in 1926. The townsite was cancelled in 1927.


Oldbury is a farming area west of Mundijong and Cardup. It takes its name from Group 35 of the Peel Estate Group Settlement Scheme, formed here in 1922. It was approved as a suburb name in 1997.


The rural townsite of Serpentine,located 55 km south east of Perth, derives its name from the Serpentine River on which it is located. The river was discovered in 1832, and named because it is such a winding river in its lower reaches.  The town is located on the South Western Railway between Perth and Bunbury and was one of the original stations when the line was opened in 1893.


The name is derived from Whitby Falls, located within the area. The falls area  is about 60 metres in height and have been locally known by this name since 1848. Originally known as "Mundajill", was renamed "Whitby Falls Estate" after being purchased by Henry Mead in 1848. Approval as a townsite name was given in 1988.