Busselton is a town in the South West region of Western Australia. Founded in 1832 by the Bussell family, Busselton has been one of the fastest growing regions in Australia in the last decade and has a population of over 20,000. Busselton is located 220 km south west of Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Busselton has been voted Western Australia’s top tourist town three times in 1995, 1996 and 2005.
Prior to white settlement in 1832, and for at least 40,000 years, the Busselton area has been home to the Noongar Aboriginal people. The colonisation of Western Australia in 1829 had a major impact on the life of the Noongar people. Many towns in the Busselton area, such as Wonnerup, Yallingup and Carbunup River, still hold their original Noongar names.
The present name of Busselton derives from the Bussell family. It was first officially used in June 1835. The Bussells, who were not consulted about the name, preferred the name Capel after a relative in England, Capel Carter, but the name Busselton was retained. A town named Capel was later established to the north of Busselton.
Being in close proximity to the tall timber country, Busselton soon established itself as a leading port. In 1850, timber was being exported and the small town prospered. Jetties for this purpose were built at Wonnerup, Busselton and Quindalup. Of these, only the Busselton Jetty remains.
During World War II 476 Busselton born men signed up for service; 20 in the Royal Australian Navy, 110 in the Royal Australian Air Force and 346 in the Australian Army. The names of the fallen are displayed on the towns war memorial alongside those of World War I in St Marys Park. During the war Busselton was home to an Air Force training base – remains of the base can still be seen today from the Busselton Bypass Road. A Royal Australian Air Force P-51 Mustang fighter was given the nickname Busselton in honour of the people of Busselton and their support of War Loan fundraising activities