Category Archives: Western Australian History

Although most of these stories relate in some way to some family member or another, those tales that might have a slightly more wider appeal to an audience other than me goes here.

On Cemetery Hill

A visit to the Old East Perth Cemetery, where generations of Colonial Western Australians have been laid to uneasy rest, including all too many Dysons. There is no formal burial register for the aggregation of denominational Christian cemeteries that make up Old East Perth Cemetery. There has been a lot of research into who actually might be buried in the ground, but there are certainly many gaps in our knowledge.

Educated guesses are just that—guesses—there is always the possibility of being proved gloriously and magnificently wrong.

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Happy Gunpowder Treason Day

Bristol, England at dusk on an evening in November 2015. The pops and bangs were very loud and seemed to be right outside of the tiny bedroom I was staying in. It was right outside my window and I was bemused on investigation to find that a collection of children and their parents were setting off full-blown fireworks in the lane-way outside. Fireworks Day, or Guy Fawkes Day, or (as it was initially celebrated as a public holiday after 1605), Gunpowder Treason Day, has not…

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The Sons of Australia: Foundation and Foulkes

Sometimes its just a name that piques your interest. Sometimes names are all you have. The Sons of Australia Benefit Society was formed in January 1837 and it’s final meeting was held in August 1897. For sixty years it seemed to be an ever-present feature in the social fabric of Perth, Western Australia— and then it was gone. Most of what there is to know about the society comes from the contemporary press. That there was no mention of it in the Perth Gazette, the…

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Back in 2013 I wanted to re-invent myself. I had been researching my family history for a few years and I had collected so many interesting facts and stories that I felt I needed to expand my skills in actually presenting this information in a form that was interesting and engaging to some one who wasn’t only me. My first university experience had concluded with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design with honours, somewhat over two decades ago. This time I wanted to study History.

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Know your Guv’nor

A sarcastic guide to the gubernatorial incumbents of Western Australia during the 19th Century.

Before responsible (ha ha) government was granted to the colony in 1890, the direct representatives of the houses of Hannover and Saxe Coburg Gotha had the final word in (well) governing said territory. Its a bit difficult to remember who was in power at what time so here’s a concise-ish list.

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Secret Squirrel Business

It seems like there was nothing the average man in Australia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries enjoyed more than belonging to a secret society. Of course it’s no fun at all if no-one can know that you belong to that exclusive brotherhood*, so you have to make sure that everyone has got the memo by flaunting your membership of that organisation (you are not able to discuss publicly) in the most ostentatious manner you can manage. Street parades in uniform were best; inviting the…

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Rottnest Island #1: It’s a start

One of the more annoying legends I had to endure when I grew up was how integral Rottnest Island was to the hearts and minds of all true Western Australians. Located only a few kilometres off the coast from Fremantle and easily visible from the continental shore, it was the mythical holiday island of the state. Tradition was, as far as I could tell, you weren’t a true-blue sandgroper unless you’d been conceived there in a boozy, sandy orgy of debauchery, preferably during the school…

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“The Poste Restante”

“Poste Restante” is a French term that can be roughly translated as “remainder post“. It refers to when a letter is retained by a post office for collection in that building. Joseph Dyson, junior, ran the Poste Restante department within the central GPO building in Western Australia. Prior to the Federation of the Australian Colonies in 1901, each Colony had its own independent Postal service. These were all rolled together to form what is now known as Australia Post in 1903. The Western Australian service…

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