The earliest recorded use of the name Banjup was in 1877, when a married woman escaping Fremantle’s social judgement fled to ‘a place named Bangup, about eight miles beyond Bibra's Lake’ with a man who was not her husband. She made the newspapers because her lover murdered her along the road to Banjup.
Name and location
Surveyor James Oxley recorded the name Bangup Lake on a small body of water to the east of Banganup Lake in an 1889 survey.
It is possibly named for ‘ban-gup’ or ‘ban-gap’, another Nyungar name for the local quokka, recorded by early European settlers George Grey and George Fletcher Moore.
Once the Jandakot Agricultural Area
was opened up to settlers in 1890, people in the vicinity of the lake began to refer to themselves as Bangup residents. This spelling morphed into 'Banjupp' in the early 20th century, presumably reflecting the pronunciation, and the modern spelling was confirmed in 1944.
This area was roughly located between Beenyup and Nicholson Roads, and stretched from Jandakot Road in the north to Rowley Road in the south, taking in parts of modern-day Forrestdale.
Swampland, firewood and drainage
The land was swampy, but considered less rich and less good for market gardening than areas further to the west. A large part of any Banjup landowner’s income came from cutting down the dense banksia bushland for firewood.
This left the settlers with an intense drainage problem: where the trees had regulated the water in all of Cockburn’s freshwater lakes, their absence allowed the wetlands to flood whenever rains were heavy, playing havoc with the market gardens which relied upon the shoreline soil for growing crops. Drainage became one of the swords upon which the Jandakot experiment fell heavily.
Jandakot Roads Board
With the formation of the Jandakot Roads Board in 1892, Banjup residents were well represented politically. The Board’s office was situated on Forrest Road (today’s Armadale Road), generally accepted as within the Banjup area. This was most likely somewhere in the Forrestdale boundaries today.
The Board built better roads and led the vociferous settler campaign for a railway from Fremantle to Jandakot and beyond. With the success of this campaign and the completion of the railway as far as Armadale in 1907, ‘Bangup’ looked like a promising prospect, even if not quite the best Jandakot had to offer. Banjup had its own railway siding further to the east from the Jandakot station with a shelter added a few years later,
and a post office to receive mail for its widespread residents.
First World War
The railway was not the success the settlers had hoped, and Jandakot began to decline in the 1910s. By this time, most people spelled the name ‘Banjupp’, and residents included the Treeby family, who sent three sons and a grandson off to the First World War.
One son, Frederick Treeby of the 10th Light Horse, was killed in action in 1918,
and his brother Harold was wounded.
Banjup sent 14 young men to the First World War, of whom six were killed and four wounded. This was a blow to such a sparsely populated district, and a memorial to all the Banjup men who served was built in 1920.
Throughout the next decades, Banjup settled into a rhythm of rural life that would define it. When the Jandakot Roads Board was disbanded in 1923, the Fremantle District Roads Board (precursor to modern-day City of Cockburn) absorbed the Banjup and Jandakot
localities, and instituted a new ward system to ensure residents in the widely varied districts were equally represented. The new wards were North, South, Central, West, and Banjupp, signifying the importance of the new eastern reaches of the area.
Apart from woodcutting and small scale farming and grazing, the most significant use of some of its land was for horse studs: Jandakot and Banjup were well known places where horse trainers set up stud farms and offered their ex-winners as the sire of the next generation of racers. A prominent trainer in the 1920s and 30s, Edward Temby set up his farm ‘Arran Park’ at Banjup in 1927, on 400 acres of land.
Modern day Banjup
Banjup today remains largely rural, with small hobby farms and semi-rural properties the standard. Situated on the Jandakot Water Mound, there are environmental restrictions on developing the land as well as how many animals can be kept on it.
As suburban development has moved south over the years, modern Cockburn suburbs have been carved out of the old Banjup borders: Success
and Atwell in 1973, Hammond Park
and Aubin Grove in 2002 and 2003 respectively, and Treeby in 2016.