Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Busselton is a neat and tidy seaside town on the fertile valley of the Vasse Rive and was one of the earliest settlements in Western Australia.

The early history of European exploration of the area focuses on the French expedition of 1801 which brought Nicholas Baudin, with his ships the Geographe and Naturaliste, to the coast of Western Australia. It was Baudin who named the bay, Geographe Bay, after his vessel and named the river Vasse after a sailor who was lost, believed drowned, in the area.

No one knows what happened to Vasse. He disappeared when one of the Geographe's boats capsized in the surf. However when the area was finally settled by Europeans there was a story told by the local Aborigines of a white man who had lived with the Aborigines until his death and who spent most of his life wandering the shores of Geographe Bay waiting for a ship to return.....poor chap.

The town was named after John Garrett Bussell whose family was one of the first to settle in the region. Bussell's description of the area depicted it as a kind of paradise:

'Here was a spot that the creative fancy of a Greek would have peopled with Dryad and Naiad and all the beautiful phantoms and wild imagery of his sylvan mythology. Wide waving lawns were sloping down to the water's edge. Trees thick and entangled were stooping over the banks.'

He sounds like a verbose and pompous old git who probably bored for England at dinner parties.

His mate George Layman settled in the area in 1837 and established a cattle station, but he was a nervous chap who was never comfortable with the local aboriginals who appeared rather aggrieved by his presence. He described how the area was so dangerous that in 1837 members of his family were afraid to leave the house because of the danger of being speared by the local Aborigines.

'We dare not leave our house to shoot anything. I have 12 head of cattle and I fear before the natives can be made peaceable some of them will be speared as I am forced to turn them out in the bush without anyone to mind them. The natives are very savage.'

On February 22nd 1841 Layman did eventually leave his house and was speared to death by a local Aborigine. Ho hum.

Anyway, Busselton's claim to fame these days is the second longest wooden jetty in the world at 1841 metres- the world's longest being Southend-on-Sea at 2410 metres!( Southend is in England, for those of you reading this in Texas).

From trek phase 4

It is undergoing extensive restoration and at the end there is an excellent underwater observatory which takes you 8 metres below sea level to watch the marine life.

From trek phase 4

From trek phase 4

From trek phase 4

We left Busselton this morning for Augusta where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet, but the weather is so windy and wet that we have camped out in a sheltered site and will see what the morning brings.

No comments: