Bussell & Molloy Diaries

The Write Way – Bulletins from Busselton and Beyond

When the Warrior arrived at Fremantle on 12 March 1830, it brought with it several families who became prominent in Western Australia’s history. Chief amongst these were John Garrett, Joseph Vernon, Alfred Pickmore and Charles Bussell as well as John and Georgiana Molloy. On 27 January 1833 the Cygnet brought Lenox, Frances Louisa (Fanny) and Elizabeth Capel (Bessie) Bussell to Fremantle and on 19 June 1834, the James Pattison arrived at Albany with Mrs Frances Louisa and Mary Bussell.

Family at Cattle Chosen

The four brothers who arrived on the Warrior proceeded first to Augusta in May 1830, but they were hampered by the isolation and the heavily timbered country. They decided to move to the Vasse after John Garrett Bussell discovered fine pastures on Geographe Bay in December 1831. By 1834 they had established a property named “Cattle Chosen” in honour of a lost cow which walked into their farm. The present townsite of Busselton was surveyed in 1837 and named in their honour. Alfred Pickmore Bussell moved to Margaret River on his marriage in 1850, establishing “Ellensbrook” and Wallcliffe”.

The Bussells were prolific letter writers and diarists. The State Library of Western Australia holds a large collection of private archival material relating to the family (some 13 shelf metres), both in England and in Western Australia. These include diaries, letters, notes, legal documents, plans, sketches, verse, cards, recipes, wills, certificates, accounts and religious writings to name a few. However, the collection predominantly consists of letters which discuss religion, politics and domestic life in the Victorian era. Also held are books, photographs, serial articles and accounts in newspapers.

In 2007 eleven diaries written mainly by Frances Louisa (Fanny) and Joseph Vernon Bussell and two diaries written by John and Georgiana Molloy were offered for sale. Funding to acquire the diaries came from the Australian Government through the National Cultural Heritage Account, the descendents of Frederick Aloysius Weld Bussell, Busselton Shire Council and the State Library of Western Australia. The diaries were purchased for $91,000 and complement the Bussell and Molloy collections already held by the State Library of Western Australia.

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Page last updated: Monday 23 February 2015

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