A Place to Stop and Visit

by Len Talbot

ISBN 085905 316 4, (2003 new), 204 pp, A4 wire bound, illustrated, 535grams

$40.00* + POST

This book covers every aspect of the history of the Lower Blackwood district of W.A. prior to the 1980s. It tells of the explorers of the area between the 1820s and 1850s, of the struggles of the pastoralists-squatters who followed them, in protecting their herds from marauding Aborigines, dingoes and poison plants, of police hunts for absconding convicts and Aboriginal lawbreakers, and with the introduction of convict labour into the district, the establishment of a Police station and post office in the 1870s that lead to the development of the nucleus of the township that was to become Nannup.

The author takes the reader into the rough and dangerous life of mill workers, sleeper cutters and teamsters, and their boisterous life style when visiting the pub or sampling the sly groggers wares. He tells of the rip roaring days of the 1920s when hundreds of mill workers and sleeper cutters employed in the surrounding forests congregated in the town for the annual race meeting, log-chopping carnivals, football and cricket matches. He portrays a realistic picture of the impact, of the wars and the depression on this small close knit community, as well as of their struggles with bureaucracy in the establishment of the districts fifteen schools. In fact every aspect of life - churches, Roads Board, Farmers and Graziers Association, medical and hospital , entertainment - all are dealt with. In addition the reader will be delighted with the many very humorous anecdotes scattered throughout this narrative.

Len Talbot, great grandson of James Kearney, an Irish Fenian convict and one of the earliest settlers on the Lower Blackwood, was born in Perth Western Australia in 1926. He was educated at the Nannup and Carlotta State Schools and the Nannup Convent, but left school at the age of fifteen to work at the local timber mill until 1946. He spent the next seven years working at a variety of some 30 jobs as he travelled throughout Australia before returning to work at the Nannup mill in 1953. In 1954 he joined the Forests Department and for the remainder of his working life followed a career with that department, except for a break of six years spent with the Commonwealth Forestry and Timber Bureau as project supervisor on Aboriginal Reserves in Arnhemland and on the Tiwi Islands. He has had several articles and stories on forest history published in Forestry publications and in 1983 won the Western Australian Historical Society's Lee-Steere Essay Award for an essay on the history of the sandalwood industry.