The first property to be established in the area by W. L. Brockman in 1841 was named Gingin station. The meaning of the word Gingin is uncertain but is thought to mean "footprint" or "place of many streams".
A townsite, Granville, was established close-by in 1839 but once Gingin was gazetted in 1871 Granville was never developed.
In 2003, plans were unveiled to build the Gravity Discovery Centre near Gingin next to the existing Australian International Gravitational Observatory. A.I.G.O. is part of a worldwide array of observatories, completing the southern arm of the array to obtain three-dimensional measurements of gravitational waves. The public arm of A.I.G.O - The Gravity Discovery Centre includes a 45 m tower that leans at an angle of 15 degrees that allows students to complete free fall experiments.
Located just next door to the Gravity Discovery Centre is the Southern Cross Cosmos Centre, which houses Australia's biggest public Observatory, the Gingin Observatory that boasts of having the largest telescope for public access. The Gingin Observatory runs in conjunction with the Gravity Discovery Centre to give the public and students a chance to view the sun and also experience stargazing evenings. In 2006 a new million dollar robotic optical telescope, the Zadko telescope was installed into the 'Zadko Dome' just North of the SSCC building. The Zadko telescope is being used for research on a worldwide scale and can be accessed by remote via the internet. The Gingin Observatory have 'Zadko' evenings to allow the general public a chance to see the Zadko telescope and educate the public about its importance to science and astronomy.
The town of Gingin is host to the annual British car rally, which is held on the third Sunday of May.