By Sharon Cousens, 2023.
Progress Associations are not for profit organizations formed by a group of local residents with an interest in their community. Their purpose is to share ideas and communicate concerns and suggestions to appropriate Local and State Government departments. There is evidence of Progress Associations as early as the late 1800s in Australia. Today they are sometimes called Neighbourhood Development Groups.
The earliest mention of an Australind Progress Association was in 1949 when it was reported in the newspaper that the Bunbury Road Board would spend approximately £60 to erect a tennis court on the Australind recreation ground. The appeal had been made by Mr Blowfield, president of the Australind Progress Association. A little over a year later the Australind Progress and the Parents and Citizens’ Associations held their annual Christmas Tree party and most of the district attended. We do not know anything more until a meeting was convened in 1957.
Thirty-three people attended the first meeting of the Australind Progress Association held on 3 July 1957. The meeting was convened by Mr Ron Saunders and from that meeting, the first committee was formed. Mr Ron Saunders was elected President, Mrs Hughes as Vice-President and Mr Bingham Clifton as Treasurer. Members of the Committee elected at the meeting were Messrs Karafillus, Taylor, Codo, Benett, Mesdames Clifton, Ganfield, Cain and Miss Ridley. An annual subscription fee of 3/- was proposed.
A motion was passed at a meeting on 9 May 1960 to hold future meetings on the second Thursday of each month, however, the location of any further minutes is unknown. A transcript and the original minutes, July 1957–June 1960, are currently held in the Australind Family History Library. The transcript does not list the names of each individual present at each meeting; however, several names are mentioned in the minutes where thanks, donations or actions are recorded.
A scrapbook of newspaper clippings from the South Western Times and The West Australian newspapers dating from January 1970 to March 1973, is held by the Harvey History Online group. These clippings chronicle the campaign undertaken by the Australind Progress Association in regard to the pollution being emitted by Laporte Titanium Limited’s factory, now called Tronox Australind. The campaign was in response to a significant number of complaints from residents in the Eastwell Road area about the smog, smells and noise emanating from the factory. Residents claimed the air pollution was causing ‘sore throats, smarting eyes and respiratory irritations, including asthma and bronchitis’. The Association had the support of the Eaton Progress Association and the Harvey Shire Council and made submissions quoting the ‘Clean Air Act’ to the Industrial Development and the Public Health Departments of the Western Australian Government.
The public awareness campaign undertaken by the Association and other local groups resulted in major changes to effluent management in the Leschenault Inlet, and the beginning of changes to public perception and understanding of environmental laws in Western Australia. It was reported in September 1971 that ‘The Western Australian Government will move swiftly to control the effluent which is sweeping into the ocean from the Laporte Titanium plant in Bunbury.’
Other major issues and concerns raised by the Australind Progress Association in the Minutes from July 1957 to June 1960 and the Correspondence from 1962 to 1968 were:
- Supply of electricity to Australind
- Building of an annex to the existing hall or a separate hall/meeting room for the use of ratepayers
- Provision of facilities for campers
- Possibility of Australind becoming part of the town of Bunbury
- Widening of the Collie Bridge
- Installation of a fixed trunk line from Australind to Bunbury to ensure emergency calls could be made 24 hours a day, 7 days per week
- Guidelines and rules for crabbing in local waters by professional fisherman and locals
- Roadworks for Australind streets
- Firefighting unit for Australind
- Improved mail service for Australind
- Toilets at the ‘Elbow’ (Eastwell Road boat ramp) and at the foreshore (Ridley Place)
- Australind Town Planning
- Application for appointment of local Justices of the Peace
- Requests to Harvey Road Board for more consultation with Australind Progress Association regarding rates and local decisions.
Although the minutes of the Association are scant in detail, it is obvious the members of the Australind Progress Association were very dedicated and passionate about their contribution to the Australind community was significant.
It is not known whether the Association continued beyond March 1973. The written records of the Australind Progress Association currently available are:
Australind Family History Library
- Minutes July 1957–June 1960
- Correspondence 1962-1968
Harvey History Online
- Scrapbook containing press cuttings 1970-1973
 Australind was part of the Bunbury Road Board between 1921 and 1950.
 South Western Times, 15 September 1949, p. 1
 South Western Times, 29 December 1950, p. 1.
 Australind Progress Association Minutes, July 1957 to June 1960.
 Newspaper and date unknown