The district was first settled in the 1850s and by 1909 a new settler named J.A. Atcheson wrote to the government asking for assistance with establishing a school and other facilities and asking for a townsite to be declared. Following inspection some land near Slab Hut Gully was set aside for a townsite which was locally known as Paul Valley. Lots were surveyed in 1910, and the Aboriginal name of Tulungup (from Teulungup) was proposed only to be rejected by the Minister of Lands. The local residents then unanimously supported the name Tunney be used. The Minister of Lands then chose the name Nymbupp only to face stiff opposition from the locals and eventually Tunney was used. The townsite was gazetted in 1912
The town was also known as Slab Hut.
The name Tunney comes from the oldest local resident in the area at the time, James Tunney, who owned lands around the area in the 1880s. He was the son of Sergeant John Tunney who was an enrolled Pensioner guard and had settled in the area in the 1860s.
An agricultural hall was opened in the town in 1913, by Mr A.E. Piesse, in front of a large Crowd including Mr Tunney. Tunney was presented with a set of pipes and his wife received a tea service from Piesse in recoginition of all their contributions to the community, including the use of their house for town meetings.
A fire destroyed the Tunney Roadhouse in May 2017. Tunney Road rest area is just off the highway among the trees.
The service and sacrifice of Western Australia's Victoria Cross and George Cross recipients will be remembered in perpetuity with each recipient being commemorated at highway rest stops south of Perth.
Lieutenant Commander Leon Goldsworthy G.C.Print Page
A plaque commemorates Lieutenant Commander Leon Goldsworthy who was a recipient of the George Cross (G.C.) for his actions during World War Two. The plaque is part of the Commemoration Way Project which honours Western Australian recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross.
Goldsworthy, was a distinguished Australian bomb and mine specialist in the Second World War and a recipient of the George Cross, the highest gallantry award for actions which are "not in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to people of British or Commonwealth nations. He was awarded the G.C. for defusing four German ground mines, three magnetic mines and one acoustic mine under harrowing circumstances over a period of ten months.
By the end of the war, Goldsworthy had achieved the rank of lieutenant commander and was Australia's most highly decorated naval officer.