A journey over the Darling Range from Perth during the winter months of 1830 into what was later to become the Avon Valley resulted in York being settled on the banks of the Avon River on the 16th of September 1831, and holding the distinction of Western Australia’s first inland town. It is undoubtedly one of the most charming and picturesque towns in Western Australia.
The journey to York is a far cry from Ensign Robert Dales discovery of the 1830’S with the advent of the motor car and sealed roads, neither which was available to this early explorer. The road to York should include a picturesque drive through the John Forrest National Park to Mundaring, visiting the landmark Mundaring Weir a tribute to CY O’Connor’s ingenuity to provide water to the Kalgoorlie Gold Fields. Turning right at the lakes, the commencement of the Great Southern Highway, takes you past Mount Observation offering a scenic views back over the Mundaring Weir catchment and beyond. The quaint shire of York awaits you, on the banks of the Avon River, its treasures unfolding as they did for the many Gold Prospectors in the late 1800’s. Juxtaposed between Mt Bakewell and Mt Brown, York remains the gateway to the Wheat-belt. The Wheat-belt remains the food bowl as it did for Governor Sterling early Swan River Colony.
York may have continued as an attractive and small settlement had it not been for an unusual conjunction of events. The town had always been an important departure point for the intrepid pastoralists, sandalwood cutters and explorers who tried their luck in the dry flat plains beyond the coast. In 1886 this process was greatly improved by the arrival of the Railway. This lucky event occurred within two years of the discovery of gold at Southern Cross and later at Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. Today York embraces its heritage traditions with the diverse range of Festivals and Events throughout the year.