History of Morawa

The first European occupation of the Morawa district was by pastoralists, shepherds, sandal wood cutters and miners in the latter part of the 19th century.

The Assistant Surveyor Mr A C Gregory travelled through the Morawa area in 1846. Later, in 1869, Mr John Forrest (later Lord Forrest) and Mr E Giles in 1876 carried out exploratory trips in and around the present district of Morawa.

There is ample evidence through sites and artefacts of Aboriginal occupation of this district. The pastoralists, shepherds and sandalwood cutters followed, making use of Aboriginal guides and their watering places.

In 1870 alluvial gold was found at Peterwangey, and a small deposit of copper was mined at Wooltana.

Agriculture came into the district in the early 1900's when Mr and Mrs John Stokes settled and grew a plot of oats and wheat. The family lived in Greenough and John Stokes used to shepherd sheep from there to Merkanooka.

Morawa was declared a townsite in 1912 and the railway came through in 1913. The Upper Irwin Road Board, created in 1901, administered the town but in 1916 the Perenjori-Morawa Road Board was formed. The Morawa Road Board was excised from Perenjori in 1928 and formed their own Board of Administration.

In 1948 the Premier, Mr McLarty, opened Prater Airport which accommodated Dove and DC3 aircraft and is now a regular port of call for light aircraft. A fully illuminated strip allows for night landing of flying doctor and courier planes. The aero club building is dedicated to P J McGinness, co-founder of Qantas Airways.

For eight years following 1966 iron ore was mined by Western Mining Corporation at the Koolanooka Hills and exported through the Port of Geraldton to Japan. The total of 5.1 million tons was the first iron ore to be exported from Australia. Significantly, mining of Koolanooka Hills recommenced in 2006, this time by Midwest Corporation Limited.