Project Description

Thomas CARTER (Tom) was born in Busselton in 1908. His father, Percy Carter, was born in Yorkshire in 1868 and his mother Emily Helena (nee Smith) was born in Beverley in 1874.

Percy had worked in a lawyer’s office before the family of six boys and one girl migrated to Western Australia. Tom’s earliest memory was in a road camp with his father (Carter’s Road just north of Margaret River). He recalls the annual Quindalup Races, the tall trees, thick scrub, kangaroos, quokkas, native cats and possums, as well as wildflowers in profusion, hakea, wattle, clematis, leschenaultia and orchids of every description.

Life was hard – the only hot water in the house was brought from a well and heated on the wood stove. They used candles and kerosene lamps for lighting and split-wood for the fires. They grew potatoes for a living, other vegetables, fruit trees and four kinds of grapes. Tom schooled at Newtown four miles away and went to school by horse and buggy, then Marybrook School which was within easy walking distance of family home.

Dances were the main social events and they took picnics to the local race course or the beach. Not much paid work was available but Tom did some potato work and fencing. At various times he worked on roads digging drains and was a field officer for the ‘Repatriation Bank’ for the Soldiers’ Settlement Scheme.

Tom married Dorothy Nancy Butt in 1938. They met at a dance and courted for 12 months. They had two children, Joan and Cliff. Tom farmed at Carbunup on three blocks bought from his mother. He grew potatoes until he injured himself then switched to dairying. They developed the Marybrook area.

Tom talks of playing golf on McGregor’s paddocks, playing football on the old Showground opposite the Butter Factory (now the Museum), and swimming at the bathing enclosure that went from the Promenade to the Railway Jetty. Tom was a member of The Farmers’ Union and the Agricultural Society.