Far from the land of milk and honey they were promised on the advertising posters, those who came
to Western Australia from other parts of Australia and from Britain as part of the 1920s Group
Settlement Scheme were met with unforgiving bushland, harsh conditions and a scheme almost doomed to failure.
Group Settlers were enticed by the advertised idea of owning their own farm, but met the reality of
uncleared bush properties with tiny humpies as housing.
Those who were able to persevere through the loneliness, incredibly hard work, insects and lack of
facilities created strong communities where neighbours helped neighbours through every kind of
The iconic timber homes built in the area during Group Settlement times are echoed in our managers’
house, with its jarrah weatherboard walls and tin roof.
While around 30% of Group Settlers left the area, plenty of others had nowhere else to go and so struggled
by on sustenance payments until their farms were deemed viable.
Interestingly enough, many of the children of Group Settlement families have fond and happy memories
of a time when, apart from their milking workload and school time, they had a lot of freedom.
They were blessed with passionate teachers who stretched resources further than usually possible and
incorporated the natural surroundings into their lessons.
Group Settlers have shared memories of the sense of community, even when large distances separated
the farmhouses; and community dances and special occasion parties with lively musicians.
Even after the dual blows of the State Government passing the scheme on to be managed by a bank and
the 1930s’ depression, some farmers still managed to hang on to their properties.
And despite fire and old age, some of the original Group Settlement houses have survived to this