Historical Timeline

1803
French Discovery Port Leschenault

-The 'Geographe' under the French explorer Captain Nicolas Thomas Baudin, leading a scientific expedition which left Le Havre, France in 1801, visited an anchorage on the western coast of Terra Australis. A survey party reported that the opening was a shallow bar guarding the entrance of an extensive area of water.

He named the area Port Leschenault after the expedition's botanist John Claude Baptiste Leschenault de La Tour.

1836
Lt Bunbury’s name to the town

Lieutenant Henry William St. Pierre Bunbury (1812-1875) of the 21st Fusiliers travelled from Pinjarra to Vasse. Governor Stirling told Bunbury that Port Leschenault would be re-named Bunbury in his honour.

1837
Lt Bunbury leaves Western Australia

Lt. Bunbury returned to England in August.

1840
samuel-Wright-shipwreck
‘Samuel Wright’ Shipwreck

The 372 ton, 33 metre long American whaler, 'Samuel Wright' was wrecked in a gale at Koombanah Bay on 8th July. High and dry and relatively undamaged she was sold by auction.

The purchaser was her captain, Francis Coffin, who remained at Port Leschenault, acting as the unofficial pilot.

1841
First light

A storm lantern on a wooden keg may have been the Port's first beacon located on the western point near to where the current lighthouse stands.

1841
Marlston Hill

On Captain Stoke's map, a "Signal Hill" was marked to the northeast of "Mount Bunbury" - which is believed to be the present-day Marlston Hill.

1864
Timber Jetty

The original timber Jetty was constructed, using convict labour. Exposed to North-Western storms, it was1400 feet (426.7m) from it's original root, and 7 feet (2.13m) depth at its head. It was continually lengthened until 1952 to 4600 feet (1.5km).

Divers using air pumped from above were employed over the years for maintenance below the water line. Prior to that, all cargo (mainly imports of farming implements, foodstuffs and clothing with exports of sandalwood and jarrah timbers) was 'lightered' (use of small boats) to anchored ships.

1870
First Lighthouse

The original square wooden light (lighthouse) was built "about 400 yards east of Casuarina Point" - located on present day Marlston Hill.

1893
Railways joins to Bunbury

The main railway Perth to Bunbury Town opened in September.

1897
‘Carbet Castle’ shipwreck

'Carbett Castle' wrecked 13th May. Visible for over 50 years. Now under encroached sand.