Project Description

James Aubrey HOUSE (Jim) was born in Perth on 1 September, 1924. Minnie and Bob Keenan brought up Jim’s mother in Margaret River. His father’s family went farming and took up Glenmore in 1912. They supplied Caves House with meat, vegetables and milk and went into butchering.

Jim’s father had the only car in the district and used to collect Jimmy (later Sir James) Mitchell and take him to Caves House. His father had an airfield on the farm for Norman Brierley who flew people down from Perth for the day. Jim had a brother and two sisters and schooled at Yallingup Primary then Bunbury High School for one year. The family was very involved in cricket and his father was instrumental in building a cricket pitch at Yallingup in 1910 and took the first country week side, known as Vasse, to Perth 1926. Jim believes the family may hold a WA record of having five sons represent WA in cricket. He says that football never took off in Yallingup.

Fishing was very popular and Jim and his friends replaced the Oregon plank used to bridge the gap at Canal Rocks with a cement (provided by Jimmy Mitchell) bridge. Jim talks of his friends, the local people, his escapades robbing bee hives while growing up, local dances, trapping dingos, local fires and the caves near Caves House. Jim went saw milling and, with Dud Mewett, cut stringers for the Main Road Department’s culverts.

He describes the best country type for growing Jarrah, and how to tell how much timber there is in a log. Jim recounts the government policy that caused the greatest friction for millers was Timber Rights. He talks about re-growth of forests and explains that, although it is feasible with Jarrah, Karri and Blackbutt are faster growing and Blue Gum the fastest. Jim suggests that if there was today’s technology back in the 1950s, old growth forest clearing would have been different.

Jim’s wife Edith Emily Fennell was born on 21 November, 1922. They had eight children.