Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Capel WA


Postcode: 6271

Capel ( 33°33’S, 115°33’E) is a town in the South West region of Western Australia, located 212 kilometres south of Perth and midway between Bunbury and Busselton.

Capel has a Mediterranean climate, with hot dry summers and cool wet winters. Daily temperatures range from 13°C to 40°C in summer, and from 5°C to 27°C in winter. Average annual rainfall is about 830 mm.

Historically, Capel is a farming area; traditional agricultural pursuits include dairy and beef. In recent times, Capel has become popular for hobby farms, and a number of innovative agricultural pursuits have been introduced, including alpacas, viticulture, aquaculture and growing of blue gums. There is also some mining of mineral sands in the Shire, and tourism is increasingly important to the Shire’s economy.

The Capel area was settled very early in the history of colonial Western Australia. The Capel River was discovered by Frederick Ludlow in 1834, but it was not named until the Bussell family settled in the area. The name honours a cousin of the Bussells, Miss Capel Carter. In the 1830s a number of settlers followed the Bussells into the area, and both James Stirling and John Hutt, (the first two Governors of Western Australia) took up land in the region. Plans to establish a townsite in the area were first mooted in 1844, but the site was not surveyed until the 1870s and lots were not sold until 1897. Initially the town was named Coolingnup, which is the Noongar Aboriginal name for the place; the name was changed to Capel in 1899.

The cultural life of Capel is strong, and many families have descendants who have been in Capel since European settlement in 1836. More recently, people have been enticed to move to Capel, attracted by job opportunities and the rural lifestyle.

Capel has an active sporting and cultural life. There are many sporting, arts and community groups in town, offering a diverse range of activities. The annual Capel Fest and Art Classic is a major regional event, attracting up to 15,000 visitors to town every April.

Capel is a working town, but it sits amid rolling paddocks, it’s only five minutes to Peppermint Grove Beach, a popular holiday spot, and the nearby tuart forest national park provides visitors with the chance to view wildflowers and the worlds last remaining tuart forest.