New locality near Gracetown to honour Samuel Isaacs

A new plan would see a portion of land near Gracetown excised to create the 'Yebble' locality, in honour of Samuel (Yebble) Isaacs. Photo courtesy of Greg Bussell.

A new plan would see a portion of land near Gracetown excised to create the 'Yebble' locality, in honour of Samuel (Yebble) Isaacs. Photo courtesy of Greg Bussell.

WA Lands Minister Ben Wyatt has voiced his support to explore a proposal from the Undalup Association to recognise Noongar man Mr Samuel Isaacs with the creation of a new locality in the South West.

Residents have been invited to share their opinions on the proposal, which would see a portion of land between Gracetown and Burnside renamed to honour local Aboriginal man, Samuel (Yebble) Isaacs.

The proposal to create the new locality was put forward by the Undalup Association with support from Dr Robert Isaacs AM OAM JP PhD (Hon).

The plan would see approximately 2,700ha of land renamed Yebble.

Samuel Isaacs property at Ferndale. Sourced from the collections of the State Library of Western Australia and reproduced with the permission of the Library Board of Western Australia.

Samuel Isaacs property at Ferndale. Sourced from the collections of the State Library of Western Australia and reproduced with the permission of the Library Board of Western Australia.

"Submissions on this proposal are open until 12 February 2021 and will be tabled for a Council decision around March," Shire of Augusta Margaret River CEO Stephanie Addison-Brown said.

"If successful, a recommendation for approval will be made to the Minister for Lands, who is responsible for excising the portion of land from the existing localities of Gracetown and Burnside."

Mr Isaacs was born in Augusta in 1845 and given the name Yebble by his Aboriginal mother Darinder, who died during childbirth.

On December 1 1876, Mr Isaacs was working for the Bussell family as a stockman when he saw the SS Georgette stranded in Calgardup Bay.

He rode 20kms on horseback to Wallcliffe House, recruited 16-year-old Grace Bussell, and spent the next four hours bringing passengers to shore. The pair rescued 54 people from the rough seas.

While Ms Bussell was awarded a Silver Medal and gold watch from the Royal Humane Society, another gold watch from the British Board of Trade, and had the towns Gracetown and Lake Grace named after her, Mr Isaacs received a Bronze Medal from the Royal Humane Society and a parcel of land near the Margaret River.

Samuel Isaacs circa 1900. Source: State Library of Western Australia 3393.

Samuel Isaacs circa 1900. Source: State Library of Western Australia 3393.

"The proposed locality of Yebble is not far from the land Mr Isaacs was gifted in 1887," Ms Addison-Brown said.

"It's on the north side of Margaret River and also includes the Ellensbrook Homestead and Meekadarribee Falls, which are both of historical and cultural significance to the local Noongar people."

2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the death Mr Isaacs, who passed away when he fell off his sulky near Monaghans.

Minister Ben Wyatt said the new locality would rightfully honour Aboriginal heroes like Mr Isaacs.

"This is another significant step in correcting the wrongs of the past," he said.

"If passed, the new locality will ensure Mr Isaacs' legacy lives on, strengthening his connection to the land and cementing his name in WA's history.

"I hope this locality gives Mr Isaacs, his descendants and the Aboriginal community the great honour and respect they deserve.

"I'd like to thank the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River for their support proceeding with the proposal to honour the incredible efforts of Yebble and cement his heroic actions in history."

The plans are available online at www.yoursay.amrshire.wa.gov.au/yebble at Shire Administration buildings and libraries, or can be posted or emailed on request.

Feedback can be provided at www.yoursay.amrshire.wa.gov.au/yebble, by emailing spdplanning@amrshire.wa.gov.au or in writing via PO Box 61 Margaret River WA 6285.

Submissions close 4pm on Friday 12 February 2021.