Donnybrook — Australia’s Ugly Duckling is Now a Swan

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Donnybrook once had a reputation as one of Australia’s most unappealing towns. Two and a half decades ago, the apple-picking town had barren streetscapes, and most of its historic buildings were in disrepair. However, the town quickly turned itself around and is now one of the most idyllic towns in the nation. Properties in Donnybrook have become a sought-after as well; a three-bedroom property for sale can easily go for upwards of $200,000.

Changing its Image

During the 1990s, Donnybrook was a quiet and boring town. It even garnered the moniker of being Australia’s ugliest town. Residents took the label in stride, even using the moniker as a rallying cry to transform the town for the better.

One of the turning points of the town’s turnaround was the creation of the Apple Fun Park, an enormous family playground (the largest free-entry playground in Australia) that attracted tourists from all over the world. The park opened in 2008 and featured a fully fenced environment, six electric barbecues, shaded tables and seats, adequate toilets around the park, lighting towers and a wide array of security cameras. It is usually open 24 hours but is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local authorities allocated another $1.5 million for the park’s renovation, ensuring the safety and enjoyment of its visitors. Every year, the town has an Apple Festival, filling the town with a festive atmosphere and bringing in tourists.

Suburban Life with Urban Amenities


Donnybrook has a small population of less than 3,000. The town may be small, but it houses several facilities you would expect in a more urban setting. The town has a hospital, medical and pathology centres, palliative care facilities and more than a few dental practices.

The town also has a recreation centre that houses a heated 25-metre swimming pool (equipped with hoists for the elderly or disabled individuals) and a sports stadium for basketball, netball, badminton and soccer. The centre includes several squash courts, a weight-training gym, a cycle studio and a group fitness room. It also has a function room that seats up to 120 people.

Around the centre, there are several motels and hotels, as well as a transit park for visitors. The town is a short bus ride away from the Cockburn Central Station, which can get you to Perth in around 30 minutes.

A Great Place to Raise Kids

The quiet town of Donnybrook provides an ample environment for raising a family. The town is relatively greener than its more urban counterparts, and crime is significantly rarer. Kids can attend the Donnybrook District High School, an independent public school that caters to students from Kindergarten to Year 10.

Donnybrook has an active outdoor culture, and the Apple Fun Park encourages children to engage in actual play, warding off childhood obesity. The town is also a short drive away from several fishing areas, camping areas and bushwalking grounds.

A quiet life in a vibrant town away from the bustle and pollution of the big cities — such is life in Donnybrook. This laid back town is filled with opportunities, and a trip to the city is only minutes away, making you still connected to urban life.

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