Gnowangerup is a town that is encounted when taking the tourist route from Katanning too Albany. Gnowangerup is one of the larger and many ‘up’ (place of) towns in the southern region of WA. The ‘up’ (place of) is derived from a local tribe Aboriginal speech. Gnowangerup is also one of the gateway towns to the Stirling Ranges. An imposing ‘mountain range’ that appears suddenly from the south.
The townsite was first gazetted in 1908 under the spelling of Ngowangerupp. Local dissatisfaction with this spelling led to it being altered to Gnowangerup in 1913. The Gnowangerup Historic Centre has all the details and a great background on the town and history.
A branch railway from Tambellup reached Gnowangerup on 1 July, 1912. It was extended to Ongerup on 6 January, 1913. Train services east of Gnowangerup ceased on 13 October, 1957. The name of the townsite is Aboriginal, being derived from nearby Gnowangerup Creek and spring, both names being first recorded in 1878. The name means "place where the Mallee hen (Gnow) nests".