GROUP SETTLEMENT AROUND BUSSELTON: An interview with Mr Arthur BREEDEN in 1974 for the 50th Anniversary of Group Settlement in Western Australia.
Arthur recalls the struggles, heartbreaks and hardships suffered by the men and women from the United Kingdom after their arrival to pioneer new land in the South West. Sir James Mitchell, a local from Busselton and the Premier of WA at the time, spoke to the British Government about populating a portion of Western Australia with British people. The British Government was so impressed they offered a six million pounds loan to get the scheme moving.
Arthur tells how the Group Settlement Board of Control was appointed and the arrival of people to take up the Group Settlement Scheme. He describes the condition of the roads, what was offered to the people, clearing the land and their living conditions. The men drew straws for their allotment of 160 acres with 25 acres cleared and a house built on it. They were supplied with cows and eventually started milking. The women worked beside their husbands, learning how to milk cows and helping out in the paddocks. It was not unusual for babies to be born in spring carts on the way to the doctor.
Arthur pays tribute to the strength of these pioneering women for their hardships and their hard work in developing the area. He describes the lighting with lamps and how eventually they purchased generators for power. The families gradually bought more luxury items such as floor coverings and window treatments.
During World War II, the young boys of 18-19 years of age were taken for the forces. Some never came back and those who did were not always able to settle again on the farms.
A lot of farmers had to walk off their farms as they could not keep up the payments of the loans and make a living for their families.
Arthur talks about the truck drivers who never let the settlers down. He recalls some humorous occasions trying to get through the swamps and waterways after storms.