Yvonne Coate 1937-2022.

Yvonne was born at Donnybrook on December 31st, 1937. At the age of five, her parents took up a dairy farm at Margaret River. Later, Yvonne married Kevin and many exciting adventures followed starting with a seven year honeymoon in N.Z. where three of their four children were born. On their return to W.A. they added their fourth.

Yvonne and Kevin were very much a team. They ran a specialty food shop in Garden City before starting up a natural-history-based tour company called, Coate Wildlife Tours (that is still operating today). Added to that, Yvonne volunteered at a women’s night shelter and drove the Canning City pensioner bus.

She was a founding member of the Western Australian Genealogical Society as well as the inaugural editor of the Society’s journal, The Western Ancestor for three years. Combining both interests of the outback and pioneer history, Yvonne (and Kevin) started researching, locating and recording the lonely graves of W.A. Together with Hesperian Press, Yvonne published a number of important books that have been of enormous value to genealogists and historians delving into our pioneering past. In 2009, Yvonne was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her service to the community. In 2014, she was elected a Life Fellow of the Western Australian Genealogical Society.

Yvonne's great love and priority was to her family. The happy times

camping, picnicking and canoeing continued into her children’s adult life, joining them on trips into the Goldfields, Kimberley, Anne Beadell Highway plus further afield to Africa and Europe. In later years, they tagged along with a wonderful group, 4x4 driving into the remote wide blue yonder.

(from the memento mori booklet)


Yvonne and Kevin’s contribution to the recording of critical aspects of Western Australian history is unique. They produced volumes that would have, and did, daunt, well-funded government and academic institutions. There is nothing else like it elsewhere in Australia and I am unaware of similar anywhere in the world.

Honouring our people and pioneers by recording their lonely graves and the incidents of terror, starvation, deprivation and loneliness which led them to their final rest in the unhallowed earth of a savage land, was half a life’s work and will be their monument forever.

She will be greatly missed.


Peter Bridge OAM

14 December 2022.