Boyanup is an Noongar Aboriginal name, said to mean "a place of quartz" as "Boya" means "rock" or "stone". The name was first recorded by an explorer in 1852, and a road survey in 1869 shows the town name as "Boyinup". In 1888 a railway was built between Boyanup and Bunbury, and the townsite was gazetted in 1894.
The town is located on the shores of the Preston River and the first European in the area was Captain Bunbury who visited the area in the 1880s and thought it to be ideal for farming.
The population of the town was 198 (103 males and 95 females) in 1898.