The museum details the stories of the early characters who formed Bunbury. Often they were tough and filled with self-belief – and they wrote their thoughts down in journals, newspapers and oral histories.
Louisa Clifton, fresh from the culture of Northern France, was charmed at first on her arrival in 1841 to find no signs of European civilisation at all. She wrote: “We sailed almost all the way up this beautiful estuary, under a sky of surpassing beauty, the heat intense and scarcely a breath of wind.”
Rev J.R. Wollaston complained about how few settlers attended his church. He wrote in his journal: “The attendance at Church is very scanty and fluctuating & it is evident few persons here are desirous to avail themselves of the privilege now afforded to them.”
Some of the characters who visited Bunbury have also left their mark:
Captain Francis Coffin survived the wreck of his whaling ship, bought the wreck, and sold storage space in it to settlers, funding his trip back to America.
Bunbury people turned out in droves to watch street races through the town centre and suburbs between 1938 and 1962. Despite obvious safety issues, the races were enormously popular, and professional racing car drivers returned repeatedly to thrill the fans.