Experience Denmarks Attractions - History and Heritage

Experience Denmarks Heritage & Culture

Denmark combines a beautiful setting with an intriguing history. 

On the 9th December 1829, Dr Thomas Wilson stood on the summit of Mt Lindesay and took in the magnificent panoramic view. Of this he wrote: �I have seen many far famed views in the four ancient divisions of the globe and have no hesitation in saying of this, the fifth, if it did not surpass, fell but little short of them�.

The Denmark Shire lies in the Bibbulmun and Minang cultural area which is part of the wider Noongar region. Denmark was known to Aborigines as Kwoorabup and signs of their culture, such as fish traps and ochre and dolerite quarries, can still be seen in the area. 

The first European explorers of the Denmark district described a place of fine soil, towering timber and plentiful water. Giving such a description, Dr Thomas Wilson showed he had great expectation for future settlers. Wilson names the Denmark River after his mentor and friend, Dr Alexander Denmark, a Royal Naval Surgeon. European use of the land first began in the 1840s. The catalyst for Denmark's settlement was the rapid development of the railways throughout the colony. The construction of the Great Southern Railway brought the Millar Brothers to the area in the 1880s; it was their diversification into timber marketing that saw them remain after the railway was completed. The discovery of gold in the eastern goldfields as well as the sale of timber interstate and abroad led to the establishment of a mill on the banks of the Denmark River. This was later expanded to two mills and a third was built at Scotsdale. 

From 1924, Denmark's group settlement saw fifteen groups established throughout the district. This led to an increase of population prior to the Great Depression. 1939-1970 saw the expansion of industries in Denmark including tourism and salmon fishing. Tourism, which had started in a small way in the 1920s capitalised on the presence of American sailors in Albany during WWII. Increasing tourism during the 1990s was a reflection of the popularity of the iconic Tree Top Walk built by the Department of Environment and Conservation. Today, Denmark possesses a plethora of tourism experiences and it is the Shire's second largest industry. 

Denmark Historical Museum

An excellent place to explore stories of early settlement. Located in Mitchell Street, it houses an impressive collection of early photographs, artefacts and documents. The Eco-Discovery Shop located in the Denmark Visitor Centre has a wide range of local history books for sale. 
The museum is open Tuesdays (2pm-4pm), Thursdays (10am-12pm, 2pm-4pm) and Sundays (2pm-4pm). Phone 9848 1539.

"Bloody Hippies"

A movie from Denmark Arts. Interviews with key figures in the town's 30 year history of "hippy-dom" (many of whom are now community leaders, politicians and business people) are linked together with Director Valeska Wood's personal story about growing up in a very conservative farming and milling town during the 1970s. Although initially not well received, these "hippies" as they were called went on to promote a radical cultural shift in the community resulting in the immense popularity of this small town with its greeny/arty identity. To get your copy please visit Denmark Arts (on Strickland Street) or call 9848 3623.