INTRODUCTION

 

 

 

 

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‘The fire flickered in the darkness on the river bank on that morning of September 6th 1861. Shadowy shapes moved around it as the first signs of approaching daylight appeared in the east. As the last stars faded the first pale streaks in the sky illuminated the bearded faces of the men breakfasting around the campfire, reflecting off the surface of the waterhole behind them. The men ate hungrily and quickly.

 

Thick slabs of damper bread with rashers of bacon were washed down with tea – hot, sweet and dark – from fire-blackened quart pots. They finished by the time it was light enough to see the outline of the hills around them.

 

The horses were already watered, and now the men set to work two at a time to swing the prepared loads up on to the backs of the pack horses. Bridles jingled as the riding horses were saddled, each one grunting in standard protest as the girths were tightened.

 

It was all done with practiced efficiency. This was the 116th day of the “North West Australian Exploring Expedition”, and by now the morning routines of breaking camp were so well-established that no orders were needed. Each man knew his part.’

Gold Dust and Iron Mountains. Hugh Edwards

 

Why learn about history? Someone once said; 'Those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.' So perhaps we should pay a bit more attention to history and stop making the same mistakes over and over again.

 

Welcome

 

Welcome to the living guide to Western Australia - a comprehensive resource that explores the state's past and present. Unlike traditional books, this guide is constantly evolving as it is updated and corrected to reflect new discoveries and insights.

Western Australia's history is not just a collection of dates and figures; it is the story of how we arrived at our current state. From significant events to the uncelebrated heroes who made life possible in Western Australia's harsh conditions, our history is a compelling tale of perseverance and determination.

Today, with our reliance on modern technology and urban living, it is challenging to imagine surviving the hardships faced by the early pioneers. Those who ventured into the outback with basic tools, minimal supplies, and a will to build a home and work the land are a testament to the human spirit. The pioneers not only battled the environment but also faced the threat of conflict with the Aboriginal people, who were defending their land.

This website is an initiative to breathe life into our history and inspire new generations to delve deeper into Western Australia's past. We hope that this project will continue to be updated and maintained, ensuring the collective story of Western Australia is never lost.

Our website is not an exhaustive historical account but rather an easily accessible resource that combines major historical events with personal insights into the early explorers' lives. While we have not uncovered any new facts, we aim to present the existing knowledge in an engaging and informative manner that will appeal to a broad audience.

 

More than just our history

 

This guide offers much more than just a historical account of Western Australia. It provides a wealth of interesting and practical information for visitors and locals alike. From hiring a motor home for just a dollar a day to exploring our unique flora and fauna, this website covers a diverse range of topics.

Fishing enthusiasts can explore our dedicated fishing section for tips and tricks, while those looking for a place to stay can browse our comprehensive list of caravan parks and campsites across the state. We are continually updating our site with new information about national parks and other places of interest. Additionally, we are documenting our travels through photographs and short videos to give visitors an immersive experience of the state.

With over 20,000 stunning photographs and numerous video clips, our website offers a visual feast of Western Australia's diverse landscapes, wildlife, and attractions. Whether you are planning a trip or simply interested in learning more about this incredible state, this guide is an invaluable resource. There are currently over 12,000 photographs and many video clips from all round the state included on this site.

 

Teachers please note

 

Calling all history lovers! Are you a teacher who wants to inspire your students with fascinating stories of Western Australia's past? We encourage you to get your students involved in researching information about their local area to add to our guide. And guess what? We're happy to give full credit to the students and teachers who contribute, and even include pictures in the guide! We've designed the format to be flexible, so there are virtually no restrictions on what can be added.

If you have any digital photos you'd like to submit, please make sure they are properly labeled so we can use them accurately. We accept any digital images that can be read by an MS Windows based computer, and please make sure to include written permission for the photos to be included in the guide.

We're constantly updating this guide to make it the best it can be. If you spot any errors or have any new information to contribute, please let us know! We've put in thousands2 of hours of research, not to mention travel expenses, to compile this guide. We hope you find it both useful and entertaining.

Now, we know that history books can often be dense and dry, containing way too much information for the average person to digest. That's why we're trying to make this guide different. We've carefully selected the most interesting and useful pieces of information to share with you, without boring you with reams of irrelevant details.

We believe that our history, particularly European history in Australia, is still fresh and new, and we're amazed that more people don't seem to care about it. Can you believe that people who saw this land before any real development took place were still alive in the 1970s? Sadly, much of their knowledge and memories are now lost forever, but we're doing our best to collect and preserve their stories in this guide.

One thing we're grateful for is that photography developed at the same time as Western Australia did. This means we can look at old photos and see what the land and towns were like from the mid-1800s. We can even see the faces of the people who explored and opened up the land, and realize that they were just ordinary folks, living their lives as best they could, just like us.

We've been working on this guide since 1997, and we're committed to continuing to make it available for all who are interested. We welcome submissions from anyone, and we're particularly interested in entertaining anecdotes about localities in W.A. So if you have any stories to share, please don't hesitate to send them our way!

 

Aboriginal History

 

We do not touch on Aboriginal history in Western Australia prior to European settlement in this guide in any great detail. It is my belief that it is for the Aborigines to tell their own history in their own way.

 

NEW! Tall tales and true

 

Tall tales are anecdotes associated with a specific area. They may be true, or they may just be plausible but most are entertaining stories that add character to a specific town or region. Where we find these tales we are adding them to the guide to help preserve aspects of our history that may otherwise be lost. If you have any anecdotes that are at least reasonably believable about towns in W.A., please send us a copy to include in this guide.

 

Wanted

 

More information on famous local sons and daughters, also information on a calendar of events for all regional towns.

 

Disclaimer

 

We are not academic historians and this guide is a labour of love. Please accept it for what it is. Because the world is becoming so litigious we have to put in that: We accept no responsibility for the contents of this guide even errors or omissions.

 

Copyright and copying

 

This guide and all the colour photographs not otherwise credited and MPG or WMV video clips remain the property of Marc Glasby, Rosabelle Glasby, Dorothy Loader (c) 2015 unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.

Western Australian State Libraries and Western Australian State High Schools are granted permission to make copies of this site for loan and study purposes only.

 

When reading history books or visiting museums beware of 'Facts'

 

Anyone interested in history (and especially those who take up the subject academically) should be more than aware that history books are not always right. We are constantly making corrections to this site as new information is uncovered. Just because something is written down in a book does not necessarily mean that it is correct. We have found all sorts of inconsistencies, errors and omissions during our own research. Even such lauded institutions as the State Museum can get things terribly wrong at times.*

* This refers to the Museum's display concerning the 'massacre' at Forrest River for which there is no corroborating evidence. (Rod Moran's book 'Sex, Maiming and Murder' gives an in depth view of how badly this particular event has been misrepresented by eminent historians.)

Unfortunately for serious students of history, oral traditions of recording history such as those used by the Aborigines are inherently unreliable. Folk lore tends to become mixed with fact and in many cases even the facts can become wildly exaggerated as they have been with the Battle of Pinjarra. Even European written records may not always tell the whole story about some incidents as it may not have been politically acceptable to record some of the dark deeds that occurred in the state's history.

My only advice is to read as many sources as possible to confirm the things that happened in our past and to never take anything you read at face value - including what is contained in this guide.

 

A note on names, spelling and dates.

 

Many town names are taken from the Aboriginal dialect of tribes who lived in the particular area. As the Aboriginal people had no written language there are often several alternate ways of spelling a particular word. To avoid confusion, waste of space and even worse, boredom, I have selected what seems to be the most often used spelling and interpretation of the original Aboriginal word.

In the course of researching this site I have come across many conflicting dates for exploration and gazetting of towns. Where no clear correct answer can be obtained an alternate date appears in brackets.

Many details list areas as first being settled on certain dates. It should be remembered that this information only applies to European settlement and that Aboriginal tribes have inhabited most areas of W.A. for thousands of years. What was seen as settlement by the Europeans was a full-scale invasion to the Aborigines.

You will note that many towns have names ending in the letters ‘up’, as in Dwellingup, Yallingup etc. This comes from the Aboriginal language and is said to mean meeting place. We have located another possible explanation and that is that ‘up’ means belonging to or place of. For example Gnowangerup. Gnow meaning bush turkey (mallee hen) becomes place of the mallee hen. The usage of 'up' is from one specific dialect but from other Aboriginal groups the suffix, ‘ing’ and ‘arra’ as in Meckering or Meekatharra, are said to mean the same thing.

Uncountable hours of research have gone into the production of this guide. I hope the information contained here is useful and will enhance the experience of travelling through one of the most diverse and wonderful places in the world.

 

HEMA Map References

 

We are gradually removing all the old HEMA map references and replacing them with the more modern GPS coordinates in the HH:MM:SS format.

 

Statistics and Services in subject pages

 

Km from Perth - Number of kilometres by the quickest route from the GPO in Perth.

 

Population - Where possible these figures are from the 2011 census and may indicate shire population if the town population data is not available.

 

Rainfall - Average yearly rainfall and the figure in brackets if provided, is the highest daily rainfall.

 

Max Temp - Average maximum temperature and the figure in brackets if provided, is the highest daily temperature.

 

Min Temp - Average minimum temperature and the figure in brackets if provided, is the lowest daily temperature.

 

Under ‘SERVICES’ the title ‘Medical’ may refer to a hospital, nursing station or doctor's surgery. Also if services are not available in the town then a phone number of that service in the nearest town may be supplied instead.

 

Climate data was obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology's web site at www.bom.gov.au

 

 

 

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