Donnelly River Village is a heritage listed 1950s timber mill town nestled deep in the heart of the southwest Karri Forests. Now dedicated to providing holiday accommodation, Donnelly offers lots of space for the kids to run around and meet the native animals, with peace and relaxation for the grown-ups too.
The Donnelly River Heritage Trail connects thirteen historical markers dotted around the township. The markers help bring to life the rich history of the Bunnings Donnelly Mill settlement, highlighting events, people and intriguing aspects of daily life.
A heritage trail through and around the village explores the history of Donnelly River Village. One of the attractions on the Heritage Trail is the original school. The museum is now located within this building. Borrow the key to the museum from the General Store and spend some time reading about life in a remote 1950s timber mill town, the characters in the community including the famous emu named Bill, and how timber was harvested and processed 70 years ago.
“The Mill itself is a highlight of the Heritage Trail. Donnelly River Mill is rare, as it is the only remaining substantially intact example of a steam driven saw dust fuelled timber mill in Australia and is of exceptional cultural heritage and educational significance to the State of Western Australia.”
Register of Heritage Places July 2004. The mill operated from 1950 to 1978. It was powered by sawdust fired steam driven engines and is the only remaining example of its kind in Australia. The Robe steam engine was considered the “Rolls Royce” of steam engines and is still located in the mill. In 1958 a King Karri was cut down and transported to Kings Park as part of the National Tree week celebration. At the time of closure Bunnings Pty Ltd handed the mill to the State government “for the benefit of the people’ with the machinery and workings deliberately left intact for this purpose. Since then, the government has commissioned studies to evaluate options for the mill but currently the mill is in a state of decline.
The mill and village are both heritage listed and a not-for-profit group, Save Donnelly Mill Inc 2018, has been established with the mission of conserving the mill so that it can become a static museum for the benefit of the public, the local community and tourism in the wider south west of Western Australia.
The mill is currently fenced-off and closed to the public. You may view the mill from outside the fence.