The beginnings of Brentwood

The beginnings of Brentwood

This week the Melville Times will uncover some of the history of the suburb of Brentwood, first developed in the early 1950s.

The suburb borders the waters of Bull Creek and would have been a camping and fishing area for Aboriginal inhabitants. The river area near Grasmere homestead is a culturally significant site for Aboriginal people as the water creator is said to have passed through there to create Piney Lakes and Booragoon.

Grasmere

Brentwood is also the site of the historic Bateman homestead Grasmere. The homestead was built in 1886 and is a one-storey brick-and-iron building with a surrounding verandah. The outbuildings are a variety of brick-and-iron structures. It was originally built as a holiday retreat by John Wesley Bateman on 514 hectares of land.

It is a typical homestead of the period, being one of the oldest and few remaining substantial dwellings with a direct link to one of the early pioneering families in the Melville district as well as Fremantle. Its location and proximity to the river reflects a way of life for the early pioneers of the district, when the only means of transport was by means of the water.

In 1910, William Augustus Bateman and his family set up full-time residency at the house. The family had the distinction of being one of the families with the longest continuous association with the Melville District.

Dr George Hayter

Dr Hayter came to Australia from Sussex, England, in 1966 with his wife Jane and four small children. He was a welcome addition to the Brentwood General Practice (which stood where Cafe Denada is now) as there was a significant shortage of doctors in Perth at the time, but Jane said she’d give Australia one year before she decided whether they would stay.

Unfortunately, the Hayter family’s arrival coincided with a dockworkers’ strike in Liverpool and the family, who had packed up everything they owned and sent it ahead of them, arrived to not a single piece of furniture.

‘We had not a single spoon or fork,’ Dr Hayter told Melville museums and local history staff.

‘Somehow word spread around the area and soon we were avalanched with people bringing beds and sheets and everything we needed. We were absolutely flabbergasted and Jane said: ‘never mind the year; if the people here are like this, we’ll stay’.’

Dr Hayter said the patients he met working in Brentwood were hard-working and very good patients.

He worked at the Brentwood practice for five years before opening a surgery in Perth, where he worked until he retired.

Street names and landmarks

Many of the streets in Brentwood are named after sailors on the muster list of HMS Sulphur, commanded by Captain WT Dance in June, 1829. These include:

Adamson Road, Daniel Adamson, sometimes called David, was Captain of Foretop.

Aldridge Road, William Aldridge, seaman.

Cambey Way, James Cambey, seaman.

Cromer Road, William Cromer, seaman and house carpenter.

Dawson Road, Richard Dawson, Admiralty Mate.

Disney Street, DC Disney, midshipman.

Durant Way, Samuel Durant, whitesmith.

Madden Way, John Madden, midshipman.

Reddington Way, John Reddington, armourer and shipsmith.

Selway Place and Road, David Selway.

Sicklemore Street, John C Sicklemore.

Other names are of Aboriginal origin or named for members of the pioneering Bateman family.

Cranford Avenue, English location

Freeth Court, Susan Freeth was employed by town planner Margaret Feilman, who was responsible for the layout of Brentwood.

Grasmere, the homestead is named after a village in the Lake District of England, which looks over Lake Grasmere.

Lang Street, James Lang, Member of Roads Board 1913 – 1914.

Moolyeen Road, Aboriginal name.

Pulo Road, Mrs Alice Bessie Pulo Bateman lived at Grasmere.

Rivett Way, middle name of John Carnac, First-Lieutenant on HMS Success.

Shaw Close, Captain of J and W Batemans ship Laughing Wave.

Spinaway Crescent, one of J and W Batemans’ ships.

n Thanks to the City of Melville Museums and Local History Service for providing the photos and information for this feature. Next month, The Times will focus on the suburb of Leeming. Readers with photos or stories can submit them to the Melville Discovery Centre. Call 9364 0158 or email mdc@melville.wa.gov.au.