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People often ask us, ‘Where did the name Amelia Park come from?’ This question has its answer in a special relationship between our family and a remarkable pioneering woman named Amelia (‘Cissy’) Curtis.

Over 60 years ago, when our parents, Vern and Jean Walsh, were a young couple, they befriended Amelia, then in her mid-70s, a tall, gentle woman of great dignity and strength, who lived at historic Inlet Park in Busselton. At that time, Amelia was still running the family farm single-handedly.

Amelia was a pioneer of the Busselton region, a third-generation descendant of hard-working settlers who arrived in the Swan River Colony in the 1830s and who eventually established themselves as farmers in the south-west. In 1886, Amelia’s father William inherited Inlet Park with its lush cattle pastures, moving his wife Jane and their young family from Bunker Bay. Amelia was the fourth child.

Amelia (‘Cissy’) Curtis near Chapman’s historic horse-drawn flour mill at Inlet Park

Amelia’s brother, William Henry Curtis (‘Bill’), aged 22, pictured outside the Inlet Park homestead in 1899.

One by one, her brothers (two killed in  World War 1) married and started farms of their own. Then Amelia’s five sisters also married, leaving her alone on the property. With occasional labour and help from family nearby, Amelia cleared trees, raised cattle, ran a dairy, and sold the produce, butter and cheese, and fruit from the orchard. Surplus milk sustained a piggery. Her only permanent help was Bluey, her cattle dog.

An excellent horsewoman, often out checking cattle in all weather, inspecting fences and rounding up stray yearlings along the Sabina River that meandered through the property, Amelia never married and lived at Inlet Park almost all of her life.

In the small world of farming, Amelia first leased land to our father Vernon, for pasturing cattle and later sold him the Yuligugilup property over the road from her homestead for £10,000.

Amelia eventually left Inlet Park due to old age and passed away aged 96 in Nannup on 2 November 1975. Her ashes were interred in her parents’ grave in Busselton.

When Vern and Jean later bought another beef property in the area, they named it Amelia Park in tribute to this courageous woman. Although our parents have both since passed on, the property is still called Amelia Park and in the 1990s we decided to use the affectionate name to brand our lamb and beef in her honour.