Historically, the stock route that passes through Lange Estate was the lifeline of the Frankland River community. Although primarily used in the late 1800’s to move cattle and sheep, the stock route was also used by the local community to travel day to day, acquiring their provisions and securing their livelihoods. Running from Bridgetown to Mount Barker, this was a vital passage in the area which continues to be used today.
Great Southern, Western Australia History
Before Europeans began exploring the Southern Hemisphere, the Great Southern sustained a sizable Aboriginal population. Excavations beside the Kalgan River demonstrate continuing settlement from about 20,000 years ago by the First Nation People of Australia.
Albany has been the home of the Menang Noongar people. Kinjarling, which translates as "the location of rain," was the locals' name for the region.
In 1626, the Dutch ship Gulden Zeepaert cruised by and charted essential features of the southern shoreline. English explorer George Vancouver entered and called King George Sound, the site of present-day Albany, in 1791. On September 26th of the same year, Vancouver officially handed over control of New Holland to the British Crown.
The City of Albany in Western Australia is the oldest continuous European settlement in Western Australia. Three years before the Swan River Colony, which today is known as Perth, the King George Sound settlement was established in 1826. The hamlet at King George Sound was built in a hurry by the British soldiers to keep French colonists out of the area.
The significance of overland communication between the Swan River Colony and the King George Sound outpost was recognised as early as 1829 when the first settlers arrived. John Bannister undertook the first overland excursion between the two settlements in 1831. John Septimus Roe launched an expedition south of the Swan River Colony in 1835 and traversed huge areas, including what is now Gnowangerup Shire, dubbed the Stirling Range, and via the Cranbrook area to Albany.
Settlers began to see the region's potential after Roe's reports. In 1847 the government developed a system of grazing land leases to regulate the squatters who pastured their flocks on Crown land.
During this period, a tiny (but important at the time) sandalwood cutting industry formed. Bremer Bay and Albany were major ports for sandalwood shipments to China.
Many of the early businesses in the central Great Southern region were dominated by sheep ranchers leasing their land. There hasn't been much significant progress made. Williams and Kojonup are two of the towns that grew up alongside the Perth-Albany Road.
A rail link between Perth and Albany, Western Australia, was completed in 1889. Large tracts of land were handed to the Western Australian Land Company as part of the contract for constructing the railway. Towns were established along the railway by the company, at Katanning, Broomehill and Cranbrook, with sidings at Tambellup and Yarabin (Woodanilling) (Woodanilling).
The business sold rural land to recuperate its losses, resulting in a new pattern of settlers who established themselves as primary producers on smaller holdings.
Many South Australians fled the drought-stricken state during the late nineteenth-century gold rush in Western Australia's Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie regions. However, prospectors began flocking to the Great Southern after the first rush to locate gold had calmed.
Albany took part in Australian history in 1914 when the first Anzac convoy gathered in King George Sound en route to Egypt in preparation for the landing at Gallipoli. To honour the troops who sailed from Albany to war, Padre Arthur White held what many consider the first-ever Anzac Day dawn service on Mount Clarence.
Following World War I, ex-servicemen were inflow when the Soldier Settlements were founded. The end of World War II saw additional military colonies and a further influx of migrants to the area.
There was a familiar pattern to the growth of towns in the area: a proliferation of commercial structures such as shops and hotels and educational and community amenities like schools and halls. The one-half way along the new train line in Katanning came to be the central Great Southern commercial centre.
There has been an explosion of construction in the Great Southern region. In addition, veterans and migrant settlers who were given small farms have merged them into more extensive, more sustainable holdings that are successfully farmed. As a result, the Great Southern's population has remained relatively stable despite the national trend of recent decades to move away from rural areas.