Jurien is developing fast and two storey mansions are replacing the old fibro holiday houses that used to be the main type of housing in the town.
Like all attractive places, Jurien is in grave danger of being over-developed and ruined. The Indian Ocean Drive running south to
Lancelin now connects this part of the coast direct to the northern suburbs of Perth and there is little doubt that it will be change
forever the quiet laid-back nature that was once such a part of this area's attraction.
Off the coast lies Jurien Bay Marine Park. The park is located between Green Head and Wedge Island. The park caters for a
number of different activities with some areas set aside as sanctuaries and others where commercial and recreational fishing are allowed.
'No take' or sanctuary zones are a divisive issue but worldwide surveys indicate that fish numbers in these areas triple and average fish sizes go up
by 20-30%. Areas that are fished regularly are then re-populated by fish moving out of sanctuary zones seeking new living space and so the whole
fishery is protected.
The islands in this area are a major breeding ground for Australian sea lions and regular patrols help to rescue sea lions that have become entangled
The nearby Nambung National Park and the Pinnacles draw thousands of visitors every year.
The squatters huts along the coast north of Jurien used to be a terrific place to visit but since the government moved in and destroyed them the area has
lost most of its original charm. On the plus side the council has established a campsite at Sandy Cape Campsite
where the old huts used to stand.
Situated on the coast opposite Escape Island, the area's name originated with an expedition led by Commodore
Nicolas Baudin in 1801-3.
A cartographic surveyor on the expedition ( Louis de Freycinet) named the area after French naval administrator called Charles Marie, Vicomte Jurien.
Despite extensive charting of the area there were a number of ship wrecks off the coast and evidence of some can still be seen at low tide. A lighthouse
was established in 1930 on Escape Island to try and reduce the number of ships being lost.
Settlement in the district dates from the 1850s when Walter Padbury
took up land holdings. His nephew John Grigson managed the property and with a new industry, the need for a jetty led to construction occurring in 1885.
A shipping and landing reserve was declared in 1887 and a church reserve gazetted in 1930.
The first farms in the area found conditions very difficult. Missing trace elements in the soil led to a fatal wasting disease in sheep and cattle and when the
Midlands Railway was completed further inland in 1894, many people moved away to settle on more fertile land. The deficiencies in the soil were not recognised
Fishing has been important since as early as the 1900s and gradually a small settlement built up around the jetty. In 1931 a church was erected but this was
demolished by the Australian Army in 1942 as it was considered it may have given aid to a Japanese landing. Using this skewed logic it should follow that all
buildings near the coast should have been demolished right along the north of the state.
Initially the town started to develop as a holiday destination for families further inland. Shacks were erected and a new well dug. One of the first areas was
known as Cacker Alley due to the bags of undersized crayfish that were brought in for later sale in other towns. Apparently a signal was placed on a washing
line visible to the boats to warm them if there were any fisheries inspectors around so that undersized crays could be dumped overboard.
The town site was surveyed in 1956 and started off with the name Jurien Bay. In 1959 it was changed to just Jurien but in 1999 it went back to being Jurien Bay
again as that is the most popular local name used for the site.
The cray fishing industry originally had problems getting the produce to markets in Perth and freezer ships used to stand off the coast collecting catches from
the smaller cray boats. With the construction of an airstrip the problem was finally solved and crays could reach the markets in peak condition.
An ex-army DUKW (amphibious truck) was used for a while to get stores of food and fuel out to boats in the bay and for bringing crays back in to land.
The town's accelerated development from the 1960s was as a direct result of the crayfishing industry. The primary school opened in 1966 and by 1991 it had
expanded to include high school courses for year 8,9 and 10 students.
In 1988 a new marina catering for 72 commercial fishing boats was opened at a cost of around 8 million dollars.
On the first Saturday of November each year there is a celebration and blessing of the fleet just prior to the opening of the rock lobster season.
Local attractions in the area include Drover's Cave National Park that contains a number of interesting limestone caves.
Most are only accessible by 4wd. (Beware of the bees which live in large hives at the cave entrances.)
TALL TALES AND TRUE
When the ship Europa (also known as 'the grog ship' due to the cargo it carried) was wrecked near Jurien in 1897, local water puller,
Ned Broomhall, salvaged part of the cargo and stored it in a nearby cave (Whiskey Cave).
One day Ned became so drunk that he somehow contaminated some of the booze with strychnine and arsenic that he wound up drinking himself.
Passing drovers noticed his condition and sent a rider to the nearby Grigson homestead to fetch help.
John Grigson and his son Ed rode out and found Ned in a drunken stupor babbling about putting 'hot stuff' in the whiskey.
Luckily for Ned, the alcohol, food and poison in his stomach brought on such an intense bout of vomiting that all the poison was emptied out before it
could cause him any harm.
Although it appears that Ned did no harm to anyone but himself, he was charged with attempted murder and served 6 months before being released
and returning to work for John Grigson.
(It was later found that Ned's real name was Edwin Owen.)
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Dynamite Bay, South Bay, Pebbly beach, Caves, Fisherman's Islands, Stockyard Gully, Sandy Cape, Fishing, Marina,
Leseur National Park, Golf course.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
State : Moore
Federal : Durack
Postcode : 6516
Local Government : Shire of Dandaragan
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