Gnomesville: A Place Where Everybody Feels at Gnome
Gnomesville, Western Australia, has a population of about 7,000, yet you won’t find it “officially” on any map.
It’s not listed in the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The only industry going on in this little town is tourism, but none of the citizens actually hold down jobs.
There’s a huge parking lot there, but none of the permanent residents drive automobiles.
Actually, these so-called citizens don’t even eat!
They are all, in fact, made from all manner of artificial materials—wood, plastic, plaster, ceramic, metal, just about anything you can use to create a statue.
You see, Gnomesville is populated by gnomes—your everyday, garden-style gnomes.
Where is Gnomesville?
It’s located out in the Australian bush, just a few kilometres from Bunbury or Wellington Mills.
For those not familiar with the area, that’s just south of Perth. Check out the Gnomesville Map Here.
When, Why and a Little History
Nobody knows exactly how the place came to be in existence.
One rumor has it that a woman who liked repairing gnomes left one or two there as a decoration, and people gradually added to them.
Another story says that some primary school children pointed fingers at a nearby roundabout, identifying it as a traffic hazard.
When their complaints garnered attention in the local news, the town council initiated a fix-up project, and somebody playfully left a gnome there to stand guard. Some people say the workers themselves brought the original gnomes, and then others followed suit.
No matter the origin of Gnomesville, soon people began bringing their gnomes in greater and greater numbers.
As the gnomes became a growing distraction to drivers, local authorities moved them to a nearby area. By this time, the gnomes had accumulated their fair share of goods and shelters, and all those items were relocated as well.
At the time of the move, there were two gnome football teams, still there today and as the season changes they are switched out for cricket teams. There are homeless gnomes who claim they’re not going home.
However, there are gnome homes so no gnomes are homeless, really. There are partying gnomes, plane-flying gnomes, and even a john-sitting gnome.
There is a even a fenced-in detention area for bad gnomes.
The place, for those unfamiliar with Australian bush topography, is actually in the verdant Ferguson Valley, with beautiful lush greenery, a lazy steam curling through it, and landscaped pathways.
You’ll find a picnic table or two to rest while you visit the gnomes. As you walk through the area, you’ll think you’ve come to the end of the gnomes—then you look up and see one peeking down at you, or you glance off to the right and see a whole other gathering of gnomes, up to who knows what. It’s easy to imagine that they talk when people aren’t around.
When you find Gnomesville, you can’t help but smile, even if you’re not partial to garden gnomes.
There are just so many of them, and visitors have gone to great lengths to group them whimsically. Many of them bear signs:
- “Sydney gnome, not going ′ome.“
- There is an astrognome whose sign says, “You must look for me at night, that is when I take a flight…”
- Snow White’s dwarves—er, gnomes—reminding us that “Gnome Wasn’t Built in a Day”
- “Better Gnomes and Gardens”
- “E.T. phone gnome”
- “Charity Begins at Gnome”
- There’s even the “Tomb of the Unknown Garden Gnome”
Who has put these little guys and gals here? Why, everybody, of course, from the four corners of the Earth!
There are gnomes from Ireland, from Texas and California and lots of other places in the United States, South Africa, Europe, all over Australia, and just about any other place you can think of.
People who have come across the place on one trip through the area make it a point to return with a gnome chosen especially as an addition to the village.
Gnomesville has seen its times of trouble, however. Some of them do wear out from exposure to the elements on a daily basis.
A drought brought a deluge of dry, crumbled leaves heaping over the gnomes. And in June of 2012, a storm destroyed many of the gnomes.
But somehow, somebody—or several somebodies—always arrive to perk them back up.
On the Gnomesville Facebook page—yes, there is one!—you can watch a video of a family that travels to Gnomesville to leave a display of their own, and they do a bit of storm cleanup while there.
It’s worth a trip past Perth and off the beaten path to find this place. There’s gnothing like it!