Potted Histories

The Changing Face of Harvey District (1936-B)


This article appeared in the Sunday Times, 9 August 1936, p. 34.


In point of the numbers who participate, dairying is the chief industry at Harvey. With an assured rainfall and a natural flow of water in the dry summer months, the district is ideally suited for dairying, and we find many hundreds engaged in this pursuit on a number of small holdings.

The annual production of milk in the district has now reached the huge tally of 3,000,000 gallons, which is almost equal to the annual consumption of whole milk in the metropolitan area. While much of the milk produced is converted into cream and supplied to local factories for the manufacture of butter, cheese and condensed milk, approximately 25 per cent is despatched to the city for sale as whole milk.

The growing of a tremendous quantity of first-class oranges is another remunerative primary industry in the district, and the annual output of citrus fruits approximates 26,000 bushels, of a value of over £7150 to the grower. Potatoes are also cultivated extensively, and the annual production amounts to 5453 tons of a net value of £33,150. Fruits other than oranges furnish a return of £5,000 per year, while many Harvey farmers reap handsome returns from livestock.

Over £30,000 worth of horses, cattle, calves and pigs are railed annually from the district, which also produces over 141,768lb. of wool of a value of £5300.

The South-west is noted for its timber, and as Yarloop, Mornington Mills and Worsley are among the chief timber producing centres in the State, the industry at Harvey is naturally a very important and valuable one. At Mornington Mills, jarrah for railway sleepers, bridge building, harbor works, street paving, buildings, furniture, etc., is mainly produced and nearly 200 men are employed in the mills.

Several hundreds of men are also employed at Yarloop, and the annual output of sawn timber amounts to nearly 20,000 loads. It is estimated that the industry centre alone supports 1000 people.

Turning to the timber statistics, we find that timber railed from all sidings in the Harvey district for 13 months up to the end of March, 1935, amounted to 62,650 tons, valued at £73,920. Another industry that is pursued with some profit in this useful district is stone quarrying. In the Brunswick-Roelands district is located the biggest quarry in the State, a Government concern gives employment to 70 men, and the Bunbury mole has been constructed entirely from metal taken from this quarry. The Brunswick quarry produces diorite of a superior quality and supplies approximately 45,000 tons of metal per year for railway ballasting, road making, etc. The output from the quarries amounts to over £73,920 annually.

The Benger Swamp is a most prolific yielder of potatoes, and the production of potatoes for the whole district is worth nearly £40,000 a year, representing approximately 5000 tons. The greater part of this rich harvest comes from the fertile soil of the Benger Swamp.


Manufacturing has followed in the wake of primary production. Condensed milk and butter are manufactured at Harvey, and there are whole milk depots at Harvey, Yarloop and at Brunswick. The approximate annual output of butter from the combined factories now amounts to 1000 tons, having an estimated value of £145,000.

Both primary and secondary industries in the Harvey road district yield £82,352 a year in freights alone to the Railway Department. With the value of passenger fares added to this, it is calculated that the district, which is one-thousandth part of the State in size, contributes approximately three per cent to the total railway revenue.


In the Harvey division, two areas of pine plantations have been established, one at Harvey Weir and one at Myalup, and the work by the Forests Department in this direction assures the future of the district from a timber producing standpoint.