Original Stirling Homestead Historic Site 1837

Original Stirling Homestead Historic Site 1837
At the end of Homestead Road, by the banks of the Harvey River, lies the original site of Sir James Stirling’s Homestead.

In 1837, Stirling, the first Governor of Western Australia, selected 12,800 acres of fertile land and called it The Harvey or Harvey River Estate.

John Thomson Logue, son of the Harvey district’s first settler Joseph Keys Logue, leased the Estate from 1870 to 1884. A convict-built hut was established for Logue and Stirling also used it as a hunting lodge.

Over time, the Hut was extended and became known as ‘The Homestead’. It was built with pit-sawn jarrah slabs and had a shingled roof and hexagonal-shaped wooden block flooring.

A large bell sat high up in a tree at the front of the house and was used to summon assistance in the event of an emergency. The Homestead was surrounded by gardens and fruit trees, a blacksmith workshop, stables, and a cellar. Over the years, it fell into disrepair.

A replica of the homestead is located in the nearby Stirling Cottage Gardens.

Home Of May Gibbs

Gumnut Babies. Credit: maygibbs.org

In 1883, a portion of Captain Stirling’s estate was purchased by Dr Henry Harvey, John Young, and brothers Herbert and George Gibbs. Herbert’s daughter, the famous Cecilia ‘May’ Gibbs, lived on the property between the ages of 7 and 10 years, and she continued to return to Harvey to visit family.

“Of the glorious two years on the Harvey River Station which followed, of the old convict-built homestead, the exciting encounters with snakes that infested the cool river banks, of the river, of the flowers and the maidenhair fern, strange birds, insects, and wildlife that was teeming round us; of the little fat red pony that was my own, of the days spent camping and tramping by ourselves out in the hills, my brother, aged 12, shooting and plucking and roasting the lunch, while I went about the more serious business of gathering flowers and information about the affairs of the bush —of these things I hope to make a book someday.”
May Gibbs

As a young woman, May Gibbs studied Art in England and became an accomplished artist before returning to Australia. She produced her first book in 1912 and went on to create many much-loved bush characters, such as Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie, and the Gumnut Babies.

Gibbs’ descendants still live in Harvey today.

Original Stirling Homestead Historic Site 1837

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