Hon John Castrilli MLA

Hon John Castrilli MLA

Former Minister for Local Government; Heritage; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests

    Ellensbrook State heritage listed

    9/10/2012 12:00 AM
    • First European settlement in Margaret River becomes State heritage listed
    • Listing recognises important influence of the Bussell women
    The pioneering contribution of the Bussell family has been acknowledged with the permanent State heritage listing of Ellensbrook, the first European settlement at Margaret River.

    Heritage Minister John Castrilli said Ellensbrook’s State Registration paid homage to the crucial role played by women, including the property’s namesake, Ellen Bussell, in the South-West’s development.

    Ellensbrook was built by Alfred and Ellen Bussell in 1867 as the heart of their dairy and pastoral enterprise. It remained in the Bussell family until 1956.

    “While the achievements of Alfred Bussell, as a pioneer and politician, are well known, the story of Ellensbrook belongs to Ellen and the Bussell women,” Mr Castrilli said.

    “These industrious, resilient and compassionate women successfully operated the pastoral lands in the face of adversity, helping to ensure the prosperity of the wider region.

    “The Bussell women were also involved in the earliest tourism development of the area, and were proactive in protecting and marketing the local caves as a tourism attraction.”

    Ellensbrook was also the first official State Government institution in Western Australia for indigenous children with Edith Bussell opening her home in 1899 to accommodate and educate small groups of Aboriginal children.

    After restoration of the homestead by Bussell descendants in the 1950s, Ellensbrook was purchased by Jack Williams who eventually sold it to the State Government in 1978, gifting the homestead to the National Trust.

    Other properties associated with the Bussell family on the State Register include Sandilands and Cattle Chosen, in Busselton; and Wallcliffe House, in Margaret River, which was extensively damaged by fire in 2011.

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