Goomalling is an Aboriginal word which means “the place of the silver-grey possum”. Goomal (or koomal) is the Noongar word for this possum which inhabited Goomalling in abundance when European settlement began in the Wongamine area in the 1830s.
You can trace the history of European settlement through various places in Goomalling: the Museum, Slater Homestead, Shepherd’s Grave, Mumberkine Hall and the Konnongorring and Jennacubbine townsites. The heritage walk in the Goomalling townsite takes about an hour at a leisurely pace.
The district was first explored by a European in 1854 by Assistant Surveyor Austin, and the Benedictine Monks of New Norcia held extensive grazing rights in the area. The earliest white settler in the district was George Slater and his homestead, Slater Homestead, still stands about 3km north east of town.
Goomalling was gazetted as a townsite in 1903, following the official opening of the railway line from Northam on 1 July 1902.
For history buffs
Goomalling – A Backward Glance by Barbara Sewell gives a detailed account of Goomalling’s history.
Between 1949 and 1955 Goomalling was home to an annual motor racing carnival, as retold and pictured in the book Goomalling Classic Racers by Graeme Cocks. A revival of these classic races have proven to be a success in 2012 and 2013 and will be returning on Saturday 10 October 2015.