Wokalup’s name derives from an Aboriginal name meaning “the place of the carpet snake” (wokul). Such snakes were often found in farm sheds in the area prior to the commencement of irrigation but tiger snakes became more common subsequently.
The location was originally granted in 1830, but the title lapsed as the owner made no improvements to the property. The Western Australian Company obtained it in the 1840s, and the first resident was Thomas Hayward who commenced farming at Bundidup south of Harvey in 1859. He married Catherine Logue, daughter of Joseph Logue who had settled north of Harvey, in 1861. At this time, there were no made roads or bridges through the town, but during the 1860s the Harvey and Brunswick bridges were constructed and convicts built the road from Pinjarra to Brunswick. Hayward provided for the needs of both the convicts and the horse teams. When the railway came through in the 1890s a railway siding with the name Wokalup was opened, and a small private town developed. This was gazetted a townsite in 1963 at the request of the Shire of Harvey.