Potted Histories


By E.G. Davis, c. 1958

First white settlers came to Cookernup 104 years ago.

Many early settlers believe that Cookernup received its name from a small bulb that grew in a hillside swamp between the school and the hall. This bulb was called “koka” or “kokar” by the natives and for many years the settlers pronounced Cookernup as “Kokonup.”

When the Government gazetted the town site in August 1894, it was shown as Cookernup, but it is not known when or how the name came to be altered.

It is possible that some natives pronounced the name “kookar,” the same as “booka,” their native dress of kangaroo skins worn with the fur inside. Mrs. K. Blight, who was a teacher at the Cookernup School about 1898, says that the children collected these small bulbs which they called “kokars”. As far as she knows the bulbs were not found in other parts of the district.

Over 30 years later the original railway siding at Wagerup was known as Goonerup for a short while, but when settlers discovered that this meant “dirty water” in the native language the siding was moved to Yalup Brook and named Wagerup to settle a long dispute on position and names.

White Settlers

The earliest white settlers arrived in Cookernup about 1852 and included Mrs. Joseph Keys Logue and family, who settled in what was then known as North Harvey.

Her house was called Convolvulus Villa and two of its original rooms are still standing. At one time the farm was named Bella Vista, but when it was bought from the Logue estate by the late Mr. G Jenkinson, he renamed it Leylands after the motor truck of that name.

The first block on 10 acres at Cookernup was taken up by J. Logue in 1854 and old maps show several 40-acre blocks, all close to water as being taken up in his name. These included Lots 416, 417, 572 and a block of 80 acres, 524. Joseph Logue, jnr, is shown as the owner of Lot 530, of 40 acres and Lot 668 of 100 acres. Lot 670 is only marked Logue.

The family name was given to a brook that ran through the property, and years later when the railway was built the station was named Logue’s Brook before it became Cookernup.

In 1879, Mr. Walter Weeks took up land on another brook named after him. Many years later when a main drain was constructed to take floodwaters from the brook to the Harvey River, it was also named after him. A photograph found among old Cookernup records recently has been recognized as that of Mrs. Weekes, who was always known by old residents as “Granny” Weekes.

About this period, Mr. James Clarke, a son of Ephraim Clarke, who arrived at Australind in 1841, moved to near Clarke’s Brook from Jardup, Harvey. From about 1887 he farmed at Myrtle Hill for many years and took an active interest in local affairs.

Another settler who had a brook named after him was Mr. R. [sic J.] Bancell who took up land in the northern part of the district in 1880.

It may seem strange to present day Cookernup residents to mention Wagerup settlers of the early days, but it must be remembered that Wagerup and Cookernup were very closely associated before Yarloop came into being about 1900 and was built on part of Wagerup townsite. Plans of 1901 do not show Yarloop, although the top yard from which it got its name was there earlier than 1900.

In 1884, when Mr. J. Thompson Logue gave up his lease of the Harvey River Station, he went to Cookernup and some of the people who had been living at or near the Old Homestead at Harvey also migrated there.

About 1885, Peter McKellar and William Adams, snr, – former residents of the Harvey River Settlement – John Hurst and Joseph Woodley went to Cookernup. Some of them had been working for Mr. Thompson Logue at Harvey and probably helped to get timber for his new house at Cookernup – Moojelup. Mr. Charles Nicholson says that Mr. Logue had a saw-pit on his land near Summerbrook-road, where the sawn timber for Moojelup was cut.

Honeymoon Cottage

The slab for the old house was split on the same land near a spot where Mr. Logue erected a building, known for many years as ‘Honeymoon Cottage’. It is not known if his second wife (née Mitchell) spent her honeymoon at this lovely spot overlooking the whole district, but it was known that in later years he liked to get away from the home farm to the healthy hills air.

Originally Moojelup was a native burial ground. The last full-blooded native in the district King Billy was buried near Warrawarrup. Although there were no other natives in the district flowers were placed on his grave every year for some time. This indicates that this old man was quite an important person among the natives of the State.

Between 1887 and 1896 when Cookernup developed into an important timber centre, settlers who took up land included W. J. Eastcott, whose family have been well-known in the district since. (His wife wrote a story about Mr. and Mrs. Sandgroper). Others were Mr. Riley, George W. Jackson and William Adams, snr.

Land regulations seem to have been altered about 1890, because several settlers selected blocks of 1,000 acres or more. This may have caused some concern to earlier settlers who had been limited to 40 or 100 acres each. Mr. J. Owen Mitchell took up a large selection known as Black Rock. He was very fond of dogs and was well known at all stock sales in the district for over 50 years. His son, Mr. S. C. Mitchell is still on the property. Mr. H. Bowles took up 1000 acres adjoining Mr. Mitchell and was well known for many years.

Progress Body

Mr. Edward Cook’s holding then included land now owned by Messers. E. Holthouse, C. Jenkinson and D. Ritchie. Mr. Cook was the first member of the Cookernup Farmers’ Progress Association formed in 1895 and was later a member and chairman of the Harvey Road Board.

Mr. Tom Garlick took up 1,000 acres, which today embraces a big part of Yarloop east of the railway line.

In 1891, Mr. Aitkin took up several blocks and was one of the earliest fruit growers in the district. Pruning matches, subsidized by the Government, were held in the district and at one held on Mr. Aitkin’s property in 1904, at which the Government subsidy was £6/10/-, Mr. Roy Hayward was one of the winners. He was helped by Mr. George Gibbs, who gave up his entry and loaned him his pruning shears. Mr. Hayward had arrived in the district shortly before after training at Roseworthy College, South Australia.

Mr. Charles Woodley, who took up land that later became Homebush Farm, came to the district in 1892 and later moved to Waroona. A Mr. Hutchinson arrived the following year, and lived in the first cottage at Homebush, which was pulled down in 1954.

Thomas Marriott, jnr, came in 1893 and was followed by his brother William, who was the first butcher in Cookernup.
William Adams, jnr, took up land on the Coast-road in 1893 and was well-known in Cookernup and Harvey for many years.

In 1894, Mr. A. Monty Wickham took up a big area of land west of the railway and shared with Tom Garlick the honour of owning most of the land that later became Yarloop. Mr. Wickham was very active in Cookernup associations as a treasurer and was north ward member of the Harvey Road Board for many years.

The Pinjarra to Picton railway was opened in September 1893, and when Cookernup was declared a township the following year a plan was issued showing many streets with blocks reserved for a post office (State) and a school. Most of the streets were named in honor of well-known people of that time.

The year 1895 was an important one for Cookernup. The Farmers’ Progress Association held its first meeting on April 18, with a subscription of 2/6 and the timber industry commenced to develop.

Following the opening of William’s Mill and Ferguson’s Mill, Cookernup became a busy timber center. Railway workers were stationed there and a number of houses were erected. William Marriott and Joseph Logue were elected as members of the newly formed Brunswick and District Road Board. In 1896 the Agricultural Hall was built by the Government.

School’s Opening

The school was opened in 1895 on August 12, with Miss Susan Mitchell as its first teacher and the post office was opened in York-street, with Mrs. Sutcliffe as first postmistress. The school still stands where it was first erected on the corner of Clarke and Logue-streets. Harvey and Clarke-streets are now Riverdale-road.

Mrs. G. Hayward Clifton (nee Logue) says that the first police officer in the district was Constable Mick Pollard, who was also in charge of the coaching station in North Harvey.

A gaol was attached to his house and housed convicts who were used in the construction of the main roads. The old shingle roof stables stood for many years but were pulled down some years ago by Mr. Jenkinson when they were in danger of falling down.

William’s Mill was opened in the hills between Cookernup and Harvey and was later connected to the South-West railway with a junction near Mr Weekes’ farm. A wooden tramline was built and the empty wagons were hauled up the hill near the properties of G. Bridle and Edward Hughes. The loaded wagons came down from the mill by gravitation. There was a railway reserve at the junction and in January 1902, the Harvey Road Board asked for a siding to be established there. Over 50 years later, the railways opened a staff station there.

Ferguson’s Mill was erected near the present Hoffman-road, and another wooden tramline was built alongside what was then Clarke-street. This crossed the Perth–Bunbury-road near Clarke’s Brook and joined the railway at Cookernup, then Logue’s Brook Station. These lines were rated by the road board.

Timber Stacking

There was also a railway reserve north of Cookernup for timber stacking. This was opposite to Homebush Farm, so the right angle bend in the road was made around the stacking yard.

In 1897, Miss Kate Logue, now Mrs. K. Blight of Harvey, taught at the Cookernup School. As there was no school at Harvey, children travelled by train to attend the Cookernup School daily. In 1898, Miss Logue formed a Mutual Improvement Association, which held meetings in the hall. The Cookernup Board of Health was formed with Mr. James Clarke as chairman and the newly formed Cemetery Board held initial meetings in July 1898.