York: A Tale of Two Cities

Today we visited the historic town of York. Confused? I was! After living in the English York for 5 years, I was intrigued when we saw a sign for York just an hour out of Perth. So we swung by to see how the Australian York measured up to the original:

Round 1: History

English York is the Godfather of historical places. King VI once said “The history of York is the history of England.” It was founded by the Romans, proclaimed the capital, invaded by Vikings led by Halfdan and Ivar the Boneless (I’m totally changing my name), and then invaded again by Geordie hens’ parties some centuries later.


Australian York is the oldest inland town in Western Australia, first settled in 1831. In Australian terms, that’s pretty old. The site was discovered by Ensign Robert Dale (if that’s not serendipitous, I don’t know what is… Yorkshire…Dales…anyone?). They were so impressed by the river and rich fertile land, they escorted the first settlers just a year later. Then they found gold just up the road and everyone was happy.

A short history

Round 2: Rivers

English York has a pretty famous flooding river, the Ouse. Australian York has a very pretty River Avon. (I think the settlers may have gotten their quaint English towns confused when they named it).

Round 3: Tourists

English York hosts 6.8 million tourists a year. Australian York had at least four busloads during our one-hour visit alone. No contest really.

Busloads of tourists descend

Round 4: Museums

If you’ve visited English York and not visited the National Railway Museum, you need to go back. NOW. Better yet, go back when the Hogwarts Express is there, or the Flying Scotsman.

We were happy to see Australian York also has a transport museum… a motor museum. It might not have the magical school train but it does have the ute from Crocodile Dundee AND it’s autographed by Paul Hogan.

Famous ute right here in York
No railway museum, but we did find a book. 

Round 5: Factories

English York was once home to the Terry’s of York chocolate factory (it’s not Terry’s, it’s mine…). The smell of chocolate wafted through the streets like Willy Wonka’s treats. Then Kraft Foods took over in the nineties and it all went to custard.

Australian York has a sock factory.


Round 6: Weather

English York’s hottest month is August, with an average temperature of 15 degrees C. Yes, that’s the hottest month. It’s coldest is January with an average of 3 degrees C.

Australian York’s hottest month is January with an average of 34.2 degrees C. It gets down to a chilly 3.6 degrees C in July.

Round 7: Pubs

First, let me say that they don’t call them pubs in WA, they call them “hotels”. But it’s the same thing, kind of. Australian York has three: the Imperial Hotel, Castle Hotel and York Hotel. Not bad for a town of 2,387 people. That’s one pub for every 795 people and a dog.

Too many to choose from!

Rumour has it English York has a different pub for every day of the year – but some quick Googling has shot that to pieces and the revised number is “somewhere around 200”. For a city of 200,000, that’s one for every thousand people – which means Australian York take the crown.

The winner is……YORK!


Editor’s note: I make no apologies for any errors in this article. We have ridiculously slow internet, so I’ll fact check and update on the other side of the Nullarbor 🙂


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