Ongerup is a small farming based community in the Shire of Gnowangerup in Western Australia’s Great Southern region. The name Ongerup means “Place of the Male Kangaroo” in the Noongar language, “Yonger” meaning kangaroo and “up” meaning “place of”. The Shire of Gnowangerup (place of the Malleefowl, “Gnow” meaning malleefowl). The Shire includes the three towns of Gnowangerup, Ongerup, and Borden as well as the National Heritage listed Stirling Range National Park.
Ongerup was the birth place of the Malleefowl Preservation Group. The Malleefowl Preservation Group (MPG) was a driver of Malleefowl conservation in Western Australia implementing many conservation initiatives from its inception in 1992.
In the 21 years of its productive life, the MPG developed from a computer in a spare room to a nationally incorporated organisation with over 650 members. Many of the projects initiated by the MPG are still going strong, although they have now been taken on by different organisations.
The area which is now the Shire of Gnowangerup was first settled by Sandalwood cutters in the 1840s who set up camp in the Borden area. The township of Ongerup was gazetted in 1912, land clearing and settlement increased with the opening of the railway in 1913. The Great War and years of drought brought a hold to Government assistance and many farms were abandoned. During The railway line was closed in 1957. Ongerup celebrated its Centenary on the 13 & 14 October 2012.