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Everyone has a story to tell

Telling that story was the essence that came through from the Annual General Meeting of the Walpole Nornalup and District Historical Society held in the Supper Room of the Community Hall last Sunday 5 December.
Guests from the Warren Family Group shared information at the AGM
Guests from the Warren History Family Group
shared information at the AGM.

Members of the Warren Family History Group based in Manjimup were special guests who mentioned a multitude of resources to help discover family history and tell the story.

Sue Kennedy and Trevor Ravenhill
Warren Family Group guest Sue Kennedy
and WNDHS Member Trevor Ravenhill at the AGM
where they discovered they were distant cousins.

National Archives is an excellent one,   online:, with a research centre in Perth: 45 Francis Street, Northbridge.

They also said it was important to verify information ideally from more than one source. “Start with the basics (birth, death and marriage certificates are a good start) and check your information”.

Warren Family History Group member Susan Kennedy said it was her “lucky day”. Sue is a member of the Allen Family: Frank Allen had a dairy farm at the end of Allen Road c1935. The Allen’s and Ravenhill’s are related and distant cousins Sue Kennedy and Trevor Ravenhill discovered each other at the AGM!

The meeting concluded with President Elizabeth Shaw delivering her report on the Society’s liveliness in preserving history and encouraging the study and writing of the history of the district.

 Elizabeth's report to the AGM is published here.


The exact location of the Group 138 School has been ambiguous and the Society thought it was important for that to be authenticated whilst there were people able to recall the memory.
Site of Group 138 School 1928-1934
Group 138 (Surreydale) School site
October 2021; it was on top of a hill: 
Hazelvale Road centre left
and Mount Frankland centre.

So, armed with a detailed map provided by Dennis Gilpin, information from Alicia Johnson (and sundry other sources!), the committee, with current land owners permission, set out on a fine Sunday afternoon (31 October 2021) to discover its exact location.

And it has been established: beyond doubt!

map of school stes east of Frankland 1928

The site is on a hill which is why some 1928 local school children called it the "High School". Today it has views over relatively open land (perhaps once covered with tall timber) to Mount Frankland.

The Tingledale Group Settlement scheme started in 1924: deep in the Karri Tingle forests adjacent to the Valley of the Giants and east of the Frankland River.

These one teacher schools were are an essential part of settlement and this school was one of three that existed in the area in 1928. The first (Tingledale) is still there (now Tingledale Hall) on the Valley of the Giants Road at the Hazelvale Road intersection operated from 1925 to 1968

Committee members at site of Group 138 School
Historical Society committee members
at the Group 138 School site:
Don Burton, Delys Ravenhill, Ivan Woodhams,
Harold Luxton, Kaye Edmonds,
Elizabeth Shaw, Dawn Martin.

The other two which opened in 1928 were further north-west on Hazelvale Road: the Group 138 school was on the corner of what was known as Surreydale Farm; Group 139 (Hazelvale) School site is now marked by a memorial and plaque on the corner of Hazelvale and Hazelvale North Roads.

Primarily a place of learning for the growing number of children in the district, the schools were also a social hub that brought people together and helped to allay the isolation. Inter school sporting activities are another feature remembered. The Group 138 School only operated for about five years when it closed: by 1936 twenty families in the Hazelvale area had reduced to five.

Determining the location of the Group 138 School has helped the Society in its aim to collect and preserve records relating to the history of the Walpole Nornalup District and to encourage the study and writing of the history of the district.

Elizabeth Shaw, president of the Walpole Nornalup and District Historical Society said:

“it was a most interesting afternoon and our thanks go to Dennis Gilpin for his detailed map of the area and also Alicia Johnson for her interest”.

Everyone has a story to tell and it is important to preserve landmarks that help tell the story.


cars in tingle trees
The left photo is from the Society's book: The Trees You Could Drive Your Car Into (page 20) ; the right photo is from a correspondent: David Matthews, in Kent, England who found us and our book via the internet and our website.

David is researching a remarkable feat of an open Austin-Healey Sprite circumnavigating the world in 1960-61 for a book he is writing. He sent us a facsimile of the car in the tree (right photo) and wondered if we could provide further information.

The left photo on page 20 of Trees You Can Drive Your Car Into is Fay, Vern, Diane and Ray Wills taken in the Valley of the Giants in 1961 (the car is a then new 1961 EK Holden Wagon).

We believe it is a match and the location of the Austin-Healey Sprite has been established.

David wonders if it may be possible to contact any of the Wills children, some 60 years later. We can't help him on that, but if anyone has more information about the family or the Austin-Healey Sprite when it was in Western Australia please let us know : we will direct the information to David.


This story has an interesting sequel:

Our correspondent from Kent, England, purchased a copy of the Society's book: Trees That You Could Drive Your Car Into ; he arranged payment through a friend in Balgowlah, NSW. In a covering letter the friend wrote: My father's cousin Alastair Brian Clarke HARRISON, was the first Australian to become a member of e British Parliament and he had a property somewhere in your area.

If anyone has any knowledge of Mr Harrison and his property somewhere in this area, please let us know.


David made a trip to Edinburgh and discovered many more photos. He is seeking our help to identify the location of some he thinks may be in Australia . Can you help? The photos are here .

illustration stay tuned


Story told by Heather Campbell coming in the new year

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  •   Last revision: 11 July 2022