Project Description

Dorothy Jean READING (nee Collins, known as Dot) was born at Greenbushes on 5 March, 1913. Her father, Fredrick Thomas, married a widow, Susannah McKercher (nee Williams) with two children, Fay and Jack. Dot had two natural sisters, Joyce May and Betty Merle.

The family left Greenbushes, where her father was a log haulier, when Dot was about three and went to Balingup and Kirup where he was overseer on farms, then to Bunbury into forestry for over eight years after which they moved to Busselton in 1925. He became a sleeper inspector in Bunbury and did similar work in Busselton until retirement.

Dot talks about Busselton at that time and provides details on the layout of the town, and notable people of the time, including Bob Falkingham who was the Mayor, Kemp Killerby, Joe Mann, MLC, and George Barnard, MLA.

She attended Busselton School in Kent Street then Bunbury High School and after leaving school worked in Wallace and Taunt’s music store. She met Robert Pearson Reading (Rob) at Leece’s bakery in Prince Street. It was seven years before they married on 22 April, 1935.

Dot talks about Robert’s life as a boy and his family. His parents were given Birchfields as a wedding present in around 1899. Rob and his brother, Harry, had a partnership on the property until after WWII when they split up the 750 acres. Rob and Dot bought 40 head of cattle and re-established a dairy. They later went into beef.

Dot talks about the area around where they lived, running the property and business, development of the Vasse School and bringing up their children, Fredrick Ross, born 5 October, 1938 (after losing a stillborn child) and Suzanne Fay, born 25 June, 1941.

They were heavily involved with the Southern Districts Agricultural Society (they were both made Life Members) and exhibited at Shows for many years. Dot was active in the Country Women’s Association and the Busselton Red Cross. After retirement they travelled overseas, first in 1974, and in Australia. They were vital members of the Vasse community.