The first local government in the Esperance area was the Dundas Roads Board. The elections took place on 18th April, 1895.The Board members were Francis James Daw, George Doust and Robert Symes. The Dundas Roads Board District was divided later in that year and late in 1895 more elections were held for both a Municipality of Esperance and an Esperance Roads Board.
ESPERANCE DECLARED A MUNICIPALITY
Esperance was declared and gazetted a Municipality on 27th September.
Many shipments of animals, cattle, camels, mules and horses arrived before a jetty was built. The animals were often unloaded and swam to the shore. Ships came laden with men heading to the goldfields, machinery for the mines, animals and general merchandise.
Government No.1 Jetty
Construction of the first public jetty in town commenced at the end of James Street .It was known as the ‘Old’ Jetty and also Government No. 1 Jetty. The jetty was 440 feet (134m) long.
A proclamation 3rd July said: ‘‘Esperance Jetty declared and appointed as a proper place for the lading and unlading of goods.” The custom bonded shed was also constructed facing the foreshore on the corner of James and Edward (later the Esplanade) Streets. A tramway led from the building, down to and along the jetty, allowing for the loading and unloading of goods from ships.
The Jetty’s first berth was suitable for the smaller ships such as the Rob Roy, Helen Nicol, McGregor, Iris, Agnes and Grace Darling. At this inner berth on the starboard side, there was a landing at a depth of 9 to ten foot.
PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN – COURTESY BATTYE LIBRARY
THE LIZZIE TAYLOR (WHITE SCHOONER) AND ROB ROY (RIGHT) AT THE TOWN JETTY. (PHOTOGRAPHER- C.J. DAVIS)
Tenders are called for the Post and Telegraph building, the plans are for a stone building with a veranda all around.
Construction begins on Esperance Post and Telegraph Office. The contract was awarded on 13th June to Charles F. Layton of Albany. The building was constructed using local granite and it had a wooden veranda. A Post Office directory from the time, records six entries for Esperance.
ESPERANCE POST AND TELEGRAPH OFFICE
The Esperance population had increased to about 1500.
The timber Israelite Bay Post and Telegraph Station building from 1877 was replaced with a much larger stone construction using plans designed by a government architect. It had 12 foot high walls, four chimneys a public mail room also a telegraph masters residential quarters, and single quarters accommodation. The construction commenced the year before in 1895.
The Israelite jetty is completed.
The first Esperance Municipal Council elections were in November. Elected councillors were: Thomas Edwards, Stanley Hosie, David M. Peek, John Coleman, Bertram Pordeyan Richardson, and Francis James Daw. The First Mayor/Chairman was Thomas Edwards; who was elected on the 20th November. The Town Clerk was Henry Charles Sims. The Mayor was elected by the people.
The inaugural Esperance Municipal Council meeting was held at Robert Symes – Pier Hotel, Edward Street. Thomas Edwards , Mayor, called for tenders for the construction of the Municipal Council Chambers with the closing date 10th February.
THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL CHAMBERS
Public Notice: The Municipal Council Chambers will be in Andrew Street, in new premises. The Esperance Roads Board granted the use of the Council Chambers for meetings, these were officially opened 23rd June 1896. Secretary HC Sims.
THE FIRE BRIGADE STATION, AND ENGINE ‘LADY FORREST’ 2ND FEBRUARY 1898. (PHOTOGRAPHER C.J.DAVIS-COURTESY MRS BABIDGE)
The first release of land in Grass Patch took place for the growing of cereal grain and hay.
A farm at Grass Patch, 46 miles from Esperance was established to grow hay for livestock, especially horses.
Norseman began as a mining town and many horses were used to work in the mines. The horse was used extensively to cart wood for the mines’ wood fire burners generating steam power.
Horse and Camel Teams carted merchandise and freight to the goldfields. Rates were as high as 22 pounds a ton and general freight at 20 pounds. The rates were set by the Esperance Carriers Association.
Camel Teams were the ships of the desert and up to 5oo camels were used in the district and goldfields by 1897. Horse Teams of 14 or 15 horses would draw wagons laden with up to four tons of goods. The Six mile hill (north of the town) was a major obstacle to early teamsters, requiring the coupling of two or more teams to pull heavy loads to the top.
CAPTION FROM ESPERANCE YESTERDAY AND TODAY JOHN RINTOUL
ANDREW STREET. (PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN- COURTESY THELMA DANIEL)
F.E. DAW ANDREW STREET STORE FACADE
The Dundas-Esperance relationship was not finally settled with the declaration of separate Road Districts on September 13th 1895. The Dundas and Esperance Road Districts were joined on January 25th 1918 and Dundas was excised from the Esperance Road District and re-established as the Dundas Road District on June 21st 1929.
Source: Ted Chown Consulting
LAND GRANTED AT GRASS PATCH FOR FARMING