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The townsite of Narembeen is located in the central agricultural region, 282 kilometres east of Perth and 39 kilometres southeast of Bruce Rock. The townsite derives its name from the Aboriginal name for Emu Hill. Emu Hill was discovered and named by John Septimus Roe in 1836, the name being given because Roe's exploration party disturbed a family of emus whilst ascending the hill. In 1860 Charles Smith took up a pastoral lease in the area, and named his property "Narimbeen", which the explorer Henry Maxwell Lefroy records in 1863 is the Aboriginal name for Emu Hill. In 1865 the explorer Charles Cooke Hunt recorded the spelling as "Narembeen", and this is the spelling which became widely accepted for the place. The meaning of the name is not known.
In 1917 the railway was extended from Kondinin to Narembeen, and sidings were established at Emu Hill and Narembeen. A townsite was gazetted at Emu Hill in 1918, but as all the land near the Narembeen siding was privately held, the Government chose not to declare a townsite even when one was requested in 1921. When a hotel was built at Narembeen in 1922, the area quickly developed as a private townsite, and Emu Hill, just 5 km away, declined. A townsite was eventually declared in 1968.