Irwin Districts Historical Society and Russ Cottage

Old prison protects pioneering history

Wander through the old police house and court rooms which today house the vast Irwin Districts Historical Society collection and you can almost hear the click of chains which once bound prisoners here. So imposing is the building that Dongara continues to hold court here every second month in the hope of deterring would-be offenders. Be sure to peer into the depths of the well out the back, check out the historical artefacts in the old stables and walk the outline of a cell which was once crammed with Indigenous prisoners. These men had been marched to the tiny cell to await transport and horrendous conditions at the Rottnest Island Prison on Wadjemup. While you are in Dongara, you can also visit Russ Cottage Historic House Museum at 1 St Dominics Road, Dongara, and The Packout Room Pop-up Museum at 3 Macintyre Cove, Port Denison.




5 Waldeck St
Dongara WA 6525

Opening Hours

Mon to Sat 10am to 12pm

One family’s history through melody

This organ could play the melody of the lives of Western Australia’s European pioneers, having once been owned by the first European girl born in the Swan River Colony. Built around 1820, the pedal...

Ticket to life

This scrap of paper is one of just two remaining Western Australian tickets of leave which permitted convicts to travel for work. It belonged to a fellow by the name of Ben ‘Taffy’ Jones, who was...

Stepping out in style

In May 1927 a Muriel Henning, wife of WA politician Charles Harriott Henning joined the country’s upper echelons for the opening of Parliament House in Canberra, wrapped in the velvety embrace of this...

More Coral Coast collections

Heaven for vintage farm machinery enthusiasts

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Monsignor Hawes - discover where he lived and worked

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Monsignor Hawes - discover the man behind the work

This modern and beautifully interpreted display showcases the life and architecture of priest and prolific architect Monsignor John Hawes, who arrived in the Mid West in 1915. Excerpts from Hawes’...

A private collection of motorbikes in a loungeroom

One man's love of motorcycles led to an obsession. Ian Boyd started the collection because of his love for Vincent motorcycles, and constructed a new house and purpose built loungeroom to accommodate...

While you're in the area

Seaspray Beach Holiday Park
Seaspray Beach Holiday Park
Spoil yourself when next you stay in Dongara at the only place that offers...
79-81 Church Street, Dongara, WA 6525
Illegal Tender Rum Co
Food and Drink
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The Illegal Tender Rum Co is an artisan rum maker's paradise; with bespoke...
35 Illyarrie Road, Springfield, WA 6525
Fishermans Lookout
Fishermans Lookout
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Near Leander Point, Port Denison, WA 6525
Dongara Denison Drive-Ins
Dongara Denison Drive-Ins
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Corner Point Leander Drive and Ridley Street, Port Denison, WA 6525