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, but Ellen was a resourceful and practical woman.
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.
Alfred was born in England in 1814. Following the death of his father he emigrated to Western Australia with his three older brothers. They settled in Augusta but later moved to Vasse where his mother, younger brother and sisters joined them.
In 1850 sixteen year old Ellen married thirty six year old Alfred at Wonnerup and settled at Broadwater near Busselton. In 1857 Alfred and Ellen moved their family to Ellensbrook to establish a dairy. They moved to a new house, ‘Wallcliffe,’ near the mouth of the Margaret River in 1865.
Fanny, the eldest Bussell daughter, took over the running of the dairy and lived at Ellensbrook from 1871 with her husband, John Brockman. Her husband was frequently away and she struggled with the isolation and loneliness. Following the death of her mother Ellen in January 1877, Fanny moved to Wallcliffe to care for her younger siblings, although she continued to assist with the Ellensbrook dairy, spending winters there into the 1880s.
Edith Bussell came to live at Ellensbrook following her mother’s death. Edith never married, living an independent and self-sufficient life at Ellensbrook, contrary to social expectations of the time. To supplement her income from the dairy Edith also offered accommodation for tourists to the region and established, with the support of the Aborigines Department, a home for Aboriginal children.
In the 1950s Lennox Terry, Ellen and Alfred’s grandson moved in, making additions to the house and living a self-sufficient life there with his family. Other family members recollect visiting the Terry family and spending happy holidays at Ellensbrook as children.