Settlement, Struggle and Success

Settlement, Struggle and Success

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Settlement, Struggle and Success: Margaret River and its Old Hospital, 1924–2024 by Jenny and Bill Bunbury


The urgency for repairs to our roads and the establishment of a hospital at Margaret River was instanced a day or two ago by the experience of Dr Rigby. To attend a serious case the Doctor travelled three times to Group 4 [at Karridale], and on each occasion the motor car got ‘bogged’. On one trip he was held up for an hour and a half in the middle of the night…The absence of hospital accommodation and a trained nurse necessitated an operation in a Group hut, with a settler and a settler’s wife as assistants. South-Western News, 12 October 1923, p. 6.

The Group Settlement Scheme (1922–30) encouraged mainly British settlers to establish a dairy industry and created the need for a doctor and a publicly funded hospital in the small Margaret River townsite. In Settlement, Struggle and Success Jenny and Bill Bunbury trace the history of this hundred-year-old hospital, now the Margaret River Community Centre, as well as the development of the district. Characters portrayed include long-suffering nurses, an alcoholic doctor, struggling dairy farmers, a group of Anglican nuns, accident-prone timber workers and in Britain, aristocratic women named Margaret. 


Jenny and Bill Bunbury have brought acute ears to the draughty corridors and wonky rooms of an imperfect group of hospital buildings that grew with Margaret River from its earliest days as a tiny village. With impeccable research and the voices of those who remember, they tell a lively tale of heartbreak, resilience and triumph. A remote and neglected district reinforces itself as a great place to live. In the process, Margaret River comes to know itself as a centre of remarkable natural attributes, as a home of the finest wines and food and as a rewarding place to visit. STUART HICKS AO, Chair, Margaret River, Busselton Tourist Association


Book details

Publication date: May 2024

Publisher: UWA Publishing for the Charles and Joy Staples South West Region Publications Fund

Format: paperback

ISBN: 978-1-76080-276-9

Authors: Jenny and Bill Bunbury

Category: Non-fiction, Australian History, Staples Fund