Up in the Darling Range, about 34km east of Perth’s CBD, the town of Mundaring - virtually a Perth suburb these days - holds a very special place in WA’s history and, indeed, in the international annals of engineering achievement.
Mundaring Dam was the original source of water pumped the 563km to Kalgoorlie along what is still the world’s longest water pipeline. There’s a museum honouring the remarkable Charles Yelverton O’Connor who conceived the scheme and oversaw its construction. But sadly, besieged by self-doubt, stressed to the limit with the mammoth task he had undertaken and splattered with mostly unwarranted criticism, O’Connor shot and killed himself on Fremantle’s South Beach on March 10, 1902, just a month before the first water was pumped into the pipeline.
Permanent settlement in Mundaring began in 1882-84 when Peter Gugeri established a vineyard. Gugeri was born in London in 1845 and gained experience in the wine industry in Italy. The first railway siding at Mundaring was named after him and for some years the area was generally known as 'Gugeris'.
A later settler, M H Jacoby, took over Gugeris' vineyards in 1893 and named the business the Mundaring Vineyard Company. The correct pronunciation of the Aboriginal name was 'Mundahring' but common usage has gradually converted this to 'Mundairing'.