Book preserves the history of the region

Polly the steam tractor, which was converted to run on rails at Buckingham's Mill in the early 1900s, holds pride of place outside the Collie Visitor Centre. Photo: supplied
Polly the steam tractor, which was converted to run on rails at Buckingham's Mill in the early 1900s, holds pride of place outside the Collie Visitor Centre. Photo: supplied

A new book detailing the history of the Buckingham, Muja, Shotts and Bowelling area will be launched next month.

The book, which was commissioned by the Buckingham Heritage Group and compiled by author John Bird, traces the development of the area from pre-European days, through the decades of shepherding cattle and sheep, the early timber harvesting by sleeper hewers and right up to the present day.

Mr Bird said it had taken him almost three years of speaking to former residents and trawling through old newspapers to compile the book.

He said he’d come across a lot of interesting information that he hadn’t known about the area in his research.

“There was a lot of interesting information I came across and it was easy to get sidetracked by it along the way,” he said.

“That was the hardest part of putting the book together – making sure you kept focus on the task at hand.”

Mr Bird, who has written a number of local history books, said he got involved in the project because he enjoyed the research aspect, but also because he ‘felt an obligation’ to capture the region’s history for future generations.

He said he had tried to stay away from the more common knowledge about mining in the area, instead focussing on some of the area’s lesser known history and families.

Buckingham Heritage Group president Lyndon Pilatti said the book was ‘beautifully presented’ and would be of interest to ‘anyone intrigued by our local history’.

Mr Bird said the book was made possible due to financial assistance from the shire, Lotterywest, the Collie Miners Welfare Board, Bendigo Bank and Premier Coal.

The book will be launched at an event in the gardens of Buckingham House at 1.30pm on Saturday, December 8, with an afternoon tea and a tour of the home to follow.

To RSVP, call 0407 445 704.