(c1905 - 1909)




Forrest Street and Manager's House

CollieBy 1905 at the time of the birth of Herbert's son, Herbert McDonnell's the family was living in Collie, WA. According to the Collie Miner newspaper of September 1907, they had been at the "Proprietary House", the former mine manager's residence "for just twelve months" so it seems they spent a year or so at another address probably in Forrest Street, which remained his address on the Electoral Roll. This is backed up by a map drawn by Tom Shaw showing the Collie of his childhood. It includes a "First Home" in Forrest St. The 1907 article goes on to describe Proprietary House. "The house is situated about a mile from the town. It is a commodious and well built structure consisting of 8 or 9 rooms with every modern convenience, standing in about 5 acres of ground on the side of a hill overlooking Collie".

Collie was a new town. "Another town built on the back of the mining industry was Collie. .....First explored in 1829 by Dr Alexander Collie RN the area was originally thought to be good for grazing and timber production but the discovery of coal in 1883 changed this direction. The town was formally gazetted in 1896 and grew to become a vitally important town; supplying the state with coal which was the main resource for power generation in railways, shipping and for electricity" (FN: http://www.australiassouthwest.com/en/Arts Culture History/Explorers and Settlement.htm).


CollieTom Shaw Map"Proprietary House" seems to have gone by a number of names. The birth certificates for Herbert's daughters born 1907 and 1909 describe it as "Manager's House, Proprietary Coal Mine Lease, Collie" and just to confuse the issue there is the photo above that shows "the family at 4" taken in late 1907 at "Wallsend House Collie". There seems very little doubt that the "Manager's Residence" shown on the early maps over the river from Throssell Street on a rise in a loop of the river is the house in question. The size of the block and its position overlooking Collie agree with the descriptions in the local paper and its location agrees roughly with Tom Shaw's map. No trace of the house remains today with the block now incorporated into a recreation reserve adjoining the Wallsend Sports' Ground.

The various names used for the house can be explained by the history of the mines. The map on the left dated about 1900 shows the "Government Mine" just over the river to the south west of the house and near it there is a description of the boundaries of a H.M.Deakin's lease. H.M.Deakin leased this mine until his death in 1899 after which time it operated until a fire closed it in 1901. It was by then known as the Wallsend Mine. In 1902 it was purchased by the Proprietary Company, which already operated a pit just to the east. The combined operation was referred to as as either the Wallsend or Old Proprietary mine until at least 1910.


Ferguson and Shaw, Storekeepers

Wallsend c1903Wallsend c1903And where was the store? The Post Office Directory records that it was operating in 1902 and we know from the 1908 Electoral roll that the address at that time was "8 Throssell Street" but the council has renumbered the street since. A few years later in 1912 a fire in two empty shops was reported as being "in the vicinity of the corner building, formerly occupied by Messrs Ferguson and Shaw at the east end of Throssell Street". This fits with Tom Shaw's map which has it right across the very end of Throssell Street but this could be just artistic licence or imperfect recall as he was only six when he left. A cousin visiting Collie in the 1990s was told that it was on the site of, or next door to, a newish milk bar just to the west of Burt Street. This block between Burt and Pendleton Streets appears in a Collie Museum photograph captioned "1910" and its location can be confirmed by the Federal Hotel. There is a store on the site of present milk bar but its sign is indistinct although the word "CASH" can be distinguished. This fits with a Collie Miner advertisement of the time - "Ferguson & Shaw, United Cash Stores, Throssell Street - Grocery, Hardware, Wines, Spirits, Draper, Clothing, Toys". Could the pictured building have been Herbert's store or was there another next door right on the corner block?

There are not many other potential locations. If it was a corner building we are only left with the opposite corner of Burt Street and the Brunswick Street corners. The other Burt Street corner is now occupied by a house that has been there since about 1940 and before that was a grain shed according to the resident. The western Brunswick Street corner, now a plant hire depot, is ruled out as it was originally the site of the Miner's Arms Hotel. The other side of Brunswick Street, now a car wash, is possibly the strongest possibility as it is the 8th lot from the start of the street. (A Collie resident asked the council on my behalf where number 8 was before the re-number and was told it was where the garage was. Did they mean the depot or the car wash?)

The photograph above on the right was taken at the Wallsend mine probably around 1900. In the distance behind the mine opening can be seen the Miner's Arms Hotel which stood on the south western corner of Throssell and Brunswick Streets. Along Throssell Street to the right just can be what looks like a row of shops. To the left of the pub seems to be just bushland but if one looks extremely hard into it using a touch of imagination it is almost possible to see a structure on the opposite corner.

Shaws 1908 Collie c1908 Collie 1908

These three photos were taken in Collie. On the left taken in 1909 with their nanny holding Effie (Kit ) are Herb (4), Tom (7), Annie (2) and Mary (5); in the middle Tom and Mary with Tommy about 1908; and at the right Herb, Caroline, Mary and Tom probably taken Christmas 1905.



The Ranch at Yarloop

There are a number of photographs in Herbert's album captioned "The Ranch" at Yarloop (see below). They seem to have been taken about 1905 and show a corrugated iron shack in a rustic farmyard at the base of a timbered hill.The shack is furnished with what look like items from a grander house and for many years I thought that these photos showed the pioneering life that Herbert and family lived for a time, surrounded by what they had salvaged from their much more opulent Melbourne life.

The Ranch Ranch Interior Yarloop Creek

It now seems more likely that this some sort of holiday shack or hobby farm. The idea of the enthusiastic amateur farmer is supported by an article appearing in the Collie Miner in 1907 which after a lengthy description of his poultry activities adds, "Mr Shaw has a cow and a number of goats and his suburban farm yard affords congenial scope for the utilisation of such leisure as a busy trader can find". Yarloop was a major timber and railway centre on the road from Perth to both Bunbury and Collie. By 1899 Herbert's brother Ernest was established in Bunbury so maybe "The Ranch" was shared with him. Did Herbert come down to Yarloop from Perth in the early 1900s and was this where he made the connections that resulted in his move to Collie?



Collie Council


FederationANA GroupThe Federation picture on the left hangs in the Collie Museum and records Herbert's time on the Collie Council. He was appointed to the Council in late 1907 and served until his departure for Victoria in late 1909 or early 1910. Apparently he acted as Mayor during part of 1909.


He doesn't appear in any of the Council photographs I saw but this group photograph was found in "Collie - 100 Years of Coal" in a chapter on the unions. The caption was appears noncommittally as "Collie Group c1898". There seems little doubt that the tall man in the middle and staring into the distance is Herbert and that the photograph was taken some years later than 1898. This group is too large to be the Council and if so the individuals should be identifiable from the many other council photographs.


A clue is provided by the details surrounding the Federation image showing that it was presented to the "Council Chambers .. by the following subscribers". These subscribers include Herbert Shaw as councillor and as president of what looks like "ANA". It seems more than likely that this stood for the Australian Natives Association, a group formed about 30 years earlier in the Ballarat area. Its mandate was to promote the Australian born in an era when they were often considered an inferior class by the mainly English born Establishment.


The archivist at Australian Unity in Melbourne, now the keeper of the ANA's records, has confirmed that Collie did have an ANA branch before 1913 so unless something turns up to the contrary I'll assume that this photo does show Herbert in his role of president of the ANA and was about 1908.


Arthur Hale

Caroline's cousin Arthur Hale lived with the Shaw's in Collie. A 1907 newspaper item describes him as assisting with the garden at the foot of the hill below the house. On the family's departure from Collie in 1909, Arthur expressed his "intention to go on the land" in Western Australia. He did this and by 1917 was a farmer at Kumminin, Bruce Rock. That year at the age of 34 he enlisted in the AIF, went to France with the 16th Battalion and was killed on 8th June 1918 at Corbie.