Katanning came into being at the end of the nineteenth century with the arrival of the railway line. Sandalwood cutters had previously been around the district but did not settle. It is interesting that the town was founded upon a secondary industry - other towns were established to support agriculture, FH Piesse established a mill in Katanning to process the grain. This brought employment and prosperity to the district.
Our reliance on secondary industry continues today to some extent with the WAMMCO meatworks providing employment for many families in the district.
Katanning quickly developed and within a few short years it became a thriving regional centre. A busy period of construction saw many roads built, new homes and businesses established and the new agriculture viticulture and horticulture industries were thriving.
It was not long before Katanning became the social hub of the district. With a large variety of sporting clubs and social gatherings Katanning developed its own particular style.
Katanning boasts many claims to fame and we are known for our many firsts.
We were the first to have:
- Electric street lights
- Inland swimming pool
- Free Library services
- Country Historical Society
Katanning also has:
- The largest sheep sale turnover in the southern hemisphere
- Wake's Garage houses Western Australia's first orbital engine, invented in Katanning by local engineers
- Katanning was the birthplace of state accounting icons now known as RSM Bird Cameron.
- Katanning has the only purpose built "B" class art gallery in country WA, which hosts international, national, state and local art exhibitions.