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Dongara is a townsite near the mouth of the Irwin River, 351 kilometres north north-west of Perth. The area was first settled in the early 1850s, and government buildings were erected in the townsite area in the late 1860s and early 1870s. There is no actual gazettal date for the townsite, but townsite lots were surveyed in 1873, and government land sales were held here in 1877 and in the 1880s. For some time an alternative spelling of "Dongarra" was used, but Dongara was adopted as the official spelling in 1944. The name is the anglicised version of "Thungarra", an Aboriginal name referring to the mouth of the Irwin River. It is said to mean "place of the fur seal".