The town takes its name from Balingup Pool, located on the Balingup Brook which flows through the town. The name was first recorded by a surveyor in 1850, and is said to be derived from the name of Noongar warrior, Balingan.
The town is on the South Western Highway. It originally had a station on the railway line, opened in 1898, the same year the town was gazetted.
Balingup was known in the twentieth century for fruit and vegetable growing, and more recently for beef cattle and dairy farming. There are two long-established religious communities.
Balingup hosts annual rural festivals, primarily the Small Farm Field Day (late April) and Medieval Carnivale (August).
Nearby are found mushroom varieties of interest to both drug users and law enforcement agencies.
Balingup is also one of the few towns through which the Bibbulmun Track passes. Balingup is also the home of local artist Sally Darling, who specialises in portraits and Japanese paintings. The historic Southampton homestead is nearby.
A bushfire swept through the area in 2013 reducing the Southampton homestead to ruins.