Located 429km south east of Perth and 179km north east of Albany, Jerramungup is a small wheat and sheep town and western gateway to the Fitzgerald River National Park. There is a sign on the edge of town which declares ‘Wool Country’, a far cry from ‘Jerramungup’ which various sources define as meaning either a simplified pronunciation of ‘yerra-mo-up’, which supposedly refers to a particular native tree in the local Aboriginal language, or a word meaning ‘place of the tall yate trees which grow through the mist’.
The area around Jerramungup was first explored by John Septimus Roe in 1848, who passed through while on his way to Esperance. It was Roe who first used the name Jerramungup to refer to the area. In his diary of the journey he records ‘we were gladdened by the view of a large extent of good grassy country to the N.E. lightly timbered, and at this time well watered by a river and its numerous branches. It is known to the natives as Jeer-a-mung-up’.
The township of Jerramungup didn’t really come into existence until the early 1950s when the area was targeted as a War Service Land Settlement area. The Hassell family sold ‘Jarramongup’ to the Land Settlement Board in 1950. A school opened in a shearing shed in 1956 and the town site was formally declared in 1957. By 1958, 250,000 acres had been cleared and divided into 141 farms. Memories of the town’s association with World War II are obvious in street names like Coral Sea Road, Kokoda Road, Lancaster Road, Monash Avenue, Spitfire Avenue, Java Sea Road and Tobruk Road.
The town is situated in an agricultural district supporting the production of sheep, wool, grains and fresh water crayfish. The district has also diversified into the tourism and fish processing industries. There is hotel, motel, bed and breakfast and caravan park accommodation available.