HISTORY OF HARVEY AND DISTRICT
BY: E G DAVIS - 1955
In this ninth instalment of the history of the Harvey district, contributed by George Clarke, of Bunbury, the writer recalls the ill-fated Australind scheme. He recalls the activities of an early pioneer, William Reading, whom although not greatly successful as a farmer played a major role in local affairs.
Born at Ruby, England, where he was educated, William Reading arrived in the colony in the early seventies. He decided to be a farmer and became interested in a large acreage farmed by one James Cundle. This holding was on the north os Wellington Location 1, the area taken over by the Australind settlement scheme in 1841. The rich peaty swamps and large extent of moist flats on the holding convinced Reading that there he could dairy, grow root crops and graze, and although the market for such commodities was limited, the variety of soils and the temperate climate would enable him to grow practically all his needs.
A great deal has been written about the Australind scheme, its setbacks, the soils on its holding and its early abandonment. While condemnation was mainly responsible for the company's troubles, the fact that today the area is one of the richest and most productive in the State confirms the promoters' optimism. The major blame for the failure can be attributed to those who condemned the soil and influenced settlers to demand a return of their money or the cancellation of the migration arrangements. Those who retained their faith were only a percentage of the original shareholders, but they determined to carry on with the diminished capital of the company and the half-hearted support of the directors. With the two latter handicaps it is small wonder that within three years of its launching the company went into liquidation, leaving the settlers to fend for themselves.
With the brief introduction of the scheme it can be explained how large areas of the company's land became the property of many early settlers. Cundle, like many others, occupied an area, which when surveyed, was much larger than he thought. For the capital subscribed by each shareholder and dependent on that amount, he was entitled to one or more of the 100 acre allotments into which the location had been subdivided. As a result of the liquidation these shareholders held documentary proof of areas of land in an unknown colony, which they had never seen, and of its agricultural worth they knew nothing. Naturally, they considered the document valueless, the unfenced land as being a liability rather than an asset.
To further depreciate the value, the liquidators decided to sell all the unalienated allotments at 2/- per acre. Many of the allotments so offered adjoined land owned by the English shareholders and many of the latter separated the other holdings when sold. The survey pegs were difficult to find and it was cheaper to build one fence around a whole area, including an unbought block, particularly as there was no-one to represent the English absentee owner. As no protests were made, within a few years the acreage so "jumped" would be considered by the community as the property of the fencer. To legalise the ownership, the settlers after 12 years' occupation could, after correct survey, apply for a registered Title of the land.
One example quoted is that of an original settler who left his two sons equal shares in a property known as "the 500 acre block". One son later had half of the block surveyed and secured his title. Later he bought his brother's block, a further 250 acres as he thought. When the necessary survey was made it was found that there was 682 acres to deal with. It might be added that there was no difficulty in obtaining the registered title for the larger area.
With an intimate knowledge of Wellington Location 1, the writer knew of many similar cases and often assisted the early settlers' dependants in getting their needs. Now, practically the whole area has been accurately surveyed and the descendants are registered owners, with indisputable claim to their lands.
For more than half a century, William Reading occupied his northern holding, "Runnymede". He married the daughter of Benjamin Piggott, a neighbour farming "Springhill". At Runnymede, Reading reared a family and took a 'keen interest in public affairs'. By his death the South West lost one of its strongest advocates for coastal development. In 1892, when the Perth -Bunbury railway was under consideration, Reading strongly supported the mid-way route, which would have brought the railway between the present highway and the coast. He pointed out that this route would serve both areas and remove the isolation from which the coastal farmers suffered. When group settlements played an important part in the State's development, he again advocated the coastal areas north of Bunbury as being suitable for group farms. A change of Government and a shortage of loan funds were responsible for a rejection of this sound advice.
In his many public activities, possibly the assistance given by William Reading to the Harvey Road Board was most appreciated. His many years as a member and chairman proved what the ratepayers of the district thought of him. He rarely missed a meeting despite the 20 mile ride from Runnymede and back, and his intimate knowledge of the district, combined with a practical knowledge of road board work, made his association of special value. To the local agricultural societies and kindred organisations, he gave strong support and was not afraid to express his views in the local and metropolitan Press. As a young man he tutored the children of the late Robert H Rose at Parkfield, which meant a 12 mile ride daily, and as the neighbours began to take advantage of the education available, a school room was built, which also served as a community church.
As a farming venture the owner of Runnymede had to contend with isolation, lack of transport and low prices. Frosts, flooding and scab were the enemies of the potato grower and most promising crops would be affected just before harvesting. When the seasons were favourable and the enemies mentioned were not operating, the 16 miles of transport and a maximum of 7 pound per ton left only a minor profit. It was only to be expected that with the handicaps enumerated, Reading allowed his cultivated fields to revert to pasture. Here again, nature, as if determined to kill the owner's faith, multiplied the wattle growth to a thicket-like denseness and once green pastures became an impenetrable forest.
Today envious eyes are turned to the coastal lands for with modern machinery the wattle and bulrush can be eradicated and clovers' luscious growth take their place. For transport there is the motor vehicle and better roads; breaking down the isolation there is a tri-weekly mail, and the wireless; prices are regulated and adequate returns made certain, while many amenities in the house make living conditions easier and more enjoyable.
The present generation is asked not to measure the past by today's yardstick, for the early settlers had to contend with innumerable hardships, frustrations and disappointments. They lived in a period when experiments were essential, for there was no common farming practice and when over production could be reached in a good season. It has been said that a genteel poverty existed among the landholders of the early days. This may be true, but they all had an unbounded faith in the colony's ultimate prosperity. It was that faith and the settlers' determination that enables the younger generation to develop the South West as their forefathers visualised.
William Reading played his part in that great pioneering era, and therefore merits admiration and respect.
The Eleventh instalment of the History of Harvey
The 11th instalment of the history of Harvey deals with the establishment and growth of Harvey's business area. Mr Aubrey Smith, who had a long association with Harvey, was one of the town's early storekeepers.
In October, 1898, Alexander Thomas Smith opened Harvey's first hotel, which he had built behind the site of the present hotel. It was a single storey wooden building. He also built a store for his brother, Aubrey H Smith, who was well known in Harvey for many years. He was a Harvey Road Board member and a vice-chairman of the board for a number of years and a leading figure in many public organisations.
Before Aubrey Smith went to the 1914 - 18 war, he sold his business to Alex Gloster, and Alex Smith retired to his orchard on the Harvey River. On his return from the war, Aubrey Smith developed the orchard further.
The hotel was taken over by a Mr Newnham, and later a Mrs Hurley and her family occupied the hotel. Gloster's store was later sold to Murray Wilson, prominent in the local business world for some years. The original store and a large brick store, which replaced it, where destroyed by, fire.
Harvey's first blacksmith was Fred Brown, who had his smithy on the bank of the river in Third Street. He also owned an orchard which was sold to W E Harper. Brown moved his smithy into Hayward Street, under a big red gum tree close to the site of the present fire station. A Mr Foley was the next blacksmith, and was followed by Arthur Roesner and William Mincham.
The first baker's shop, on the corner of Hayward and Gibbs Street, was owned by a Mr Friskin. He also did saddlery work and he annoyed a neighbour, Hugh Robinson, with his hammering late at night. Robinson got his revenge by whistling early in the morning. He was an early riser and his whistling annoyed Frisking greatly.
Butchers and Bakers
The first butcher's shop was on the opposite side of Gibbs Street, where Bob Alexander later had a saddlery shop on the front verandah. The rest of the house was Harvey's first Rectory. The second butcher's shop was near W J Sutton's house in Uduc Road. W R Clifton traded there for a time before Jack Grieves built his butcher's shop on its present site in Uduc Road. Sutton built a baker's shop on the corner of Uduc Road and Harper Street, where William Davis was a baker for some time. Thomas Pinner, jnr., took over this shop from Davis, and later George Dow conducted his business there for some years. For many years the shop was the headquarters of the Harvey soccer Club, a strong body in the 1920's. A brick bakery was built on the present site of the dry cleaning business, by Thomas Graham and later V Feazey built a bakehouse, also in Uduc Road, followed by B Sturmer's bakehouse in Newell Street.
Bob Alexander built his own saddler's shop on the corner of Gibbs and Becher Streets, later selling out to Edward Jellings. Later, Jellings sold out to Frank Ashton, who now conducts the business in Uduc Road where he built a shop and drapery store, now S P and W F Palm's.
Alfred Snell, jnr., and Alfred Paull first started doing motor repairs in Harvey about the same time. Paull's first shop was in Young Street, and he built a garage in Uduc Road later ( now C Harrison's). It is uncertain whether Paull or Roy Charman was the first taxi owner in Harvey.
Shortly before the First World War, Associated Fruitgrowers' Ltd. Built big fruit packing shed in the railway yards, with a siding at the shed. Frank Becher and a Mr Ramage, an expert fruit packer, were in charge. Thousands of cases of oranges went through the shed.
About 1918, the Harvey Producers' Co-op Ltd., was formed, and took over the shed. A few years later the Co-op purchased Harris and Moore's grocery shop in Uduc Road on land owned by E G Roesner. They also bought a block from Roesner and moved the shed on whim wheels to its present site. The work was done by George Granger. In 1925, the Co-op built a larger store next to the original shop. Both shops were burned down in the early 1930's, when the present brick building was erected.
Hayward's Ltd., of Bunbury, had an iron produce store about 60 feet back from Uduc Road, before the First World War. Jack Lowe was their manager for some years and when he went to the war, Thomas Myatt and George Horrocks carried on the business. Jack Lowe again managed the store on his return and later bought it from Haywards and built the present store, later selling to Freecorns' Ltd. He retained the agency business now carried on as Lowe and Pritchard.
When the first Harvey Weir was being built, Harvey had two boarding houses. The first was an old iron house occupied by Hugh Robinson. This was bought by James Shanahan, who built a large house next to it (now Len Taylor's). The other was the original "The Busy Bee," which John Knowles, senr., let to Mrs L Knapp.
Another well-known store was conducted by Frank Driscoll, which he enlarged when he took it over from Friskin, who went to Cookernup and traded for many years.
E G Roesner was a well-known figure 40 years ago. In addition to being a builder he could tune a piano, grow wonderful vegetables and give good advice to his friends. He was affectionately known as "Dad" Roesner. Among the buildings he erected was one run as a cycle and grocery shop on the corner of Uduc and Becher Street, by Ernest Charman (now Squire and Co.).
Joseph J Johnston was closely associated with Roesner and his sons for years as a coachbuilder. Later, Johnston went into the building trade and sold out to Ken Stanford.
Robert Fryer was another well-known figure in the town. He came to Harvey nearly 50 years ago from High Wycombe noted for its chairs. He brought his own chairs, made of cherry wood and though they only cost 5/- each, they are still good. He worked at Hawter's Nursery which was literally the nursery of many Harvey settlers, including Charles and Alfred Stanford, John Hepton, Tom Latch and Charlie Fielder. Robert Fryer was the town's milkman for a number of years and his sons Douglas and Sidney, had a grocery business for several years where W J Martin now trades.
Harvey House in Hayward Street was the first block or brick shops built in the town. They were erected for O C Rath, and included a billiard saloon. George Gibbs also had two shops built in Hayward Street, now Jones' Store and A Marzo's tailor's shop.
Phillip Ward came to Harvey over 50 years ago from Tasmania. While working for Millar's he built the original part of R A Johnson's house "Esperanza". He wanted to buy a building block in Harvey and asked Alex Smith at the hotel if he had a plan of the town site. He wanted Wilson's corner block but Smith had bought it himself to build a store. Ward selected a block on the other side of Uduc Road, where the Bank of New South Wales now stands, for 35 pounds. Because he could not get the necessary 10 pound deposit from the savings bank, which limited withdrawals to 2 pound, Ward borrowed the money from Smith. He built a four-room cottage on the north side of the block, which was burned down when the bank was destroyed by fire in 193_. The bank bought half Ward's block for 140 pounds.
Ward built the town's first store west of the railway line for Alex Smith. Ward also built St Paul's Church of England in 1905. He met Dougal Leitch for the first time when Leitch and Jack Grieves were falling the largest jarrah tree in Harvey. The tree yielded 180 fence posts.
The 12th Instalment of the History of Harvey
The 12th instalment of our "History of Harvey" quotes extracts from a diary kept by John Partridge, JP. The extracts have been made available by permission of W S Partridge, of White Rocks. Some interesting facts are recalled by the diary including the occasion when a native apeared a white man to death.
John Partridge, was born at King's Lynn, Norfolk, in 1856. He went to New Zealand, and with 24 horses went to the Kimberley gold rush, where all his horses died. He came to the South West of Western Australia in 1887 and for a time stayed with Waller Clifton at Wokalup. He took up land at White Rocks, near Brunswick Junction, and land for his sister, Mrs Fry, snr., mother of Stephen Fry of Benger, who came from England to take over the property.
In his diary in 1887, John Partridge records:
Trip in SS Perth to Gascoyne. Called at Geraldton, got stuck on sand between Dirk Hartog Island and mainland. Visited several stations in the north. One of party speared by native, who I arrested for murder. Arrived back in Perth, went to WA Bank and saw gold specimens. Saw Pearson and Alex Forrest. Went to Land's office and Forrests' office.
April 25, 1887 - Came down by Bunbury coach to Pinjarra.
April 26, 1887 - On Bunbury coach to Hayward's and had tea with him.
April 28, 1887 - By coach to Wokalup. Mrs. At home, Mr Clifton came back on 29th.
May 15 - Walked to Harvey and drove with Mr and Mrs Clifton to Alverstoke.
(Note in pencil under date April 23 evidently written some years later: "Got affidavit of Livingstone's death and swore it." This refers to the death of Mervyn Livingstone's father, who was killed in an accident when the South West Railway was being constructed in the early 1890's).
John Partridge also relates having driven to Bunbury to dance until 3 a.m.; ploughing with a bullock team before recording on July 22, 1887 that he settled to buy White Rocks paying 200 pounds down. He also records the difficulties associated with travelling by bullock wagon to shop in Bunbury and taking two or three days for the round trip. He built a house of galvanised iron with slabbed ends and bought posts and slabs at 14/- per thousand each. He paid a man 2 pound 10/- and keep per month to work for him. A horse cost him 6 pound. He hunted horses and after rounding them up roped and hobbled a chestnut and a black colt.
He records sowing 10-week potatoes in August, planting four bags and using two bags of guano. Only a moderate crop was dug at the beginning of December because the ground was too hard. When he broke a ploughshare he had to ride into Bunbury to get a new one.
Gervase Clifton recalls that Harvey's first post office was on the north east corner of Uduc Road and the South Western Highway. It was a slab cottage with a shingle rood and stone chimney. The mailbag for the local settlers was left there in charge of Mrs William Adams. Stamps could be bought and letters posted. A comparison with a photograph of this old building and a sketch of the proposed new post office now being built shows the progress made in 75 years.
After the railway was built and officially opened on September 8, 1893, the old post office was closed and the mailbag came by train. The train guard left the bag in a small room at the station and the first person to open it would throw the letters in a box and others would sort their own mail. Later, the Postal Department appointed John Knowles as caretaker and he sorted the mail at his home, Fairlawn.
The first official post office, built by the State Government on railway land near the station, was opened by the Bunbury Postmaster, Mr Woodrow, in 1896. When the present post office was built this building was dismantled and re-erected as a residence at Brunswick Junction.
The original slab building was later used as a store for chaff by a Mr Thomas. It was destroyed by fire, only the stone chimney being left.
William E Ash
William E Ash came to Harvey in October, 1893, from Canada. He was instrumental in forming the Harvey Farmers' Alliance and was connected with a number of developments in early days of the town's history.
He managed the Harvey - Hayward Estate for a number of years and in his reminiscences recalls growing oats, which grew to a tremendous size near the Old Homestead. There were practically no houses where Harvey now stands. There was an old humpy near where Gibbs Street is now, that was occupied by a nephew of W Bede Christie, who surveyed the Korijekup Estate. Dr Harvey, who lived in Harvey until about 1891, did not intend to follow his profession, but was called on to do a lot.
Ash recounts that between the South Western Highway and Harvey there were only bush tracks, and the present township was part of a big post and rail paddock where cattle were run. One track left the homestead, crossed the railway line at the corner of Roy Hayward's property and the Harvey River at Austin's Ford, now Young Street. This track continued north to Cookernup. Another track left Harvey near where the hostel now stands. One branch went to Eckersley's and another to Miss Robson's farm. Another branch went to I Lowe's and ended at Knowle's property at Seventh Street. In one part of the track corduroy was laid down and this was often afloat in wet weather.
In October, 1894, Ash put salmon trout and perch into the Harvey River. The river used to dry out in those days because there was no clearing in the hills. In the same year, shearers were delayed in their work because of heavy rain, and filled in time by planting 100 citrus trees which Dr Harvey had sent from Perth. These were the first trees planted by modern methods and some are still growing. General planting of citrus trees began in earnest in 1896. Apricots were planted the same year.
One unusual incident Ash related was the starting of the flow of the Harvey River on April 19, 1896. Ordinarily the river began to run in May and dried up in January.
Recognition of W E Ash's service to the district was made in 1936 when he was tendered a complimentary dinner in Harvey on his 80th birthday.
Since the appearance of this "Story of Harvey," descendants of old pioneers have added to the story of the Old Homestead.
Part of the original building is still standing, but it is not as well preserved as it could be. Some of the wooden blocks laid down as a floor 100 years ago are still there, and a portion of the wattle and daub walls is still standing. The trees which completely shaded the house when it was occupied by George Burrows and his wife over 50 years ago, shown in old photographs, are still standing. The old slab kitchen, a few yards from the north-west side of the house under the weeping willows, has gone.
When Thompson Logue built the second part of the Homestead, he made a large brick cellar underneath. All that remains of this since the main building was burned, is a small hole in the ground.
An old bell, which for many years hung in a big tree in front of the house, is now at the Harvey Junior High School, where it is used daily. The bell was put there by Governor Stirling and for years was used to summon help in the case of fire, accident or illness, and special occasions. It was rung for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, the Relief of Mafeking and the end of the Boer War. It was presented to the school in 1948 by Roy Hayward.
George Patrick Charman
George Patrick Charman was born in New Zealand in 1864 and as a young man went to Emerald, Victoria, where he worked in Nobelious' Nursery. Conditions were very bad in Victoria in 1893, so Charman left his wife and son, Roy, and went to Coolgardie, where he nearly died of typhoid fever.
In 1895, Mrs Charman and her son came by ship to Bunbury and lived in an old house at Leschenault. The family came to Harvey in 1896 and stayed with Sheehan's on Harvey Road. Charman joined Ark Jenkins, Harry Legg and Arthur Fentiman in contract clearing and orchard planting. He took up land in Third Street and planted oranges on block No 10 on the corner of The Avenue for a Mr Docton.
According to his diary, he and his partners started a big clearing contract for J P Wellard at Benger (then known as Mornington) in August, 1896. He records planting potatoes with his wife at Docton's and meeting O C Rath, George Burrows, George Guppy and Bede Christie. On wet day it was too wet to work so they played cricket instead. The partners also cleared some of Rath's land.
About this time there was some trouble over the land in the Korijekup Estate, so Charman and Jenkins went to Cookernup to inspect some land. They also interviewed Dr Harvey and Mr Leake, who reassured them about Korijekup.
Charman also records helping Sheehan sink a well 34 feet in depth for which they cut slabs. They tried to get waste timber from Yarloop, but could not do so.
From his diary it was evident that Charman had been living in a tent or a bark shack, because he records that "Harry and I started my building. We got blocks from a jarrah tree near the station in April, 1897." The following week he helped Harry Legg unload timber for his house on the opposite side of Third Street. This was carted with some brimks by Halor. In May, 1897, with Jenkins, Charman carried 200 foot of flooring boards from the station. The house was finished at the end of May and Charman brought his wife and children to live there. To celebrate the occasion he records that he made another gate, but does not say what the gate was for. He also records unloading timber and bricks at the station for which he paid 10/- per day.
Charman's diary records everyday happenings of life in those days, such as his wife and children going to a fete in Bunbury (probably Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebration); making a wheelbarrow to cart goods from the station; attending a land sale in Bunbury where he bought Lots 51 and 60 near Cookernup. He also records the death of a young son of Alexander Murray, the doctor arriving from Bunbury too late to save the lad; and helping with the funeral by carrying the coffin to the station. Other items include the buying of pigs and offering to send Jenkins' vegetables to market on a half-share basis, as he was going to Pinjarra to live.
He records that Sheehan took his children to Mrs Charlie Crampton's because his wife had died (Mrs Grace Higgins, of Harvey was one of the children).
In those days he bought a plow for 3 pound 10 shilling, and recorded a train accident at Harvey. He made many trips to Clarke'' and Colton'' and to other farms where vegetables were grown at Hampden and Long Swamp at the coast. He sold these with his own vegetables to construction workers on the Brunswick Collie railway line, which was then being built.
In 1898, Charman records: "A fire came up towards Jenkins' Harry and I managed to stop it . . . Messrs Lowe, Rath and myself firing to save ourselves." (Jack Lowe remembers this as a boy. His mother and brother filled every available utensil with water from the river to prevent the fire from burning the house. Luckily, the fire stopped before it reached the house, but it was an experience he will never forget).
One extract in his diary reads: "March 8, 1898 - Got Gimmy the horse from Mr Lowe. Went to coast. March 9 - Took cart home also Gimmy, paid for him, 3/-." (Jack Lowe also remembers this big horse that his father bought from Halor).
Names of settlers mentioned in Charman's diary at the time included Mrs Smith (Uduc); Birch, Jack Chapman; J Colton, snr., Joe Colton, Pidgeon (the horse catcher); Fred Perrin, Mrs and Miss Lowe; Mrs Livingstone (a Burcham, of Bunbury); J E Knowles and Beetson's.
Among other things he walked on several occasions to the coast to dig potatoes and sent potatoes to Kau and Dohnt at Yarloop. (Dohnt sold fruit on the Yarloop railway station for many years). Charman bought a horse and dray from McLean for 24 pound and carted Kerrington's things to the Two-mile Camp. The railway line to Mornington Mills was being built at the time and men were camped along the line. He also took other people's goods to the mill site.
In September, 1898, Jenkins took his horse to Yarloop to be shod because apparently Fred Brown, the blacksmith, had not then arrived at Harvey.
It is also recorded that Charman attended meetings of the Harvey Alliance and other bodies, attended church at homes and the Wesley Hall, hearing the Member, Mr Venn, speak at a meeting in the hall, and attending a meeting on school matters and going to concerts.
In August, 1899, he recorded collecting 3 pound 14 shillings and 6 pence to pay expenses for a deputation to Perth to get a school for Harvey. The deputation consisted of Clifton, Brown Rath, Ash and Charman. He mentions a ploughing match at Harvey (the second), and going as a member of the Farmers' Club to see the experimental garden at Hamel. A Mr Berthold was in charge of Hamel, which was later taken over by the Forests Department.
One entry, November 26, 1899, reads: "I went to hear Bishop Riley" (this would be the first organised Church of England in Harvey. In old records it is shown that services were previously held in private homes).
Records are also made of several families going to the coast for their holidays. In those days they usually took all the family on a dray and the family cow walked behind.
The first Sunday School is recorded in Charman's diary as being held at Uduc School on
April 1, 1900, when there were eight children and three teachers present. Federation Day, July 31, 1900, is also recorded.
"Coming home from the coast I got bogged," he says. In those days Crampton Road was used to go to the coast and Long Swamp. It was heavy going in the summer in sand and parts were very bad in the winter. Joseph Piggott usually brought two horses to pull his load of vegetables.
Births, deaths, marriages and sicknesses are recorded in the diary, as were houses being burned down and collections being made for those in need.
Strikes are also recorded as July 5, 1901 - "Took turnips to station, but could not sent them as railway men struck work".
In addition to vegetable growing, the mulching of strawberry plants with blackboy, clearing at 10 pound an acre, cutting crops going about two tons to the acre and the use of "resin and whale oil" for plant spraying, are mentioned.
In November, 1902, there was great activity in Harvey and it is recorded that Jenkins went to Perth to get labour for clearing. A sports day was held that month which was attended by 300 people. Repairs to a mowing machine by A Venables is also mentioned and Charman also bought a bicycle for 5 shillings. He also attended the first citrus show on August 19, 1904.
Blocks cleared and planted by Charman and his partners included those of Drs Williams, Kennedy and Hassell; R Christison, B H Woodward, C Leitch, G Horrocks, A Frankiner, McClure, E W Dermer, R Drummond, G Atkins, A T Smith, Irvine, F J Becher, A E Stanford, A J Markham and Miss Donnelly.