History of Beacon

Sandalwood Harvest By Government Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons WA Map

Brief History of Beacon​

Lt James Septimus Roe, Surveyor General of the Swan River Colony explored the Mt Marshall district in 1836. Other explorers, Robert Austin, AC Gregory, FT Gregory, John Forrest, Surveyor H King made records of all the water points and named them, along with many hills and rocks as they travelled through on their way to Shark Bay and other far off places. In 1889 Surveyor H King traversed the Mt Marshall district and it was not long after this that land was thrown open to agriculture in the areas around Bencubbin.

It is recorded that shepherds were in the district from 1870 and it is thought the sandalwood cutters came in the 1880’s after a boom in sandalwood prices. The area was opened to pastoral leases as far north as Datjoin in 1872. Sandalwood cutters were very active in the district around Beacon from 1880’s and they extended further north in the 1920’s when the industry was thriving. The sandalwood cutters used the water points recorded by the early explorers and in later days the sandalwooders tracks were used by early settlers linking them to many areas.

Surveyors had been at work since 1921, dividing the country into 1000 acre blocks. A number of blocks were allocated after the paying of a fairly stiff survey fee. George Shemeld is acknowledged as being the earliest Beacon pioneer, taking up land in 1922. Interested settlers formed the North Bencubbin Railway League in 1924 to extend the railway line to the Beacon Rock area. Land at Beacon was not officially opened for selection until 1926 with further development of the area 25 km north of Beacon coming about after the railway line was laid from Kulja – Bonnie Rock in 1931. More land was opened for farming in the Tampu – North Beacon area out to the vermin fence in 1965.