Interviewee: Mr Cyril Hubert Meade
Date of Birth: 1 December1905
Date of Death: 10 October 1987
Interviewer : Chris Jeffery
Date of Interview: 6 August1977
Verbatim Transcript: Elaine Gorddard
BOHG No: 1977-001
Total Length: 1 hr 6 mins
Born 1st December 1905 at Glen Iris.
Married Amy William from Paradise (Dardanup) 11th June 1927.
Father’s name was George Meade, who came to Western Australia in 1898
Mother’s name: Dorothea Alinda Kroenert Born Barossa Valley South Australia. Died 1913.
Mother and father married 20th January 1904 in Kalgoorlie where they met.
One elder brother, one younger brother and three younger sisters
Grew up on the farm of five acres at Glen Iris which was originally owned by Sir James Mitchell.
His father was a shearer and travelled around a lot with his work. Also did horse breaking.
When his mother died he was eventually sent to Collie Salvation Army hostel for schooling. When he was twelve he came back to Glen Iris and went to the Picton Primary School.
As a young lad he went to work for his uncle Robert Meade at Kwolyn near Bruce Rock on the farm. Worked there until 1922. Came back down to Glen Iris. Worked on the clearing of the bushes and logs in the Preston River.
From there he moved into the Timber industry working at various mills around the South West – Wellington Mills, Lowden, Argyle, Kirup.
During off peak times he also did potato digging and working at the brickworks in Glen Iris.
Around 1930 Cyril took over the running of the farm at Glen Iris from his father.
Between 1927 and 1933 worked at the Bunbury wheat silos carrying wheat. Also worked on the construction of the silos as a steel bender.
After that his work was mainly casual until 1938 when he became a slaughter man for Fouracres and Wass, a local butchering firm. This firm supplied the meat for the forces stationed in Bunbury and Busselton, plus two shops in Bunbury.
Talked of his memories of early days of the Leschenault homestead owned by Mr. Forster Johnston and later by his son Eric. Dairying was the main income, and with 150 cows, they supplied most of the milk for Bunbury, up until 1950. There was also a small orchard and vegetable garden, as most people did in the early days.
Mentioned about digging trenches three feet deep to turn the subsoil over.
On the Leschenault homestead, the stables that are used for the horses, were originally used to house ticket of leave men, a early source of labourers for many of the locals. These small rooms all had bars on the windows to stop the men from leaving. The ticket of leave scheme was stopped around 1868.
Remembers the murder of Miss Leah Fouracre thirty miles north of Bunbury. She was murdered by a Indian Army batman who disappeared from his group, came back a few days later, murdered Miss Fouracre, and set fire to the house. [this story and trial is documented in other sources] Part of the building is still standing there today.
There was a flour mill at Picton two hundred yards from the Railway bridge, near the original Forrest homestead. This was water powered from the Preston River. Robert Forrest then built a much larger Flour Mill in Bunbury down towards the harbour at the northern end of Bunbury.
Bury Hill [Parkfield Street] was lived in by Mr. Edwin Rose. This was before St John of God hospital took it over.
Sir Newton Moore was born and lived in the property called the Residence, corner of Stirling Street an Moore Street. Sir Newton Moore’s sister lived in a house called ‘The Willows’ which is on the corner of Victoria Street and Stirling Street [now Bunbury Post Office] named because of the large willow trees on the property.
Scott’s Bend is the name of the property that borders Eelup, Glen Iris and Moorlands. Eelup is where the now roundabout to the ring road and bypass to Busselton. Scotts were early settlers to the district. They bought their land from Governor Stirling.
Moorlands was originally owned by Mr Percy Rose.
Talked a little of the early group settlement people, and the awful conditions they endured, most of which were not prepared for. Tells the story of one man drying his gelignite in the oven, until his wife lit the fire the next morning – with disastrous results.
Gelignite was the main means of clearing the bush and trees during those early days with no machinery, just axes and picks.
The Bunbury port was mainly sailing boats when Cyril was young. Waterside workers would know there was a boat coming in, and would all go down to the wharf to see if they could get a job on that boat. Many were sent home without work. Wages were about eighty shillings a day.
Related some of the stores that were trading at the northern end of Bunbury. Thomas Hayward & Sons, Baldocks groceries, Charlie Lewin butchers, Lyric theatre, Skews.
A fish Shop on the corner of Symmonds Street, Narrogin Trading Agency which later became John Wills grocery shop, P.G Harris clothing, Grand Central boarding house.
Related the story of how Gelorup got its name. Eli Allen lived there and the frogs were croaking every night. Mr Allen had a vineyard there with the label of ‘Aeroplane Brand, Elevation without Intoxication’. There were also many vineyards around the Waterloo area where lot of Italian emigrants lived and grew their own grapes for wine. This is long before the Margaret River region became famous for their grape growing.