History of Harvey

Harvey – past and present with a wonderful future by RJ Wright.

[Introduction, photos and captions added 2021.]

Introduction. Robert James Wright, the writer of this article which was published in 1928 paints a picture of Harvey which was thriving at the time. He was a soldier settler who had taken up land in the area and his house was on the corner of Herbert and Fryer Roads. Mr Wright was for many years the voluntary librarian and secretary of the Harvey Memorial Library (and its predecessor) and was honoured as a Life Member for his services.[1] His contribution to other organisations – the Trotting Club, RSL, Sons of Soldiers, Agricultural Society, Rifle Club, Toc H, Chess Club and Douglas Social Credit Movement – was recognised in January 1935 when the family left Harvey and he went to the Wooroloo Sanatorium.[2] He died in February 1937 at the Edward Millen Sanatorium, Victoria Park, leaving his wife Caroline and children Phyllis, Betty, Robert, Maisie, Carol and Jimmy.[3] Descendants still live in Harvey.

Robert James Wright.

It was in 1896 that I decided to leave my own State, South Australia, and try my luck on the goldfields of Western Australia, and consequently towards the end of that year I found myself on the Murchison, working on the Maoriland Consols Mine. To that place came stories of the rich fertile lands of the South-West, with its abundant rainfall and filled with the land hunger, I became possessed of literature from the Lands Department, setting forth the particulars of the land then available, and the then easy manner in which one could become possessed of 160 acres. I well remember going over these plans in company with my mates at the time and finally deciding that of all the places shown, the Harvey district was the one chosen.

Adverse circumstances at that time intervened and Harvey faded from my mind. It was not till 1918 that returning from overseas on active service, I decided to take up land under the Soldier Settlement Scheme and on deciding to go to the south-west portion of the State, I discovered that the only portion then open and available under the S.S. Scheme was the estate known as the Korejikup in the Harvey area. Harvey is situated 86 miles from Perth by the railway and by the Perth-Bunbury road, which passes the town on the east side a half mile distant, the distance is about 92 miles.

Bob Wright and his wife Caroline at their home on the corner of Herbert & Fryer Road with their children Bob (Jnr), Maisie, Carol, Betty and Phyllis.

In the Cyclopedia of Western Australia published in 1913, Harvey is mentioned as one of the Gardens of the West. In that volume it gives the area of the district as some 43,000 acres of first class land, consisting of rich, alluvial soil capable of producing heavy crops, and eminently suitable for closer settlement. The district, early in its history came under the notice of such prominent men as Dr. Harvey. Dr. Williams, Dr. Hayward and many others. To these gentlemen, to their unbounded confidence in the district and also the manner in which they backed up their confidence with their money, to these men in the early stages of Harvey’s history is much of the early progress due and also the result of the rapid progress of the district at the present time. All honour to them. Harvey owes to their memory a debt which, the present generation hardly realises.

For many years Harvey was a citrus growing centre and there has been some wonderful crops of oranges produced from the district – Harvey, for many years, has been famed for its oranges both for size and quality of flavour, and this is not to be wondered at as a tour around the district will unfold to the visitor many orange groves, which the traveller passing through by rail or road have no conception of.

About some fifteen years ago the Government of that time decided to repurchase the Dr. Hayward Estate known as the Korejikup Estate. At the outset the unemployed at that time were found work on it, clearing and draining, etc., but when the men began to come back from overseas they decided to cut it up into blocks for them. Thus started the first Soldier Settlement in the South-West. Practically the whole of the men who took up the land decided to go into dairy farming, with the result that Harvey in addition to being still a large citrus growing centre, is also a large milk producing centre. But the wonderful productivity of the Harvey district is not confined to citrus growing or to the raising of fodder for cattle.

Those early pioneers of the district knew what they were talking about when they declared Harvey to be one of the Gardens of the West. Potatoes have been grown extensively in the district and some splendid crops have been produced. On Mr. T. Smith‘s. property along the Herbert Road, crops of 12 to 14 tons to the acre have been produced from land that prior to being drained was waterlogged and was by many considered to be practically worthless. Many other settlers have achieved equally as good results. For many years on Dr Williams’ and on Mr. O. Rath‘s property, could be seen growing lucerne in abundance, oats, maize, Sudan grass, millet and paspalum, is also cultivated extensively and grows prolifically. Nor is the district confined to citrus growing, stone fruits do equally as well. In Third-st., Mr. G. Charman has a loquat orchard, which is famed throughout the district and though small in area, has returned him a comfortable income annually. In February of this year, Mr. Jack Lowe secured a total cash receipt of £596 from three and a quarter acres of apricot trees. From this small area, Mr. Lowe harvested 1600 cases of marketable apricots and from 134 (shipping bleneim[4]) he took 1199 cases. The expenses attached to handling the crop were £136, and Mr. Lowe estimated another £100 would cover the outlay for manure, water, etc. The nett return therefore was approximately £360 or £120 per acre. This orchard, just prior to the ripening of the crop is always a sight worth seeing. This is not an isolated case by any means. Mr. F. J. Becher has also half an acre of this variety and this year from it he placed fruit valued at £180 on rail at Harvey.

Other fruits also do well and it is one of the noteworthy facts that now very nearly every settler in this district has set apart from half to one acre of land on which is to be seen growing mixed fruit trees, of apples, pears, peaches, Annies, apricots, plums, lemons etc., and trellises by the homestead of grapes in profusion. Of late years lemons are playing an important part in the added prosperity of the district, owing to the demand and increased price for them, and several orchardists who have previously considered them of little or no value are now making a handsome profit from them.

But it is in regard to what the land will do in the way of intense cultivation that the richness of the district becomes apparent, and this is an all important factor when, it is realised that the average settler’s holding is about 60 or 70 acres, under cultivation. In this respect irrigation plays an important part. On a small irrigated paddock, Mr. O. Rath has carried on an average from 15 to 20 head of stock all the year round and Mr. F. J. Becher in addition to running 14 head of cattle on a 15 acre paddock turns over an average of 300 sheep per year, the sheep also being allowed to feed in the orchard. On yet another paddock of 20 acres, 18 head of cattle are pastured and one could go on giving instance after instance, where the same results, are being obtained. Outside the irrigation area wonderful results are being obtained by the laying down of subterranean clover, and the liberal application of top dressing with super. Results that would appear to be incredible were it not for the actual evidence to be seen.

From a tourist point of view Harvey district possesses many attractions. Owing to the way the district is served with roads, it is possible to make a circuit of from ten to fifteen miles, if not more, from the time of leaving Harvey township until the return to it by car, without having to cover the same route twice, and at the same time view from the roadside the many beautiful orange groves, orchards and prosperous dairy farms that abound in the district. Visitors to Harvey who desire to see the district are advised to call at the Road Board office, where they will be supplied with full information by the secretary as to the best routes to follow. One route which will well repay the visitor is to motor along Young-st., from the Harvey Hall to the Avenue [Korijekup Avenue], along the Avenue to Third-st., thence north along Third-st, where they will see the mixed orchard of Capt. Markham, and also further on, Mr. Harper’s orchard and on the other side of the road, the large apple orchard, lately owned by Mr. W. E. Ash. Crossing the bridge over the Harvey River they can then proceed along the River Road, for about 4 miles, passing numerous dairy farms, until Mr. Armstrong‘s place is reached. Again crossing the bridge over the river, they will proceed down the Yambellup Avenue, passing dairy farms and orchards until Sixth-st. is reached, then south along Sixth-st. to the Avenue, then west along the Avenue until at the corner of Government-rd., and the Avenue, they arrive at Forrest Lodge, the orchard property recently owned by Mrs. Robert Forrest, of Bunbury. Along the Government-rd south and at the junction of the Uduc-rd will be found the property of Mr. Shaw, which was recently the Dr. Harvey Estate. The tourist can then return to Harvey along the Uduc-rd or continue further south along Government-rd., to Herbert-rd., returning via that route. Such a tour will well repay any visitor and give him a proper idea of what the Harvey district really is, better than all that can be written about it, and yet such a trip is only, so to speak, encircling the district.

But no visit to Harvey is complete unless the trip to the Harvey Weir is made. For a long time Harvey people in general merely regarded the weir as a necessary dam to supply the water for irrigation purposes and visited by them occasionally during the summer for small outings. To-day they are beginning to realise what a big asset in the way of attraction the Harvey Weir is. Two and a half miles distant from the Perth-Bunbury Road. The drive to the weir is very beautiful, the river being glimpsed at several points as the road winds through forests of jarrah and red gum.

Comparatively few West Australians are aware that portion of the country home of the State’s first governor (Sir James Stirling) lies along this route. It is situated about a half mile below the lower weir on the bank of the Harvey River, and is easily seen from the road. The building is now little more than an historic ruin and is gradually crumbling to pieces, but enough of it still remains to interest one. The floors are constituted of jarrah blocks that in the governor’s time were kept well polished. Here, it is said Sir James Stirling used to come twice a year to shoot and rest. In this old homestead, Harvey has a real asset and one that many tourists parties would like to see, if they knew of its existence.

The weir itself is delightfully situated and an ideal camping place for visitors, there being a good road to the town from it, and within easy distance. About three miles beyond the weir is Spavin’s old mill and half a mile further on can be seen some good waterfalls. The scenery is very picturesque and as the spot is accessible for cars, it is well worth visiting.

Besides having the distinction of being the first area in the South West to be made available for returned soldiers under the Soldier Settlement Scheme, Harvey also possesses the only irrigation scheme in the South-West. For a long time after its inception, the scheme was a large bone of contention between the settlers and the Government department, but these differences are now happily settled and the scheme is now operating smoothly. It is claimed that the scheme is the cheapest in the Commonwealth, that is to say, the settler gets his water at a much cheaper rate than elsewhere. That the settler has now realised the value of it is proved by the increasing demand every year for its extension. The only fault is that the main channels are open instead of pipes. The settlers wanted the pipe system, but owing to the increased cost, the Government of the day would not sanction it. Had the pipes been installed, it is claimed that more settlers could have been served, the service used more frequently and the wastage of water which is very considerable from the open channels been largely reduced. The present area now served is 3500 acres.

Four and a half years ago an electric light Coy [company] was formed in Harvey and a 43 h.p. crude oil semi Diesel plant put down. This plant now covers an area of about two square miles. There are 100 consumers and in addition the Coy supplies the road board with 19 street lights. The Coy still has a 25 per cent, margin for further expansion. The advent of the company and the installation of the lights has meant the elevation of Harvey from the semi gloom of a country town to something approaching the brightness of a large city.

In sport and recreation the Harvey people are well served. The Roads Board recently raised the sum of £1000 for increasing the area of the present recreation ground and improvements. These are now being carried out. A new track has been laid down and also a new tennis court. Harvey possesses a strong tennis club with three courts, and visitors are always welcomed. It has a strong rifle club and the range is close to the town, and alongside the Perth-Bunbury road. Its football club was second in the association this year, being beaten for the premiership by Yarloop. The Harvey and District Trotting Club has held several successful meetings and one is to be held very shortly. During the year a golf club has been formed and a temporary course laid down, and the club has already a strong membership. A bowling club is also in the course of formation.

A long felt want in Harvey has been a public Hospital. In the case of any serious accident or illness the patient has to be sent to either Bunbury or Perth, owing to the lack of proper accommodation. A strong and influential committee has therefore been formed to raise funds towards the cost of providing an up to date public hospital. The Government sanction has been obtained and a subsidy on a £ for £ basis promised up to £1000. The project has been taken up enthusiastically by all sections of the community and they are now actively engaged in raising the amount required. It is confidently expected to raise the amount by the beginning of the new year, and if that is realised, the hospital will be built and called the Harvey Centennial Hospital.

The improving prosperity of the settlers around is reflected in the town proper. During the past two years many additions have been made. One of the most flourishing businesses is that conducted by the Fryer Bros. Starting originally in a very small way, they have gradually built up a large and prosperous business. Originally the premises were a shop and dwelling attached, but this year they found their business expanding so much that the shop space was totally inadequate, so the living quarters were vacated, partitions taken down, and the whole converted into a large and spacious shop. The proprietors have no reason to complain of their trade and express their unbounded faith in the district. Mr. Jack Lowe has also every confidence in the district and with an eye to its future growth is already taking time by the forelock. He is now adding to his present premises by erecting an additional building on to his present one. This is to be used entirely as a grocery department. The frontage is at present timber and is boarded up with no windows, the entrance being through the adjoining building. It is Mr. Lowe’s, intention to pull down the whole of the shop frontage early in the year and erect a brick frontage with large windows. Mr. Lowe has also taken over from Mr. Wilson, his newspaper agency, and all papers, magazines, etc. are available there. Like Messrs Fryer Bros, Mr. Lowe is also well satisfied with his prospects and also has unbounded faith in the future of Harvey. Opposite Mr. Lowe’s, the Harvey Cooperative Coy does a brisk trade and here again one notices additional floor space has had to be requisitioned to deal with an ever increasing trade. Near the hall and adjoining Fryer Bros., Mrs. Whittle conducts a tea and refreshment room [Kia Ora] and visitors to the show or of the many other attractions held on the ground or in the hall can always depend on getting their requirements satisfied at her establishment.

The Kia Ora Tea Rooms burnt down. Extensions, including the current entrance, to the Shire of Harvey’s offices on Uduc Road were built on that site in 1977. Fryer Bros was on the eastern side of Kia Ora.

In 1923 Fryer Bros’ shop was on the eastern side of the current Shire of Harvey offices on Uduc Road. Charman’s Furniture & General Agency Store can be seen to the right of Fryer Bros.

A comparatively newcomer to the town is Mrs. E Gibson. Mrs Gibson has taken over the premises lately owned by Mr. E Charman. Mr. Gibson is the traveller for Malloch Bros and during his absence the business is conducted by his wife. The place is well-stocked as a furniture and music emporium and in addition Mrs. Gibson has several agencies. She is well pleased with Harvey and considers it the one live spot in the South West. Mr. Graham, baker and Mr. Green, butcher are also pleased with the upward trend of things in general. At Mrs. Grieves’ butchering shop, business is also brisk and shows an increase on previous years. A new establishment opened in Harvey this year has been that of Mr. A. Rogers, high class tailor. He has taken over the premises lately occupied by Mr. Clayton and that he is filling a long felt want is apparent by the amount of work he has on hand. He has lately found it necessary to engage two assistants to cope with the work. Mr. Cooper who has taken over Eastaugh’s music shop also has a smile these days and does not regret by any means having returned to Harvey.[5] Further along the street is to be found the thriving business of Mr. R. Jones, who conducts refreshment rooms and is also agent for the daily papers, magazines, etc. Adjoining Mr. Jones is Mr. R. Palmer’s hairdressing and billiard saloon. Mr. Palmer conducts a thoroughly up to date establishment and is always busy attending to the wants of his many customers.[6] Mr. Gregson reports good progress. Extensive alterations have been made to his premises which are now double the original size and possess a floor space of over 2,500 square feet.[7] Perhaps one of the most satisfied men of the town is Mr. H. Perrin. Two years ago Mr. Perrin took over the business of Mr. A. M. Logue, and from that date has never looked back. He reports business as exceptionally good and considers Harvey the best place in the South West. Over the line is the well known garage of Mr. A. Paull, and at the intersection of the Perth Bunbury Road, the equally well known establishment of Mr. H. C. Moss. Both places are working at full pressure and their owners are pleased with the future prospects of the district.[8] Mr. G. Dow, baker, opposite Paull’s garage is, also optimistic regarding Harvey, and considers it the coming place in the South-West.[9]

The corner of Uduc Road and Harper Street. The Tea Rooms are currently Harper Street Bakery and Café at 2 Harper Street. A Paull’s Garage was opposite, now 59 Uduc Road. Photo: Lionel Clifton family.

The question arises — is this optimism of Harvey’s business people and the public generally, justified? A glance at the railway receipts for the past twelve months should, in part, answer that question. They show that for the 12 months ending June 30, 1928, milk, 145,540 gallons was railed away, cream, 45,379 gallons; fruit, principally oranges 41,215 cases ; other produce, 6,465 tons. This, includes the 41,215 cases of fruit; stock: 106 cattle, 1244 sheep; 78; horses; 998 pigs. This does not include the whole amount of stock that passed through the sale yards, as a large proportion travelled by road. That this is so will be admitted, when it is stated by the local agents that during the past six or eight weeks, in the four stock sales held here, £4,000 worth of stock passed through the auctioneer’s hands. In dairying a wonderful increase has been noted. This is partly due to the advent of the whole milk trade to Perth, but a more solid ground work is the increased prices paid for butter fat. Up to three year ago the farmer received an average of 1/3 a pound over the year for his fats and dairying on that figure was unprofitable. During the past two or three years the price has been 1/8 and by adding to that the 1d bonus the farmer gets he now finds that he is able to show a profit. Not an excessive one by any means, but one that enables him to pay his way. The result is a demand for increased efficiency all round. The dairyman wants to increase his profits and he realises that in order to do this he must keep high producing cows, and increase his herds and also increase the productivity of his land. What was evidenced by the large attendance and keep interest in the Field Day held two weeks ago at Wokalup. Now that the farmer can see something better than a mere existence for him he is taking heart and it is this fact that is waking the district. There are now 2,800 head of female cattle in the Harvey district: Last year their value in products was £34,000. This year it will be nearer £40,000 and those in the position to know confidently assert that within two to four years it will be from £50,000 to £60.000. Two milk factories are already in the district, and the South West Dairy Products Co are preparing to build an up to-date butter factory here within the next few months. There are others, too, who are evincing a keen interest in the district. (Bunbury Herald and Blackwood Express, Friday 19 October 1928, p. 3.)

Lowe’s Shop, Uduc Road, Harvey in the 1930s. The Police House is on the left with the Police Station behind the house. Parton’s IGI on the south side of Uduc Road now occupies the site.

[1] Harvey Murray Times, 26 February 1937.

[2] Harvey Murray Times, 25 January 1935.

[3] West Australian, 20 February 1937.

[4] Shipley’s Blenheim variety of apricots.

[5] Bunbury Herald and Blackwood Express, 23 December 1927. CHANGE OF BUSINESS. The many friends of Mr. and Mrs Cooper will be pleased to know that they have returned to Harvey after an absence of some years at Collie. Mr. Cooper has taken over the business of Mr. R. G. Eastaugh, music and fancy goods emporium. Mr. Cooper will be carrying on the same as his predecessor and will be pleased to welcome old friends and to make new ones.

[6] Harvey Murray Times, 18 March 1949. £50 and two £10 Prizes sold in two recent Lotteries by PALMER’S Hairdressing Saloon.

[7] South Western Times, 6 November 1928. BUSINESS CHANGE. Mr. J. Gregson, who for the past eighteen months has conducted a motor garage in Uduc Road, with such marked success, that extensive additions to the premises have just been completed, is relinquishing his lease to enter into a partnership which offers larger possibilities. South Western Times, 20 October 1928. J. GREGSON/ MOTOR ENGINEER/ UDUC ROAD HARVEY/ Phone 99 Harvey/ Sales and Service — Buick, Oldsmobile and Chevrolet/ EXIDE BATTERIES/ Ariel and New Hudson Motor Cycles. Petrol, Oil, Tyres and Accessories.

[8]Bunbury Herald and Blackwood Express, 2 April 1928. New Garage. — Motorists and the travelling public generally, will no doubt it is hoped, appreciate the new and commodious garage on the Perth Bunbury road, about midway between Waroona and Brunswick, just completed for Mr. H. E. Moss, of Harvey. The garage is thoroughly up-to-date in its appointments. Mr. Moss also has a large tea room attached, in the garage, and is a boon that no doubt will be much appreciated by the travelling public.

[9] The address in the 1925 Electoral Rolls for the Dow family was Uduc Road, Harvey – George Mowat Dow, baker; Frederick John Dow, baker; Helen Rachel Dow, shop assistant and Margaret, wife.