Old Karridale was the location of the original Karridale township established by M.C. Davies in 1884. Unfortunately, in 1961, a series of fires destroyed the town. A new township was built a short distance away.
History of Old Karridale
The original town was established as a timber mill by M.C. Davies. Within a few years, there were about 600 men and their families living there. A school was established in 1888 and a sports ground and racecourse soon followed.
Hardwood timber was in big demand and the Karri and Jarrah timber mill was struggling to keep up with supply. The mill from Coodarup was moved to Karridale to double production.
In 1900 a particularly nasty storm whipped up off the coast and destroyed the Hamelin Bay Jetty. Only a small section of the jetty remained. This was the beginning of the end of the Davies Timber empire. The decline in timber followed. By 1913 the last of the mills closed.
In the 1920s the State Premier James Mitchell, working with the British Government, established the Group Settlement Scheme. Over 6,000 families were paid their way to sail from England to Western Australia to start a new life in the South West. Twenty families were sent to Karridale and they became known as Group 4. Each family received a 160-acre block of land and a grant of £10. The scheme was abandoned in 1930 due to the horrendous conditions and the start of the Great Depression.
In Davies Park, you will find the site of the Old Karridale Mill. The beautiful crude brick Foundry Chimney and ruins of the furnace, oven, and engine boiler are all that remains of a once-thriving community.
The mill at Coodarup Mill was dismantled and moved to Old Karridale in early 1882 to double the capacity. The chimney was built around 1883 and it played an integral role in the timber operations.
In 1902 M.C. Davies and seven other timber companies operating in Western Australia amalgamated into Millars’ Karri and Jarrah Co. Ltd. However, this was a short-lived venture as the Karridale mill closed in 1905.
Fire of 1961
Despite the closure of the mill, there were many people who chose to continue living in the area.
In 1961 a series of fires raged across the State. The alarm was raised in Karridale on the 3rd of March. All 60 or so residents were forced to evacuate. The fire swept through the townsite engulfing all in its path. The hall, post office, St Augustine church, general store, and two houses were destroyed.
The big wooden archway made from tall timbers was erected in 1982 to commemorate the town and the Davies family who established it.