HISTORY OF HARVEY AND DISTRICT



BY: E G DAVIS - 1955


The Story



This is the story of Harvey, Western Australia, as told by descendants of the early pioneers and others who have lived in the district for many years.


Harvey is in the South West of the State, about 87 miles south of Perth and 30 miles north of Bunbury.


The present Government Road is still shown on maps as Harvey Road, and it is evident that this road from Wokalup River through the Uduc Agricultural area, meant either the road to the Harvey River or to the Harvey Agricultural Area, and certainly not to Harvey as it is now known. In old road board minutes it is referred to as Harvey Lane.


What is now known as Harvey was at first the Harvey River Settlement. When the central portion was developed, it was called Korejekup, and later it all became known as Harvey.


The Harvey district is first recorded in Dr Battye's "History of WA." (That in 1829, Captain Stirling, later to become the first Governor of the State, selected 12,800 acres known as Wellington Location 50A and called it the Harvey River Settlement.") Most of the early settlements were named after rivers - eg., Preston and Blackwood - and old settlers for many years referred to these districts as The Preston, etc., instead of naming the town. Some road boards still retain the early names which is sometimes confusing.


Shaped With Axe



Governor Stirling's only improvement, as far as is known, was the erection of a hunting lodge on the banks of the Harvey River, about a mile east of the present townsite. The floor was of jarrah blocks, beautifully fitted. They were cut across the grain and evidently shaped with an axe. Some of the old jarrah slabs are still preserved and perfect, although over 100 years old.


Old settlers knew this building as "the hut." It is mentioned in Mr A C Staples' thesis on Harvey that a Mr Chapman, a shepherd, lived there in the very early days. It is also recorded by the late Dr Battye "That in 1931, Stirling was near Port Leschenault (Bunbury) and that in this year there was a track open between Perth and the Augusta settlement" The Track mentioned was evidently the Coast Road. John Bussell, of the Vasse, was the leader in the finding of this track.


In 1841 the S.S. "Parkfield" landed near Australind. This ship brought Mr Marshall Waller Clifton, his family and many other early settlers. The Clifton family has been known throughout the State since those early days, and direct descendants are still at Australind, Brunswick and Harvey.


Ben Piggott, Snr., came to West Australia on the "Trusty" in 1844, and later took up land at Springhill where he is buried in a small cemetery close to the old house there. It is still standing and his descendants are still in the district. Upton House at Australind, and Springhill, are very much alike and it is probable that they were built by the same builder and carpenter who landed near Australind.


 


"Cast Iron Smith"



In 1844 the first actual settler in what is now known as Harvey took up a 160 acre block on Lake Preston, north-west of Harvey. He was Mr Maurice B Smith, grandfather of Mr John Giblett. This section was called Gigginup. Mr Smith later took up a small block at Uduc, now owned by Mr Albert Taylor. Later he took up a much larger area at Uduc, where he built the old Uduc homestead. In those days there were no fences, except split slabs, near the early homestead, to keep the pigs in or to protect the vegetable plots. Mr Smith brought a lot of very heavy gauge wire to the country and erected post and rail fences with two wires, around his property. This earned for him the nickname of "Cast-Iron Smith."


Other early settlers knew, when they saw these fences, that it was Mr Smith's land. He and his family were also known for many years as the Uduc Smiths, although there were no other Smith's in the district until the late 1890's. Mr Smith came from Dublin as tutor to Marshall Waller Clifton's sons.


Among the pioneers of the coastal side of Harvey from 1844 to 1860 was William Crampton, who took up land at Myalup and Uduc. He had three sons, Charles, George and Alfred who came from England as children on the S.S. "Diadem," in 1842. This family built two of the oldest homesteads in the Harvey district - Myalup House, which is still standing, and the original house behind the present Roselea Farm, near Uduc. Charles Crampton's grandson, Mr Alex Esmond, is still farming the same land. Alfred Crampton's sons, Archie and Reg, and daughter, Miss Enid Crampton, were well known in the district for many years.


In 1840, Mr E Clarke took up land on the Coast Road and in 1870 bought land at Jardup, where he built the brick house which is still standing. He also owned Nickelup, which he sold to Mr James Taylor in 1894.


 




The Second Instalment



The second instalment of the story of Harvey and district, as prepared by Mr E G Davis, deals with reminiscences of Australind. The reminiscences were given by Algeron F Clifton at centenary celebrations in the Brunswick Memorial Hall in September 1929. All of the facts related by Mr Clifton were either from first hand knowledge or from the diaries of the late MW Clifton, of Australind.


There are few who realise the conditions which existed in the early days of the colony. My parents and grand-parents landed at Austalind on March 18, 1841, in the sailing ship 'Parkfield', my grandfather, the late Marshall Waller Clifton, being Chief Commissioner for the Western Australian Company that had been formed in England to settle the land in this district. The land held by this company consisted of Wellington Location No 1 of 100,000 acres extending from the Collie River almost to the Harvey River and from Leschenault Estuary to about 12 miles up into the Darling Ranges and a block of about 25,000 acres adjoining its eastern boundary.


The 'Parkfield' brought 125 men, women and children, some with the intention of taking up land, others as tradesmen, farm labourers, etc. A large staff of the company's surveyors had arrived in the 'Island Queen' a few weeks previously and were busily engaged in setting out the townsite of Austalind. A little later the 'Diadem' and 'Trusty' arrived both bringing more migrants for the settlement.


 


No Bridges



When these early pioneers arrived there was not a bridge over any of the rivers between Fremantle and Busselton. It was not until March 2, 1945, that a bridge was built over the Brunswick River at Australind, the late M W Clifton being the first person to ride over it. The bridges over the Preston and Collie Rivers, between Bunbury and Australind were built by the late W Pearce Clifton (who was later resident magistrate for Bunbury).


The bridge over the Preston near Leschenault, was completed on April 8, 1946, and the Collie Bridge on November 28, 1948. They were paid partly by the Government and partly by subscriptions from the settlers. Previous to this the Collie was forded by going out into the estuary and around the mouth of the river, where in summer time the water was not very deep, but in winter it was sometimes up to the horses' backs and with big waves it was sometimes impossible to cross. The Preston was crossed near Picton, in the vicinity of the present bridge, which was called Fording Bridge, after the old ford. The Preston was a rapid and dangerous river to cross in the winter and of course was often impassable. The deviation caused by the want of bridges increased the distance between Austalind and Bunbury from seven to nearly 12 miles.


The natives in the district were very useful to the settlers. There was always a number of men and women employed in reaping, haymaking, etc., as in those times all crops were cut by scythe or sickle. They were most useful as stockmen in the days when the country was unfenced, many being bold and fearless riders and all most wonderful trackers.


 


Sad Commentary


It is a sad commentary on our civilisation that our taking possession of their country has been the cause of the whole race gradually dying out, the last native of the district having died some years ago.


The hopes of the Western Australian Company and those associated with it, to found a town convert their great holdings into thriving farms, failed from causes which would take far too long to enter into here. It was not the fault of the people who came out, many of whom, after the closing down of the company, took a prominent part in the development of the country and have left descendants who are carrying on the work today in every portion of the State. I would specially like to mention the lat Mr W Forrest, who after building a bridge over the Brunswick at Australind, settled at Picton and constructed a flour mill which ground all the wheat that was grown at Dardanup, Preston, Collie, Brunswick and Harvey for many years. The late Lord Forrest was one of his sons, and several other brothers have played a prominent part in the State's development. Sir James Mitchell was also a descendant of one of the Australind pioneers. Others are Sir Newton Moore; L S Elliott (Under Treasurer); H F Johnson (Surveyor General); R Cecil Clifton, L S O (Under Secretary for Lands).


When I was a small boy at Australind, the mails were carried from Perth to Busselton on horseback, having in the much earlier days been carried by a native between Australind and Perth. I remember it was quite exciting when another contractor got the job and put on a one- horse spring cart and offered to take passengers from Bunbury to Perth for 2 pound per head, both ways. The passengers, of course, had to pay for any refreshments they were fortunate enough to procure from private houses between Pinjarra and Bunbury; also their hotel expenses there for the night and at the Old Narrogin Inn, where they lunched next day. This soon developed into a buggy and pair service and eventually a coach and four was giving fair service twice a week, taking possibly on the average, three or four passengers each way. Just compare that with our present train service that we complain of sometimes. These travellers by mail coach had varied experiences.


Other interesting events were the driving of the last pile into the Brunswick Railway Bridge on September 19, 1892; and a lunch to Mr Venn in the garden at Frogmore, after he had given a political address in the school opposite. The school had been built many years before, entirely by settlers, and served as school and church. Occasional services were held there by the Church of England and Congregational ministers. Quite a number of weddings were celebrated there.


Railway Arrives



The official opening of the South West railway was held on September 9, 1893; and the opening of the Brunswick Agricultural Hall with afternoon tea and a ball in the evening, was on March 7, 1894.


At the time the railway was opened there were no people living in what is now the townsite and very few in the district. Among those most widely known were Mr Thomas Marriott, snr., of Rivervale; Mr David Eedle, of Frogmore (the first president of the Farmers' Association); Mr R W Clifton, of Upton House, Australind; Mr James Perren (living where the State Farm was carried on at a much later date); and Mr John Crampton, on what is now Mr A Wright's property. This place was well known, being the first stage on the journey from Bunbury to Perth. The mail coach horses were changed there and fresh ones put in for the next stage at Logue's Brook. Mr Crampton was postmaster without an office, the few letters he received being kept in a box in the bedroom. All of those mentioned belonged to a band of pioneers who came from England to Australind under the Western Australian Company in 1841 and have long since gone to their rest.


Up til 1894, very little progress had been made in this portion of the State. The timber milling industry that arose later was almost non existent. Coal had not been discovered and what is now the flourishing town of Collie, with the mines putting out hundreds of tons of coal daily was "waste land of the Crown", supporting a few kangaroos and dingoes and occasionally during dry summers, grazed over by a few cattle and sheep. The never failing supply of fresh water in the large pools of this river was the main attraction.


The now thriving settlement of Harvey was then supporting one settler, Mr J T Logue, who was renting 13,000 acres of the fertile lands on the Harvey River at a nominal rental and making a scanty living by running a few head of cattle and horses. The goldmines of Kalgoorlie and Boulder were then in their infancy. The wonderful Mundaring Weir and Goldfields Water Scheme and the Fremantle harbour works, for which we have to thank the late Lord Forrest and the late C Y O'Connor, were then unthought of and the eastern wheatbelt, which owing chiefly to the foresight of Sir James Mitchell, is now producing many millions of bushels annually, was then a waterless desert.


 


Early Settlers



Mr J T Logue went to live at Moojelup, near Cookernup, where he owned land on Summerbrook Road. He built a small shed there, which was for many years known as Honeymoon Cottage.


It is not known if Mr Logue actually spent his honeymoon there, but it has been said that if he wanted to get away from the cares of the home farm, he would retire to this quiet spot on the hill side.


Mr Logue was a very active man and worked long hours. On one occasion he was working in a well from about 8 a.m. until evening without food. Mrs Logue was getting rather worried and was thinking of searching for him when he arrive home, saying, "I feel a bit weak I think I will have a glass of wine."


William Forrest built the first bridge in the district. John Forrest received his early education from a Harvey man, Fred Jones, senr., at the Picton School. This Fred Jones was the father of Mrs Elizabeth Wright, of Australind and Fred Jones of Myalup. After retiring from teaching, as recorded by Mrs Cecilia Meredith, he went farming at the coast and lost an arm in an accident. He is the ancestor of a large number of Harvey people.


M W Clifton, a grandson of the original Clifton, took up 500 acres at Wokalup where he built Wokalup House, which is still standing. Mr Waller Clifton and his family were closely associated with the early days of Harvey in many ways. He was a road board member and vice-president of the Harvey Alliance. Mr G Clifton gives us some information of early days and others mention picnics and cricket matches near the old house.


In 1890 there were more families on the Coast Road than in the rest of Harvey, until after the Korijekup settlement was established. Names of many pioneer families closely connected with the coast settlement are still remembered by older residents of today, and are mentioned in various memoirs and recorded in road board minutes.


These include several branches of the Clifton family at Australind, Rosamel and Alverstoke; Sam Rose of Parkfield; William Clarke of Hampden; Ben Piggott of Springhill; Joseph Piggott; Joseph Colton; William Reading of Runnymede; George Jones, the Perren brothers; Lewis Birch; and Ephraim Clarke and his son, also Ephraim. Ephraim Clarke, who came out from England on the 'Parkfield', worked for M W Clifton form some time. They had a dispute and Clarke was dismissed for insubordination. From then on there was a feud between the two families for a long period.


Lewis Birch and his son Lewis, were very active in road board matters. The Milligans, Rodgers, Hutchinsons and Wrights were early settlers at Australind, with the Dunns and Travers' families.


About 1890, James Taylor came to Harvey from Victoria, with his wife and elder children, including Richard, Harry and Sidney, who was then the baby. He bought Nicklup in 1894 from Mr E Clarke. Mr Taylor carted supplies from Bunbury for the railway construction gang and was the butcher, baker and grocer. He also farmed for many years at Nicklup and was famous for his vines which produced good wine. The business he established is probably the oldest in Harvey and is still carried on by his sons and their sons.


In 1891 Mr Thomas Offer took up land at Benger, then known as Mornington. His family have farmed there ever since. He was the first to grow potatoes in Benger Swamp and was a member of the Harvey Road Board for many years.


Before 1894, the Harvey district was controlled by the old Wellington Road Board. The Brunswick board was gazetted in 1894 and the first election was held on February 11, 1895. Many extracts from board meetings over the years are included later in this story.


For many years Mr James Clarke farmer at Myrtle Hill, on the Perth Road. He was chairman of the Cookernup Health Board, which it is believed, was formed by him after a severe epidemic of measles was responsible for the death of many children.


In the early 1890's the population of Cookernup was much greater than Harvey. It had a telegraph office and school several years before Harvey.


When the settlers of Korijekup wanted to get a school, Mr James Clarke is supposed to have said, "What is the good of building a school at Korijekup. There will never be any children to go to it". Time has proved that he was wrong.


In 1890, John Knowles, of Cheddar, Somerset, England, came to Harvey from Wakefield, South Australia, with his wife and family. He bought land from the Harvey Estate between the Bunbury Road and the railway and built the house which is still standing near the main road, and named it Fairlawn. He also bought land in Herbert road. Mr Knowles had a small shop and collected the mail from the coach and the railway. One of his daughters had a private school in one of the rooms and another became postmistress for a short time after training at Bunbury.


The first Wesleyan services were held in the front of Fairlawn by Rev. Plain, and Congregational services were held there by Rev. Buchanan.


In 1895, Messrs. Knowles, James Clarke, James Taylor and W J Sutton, constructed the first public building in Harvey, the Mission room and hall. It was opened as a Wesleyan Church in September 1895, by Rev. Plain, of Bunbury. This building was on the northend of a block in Uduc Road near W J Sutton's house, Kilrea. Part of the old Uduc Brook ran through the middle of the block. There was a post with an oil lamp on it to guide people on the path over the brook. This was the first public light in Harvey. All public bodies held their meetings in this small hall, including the Brunswick Road Board, which paid 5/- rent for each meeting. In 1895 Mr Knowles sold his land in Herbert Road to the Palmer brothers, Harry and Seymour. In 1898 he also sold Fairlawn to Harry Palmer who re-named it Meridin. Mr Knowles then built a house and shop, which is still standing, on the corner of Uduc and Hackett Roads. He called the shop, "The Busy Bee," and had a sign on it reading, "We lead and others follow." In the original plan of Korijekup Settlement Fairlawn or Meridin was the centre of Harvey, put for the advent of the railway the original plan was altered. Following the lead given by Mr Knowles, as his sign advertised, others did follow.


In 1874, Harry G Palmer, who has been well known in Harvey for over 60 years, was born in the heart of England at Meredin, Warwick. The Major, as he is affectionately known, came to Harvey with his brother Seymour in 1895 and they bought the farm in Herbert Road, now owned by Mr Godfrey Rigg. Their sister now Mrs Wickham, joined the brothers in 1896. In 1898 H G Palmer bought his present home, having married a Miss Clifton from Wokalup House. He served with his brother-in-law, Reg Clifton, in the Boer War. Mr Dougal Leitch was another Harvey man who served with the contingent in 1899. The day they left for South Africa, Mr Palmer was working in a drain and left his mattock there. Years after when he returned, the mattock was still there as an indication of the honesty of the Harvey people.


Mr Tom Myatt, another well known Harvey man, was a member of the Natal Mounted Rifles during the Boer War. He came to Harvey soon after the war was over.


Mr Palmer says that Rev. Julian was the second Wesleyan minister in Harvey. He married Mr Knowles' daughter, Dora. About 1899, Rev. George Devlin, Church of England minister, came to Harvey and until he married, he lived in an outside room on Mr Palmer's property. Rev. Devlin married Miss Mitchell, one of three sisters living in Harvey at that time. The other two were the first school mistress and postmistress when the post office was built opposite the railway platform. At that time there was no building on the railway platform. An early photograph taken from near The Busy Bee shows an empty railway yard with the post office on the east side and a small galvanised iron cottage on the west side in Hayward Street. This house is still standing between the hostel and Mr Len Taylor's house.


 


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