town in Western Australia

Toodyay (pronounced "two-jay") is a farming town 85 km east of Perth in the Wheatbelt Region of Western Australia, with a population of 1362 in 2021. It's an easy day trip from the city and the main attraction is its well-preserved Victorian buildings.

UnderstandEdit

 
Freemasons Hotel

19th century Perth expanded north and south, but the Darling Scarp to the east was a barrier in horse-drawn days. In 1830 Europeans found their way up the Avon valley into the area known by the Noongar aboriginal people as "Duidgee", which perhaps means a fertile place. It was certainly good enough for farming, with a Mediterranean climate as the scarp draws rainfall, so a settlement grew up called "Newcastle." Many of its labour force were convicts, with a depot where they were housed and allocated to farms. The first settlement was floodprone so in the 1860s it relocated to its present site. The town lock-up in 1861 became one of many escape scenes by the bushranger Moondyne Joe (1826-1900), who got away on the horse he'd been locked up for stealing, along with the magistrate's brand new saddle. The railway arrived in 1887, a spur of the narrow-gauge line to Northam. This carried passengers, freight such as timber, and misdirected mail intended for Newcastle, New South Wales (a valuable ormolu clock being the prize example). In 1910 the town was persuaded to change its name to Toodyay, and its original site became known as Old or West Toodyay.

Better roads snaked out from Perth in the 20th century, and in 1966 a standard gauge railway reached Toodyay along a new route up the Avon valley, so the narrow-gauge line closed. These put the town within commuting distance of Perth, and within a day-trip for city dwellers. Toodyay however remained primarily agricultural, with limited industry (mining developed elsewhere) so its 19th century buildings are well-preserved.

The Visitor Centre is on Piesse St opposite the supermarket, open daily 9AM-4PM.

Get inEdit

By road follow Highway 50 Toodyay Road northeast from Perth and reckon an hour. Only fit hardy cyclists should attempt it, as the hills are long and steep, and the cars and trucks don't expect to see bicycles on their narrow race track. The main highway then turns south to Northam, where it joins Hwy 94 away east to Kalgoorlie and Norseman. Eastlink WA is expected to run through Toodyay when it's constructed, but the freeway construction will only commence in 2024 with no completion date as of 2023.

Buses don't run through Toodyay.

Trains from Perth East and Midlands take an hour to Toodyay, for a return fare of $22 in 2023. The Prospector runs M-Sa around 7AM from Perth to Toodyay, Northam, Merredin and Kalgoorlie, plus an afternoon run M F Su. The Merredinlink runs M W F around 9AM to Toodyay, Northam and Merredin. The Avonlink is for city commuters, so it runs M-F early morning from Northam via Toodyay to Perth Midland and sets off back towards 6PM.

1 Toodyay railway station   is just a platform halt with no facilities at the west end of town. There is ramp access to the platforms.

West Toodyay 3 km up the line is also shown as a station on Google Map, but it's just sidings and a switch to a disused branch line.

Get aroundEdit

Town is small and everything is in walking distance, so midweek you could visit by train without needing a car.

SeeEdit

  • 1 Connor's Mill, 7 Piesse Street, +61 8 9574 2431. Daily 10AM-3:30PM. This flour mill was built in 1875: in 1917 it was converted into the town's power station, but was damaged by fire in 1921. It was restored and supplied the town's electricity until 1955, when the State grid reached Toodyay and the building was disused. It was restored as a mill in 1975 and is still in working order. $3 per adult, $10 family pass.    
  • St Stephen's opposite Connor's Mill was one of the first buildings in the new settlement, completed in 1862. A small redbrick Gothic design, it's Anglican and still in use.
  • Toodyay Miniature Railway is just west of St Stephen's. It remains closed in 2023.
  • 2 Newcastle Gaol Museum, 13 Clinton Street, +61 8 9574 9380. Daily 10AM-3PM. This is in the jail built in 1865, replacing earlier lock-ups and the convict depot. It also includes the police stables and an old shearing shed. Adult or child $6.40, concession $4.30.    
  • 3 Pelham Reserve is the wooded hillside just south which houses the town reservoir. There's a memorial and native garden planted in honour of James Drummond, the colony's first botanist. Old military installations are a World War I shooting range and a World War II signals bunker. There are picnic sites and toilets.
  • 4 St Phillips, Culham is on the road north to Bejoording and Bindi-Bindi. It was completed in 1857.

DoEdit

 
They always missed Moondyne Joe
  • What's on? Read the Toodyay Herald.
  • Feed the emus: those at the Holiday Park don't mind if non-guests also feed them, in return for which they pose for selfies. Bring finely chopped fruit or veg or buy pellets from the vending machine in the park. And keep the dog in the car.
  • Toodyay Racecourse is two miles south of town beyond Pelham Reserve and has occasional races, with the main meeting in September. However the course facilities are in poor repair and it may not be able to continue.
  • Golf: the nearest course is in Northam.
  • Toodyay Music Festival was in March, but it was cancelled in 2022 and 2023 and its future is uncertain.
  • Moondyne Festival is when folk gussy up in period costume and re-enact the escapades of Moondyne Joe. No dogs. It's on the first Sunday in May, with the next on 7 May 2023.
  • Fibre Festival is about the locality's wool products, with the next on 4 June 2023, 10AM-3PM.
  • Avon Descent in August is a two-day 124-km race down the river from Northam through Toodyay to Bayswater in Perth, with powerboat, kayak, ski and SUP categories. Various qualifying or seeding events are held in the run up, with the Northam to Toodyay Paddle in July covering the first 30 km.
  • Toodyay Food Festival is timed to coincide with Avon Descent passing through town.
  • Toodyay Agricultural Show is held in October on the north riverbank. The next is probably on 7 Oct 2023, tbc.
  • Toodyay Car Show in November has been on hold since 2019, and the 2023 show is not confirmed.

BuyEdit

  • IGA supermarket is on Piess St opposite the railway station, open daily 7AM-7PM.
  • Dunnings Roadhouse is the filling station at 143 Stirling Terrace, open daily 7AM-5PM.
  • Farmers Market is held on Gugulja Park next to St Stephen's. It's 9AM to 1PM on the third Sunday of the month.

EatEdit

 
Newcastle Gaol Museum
  • Toodyay Spice and Grill, 122B Stirling Terrace, +61 8 9574 5670. M W Th 4:30-8:30PM, F-Su 8AM-3PM, 4:30-9PM. Great Indian food, well-seasoned but not heavy, slick service.
  • Smokey Doughs is a pizza and kebab takeaway by the IGA, open Th-Sa noon-8PM, W Su 4:30-8PM.
  • Toodyay Bakery, 123 Stirling Terrace, +61 8 9574 2617. Tu-F 7AM - 2PM, Sa Su 7AM-3PM. Busy little place by Freemason's Hotel with fresh-baked pies, pastries and bread.
  • Cola Cafe, 128 Stirling Terrace, +61 8 9574 4407. Daily 8AM-3PM. Calls itself a museum, but it's simply a 1950s retro cafe with lots of Coca Cola memorabilia.

DrinkEdit

  • Freemasons Hotel (below) is your best place for a beer.
  • Coorinja Winery 5 km south along the main road produces mostly red wine with some sherry. No tours, but the shop is open F Sa M 10AM-3PM.

SleepEdit

 
Connor’s Mill

ConnectEdit

As of Jan 2023, Toodyay has a patchy 4G signal from Telstra, but nothing from Optus or Vodafone, and no signal on the approach roads. 5G has not reached this area.

Toodyay Community Resource Centre, 67 Stirling Terrace (opposite Toodyay Manor), +61 8 9574 5357, . M-W 9AM-3:30PM, Th 9AM-2:30PM. The centre provides community services such as internet access.

Go nextEdit

  • Northam southeast is a larger town with several heritage buildings and old military installations.
  • Clackline south is a smaller agricultural town.
  • Head north through Goomalling to join the Great Northern Highway all the way up to Mount Magnet, Newman and Port Hedland.



This city travel guide to Toodyay is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.