The History of Denmark WA

The History of Denmark WA

The first people to arrive in the Denmark area were Aborigines, thought to be about 40,000 years ago.

Archaeological evidence has been found, such as fish traps in Wilson Inlet and carbon from Aboriginal cooking fires identified in the sand from a cave near Ocean Beach.

Thomas Braidwood Wilson, a Scottish navy surgeon, discovered this area in 1829 when conducting an expedition from Frederickstown - later to become Albany. He came across the river here and named it the Denmark River, after Dr Alexander Denmark RN, his friend and former tutor at Naval Medical College in England.

The town grew around the banks of the river and was initially known as Denmark River, but the word ‘river’ was later dropped. The town’s name, you see, has nothing to do with the country of the same name.

The first European land use was by graziers and, in 1893, the Millar brothers set up a sawmilling operation on the Denmark River to meet the needs of the Goldfields which used huge amounts of timber … and here the story of the town of Denmark began.

The timber industry lasted a mere decade, leaving in its wake only a few hardy settlers. Following World War II, improvements in agriculture and a revival in timber cutting rejuvenated the district, and the population has grown at an average 4% per year since the mid-1980s, supporting new settlers and innovative industries.

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