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, the Noongars as 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.


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


Busselton Settlement Art Project Sculpture Themes

Aboriginal Child & Elder

Acknowledging the traditional owners of the land, the Aboriginal Child feels her history on the timber that has affected the lifestyle of her people. She watched over by the Elder. There is still consultation underway with the local Aboriginal people. Now fundraising for..


Whaler’s Wife

The whalers were the first of the white people who hunted along the Geographe Bay coastline. Often their wives accompanied them on their journey and watched as their husband sailed away and would wonder when they would return.   Affectionately called "Sarah-Beth", the sculpture was unveiled on 14 March 2014.

John Garrett Bussell.jpg

John Garrett Bussell

Settlement came from JGB’s exploration of the Vasse area. The sculpture represents the four families which founded our town: Chapman, Layman, Dawson and Bussell.   Unveiled September 2016


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.

The Timber Worker is nicknamed "Paddy" by artist Greg James and was unveiled in September 2015.

Spanish Settler

Migrants contributed to the region with their hard working ethic and wine making skills. They brought diversity to the population! Commissioned for September 2017

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.  Now fundraising for...


A Story…


Clay Model and Photo by Greg James

 “It is now evening. I am many miles from any civilised habitation in the depths of an unmeasured forest; my attendants are preparing for me a screen of boughs to keep off the wind. I am seated by some rapids on an unknown river, and am probably supposed to be making notes of procedure, being on public service.

The rest of the party, fatigued with unwonted exertion, have not yet raised themselves from the reclining posture which they adopted at their first halting.

  I suffer little inconvenience for I am now an old bushranger.

 The moon a small crescent, begins to assume a yellow tinge. I conclude therefore that the sun is setting, an operation of nature indiscernible in these wood- burthened hills. A huge pile is now sending up volumes of smoke, much to the discomfiture of a host of mosquitoes: It will presently burst into flames and yield the light that the fading orbs of heaven deny. Some coffee boilers are arranged on a smaller and more approachable fire.

 I will soon be summoned to the repast.----- Wednesday evening. I believe within a very short distance of The Vasse."

  John Garrett Bussell’s recount of a reconnaissance trip to the Vasse in a letter to his English lady friend written at The Rapids on the upper Margaret River in November of 1832


Background to the Project

 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 new 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 has now completed scale models in bronze of the, eventually life size, figurative sculptures of individuals selected to illustrate Busselton’s history as an early and successful regional WA settlement.  These are on display at the ArtGeo gallery in the Queen Street cultural precinct. 

The City has commissioned the first three life sized sculpture, "The Whalers Wife” and “Timber Worker” with “John Garrett Bussell” to be unveiled in June 2016.

Currently $10,000 is required for the “Spanish Settler” and fundraising for the “Noongar Sculpture” will begin.

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. 

This historic project effectively captures the very essence of Busselton’s challenging early history. The community is proud that the settler’s efforts created the basis for 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