This short walk takes you through the central part of Darlington Village taking in a number of early buildings and sites of what originally started as a Vineyard in the early 1880's by Alfred Waylen.
Before Europeans the Darlington area would have been home to the Aboriginal Whadjuk people. The first European settlement of Western Australia was in1829 and a survey of the surrounding areas was led by Ensign Robert Dale that same year followed by Assistant Surveyor Philip Chauncey a few years later who drew a map around the Bilgoman well area. The first real settlement in this area was next to this well when a convict station was constructed of Mahogany (Jarrah) in early 1854 to house convict workers for the York Road.
It wasn’t until Alfred Robert Waylen purchased land in the area and started his Darlington Vineyard c1883 and the Eastern Railway was sited through Darlington in 1884 that this area and beyond was able to progress into an important supplier of raw materials such as timber and gravel and produce (wine, fruit and vegetables) to the fledgling colony.
The name Darlington became synonymous with this area because of Waylen’s vineyard and was named after the Darling Range and ton added to this. Progressively the vineyard name was dropped so the town just became Darlington and was finally gazetted as such in 1939.
As more land opened up down south and the railway extended into these parts that were more suitable for wine and fruit growing, Darlington began to close down its vineyards and subdivide the land for housing and smaller farmlets.
The scourge of tuberculosis increased after WW1 with the returning soldiers and the fresh air of the hills meant convalescent hospitals flourished along with guest houses to access this therapeutic environment. Running guest houses was a way single and widowed women could earn a living.The time from Darlington to the city was an easy commute which made it convenient to live in the hills and still work in the city.
The attractive environment encouraged artists to the hills such a Amy Heap, Daisy Rossi and Walter Meston post WW1 and later post WW2 artists such as Guy Grey Smith and Robert Juniper. Other talented individuals also came to Darlington resulting in theatrical, musical and craft groups.
Today these early traditions in Darlington carry on making it a diverse and interesting community which has managed to preserve its rich heritage while also carefully managing change.
For more in depth information about Darlington’s rich history our website and books are an excellent source of information.
Darlington History Group
This was built by Alfred Robert Waylen and operated as a cellar until the vineyard was finally subdivided for housing in 1916. It was converted to a Community hall in 1923 by the local residents.
The Pines/Perrellas was originally built as a Butcher’s shop by John Charles Warr. Over the years it has operated as the Wooden Shoe Café, Grocery Store and now back as a Café.
This was purchased privately by several local residents to provide a communal area where various sports such as cricket and school sports days could be more conveniently held. Now under shire control.
Across the road is the Church. The land was donated in 1914 by Mrs Amelia Stone and her daughters. A Lych gate was built in 1950 & stone wall 1957 in memory of the 1st Minister Walter Scott Clarke.
The mounded earth just adjacent to Owen Rd was the first platform that served the vineyard. This was shifted in 1906 further east to be more convenient for commuters. Area now is a landscaped reserve.
The platform was moved further east then closed in Jan 1954 when the trains ceased. The buildings were eventually all removed. The ticket office was removed to a local private residence.
This was built by Hubert Taplin as a grocery store and Post Office. Sold to John Mitchell then Morrie Owen and remained in the Owen family for 50 yrs until 1974 when son John retired.
First built as a shed in 1920 by J. Mitchell then Morrie Owen added an extra room to house the oven for a Bakery. Later used as a garden centre but now back as storage for the Liquor Store.
Built in 1927 and operated as a multi denominational church for Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregationalists. It has recently been renamed as Darlington Christian Fellowship from the United Church.
This was built by Miss McIntosh and served as a Post Office and Store, then later as a tearoom and gallery.
This was a purpose built Post office by Cecil Leedman and has remained as such today. A front facade was added by the Leedmans in 1940. Mr Leedman was also a local Real Estate Agent.
There were 4 Station Masters who served at Darlington, the last one Alexander Leslie left in June 1939. The house was leased until the property was sold in 1962. It has been recently renovated.
The 1st school started at Leithdale with 19 pupils & Head Teacher Miss Hogan . In 1913 the 1st classroom was built here. Miss Hogan took sick leave in 1919, resigned in 1920 & returned to England.
The first classroom was built in 1913, this was demolished along with the 1916 & 1924 rooms. Left is the last classroom built along with the original boys shelter shed. In 1963 the school was rebuilt.
Built as a Tearoom by the owner Burges and leased to Robert Greville until 1941. He ran a Chemist shop from here. A later owner Wally Coxon supplied and repaired radios for the Royal Flying Doctor.
The hall was built after much fund raising by the scouts & guides. Kath & her husband John ran these groups in the late 1940s and 1950's. When Kath died after a fall the hall was named in her honor.
This property of 21 acres was purchased by Thomas Cockshott and a substantial house built with an orchard established. Much later due to neglect it was demolished. A new house now occupies the site.
Thomas Stitfold worked for the Post & Telegraph & built this house. He renamed the Rd from Cellar to Beenong in 1923. The next owner was Monger who named the house "Meedo" after a station up north.
Lance Holt School was an independent school set up in c1974 . It later changed to Beenong then Montessori Treetops in 1989. It has expanded over several properties now teaching from K- Yr 12.
Built to house the first vineyard manager Charles Mumme Snr. Later occupants were Auber Neville Protector of Aborigines 1915-1936 who planted the Plumbago hedge & Mrs Curlewis who ran the "Glee Club"
Left a widow with 5 daughters Mrs Dorothy Edmondson ran her guest house and tearoom until her death in 1969. One of the St Cuthbert's windows was donated in 1973 by the daughters to their parents.
It was used for distilling spirits to fortify the wine, accomodation and later as a supper room. In the 1960's it was demolished to make way for the toilet facilities next to the new hall.