Bannister and North Bannister are situated on the Albany Highway and are little more than fuel and tavern stops.
They were named after Capt. Thomas Bannister
who led the first overland expedition from the Swan River Colony to King George's Sound (Albany) in 1832.
During Thomas Bannister's expedition to Albany the
party became lost and ended up on the coast 80 miles west of Albany where they spent some time foraging for food.
When they finally made it to Albany they were in a very poor state and were quite lucky to have survived. Their journey had taken 33 days (one source quotes 53),
19 of which were endured without provisions. Note: The party actually took 27 days to reach the southern coast then ran out of supplies and took a further 19 days
getting to Albany.
Navigation was not exactly foolproof and Smythe who was plotting the route, was out by a considerable amount. The actual route taken by Bannister was somewhat west
of the current Albany Highway, while Smythe's plotted points were closer to Narrogin and Wagin. You can't help
but wonder what Bannister would make of the 4.5 hour trip to Albany by car that we can do today.
During the journey Smythe was blamed by other members of the expedition for getting the party lost, one even threatened to shoot him. As it turned out it was a fault
with the sextant that was the cause of the errors and Smythe was not to blame. One source says that after discovering Lake Towerrinning, the party saw a double peaked
mountain that they mistook for Mt. Manypeaks near Albany, and that it was this that led them too far west ending up on the coast near Broke Inlet.
Thomas Bannister had almost decided to leave the colony and move to Hobart but
offered him the post of Government Resident of Fremantle for the salary
of 100 pounds a year. This inducement was enough for Bannister to remain in W.A. After the arduous exploration, Bannister finally decided that Western Australia was
not for him and took a ship east to Tasmania and then some years later, he went back to England. He returned to Western Australia five years later (1837). A year
later Bannister was to leave W.A. for good.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
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BUILDINGS OF NOTE
State : Wagin
Federal : O'Connor
Postcode : 6390
Local Government : Shire of Wandering