Project Description

Wilfred JONES was born on 13 April, 1909. His father, born 13 June, 1880, was a colliery worker in Newport on the Bristol Channel in the UK. His mother, Rachel (nee Matthews) was also born in 1880. They were from Welsh mining districts and both of Wilfred’s grandfathers were miners.

Wilfred talks about the Roman roads, male voice choirs, compulsory church attendance, tenement houses, the oak forests around Newport, class distinction and grand houses owned by British lords. He had a brother, Roly and a sister, Vesta.

In 1923, when Wilfred was 14, they emigrated on the Barrabool from Tilbury Dock in London to Group Settlement 78 at location 4072 at Alexander Bridge on the east side of the Blackwood River. There were 12 families in the Group and they had one horse and cart. Wilfred went fishing with his brother and learned how to use guns from his father who was a dingo trapper. He names the families in the Group and talks about clearing the land, ploughing, planting crops, their social life and how they managed grocery deliveries and medical problems. A Mr Higgins taught the children how to catch possums and marron. The settlers ate kangaroos, rabbits, possums and fish and did contract work providing possum skins.

Five years later the Jones family moved to 50 acres at Group 40 near Busselton, cleared the land and started a dairy of 10 Jersey cows which had grown to 50 milking cows by the time his father sold the farm in 1950. They moved to Busselton and, five years later, his father died of miners’ lung disease. Wilfred worked for the Busselton Shire, road making and digging graves. He worked night shift on the boats.

He married Violet Jones (nee Harris) from Staffordshire, England. She talks about arriving in Australia on 1 October, 1928 when she was 23. Wilfred and Violet married on 17 April 1943 and had a daughter, Blodwyn, born 16 August, 1944. They enjoyed their church life, grandchildren and soccer.