Project Description

Frank James OATES was born in Boulder, on the 3 November, 1904. His father, Josiah Charles Oates, was born in Bendigo in 1878. His mother, Lily (nee James), was born in Orroroo in South Australia.

Frank was the eldest of five children – Lily Marjorie born 1907, Charles Allen born 1911, James Thomas born in 1913 and May, born in 1921. The family moved to Meekatharra when he was very young, then to Subiaco and back to Boulder. He was schooled at each of these places.

In his teenage years, Frank was very involved with Scouts being a Troop Leader and later a Cub Master. Frank tells of the contract work he did to bring in money for the farm. He was educated as an accountant and mechanical engineer but needed to learn how to manage a farm, so he worked for Mr Henry H Smith and Mr D’Espeissis on their farms to learn the skills required.

He worked on the family farm until 1932 when he met and married Dorothy Amy Morris from Group 16 on 28 December. They moved to their own farm at Kudardup and had three children: Charles David born in 1933 (died in 1934), Sylvia born in 1935 and Barry James born in 1938.

After Frank and Dorothy had been on their farm for only three years they moved to Dorothy’s parents’ farm at Abba River in 1935 and helped them through their bad days. Frank bought his father-in-law out in 1937 and took over the farm.

He served as State President of the dairy section of the Farmers’ Union for 15 years, and served a term on the Dairy Industry Authority of WA. He was involved with the Sussex and Busselton Road Boards, the Ruabon Football Club, the Busselton Football Association, the Busselton Rifle Club, the Ruabon Progress Association and the Abba River Cricket Club.

In 1977, he received the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal in recognition of his services to the dairy industry and the community.