Seven gain pioneer status

The latest group of residents to receive pioneer status in Wanneroo: (from left) Joe and Betty Havel, Marilyn Crisafulli, Helena Buytels, Mayor Tracey Roberts, Mary Borgogno, Trevor Johnson and Joe Hawkins.
The latest group of residents to receive pioneer status in Wanneroo: (from left) Joe and Betty Havel, Marilyn Crisafulli, Helena Buytels, Mayor Tracey Roberts, Mary Borgogno, Trevor Johnson and Joe Hawkins.

The 40th annual Pioneers’ Luncheon on July 23 paid tribute to people who had made a valuable contribution to the community for 50 years of their adult life.

Mayor Tracey Roberts told the gathering of about 150 people it was a celebration of residents who were an important part of Wanneroo’s identity.

“From 1872 when the district was home to just 60 families, our pioneers provided the foundations,” she said.

Mary Borgogno

Born in Perth in 1940; Mary was the daughter of Colombo and Maria De Piazzi and the youngest of four children.

She married her high school sweetheart Lino Borgogno in 1958 and six years later they moved to Ashley Road in Tapping with their sons Frank and Jeffrey.

They bought the 20-hectare Springhill Farm, with an abandoned farmhouse and a swamp that has now been developed as the Jimbub Swamp Reserve.

It was so isolated that they had to build their own rubble road. There was no phone until they got one in the packing shed that people could call on during business hours. The early days were very lonely.

They worked hard on the farm, which had dry stock and later four hectares of root vegetables, and went on to have daughter Gina.

The Borgognos immersed themselves in the local football and school communities, as well as the Wanneroo Country Club and the Agricultural Society.

Helena Joan Buytels 

Born in Singapore in 1941, Helena moved to Australia in 1951 with her adoptive parents Bert and Rose.

She studied nursing, going on to have a 35-year nursing career at hospitals all over Perth.

In 1961, aged 20, Helena went to a dance at the Embassy Ballroom in Perth where she met Frank and the couple married soon after.

The newlyweds moved to Elliot Road in Wanneroo, which later became Jambanis Road.

With 11ha of bushland, Frank and Helena cleared the land and built their own house, digging holes to install electricity and bores, and built 22 indoor and outdoor stables on the property.

They enjoyed a busy farm life, owning two cows, and later went into horse agistment.

The couple had three children, Timothy, Michael and Clifton.

Marilyn Crisafulli

Marilyn Crisafulli, the daughter of the late Ned and Veen, has lived her entire life in Wanneroo.

She often worked in the family’s local garage and service station, enabling her father to take part in his roles as a member of the Wanneroo Road Board, the Wanneroo Show and the Volunteer Bushfire Brigade.

Growing up at the 15 Mile Peg in Wanneroo, Marilyn was one of four children.

As soon as she was old enough, she helped out at the Wanneroo Show, stewarding in the exhibition pavilion.

One of her fondest memories was of the show some 55 years ago, and dressing up like a lady by wearing a hat and gloves.

Marilyn also remembers it as a big week when the first shopping centre opened.

She volunteered in the little shop at Mullaloo Beach, and later worked as a receptionist.

Betty Havel (Nee Currie)

Born in Cottesloe, Betty was a western suburbs girl until she met her husband Joe and they moved to Papua New Guinea.
On their return to Australia, the couple lived in Wanneroo, a compromise between Betty’s love of the beach and Joe’s love of the bush.

Formerly a dressmaker and then nurse, Betty left her working life to run her busy household and care for her son who had a rare bone disease.

She was an active parent at Wanneroo Primary School which her three children attended, and a voluntary library assistant for several years. With her husband and friends from the area, Betty ran a small Sunday school.

As the number of young families in the area grew, she became involved in the youth club and Christian fellowship.

Betty is a grandmother of nine, and a great-grandmother of six.

In the 1970s, her mother also moved to Wanneroo and lived at the Wanneroo Community Nursing Home.

Betty was a frequent visitor and became a familiar face to staff and residents, as her mother lived there for almost two decades to the age of 102.

Dr Jaroslav Joseph Havel (Joe)
After escaping war-torn Czechoslovakia, Joe came to WA as a refugee under a scheme that required him to do unskilled work in the bush for two years.

Coming from a coal-mining district devoid of trees, Joe developed a passion for the Australian bush and, after completing his post, he started studies and work in the forestry industry.

When working in Papua New Guinea, he and his family returned for a holiday in Yanchep. During the trip, Joe and his wife Betty decided to buy a house in Wanneroo.

He later secured a job planning local pine plantations. While working with the WA Forests Department, Joe discovered how well pines would grow by monitoring the composition of native vegetation.

His work in this area resulted in additions to Yanchep National Park and the creation of Melaleuca Park.

In 1957, when the Havels bought their Wanneroo Road property, the house had no electricity, and water was sourced from a rainwater tank or wind-powered bore.

They moved in permanently in 1964 and made it a comfortable place to raise their three children.

Joe was a member of the Wanneroo community running a small Sunday school.

Joseph James Hawkins (Joe)

Born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in 1945, Joe first lived in Wanneroo at the age of eight with his parents and five siblings.

His father Victor was a trade assistant and his mother Norah was a pig farmer.

In 1965, Joe married Daphne Webb and moved to Osborne Park briefly before returning to live on Wanneroo Road at the 13 Mile Peg in 1967.

He worked as a driver in the transport industry with Sam Conti, a local cartage contractor, then spent a few years setting up a transport company JJ Hawkins and Company, which today employs 100 people and is located in Landsdale with subsidiaries across WA.

Joe and Daphne had three children ” David, Julianne and Jamie ” and the family lived in Wanneroo and Kallaroo before moving to Jandabup in 1992, where he still lives. Joe served on the council from 1983-86 and remembers being appointed MC at an event celebrating Wanneroo becoming a City in October 1985.

He has been involved with Whitfords Sea Sport Club and Wanneroo Country Club.

Joe has also been a member of Rotary International since 1972 and it was while on a Rotary trip to Thailand that he met Ning. The couple married in 2006. Most of his five grandchildren are involved in the family business.

He remembers when Wanneroo was ‘a cut lunch and a water bag’ trip from Perth city.

He admits to some sadness seeing the landscape change over the years with bushland being cleared to make way for housing, but understands it goes hand in hand with a growing population.

Tevor Johnson OAM

Born and raised in the Mallee region in north western Victoria, Trevor Johnson achieved his boyhood dream of playing for Melbourne.

Playing under the legendary Norm Smith, the four-time premiership player became a life member, one of seven life memberships of various clubs he would eventually receive.

After his VFL career and several years in the commercial world, which took him to NSW and South Australia, Trevor and his wife Audrey settled in Perth in 1972 with their children Brett, Kim, Lee and Scott.

He bought a block on Belgrade Road, Wanneroo, and became a full-time mushroom grower.

Crown Mushrooms grew into the State’s biggest privately owned mushroom producer.

He joined the Wanneroo Rotary Club and was instrumental in establishing the Wanneroo Tennis Club, going on to form the Northern Districts Tennis Association.

Trevor has also supported the Wanneroo Show for many years, exhibiting mushrooms and as a sponsor.

Inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2004, he received the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of his service to the community of Wanneroo in 2006.