The Esperance Harbour was surveyed by Commander J W Coombe in ‘H.M. Waterwitch’. Two of the few permanent datum marks of early surveys in this state were placed in Esperance. One datum mark 9×9 inch plate and a cement marker were placed on Dempster Head bearing the name “Waterwitch” and the date 1897. The other datum marker is on the corner of Jane Street and the present recreation ground.
A three roomed School on lots 104 – 110 Andrew Street was constructed of stone and corrugated iron by A.C.L. Roe at a cost of 2,420 pounds. This was the second Government school built. The school opened in the new building on the 13th September with an enrolment of 95 pupils. Mr TE Hart was the Head Teacher. To save money the same plan as the Coolgardie School was used, but incorrect compass markings were shown. Consequently, the windows were put on the wrong side so the light was very poor for the children in the classroom.
Town Jetty was lengthened to 2,810 ft. long with four berths. A good water supply laid on to James Street Jetty. A well site installed west of Windich Street connected to the jetty by a 3inch galvanised pipe supplied ample water. The water source pumped from an Alston 24 foot repeat windmill and tank erected on Lot 213 by ACL Ray. The Jetty water supply caretaker was Mr J. Tippet. The cost of the water was 10/- for 1000 gallons.
THE JETTY AND BONDED GOODS STORE WAS COMPLETED AND IT WAS HANDED TO CUSTOMS ON THE 22nd MARCH.
The census results indicated a sharp population decline recording the population at 810. Small agricultural settlements were located at Dalyup, Mount Edward, Myrup, Pink Lake and Doomup.
The Annual Meeting of the Esperance Bay Turf Club held 1st January 1897. Match racing held on the beach was a regular feature before the first race track was established.
From The “West Australian” Monday 18 October 1897
FRUIT INSPECTORS.-The Bureau of Agriculture has recommended to the Government that the following appointments of local fruit inspectors should be made:-Esperance: E. J. McCarthy, vice K. J. Stewart.
From the” West Australian” Tuesday 26 October 1897
SUGGESTED BEE FARMING FOR ESPERANCE.- Mr L Lindley-Cowen, the secretary of the Bureau of Agriculture, has received a letter from Mr E J McCarthy, of Esperance, pointing out the suitability of the Esperance district for bee farming. Writing on the 19th isn’t, Mr McCarthy stated – “Coming from the Eastern colonies, where honey is sold at 2 ½ d. per lb., I was surprised to find how scarce it was in this part of Western Australia, especially as the duty on both honey and beeswax is 2d. Per lb. being too busily engaged to do anything in the matter, I have advised many to take up the industry, which, combined with poultry farming, would do well.
Up till now we have no swarms in the district. Bees are important to all gardeners, and in Esperance, owing to their absence; we have to inoculate all the melon species ourselves. As to the flavour of the eucalyptus, this is a boon rather than a drawback, because, carrying some of the essence, it does away to a great extent with the necessity for taking the oil, and many British doctors have urged the use of such Australian honey in cases of chest complaints, especially after influenza. Mr McCarthy adds that if Western Australia could a honey as good as the other colonies – and he did not see why she could not – there ought to be a market ready for it on the goldfields.
Mr McCarthy had been a keeper of bees in his own backyard in Dempster Street and had processed the honey for sale in his store.