Ongerup is a typical wheat and sheep town located on the south easterly edge of the wheatbelt 388 km from Perth and 153 km north of Albany. It was named ‘Ongerup’ after a local Aboriginal word which was said to mean ‘place of the male kangaroo’.
Today Ongerup is a typical, sleepy rural service centre. Intelligent planning and considerable natural appeal have given the town an interesting tourist base.
The major attraction is the Ongerup and Needilup District Museum which is located in the Old Railway Barracks in the main street. It is an interesting local folk museum with good displays of domestic memorabilia, an extensive collection of farm equipment, and a focus on the natural history of the area.
Ongerup is inordinately proud of its wildflower displays with all the promotion material declaring that the area has at least 1300 different species ranging from salmon gums to tiny trigger plants. The Wildflower Display actually boasts 300-400 species all labelled with their botanical names. It has been held each year since 1978.
The town exists to service the local agricultural community. Surrounding farms mainly produce wheat, barley, canola and wool, while lesser quantities of lupins, oats, alfalfa and other crops are also grown. Beef cattle, fat lambs, and pigs are sideline industries.