Located 205 km north of Perth on the Brand Highway, Badgingarra is a tiny settlement with no more than 50-60 houses, a roadhouse, a tavern and a caravan park.
Badgingarra was the name given by Aborigines to the pool of water on the river located opposite the old town site (which is about 5 km east of the town on the Moora road) where the badgeon wattle grows prolifically.
The first Europeans to pass through the area were the Gregory brothers (Augustus Charles, Francis and Henry Churchman) who travelled through the area in 1848 on their way to explore the Gascoyne region. Subsequent visitors to Badgingarra pool included Alexander Forrest who came through the area in 1877 and the pastoralist and politician Henry Lefroy in 1895.
Badgingarra Farm was taken up near the pool by William McNamara around 1894 and a small settlement grew up. Today Old Badgingarra is virtually non-existent. It is no more than a few isolated buildings and the school.
In the early days William McNamara bred horses for the horse trade to India but he remained isolated and there was little development. This lack of development has done much to ensure that the area still has large unspoilt tracts of banksia, dryandra, hakea, grevillea, kangaroo paw and mallee scrub.
It was as recently as 1948 that George Lang recognised the potential of the area and it was due to his efforts that the land was opened up for selection. Superphosphate, trace elements and subclover made farming viable and the main agricultural activities resulted in wool, fat lambs, beef cattle, wheat, oats and lupins. The old township was abandoned and the present town was built when the Brand Highway was opened.
Things to see
The importance of the town, like so many of the towns in the Central West, is its proximity to the area's rich displays of wildflowers which reach their peak display from August to September. Access to the wildflowers can be gained by following the nature trails which wind through the National Parks or by visiting the Nylagarda Bird Park or Waddi Emu and Wildflower Farm.
Nylagarda Bird Park and Shell Museum
The area's main attraction is the Nylagarda Bird Park and Shell Museum which is located 22 km north west of the town off the Brand Highway on Cantabilling Road.
The Nylagarda Bird Park is open from 9.00 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. seven days a week and features a walk-in aviary with over 100 varieties of local and overseas birds.
Waddi Emu and Wildflower Farm
The well known Waddi Emu and Wildflower Farm (which has both accommodation and a restaurant) is located south west of the town - turn off the Brand Highway at Koonah Road and follow the signs.
Waddi Farm, like most of the farms in the area, originally concentrated on cereal crops and sheep. In 1984 the farm diversified so that now it grows and harvests wildflowers and raises emus for commercial use. The Waddi Farm shop offers visitors an opportunity to buy goods made out of emu leather and both fresh and dry wildflower arrangements.
Badgingarra Nature Trail
There are two easy Badgingarra Nature Trails both of which were established in 1984. An excellent brochure, the Badgingarra Nature Trail which gives precise information on the wildflowers to be seen, is available at the Roadhouse.