History & Heritage

Immerse yourself in history and culture in Your Margaret River Region. Discover that the South West region is one of the world’s earliest continually inhabited areas with an Aboriginal history dating back over 50,000 years.

Walk along coastline that was first seen by Dutch explorers in 1622 and then charted by the British in 1801-1803. Hear how the Brits dropped off some early settlers in Augusta, creating Western Australia’s third settlement. Go to places named after the French explorers who were also busy charting parts of the region from the 1800’s to early 1900’s.

Visit some of the historic houses of the early settlers in Ellensbrook (near Margaret River) and Wonnerup (near Busselton).

Learn how agricultural and timber exporting empires emerged. Walk along the historical 1.8 kilometre Busselton Jetty or climb to the top of Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste lighthouses which were built to service the new industries.

Go into the show caves that started tourism in the early 1900’s and learn about the population explosion due to the Group Settlement Scheme in the 1920’s.

Watch or surf the breaks that enticed so many surfers to the region from the 1960’s.

Taste wine from the first commercial vineyard which was established in 1967 and discover the history of Margaret River wine.

6 Fun Facts about our History

  1. The original 165 metre long Busselton Jetty was built in 1865. Ten years later 131 metres was added due to sand drift. After ninety years and 1.8 kilometres later, it was finally deemed long enough!
  2. The Ballaarat Engine was WA’s first steam locomotive and is the oldest surviving example of a steam locomotive built in Australia.
  3. Surfers flocked to the region in the 1960’s and in the 1970’s the emergence of the wine industry suddenly provided them an abundance of casual employment. Rumour has it that they’d only turn up if the sea breeze was in!
  4. Busselton was named after the early settlers the Bussell family; however the Bussell’s were not consulted and preferred the name Capel (after their relative in England, Capel Carter). A town named Capel was later established to the north of Busselton.
  5. Although Augusta was Western Australia’s third settlement andwas founded in 1830, the town didn’t get electricity until the 1960’s!
  6. It is well-known that the first commercial vineyard was established in 1967 by Dr Cullity and named Vasse Felix Estate. It is lesser known that the first grapes were grown in Cowaramup by an enterprising fellow, Mr Jimmy Meleri, sometime before 1917 when he produced his first wine and sold bottles at local dances.
Busselton Jetty 1915

Your Margaret River Region History & Heritage Experiences

ArtGeo Cultural Complex

Where art and culture meet in one great historic location
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ArtGeo Cultural Complex

The Studio Guest Suite @ Margaret River Antiques

Sleep like a 19th century Duke in an antique half-tester bed in the heart of Margaret River. Bathe in a claw-footed slipper bath, enjoy full modern amenities and breakfast inclusive.
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The Studio Guest Suite @ Margaret River Antiques

Busselton Pottery Group

Visit our gallery and workshop where you can see local artists busy at their work and view their finished pieces in our gallery. Finished pieces are for sale at bargain prices - this gallery is a great place to pick up a unique, locally crafted item for holiday souvenirs, birthday and Christmas gifts or any special occasion. Are you interested in pottery? Think you might like to have a go? New members are always welcome and any adult can join. Come in anytime during our opening hours for mo...
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Busselton Pottery Group

Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse

Only 13 kilometres from Dunsborough, Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and cottages reveal the fascinating maritime history of the Cape region.
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Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Situated at the most south-westerly point of Australia, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia. Cape Leeuwin is also the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean. It's also one of the best land-based vantage points for spotting whales from May - September!
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Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Basildene Manor

Margaret Rivers Finest - Basildene Manor is an elegant country estate blending the grandeur of old world charm with contemporary style. Originally built in 1912, Basildene has been classified by the National Trust of Australia and offers discerning traveller’s unsurpassed standards of elegance and warm hospitality.
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Basildene Manor

Arts Margaret River

Margaret River's own Cultural & Events Centre bringing the community live performing arts, cinema, visual arts and literature events.
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Arts Margaret River

Cape Cultural Tours

A Cultural journey through Cape Country Cape Cultural Tours create a deep connection and lasting memories through Aboriginal interpretive experiences along the spectacular capes and coastlines of the Margaret River Region. Enter the Boodja (country) of the Wadandi people through their eyes and learn about the Noongar seasons and the encircling connections with the rivers, the seas, the animals, fish and plants. Move along the breathtaking Cape to Cape track gathering a deeper appreciation of ...
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Cape Cultural Tours

South West Eco Discoveries

SEE. TASTE. DISCOVER. Nature, wildlife & wine tours showcasing the best of the Margaret River Region. With three great tours to choose from, you can SEE the spectacular sights of Geographe Bay, from above and below the water, wildflowers and whales in season, the rugged West Coast, and plenty of wildlife. TASTE the local produce, with all tours including refreshments, or DISCOVER a very rare nocturnal native animal. Families welcome on all our tours.
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South West Eco Discoveries

Yallingup Shearing Shed

LIVE SHOWS 5 DAYS A WEEK (no demonstrations Thursdays or Fridays). LUXURIOUS AND PREMIUM MERINO WOOL FASHIONS. The Yallingup Shearing Shed is one of the South West's major tourist attractions.
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Yallingup Shearing Shed

Koomal Dreaming

In Aboriginal culture, almost every feature of the land and every plant and animal living on it has a story attached, and this tour is your insight into some of those stories. Venture into Ngilgi cave, where the good spirit Ngilgi dwells, to hear the Dreamtime legends associated with this cavern, which at 500,000 years old has been here even longer than the Wadandi.
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Koomal Dreaming

Busselton Museum in the Heritage Butter Factory

Discover another time at the Busselton Museum, housed in the Heritage Butter Factory. The museum is home to ten display rooms packed with photographs, equipment and memorabilia which trace the family, social, civic, commercial and maritime history of Busselton - one of the oldest settlements in Western Australia.
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Busselton Museum in the Heritage Butter Factory

Augusta Historical Museum

Established in 1979 the Augusta Historical Museum is rated by many of its visitors as one of the best small museums they have ever seen.
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Busselton Jetty

wander - wonder - laugh - learn Extending 1.8 kilometres over stunning Geographe Bay, the heritage listed Busselton Jetty is the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. A must see for any visitor to the Margaret River wine region.
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Busselton Jetty

Busselton Repertory Club at the Weld Theatre

Local theatre at it's best! The Busselton Repertory Club is located in Busselton's heritage listed Weld Theatre in the cultural precinct of Queen Street.
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Busselton Repertory Club at the Weld Theatre

St Mary’s Church

Built by the early settlers in the 1840's this beautiful historic building on Queen Street is the oldest stone church in the state and is still a place of worship for the Busselton Community today.
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St Mary’s Church

Waljin Aboriginal Gardens

Relax and picnic in the Waljin Aboriginal Gardens.
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Waljin Aboriginal Gardens

Ellensbrook – Heritage Site

Beautiful heritage listed home, surrounded in 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.
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Ellensbrook – Heritage Site

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