A Friendly, Family Community

Centenary

The Shire of Kent turns 100 What an amazing day!

(See photos from the day below!)

Thankyou to everyone who was involved in making the day so special. From our amazing employees who worked tirelessly to get our venue, presentations and information ready, to our current Council who supported and allowed us to celebrate this significant occasion. Most importantly, thankyou to everyone who attended and thankyou for your service and dedication to our community.

To our caterer Nyabing Community Hub and Inn, cupcake maker Gypsykitchenco, sugar cookie extraordinaire @king_cookies_, photographer Studio 23 Photography, florist Let’s Talk Flowers, prop maker Katanning Men’s Shed and logo maker Castledine & Castledine, THANKYOU!

Kent District Roads Board – Minutes of Meeting held at Nyabing on 16 March 1923 (AI Audio):


A snippet of History with information collected from Shire records, history of the Shire of Kent by William Beecham and local recollections.

The Shire of Kent formally met as the Kent Roads Board on 16th March 1923, at the meeting Mr Alfred Blundy was elected Chairman and founding members included,

George Samuel Patterson

Francis Harold Denning

Carlton Wisbey

George Hobley

George Altham and later joined by Harry Kingswood and Secretary Donald Ross Moore.

As Secretary, is salary at the time was 150 pounds per annum.

A 6ft  grader was purchased in June 1923 due to difficulty in getting the Boards Horses Shod in Pingrup, a Chevrolet one tonne truck was purchased, especially fitted out with a 1 & 1/4 yard tipping body, subsequent applications were called for a truck driver. Mr Ball was the successful applicant at a wage of 5 pounds per week. He was informed that the water carrying was to be done as much as possible without loss of time to jobs in working hours. For some time the truck was parked in the shed as the running costs were not favourable over the horses. The total rate collection for the year, including arrears was $1003 pounds.

At a conference of Roads Boards attended by Mr George Patterson said that whereas formerly 1000 pounds would suffice to construct about 6 miles of road, under the Main Roads Boards elaborate specifications it became necessary to quote 1160 pounds for one mile 30 chain of road.

His focus at the time was repair areas that needed attention before additional construction, these repairs would assist the road users such as the mail man who was taking a four paddock detour  to get around an impassable section.

In 1929 Mr. G Altham commented that the Kent Road Board did not have many friends at the recent Great Southern Inter-District Conference that was held in Wagin. He was bidding for additional support to have the Katanning Ravensthorpe Road recogniseed as a Main Road. Little favour was received with the Chairman of the Woodanilling Road Board saying ‘their was quite enough main roads and he objected to anymore being declared’

In the September Mr. Blundy informed the board members that due to his failing health he found it necessary to resign as chairman around this same time the under the Road District Act the number of Board Members was increased from 11 to 13 representation was now;

Badgeminnup Ward 2 Kuringup Ward 2

Kwobrup Ward 1 Pingrup Ward 2

Nyabing Ward 2 Pingarnup Ward 2

Magenta Ward 2

This same year, horses Bloss & Ginger were sold for 10 pounds each to Mr C Blundy and Nugget was purchased by Mr G Hobley for 5 pounds, we can only assume that Nugget had more miles on the hooves.

Due to significant financial hardships in the 1930s the Board received a number of letters from residents who found difficulty in paying their rates – Citing, Can pay after harvest’

It was decided that payments be extended to February 28.

1933 saw the board apparently making every move to be more economic, at one particular meeting Mr Manual explained that all envelopes received were to be cut open and utilized for note taking by members, quote ‘no waste at all is permitted in this office’

As a way of economizing the Board also authorised locals such as Mr E Featherstone to carry out three chains of stone corssing and gravelling on Watson Road—Payment for his work was credited to his rates.

More farms were being abandoned and an increasing number of settlers were working on road repairs and widening, both for sustenance payments and clearance of overdue rates.

Written off rates at this time totaled 16, due to leases being abandond and others forfeited. This prompted the Roads Board to lobby State Government to show assistance to the rural areas, at the time they argued that unemployment relief be granted to unemployed in the district in which they reside, instead of sending men to unemployment camps to work away from home.

It was a big year as there was also a recorded complaint against a road board employee. That he was not driving the horse fast enough between the gravel pit and the road when the vehicle was loaded. In response, the board instructed the employee to just make the horse travel faster!

Throughout history  between each of the name changes and from Board to Shire, all efforts had been made to resolve the challenges faced at the time. From the hardships of the depression, floods, road construction and maintenance. The Board always had the best interests of its communities and its people at the forefront of their minds.

Instrumental in gaining access to safer roads networks, water and power resources

This was evident early on when in 1939 Mr Wisbey loaned the board 1 pound, 10 shilling from his own pocket to purchase a years subscription to the government Gazette as the board had no funds at the time.

Written by Jess Browne


Photos from the celebration: