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

What’s Hot

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Arts & Wellbeing
18/09/2019

Strings Attached: Guitars Take Centre Stage in Margaret River

Western Australia's first ever Strings Attached Guitar Festival is landing in the Margaret River region this October, and as Tom De Souza discovers, there is plenty in store for guitar enthusiasts.   This October will see the launch of WA’s inaugural Strings Attached Festival, a weekend…
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Arts & Wellbeing
01/08/2019

Local Hero: Ian Beniston The Original Potter

If you've dined at Vasse Felix or Yarri restaurants, then you would have eaten off the creations of master potter, Ian Beniston. He hand crafted every piece of stoneware in those restaurants from his Yallingup studio, Sensei Pots. Sensei means ‘master’ in Japanese and Sensei…
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Arts & Wellbeing
03/07/2019

7 Must-See Exhibitions Happening This Winter

For most people, winter equals hibernation. The wind swept oceans and cloudy days are beautiful to watch from the warm surrounds of a beachside café, but only a select few are mad enough to actually be out there running through the rain. However, it’s the…
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Arts & Wellbeing
02/07/2019

8 Cosy Places To Stay This Winter

We all love summer down south, but there’s something pretty seductive about winter’s excuse to get cosy in front of a fire - red wine in one hand, good book in the other. There's no shortage of cosy accommodation options in the Margaret River region…
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Arts & Wellbeing
25/06/2019

CinefestOZ: A Prize Worthy Event

Mindfulness is a great thing, but I didn’t need any prompting to be present and grateful the day I sat in the audience at the CinefestOZ Jury Lunch at Amelia Park listening to director extraordinaire and Oscar winner Scott Hicks.  I was rapt – like…
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Arts & Wellbeing
19/06/2019

NAIDOC Week: Expressions of the Salt Water People

In front of us are well-known features of the coast at Castle Rock:  ochre coloured cliffs rising from brilliant blue seas and seabirds circling overhead.  However Iszaac Webb is describing a Castle Rock none of us are familiar with: the songlines of the Country –…
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Arts & Wellbeing
21/05/2019

Local Musicians Prepare for Jazz by the Bay

Most people who have chosen to call the Margaret River region home have a song in their hearts, but a group of talented locals have gone a step further, forming a big bold band that celebrates the song of jazz. Margaret River GP and saxophonist…
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Arts & Wellbeing
06/05/2019

9 Epic(urean) Experiences You Need To Have In May

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus believed that pleasure was the ultimate goal; that in order to live an ideal existence, one must derive as much pleasure as possible from daily life. Well, something like that at least. There might be a few other bits and…
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Barrel Maker John Kingdon
Arts & WellbeingWine & Wineries
18/03/2019

The Ancient Craft of Barrel Making

Barrel Makers, or Coopers, are an integral part of the success story of Margaret River winemaking. Anna Pellegrin-Hartley meets the men behind this ancient craft. If you’re anything like us, you spend a lot of time looking at vineyards, and drinking the resultant wine, but…
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