Ellensbrook – Heritage Site
Beautiful heritage listed home, surrounded by national park, walk trail leads to a cave and the delightful Meekadarabee Falls, known to Aboriginal people as the "bathing place of the Moon", which is at its best in winter and spring.
Built by the Bussell Family in 1857, the property has changed very little over time. Now a National Trust listed building, the homestead is open to the public at a small fee and a walk through the house is much like going back in time.
The local Aboriginal tribes – the Wardandi and the Nyungars – had named the place long before the Bussells as ‘Mokidup’ and they had also reserved it as a traditional summer camping area for hundreds of years. It was chosen as a protected spot which sheltered them from the storms in winter, but also provided a pleasant area in the summer.
Named after Ellen Bussell, the Homestead itself is a simple design, and was primarily built by the servants of the Bussell family and the local Nyungar people. They used crushed shells, limestone and rough bush poles to construct the skeleton of Ellensbrook. This framework was then sealed using a plaster which the Aboriginals created by burning pieces of limestone. It grew in its size as the farm proved more prosperous, and pioneer settlers Alfred and Ellen Bussell raised a large family under its roof for eight years before moving to Wallcliffe House. Originally a six-day journey from Perth, Ellensbrook can now be reached in only three hours. Six rooms can be explored within the walls of Ellensbrook, each one careful restored by the National Trust over a period of years since 1979, and only filled with furniture which was once owned by the Bussell Family.
A walk amongst the grounds surrounding Ellensbrook reveals an abundance of native flora with many Peppermint trees lining the estate. You can also find the site of the former vegetable garden which would have supplied the Bussell Family, the old water wheel which was used in the 1950’s, and a scattering of Mulberry trees.
Also on the grounds is the Meekadarribee waterfall – named as such by the Nyungar. This means ‘the moons bathing place’ and a visit to the mystical site can easily excite the imagination. A special place to the Aborigines, the waterfall sits on the loop of a beautiful walk through the western side of Ellensbrook’s grounds. Surrounded by towering peppermint trees and lush ferns, the waterfall actually conceals a small limestone cave behind its gentle flow. An Aboriginal legend says that this cave was the hiding place of two spirits of Aboriginal lovers, Mitanne and Nobel.
Today Ellensbrook and its grounds are famous for their connection to both the local Aboriginal tribes, and the pioneering development of both dairy and sheep farming in the Augusta Margaret River Region during the colonial period.