Just as we were milking tonight a terrific thunderstorm set in. The rain fell in torrents and …… it filled the house full of water and washed all the potatoes that had just been planted into the brook.
Fanny Brockman (Bussell), July 1875.
Ellensbrook 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.
In 1970 Margaret River Health Inspector Wally Tweedie kept encroaching flames at bay with buckets of water from the brook until the fire brigade arrived. While some of the rooms built by the Terry family in the 1950s were destroyed by the fires the original house survived.
When I got on top of a hill above Ellensbrook the house was burning, the creek was bunt out, together with the cleared paddocks. I managed to get a bucket of water up on the roof and put some of the fire out, but it took several buckets to smother it.
Wally Tweedie, 2017
In 2011 Ellensbrook survived destruction again after a controlled burn tore through more than 30 properties in the region destroying ‘Wallcliffe,’ another residence built by Alfred and Ellen Bussell in 1865 at the mouth of the Margaret River. The fire came within metres of the house at Ellensbrook and its survival owed much to the efforts of Department of Conservation (DEC) fire fighters Lance Jackson and Anthony O’Neil.
We were sent from Margaret River to Ellensbrook and when I arrived there were three DEC trucks fighting the fire in the carpark. I was the fourth truck in. We got to Ellensbrook early enough to set up the hose and defend it. We used the water from the brook onsite.
Lance Jackson, 2012