The Ponton Brothers Stephen and William had arrived in Fremantle from England in 1859. Stephen was married to Anne Ryan after he had been granted a conditional pardon from a convict settlement. There were two children from this marriage before his wife became ill and died.
The brothers formed a partnership with John Sharp who had been in Albany and they were keen to explore for pastoral land to settle. The Ponton brothers, accompanied by John Sharp, passed through Esperance from Albany with a horse and a dray, horses, sheep and cattle, in order to seek and establish new homesteads. They settled east at Point Malcolm and Pine Hill.
Moir Brothers Settle at Fanny Cove
John Moir had come via Albany, droving sheep with John and George Dunn and settled at Fanny Cove west of Esperance. The two brothers Alexander McLarin Moir (1843 – 1877) and John Moir (1843-1877) had a pastoral lease of 14,000 acres which stretched over both sides of the inlet.
In the first year they cleared and dug with shovels, over five acres of land, to plant their first barley crop. The first portion of the Fanny Cove homestead dwelling was a two roomed limestone cottage. The brothers also eventually built shepherds’ huts, a stone wall water well and a blacksmith’s shop.
At Esperance bay, James Dempster being skilled at carpentry, built the Esperance homestead for Andrew. The Dempster brothers’ partnership bonds were strong. The eight shepherds working at the station tended up to 1,200 sheep each.