HEMA Map reference 74/E2
32° 37' 18" S 115° 40' 10" E
Peel / Harvey Estuary, Cooper’s Cottage, Murray River, Hall’s Cottage, Eacott Cottage, Allandale, Hardy’s Cottage, Lake Clifton.
Buildings of note
Hall's cottage c1850.
Calendar of events
January: Beach Party, Concerts (to March) March: Crab festival. May: Art festival October: Childrens Festival, Car spectacular. November: Fishing classic. December: Community fair, Christmas pageant & foreshore party. Saturday: Markets.
The area was
explored by boat in 1829 and was first settled in 1830 by
Thomas Peel. A site called Peel was
set aside for development which never eventuated. Named after an Aboriginal
word, ‘mandjar’ which may mean meeting place, or watering place. (One source
also quotes ‘trading place’ as a possible meaning.)
George Mackenzie was speared and killed on July 17 1830 and due to the ferocity of the local Aborigines, a garrison of 15 soldiers under the command of Lt. Erskine had been established by the end of 1830. The following year the local tribe launched an attack on the barracks that was driven off. Attacks continued and in 1832 Private George Budge was speared and Sgt. Wood attacked and wounded.
Attacks continued in the area until the battle of Pinjarra after which things settled down considerably.
In the 1870s a fish canning factory was established by C.E. Broadhurst and it was successful enough for a second factory to start up in 1880.
In 1878 the ship James Service struck a reef off Mandurah and was lost with all hands.
Unfortunately since we first wrote this page, development in Mandurah has exploded exponentially. Housing developments along the coast have mushroomed south and there are only pockets of the quiet peaceful setting that used to exist along the estuary.
Although we can only comment on what we have seen ourselves, it appears as though the numbers of crabs appearing in the estuary has sharply declined since the late 1990s. Sand flats where there were once hundreds of crabs now seem to be empty in peak season. This would appear to be directly related to the numbers of people moving in to the area and the huge numbers of crabs being removed from the system.
The same also
appears to be true of prawn and mullet numbers in the waterways.
One of the early pioneering families were the Halls, after which Halls Head is now named. In general they were a hard working honest family but one of their number fell afoul of the law by stealing cattle.
Bushranger or explorer?
In his 20s Frank moved south to the Manjimup area and eventually leased land for a cattle station that was called Manginup (or Manjinnup) . He got to know the area very well and when his cattle were ready for market he would drive them to Busselton.
All went well for a couple of years until Constable Finlay paid a visit to the Blackwood area where he discovered that stock had been going missing. On his return to Busselton he investigated further, finding some hides that matched the descriptions of the missing cattle. On a local businessman's property the constable found live stolen cattle, recently delivered by Frank Hall. Hall was arrested at the Commercial Hotel and committed for trial.
A muster of cattle on Hall's Manjimup property uncovered 80 cattle that had been re-branded and had their ear marks altered.
Just a week after his arrest Hall managed to escape while being taken outside for exercise. He fled to the bush and started life as a 'bushranger'. A 100 Pound reward was put on his head but Hall managed to keep out of the hands of the law.
A newspaper of the day derided the attempts of the police to catch Hall and wrote:
"Hall has never been heard of since his escape. Notwithstanding the reward which has been offered for his apprehension, the array of police, the number of natives, the little army of spies, all anxious to have a share in the reward, not the slightest trace of him has been found, no clue to his whereabouts, and the police are as much abroad with respect to his movements and place of concealment as they were the first day he started. . . For aught they know to the contrary he may be out of the colony. . ."
Hall proved to be a better bushman than the police and with the help of friends
he managed to stay one step ahead of the law. He moved from the Vasse area to
York but eventually the life of a bushranger lost its appeal and
he went to see his business fried, Yelverton, who accompanied Frank back to Vasse to surrender to the troopers.
H.M. Lefroy (Superintendent of Convicts) was also a noted explorer and when Hall’s bush skills came to his attention he selected Hall to accompany him on the 1863 journey through the area where Bruce Rock stands. Lefroy later wrote of Hall:
"His well known bush experience and familiarity with the natives, and his general cleverness and smartness has induced me to solicit His Excellency's permission to take him with me in the capacity of convict servant, which request His Excellency was pleased to accede to..."
In his official report on the expedition, Lefroy commended Hall for his performance and appealed for remission on the long sentence Hall was serving. Because Hall had stolen from rich land owners the appeal was dismissed and Hall was returned to gaol to complete his sentence.
Eventually Hall was pardoned in 1871 having served 11 of his 15 year sentence. Hall moved north to the Geraldton and the Shark Bay areas. He married in 1882 and died just 4 years later in Northampton. His widow survived until 1950.
Although popularly referred to as a bushranger, Hall never robbed a bank or held up a stage coach. He was a highly skilled bushman and a 'cattle duffer' who made the great mistake of stealing from the wrong people.