Jean Baptiste Louis Claude Theodore LESCHENAULT de la Tour (November 13, 1773 – March 14, 1826) was a French botanist and ornithologist. When Baudin’s expedition anchored close to the present site of Bunbury in Geographe Bay in March 1803, a boat was sent to examine a promising inlet at the shore. It was found to be only suitable for small vessels. They named the inlet Leschenault Inlet after the botanist on board ‘Le Geographe’. Leschenault was later left behind at Timor in 1803 when he became ill, but he returned to France in 1807.
The Geographe under the French explorer Captain Nicolas Thomas Baudin, leading a scientific expedition which left Le Havre,France in 1801, visited an anchorage on the western coast of Terra Australis. A survey party reported that the opening was a shallow bar guarding the entrance of an extensive area of water. He named the area Port Leschenault after the expedition’s botanist John Claude Baptiste Leschenault de La Tour.
Dr. Alexander Collie and Lt. Preston RN (HMS Sulphur) in November (3 months after the Swan Colony established), left Fremantle in 2 whaleboats and a week later explored the coast around Port Leschenault. The Collie and Preston Rivers were named after them. Alexander died in Albany in 1835. and is buried on the site of the present Town Hall.
21 Dec.- Lieutenant Henry William St. Pierre Bunbury (1812-1875) of the 21st Fusiliers arrived in Sydney Town in July 1834 where he was appointed as aid-de-camp to Governor Bourke.
He served in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in 1835/1836.
In December 1836 he travelled from Pinjarra to Vasse, meeting Governor Stirling (who arrived aboard the Government Schooner ‘Champion’ from King George’s Sound) on the 18th.
The Governor told Bunbury that Port Leschenault would be re-named Bunbury in his honour.
8 November – Lieutenant Henry Bunbury leaves Fremantle aboard the brig ‘Hero’ bound for London.
He stopped off at Capetown to avoid the English winter. He arrived in London in May 1938, where he was, on the 17th August, promoted to Captain, then in the 33rd Regiment, served in Gibraltar, The West Indies, Canada and India.
Promoted to Major he married Cecilia, then served in the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers during the Crimean War from 1853.
After promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in 1854 he became commandant of the Regiment in 1855.
Retiring in 1862, he died in 1875 aged 63.
John and Helen arrived from Lanark, Scotland at Fremantle on the Ship “Eliza” on 5th March 1831, farming at Guildford. They arrived in Port Leschenault (Bunbury) aboard the Colonial schooner ‘Champion’ on 4th January 1838 accompanied by Governor Stirling who promised them 330 acres on the Preston River in return for managing his vast landholdings.
Eelup Farm was located at the present site of the Eeelup Roundabout, being the first farm established in the Bunbury district.
Helen was also district nurse and midwife to both European settlers and Indigenous alike.
John and Helen retired in 1856, running the Koombana House boarding house, son Robert taking over the Farm.
They worshipped and were finally laid to rest in the grounds of Picton Church (built 1842), John dying in 1880 – the year that the property passed to others, due to no written agreement with Gov. Stirling.
The 372 ton, 33 metre long American whaler, ‘Samuel Wright’ was wrecked in a gale at Koombanah Bay on 8th July. High and dry and relatively undamaged she was sold by auction to her captain, Francis Coffin, who remained at Port Leschenault, acting as the unofficial pilot until he was able to return to the United States.
372 ton – Wooden 110 x 28 x 13.7 feet(33.5×8.53×4.14m)-Salem Massachusetts- Owners JB Osgood. Ship rigged vessel, 2 decks, square stern, no galleries, billet head. Cargo: Whale oil.Lat.33°19.6/Long.115°38.9
Lying at Koombana Bay with ‘HUDSON’ and ‘NORTH AMERICA’. Gale came up at 20:00 7/7/1840. Chain cable parted leaving only 2 anchors. Main anchor stowed in hold.
8 July 1840: The 270 ton wooden whaler NORTH AMERICA lost in the same storm as the SAMUEL WRIGHT. Captain:Kempton. Owner: William Wheeler. Len: 31.45m. Beam:7.33m. Flag:USA. Lat.33°19.6 /Long.115°38.9
“on the 7th we had mild, gentle weather, wtth no appearance in the heavens of an approaching gale: in the evening however, we had fresh breezes from the N.E, which continued encreasing most rapidly without shifting to more than about N.N.E.: at midnight it blew a perfect hurricane: about sunrise, on the 8th, the wind shifted to North, but did not moderate. At 8 A.M. the wind shifted to N.N.W. and blew with unmitigated fury : about noon the wind suddenly shifted to the Westward and S/W., and moderated so quickly that by 4 P.M. there was not more than light airs from the Southward.”
[A ship of the same name was also wrecked at Pt.Leschenault – See 1843]
Original Moonlight Bridge Preston (a timber footbridge) opposite Moorland Homestead, spanning the Preston River, was built to link Reverend J R Wollaston’s property with his neighbour Assistant Surveyor Henry Ommanney.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the name “Moonlight” may have been connected with an Aboriginal named Moonlight who is said to have fallen from the bridge and drowned.
The bridge was later damaged by flood waters and repaired by Gervaise Clifton (manager of his sister’s property Moorlands). In 1910, another flood damaged the bridge and the Rose family objected to rebuilding it to maintain the family’s privacy.
Local sources believe that an original post remains in situ, marking the location of Moonlight Bridge.
7 July, 1840, the 298-ton American whaler GOVERNOR ENDICOTT anchored in Geographe Bay, was caught by the same gale that wrecked the whalers Samuel Wright and North America at Koombana Bay, Bunbury. Near midnight Governor Endicott dragged its anchors and struck the bottom. At daylight the crew found themselves only two ship lengths from the shore and fearing the ship would break up, the third mate and five men got ashore in a whaleboat and tied a lifeline to a tree to allow the remaining crew to reach shore. She lies buried in the sand about 3.5 km west of the old entrance to Toby Inlet.
John Edicott was the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (5 times in office between 1629 and 1664).
A storm lantern on a wooden keg may have been the Port’s first beacon located on the western point near to where the current lighthouse stands.
On Captain Stoke’s map a “Signal Hill” was marked to the northeast of “Mount Bunbury” – which is believed to be the present-day Marlston Hill.
Now called the “Wardandi Burial Ground”. Nineteen European graves from 1841 – 1849 are believed to be in situ – originally surveyed and used as the earliest settler cemetery.
*WARDANDI is a Noongar language or dialectical group. The South West Boojarah region encompasses the towns of Capel, Margaret River, Witchcliffe, Augusta, Windy Harbour, Northcliffe, Pemberton, Manjimup, Bridgetown and Nannup.
Bury Hill house built by George Elliott who occupied it from 1842-1871.
The property area was 20 acres. Dr Tom H Lovegrove leased in 1870. William Spencer leased from 1871-1883 purchased in 1883 and lived in (the now reduced in size) property until 1913 – building a new brick home to the front. Edwin Rose lived there 1913-1927. Sold to Sisters of St John of God in 1927. Hospital opened 11th December.
The Nuns two storey hostel was built facing Parkfield St. in 1958. In 1972 further extensions to the hospital necessitated demolition of the house remnants. Hospital re-located in 1999.
[Perth Gazette 23 Jan 1841]
Two lots of land (100 acre sections) were sold by the Acting Collector of Revenue at his office, on Wednesday week [13th Jan.] at the upset price of 12s. Per acre. There was no competition
…The townsite of Bunbury, at the port of Leschenault, is to be laid out in allotments immediately, ,and to be opened to the public for purchase
…The port of Leschenault has been termed the port of Australind; the Company have no right to assume this title, the land immediately adjacent to the port is the property of the Government, and no company should presume to deprive us, even in name, of the public right. The acknowledged title of the anchorage at Leschenault by our Government, is Koombana Bay. It is so set down in our maps, and we cannot allow any company to designate it otherwise than is recognised by public announcement emanating from the local authorities of Western Australia.
Forrest Homestead was built for the Forrest family, who were closely linked with the development of Bunbury on the banks of the Preston River at Picton. William Forrest, an engineer born in Scotland, used hand fired bricks, crushed limestone and pit-sawn jarrah to build the house which had a low, split shingle roof.
Morgan’s Wayside Inn, Picton on the Preston River.
View in 2004 prior to restoration by the Piacentini Family.
The Inn was built c. 1850 by James Thompson Lawrence who was a shoemaker by trade, arriving in Western Australia in 1830 and had slabs faced in lath and plaster.
He called his establishment Lawrence’s Wayside Inn and he catered for travellers crossing the ford as they travelled through the district. Also known as Picton Inn.
Wittenoom Street opposite Stephen Street (West).
The first Bunbury Lock-Up was built in 1848 by John C Morgan. In March 1850 it was reported that three Aboriginal prisoners had escaped.
Following the introduction of convicts to the district in 1850, the Bunbury Lock-Up was rebuilt and strengthened in 1852.
A date stone was positioned above the entrance to the reconstructed building.
The Date Stone as well as two doors – the laundry and access to toilet cisterns in the Laurence Saunders Annexe, are located at King Cottage Museum.
Demolished 1969. (Photo Courtesy of Ray Repacholi)
Grittleton Lodge – Robert Forrest Home – Molloy and Clifton Streets, now Clifton Motel.
25 June – 12 ton, 14.2m cutter b.1875. Captain: John Pringle. Owner: M.C. Davies Cargo: Guano 15 Ton. Lat.33°18.0/Long. 115°39.2
Perth-Bunbury Railway line opened – August 22 1893.
Railway Marshalling yards reclaimed and established
Railway Station No. 1 on site of the now Tourist Information office. Opened November 14 1894 by the Premier, Sir John Forrest. The wooden structure was destroyed by fire on 5th December 1904, being replaced with a brick building in 1905.
Customs Bond Store. Victoria Street next to Goods Sheds Now an Irish Bar.
27 July – 822 ton, 52.1m comp. barque b.1893. Registered Fremantle. Cargo:Stock, general. Lat.33°18.0/Long. 115°38.2. Sunk – refloated – renamed Rose.
Rose Hotel Bottle Shop and sample rooms (photo – in 1969)
Bank of NSW – now Lotteries House Victoria Street.
New building on Picton School site
Resident Magistrate’s home “Residency” – Stirling/Moore St
Red Mill store Chadd and Whitty Stirling Street 1896. Originally Crossley ironmongers store.
South Bunbury Football Club formed. Club Hall Spencer Street. Weather Board No 1 Oct 12 1922.
Bunbury Council Chambers No. 1 first part – Stephen Street.
Rail spur run to Showgrounds (at Forrest Park) and Racecourse
Breakwater commenced. Premier Forrest supervised the first load. Rock was railed from the Roelands Quarry – April 27
Manse built for the Methodist Church Stirling/Wittenoom Street.
-15th March. Tthe Premier, Sir John Forrest laid the foundation stone for the Bunbury District Hospital at Parkfield Street
Timber Jetty extension# (4) to 1700 feet + 950 (518m ).
Sir Newton Moore’s home Moore/Stirling Street was built. Later became Moorefield Guest House (Mrs Lyons).
The Pines, Eggleston Home, Forrest Avenue built Demolished in 2002
Splatt, Wall & Co. private contractors built new Power Station on Centenary Gardens site. Coal fired smokestack 84 ft high.
Rechabite Hall in Princep Street built. Demolished in 2005
Thomas Stokes aerated Water Factory in Wellington Street built. First water pumped to Picton Hill from this bore. Seen here in 1922
Burlington Hotel built.
The Eastern Goldfields Goldfields Fresh Air League was founded by the managing director of the ‘Kalgoorlie Miner’ and former mayor of Kalgoorlie, Syd Hocking to give children from the Goldfields the opportunity to experience the seaside. They send the first group of children to Bunbury, utilising ‘seaside cottages’.
The Jetty was connected to the main railway line and the Breakwater completed (length 980m), giving protection to the Jetty.
Turkey Point original farm – Springman
St Paul’s Anglican made a Pro Cathedral
First fire engine (horse drawn) in 1903. Thomas Stokes (Superintendent), Mr Duffell (Engineer)
Bunbury City Band established
Army Drill Hall Wittenoom/Symmons Street.
Wooden Railway Station (built 1894) was burnt down on 5th December. Replaced with a brick structure in 1905.
First Goldfields Fresh Air League hostel White Road near Meredith Creek (Bunbury Herald Dec 2nd 1904).
Sailors Rest (Mission to Seaman) foundation stone was laid on cnr. Wollaston/Ommaney Streets – Designed by Frederick Steere (see 1896)
Beigel and Holland Brewery Stirling Street opened on March 25.
Railway Institute, 1 Arthur Street opened adjacent to the station (southern end).
Bishops Court Stanley Hill Foundation stone laid in January.
Lyric Theatre built by Weiss Brothers. Became Bill Brown’s Furniture in 2007.
Thomas Haywards residence built (137a/b Stirling Street)
Commercial Club – Symmons St established
Withers Crescent (Boulters Heights) original 2 steel water tanks.
Prince Of Wales Hotel extended to current size.
Court House – 1 Stephen Street
Church of Christ Spencer Street built 1907. Rear Hall demolished after a tornado in August 2005
Railway footbridge Arthur to James Street built. Removed 20/11/1985
Given land by the Government below the lighthouse end of Carey Street
The Breakwater was extended to 3969 feet (1210m)
South West Club (built 1905) is purchased by the Club
Amy Drill Hall – added Stables added to rear
Railway Goods Shed opened.
Municipal meting agreed that the public urinal at the Lyric Theatre be modified.
The Anglican Church ran Grammar School in Lovegrove House (built 1870) until 1914, then in 1914 it became a private Hospital until 1947. In 1961 the house was demolished to build Bunbury Primary School.
Grand Central Coffee Palace Temperance Hotel established.
1/09/1911 – Board Minute 176: “850 Pounds for office deferred by Minister pending consideration of new Inner Harbour”. An Inner Harbour was not built until 1976
Electric Cranes, 4 purchased by Harbour Board.
17/10/1922 – Board Minute 183: Mr.Bolden proposed that they be let only to naturalised British subjects.
Prinsep Street. Demolished 1917
Bunbury Fire Station No. 1 Prinsep Street built. Demolished 1980.
Bunbury Quarantine Station No. 2 built on North Shore.
Fire at the Butter factory destryed the 1908 premises. A new modern factory was built on the site. After acquisitions in Busselton and Manjimup the company was renamed South West Dairy Products Co. Ltd.
Bunbury Infant School established at Stirling/James Street. It is currently the Stirling Street Arts Centre.
Breakwater extended to 4960 feet (1512m)
War Memorial Stirling Street erected.
Walter’s Turkey Point holiday resort opened
Thomas Hayward & Son store No 2 relocated from Stephen Street Demolished in 1970.
Sacred Heart School – St Joseph’s School cnr. Wittenoom and Wellington Streets opened. Demolished 1982.
27 November – Blessing and opening of St Patrick’s Church, Bunbury, by Archbishop Clune, constructed by Archdeacon L. J. Smith as a Cathedral-to-be.
Railway Round House built.
Concrete water tank Picton Hill (500,000 gals) installed.
Soldier statue added to War Memorial. It was purchased by William Brittain to honour his son, killed in WWI.
Forrest Flour Mill closed.
Newspapers Bunbury Herald and Southern Times amalgamated
First shipments of Sulphur and Phoshate for the new Works at Picton received in October.
Power Station No. 2 – sited on the estuary foreshore. Fuel was oil, producing D.C. power.
Hungry Hollow – A name used in the Great Depression (1929-139); the unemployed had to camp here. Municipal Council erected toilets on site.
C.W.A House Wellington Street
Almalgamated ‘Bunbury Herald’ and’ Southern Times’ renamed ‘South Western Times’.
Bunbury Council Quarry opened
Bendigo Garage – Wellington Street. Ph.139 (S.W.T. advertisement.)
December – Baths at Back Beach under construction
Breakwater extended – 4th Stage to 5450 feet (1661m)
Three and a half tons of gelignite used in a shot at Roelands Quarry on 1st June. Thought to be one of the largest blasts to this time. Breakwater extended to 5450 feet (1661m)
Mitchell Flats 6 Money Street. Art Deco Style.
Ambulance Hall, Molloy Street – opened.
Convent Flats 9 Money Street 1936 opened. Demolished September 2005.
January – Baths at Back Beach opened.
Centenary Gardens, Civic Centre – planted by Mayor Verschuer
The original grain silos were constructed and are still in existence, being utilised as apartments within the Marlston Waterfront development project.
Hay Park Aerodrome – first official airfield. Had a windsock.
– January. Nicholson’s Ltd. granted commercial broadcasters license 6TZ mast erected at Waterloo in March (183 ft). Broadcasts began in August.
– October. South West Times relocated from Reading Buildings, Victoria Street to Rechabite Hall Princep Street.
– February. Ocean Beach Pavilion and tearooms – Bright Spot – leased to Perry and Edwards – Harvey Aerated Water Co.
– October. Ocean Baths at Back Beach received storm damage beyond repair.
Bunbury Power House to deliver power to the South-West Co-op dairy at the new premises at Boyanup.
The satellite suburb of Carey Park was established by the State and local governments in the Post World War II period. It was named after surveyor Thomas Carey. A new Post Office opened 1 March 1951.
5 June – Clifton Park Golf course opened
Kinkella builds saw mill on dairy farm off Underwood Street Enlarged 1955. Operation ceased in 1964
– April. Cut North of Turkey Point breaks through. Shown here is The Cut in 1957.
Lady Mitchell Infant Health Centre, Spencer/Prosser Streets
– February. Estuary cut commenced – Shown here is the Dredge Stirling.
Bunbury Roads Board ceded to Bunbury Municipal Council. The Board had control of many District roads, which were dispersed to individual Municipalities and Shires.
Frankel Street Shops opened in Carey Park.
Skeleton Bridge removed. Power station access to North Shore via road built on bridge site. Estuary blocked.
Power Station No 3 sited North Shore commenced.
Connell’s North Shore Caravan Park opens.
– February. Marist Brothers St Francis Xavier Boy’s School Sandridge Park.
Carey Park Primary School commences.
3 April- Opening of new parish school of St Mary South Bunbury. Dedication and renovation of school-church at St Mary’s South Bunbury
Cable Sands mining begins at North Shore site.
Railway Institute No. 2 Wittenoom/Wellington Streets opens.
Transit shed built near the Jetty and Bunbury Harbour Board moved office to this location. The shed was used to store break-bulk cargo into the port.
Site Manager John Sullivan on site from May 5th – 30MW turbine and two 15MW boilers. The Station was commissioned August 23rd. Decommissioned in 2000 and demolished in 2003.
– April. South West Times moved to Stephen Street – now Courthouse
– February. Government Dental Clinic opens 120 Spencer Street Feb (Demolished 2011)
– February. Library moves from behind Water Board building to old South Western Times building in Prinsep Street opposite Fire Station
– April 7. BP fuel tank farm Marlston Hill. Site cleared
First Tanker ‘British Peer’ unloads fuel to shore tanks at Timber Jetty, arriving 24th and departing 28th December – Capt Dobson (BP Shipping Ltd).
4th May – Second 30MW unit on-line. Completes “A” Station. On 15th July 1961 the fourth 30MW units come on-line, completing “B” Station.
Withers Housing Estate opens.
Lighthouse extended by 20 feet
– 21 January. Population 11,944
– July. Grey Silos started (completed Feb,1962)
Grammar School demolished
St Boniface Cathedral
February 1962 – Construction of additional 8 cells to the wheat silos was completed. Built adjacent to the 1932-built storage. These eight grey silos are demolished by explosive charges on 18th February 1992.
– February. BP tank farm completed. First bunker fuel to ship ‘Teakbank’
St Pauls Pro Cathedral demolished
– August 1964. Bunbury flooded .Plug opened to lower water level.
Opening of St Vincent’s Hospital Bunbury for the chronic sick, operated by the Daughters of Charity.
Land backed Wharf on breakwater. No. 2 berth opens in 1967.
– 29 November. Bunbury Aerodrome officially opened
First shipment of 4700 tons phosphate rock received over new Landbacked wharf – ‘MV Trienza’
– December. Russell Esplanade renamed Upper Esplanade.
– 25 June. Bunbury Council ordered removal of CBD verandah posts – considered unsightly and a traffic hazard.
– February. Hostel for Bunbury High School opened on cnr. Simpson Avenue and Pickerskill Street as a replacement for Craig House (see 1949 entry).
-August. ABC TV local transmission commences
– February. St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral Spire added.
July – New Harbour Board office built at the Jetty end of Henry Street below Marlston Hill. It was opened on 27th July by just-retired Chairman W.E.McKenna.
New Mission to Seamen premises in Victoria Street.
Bunbury Fire Station, 36 Forrest Avenue opened.
8 September – Woodchip loader at Bunbury Port catches on fire. It was extinguished with the aid of visiting US warship ‘USS Cook’