The township of Brunswick Junction was gazetted (formerly put on the WA map!) in 1898, where the new Collie railway line branched off from the main Perth- Bunbury railway. Originally, the town was named after the Brunswick River which emerged from the Darling Range just on the northern side of the town’s site.
Brunswick River had been named in 1830 during some of the earliest European exploration of the area following the founding of the Swan River Colony (Perth). The name related to one of the sons of King George III of England who was the Duke of Brunswick-Luneburgh, in what is now Germany.
Farming in the area had been taking place since the early 1840’s with the establishment of the settlement of Australind. Apart from a staging post for coach horses and a post office operating from a homestead on the northern side of the Brunswick River, nothing much developed until the coming of the railway in the early 1890’s.
When established, the township was divided by the railway, with the residential part, on the east of the tracks and the Commercial and community buildings being clustered near the railway station on the western side along the main road into Bunbury. It wasn’t until after the Second World War (post 1945) that the residential areas on the western side of Brunswick were fully developed.
The main employment for the new township, during the early settlement, was the railways and this remained so until dairying increased and jobs shifted to the milk processing market.
The History of Brunswick Junction
The History of Peters Creameries
Peter's Creameries is a factory that produces many dairy products such as butter and cheese. It was first formed in February 11, 1895
An interview with Kim Fry
Alan Evans Selling Complex
The Alan Evans Selling Complex plays an important role in Brunswick Junction. What is even more significant is the history that comes with it. To many, the selling complex may just appear to be a place where cattle is sold. To the locals that witnessed the beginning, they know there is more to the story.
Mr Kim Fry, second in charge to the Alan Evans Selling Complex agreed to come and give us a tour and to have a chat with us about how the complex came to be and the history behind it.
When Kim was around 18 years old, the community managed cattle differently in contrast to the way it is managed now. Animal welfare was not as big an issue as it is today, which pressured them to make changes for the better.
“It was a lot smaller, the ramps were made out of timber and were not very safe,” Kim recalls.
Kim remembered that when he was working there, many people were injured. The Ag Society knew they had to improve the design and added rubber matting to the ring and made water available to the pens. “The cattle loved it,” Kim said.
To combat another issue with people claiming cattle that wasn’t theirs, the Ag Society installed tracking chips in the cattle’s ears. This process began 12 years ago, known as NLIS tags which help to track the location of cattle.
The Alan Evans Selling Complex is the most important part of the whole operation. Originally built in Esperance, but as it didn’t get much use there, it was sold and taken to Albany. However, it was soon realised that the Brunswick Show was bigger than the Albany Show, so the complex was the shipped to Brunswick.
The complex can fit around 120 people, but as Kim explained, it can get very humid inside, so they had fans installed. Another feature of the interior design was also commented upon. “The advertising in here is like watching TV, it’s large and loud”
Mr Fry added 'as the current generation of workers is getting older, it is important to get the young ones involved". He said that as the experienced judges are doing their job, the younger generation is encouraged to come and watch, to learn how to do the job properly.
Towards the end of our tour, Kim began talking about the Brunswick community. He talked about the importance of having a strong community and being connected to it.
“It is important to be involved with the community, but not too involved so that you can’t focus on anything else,” Kim added.
Overall, Kim believes that the history of Brunswick is very important. The reason for this is that he feels that these events create a sense of unity within our Brunswick community. It is also important that newer generations are educated so that traditions will never fade. This small community has grown each year and we hope that it will continue to prosper!
Dorries & HBL Football Club
An interview with Jennifer Jeffery
Though time has caused the shop 'Dorries' to fade, it is still fresh in the memories of long time citizen, Jennifer Jeffery. Her father, being a travelling salesman, moved their family to Brunswick to pursue a better selling career. Jennifer’s first impression of Brunswick was not as pleasant as she thought it would be.
“We walked in here, no sink, nothing, just a tap in the kitchen, a table and a wooden stove… then we went outside, we had to walk up and catch the train....and the SMELL! . In those days, the factory was a growing concern and all the cattle used to come up the main street! We should have never, ever have come to live in Brunswick, yet here I am 72 years later.” laughed Jennifer.
'Dorries' was a shop that sold every conceivable good, on one side, we sold women’s clothing, underclothes and materials such as wool etc. on another side, we sold the groceries. In those days, to receive your goods you would need to go to the counter and actually request what item you wanted to buy.
“I just remember all the people; the aromas of the shop and the people that used to come in. I can still recall the distinct smell of the different products on sale.
Jennifer states that 'Dorries' was popular within the community back in the day. “Because there were only a few cars and it was convenient. It was very popular for quite a few years, but it went downhill when people could travel to Bunbury by cars. "Dad tried to make it like a supermarket where you could serve yourself, but goods in Bunbury were a lot cheaper.”
Eventually the shop had to close down, due to the changes in technology; more people started getting cars and instead of supporting local businesses, they would shop in Bunbury where popular items were sold. However, the memories that linger and the emotions attached to those memories have never left Jennifer.
Mrs Jeffery also remembers when the HBL Football club was first formed. “The community was thrilled and very motivated in being involved with the club. Many kids were excited to join, to play and the adults too becoming involved with the funding. It was lovely that everyone would come together in Brunswick to enjoy the footy - it had its junior sides and we had some brilliant functions.”
Overall, the HBL and 'Dorries' are two very important parts of Brunswick Junction’s history. Through the eyes of Jennifer, we were able to learn about the history of 'Dorries' and the HBL. Though Dorries has closed down, its effect on the town will never be forgotten. The HBL continues to have a significant role in the history of Brunswick Junction. It allows people to gather over a common interest. The HBL has made a large contribution to Brunswick and the social aspect of it. "It was a very good way of spreading the word about the town and growing the community"
Brunswick Roelands Bush Fire Bigade/ War Memoral/ Red Cross
An interview with Judy Talbot
Although time eludes the significance of the town’s history, the emotions attached to those who have lived through it will never fade. On Thursday, 24th of September, we had the opportunity to interview Judy Talbot who is significantly involved in the happenings of Brunswick Junction. During the interview, Judy reminisces about the formation of the Brunswick War Memorial, Brunswick/Roelands Bush Fire Brigade, and the Brunswick Red Cross.
Brunswick had gates that revealed the words, “Lest We Forget” however, initially there was no service. Judy and a few others decided that they needed a memorial service in Brunswick
“For 20 years, there was no service or attendance, but for a local Brunswick lady, Mrs Catalano, who used to go and put a posy of flowers at the gates every ANZAC day in memory of her first husband who was killed. Then we found that there was some funding available for war memorials, so we put in an application. We thought if we kept our request for under $10 000 we might have a chance and we did! The grant received was for a total of $8,742 and that’s how we established the war memorial.”
With the formation of Brunswick/Roelands Bush Fire Brigade, Judy informs us that they started as farmers who fought fires locally, however they soon realised that they required a real firefighting unit.
“They were just a group of farmers in Roelands and they used to go fighting fires and my husband was one them, even though he was young at the time. Then in 1985, we realised the Beela Valley was starting to grow, property development was on the up and Roelands had more residential houses, so we needed a fire unit. In the early days, all they had was their own vehicles and some knapsacks. So in 1985, a few of us got together and wrote letters to every resident in Brunswick, Roelands and Beela Valley, asking for donations to help establish a fire unit. People realised that danger of fires and got behind the cause. Eventually we got enough to buy a second hand Ute which my husband, Fred and Gary at Roelands fitted it out with firefighting equipment and I was elected as Secretary-Treasurer of the Bush Fire Brigade.”
The Brunswick Red Cross, Judy recalls, was first formed in 1914, when the war first started, founded by the Clifton family in Brunswick “When their family members went off to war, the ladies started knitting and making mittens (as gloves were known then). That’s how the Red Cross became involved and we’re proud to be recognised as the oldest Red Cross unit in Western Australia.”
When asked if being a President/Office Bearer in the Red Cross is hard, Judy replied with, “No, because I’m very lucky to have some wonderful workers. My favourite saying is, ‘anyone can be a chief, but if you don’t have the Indians to do the work, nothing gets done”. Judy loves this community, as much as we all do. No matter what your age is, it is vital to know more about the heart of this town.
Towards the end of the interview, Judy talked about her favourite memories based on the fire brigade, war memorial and Red Cross.
Judy loves talking about ANZAC day, feeling a unity, standing on the stage and seeing people of all ages attending and sharing in the service. Judy also remembered an occasion about a missing boy in Burekup. “This was before mobile phones, so I listened to what police reported on the radio,” Judy recalled and described the outcome as “one of the best feelings, when the boy had been found”. For the Red Cross, her favourite memory was celebrating the 100th birthday! An amazing acheivement
Judy hopes that the community will continue to be supportive and help the town reach its goals.
“I hope to be around for a lot longer to see the town continue to develop,” Judy laughed.