1898 Edward St (Later the Esplanade)

Brief Outline of Esperance History

Since European Discovery and Settlement

Travel along the timeline to see significant events and click items to discover more about the events and stories that make up Esperance History.

Esperance Timeline

The Sighting
South West Coast of Western Australia Sighted

Peter Nuyts, (Pieter Nuijts), a Dutch Official on board the sailing ship Gulde Zeepaard and Dutch skipper Francis Thyssen (Francois Thijssen), sighted the south west coast of Western Australia (Terra Australis) near Cape Leeuwin. They sailed east along this unchartered coastline for about sixteen hundred kilometres, from Cape Leeuwin to…
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King George Sound
Discovery of King George Sound

Captain George Vancouver (1757-1798) was an English Naval Officer and hydrographer. As a 15 year old boy in 1772, he had sailed with James Cook in H.M.S. Resolution. On the 26th September, 1791 he reached Cape Leeuwin in New Holland, after leaving England. He sailed in a new sloop H.M.S.…
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Observatory Island
Discovery of Observatory Island
Jacques Labillardière

On December the 9th, French Navigator, and Captain Jean-Michel Huon De Kermadec and his crew, were facing imminent peril. Their ship, La Esperance, stricken by wild, heavy seas and harrowing gale force winds, was being driven towards the coast. To their great relief they finally reached a headland (which he…
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Matthew Flinders
Matthew Flinders Explores the Southern Coast

Mathew Flinders, in the Investigator, sailed along exploring the southern coast and the Bay of Isles. He followed the coast, mapping and naming places, such as Lucky Bay, Thistle Cove, as well as inland peaks, such as the Barrens. Captain Mathew Flinders wrote the following in his journal, which was…
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Military Settlement
King George’s Sound Military Settlement

King George’s Sound British military base settlement was established on Christmas Day. It was commanded by Major Edmund Lockyer. Ships of many nations frequented the southern coast, including whalers and sealers. Britain feared annexation, especially by the French. The countries were suspicious of the other’s activities concerning territorial intentions in…
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Black Jack Anderson - Whaling and Sealing
Black Jack Moves to Middle Island

John Anderson, also known as Abyssinia Jack and Isaac Winterbourne, were part of a wild band of men who moved into the archipelago in the 1820’s. John Anderson, an American negro, was a violent, lawless man. He based himself on Middle Island, freely plundering the archipelago islands. Anderson hunted and…
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Edward John Eyre
Edward John Eyre & Aboriginal Guide Wylie
Rossiter Bay, Esperance WA

Edward John Eyre, with aboriginal guide, Wylie, came overland on an epic journey of discovery, east from Adelaide and west to Perth. When he departed Fowlers Bay, John Eyre was accompanied by John Baxter and three aborigines including Wylie. The murder of John Baxter by two of the aborigines left…
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James MacLean Dempster
James MacLean Dempster
James and Anne_Dempster

James MacLean Dempster (1810- 1890),of Scottish descent, leased Buckland, Toodyay, Western Australia. James Maclean Dempster married Ann nee Pratt (1816-80). Andrew, their fourth child, was born there soon after on the 21st February, 1843. Their other children were, Annie Ellen, James, Edward, William, Janie and Marion.    

Lieutenant J S Roe
Lieutenant J S Roe Explores Russell Range

Lieutenant J S Roe, with party and guide Aboriginal, Bob explored east as far as Russell Range (discovered and named by Eyre), seeking minerals and pastoral land. He also named many features of the district. Other in the expedition party were Messrs. H. Gregory and J.B. Ridley of the Surveyors-General’s…
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Captain E A Delisser
Captain E A Delisser

Captain E A Delisser led an expedition from South Australia. New and liberal land regulations allowed for a pastoral lease with four years free rent, in order to encourage parties seeking pastoral lands to venture westward by land and sea. James Maclean Dempster sought to gain pastoral land, but needed…
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Contact EBHS at Museum front office (08) 9071 1579 or email: admin@esperancehistory.com.au

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