The Wilyabrup community was born out of the group settlement scheme, which sought to bring settlers to the South West of Western Australia. Group 20 was established and eventually a school was built to educate the local children.
The Willyabrup Hall as it now stands is the result of the local Progress Association forming a building committee, after the old school/hall which was constructed in 1928, burnt down in 1955, after a children’s fancy dress evening was held. The bachelors quarters which remained, was eventually extended in 1960, to form the Hall that is used for community events today. A small but passionate group of locals has recently had the hall vested back into the hands of the Willyabrup Community Association. The official spelling of Wilyabrup is 1 L although the Association intentionally spell their name with 2 ll’s, after early mistakes on maps were taken up as the official spelling for many years. After being forced to adopt the apparently originally intended spelling, when the district was gazetted as an official locality, even though no-one was using that spelling at the time, arguments have abounded amongst residents. So when updating our constitution members were given a vote on which way we should spell our Community Association and a close vote ensured two Lls. This at least preserves some history and and ensures ongoing debate for many years ahead. Certainly membership of the Hall committee flourished in the lead up to the vote.
Visitors to the Hall would be astonished to know that it once had a sporting oval and indeed the cricket pitch still exists in the now overgrown bush.
Although the district is now home to many world renown wineries, businesses and establishments a great community essence still exists and an annual Christmas tree party is testament to that, when new and old residents alike turn up to preserve a tradition and maintain a link with their neighbours.
The Wadandi People ( Saltwater People) are the traditional custodians of this part of the South West and Wilyabrup means “Place of Red Ochre”.
Festival of Small Halls rolls into Wilyabrup on Friday, May 8th with Iona Fyfe (SCO) and Colin Lillie (AUS).
Tickets available online here
Wilyabrup Hall stands on lands traditionally owed by the Wadandi people.