Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Darkan WA


Postcode: 6392

Darkan is a town located in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, between Collie and Albany Highway on the Coalfields Road. It is also the seat of the Shire of West Arthur.

The area was originally settled by William John Gibbs and his family in the 1860s. Gibbs established a property called “Darkan”, using a local Aboriginal name whose meaning is unclear. The townsite developed when the Collie to Narrogin railway line was built, and in 1906, the townsite was gazetted. The town grew quickly thereafter, with a Road Board being established and numerous shops and services being established in the following years. The railway closed in the early 1990s, but the surrounding productive wool growing and mixed farming area along with tourism have ensured the town’s survival.

Darkan is the social and political centre in the Shire of West Arthur. The town has a roadhouse, supermarket, telecentre, golf course, shire hall, hotel, synthetic tennis courts, basketball courts, district high school and a skatepark. A new addition to this social list is ‘The Shed’, a workshop mainly for the towns retirees that consists of a woodworking and a metal working area for the construction of numerous personal projects. A heritage trail (in reality the Road Board Office, Shire Office and Pioneer Hall (1911)) has been established in the town.

The town is surrounded by a fertile (lateritic/alluvial soils), high rainfall (approx 650mm per year) wheat/sheep area that makes use of a small range of services in the town and the Cooperative Bulk Handling grain storage bin about 3km to the east. 10km to the west is Six Mile Cottage, a very small two-room slab house built by a sleeper cutter for the railway in the early 1900s, and jarrah, flood gum and wandoo bushland reserves, filled with wildflowers in spring, are a short drive away.