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Northcliffe Museum acquires historic post World War I group home

Daniel HockingManjimup-Bridgetown Times
The first section of the Munro Group House being placed in the grounds of the Northcliffe Museum, watched by a group of locals.
Camera IconThe first section of the Munro Group House being placed in the grounds of the Northcliffe Museum, watched by a group of locals. Credit: John Bailey

The Munro Group House has been moved to the Northcliffe Museum, a year after winning a Lotterywest grant to be moved and rebuilt, and four years after Mat and Sue Daubney initially donated the old group cottage on Bannister Downs.

One of only a few unmodified group houses remaining in the district, this well-preserved historic property completes the Museum’s collection of iconic buildings from the Post World War 1 Group Settlement Scheme.

After months living in a crowded tin shed in a group camp, and then time in a homemade tin shack on their farm, these small jarrah cottages, with floorboards, windows and four rooms, were provided to group settlers, as a part of the scheme.

The Museum plans to set up the house as a retrospective display, much as it might have looked when James and Agnes Munro lived in it, arriving in Northcliffe as group settlers in March 1926.

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It was reported in The West Australian that they were living on their farm a year later,

“that the Government had examined the case of Mr. and. Mrs Munro, group settlers, whose shack was recently burnt and it had decided to rebuild the shack, and to grant £lO as assistance to the family.”

The same report complained of the hardships being experienced by families whose houses were delayed by labour shortages. We believe the Munro house was probably built some time in 1927.

By the time the Munro family left the district in 1936, 10 people were living in the four-roomed house — the two adults and their eight children. The Museum has asked Don Munro to formally open the new display during the Easter 2024 Centenary Celebrations in Northcliffe.

Don was three years old at the time the family moved to Collie, and is the last living child of the family.

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