WANowandThen.com  

 

Augusta - Western Australia

AUGUSTA

 

HEMA Map reference 74/J2

 

34 18 49 S 115 09 25 E

 

 

Where is this?

Climate data for Augusta / Cape Leeuwin
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average Temp high 'C 23 23.3 22.7 21.3 19.2 17.3 16.4 16.4 17 18.2 20.1 21.8 19.7
Average Temp low 'C 16.9 17.2 16.7 15.4 13.7 12.2 11.3 11.2 11.8 12.5 14.2 15.7 14.1
Rainfall mm 16.5 16 28.2 60.3 138.1 176.7 182.4 136.3 91.2 65.4 37 21.1 970.2
Source: Bureau of Meteorology

 

 

 

Statistics

 

Km from Perth

330

Population

1500

Autogas

Available

Telecentre

Yes

 

 
 

 

Caravan Parks

 

Flinders Bay           

Visit website

08 9758 1380

Molloy             

 

08 9758 4515

Turner            

Visit website

08 9758 1593

Westbay  (R)         

 

08 9758 1572

 

Campsites

 

Accommodation

 

Clovelly Holiday Units Visit website

08 9758 1577

Georgiana Molloy Motel

08 9758 1255

 

Services

 

Hospital

 08 9758 1502

Police

 08 9758 1575

Fire

 08 9758 1675

RAC 

 131 111

Tourist  Bureau

 08 9758 0166

 

 

Attractions

 

Caves, Blackwood River, Cape Leeuwin, Molloy Island, Vineyards, Quarry Bay.

 

Buildings of note

 

Wallcliffe, Wallcliffe Rd. 1855,  Cape Leeuwin lighthouse 1895.

 

Calendar Of Events

 

January: Lions Club auction. March. Augusta River Festival. Easter: Orchid show. September/October: Blackwood power boat race, Cape to Cape MTB race.

 

Electoral Zones

 

State : Warren-Blackwood

Federal : Forrest

 

Other info

 

Postcode : 6290

Local Government : Augusta - Margaret River

 

 

Estuary at Augusta

Hardy Inlet

Water wheel

Old water wheel

Cape Leeuwin

Coastal scenery

Flinders Bay

Safe swimming

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Historic lighthouse

Karri forest

Karri forest

Jewel Cave

Jewel Cave

Dead Finish

Dead Finish

Hardy Inlet

Hardy Inlet

Hardy Inlet

Hardy Inlet

Lighthouse Keepers Houses

Lighthouse Keepers Houses

Hardy Inlet Augusta

Hardy Inlet

 

 

Light house keepers house Cape Leeuwin

 

Cape Leeuwin light house historic photo

 

 

Description

 

Augusta is the third oldest settlement in the state and is located on the Hardy Inlet at the mouth of the Blackwood River. The town has the honour of being the most south westerly in the state. Nearby Cape Leeuwin is the most south westerly point in Australia. The cape is named after the Dutch ship Leeuwin (Lioness) that first sighted the coast in this area in 1622. The cape was given its name in 1801 by Mathew Flinders who paid homage to the earlier Dutch explorers.

 

A 17th century Dutch clog was found near Flinders Bay in the 1930s and seems to indicate that crew from the Leeuwin came ashore ' probably to look for water or food supplies. The Gros Ventre is known to have taken geographical observations while anchored at Flinders Bay in 1772.

 

In 1801 both Mathew Flinders and the French explorer Baudin visited the area, Baudin sailing north and Flinders sailing east, were destined to meet each other in South Australian waters.

 

The town was named after Princess Augusta Sophia, the 2nd daughter of George III, and started it's existence as a military outpost. The area was first settled in 1830-1 after Captain John Molloy (a veteran of the battle of Waterloo) chartered a ship (the Emily) and brought a party of settlers including the Turners and Bussells, to the Hardy Inlet from Perth.

 

Molloy was made Resident Magistrate which provided him with a steady income but also made it difficult for him to move away once the settlement started to decline.

The major problems with the settlement included difficulty in clearing the heavily wooded land, a shortage of labour and irregular shipping that meant settlers were often on the brink of starvation.

Molloy's young wife, Georgina, was brought up in upper class English society and had no experience of cooking, cleaning, mending, milking cows and the other 'menial tasks' that she was now responsible for. The Bussells and Molloys were natural allies, as both families had the same background. The Turners were from the trade class and therefore not 'good enough' to mix socially with 'their betters'. Despite the fact that Turner was wealthy, in fact initially better off than the Bussells, he was never accepted as an equal.

The Bussell brothers initially set about developing a site close to the main settlement but they continually had problems with their remittance arriving from England and as a consequence seemed to be always short of cash. Molloy was always ready to assist them, something they seemed to temporarily forget later on when Molloy lost one of their horses and they turned on him in a rather insensitive manner. Eventually the matter was resolved and the families became firm friends again.

Meanwhile the Turners were having problems getting their land properly surveyed. It was to be some time before an efficient surveyor was sent to the settlement and sorted out the mess. Turner's agitation was understandable when you realise that cows wandering into valuable vegetable gardens were liable to be shot. Without fencing Turner was obviously afraid that his cows could end up the same way as the Government's cow that someone had shot.

Turner, probably the wealthiest of the Augusta Settlers, seems to have divided his time between trying to tame the wild land and fighting with the authorities over one matter or another. He was to lose most of his capital when the settlement at Augusta failed.

The Bussell brothers, having completed their first house (named Dachet) then decided to move some 12 miles up river and start again at a place they named Adelphi. They worked hard to complete a second home but soon after other members of the family arrived from England, the house caught fire and they had to move back into their original property.

It was at about this time that they decided to abandon Augusta and move further north to the Vasse River.

 



Initial contact with the Aborigines in the area had been friendly. The Aborigines seemed resigned to the fact that the newcomers were settling on their land and were hunting their game but in turn the natives believed that if the whites could hunt their animals then they could likewise help themselves to the settlers animals and supplies. They had not reckoned with the settlers concepts of 'private property' and from then on there was to be conflict over the issue.

Life in this isolated outpost was very difficult for the first settlers. Initially there were some 60 people in the area but slowly they moved away to more promising land near the Vasse River.

By 1836 the Bussells had all relocated to Vasse and by 1837 there were only about a dozen people living near Augusta. As the number of settlers decreased so the raids by the local tribes became more determined and aggressive. 1937 saw stores looted and the Turner's building set alight.

As Resident Magistrate, Molloy had problems when he wanted to follow the Bussells north to Vasse.
Governor Hutt insisted initially that Molloy visit Augusta to carry out his duties at least once a quarter. This was then changed to twice a month before the Governor relented and put the visits back to once a quarter again.

In 1839 the Molloys finally had to abandon their dream and got no compensation for the loss of time and materials they had put in over the years. By 1840 only three settlers remained and in 1850 the Turners too abandoned the area and returned to
Perth. (The Turner's cottage was on the land now occupied by Turner Caravan Park.) Turner built a home in Adelaide Terrace and called it 'Lismore House'. The former RAC buildings occupy the site where the old house stood until 1946.
 

In 1851 a party of 10 convicts with guards were sent to the Augusta area to cut timber. The jarrah had to be rafted down the Blackwood River (as jarrah does not float) to a ship waiting at Flinders Bay. In the end, the ship John Painter, was loaded with 170 tons of timber but it had taken so long to fell and cut that no profits were made from the venture and no more work was done.


A survey in 1865 found three families (Brennan, Longbottom and Brady) still living near Augusta and Charles Layman living near
Hamelin Bay.

The area started to be re-settled in the late 1860s with the arrival of the Ellis, Cross and Deere families. William Ellis took up Lot 5 in the town site (where a descendant was later to build the local hotel) in 1863. It is thought that William had visited the area much earlier (in the mid 1830s) aboard a whaling ship.

William and Margaret (nee Cassidy) were married by John Molloy in
Busselton in 1854. They settled in Augusta in 1867, where, apart from short absences, William was to live until his death aged 87. They had 5 children when they arrived in Augusta and five more during the years they lived in the town (two were to die in childhood.)

 

A road board was established in 1891 and two of the members are listed as H.C. Ellis and J.E. Ellis (presumably two of William's sons.)

 

The lighthouse on Cape Leeuwin was opened in 1896 and stands 49 metres high. It is made from locally quarried limestone and the foundations are buried 6.7 metres below the surface.

 

In 1912 the original Augusta Hotel was built by Henry Cassidy Ellis. The Ellis family continued to prosper in the area and today still owns a great deal of property including the Westbay Retreat Caravan Park.


Group settlement brought more people to the area in the 1920s  but the land was still harsh and unforgiving, and by the 1930s very few people remained. It was not until after World War II that the existing town was developed.
 

Iron ore deposits were found in the Scott River basin in the 1960s but at only 45% purity they were over shadowed by the vast stocks of ore found in the Pilbara. In 1964 there was some test drilling for oil but an environmental study found that dredging and mining in the area should not be allowed to proceed.

 

An electricity supply first became available in Augusta in 1960. Molloy Island was opened up as a housing development in 1974 and the road to Margaret River was only sealed in 1979!

 

In 1986 a mass stranding of over 114 false killer whales brought a lot of publicity to the area. Happily due to a concerted effort by many people over several days, 97 of the whales were rescued and sent back out to sea. Other successful rescues of a similar nature took place in 1988 and 1989.

 

In 1998 and again in 2000 submissions were presented for the secession of Augusta from the Augusta - Margaret River Shire. Nothing, however, eventuated.


I have spent many happy holidays in Augusta. It is a pretty town and provides good fishing if you avoid the main tourist season. It can be very cold and windy along the coast but areas in the upper reaches of the Blackwood River are more sheltered and quite beautiful.

Despite the unchecked development going on around Margaret River, Augusta has managed to keep it's wonderful laid back uncluttered atmosphere. One has to wonder how long the town can resist the kind of 'progress' that is ruining other small towns along the coast.

The proximity to
Margaret River just 40 kilometres north, the wine producing areas, surfing beaches, caves and forest along the coast, make Augusta a good base for exploration.

If you have a boat, the best area for fishing in the sheltered waters used to be upstream at a place called 'the sticks'. Sadly over fishing has seen most of the fish vanish from the lower reaches of the river and you need to go a long way upstream to seek out the odd black bream.

Nearby caves include Brides, Jewel, Mammoth, Lake, Dingo's and Moondyne
(named after the bushranger Moondyne Joe). Not all caves in the area are commercial; over 200 have been discovered and most are closed to the public. Seek advice from local rangers if you would like more information.

 

Kudardup is a small town site located 8 kilometres north of Augusta on the Bussell Highway. It has existed for well over 100 years but strangely was only gazetted as a town in 1957.

 

Boranup Forest

 

Not far north of Augusta along Caves Road you come to an impressive stand of Karri trees. If you take Boranup Drive (west off Caves Road) you can drive through one of the best stands of karri trees you will ever see.

 

Boranup is an Aboriginal word meaning 'place of the male dingo'. It is a bit hard to believe but this is a re-growth forest that was originally logged well over a hundred years ago.

 

If you have a high clearance 4 wheel drive, you can follow a track (Point Road) from the north end of Boranup Drive to a secluded campsite. From here the track continues to the coast and by heading north you can reach Conto Camp. See the 'campsites' link above for more details on these CALM operated camps. 

Tall tales and true: Hair-um scare-um.


In 1835 James Turner walked from Augusta to
Perth and although fears were held for his safety, he arrived with no problems along the way. On the return journey he was passing the current site of Pinjarra when he was threatened by a group of Aborigines. James was apparently unarmed as he took off his wig, placed it on the tip of a walking cane and waved it at his pursuers. Terrified by a man who could tear out his own hair, the natives ran off into the bush and did not bother him again.

 

REVIEWS

 

Jewel Cave

 

This cave has a large number of very attractive decorations and is reasonably accessible to all but the most infirm. The climb up and down the staircases is a little tiring but most people should handle it with ease.

 

It is one of the most decorated tourist caves you will see in W.A. but on our most recent visit we did notice that the lighting has been substantially reduced. This leaves the cave looking rather dull but as it is being done for the good of the cave formations, there is little that can be done to rectify the situation.

 

The cave is only a few kilometres north of Augusta on Caves Road and it should be on every visitors 'to do' list in this area.

 

 

Calgardup Cave

 

Calgardup Cave

 

This cave is quite different to Jewel Cave as you take a self guided tour instead of being escorted around. You have to wear appropriate clothing including enclosed shoes. You are provided with lights and a hard hat and then you are free to wander the cave at your leisure.

 

The walkways are all well constructed but there are some low areas to get through and some sections are quite wet so care has to be taken.

 

Reviewed : February 2009

 

 

 

 

 

Cape Leeuwin

Cape Leeuwin

I'm lost please take me home...