It is a pretty hilly country by the sea where there is health in the breeze.
Ellen Bussell, 1857

Ellensbrook is a property established by the Bussell family in 1857. It sits on the coast, within the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is a place known to the Traditional Owners, the Wadandi, as Mokidup.

The house and stunning coastal landscape reveal insights into the history of the south west. Mokidup was used by the Wadandi as a summer camping ground for thousands of years. The Bussells established one of the region’s earliest dairies and the house was later a home for Aboriginal children and provided accommodation for some of the first tourists to the south west.

You are welcome to visit ‘Ellensbrook at Mokidup’ for a picnic by the brook, an opportunity to explore the house, visit nearby Meekadariby Falls and to share in the stories of Wadandi Country.

Ellensbrook sits on Wadandi Country at a place called Mokidup. The Wadandi have maintained an unbroken connection to Mokidup for thousands of years. Mokidup is recognised on both the WA Aboriginal Sites Register and the State Heritage Register for its unique cultural heritage values. This landscape includes Meekadariby Falls, known to the Wadandi as the ‘place where the moon bathes.’

Continue reading

In 1898 Edith Bussell, the second eldest daughter of Alfred and Ellen Bussell, established the Ellensbrook Farm Home for Aboriginal children. She appeared to have been influenced in this decision by Henry Prinsep, then Chief Protector of Aborigines, who was married to her cousin Josephine. The Aborigines Department contributed a daily subsidy for each child and assistance with educational equipment and clothing.estics and labourers.

Continue reading

In 1857 Ellen and Alfred Bussell arrived at Ellenbrook with three small daughters (Fanny, Edith and Bessie) to build a new life. That first year was ‘very hard’ according to Ellen with only a small hut to call home.

Ellen Bussell was born in Augusta in 1833, the daughter of Robert and Ann Heppingstone. She was a resourceful and practical woman. Her father was in the employ of Colonel Molloy when the family emigrated to Western Australia, arriving on the Warrior in 1830. Aboard the same ship was a teenage Alfred Bussell.

Continue reading

In 1978 the Western Australian Government purchased 376 hectares of land from Mr Jack Williams for inclusion in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.  As part of the land sale Mr Williams gave Ellensbrook to the National Trust of Western Australia, retaining the use of a room there until he died in 1979.  Since that time the building has been conserved and interpreted in different ways.

Continue reading

In 2016 the National Trust commenced a major project at Ellensbrook, funded by Lotterywest, which included conservation works to the house and archaeological excavations underneath the floors.

The approach to the conservation of the house was to maintain and conserve existing fabric (original materials) where possible, replacing materials where necessary with ‘like for like.’ Replacement mortars have been made from local sands. Lime for making limewash was collected from the nearby beach with Traditional Owner representatives.

Continue reading

Elllensbrook has survived shifting dunes, torrential rain, rabbits and fires. In August 1900 the Bunbury Herald reported on damage from a storm that saw the roof blown off. Edith Bussell finally abandoned the place in the 1920s because of sand inundation, although the Bussell family continued to holiday there and the Terry family (descendants of the Bussells) moved in to start the farm afresh in the 1950s.

Continue reading

Archaeological excavations under the floors of the house at Ellensbrook have recovered objects that slipped through the cracks of the floorboards during the 19th century. Remnants of household activities, such as pieces of broken glass bottles and ceramic dishes, buttons, clay pipes, sewing pins and pieces of embroidery were all preserved in the dry underfloor conditions.

Continue reading