Potted Histories


By Maidee Smith, 12 Sept 2009

The original ‘Parkfield’ grant of 2560 acres at the head of the Leschenault Estuary was taken up by William Hudson. Later the western portion (Location 7) was purchased by Prinsep and William Knight bought Location 14. This was the area we know as ‘Parkfield’ and was established and developed by Robert Henry Rose who leased it in 1852 and purchased it in 1855. Over the years he added many more acres to his holding by lease and purchase. A house was built so he could move in his bride, Ann Bishop Allnut of Australind, in 1855. Limestone and timber on the property were used to build this house, future extensions and homes for their working men. The Roses had five sons before the untimely death of Mrs Rose after childbirth. She died in 1864, and the son survived.

Robert Rose married a second time, and with his wife Elizabeth Eliza Teede of Bunbury had another fourteen children. These numerous children were all educated on the property, at home with governesses at first, then at Parkfield School south of the homestead and later at the Parkfield School (No. 2) which was to the north east – still on the property, but facing the Old Coast Road.   The second school site is now part of the new Highway.

George Rose, the third son of Robert Henry Rose who died in 1901, took over ‘Parkfield’ which was then 9000 acres of which 250 were cleared and being cultivated. He sold the property in 1913 to George Cargeeg of Claremont and retired to live in Cargeeg’s property, ‘The Grange’, which had been part of the agreement. The Cargeegs had three sons, Reginald, Albert and Harold. Albert was sent to ‘Parkfield’ to manage the property; Reginald helped, but Harold was still at school. At the outbreak of World War 1, Reginald and Albert immediately enlisted and went overseas where Reginald was badly wounded and Albert was killed at Gallipoli. Harold enlisted when he was old enough in 1917 and served in the 11th Battalion in France. He returned to ‘Parkfield’ later on but tragically, was killed in a farm accident in April 1925 and the family decided to sell.

A farming family from South Australia bought the farm – the Morgans – but only stayed for three years before deciding to return to South Australia.

Thomas Talbot of Brunswick then bought it as a coastal ‘run off’ property, but did not live there. At times he had a caretaking couple at the house but not permanently. So it was rather run down when Bill Benny bought it in 1947.

He cleared a lot of the old stone workmen’s cottages as well as part of the back of the house which had fallen into disrepair and he felt was ‘dangerous’. He also filled in the old cellar with the rubble as he felt it too was dangerous for their young son. They only had the one child, so with the main rooms of the old limestone block house it was big enough for them. Mr Benny made improvements to fences, yards and outside farm buildings, but they didn’t stay long before selling out to Eric Henning in 1951.

Eric Henning had come from the wheatbelt and set about improving the house and property. After the war, materials for house improvements and building were very scarce but were becoming more available. He added rooms, enclosed part of the back verandah, a new bathroom, kitchen, etc. were built and then a tiled roof put on. Only the ‘core’ of four rooms with limestone walls remained.

In 1954 he decided to sell the property and retire to Bunbury and George Smith and our family moved in. His son Morgan and grandson Paul still farm the property but it is much smaller now as all the owners before us sold off ‘bits’. We sold some acreage to the north long ago and some has been resumed by Main Roads for the dual lane Highway, so it continues to ‘shrink’. We have changed the house in minor ways but the limestone core of four rooms remains.