Local Identities

Reminiscences of Mrs Mary Venables (nee Piggott), Harvey District

(Source: State Library of Western Australia, call number PR1371)


Documents such as this were written many years ago and sometimes include offensive and derogatory terms which are today considered unacceptable. Please be aware that this article contains terminology which describes people in derogatory and offensive ways that are totally unacceptable today. Its usage demonstrates the language (and thus, the thinking) of the time. It also contains references to Aboriginal people who have died. We apologise for any offence or distress that reading such material might cause.

Note: This article was compiled by Hector Evans, from interviews with Mary Venables in 1956-57. Handwritten corrections by AC Staples within manuscript are indicated by square brackets. Original footnotes were by EG Davis. Additional footnotes have been provided from primary sources, and by the Editor, as noted.

[Mary Venables née Piggott (1883-1970) was the grand-daughter of James Piggott and Joanna Simmons, who were among the early arrivals at Australind, landing in the colony in 1844.

Mary’s parents were Joseph Edgar Thomas Shalto Piggott and Mercy Ann Colton.[1]

Mary married Arthur Blythe Venables in 1905 and they had seven children. During her lifetime she witnessed many changes, with the Harvey District evolving from a scattering of settlers living under primitive conditions in relative isolation, to a prosperous district serviced by good roads, education facilities and public transport. Her story tells of life in a close-knit community, where neighbourly support was a necessary part of everyday existence. She speaks of a time when the pleasures were simple, and the pioneering spirit of hard work and resourcefulness brought their own rewards. (Ed.)]


James Piggott had three sons. Joe Piggott was born at Australind in Didginup Cottage, as was his [Joe’s] daughter, Mary.


 Mary Venables with youngster, Lil Hindmarsh

As a young man Joe was a tanner and horse-breaker besides shepherding about 100 goats which they milked for butter. On getting married Joe Piggott[2] settled at the Long Swamp[3], where ten children were born without help from a doctor or nurse. Vegetables were grown and sold to Harvey grubbers. Flour, etc, was brought up the Old Coast Road by bullock team and when the railway came, flour, etc was taken out to the Long Swamp on a pack horse.

As a young man out at the coast Joe Piggott used to make yards and huts for the shepherds who came with their sheep to lamb. The Logues used to bring their cattle from Sunnyvale out to the coast each year. W. Sutton[4] of Jardup also took his stock out to the coast; Big Smith[5] who had a great deal to do with timber in this State and who lived where Alf Day is now, also sent a large mob of mill horses out to the coast.

In the winter evenings the long nights were spent making possum rugs and just before Aubrey Smith left Harvey he told me that a rug they sent Alex Smith[6] was still in perfect condition.

The swamps were very, very good, as on the Long Swamp vegetables were grown without manure. We used to roll up the weed just as if you were rolling up a carpet and then plant swedes, etc, without digging. Tomatoes, as there was no sale, were fed to the milk cows in nose bags. The sand grew good crops of rye, the seed for poultry and pigs and the straw for the big stock. When us girls needed a new hat, we just plaited one from the straw.

A Mr. McAndrew used to send his sheep out to the coast, I think he owned Wedderburn which I think is now owned by Mr. T.H. Talbot. My father used to make the yards just to help the shepherds as safety from the dingoes. Many a calf made a meal for them; they used to come and howl around the house, they would tackle big steers and many were saved by pouring kerosene into their wounds to kill the maggots.

The shepherds’ main food was one sheep per fortnight and damper. They were lonely men as mostly it was only their old dog they had to talk to. While sitting around the fire at night they killed a lot of time making walking sticks. One old shepherd, a little old man named Tommy Punch, although living on damper and mostly cold mutton, was never heard to complain about his health and the shortage of green foods.

In those days the thing was to find out what bullock teams were going into Bunbury. My parents were married at the little Australind church where I was christened. I remember being taken to Bunbury as a girl about 10 or 12 to see the flour mill of Bob Forrest’s, who used to supply the ships.  We grew poultry for him to cut out the flour bill.[7]

What I remember about that trip was my first taste of pineapple, it was many years before I got my second taste. I remember two of the old coach horses who, in their old age, were put in the bush to fend for themselves; they were named Gog and Magog.

Although the pubs were far away the menfolk used to do pretty good for themselves with honey mead. The nearest pub was Bunbury or Perth, but good honey mead made to a good old English recipe was quite potent.

I remember Mr. Buck, the policeman, who used to ride from Bunbury to the Long Swamps on his rounds always staying the night with us. The mails were delivered from Bunbury to Australind and then out to the coast settlers. The first mail man I can remember was a Mr. Gillespie, who also carried some extra tobacco for the settlers. The second mailman was, I think, young House and then Tom Milligan who used to ride a little Timor pony.

Being the eldest of the family I had plenty to do. Before we had stock I had to go for meat and butter to the few places that had some for sale, like Tom Piggott of Stone House, my father’s cousin, and the Joneses of Springhill. When mother would go hunting I had to keep some distance behind with the powder and shot. When the Long Swamp was developed and we had our own milker we made our own butter, killed our own pigs, salted our steers and robbed the bees in the bush for our honey. We made our own clothes and we made our brooms from acid grass. As a girl I used to break my own horses and they certainly could hold their own with anything around. There were some real horses locally such as Jack Grieves’ and Roy Haywards’. Grieves’ old horse was named I think, Robin. Colin Leitch had a beauty, named I think, Calvin.

The aborigines used to camp at our swamp and Hampden’s. William Clarke just missed being speared at Hampden’s. The natives used to come and ask for tea, sugar and flour, which they called a name something like “nelgo”. They knew if you could afford much; a little would satisfy them and then they would leave. The men folk would go in the lead when spreading out for the hunt with their dogs and weapons and their koota-bag [couta-bung] to carry their catch. The lubras followed carrying their piccaninnies on their back in a blanket. They carried their fire with them, which was a midgee [Banksia nut] which they would wave around to keep alight. Out from Hampden’s there was a little place called Quealup [native burial ground] where there were supposed to be some aborigines buried – one was buried around Cramptons.

Being so few people around, the picnics held at where Alf Barnes is living and at the Harvey River were something to look forward to. Blind Man’s Bluff and Races; the kids had a swing put up which used to swing right out into the river and there was plenty of laughing and squealing from the youngsters. All the swamps had native names.

When the railway came through we used to go and see each other at the station. I sold many a bundle of Morrison[8] to the passengers. One station master used to grow flowers in pots on the window sills.

Mother and I had a lot of stock hunting. We rode over what is now Harvey, down around the Wellesley, Sunnyvale and up past Fouracre’s for strays. We ran some in that belonged to McLarty’s of Pinjarra once. When the word was given us that there was stock missing we were out at daylight and very few would get away from us at the first attempt. Our dogs made us many a pound; as soon as they got the beast’s track they would pick him out from any mob. While out hunting around Wokalup it was nothing strange to see half a dozen stock dead from poisoning.[9]

I used to go across country to the Yarloop store[10] and in the rains we’d be swimming a good part of the plains. We never thought anything of getting into the swamps in midwinter to get across to the other side if it meant saving a long walk, perhaps to catch a horse. Many a time I’ve seen the Joneses, and there were quite a few at Myalup, in dead of winter up to their chins in the water. As soon as they got out there would be a race for home where there was a really big fireplace where all could get around. The Joneses were good friends and neighbours, as also were the Joneses of Springhill, who having a good day at the ducks would drop us around half a dozen, and nothing smelt, tasted and looked nicer when being cooked in a camp oven.

There were three Joneses, Fred, Arthur, and George. Their children are still our good friends. We were taught as children to help others with no thought of reward, and myself being a girl, was in demand. I never had an idle moment. When Arthur Jones’s three daughters were lost in the bush my Uncle Joe Colton[11] found them, and the first thing they said was “Please Sir, could you please tell us where our father is?” Uncle Joe it was, who found the bones of some poor man in a hollow tree not far from the main road. I remember him saying that they dug a trench and dragged the remains into a box. I don’t know if it was found out who he was.[12]

Once Uncle Joe Colton, Mother and myself decided to go to Mandurah fishing. We used the spring cart and two horses. We camped at the farm overnight and in the morning Otto Hobbs came to us bare-footed from out of the bush. A little while later we heard that he had been shot.[13]

I remember being at a picnic up at the Harvey River, Mother and I riding with Mrs. Alfred Crampton, riding side-saddle, carrying in her arms Enid Crampton. A few years later I started riding a man’s saddle, being the first to ride astride. Some of the older ladies never liked the idea, but it didn’t take long before all the girls were doing likewise, as their slowness was holding up their men folk, who knew how side-saddle was so awkward in the bush rides.

I used to go on short visits to Miss Leah Fouracre[14] and just a short while before she was murdered she bought me a silk handkerchief from Tommy, the Afghan hawker.[15] I still have it.

When on a visit to the Long Swamp after I was married, one day with Father and Uncle Joe, we saw coming down the hill a man who was de Kitchilan. Dad said “Where are you bound for, stranger?” and he replied that he had his horse a short way back in the bush. He had run into a blackboy[16] while chasing a roo[17] and his horse had hurt its shoulder. He pulled out a revolver and said that he was going to shoot it and then going to call at Leah Fouracre’s. Dad said “Don’t shoot it, but let it have a rest in the paddock” which he did. A week or so later he shot Leah. He was hiding in a clump of wattle waiting for her to come to get cow feed. He carried her into her house and set fire to it; however rain came in the night and put the fire out after it had burnt a little of the house and a part of her body. After the deed was done de Kitchilan came and stopped the night with Uncle Joe, who remarked to him that he was riding Leah Fouracre’s horse and that he was lucky that he could borrow when no-one else could. Uncle Joe never slept that night – neither did de Kitchilan who was very restless. He was picked up on the road as if he was heading for Bunbury. Dad and Uncle went to Fremantle as witnesses.[18] Two of de Kitchilan’s sisters visited him before he was hanged. Leah Fouracre was a nice looking woman, a good horse-woman and a splendid shot with a rifle.[19]

In his last years William Reading was taken care of by his daughter-in-law, my sister, who was born at Long Swamp. She was married in Harvey by the Rev. Boake, whose wife gave their wedding breakfast prepared by herself.

The first baker and butcher in Harvey area was Mr. Henry, who lived close to the creek on Fourth Street. His baker was named Mr. Black. Young Henry rode a grey pony to deliver bread, which was carried in a basket. When Mr. Henry left Harvey, Mrs. Henry moved into Harvey for a little while where she was helped by her brother and sister named Corbett, Miss Corbett being a stout young woman. I stayed with Mrs. Henry at Fourth Street and they had a big tame emu. A fellow was clearing a short distance away and perhaps, being afraid of it, he borrowed a gun and shot it and placed the body on the pile and set fire to it. We could smell it, never thinking that it was the poor old bird.

The Logues of Sunnyvale used to bring us fruit all that distance to the Long Swamp, but in later years we grew peaches up to one pound in weight. When the pub came to Harvey in 1898 I used to deliver vegetables on horseback. Alex Smith the publican, used to water my pony as there was no water around. Later the Government put down a well in front of Patroni’s[20], with a bucket and chain – also a well and trough out at Beljagarup. We thought what a kind government as it was a Godsend, especially to those bringing out stock, like Jardup and Thomas Hayward Jnr. and many others. Jardup was going before Sunnyvale. Until a few years back the timber dressed at Sunnyvale was in perfect condition. Some of the home-made bricks at Logues of Sunnyvale were as much as you could lift.[21]  [Part of Sunnyvale, I believe, later occupied by Staples, (he bought land next Sunnyvale from Dr. Hope) who married a Miss Logue. There is a ruined house there.]

They certainly knew their hill country. A few years back I was at the old house and the rims of the bullock cart were still around. They used to go to Fremantle by bullock team.

I was taken to the Long Swamp from Australind about 1883/84, when I was carried by my Mother who was riding side-saddle. I used to drive to Harvey with a sled and later when roads got better, in a spring cart, and coming back I used to load up with stone with the Road Boards permission, to fill in the ruts. James Black of Government Road, father of Bob and John, used to hitch his horses to a rim of the cart and drag it up and down the road to fill in the ruts. There was no reward for such work. Always short of money.

I knew Dr. Hayward, Dr. Harvey and George Gibbs but not Mr. Young. When old Mrs. Dr. Hayward was staying with her son, Geoff, she came and had tea with me. I still have her last present she gave me, a little jug and a book for the children – what a good soul she was. She often was out in the bush with her grandsons showing them how to look for birds’ nests and climb trees. I saw her son, Roy Hayward, carry his dead dog from out at the coast to his burial ground for his pets at Riverton.

The first taxi, I think, was Alf Paull’s, who took me and my baby son George to Bunbury, for the doctor. He wouldn’t come further than between 8th and 9th streets, as he said the road was all stumps and stones. The cost, although wages were counted in shillings, was five pounds with his dinner. The roads were bad getting there.

Old Mr. Charman used to walk out to plant his vegetables at the coast.

Where the new Post Office is getting built the Church of England parson had his house, which was burnt down.[22] Mr. Campbell had the first milk factory at what was Miss Heppingstone’s. He used to drive into town for dinner each day and he always wore kid gloves when driving, hence the nickname “Kid Glove Campbell”. Cream was sent by some to Bunbury, but the price was so low I thought of trying elsewhere, so I sent mine by rail to MacFarlane’s; others followed, and when Mr. MacFarlane came here he met me in Harvey and thanked me for giving him his idea to come to Harvey.

As in the old days the station was a kind of meeting place and one could see where the cans were going to.

There have been quite a few doctors connected with Harvey, and one, Dr. Jacobs, who got the hospital going, is still remembered for his kindness, from both him and his wife.

When Mrs. Henry gave up her baker’s shop in Harvey bread used to come in bags by train, and then Alfred Graham started with a little delivery pony, and when he was not bogged in the wet, you would know when the baker was coming as you heard “slosh, slosh” on winter days. Water was up to your axle on the Government Road. Fred Jones’s bullock team worked on the drain on the Govt. Road.

Mr. Ash[23], the vet used to live where Miss Robson is and then opposite Eckersley’s. He came from Canada and his brother was here for a while. He thought a great deal of the Dexter cattle and he used to show his Dexters at the Royal.

The first dentist I remember, to live and practice in Harvey was Dick Maxwell, who lived where Dick Mitting is now.[24] Albert Harrison, the late bee-keeper, got teeth taken out one Sunday morning; his surgery was the front room of his house. He was a good dentist.

When Stan Sutcliffe was put in hospital in England during the first war, there were 4 or 5 Harveyites on the staff. In charge was our Dr. Hayward, dentist was Maxwell and coming back after the war he stayed only a short while, while selling his property to Colonel Spurge, father of Arthur.

Thomas Hinchcliff Brown was the first blacksmith, who also had a swamp called after him out by the Forestry. Miss Mincham’s father had a blacksmith’s shop, where the National Bank is now. Where the Dry Cleaner is now[25], and I think in the same building, was a bake house used by Alf Graham, the house and shop in front being built later. His wife and family lived in and ran the Coffee Palace[26]  next to Harrison’s Garage. Knowles’ old place was at the back of Freecorns.[27] Those working on the roads lived in tents, among them being my brother Ted, who lived in a tent there before World War 1.

I still have a tin tray and you can still read on it “With compliments from the Harvey Co-op Ltd, Harvey. Phone 40.”[28]

Dan McClennor used to live with his mother where the Club Hostel is now.[29] He had a few donkeys and he used to charge the children one penny a ride. His merry-go-round was where the Library is now.

The last time I saw Mrs. William Reading was on the Runnymede Road. She was very old, leading her cow with a piece of string. She was a very good worker, as was Mrs. Alf Crampton (née Lucy Gardiner), who used to cut loads of rushes for bedding for her calves. When the boys wanted a day or so off they hid the others’ tools or horse collars and chains.[30]

The biggest landowners I think were Uduc Smith and the Cramptons. Clarence Giblett married a daughter of Smith’s. In those days men were kept busy trimming the hedges on the estate. Our old house on the swamp was of paperbark. I used to ride from there to Seven Hills, Roelands, across country with a message from Father – and that’s a good ride – returning on the same day.

I was just a girl riding a pony. I lived here all my life, but many have ridden over Harvey in its bush state before me – like the Cliftons, Logues, Joneses, Coltons, Clarkes, Smiths, Cramptons, and my own family, the Piggotts. I remember the old Uduc School starting. I never went to school myself as when I was a child at the swamp the nearest school was the little one at Australind.

Coming back from the swamp one night to the Govt. Rd, Kanzler’s house was on fire. I got the children to put it out.[31] When the Kanzlers grew up they ran the local pictures. When their father had the swamp he used to grow potatoes and his maize was chaffed up and sold to the horse men in Harvey.

There are a lot of people that could be mentioned, those who started on the plains.[32] The old sale yards were on the site or close to Charlie Harrison’s house, Uduc Rd.[33] Monk Harrison used to drive people to the pictures and the kids to school in his two-horse vehicle.

My youngest son Mark (youngest of seven), I used to put into a wash tub and put him into the cart to go to work with me. I am glad the old days are gone forever, as for me it was slog and slave to raise my seven children. I have done every type of work offered. When I was single I thought I knew my limits, but when I got married I found that I was a fine blacksmith’s striker. The only good thing about the bad old days was that you were friends with everyone and I still have some good ones remaining. When I put my cross opposite my pension instead of my signature I think I’ve earned it, don’t you? I loved those old bush rides after cattle with my good horses and dogs.


The block of land owned by Jack Lowe[34] behind Franklin’s was once worked by two Italians, who built a big house. They used to plant potatoes at Red Lake. My father and mother lived in it while getting in and chaffing the crop for a Mr. Williams, who lived at the Goldfields. He had taken it after the Italians. Years later Woodiers came and lived close by. The Mittings lived further up on the sand hills, which is now taken as a piggery. The Mittings came over from East. Dick Mitting had a very good dog Barry. Dick used to skin anything, if there was only half a skin it was taken.

When Mother and Dad lived at the pug house[35] I stayed at the swamp, but when the Church meetings were held at Uduc Smith’s, I’d go to them and all us kids, including the Mittings, would get to Church quicker by jumping over the blackboys[36] on the plain.

On the plain further up, before Allens took the property a fellow – I can’t remember his name – don’t know where he went, but his pipe and tinned food and everything was left, even dough was in the pan ready to bake.

Where Mrs. Milligan is now[37] once belonged to a Mr. Butler, afterwards to Jim Clarke. The big fig tree in the Woodier was planted by the Italians; the wife never wanted to go potato planting, whereupon her husband said “No plant, no eat”. I heard they went down the line and started up a vineyard.

The native cats[38] were plentiful in numbers; they ruined many a possum skin. Mr. Lourie, who lived where Mrs. Milligan is, went to work for Mr. Stone at Parkfield and a keg of wine burst – some of his pigs got into it and got drunk or anyway there was a lot more squealing than usual.

In the middle 1930s I worked for 13/- per week and keep.

The first Salvation Army man I remember around here was Ensign Williams he came around in his horse and trap. I heard that his horse drowned when it went into a bank to get a drink. It was in harness to the trap at the time.

Mother came out when she was three years old.[39] Grandfather Colton[40] did some thatching for Haywards of Bundidup. I have heard Grandmother Colton talk about Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire

Pidgeon, when working at Uduc Smith’s, was catching a horse in the yard but getting no help and knowing that one of the girls was watching him through a crack in the shed, he went up and stuck his finger in her eye.

David Colton settled at Roelands, later living at the Long Swamp, and was found dead in the bush. While hunting he was shot with his own gun. He left a message written on a log with a piece of charcoal.[41]

The first pound[42] was on the river down by the factory and then by Charlie Harrison’s before it became a sale yard. Harry Barnes and Woolhead were pound keepers. Woolhead used to live up on Franklin’s block[43] and then he went to Mandurah to live.

I first saw the ibis[44] at the coast when I was about 15 years old. People said that they came because of the shortage of water elsewhere.

One time Mother was waiting at Bunbury Station when she overheard two bucks telling their lubras – it seemed they were arguing because the two bucks were going home by train – that as there was only enough money for two, that they were the two and if the lubras hurried they’d get home pretty near the same time as the train was a slow one.

Mr. – used to make wine for medical purposes, but he must have been a sick man because you could always smell his medicine on him. Mr. Pye had a block about a mile from us, he was a tall thin man, he didn’t stay too long as he was a sick man. Mr. Hickey lived in a thatched cottage close to the Perth Road. He only had one jaw having lost the other one in the accident with his plough.

Tom Hayward had a number of blocks out at the coast each side of the lake. Mr. Birch lived out there too; one day a young horse hit him against a blackboy and he lay there helpless while bull-ants got to him.  He died on the way to Bunbury for medical attention.[45]

Herbie Clarke and Amy Clarke (now Mrs. Henry Taylor) were reared out at Hampden’s. I used to go there to play and I still remember the fun we had. Amy used to milk for George Moffatt while he went out trying to get the bonus on the shags. A few years back I ran into him at the Harvey Show.

I remember two of the timber carters named Mr. Pridmore and Mr. Robinson. One of the stables was about where Mr. and Mrs. Squires live now.[46]

I used to go to the Livingstone’s where I had a lot of fun; two of my playmates were Mrs. Bert Otway [probably Ottrey] and Mrs. C Stanford.

My first ride in the train was to Fremantle when I was about 17 years of age. I went with the Church and had heaps of fun. We were living in tents in rows. A few tents down was old Mr. – from – with his second wife, a young woman. We could hear her saying her prayers every night and the old fellow used to say that he slept on the curtain to stop anyone stealing his young wife. She was very nice but very plain – not even a Yank would have stolen her.

I went to Yarloop as a witness in a court case. I was that cold I sat close to the wall so that the sun could warm me through the large cracks in the wall of the courthouse.

Fiskin, the grocer, came out to Uduc Smith’s for a load of chaff, the sheep got out and the dogs putting them out on the run ran one into a stump and broke its neck. It was dressed right away; Mr. Fiskin took it home on top of his load.

I used to drive the horses on the chaff-cutter at Smith’s. The Jacksons at one time lived at Australind. They were a large family, the boys being George, Walter, Matt, Henry and Tom. I think they were relations of the Fouracres. George was teasing Leah Fouracre and she called him “Gilgie”, which stuck to him for life.

Ted Richard had Mark Harrison’s place, who died from an accident at about 8th Street. His horse must have slipped while in full gallop. Ted crawled into what was then Jock MacKenzie’s orchard and old Mac thinking he was loitering threatened to beat him up. A few days later a doctor was called in and he was taken into the pub where he waited for hours for a Perth train. He died on the operating table. He had broken his collar bone and damaged his spleen.

Mr. Schocks[47] had the farm now occupied by Len Hooker, the farmer before Hooker being Mr. Crawford, who was found dead in the paddock.[48]

Colton used to work at Uduc Smith’s and one day when both were out around the house they saw some visitors coming, and not wishing to see them, Uduc Smith said “Tell them I’m away”, but perhaps they had seen him, because they went inside and found Uduc Smith hiding in the chimney. Uduc Smith got married. He kept a man cook and the food there was OK. I forget the cook’s name.

The Hoopers used to live at their block on the side of the road.[49] The doorway was very low and men had to stoop to get in. They moved over into the plain where they planted an orchard. The house was built by Hooper. Whereas one house was built of lime and stone, ‘Sunnyvale’ of clay brick, our old place of paperbark, Hoopers built theirs of jarrah slabs – a very good job. The slabs were about two feet long and about 15-18 inches wide. They were sloped so that they fitted to make it weather proof. What a shame it got burnt down a few months back. Mrs. Kanzler was a Hooper.[50] Going home one day Walter Jackson caught me up and we called in on the Hoopers. He said that she was lucky to get mail as she was the only one to get it, so he handed her a parcel. She ran into the house to see what she had got and she came out faster, as Walter had wrapped her up a frilled lizard.

Henry Clarke had Hillcrest and he grew some good gooseberries there in the old days.

A brass band[51] started up a long time ago.

My eldest child was born out at the Long Swamp. Mother and Mrs. Rosie Miller were attending me. Later we had Nurse Macauley and Nurse Evelyn[52], who brought a lot of Harveyites into this world.

The Hoopers, when they left Harvey, went to live at Northam. A grandson, I think it is, was down in the Harvey district a little while back. He is in the Agricultural Dept.

I remember Mr. King, who hung himself at 6th Street.[53]

Where the Allan Shaws now live, it was part of Alfred Crampton’s.[54]

Mr. Venn had a cottage[55] up at the lake and Mr. & Mrs. & Miss Salter lived there. It was a lovely place. They had shells all around the house and pathways. The niggers used to look after the sheep, but for some reason the sheep couldn’t be kept very long on this side of the lake as they went cranky.



By Courtesy of Mr. Hector Evans, records of a further interview with Mrs. A. Venables of Harvey (née Mary Piggott).

The Government well in front of where Patroni’s live[56] was called “Purgatory” and “Parmelia” was a private lane opposite to Uduc Smith’s property.[57]

The swamps (coastal) were named Big and Little Dugolup, Beljaggarup, Bulanup. Over at Hampden’s there was Marmulup, Nanny Brook over by the lake (Preston). “Rogers’ Spring” was by the lake which was a big round hollow stone, and was always full of beautiful clear water. We always put a flat stone on top to keep the crows away which were cleaning up the dead stock. Joining up close to the lake was a swamp called by the name Devil’s country, it was very thick and the niggers would not go into it even to catch a roo, and many roos were chased into it by the dogs. The niggers called it “Jingy” meaning Devil was in there. Two of the niggers were named Dando and Nettup who used to work around the farms. Nettup also used to go into Bunbury with the bullock teams. Niggers often camped close to us and we never had any trouble with them, as they seemed to know who were friendly. They wouldn’t trouble anyone, they just wanted a little handout such as Tea, Flour and Bacey.[58]

James Colton had two sons Joseph and David and a daughter Mercy. David Snr had James (Brunswick) George, Joseph and David Jnr, all of Roelands.

My cousin Jim Clarke took my sister Annie (Mrs. Chas. Woodley) to Bunbury for the show, and there was a big notice up “Come and see wild niggers”. On them going inside, in a cage was a nigger eating at a big bone. It was Whitie Brown George who used to camp out at the coast.[59] Lyall Jones was the first around here to kill an English fox as they were then called. Then the first rabbit appeared at the coast, all the Joneses tried to dig it out.

Remember that old Walter Jackson’s father lent his shoes to another settler, as he was going visiting on the Sunday. Everyone helped one another, and we all used to shake hands when meeting. The boss was always called Gaffer. Some days after working half day washing, I used to go out to the sand hills and get a stacked up cart load of black boy for Arthur Roesner the blacksmith who paid me 5/- per load. As a girl and having done some hard riding around Dingo Gully, I was making my way to Bunbury riding bareback going to the doctors when I ran into Mr. Fred Jones who was out stock hunting. He took his own saddle off his horse and put it onto mine to give me a better ride as being sick I was travelling very slow.

The Palace Hotel (Yarloop) heard referred to as Crystal Palace. First fox was killed about 1926 or 1927.

Correction: My husband’s father was a coachbuilder and traded as E. Venables & Son.

E. Venables used to make sausages from roo and pork meat.

I saw niggers when having a deep cut, smothering themselves in clean clay.

Medicines used were castor oil, Beecham’s pills, turpentine, chlorodyne and eucalyptus.

(Above was copied from an interview with Mr. H. Evans of Harvey, giving further recollections of early days at the coast, Harvey by Mrs. A. Venables née Mary Piggott.)



[The following letter was addressed to Miss Molly Lukis, WA’s first Archivist, regarding the origins of the place name Uduc‘.]

                                                                                                                                                Box 1



Miss Lukis

Archives Branch



Dear Miss Lukis,

In writing a footnote to enclosed interview with Mrs. Venables, I remember an interesting fact told to me by the late Clarence Giblett a few months before his death.

In old records I noticed that the name of this old homestead was shown as Udoc, whereas for many years it has been Uduc. On enquiring from Mrs. Blight née Kate Logue who was a teacher at MB Smith’s house when his family was young. Mrs. Blight said that Smith always insisted that it was a native name, and had an UP in it – Udup. I then asked Mr. & Mrs. Giblett (née Smith) if this was correct and was told that the original name was Udicup.

The old homestead is still standing which Smith had built after he came in from ‘Gigginup’ on Lake Preston, where he had his first holding on the next block to the one taken up by his friend George Fletcher Moore the advocate general who was a prominent figure in the Colony in very early days.  Mr. Tom Rose of Roelands has the original deed of one of these blocks on the lake.

Yours faithfully

H. Evans



Settlers On The Coast Road

Following the recent appeal made by Mr. A. C. Staples for further information of early days in the Harvey district, Mr. Hector Evans who has been well known in Harvey for many years has contributed an interview with Mrs. Mary Venables, daughter of the late Joseph Piggott, who for a long period farmed and grew vegetables in the Long Swamp near the Coast Road.

Compiled 1956 – footnotes by E Davis, Harvey, … corrections by A.C. Staples.

Mary Piggott married Arthur Venables, an engineer and blacksmith on the Harvey Road near Uduc, now known as Government Road.



Family Details (added by Heather Wade, 2016)


The Piggott family at Long Swamp in the 1890s. Their house was made of jarrah slabs and had a paperbark roof.  Courtesy Harvey Historical Society.

Piggott Family

Mary Elizabeth Piggott (later Venables – the narrator of this oral history) was born in 1883 and her birth was registered at Australind; she died in 1970 in Perth.

Mary was the daughter of Joseph Edgar Thomas Shalto Piggott (born c.1861 Australind – died 1940) and Mercy Ann Colton (born 1860 Nash, Buckinghamshire, England, died 1929). Joseph and Mercy were married in 1882 at Australind and were farmers at Long Swamp north of Australind, now part of the area known as Myalup. Their deaths were registered in the Wellington District and both are buried in the Harvey Old Cemetery.

Joseph Edgar Thomas Shalto Piggott was the son of James Piggott and Joanna Simmons/Simons.

James arrived with his brother Benjamin at Australind on the Trusty in 1844 and became a farmer. Joanna was an immigrant girl employed as Elinor Clifton’s servant and arrived in the colony a few weeks earlier than the Piggotts on the Sophia. Piggott and Simmons married 1 January 1852 at Australind.[60]

Mary Elizabeth Piggott (the narrator) married Arthur Blythe Venables at Leederville, WA, in 1905.

Arthur Blythe Venables was born in 1869 in Adelaide, South Australia and was the son of William Henry Edward Venables and Clara Risely.

Colton Family

The parents of Mercy Ann Colton (the mother of Mary Venables née Piggott) were James Colton and Elizabeth Pittom. James was born in Nash, Buckinghamshire, England in 1823 and Elizabeth in Buckinghamshire. They were married in the December Quarter in 1850 in Winslow, Buckinghamshire.

In the 1861 Census when they were living in Nash, James was listed as an agricultural labourer and Elizabeth, born about 1830, was a lacemaker. The children were David aged 9, Joseph aged 8 and Mercy Ann aged 1, all born in Nash.

The family arrived in Australia in 1863 on the Burlington.[61] Another daughter, Sarah, registered at Winslow in Buckinghamshire, died aged 1 at sea in 1863. George was born at ‘Springhill’, Australind in 1864 and died in 1866.

In the 1903 & 1906 Electoral Rolls[62], James and Elizabeth were farmers at ‘Hampden’ with their son Joseph. James died in 1904 aged 82 and was buried at the Australind Cemetery, Elizabeth died in Perth in 1908 aged 85 and was buried at Karrakatta.


A map of the Uduc Agricultural Area from the State Records of Western Australia is available at

https://archive.sro.wa.gov.au/uploads/r/srowa/3/6/36bb5ef9ca57f96182bf232ec203bf638a53aee828e23800ed8c851c70982abf/Cons_3869_Wellington_064.jpg, accessed 3 September 2016.

[1] See family tree (Appendix 4)

[2]  Joseph Piggott married Miss Mercy Colton, daughter of Joseph Colton, Snr.

[3] Approximate location – turn north into West Break from Forestry Road and proceed for about 4 km. (Ed.)

[4] William Sutton owned Jardup.

[5] ‘Big’ Smith was Harry Smith, manager of Mornington Mills.

[6] Alex Smith owned Harvey Hotel.

[7] Piggott, like many others, bartered his produce for other goods.

[8] A flowering native shrub, from the verticordia family. (Ed.)

[9] From eating heart leaf. (Ed.)

[10] Stores at Yarloop were run by W. Rodgers, of the Railway, and the Timber Coy, east of the line.

[11] Joe Colton Jnr known as Uncle Joe.

[12] One of the Logue family died in the bush west of Harvey many years ago and his body was found some time after his death. I don’t know if this is the case referred to by Mrs. Venables.

[13] Otto Bismark Haub, aged 29, was murdered by Robert Pahl at Lake Clifton in 1919. (Sunday Times 4 January 1920)

[14] The murdered lady was Miss Leah Fouracre, aged 44, and the accused was a young Cingalese man named Augustin De Kitchelan. The murder took place in 1907 at the Fouracre property, ‘Peppermint Grove Cottage’, at Drakesbrook near Waroona, where Miss Fouracre had been living alone. An inquest into her death revealed that she had been shot before an attempt was made to burn the house down. De Kitchelan was hanged at Fremantle Prison on 23 October1907. (Truth 26 October 1907)

[15] ‘Tommy the Hawker’ was Tommy Rhamie Khan. (Rhamay Khan died Wellington District, 1936. Also known as ‘Tommy Ramakan’, of Waroona. (Ed.)

[16] Genus Xanthorrhoea, also known as blackboys or grasstrees. (Ed.)

[17]  Abbreviation, kangaroo. (Ed.)

[18] Joe Colton was, I believe, a rather wonderful witness only saying what he saw and did.

[19] Leah Fouracre was shot with her own rifle.

[20] Now ‘Bizee Hands’, corner of Roy St and South Western Highway, 2016. (Ed.)

[21] Joe Logue built on the original homestead when he got married.  Part of Sunnyvale was, I believe, later occupied by Staples.

[22] Now ‘The Inner Centre’, corner of Hayward and Gibbs Streets, 2016. (Ed.)

[23] Until his death in 1936 William Edward Ash appears in the Electoral Roll as an orchardist, although his 2nd wife is listed as living in King St at ‘Ashgrove’. (Ed.)

[24] Dick Maxwell lived on The Avenue near Ninth St.

[25]Now ‘Harvey Pharmacy’, 91 Uduc Road, Harvey, 2016. (Ed.)

[26] William Barrett & Sons, Funeral Home, 59 Uduc Road, Harvey, 2016. (Ed.)

[27] Now ‘Parton’s IGA’, 83 Uduc Road, Harvey, 2016. (Ed.)

[28] Now ‘Harvey Supa IGA’, 80 Uduc Road, Harvey, 2016. (Ed.)

[29] Now ‘Harvey Dental Surgery’, 40 Uduc Road, Harvey, 2016. (Ed.)

[30] Alfred Crampton’s boys were Archie and Reg.

[31] Water was brought to house from well by wooden troughs.

[32] When Mary refers to people moving in to the ‘plains’ she is referring to, (as many of the settlers at the coast did), what later became the township of Harvey. Eventually all the settlers on the coast moved in to the more fertile land that was Harvey. (Ed.)

[33] Old sale yards on Uduc Rd, east of Railway line, now Harrison’s Garage house.

[34] Block 44, Wellard Road north-east of Uduc.

[35] Referred to in the previous paragraph as the big house built by Italians. (Ed.)

[36] Grass trees, from Xanthorrhoea family. (Ed.)

[37] McLarty Rd, Uduc Agricultural Area. (Ed.)

[38] Quoll, a carnivorous marsupial native cat. (Ed.)

[39] Mercy Piggott came out from England

[40] Grandfather Joseph Colton.

[41] Verdict of Inquest – ‘deceased met his death as a result of the accidental discharge of his gun. The Bunbury Herald and Blackwood Express 23 March 1927

[42] The first pound near the river at the north end of Harper St.

[43] Wellard Road, 2016. (Ed.)

[44] Ibis – a great number of these birds in the district since the irrigation came.

[45] Mr Somers Ingle Birch died following a fall from a horse, June 1906. (Bunbury Herald 22 June 1906)

[46] Herbert Road, Harvey, 2016. (Ed.)

[47] Mr. Schocks (sic Schock – Ed.), manager for Williams & Co. Mill, Cookernup, farmed near Wellard Road, Block 42? mentioned in the Cookernup Story.

[48] Adam Crawford died on the road about half a mile from his home. Constable McCaskill and Eric Davis went out with the ambulance to bring him in. Adam’s dog stood on guard over his body and we had great difficulty making the dog realise that we were friendly. (Adam Crawford’s death took place in June 1944. West Australian 13 June 1944)

[49] Wellard Road or Crampton Road.

[50] Mabel Elizabeth Hooper married Fredrick Bernard Kanzler in Perth in 1900.  http://www.bdm.dotag.wa.gov.au/_apps/pioneersindex. (Ed.)

[51] There was a brass band in Harvey 40 years ago. Len Roesner was one member and Mervyn Livingstone another.

[52] In the birth notices the establishment if called Nurse Evelyn’s Maternity Home or Nurse Evelyn’s Private Hospital. Flora D’Evelynes was a midwife and the hospital appears to have run from the early 1920s to the mid 1930s. (Ed.)

[53]  George King (63) took his own life at Harvey in 1924. (South Western Times 17 April 1924)

[54] Government Road, 2016. (Ed.)

[55] Mr. Venn, the local M.L.A. or his son nephew of Dardanup.

[56] Harvey Bizee Hands, Corner King Street and South Western Highway. (Ed.)

[57] The late Clarence Giblett said that MB Smith, Uduc, named two of his gardens, Parmelia (vegetable), Purgatory (flower garden). The private lane between them Parmelia to Purgatory. George Fletcher Moore was a friend of MB Smith’s.

[58] Tobacco (Ed.)

[59] ‘Whitey Brown George’ was the nickname of a part-Aboriginal named George Blechynden. (Southern Times, 16 June 1896.)

[60] Phyllis Barnes et al, (Eds.), The Australind Journals of Marshall Waller Clifton 1840-1861, Hesperian Press, Victoria Park, WA, 2010.

[61] http://www.friendsofbattyelibrary.org.au/PDF/Dictionary%20of%20WA/P.pdf p2493

[62] Australian Electoral Rolls at Ancestry.com