WA’s first coal shafts were sunk in the Mingenew district, but today wheat is the go on the Lockier River, about 378km north of Perth. Perhaps the most compelling thing about this area are the marine fossils which lie in rock strata laid down about 250 million years ago, during the Permian period. The town's name is supposed to be derived from the Aboriginal word 'mininoo', meaning 'place of many waters' or the word 'minyanoo' meaning 'place of many ants'. The first white men to explore this district, in 1846, were the brothers Augustus, Henry and Francis Gregory, who found the Irwin River coal seam about 32km north-east of town. Remnant coal shafts can be seen in Coalseam Park, which is a good spot for a picnic. The fabulous little coastal village of Dongara is about 54km to the west of Mingenew and is a popular spot for because of the fishing, the great, white-sand beaches and the lobsters, which are the staple industry of the town. There are some stunning views from the headland at neighbouring Port Denison.