Descendants of
 Captain Robert Brown
                            1809 – 1894



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Augusta, Western Australia  

Chronicling a visit to the ancestral stomping grounds, with many thanks to Kay Craze of the Augusta Historical Museum who gave us a personal tour of the area and Mike from Pinacle Tours who got us there and showed us the trees.

(**click pictures to view larger, uncropped images in a separate window)


On a cold and overcast 23rd of October, 1829, the ship Warrior sailed from Portsmouth, England loaded with hopeful emigrants bound for Western Australia.

Among them, Robert Heppingstone Sr. had signed on in the employ of John Molloy, his former army captain, following the promise of free land granted to immigrants who brought money, goods, and laborers to tame the wilderness. Robert brought with him his wife, their baby daughter, and his two children from a previous marriage. Arriving at the Swan River Colony (now Fremantle), they met with news that choice lands in the colony were all taken, but there would be more if they went farther south.  So they boarded another, smaller ship, the Emily Taylor, which on May 2, 1830, landed them on the beach at what was to become the town of Augusta, at the mouth of the Blackwood River.

Entering Augusta on Hwy 10

Blackwood River at Augusta

From the landing site, St. Alouarn Island is just visible in the distance

view from the Heppingstone’s home site


...which is actually at the other end of town from the street bearing their name

Pioneer memorial in the town

In addition to a large family, James Turner brought a prefabricated house and his skills as a builder. Recognizing the value in the local timber, he soon went into the lumber business.

Depending on who you listen to, Cape Leeuwin is the meeting point of the Southern and Indian Oceans
(... look carefully, and you can just see the dividing line in the photo on the left    ;-)

^ It was from the St. Alouarn Islands just south of the cape that
    Robert Heppingstone Sr. was swept off the rocks and drown in 1835.

The area around Augusta is thick with karri and jarrah trees, which the settlers initially thought indicated promising timber and agricultural land.

Unfortunately, those trees were the bane of the early colonists, as they thrive in poor soils while their hard wood and deep roots made the land difficult to clear.

By 1840, government support for the colony had all but disappeared, and most of the original colonists determined to move to more promising land near the Vasse River, which would become the town of Busselton (named for the first of the original families to relocate there.)

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On the drive back to Perth — just to prove we were really in Australia —
those are wild kangaroos among the trees.

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