A presence on the road
Relations between Aboriginal people and European settlers became strained within a few years of the start of the colony. A number of incidents along the York Road resulted in the establishment of a military station at Mahogany Creek in 1839. When these barracks were abandoned, the building was converted to a wayside inn, later to be known as Mahogany Inn.
. . Named for water
What we call Jarrah nowadays was named Swan River Mahogany by early European colonists, its wood having similarities to that of mahogany imported to Britain from the West Indies for furniture. This is the probable origin of the name of the creek that runs through Jarrah forest in this area and for which the settlement is named.
. . A watering place
The creek provided an important watering place for travellers and stock on the York Road, which was realigned to access it. A well made the supply permanent. A watering hole of another type came about when the barracks were abandoned by the military. Converted to overnight accommodation, from January 1845 the barracks were licensed as the 'Prince of Wales Inn'.
. . Train to trade
Trade at the 'Prince of Wales' boomed while hundreds of navvies worked on the Eastern Railway in the 1880s. They moved on but railway access encouraged sawmilling and orchardists to the district and the Mahogany Creek Suburban Area was opened up. Gravel quarrying supplanted timber as the main industry after 1900 and granite quarries supplied the materials for many iconic Perth buildings. The Inn was unable to compete with train travel and it closed in the late 1890s. It was purchased as a private country residence by Stephen Henry Parker, who then gave it to his daughter as a wedding present.
. . Spreading wings
Settlement further east of the Mahogany Creek train station led to a new stopping place on the Eastern Railway, the new siding was named Zamia after the native palm. Several settlers farmed poultry to meet the demand, both in Perth and on the goldfields, and Zamia became recognised as the centre of the hills poultry industry.
A State Registered Place in Mahogany Creek is the Mahogany Inn.
Mosaic ref: 2004.279 and 2011.12
Photos below: Casotti Granite Quarry in Coppin Rd, Mahogany Creek in the 1960s and (bottom photo) Members of the Byfield family standing in front of Charles Byfield's mud brick cottage, c.1890s.
Background photograph: 'Old Mahogany Inn' in 1903. Mosaic ref: 2004.44
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