Margaret River celebrates 100 years since group settlement scheme

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Volunteers Phyllis Fox and Shelley Wightman will be front and centre at this weekend's celebration.
Camera IconVolunteers Phyllis Fox and Shelley Wightman will be front and centre at this weekend's celebration. Credit: Warren Hately/Augusta Margaret River Times

Margaret River residents are invited to turn out this weekend to celebrate the town’s 100th birthday.

The Margaret River and Districts Historical Society has planned a parade down the town’s main strip tomorrow morning from 10am headed to the riverfront Old Settlement.

The event celebrates the anniversary of the group settlement scheme which saw unsuspecting migrants embrace an often harsh and difficult life to turn wild bushland into dairy farms.

Society secretary Shelley Wightman said local school children had been hard at work producing banners to feature in the parade, with celebrations to be held at the Old Settlement between 10am and 4pm.

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“We encourage all ancestors of Group Settlement to come along and give their story of the times they remember, or their parents’ times, of life in that era,” she said.

“Also to write a ‘story’ for the Historical Society so we can keep a copy for our records and future generations to learn more about our district.

“The Historical Society members are very passionate about the district’s Group Settlement history,” Mrs Wightman said.

“Many direct descendants of these settlers still reside in the district.

“The event will endeavour to acknowledge and celebrate this period of our district’s history by engaging with members of the local community and visitors to the area.”

The early settlers were assigned uncleared farming lots in areas including Cowaramup, Alexandra Bridge, Witchcliffe, Karridale, Rosa Brook, and Margaret River, as well as further afield in Northcliffe, Manjimup, Denmark, Pemberton, and Busselton.

Mrs Wightman said the Old Settlement would field a series of attractions, displays and entertainment offering a glimpse into early settler life.

Displays included the Busselton Vintage Car Club, historical machinery, and the museum rooms will be open, with food, drink, children’s face painting and farm animals available for youngsters, beer and wine sales and musical entertainment for adults.

Attendees were urged to bring cash, and speeches would start from 11am.

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