Margaret River

This river was named after Margaret Whicher in 1831. Whicher was the cousin of John Garret, the founder of Busselton.

The Wadandi Aboriginal people first lived in the Margaret River region. They were one of the fourteen Noongar tribes. In the 1830s, European settlers arrived near Cape Leeuwin and adopted forestry, diary, and other lifestyles. In 1912, three houses were built in the region.

In the 1920s, the government introduced a Group Settlement Scheme, encouraging the development of a community with food shops, post offices, bakeries and hospitals. This rapidly increased the local population from 200 to 2400. Pine trees were planted in 1933. The Prevelly Caravan Park was developed in the 1950s which, in turn, made the marked Margaret River into a beloved holiday and tourist destination.

In 1966 Dr. John Gladstone, an agronomist, wrote a paper stating that the Margaret River would be an ideal place to grow grapes. According to Gladstones, this region showed many similarities to the French wine-producing area of Bordeaux.

Margaret River

Image attribute: Wikipedia

In 1967, inspired by the above study, Cardiologist Dr. Tom Cullity planted the first vineyard in Margaret River. He had bought eight acres of land at a price of $75/acre on Harman’s Road south. He named the vineyard, Vasse Felix after a French sailor who was thought to have died in the surf on the southwest coast in 1801. This name is still used today for Dr. Tom Cullity’s vineyard.

In the 1970s, 20 new vineyards, and in the 1980s more than 20 vineyards, were planted. New varieties were imported, which were previously banned as a result of the general fear that Phylloxera and other bugs would also be imported.

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The weather of the region is perfectly suitable for wine production. The wine industry has really shaped the face of the Margaret River area. The quality of wine is regularly acknowledged all over the world. The quality of the wines, delicious food, world-class restaurants and breathtaking scenery makes it the perfect destination to visit, especially for wine lovers.

The wines of the Margaret River are influenced by European wines. They contribute only 3% to all Australian wines but are one of the finest available in the world.

Want to read more? Try these books!

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  1. Margaret River (Wine Region) – Alchetron, the Free Social Encyclopedia.” 2017. August 18, 2017.
  2. O’Connell, Jan. 1960. “Margaret River Wine Region Identified – Australian Food History Timeline.” Australian Food Timeline. September 20, 1960.
Categories: This Day in Wine History | ArticlesTags: By Published On: October 28, 2022

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