The historic town of York in inland Western Australia first boomed during the gold rush, and is now benefitting from another influx of ‘old timers’ … the grey nomads!
With its heritage buildings, rich history, great camping options, and fabulous festivals, York ticks all the boxes … and the wildflowers aren’t bad, either.
Reputed to be WA’s oldest inland town, it was first settled by Europeans in 1831, just a couple of years after Perth – 100 kilometres to the west.
While it was agricultural pursuits that drew early inhabitants to the area, things really took off when gold was discovered in Yilgarn and miners flooded into town. At that time, this was as far east as the train would take them.
There are more than 200 heritage-listed buildings in York, with many in the centre itself along Avon Terrace and surrounding streets. The major highlights include; York Post Office built in 1895; the York Courthouse Complex built between 1852 and 1896; the Imperial Hotel built in 1886; York Town Hall built in 1911; the magnificent old colonial home of Faversham House, which was started around 1840; the railway station built in 1885; and a number of wonderful historic churches.
The York Motor Museum is actually housed in a building constructed in 1908. The museum hosts scores of vehicles from eras dating all the way back to 1894 and is a highlight for many grey nomads. Also well worth a look is the award-winning Residency Museum – housed in the Depot Superintendent’s Quarters, built during the 1850s – which offers a fantastic insight into the region’s history.
Despite its age though, this is very much a thriving modern town with a population of around 3,500, and the eye-catching streetscape also houses busy shops, cafes, and galleries.
York sits on the banks of the Avon River, and a stroll down to the historic swinging bridge, which was first opened in 1888, is another must-do for most nomads.
The best way to get a sense of York’s geography is to take a five-minute drive out to the Wongborel / Mount Brown Lookout, which sits 342 metres above sea level and offers magnificent 360-degree panoramic views of the entire area.
Highlights of the packed events calendar include the York Agricultural Show and the York Festival which are normally held in September and October each year.
And then, of course, there are the wildflowers which bring an explosion of colour to the Wheatbelt region from July to October.
From a camping perspective, the York Travellers Rest Caravan Park offers extended stays for grey nomads, and there are also 24-hour RV rest stops at Janet Millett Lane near the town centre, and the Gwambygine Park about 11 kilometres to the south.