HEMA Map reference 74/E4


32 40' 59" S 116 31' 17" E



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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.

On the way they 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
Governor Stirling 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.



I'm lost please take me home...

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