Western Australian Pictorial History

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Image result for the last of the hardmen in the Western Australian Police
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Image result for the last of the hardmen in the Western Australian Police
Image result for the last of the hardmen in the Western Australian Police
Image result for the last of the hardmen in the Western Australian Police
Image result for the last of the hardmen in the Western Australian Police
Image result for the last of the hardmen in the Western Australian Police
Image result for the last of the hardmen in the Western Australian Police
Image result for the last of the hardmen in the Western Australian Police
Image result for the last of the hardmen in the Western Australian Police
Image result for the last of the hardmen in the Western Australian Police
Image result for the last of the hardmen in the Western Australian Police

Yarloop, a small town with a big history

A devastating fire on Thursday 7th January 2016 has destroyed most of the town of Yarloop. The tragic loss of life, property and living history in this small and close community has touched all Western Australians. We would like to share  a selection of photographs and documents about Yarloop from the State Library’s heritage collections. We hope that these images will evoke some memories.

The 2006 census gives Yarloop’s population as 545 but this little town has had an association with many W.A. families.

Wedding party of Rufus Burnsyde and Mary Eastcott, Yarloop 1909 slwa b2786290

Wedding party of Rufus Burnsyde and Mary Eastcott, Yarloop 1909 slwa b2786290

Yarloop is 129km south of Perth and is part of the Shire of Harvey. The town was established in 1894 but European settlement began slowly from the late 1840s and built up during the 1880s. The name Yarloop is thought to have originated from the local language of the Binjareb or Pindjarup people.

Timber and farming, mainly dairy and fruit, have been the mainstays of the local economy. More recently tourism has been encouraged with historic trails, wildflower walks and cycling routes developed. Sadly the The Yarloop Workshops, so brilliantly restored and maintained by the local community, have also gone. The Yarloop Workshops Website includes a history and slideshow that detail just how much has been lost in the fires.

Jack Davis

Jack Davis, poet and dramatist.   Ron Williams Collection

Jack Davis the Aboriginal poet and dramatist was raised in Yarloop. Davis is best known for his plays The Dreamers (1982) and No Sugar (1985).

Yarloop 1910 - 1920 slwa b2944123

Yarloop 1910 – 1920 slwa b2944123

Steam whim hauling at Yarloop 1905 SLWA 000965d

Steam whim hauling at Yarloop 1905 000965d

In the early 20th century Millars’ Timber Company established a ‘company’ town, adjacent to the original townsite, as the hub of its business with rail access linking the town to Bunbury and Perth. The original Millars’ mill was at Waigerup Brook (now Wagerup). The first mill in the Yarloop area is believed to have been Waterous Mill.

State Records Office of Western Australia holds the official records of government. For Yarloop their extensive collections will include land records and maps; Department of Education files on teachers and schools; student registers; police reports; building records and Department of Health files. Documents will cover various aspects of agriculture, environment, railways, planning, building, decommissioning and conservation from various Western Australian government departments.The heritage buildings, rail and workshops are irreplaceable but many aspects of the history of the town have been documented.

Building a whim wheel Yarloop c. 1903 004471D

Building a whim wheel Yarloop c. 1903

A visit to the National Archives of Australia’s Discovering ANZACS website will help to identify the records of soldiers who served in WWI who were born in or gave their home address as Yarloop.

The main National Archives site can be searched to find names and records of soldiers (and rejected applicants) from the defence services including those who served in WWII, Vietnam and the Citizen Military Force who hailed from Yarloop.

The State Library’s contribution to the National Library of Australia’s Trove Newspaper website includes The South West Advertiser 1910 – 1954 and the Harvey Chronicle 1915 – 1916. Other local newspapers are held at the State Library and may be found through our catalogue using the keyword terms NEWSPAPERS and YARLOOP.  Researchers can read about local issues such as timber and railway workers’ strikes, police activities and social events. We are fortunate to have the photograph collection from the weekly newspaper Truth, published from 1903 to 1931 (and also in Trove), which includes local scandal from all over W.A.  One article from 1929 gleefully details the story of the spurned lover who tried to blow up the Yarloop Hotel with gelignite.

The State Library holds a variety of material relating to Yarloop.  In our large archive of Millars’ Timber records, pay and accident registers document individuals who worked for the company, as well as local production figures. There are also many photographs in this collection.

Diaries kept by James Owen Mitchell, his wife Rose (nee Perrin) and, occasionally, his son Stephen, detail the day-to-day life at their farm “Blacklands” at Yarloop from the early 1890s to James’ death in 1945.

Mitchall Diaries SLWA Acc687A

Mitchell Diaries SLWA Acc687A

Mitchell Diaries Acc687A

Mitchell Diaries Acc687A

In May 1951 Edith Reynolds [nee Clinch-?] wrote a letter from Yarloop Hospital describing the new wing as “particularly nice, one feels as though you were in one of the best hotels in Perth“.

Letter from Edith Reynolds 1951 Princep papers Acc7093A 51

Letter from Edith Reynolds 1951 Prinsep papers Acc7093A 51

There are indexes to the Western Australian Railway and Tramway Gazette and the Freemasons’ journal the West Australian Craftsman. These are searchable through the State Library catalogue and researchers may find small profiles or obituaries of people involved in these organisations as well as information about local activities.

Real estate plan Yarloop Townsite 1903

Real estate plan Yarloop Townsite 1903

The State Library also holds published reports on mining, environment issues and agriculture for the Yarloop area. Yarloop: a town to remember is a personal memoir written and published by Geoff Fortune in which he gives a potted history and many anecdotes about the town and its characters from the 1930s onwards. In the section on WWII he talks about the work done by school children of the town to assist with comfort packages for the Australian troops. We happen to have a digital image taken from a small print of the original photograph of school children of various ages and their teacher outside Yarloop School along with boxes labelled “Food for Britain”.  Although we have not identified anyone in this photo, Geoff Fortune is almost certainly one of the children.

School children Yarloop WWII SLWA b1846989

School children Yarloop WWII SLWA b1846989

Oral histories are a particularly evocative source of historical information. Some oral histories in our collection include descriptions of growing up in Yarloop, working on the railway, timber mills, farming life, and nursing. Several are available as podcasts or have transcriptions available online.  To find these in the State Library catalogue do a keyword search using the terms YARLOOP  and ORAL HISTORY. Some of these recordings have been donated by Harvey History Online a group dedicated to recording and making available the history of the Harvey area. Their website includes indexes and background information about local industry, towns in the Harvey Shire, and historical characters.

Shell Park Service Station Yarloop proprietor L.A. Kennewell 1956 114188PD

Shell Park Service Station Yarloop, proprietor L.A. Kennewell 1956 114188PD

Most people are familiar with the online historical database Trove . This website hosts digitised newspapers provided by State Libraries and other government and cultural institutions. However, many are unaware that Trove is a lot more than newspapers. You can also search photographs, journals and diaries, books, music, maps, organisations and people, and archived websites. The section of Trove that collects websites is  PANDORA.  Try using Yarloop as a search term in PANDORA.

In the days since the terrible fires at Yarloop there has been a huge response by people on Facebook and other social media.  People are sharing their photographs and memories of Yarloop. Unfortunately, neither the State Library nor the National Library of Australia (through PANDORA) is able to collect these posts for our heritage collections.

We actively seek the stories and images of our communites to share into the future.  If you have materials which you would be willing to contribute, you can view our kit for potential donors at http://www.slwa.wa.gov.au/for/donations/donor_kit, or contact our Collection Liaison team at Collection.Liaison@slwa.wa.gov.au.

What’s in a sketchbook?

Sketchbook by Amanda Fernandez, 2014 "WA Museum"

Sketchbook by Amanda Fernandez, 2014 

For centuries sketchbooks, notebooks and diaries have recorded daily life, observations from great explorer expeditions, personal accounts, and intricate details of past lives and times.

Call to mind the journal of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas, or Da Vinci’s curious inquiry into human anatomy in his 16th century sketchbooks. They are forms of storytelling and communication grounded in time and place, and shaped by the personalities and identities of their makers.

The State Library holds the notebooks of Edward T Hardman including an 1871 sketchbook which records his geological survey of the Kimberley region in pictures and words. A vellum bound book of poems written by Irish convict John B O’Reilly,1868 demonstrates his creative pursuit and passion as a poet, while Revel Cooper’s History Book speaks of his education as a 13 year old Aboriginal boy during Australia’s assimilation era. These records provide a rare insight into the culture and concerns of past Western Australia.

What would the diary or sketchbook of a young  person living in the 21st century look like?

Thoughts, musing, observations and vignettes of daily life are revealed in a collection of over fifty sketchbooks produced by young Western Australians. The sketchbooks feature illustration, photographs, poetry and collage, and were created through Propel Youth Arts WA’s Sketchbook Project, part of the KickstART youth festival.

“My sketchbook is my reflection”, writes 23 year old Soolangna Majumdar, “…a month long observation of what’s on my mind. One 60 page long selfie.”

Following an eight month tour throughout WA public libraries from Port Hedland to Manjimup, the sketchbooks have returned to Perth and are on display at the State Library.

One sketchbook by 24 year old artist Amanda Fernandez has caught the eye of our staff with its aesthetic beauty and descriptive watercolour sketches.

How many scenes are familiar to you?


View Amanda’s sketchbook and many more on display in the Discovery Lounge Ground Floor until 30 January 2015. Open during library hours.

More information:


 you WAGS!

WAGS volunteer Elizabeth Rummins in action

WAGS volunteer Elizabeth Rummins in action

In 1985 the State Library entered a partnership with the Western Australian Genealogical Society (Inc.) – affectionately known as WAGS – to provide ongoing assistance to family history researchers within the Library.

30 years later, the partnership is still going strong, with WAGS volunteers providing research assistance in the Genealogy Centre three days a week.

These dedicated, enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers have worked quietly, efficiently, and patiently through all of the many changes the organisation has undergone over the years. They have put up with noise, disruption, changes in location of materials, staff restructures, all manner of clients and, sometimes, grumpy Subject Specialists. They have handled all with efficiency, humour and grace.

Each year The State Library and WAGS have also partnered in presenting talks tours and workshops for National Family History Month.

We have joined in hosting several successful family history fairs with support from other government agencies such as the National Archives and State Records Office, Local Studies Centres, and historical and family history societies.

Western Australian Genealogical Society volunteers have made a considerable contribution to the public of Western Australia through their commitment to providing information and research assistance to family historians.

Genealogy Centre
On behalf of staff and patrons of the State Library of Western Australia we would like to congratulate and express our thanks to the volunteers of the Western Australian Genealogical Society (Inc.) for 30 years of volunteering in the Genealogy Centre.

Genealogy Centre

WAGS volunteers continue to be available to assist you in the Genealogy Centre on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30am – 1:00pm.

Real estate plans online

57/8/16: Sandringham Estate

57/8/16: Sandringham Estate

Have you ever thought about looking for a real estate plan of your suburb or a suburb where someone in your family lived?

The Library holds hundreds of real estate plans which were produced when new land releases became available. Most are for suburbs in the metropolitan area and date from the late 1800s or early 1900s. Although it looks as though many of these plans are adorned with the swastika symbol, it is in fact a sacred good luck symbol for some religions in India.

57/7/7: West Guildford

57/7/7: West Guildford

57/7/33: Scarborough Beach Estate

57/7/33: Scarborough Beach Estate

A project has begun to digitise these plans and many of the ones produced by Peet & Co. have now been completed and can be viewed online through our catalogue. They show blocks of land, often with the dimensions, roads and features such as lakes, tramlines or railway stations; sometimes individual houses and landowners are marked. It is really interesting to see the prices charged for land 100 or so years ago.

You can find real estate plans in our catalogue by searching under keyword for ‘peet and co real estate’ and selecting State Library Maps from the drop-down box.

57/7/2: Cityview Estate: the dress circle of Kalamunda

57/7/2: Cityview Estate: the dress circle of Kalamunda

Upcoming Seminars

The Family History Subject Specialists will be out and about over the next two weeks. We will be giving talks at Warnbro and Fremantle Public Libraries.

Taking the census. From a sketch by Thomas Worth, Harpers Weekly 19 Nov 1870

Taking the census. From a sketch by Thomas Worth, Harpers Weekly 19 Nov 1870

State Library family history bookmarks
Warnbro – Black and White and Read all Over
One of the most exciting developments for family history researchers is the rapidly expanding collection of digitised newspapers available. For family historians who think that they have reached the limits of what they can reasonably expect to discover about their forebears, think again!
The State Library subscribes to digitised historic newspaper archives from Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States. These are all available to search from home to members of the State Library.
Warnbro Community Library, Swallowtail Parade, Warnbro
Wednesday 6th May 10.30am – 12pm
ookings essential: 9528 8577

State Library family history bookmarks

Fremantle – Catalogue conundrums and website whimsies
Have you ever struggled to find what you are looking for in our catalogue or website? This talk introduces some of the family history resources we have at the State Library and how to find them. Whether it is our blog, Facebook page, subject guides, bookmarks, eresources, catalogued items or private archives – you are sure to discover resources you were not aware of. See some of the wonderful items we have digitised and learn a few tricks along the way.
Fremantle  City Library, 8 William Street, Fremantle
Tuesday 12 May 2.30pm – 4pm
Bookings essential: 9432 9739


Forget Me Not: Western Australians and WWI

BA718/4 From Basil (Herbert Basil) Abraham to his sister Olive from France 1915.

BA718/4 From Basil (Herbert Basil) Abraham to his sister Olive from France 1915.

This month, many thousands of Western Australians took part in dawn services and parades to mark not just Anzac Day, but the centenary of  Anzac and the Gallipoli landing.   “Mum do we have any Anzacs in our family?” my eight year old daughter asked expectantly in the lead up to Anzac Day.  “Sorry, no Anzacs” I answered.  The fact that her Canadian grandfather flew bombers in WWII, and her Italian grandfather fought Austrians in the Dolomites in WWI was of no consolation.  “How come all the other kids at school have a Gallipoli hero in their families.”

I think I may have asked my own mother the same question decades ago when I was a kid. I don’t remember Anzac Day being as big a deal when I was young, but I do understand my daughter’s disappointment at feeling somehow left out of this important and sacred occasion as others proudly parade their family stories, photos and medals.  Decades on, and many millions of non-British migrants later, I wonder how many  other Australians with no family link to Anzac wonder about their place in a nation that holds the Anzac legend so dear.

Historians, journalists, film makers and writers have long argued over what ANZAC means and has meant to Australians.  Debates rage hotter than ever between those who see WWI as the crucible of nationhood fought for a high and noble purpose, and those who argue our nation was forged in peacetime, not on the battlefield of a dreadful, futile war.   History is never cut and dried, and understanding that there are different perspectives on our involvement in WWI doesn’t denigrate Anzac or diminish respect for those who have served Australia.    Now, with the 100thanniversary of Gallipoli behind us, and with three more years of the Centenary of WWI ahead, it’s a good time for a deeper contemplation of what Gallipoli means to Australians. We owe it to our servicemen and women to reflect on why and how they fought, and to understand the impact of their service on civilian life in Western Australia during and after the Great War.

If you want to read what others have written about Australia’s involvement in the Great War, a good place to start is our WWI subject guide to materials held in the State Library of Western Australia.

A quick overview of what some call the Anzac ‘history wars’ is also available online:

Anzac Day to VP: arguments and interpretations, Joan Beaumont.

Political Rhetoric Makes a Parody of Remembrance, Bruce Scates.

The Past is Not Sacred, Peter Cochrane.

Assault on Anzac, Mervyn Bendle

Letting go of Anzac  Henry Reynolds and Marilyn Lake.

If you’re looking for a more personal and immediate perspective on the Great War, the State Library holds a wealth of soldier letters, diaries, postcards and photographs.  Whatever your opinion on the justness or futility of the war, you can’t help but be moved by the first-hand accounts of bravery and fear, drudgery and humour, longing and loss.

These letters, diaries and photographs are so vital to understanding the human perspective of war.  For those of us with no personal connection to the Anzacs, we are grateful to those people who have generously shared their family’s WWI stories with the wider Western Australian public by depositing their treasured diaries, letters or photographs with the State Library of Western Australia.

Among the more recent WWI treasures to come into the State Library’s collections is the diary of Beresford Everett Bardwell.  Born in Melbourne about 1890, Bardwell moved to Western Australia with his family and grew up in Geraldton working as a Solicitor’s Clerk before enlisting.  He started out as a private in the 11th Battalion, and was among the 704 soldiers pictured in the well known photograph of the Battalion taken at the Great Pyramid of Giza at Cheops in January 1915.  He took part in the Gallipoli landings and fought in the trenches until August 1915 when a shrapnel wound to the thigh saw him evacuated and sent back to Egypt.  After convalescing, he was promoted to Captain and returned to active service in 1916 as part of the 51stBattalion in France, where he fought until the end of the War in 1919.

SLWA BA 780/37 Captain Bardwell seated on ground , 1917

SLWA BA 780/37 Captain Bardwell seated on ground , 1917

After the War, Bardwell returned to Western Australia and worked with his brother, Bernard, in the pearling industry and went on to become the Broome Harbour Master.  He married in 1921 and had two children and six grandchildren before he died in 1961, aged 71.

His diary was loaned to the State Library for copying by grandson John Bardwell. Spurred by the WA Genealogical Society’s wonderful project to identify the soldiers in the famous photograph of the 11th Battalion at Giza, John came forward to identify his grandfather.  He thought we might also be interested in a copy of his grandfather’s war diary.  The generosity of individuals and families like the Bardwell’s means that future generations of Western Australians can share this first-hand account of Gallipoli.

Bardwell’s diary doesn’t cover his entire war service, just the period from 11 April to 16 September 1915 after his wounding at Gallipoli and recuperation in an army hospital in Egypt.  Before you even begin reading the 66 pages of diary entries, the script itself gives clues as to how war can change men. At the start, the diary entries are legible and dated neatly.  After months of fighting in the hills and trenches of Gallipoli, the calligraphy is scratchier, reflecting the hardship and chaos around him.   The script also mirrors the tone of the diary, which begins in a relatively light hearted fashion prior to the landings, and then quickly darkens.


You can read the whole diary in Bardwell’s original script via our State Library Catalogue here.

We will also be a adding an easier to read copy transcribed by volunteers from the WA Genealogical Society.   Here are just a few snippets from the diary transcript…

Sunday 11 April 1915….Great amusement was caused today when one of the boats came back from the shore with some of our men aboard among whom were two who had got hold of some Koniak and got rather drunk.  While coming alongside one of them first threw his hat overboard and then picked up his rifle and before anyone could stop him threw it after the hat, of course it was lost.  Of course they could not come up the rope ladders, so when the Colonel heard about it he ordered them to be securely bound and hauled up by the winch. As horses were being loaded at the time a horse sling was made use of. The first man, the worst of the two, was swung up into the air where he looked quite happy and caused a lot of amusement among the onlookers, then was lowered onto the deck and taken charge of to await his trial.

17 April 1915…The harbour is now very full and we hear there are any amount of others outside. It is also said that we are going to be here a week or so yet. One has to develop a great deal of patience these days on account of our long waits. Some of the fellows wonder why we don’t rush right into things. They don’t seem to realize that we have been waiting for a concentration of very large forces here and that the heads have to await favourable times to begin operations…Once they are into it I reckon there will be a very large percentage who would rather be back on board ship again.

20th April 1915…Went ashore today and took part in a rather severe but short route march over the hills down onto the beach on the other side where we had lunch. Everywhere one can now notice the arrival of spring.  One crop we passed over was simply beautiful, although only a foot high it was a beautiful shade of green and all through it bright red poppies thrust their heads above the carpet of green.

25th April 1915….We got close to shore near daybreak + soon after heard Turks open fire on first half of Brigade as they were landing + then we heard our men cheering as they charged up hill + took a trench. We landed immediately after in life boats amid a perfect hail of lead, a great many of our men being hit in boats  + on shore. As soon as we got ashore we flung off our packs and lay down on the beach. There seemed to be a hopeless mixture of Coys and Battalion’s boats from different ships landing at same place. Several boats landed further round to the left upon which machine guns played cutting up the men dreadfully. In the meantime the  ½ B’gde had driven the enemy immediately in front well back over the hills, and what hills! rising very steeply up from the shore to a height of some 300 feet.

28th April…Got word 3rd B’gde reorganising on beach, boiled my first dixy of tea, alongside a dead fellow this morning, since Saturday night. Then went onto beach where I joined what were there of Batn.

2 May… Heard on Friday there were 176 killed 900 odd wounded + 700 odd missing of whom many will yet turn up + remainder may be put down as dead or prisoners…

9 May…Went out in front of trenches one day while some of our men buried dead Turks, they were not pleasant sights, especially one Australian who was wholly unrecognizable  and was an awful sight.  Puckle had previously taken a piece of poetry from his pocket written most likely by his sweetheart, but as his identity disk had been removed he could not be recognised. The stench was awful…

 13 May…  Tuesday morning Reg Clark of Geraldton, a really fine chap who was boiling tea for trenches when a shrapnel burst , a pellet of which went through his brain from which he soon died. The same shell also hit Greenwood passing through thigh and then through foot, all three of “D” Coy, 2 former of own Platoon and my section. Later in day, we of Geraldton, his friends held his burial service which was read by Louch.

If you are interested in reading more of Bardwell’s diary, or other WWI diaries and letters, including the papers of the Geraldton soldier Thomas Louch mentioned in Bardwell’s diary entry, please visit the WWI collection highlights page on our website.

We’re seeking your support to digitise more WWI material like Bardwell’s diary through our ‘On the Homefront’ appeal.