Located at the south of the Leschenault Estuary, Bunbury was established in 1836 on the orders of Governor James Stirling, and named in honour of its founder, Lieutenant Henry Bunbury. A port was constructed on the existing natural harbour soon after, and eventually became the main port for the wider South West region. Further economic growth was fuelled by completion of the South Western Railway in 1893, which linked Bunbury with Perth.
Greater Bunbury includes four local government areas (the City of Bunbury and the shires of Capel, Dardanup, and Harvey), and extends between Yarloop in the north, Boyanup to the south and Capel to the south-west.
Economy The economy of Bunbury is diverse, reflecting the range of heavy and general industries in the locality, mining, agricultural landscapes, services for the growing population, key transport links and the influence of Perth.
The mining and mineral processing sector remains the main economic driver for Bunbury ($2 billion annual turnover). The agriculture sector however, remains vitally important as the value of production is approximately $146 million per annum (2005/06) which equates to approximately 30 per cent of the South West region's agricultural production.
Other industries that are vital to the economic well-being of Greater Bunbury include retail and service industries, building industry, timber production and tourism. The Bunbury Port will continue to be the centre of economic activity for the Greater Bunbury sub-region with the flow of goods through it to and from all parts of the world. The proposed expansion of the port, as identified in the Bunbury Port Inner Harbour Structure Plan, will promote further economic growth for the sub-region, and may in time be an economic stimulus for the corporate support and ancillary services associated with port-based industries locating to Bunbury city centre, further strengthening its role as a regional city.
Bunbury has a population of over 75,000 people. Bunbury also forms the centre of the Greater Bunbury metropolitan area which has a population of over 170,000 people.