Project Description

Robert Pearson READING was born in Bunbury on 6 July, 1905. He had one brother (Harry James Forrest) and five sisters (Anne Elizabeth May, Margaret Elvira Hope, Molly Hall Mary, Irene Esther and Daisy Campbell). His father was Henry Fredrick William Reading who came from Birmingham in 1887 where he went to Birchfields School. His mother was Mary (nee Campbell-Forrest), born in 1871, who lived on a farm in Ludlow.

They called their property, a gift from Mary’s parents, Birchfields. Robert went to a one-roomed school built in 1892 which was 300 yards from his home. His father died in 1918 at the time he left primary school and this put strain on his mother. Nevertheless, he and his brother went to Hale School. Robert was there from 1921 to 1923 and enjoyed his time, especially rowing. They won the Head of the River in 1922.

He returned to work on the farm in 1923. They had a mixed fruit orchard and grew potatoes. Robert became involved with the Southern Districts Agricultural Society and was President over the war years. He was made a Life Member, as were his parents. They exhibited at the Perth Royal Show and introduced Show Jumping in Busselton.

He married Dorothy Jean Collins, born 5 March, 1913, on 22 April, 1935. They had a son, Fredrick Ross, born in 1938 and a daughter Susanne Fay, born in 1941. Robert talks about his children, their schooling, their families and additions to Birchfields to accommodate Ross’s family.