Busselton Settlement Art Project

Busselton Settlement Appeal Logo

The Busselton Settlement Project

Cultural Precinct, Busselton

 In 2009, Busselton celebrated its 175th Anniversary since Foundation.

 The City of Busselton, in response to community interest, has developed a cultural heritage sculpture project, and commissioned well known WA sculptor, Greg James, to design a series of life size bronze figures.

 These sculptures celebrate Busselton and the Vasse, including the traditional owners of the land and the pioneers who established the area as a successful outpost from Perth.

 Everyone is invited to be a part of this unique opportunity to celebrate
Busselton’s Heritage and commemorate our
pioneer history.

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This project is supported by the City of Busselton and has been granted tax deductible status by the National Trust.

Project Background

In 2009 the then Shire of Busselton celebrated the 175th Anniversary of European settlement in the region of Vasse by inviting 150 descendants of the first four pioneer families to attend an afternoon tea and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque. The enthusiasm of the community provided the impetus for the Council to propose a broader and more inclusive commemoration of the region’s settlement for the Queen Street cultural precinct in Busselton town centre – the location for many of the City’s heritage buildings.

The Council appointed the Busselton Settlement Art Project Steering Group to undertake community consultation, develop the Artists’ Brief and conduct a selection process that has resulted in the appointment of well-known Fremantle sculptor, Greg James. 

Greg completed scale models in bronze of the figurative sculptures of individuals selected to illustrate Busselton’s history as an early and successful regional WA settlement.  These are on display in the Council Chambers at the City of Busselton Administration Building. 

The City has commissioned four of the life-sized sculptures which are installed, Whalers Wife, Timber Worker, and John Garrett Bussell with the Spanish Settler to be unveiled in September 2017.

Currently the Steering Committee is fundraising for the Aboriginal sculpture after consultation within the Aboriginal community. The Aboriginal sculpture will be Gaywal who was a traditional leader and Elder of the First Peoples at the time of Settlement.

The City is especially pleased to have received the support of the National Trust of Australia (WA) who have agreed to auspice the Busselton Settlement Appeal Fund and provide a tax deductible vehicle for community contributions. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the Officer below for information.

This historic project effectively captures the very essence of Busselton’s challenging early history. The community is proud that the area’s history from the Aboriginal community to the Europeans pioneers who created one of the Colony’s most successful early settlements outside Perth. 

For further information regarding the Busselton Settlement Art Project, contact Jacquie Happ, Cultural Development Officer on 9781 0335 or email jacquie.happ@busselton.wa.gov.au

Busselton Settlement Art Project Sculpture Themes

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Gaywal

The Aboriginal sculpture is the fifth to be commissioned and installed in September 2018. The local Aboriginal community was consulted about how they would like the Aboriginal sculpture depicted.  Over a series of conversations, meetings and a community meeting undertaken by a consultant, Gaywal, a leader from the time of settlement was recommended and approved unanimously by the Aboriginal community. This nomination was supported by the Steering Committee of the Settlement Art Project and this was further approved by the Councillors at a briefing session.

 “Gaywal is a symbol of strength for our men and boys and we consider that he was the last of the traditional men who shows we were here first.”

Aboriginal Community representatives

 Installation expected for September 2018

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Whaler’s Wife

The whalers were among the first non-Aboriginal visitors to hunt along the Geographe Bay coastline. After European settlement, Captains often had their wives accompanied them on the journey. The wives, left in a new and harsh environment, would have watched as their husbands sailed away, wondering when they might return.  

Unveiled 14 March 2014

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Timber Worker

The timber industry was the mainstay of the Vasse region in the 1800's, with family mills set up in strategic locations through the area.  The timber was shipped as far as the United Kingdom and United States as well as used in the growing town's own government buildings.

Unveiled September 2015

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John Garrett Bussell

Settlement came from John Garrett Bussell’s exploration of the Vasse area with surveyor Robert Edwards, when looking for better soil and land. The sculpture represents the four families which founded our town: brothers Henry, George and James Chapman, George Layman, Elijah Dawson and brothers John, Charles, Vernon and Alfred Bussell and their maid Phoebe Bower.   

Unveiled September 2016

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Spanish Settler

The Spanish immigrants contributed to the region with their hard working ethic and wine making skills. They brought diversity to the population.

Unveiled October 2017

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Pioneer Woman

The women of the community suffered great hardships and probably a lifestyle they didn’t expect. They traded their agricultural goods for items they couldn’t make when ships came to port. 

Expected unveiling 2019

Fundraising continues for the Pioneer Woman and Gaywal.