It was originally known as Gabbadah, an Aboriginal term meaning “mouthful of water” until its gazetting as a town in 1951. The river mouth regularly opens and closes depending on the seasons, and alternates between a closed lagoon and a tidal estuary.
The town is a popular holiday destination for Perth residents who commonly refer to it as Moore River.
In 1931, 40 17th-century silver guilder coins were found in the sandhills near the entrance to the Moore River – thus the name Guilderton. The coins were thought to be from the wreck of the Dutch ship, the Vergulde Draeck (Gilt Dragon) that had foundered on a reef north of the river-mouth near Ledge Point in 1656.