Two and a half hours South of Perth on the Albany Highway is one of the oldest settlements between Perth and Albany. Founded in 1837, the settlement is Kojonup and like many small towns it was titled after the name used for it by the original Nyoongar aboriginal communities living in this location probably for some thousands of years. The name probably came from the word Kodja meaning stone and Kojonup meaning a stone axe, an implement of great importance to these people.
The town, like many others on the Albany Highway was a base for the Police and Army troops whose responsibility it was to protect the land and its people on behalf of the Government of the day. The barracks in which they were housed have been renovated in recent times to their aboriginal 19th century state with contributions from the state government and the townspeople of Kojonup as have other buildings and items of an important historical nature.
Along with the Barracks on its original site, the Pioneer Museum is housed, it’s contents a locally maintained testimony to the origins of the town.
The standard military force housed at the Barracks was replaced by a mounted police constable in 1865 and by the late 1860’s the military had departed and the town’s first police station was built in 1869. One could be excused for being cynical when one realizes that the first hotel licence was granted in 1870 just one year later.!
From the original aboriginal word of Kodja, a museum called Kodja Place has been established and with its Black Cockatoo Café is an absolute must to break journey and stop to be shown the town’s history in a fun and unique way by one of the local indigenous residents.