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Pinjarra is a town in the Peel region of Western Australia along the South Western Highway, 82 kilometres from the state capital, Perth and 21 kilometres south-east of the coastal city of Mandurah. Its local government area is the Shire of Murray.
It is near the site of the Pinjarra massacre, where between 14 and 80 Noongar people were killed by British colonists in 1834.
The name was often shown spelt "Pinjarrup" on early maps, while the accepted spelling for many years was "Pinjarrah". There are conflicting theories regarding the meaning of the name, and it is usually said to mean "place of a swamp", as a corruption of the Aboriginal word "beenjarrup". However, Pinjarra is more likely to have been named after the Pindjarup people who frequented the area.
Pinjarra is one of the earliest European settlements to occur in Western Australia; one of the first settlers in the area was Thomas Peel, who established a settlement at the mouth of the Murray River in 1830. In 1831, land was reserved for a townsite near a ford over the river. By 1834, word had spread about the rich loamy soils and pastures, bringing more Europeans to the area. In 1834, at the insistence of Thomas Peel, a group was organised and led by Governor James Stirling to do something about the Aboriginals; this group attacked the village consisting of over 20 mia-mias just after dawn. They approached from both sides of the river, forcing the people into the river where they caught the victims, mostly women and children, in a crossfire. Many bodies were left to float down stream. Official reports referred to it as a battle; it was not until over 150 years later that it was recognised as one of many massacres by colonialists in Australia. Surveys were carried out in 1836 and land allocated to settlers in 1837.
A British child migration scheme run by Kingsley Fairbridge established a farm school in the area in the early 1900s. Hundreds of orphaned children were educated at Fairbridge Farm between 1913 and 1981. Fairbridge Chapel was built at Pinjarra, in 1924 to Herbert Baker's design.

References and Links

Richards, Ronald 1978, The Murray District of Western Australia: A History, Shire of Murray.

Richards, Ronald 1980, Mandurah and the Murray: A Short History of the Old Murray District of Western Australia 1829-1900, privately published.

Richards, Ronald 1993, Murray and Mandurah: A Sequel History of the Old Murray District of Western Australia, Shire of Murray and City of Mandurah.

Smart W. C. 1956, Mandurah and Pinjarrah: History of Thomas Peel and the Peel Estate, 1829-1865, Paterson Brokensha, Perth. (Violent conflict between settlers and Aborigines in Western Australia 1838; Battle of Pinjarrah; Appendix has account of 'Customs of the Murray tribe'.)

See also: Pinjarra massacre.

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