Last night Adam and I enjoyed a wonderful evening attending the Bridgetown Historic Society’s – After Dark Historic Tour which was held as part of the town’s Winter Festival. Some 60 odd people, rugged up in their winter woollies and took part in the tour, walking the main street of the town discovering interesting information about the history of Bridgetown, it’s buildings and the people who settled in the region.
The tour party was skilfully guided by Constable Abraham Moulton (played by Richard Allen), the first permanent police officer of the small colonial hamlet of Geegelup (modern day Bridgetown).
Constable Moulton told participants that he took up his post in 1865 and was responsible for patrolling a vast district area that stretched from Donnybrook in the north, Busselton in the west, Walpole in the south and Kojonup in the east. He remained in the role until 1877 when he retired from the role because he was offered a promotion and did not wish to leave the town. He then took up alternative activities within the town including, general store owner to maintain his huge family of 11 children.
The Constable recited fascinating stories about the town’s history and he introduced us to many interesting characters from the past, including Mrs Maslin (played by Mary Elgar) the town’s first midwife, Mrs Katie Allnutt (played by Patricia Higgott) wife of John Allnutt – the so called founding father of the orchard industry in the South West, Mrs Esther Moulton (played by Sue Bottomley) the constable’s wife, who was also the first post mistress of the town as well as, the local undertaker Frederick ‘Polly’ Dakin (played by Trevor Bottomley).
We also heard stories about John Blechynden (junior) the town butcher, ‘Roaring’ Bob Crawford the publican of the Freemason Hotel who was a well known local identity and entrepreneur in the early parts of the twentieth century – Roaring Bob was always seeking a way to make a buck and Mr Joseph Smith the carpenter who built many of the town’s first buildings.
Along the way participants were also told about a number of ghost’s who haunt some of the town’s buildings and many of the young participants on the tour peered longingly into a few of the shop windows trying to see the ghosts or their activities which were described by the Constable as being more mischievous than malicious … the ghosts clearly just want us to remember they were once here and we should never forget them.
The evening ended with hot chocolate and nibbles at the Old Goal building where staff of the Historic Society continued to entertain guests.
The evening was a wonderful experience for all and special thanks must be given to the Bridgetown Historic Society as well as the Bridgetown Repertory Theatre who assisted in the event.
The After Dark Historic Tour will be conducted again on Thursday 13 July 2017 from 7.00 PM. For more information please contact the Bridgetown Historic Society – https://www.bridgetownhistoricalsociety.org.au/ or visit their Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/BHSOC/