Donnelly River Village

This historic mill town marks the halfway point of the Munda Biddi Trail. The mill itself, which closed in 1978, is dilapidated yet the Donnelly Mill worker's cottages became a holiday destination. Enjoy a coffee on the verandah of the General Store and get to know the locals – a large number of very tame kangaroos and emus. In late spring this area comes alive with colour and cyclists will be amazed at the variety of flowering plants. The Donnelly River swimming hole, 500 metres from the Village, is a great spot for a swim.

It is 23.5km from Donnelly River to the Karta Burnu hut. Although the Trail around these parts is a bit challenging, the scenery makes it all worth it! After Karta Burnu hut the ride gets easier again.

Town History

The Donnelly River site was first used as a timber mill by the Wheatley family in 1912 to cut cross arms and telegraph poles, but it closed after two years. In 1947, Bunnings made plans to build a new mill on the Wheatley site to work timber in new permit areas held by the company, with a steam engine purchased from Onkaparinga Woollen Mills in South Australia - Donnelly River became the only steam-driven mill in the South West, officially opening in 1951. The town was named for the river which flows through it, which in turn was named by Governor James Stirling after Admiral Ross Donnelly, a friend of his wife's family and Rear Admiral of the Red. Although the town was officially called Wheatley the name Donnelly River is more commonly used.

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