Plaque to honour Augusta Margaret River history legend

The late Mavis "Mae" Wise will be honoured with a commemorative plaque recognising her outstanding community work in researching and recording the Augusta Margaret River Shire's history.
The late Mavis "Mae" Wise will be honoured with a commemorative plaque recognising her outstanding community work in researching and recording the Augusta Margaret River Shire's history.

When historic Wallcliffe House went up in flames in 2011, some of the district's most important historical documents were burned with it.

Had it not been for meticulous recording by a local resident, the late Mavis "Mae" Wise, the contents of many pioneering Bussell family letters and diaries may have been lost forever.

Before the fire Mrs Wise had transcribed many of the Wallcliffe House documents by hand, with permission by then owners Mark and Kate Hohnen. It was just one example of her broader commitment to preserving the district's history.

Mrs Wise, who passed away last year aged 90, had extensive career office experience and was for most of her later life was dedicated to the voluntary research and recording of Margaret River history.

The 2013 book Margaret River Stories, by Guy Jennings, declares: "This book honours Mae Wise (nee Nixon) whose dedication to the recording of the history of Margaret River produced an invaluable resource for the community."

A self-described "bush pianist" who married local mechanic Jim Wise (deceased) and forewent several early academic opportunities through her own illness and the early death of her mother, Mrs Wise is survived by her three sons, seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

On Sunday, June 23, Margaret River and District Historical Society will honour Mae Wise with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque recognising her outstanding community work in researching and recording the Augusta Margaret River Shire's history.

Had it not been for meticulous recording by Mrs Wise, the contents of many pioneering Bussell family letters and diaries may have been lost forever.

MRDHS

The event is a highlight of the MRDHS's 20th birthday celebrations.

Mrs Wise's family will attend the plaque unveiling at 12 midday, which will be preceded by the official opening of the settlement's new wash-house and storeroom - recently built by MRDHS members Bob and Phyllis Fox.

The community is invited to share in the celebrations at the Margaret River Old Settlement, 69 Bussell Highway (across the footbridge from Rotary Park), from 10am to 3pm - a great opportunity to honour Mrs Wise and learn more from the settlement's real-life displays.