By E G Davis.
At the turn of the century the coastal strip from Australind to the west of Harvey, traversed by the old Coast Road, was the scene of much activity and production, as will be seen from E.G. Davis’ description based on the old Brunswick Road Board’s rate book.
From the Collie Bridge to the Road Board’s boundary, there were no homesteads until the first house at Australind was reached. This was a cottage, about ten chains from the road to Brunswick, where sailors from ships in Bunbury harbour had a quiet drink on Sundays. Across the road was John Hutchinson’s cottage, with Charles Wright, a bootmaker, living next door with his wife Elizabeth and their family on the hillside.
Behind a stock water-hole was John Dunn’s homestead, where he and his sister Rose lived. John’s 1,300 acres and Patrick Dunn’s 170 acres extended to the Brunswick and Collie rivers. Around the corner of the Brunswick road stood a solid house, owned by Canon Darling, with the tiny church of St. Nicholas opposite.
Over the hill on the right before coming to the Brunswick River was the home of Frank Travers, another bootmaker. Spanning the river was the first bridge built in the South West. This was built in 1843 by William Forrest and opened by Marshall Waller Clifton.
Up the river was William James Piggott’s house on the other bank, where some of his 100 goats grazed on the river flats. His father James Piggott, was another bootmaker in the original Australind army of tradesmen.
Returning to the estuary, an avenue of gum trees was passed through to reach the Clifton domain with the two-storey ‘Upton House’ and its buildings facing the water where black swans cruised around in great numbers. R. Cecil Clifton and A F Clifton were also occupying some of the land earlier bought from Colonel Latour by the West Australian Land Company when Marshall Waller Clifton was its first commissioner. The Australind town site was first surveyed in 1840. (Note: Many years later a monument to the pioneers of Australind was erected nearby.)
The early school attended by A. F. Clifton and many others in this busy centre had gone, but another school site about a mile to the north was being prepared.
In the meantime, a wooden Catholic church was being used as a temporary school. This building was reached between the road and the water’s edge, after passing through a shady avenue of ti-trees.
This part of the settlement was known as ‘Cook’s Park’ and quite a number of settlers were established there. They included James Milligan, Thomas Rodgers, John Rodgers, Mick Rodgers, Pat Kearnan, Thomas Hurst and J. J. Tuxford.
‘Belvedere’ cattle station, with its fine house, was a prominent landmark on the west side of the estuary. James Milligan jnr leased this buffalo station once owned by the East India Company, Judge Prinsep and Thomas Little. W. O. Mitchell was a manager of Belvedere at one time.
Patrick Garvey lived near Buffalo Road and had a large holding near Lake Preston.
Near the head of the estuary was Thomas Fletcher’s farm east of the road. Along the edge of the water was a stretch of sand over a mile long, a wonderful future speedway.
At ‘Rosamel’, occupied by J. E. M. Clifton and his family, was a great tuart tree, earlier known as the sleeping place of its bachelor owner. Every night he hoisted a large cask out of the reach of snakes and natives and slept in peace. He also used the cask as a wardrobe and on one occasion a sow deposited her litter on the owner’s dress suit, much to his disgust.
It is believed that the tree was also known as the All Nut Tree in the days of John Allnut [sic Allnutt].
‘Parkfield’ the next farm, one of the largest in the district, was farmed by George Rose. Its small school, close to the road, housed scholars who were taught in turn by the Misses M. Rose, A. Buchanan and I. Mitchell.
‘Springhill’, earlier owned by Ben Piggott, was being farmed by Arthur Jones, together with ‘Stonehouse’, where he lived. Mrs. Clarke, (nee Piggott), and young Ben, her brother, lived at ‘Springhill’ near where a little private cemetery is the last resting place of older members of the family.
Ben Piggott jnr owned a big area of land east of the Wellesley River.
William Reading, chairman of the Brunswick Road Board, lived on the Wellesley Road and had a big holding at ‘Runnymede’.
Between ‘Parkfield’ and Myalup, all the farms were set back from the road with Myalup on the east side of the road taking its name from a nearby large bullrush swamp. It is believed that William Crampton erected the first building there in 1843 as a shepherd’s hut. Later, he improved it with wonderful carpentry work with pit-sawn timber. The property was leased in 1900 by George Crampton, one of his sons, and Fred Jones snr, a former schoolmaster at Picton.
The old Myalup Road was the nearest road to Harvey and a bit north was a turning to the left to ‘Stonehouse’, one of the oldest substantial buildings in the district.
It is not known who actually built ‘Stonehouse’, but it is known that after leaving Australind in the early 1840s, Ephraim Clarke snr and Ben Piggott snr, leased ‘Parkfield’ from its owner, Knight, and then went to live near the south end of Lake Preston. It is believed that Ephraim Clarke lived at ‘Stonehouse’ for a time before going to ‘Hampden’ (or ‘Hampton’).
Having several sons and being a surveyor by profession, it seems that Clarke would have at least been responsible for planning ‘Stonehouse’ and ‘Springfield’ [sic ?Springhill] and possibly had something to do with planning ‘Upton House’ at Australind, which is very much like ‘Springhill’. In 1840, Clarke was one of the W.A. Land Company surveyors.
To the north is Long Swamp where Fred Jones jnr farmed at ‘Kendalup’. Others living and farming on this fertile land were the Perren brothers from Brunswick; Joseph, Fred and Jesse. Beyond the 23-mile creek were James and Joseph Colton with Joseph Piggott nearby.
‘Hampden’, a large shingle-roof house facing the road, was quite a settlement. There lived William Clarke and other nearby farmers were the Adams brothers, S. J. and Lewis Birch and W. E. Pye.
Around Lake Preston were many cattle runs owned by James Clarke, James Cleary, Forbes Fee, W. D. Moore of Fremantle, John Partridge, H. W. Venn, M.L.A. and William Rodgers who had a wonderful well on his property with a large stone placed over it to protect the water.
 See the Potted History on this site, ‘Leschenault Peninsula’ – Thomas Little purchased the land he named Belvedere/Belvidere on behalf of Charles Robert Prinsep, who lived in Calcutta, India. The East India Company never owned Belvedere [Ed.]