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Drovers Memorial Bench
Drovers Memorial Bench

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The bench was installed on behalf of the Wyndham community as a tribute to the efforts of the regions' pastoral pioneers and overlanders. The Drovers Seat is constructed of natural stone and concrete slabs with a shade roof over the seat. A relief of cattle being driven by a drover runs along the back of the seat while a circular plaque bears the inscription.

In 1880, following the publicity given to Alexander Forrest`s expedition to East Kimberley and his report of good pasture for cattle the preceding year, a large number of pastoralists were drawn to the area among them the famous Durack family.

In 1936 the West Australian Historical Society decided to commemorate these early settlers with the construction of the somewhat unusual pioneer's memorial.  £150 was collected with donations coming from Malloch Brothers, Brown Dureau, the pastoralists Association, the Durack family, McDonalds, Kilfoyles and others. Mr Marshall Clifton, the Society's honorary architect designed the memorial.  In 1948 the project was deferred to be resumed again in 1953 when the value of the fund had increased to £178. Members of the building team who had been constructing major additions to the Wyndham Hospital contructed the seat in 1957.  John Blechynden was the foreman, John Midler the stone mason and concrete worker and Brian Phelan the carpenter.  The total cost for the memorial was £421 and it was unveiled by Mr Wise and Mr Rhatigan M.L.A. on the 27th August 1957.

A few days ago a slight, sun-browned man told a tale of Australian courage, endurance and adventure which comprises one of the epics of this continent. It was the story of the first overland trip with cattle from Queensland to Western Australia. The teller was Mr. Donald Swan, of Perth, the only survivor of the original party, with the exception of Mr. Gordon Buchanan, a son of the leader, the famous Nat Buchanan. Mr. Swan was not at first communicative. He did not seem to realise that he had taken part in an event which has few parellels in the history of the modern world. A handful of men, in the course of their everyday avocation, without fuss or the realisation that they were engaged in epic, drove several thousand head of cattle at the rate of a few miles a day over a distance of 2,500 miles.

At Wyndham next year the Western Australian Historical Society intends to erect a memorial to such men as Don Swan. It is but just that their importance in the development of Australia should be marked so that men may not forget.
The West Australian (Perth), 7th September 1937.


Address:O`Donnell Street, Prison Department building, Wyndham, 6740
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -15.463394
Long: 128.100606
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Seat
Monument Theme:Technology
Designer:Marshall Clifton


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 27th August, 1957
Front Inscription

Honouring the Kimberley pastoral pioneers and overlanders

Erected through public subscription by W.A. Historical Society

Source: MA, HWA, NRUM
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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