Situated just north of Bunbury, Australind is bordered on the south by the Collie River and on the west by the Leschenault Inlet.
It is a much more pleasant place to stay than Bunbury.
As Bunbury expands, Australind is becomming swallowed up by urban sprawl, becoming in reality just another suburb of the main town. As it
currently lies within the boundary of the Shire of Harvey it will be interesting in future years to see if there is a political
squabble over who gets to administer the town.
The Leschenault Inlet is most attractive but warning signs have been placed along the banks telling people to avoid being bitten by
mosquitoes, as the Ross River Virus is now present in the area. The waters of the inlet are quite shallow in most places and crabs
can be caught from December to March. Fishing in the inlet is not usually met with great success as the waters are very shallow and
discourage larger fish from coming in.
St Nicholas Church
This church is reputed to be the smallest in Australia and was originally built as a workman's cottage. Construction dates are variously reported as 1840 and 1844.
It was used as a church from 1848 and is one of the few surviving buildings from the original settlement.
Close to St. Nicholas is Henton Cottage which was built in 1841. Henton Cottage used to be the local Visitor Information centre and also
sold all sorts of interesting household artifacts. Sadly the visitor centre moved to another building and the wonderful array of collectables that
are in some of the pictures we took are no longer available.
This two storey house was constructed in 1847. It lies at the junction of Upton Place and the Old Bunbury Road. This was the residence of
the Commissioner of the area (Marshall Waller Clifton)
but there were very few settlers left to govern by the time the materials were
shipped from England and construction was completed. Australind's settlement plan was abandoned in 1875.
Clifton lived on in Australind and died at the age of 73.
The area was originally known as Port Leschenault but the name of Australind was adopted after a plan to sell horses to the Indian army. (AUSTRALia-INDia).
It was first settled in 1840-1 and only a year after settlement started there were 440 people in the area. By 1843 the area had been abandoned. A settler's
wife gave an apt description of life at the time.
She wrote: "rain falling like torrents all evening; our tent in a sad state of wet; thunder and lightning soon come on; rain such as no one can imagine.
No future settlers can suffer what we do; for when others come they will find things made for them and our experience available. Friends in England should
be made acquainted with the dangers of this Australian coast in this season. A fatal grievance prevails on the point and I feel horrified to think of people
blindly coming out at any time of year, to be exposed to such awful weather as this."
Looking at the lovely estuary today it is very hard indeed to imagine just how tough it was for the early settlers.
Marshall Waller Clifton (the driving force behind
the settlement of the area) had taken cuttings from fig trees in Tenerife. The ship he was on (the Parkfield) had been caught in a storm and called in to the island
for shelter. The cuttings were planted in Australind and were still to be seen in the 1950s. We are unsure if they have survived into the 21st century.
The Western Australian Company that employed Clifton was unlucky in one respect and that was because Governor
mistakenly revoked the title to their grant and caused
investors in London to begin pulling out. Hutt had believed that the grant was one that was to have been developed within ten years of the initial grant being made.
It was in fact one of the early grants that had 21 years for development. By the time this had been sorted out too many people in London had lost confidence in the scheme.
Clifton was dismissed from his position in 1843. Even though the scheme collapsed, it had brought 476 badly needed new settlers to the colony.
The area stagnated for a vary long time. The railway was put through further inland and even as late as 1971, there were only just over 400 people living in the area. By 1981
the area was becomming popular as a residential centre and the population started to rapidly increase.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
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Estuary, Beaches, Featured Wood Gallery and Museum,
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
St. Nicholas, Henton cottage, Upton house.
State : Murray-Wellington
Federal : Forrest
Postcode : 6233
Local Government : Shire of Harvey
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