AUS: 1300 630 488    NZ: 0800 1477 6287

An Augusta occasion

In March, the Probus Club of Vasse organised a full day’s outing for 23 members to the town of Augusta, Flinders Bay, and the very well-presented Augusta Historical Museum with the aim, among other things, of freshening up the memories of those members who are longstanding residents of the South West.

The displays at the Museum reminded members that the Swan River Settlement of 1829 very quickly ran out of productive land around the settlement for newly arrived wealth settlers to make claims. Land was very much in demand and to meet the need settlers were encouraged to look further afield.

As early as May 1830, the year after arrival of the First Fleet to Perth, John Bussell and Captain John Molloy were two of the settlers that sailed from Fremantle on the Emily Taylor and arrived at the mouth of the Blackwood River, Flinders Bay on May 2, 1830 accompanied by Governor Captain James Stirling and colonial staff. The town of Augusta was established and by 1831 had about 100 residents.

As for the demand for land 100 years ago, the opposite was true – plenty of land, not enough settlers. In 1921 the Group Settlement Scheme, an initiative of State Premier Sir James Mitchell, aimed at opening the sparsely populated South West of the state for dairying, began. The scheme was initially meant for returned soldiers in World War I but also included British migrants.

Mr W Fox, the Grandfather of Current President of the Probus Club of Vasse, Ros Snook, sailed from England in 1934, was recruited for the Scheme and was placed in Group 72. Ros, a former resident of the Augusta area, took the opportunity to check up on her family relatives who were members of the Group Settlement at Witchcliffe. There were family photographs on display of her relatives living there in 1942.