Towns and Settlements
The population of the Shire is both diverse and dispersed. The Shire itself measures 7082km2. Most WA local government authorities have their population predominantly based in one or two main town sites; however, the Shire of Manjimup has four main population centres: Manjimup, Pemberton, Northcliffe and Walpole. In addition to these town sites, the Shire also has seven other populated settlements (Deanmill, Jardee, Nyamup, Palgarup, Quinninup, Tone River and Windy Harbour) and a large number of localities. According to 2021 Census figures, 9,093 people live within the Shire of Manjimup boundaries.
Manjimup is in the lower South West of WA, approximately 307 kilometres south of Perth and 126 kilometres from the regional city of Bunbury. The town of Manjimup is a regional centre for the largest shire in the South West of Western Australia. The 2016 population of Manjimup town site is 4,349 people, while the broader area of Manjimup consists of 5,538 which accounts for nearly 60% of the total Shire population.
Northcliffe is situated 360 km south of Perth - 27 km from the coast at Windy Harbour. It is the gateway to the D'Entrecasteaux and Shannon National Parks. Walk the trails of the Forest Park or the Bibbulmun Track and identify trees and plants of the Karri forest. Heathland wildflowers, although in extra abundance in the spring, can be found in Northcliffe all year. The Tourist Centre abounds in history and culture. Attractions include the extensive George Gardner Rock and Mineral Collection, an Aboriginal interpretative centre featuring the Bibbulmun tribe, comprehensive photographic wildflower catalogue, group settlement museum and period schoolroom.
Pemberton lies at the heart of the Karri forest in the lower South West of Western Australia. It is a comfortable 4-hour drive from Perth with a stop for a breather. The picturesque town nestles in a peaceful valley surrounded by mighty Karri trees and lush pastures. The area was first settled in the 1880's and the town came in to being with the establishment of the first sawmill in 1913. Whether you come for the weekend or longer, there is a lot to do and see and the forest takes on a different appeal according to the season. As well as being the centre of strong horticulture and emerging viticulture industries, Pemberton is a renowned tourist destination.
Quinninup is located 30 km south of Manjimup. The period 1910 to 1920 saw the continuation of development in the Warren district. The timber industry became firmly established and the population of the district increased further. Quinninup Group Settlement 119 consisted of 17 families who arrived in May 1924. They lived in shacks just off the Wheatley Coast Road, which was one of the stock routes used to drive cattle and sheep to the coast for summer feed. The settlement is a former timber mill site and the quaint cottages now house local residents and the area is increasing in demand as a quiet residential area around Karri Lake and among native forests.
Walpole is located on the south coast, 120km south of Manjimup and approximately 68km west of Denmark. Aboriginal people first lived and moved through these parts more than 30,000 years ago. Early seafarers along the south coast of WA in 1622 were discouraged from close exploration by strong winds and the lack of visible safe anchorages. However, the sealers and whalers later spoke in glowing terms of sheltered inlets, huge trees and great deep rivers. These reports brought William Preston and his party to officially explore the Walpole-Nornalup area in 1831. In 1845 a group of Englishmen settled on the Deep River. Permanent settlement followed in 1910. The district was opened for agriculture in 1930 with the introduction of the Nornalup Land Settlement Scheme. The new township was gazetted as Nornalup in 1933 and this was officially changed to Walpole in August 1934. The area is surrounded by giant Tingle and Karri forests and is close to the world renowned Tree Top Walk.
Windy Harbour is a holiday settlement situated on 190 hectares of a Crown reserve, surrounded by D'Entrecasteaux National Park on the south coast of Western Australia about 90km south of Manjimup and 27km south of Northcliffe. Approximately 230 cottages have been developed on individual leases since the early 1900's. Leasehold tenure, seasonal occupation and a strong community spirit have generated a settlement of unique character. After the great depression, inexpensive camping holidays on the south coast were favoured by many of the south west timber workers during the Christmas break when mills ceased to operate for several weeks. It was during these times that the strong social ties and community spirit, which still typify the Windy Harbour settlement, were first established. Fishing has always been, and still is, a major recreational activity at Windy Harbour and one of the principal reasons for establishment of the settlement. The settlement provides visitors with spectacular scenery, safe harbour on the rugged coast line and rewarding fishing.