Project Description

Bernard James Laurence BUTTERLY (known as Laurie) was interviewed separately by Margaret Dawson and Malcolm Paine. Both interviews are included.

Laurie was born in Subiaco in 1915 and grew up in Nedlands. Laurie’s father was born in York and his mother in Ireland. His maternal great grandfather lived in Toodyay and was originally from Ireland as was his wife. Laurie went to Nedlands Primary school then Christian Brothers’ College in Perth. He left school at the age of 15. His father was a builder and in 1929 decided to go farming. He bought an abandoned Group Settler’s farm at Lennox Siding (later named Yelverton).

After five years they moved to another farm of 160 acres nearer Yallingup, 15-20 acres of which they cleared by hand. They milked and grew potatoes. Laurie’s father built lifeboats in Busselton during WWII and he, with Laurie and his brothers Jack (who died at age 22), and Bill were involved in the trade, building Soldier Settlement homes after the war.

In the Paine interview, Laurie recalls some of the old characters in particular Tim Peet who bought any kind of produce from people to sell which Laurie believes saved Busselton in the time of the depression.

In 1942, Laurie started building boats out of sheoak finishing them off with a varnish. He built several for a holiday resort in Augusta.

Laurie married Thelma Beatrice Curtis, whom he met at Caves House where she worked, in Busselton on 21 February 1945. The Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade commenced in 1946. Laurie became a fire control officer in Yallingup and held that position for 46 years.

The Butterly’s first son, John, was born in 1948 then Tony came later. Laurie continued farming until his retirement to Dunsborough in 1981 and had many years enjoying fishing. In 1981 Laurie was presented with a Certificate of Merit for his services in the Bush Fire Brigade.

In the Dawson interview Laurie explains that today his nephew runs the family farm as ‘The Shearing Shed’ – a tourist attraction centred round sheep rearing, shearing and wool products.