Project Description

Joyce MILES (nee Curtis) was born on 27 November, 1912 in Busselton. Her great grandfather, Anthony Curtis, took up Cape Farm in 1861. The original lease of 6,000 acres was increased to 10,000 acres in 1873. The first house was wattle and daub.

In 1873 he married Jane Dawson and they had 11 children. Anthony Curtis had six sailing boats and shipped bullocks, which were swum from the bay to the boats, to Batavia and Ceylon. He took the first mail to Tasmania.

Joyce talks about the family history, gives the names of her ancestors and describes Cape Farm where her mother and father built their own home and where she grew up. Her father milked cows, killed their own beef then started a butcher’s shop. Joyce’s mother worked at Caves House before meeting her father. She started the store and Post Office at Cowaramup. Joyce and her brother and sister were schooled by correspondence until she and her sister went to Sacred Heart Convent in Busselton where they boarded (then to Fremantle when the convent moved from Busselton), and her brother went to Cowaramup School.

She returned to the farm to help her father for 12 months after she left school and recalls their neighbours, the Keenans, Blyths and Kings. The Kings bought Cape Farm then sold it to Griffin Coal Company. The d’Espeissis family bought the Keenan’s land in the 1950s.

Joyce did a business course in Perth then worked at the Margaret River Butter Factory from 1932-1935, at Browne’s Dairy and, later, the Brunswick Cheese Factory where she met her future husband, Vincent Miles. They married in 1940 at Riverdale. She talks about her husband’s jarrah fishing boat he built and the salmon fishing industry at Quindalup, and Meelup and Eagle Bays.

In WWII, Vincent joined the Army Home Defence then the AIF and Joyce went back to Cape Farm. Vincent joined her there after the war and they had two sons, Allan in 1944 and Richard in 1954.