|Bottlebrush 'blooms' near Prevelly Park
Prevelly Park (including Lake Cave and Mammoth Cave)
Sleepy little seaside retreat
Prevelly, or Prevelly Park, was named after the Preveli monastery in Crete by Geoffrey Edwards, an Australian soldier who was given shelter by the monks during World War II. So grateful was Mr Edwards that he also built the typically Greek, St John the Theologian Church, on Wallcliffe Road as a permanent reminder of the debt of gratitude owed to the Cretan people by the allied soldiers who fought on Crete during the War. The church was completed in 1979.
Located 289 km south of Perth via Margaret River, Prevelly Park is a tiny little beach and picnic spot away from the bustle of tourism. It was first settled in the 1850s by Arthur Bussell, a member of the famous Bussell family who first settled around Augusta but later moved north to the Vasse River and established the town which now has their name, Busselton.
It was Arthur Bussell who built Wallcliffe (unfortunately it is in private hands and not open to the public) between 185565. Its gabled roof and attic windows give it the style of an English country house. Built from local stone and pit sawn timbers and boasting an extensive verandah it is recognised as one of the most important historic homes in the area.
There is a story that the labour employed to build the house included deserters from American whalers, an Aboriginal stockman (could it have been Sam Isaacs?) and ex-convicts. The house can still be seen from the Wallcliffe Road.
Apart from its obvious graciousness, Wallcliffe House is associated with a famous episode of adventure which generations of Australian school children were taught as an example of courage and heroism.
On 1 December 1876 the Georgette, a 211 ton steam and sail vessel, was grounded in Calgardup Bay just south of Isaacs Rocks (which are south of Prevelly). A plaque near the rocks records the event: While on her way to Albany the ship sprang a leak, the pumps failed and the stoke hold flooded. When she was still 20 miles (32 km) out to sea a boat was launched ready to be towed astern. It was stove in and its occupants thrown into the sea. Two women and five children drowned but the others were rescued by brothers Willie and James Dempster and crewman Dewar and Nunan. They made for the shore in the shipıs gig and reached Injidup twelve hours later. In the meantime passengers on Georgette kept bailing while the ship under sail headed for the coast and finally grounded. While the shipıs boat was in trouble in the surf two riders came galloping to the scene - Grace Bussell and stockman Sam Isaacs. They rode into the sea and with their timely help all on board reached the shore in safety and were taken to Wallcliffe House, the home of Grace Bussell, where they were welcomed and given shelter.ı
Things to see:
Exploring the Caves
South of Prevelly on the Caves Road are two of the most interesting caves in Western Australia. Of particular interest is the Mammoth Cave. Discovered by Tim Connelly around 1900 the cave yielded some of the most valuable fossils found in the South West. In the cave have been found the remains of a Tasmanian tiger, a Tasmanian devil and a giant kangaroo all of which have been extinct for centuries in this part of Australia. In total over 10 000 animal bones were found in the cave. The cave was first opened to the public in 1904 with Tim Connelly as the caretaker and guide.
The other cave of great interest is the Lake Cave. Located 2 km south of Mammoth Cave, Lake Cave is noted as the most delicate and pretty of all the caves in the southern region. The entrance to the cave is through a collapsed cavern which forms a huge crater. This crater was first discovered by Fanny Bussell in about 1867 but it wasn't until the 1890s that Tim Connelly climbed down the 30 m cliff and entered the cave.The cave was open for public inspection in 1901. The lake and the delicate white formations, including an unusual table formationı created by a piece of flowstone and two columns, make this a cave of exceptional beauty.