Project Description

Alice Muriel CURTIS (nee Dyer, known as Muriel) was born in England on 5 December 1894.

Her husband’s great grandfather, Anthony Curtis, was born in London and came to Australia on the Medina landing in Fremantle on 6 July 1830. He opened many hotels in Fremantle, started up the first brewery in Western Australia and the fishing industry in local waters and in the Abrolhos Islands. He owned the Lady Stern, the first ship built in the colony and launched on 18 May 1836, and many other ships. He traded and carried sheep and cattle as far as Fremantle and Singapore.

He was later joined by his mother, Mary Curtis, who travelled with Susannah (Susan) and Amelia Lyndon. Anthony married Susan in 1836. Anthony died at a very young age in 1842 and his widow and four children left Busselton. Susan died in 1856 and the children moved to live with their aunt, Amelia. Muriel’s parents married in 1887 in Gloucestershire and came to Australia when she was 20 on the last boat that came out to Australia before WW1 broke out.

She returned to England after some time and again, was on the last boat, the Orsova, coming back to Australia before WWII broke out. This ship was sunk shortly after that. Muriel arrived in Fremantle in 1915. Muriel was engaged to George Curtis who was killed in action in WWII. She met his brother, Harry Curtis, on his return from the war.

They married in the Methodist Church in Subiaco in 1919 and moved to Busselton. Harry acquired Abbey Farm through the Soldiers’ Settlement Scheme. He bought four cows and that was the beginning of a dairy farm. They had four children, Mervin in 1920, George 14 months later Edwin after another four years then some time later, Linda.

Schooling for the children was initially by correspondence but later the children went to the siding school. Muriel recalls their accidents, illnesses and the trials encountered bringing up the family and in running the farm.