Northam, though just a 100km’s from Perth has retained a very much country feel. There are very few Perth commuters from Northam. Northam is an old town, but unfortunately the town bears the scars of many ‘downtown’ development decisions. There is not much heritage stuff left when compared to the town of York which is just down the road.
The area around Northam was first explored in 1830 by a party of colonists led by Ensign Robert Dale, and subsequently founded in 1833. It was named by Governor Stirling, probably after a village of the same name in Devon, England. Almost immediately it became a point of departure for explorers and settlers who were interested in the lands which lay to the east.
The Northam Migrant Accommodation Centre, which closed in September 1951, had approximately 15,000 immigrants from the Eastern European countries pass through. During the peak immigration period, Northam had the largest immigrant receiving facilities within the State and the third largest in Australia.