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New locality proposed to honour South--West Noongar Hero

  • Community consultation to commence on new South-West locality
  • Proposed new locality to be named Yebble after Noongar local hero
  • The new locality would be excised from the existing localities of Gracetown and Burnside

A much-loved 19th century Aboriginal hero could be rightfully honoured for his part in a historic event in Margaret River with a proposal to name a new locality after him.

Lands Minister Ben Wyatt has given 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.

The new locality, proposed to be known as Yebble after Mr Isaacs' Aboriginal name, would be excised from the existing localities of Gracetown and Burnside which is mostly covered by the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.

Following public consultation, the proposal will go before the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River Council. If supported, a recommendation will be put to the Minister for Lands to approve establishment of the new locality.

Mr Isaacs, together with Grace Bussell, was instrumental in the rescue of 54 people from rough seas when the SS Georgette became shipwrecked off the coast of Calgardup Bay in 1876.

Seeing the doomed ship in distress Mr Isaacs, a stockman with the Bussell family, rushed with their daughter Grace Bussell and ran down a steep, rocky cliff into the heavy surf to help rescue the distressed passengers and crew.

Having only received a bronze medallion from the Royal Humane Society for his efforts, in contrast to Grace Bussell's silver medallion, he was later awarded 100 acres of land in Margaret River for his efforts - the first land grant to an Aboriginal person in Western Australia.

Public consultation by the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River on the proposed new locality is open from today until 4pm on February 12, 2021.

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Comments attributed to Lands Minister Ben Wyatt:

"This is another significant step in correcting the wrongs of the past, seeking to ensure forgotten Aboriginal heroes like Mr Samuel Isaacs are rightfully honoured.

"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."