John Bussell

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An 1840s studio portrait of John Garrett Bussell

John Garrett Bussell (16 August 1803 – 17 September 1875) was an early settler in Western Australia.

John Garrett Bussell was born at Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire in England on 16 August 1803. He was educated at Winchester College in England, but after the death of his father the family decided to emigrate to Western Australia. John Bussell and three of his brothers sailed for Western Australia on board the Warrior late in 1829, with the rest of the Bussell family to follow once the brothers were established.

On arriving at the Swan River Colony in March 1830, the Bussell brothers were advised that most of the good land near the Swan River had already been granted. The Governor of Western Australia, Sir James Stirling suggested they instead join with a number of other families in joining a new sub-colony at Augusta. The following month, Stirling sailed with a party of prospective settlers on board the Emily Taylor. After arriving at the mouth of the Blackwood River, the party spent four days exploring the area. Stirling then confirmed his decision to establish a subcolony, the settlers' property was disembarked, and the town of Augusta declared at the site.

For four years the brothers tried unsuccessfully to establish a farm, initially at Augusta and then further up the Blackwood River. The brothers had immense difficulty clearing the land, and found the soil not particularly good for farming. John Bussell conducted numerous exploring expeditions in search of better land. He was particularly impressed with the quality of land at the Vasse, and explored the area thoroughly. When the Bussell's home was destroyed by fire in 1834, the family re-established themselves at the Vasse, where they became successful and prosperous farmers. John Bussell would remain at the homestead Cattle Chosen until his death.

John Bussell returned to England in 1837, with the intention of marrying his sweetheart Sophie Hayward. His relationship with her soured while he was in England, and their engagement was called off. However shortly after gaining his freedom Bussell met a widow named Charlotte Cookworthy (aunt of Joseph Cookworthy), to whom he became engaged three weeks later. After marrying her in August 1838, they returned to Western Australia in 1839.

Bussell became a Justice of the Peace in 1855, and a member of the Vasse Board of Education in 1861. During 1864 he taught at Bishop Hale's School (new Hale School) in Perth. He later undertook theological studies, but was never ordained. From 4 November 1870 to 3 July 1872, Bussell served as a nominee Member of the Western Australian Legislative Council. He died near Busselton on 17 September 1875.

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