Weston Richard

Reseach by Gordon Freegard

Last updated April 2018

The very first people to settle and take up land in our area were generally former workers from Mason & Bird Sawmill. Just before and after it closed, areas of land were taken up and clearing commenced to start their new life as orchardists and growers in the district. Some of the earliest recorded settlers were the following; Henry & Anna Mottram who settled in Carmel 1874, Richard & Mary Weston who settled in Pickering Brook 1875, John & Emma Wallis who settled in Walliston 1880, Arthur & Annie Gibbs who settled in Bickley 1891. These are the stories of those early pioneering families.

Richard Philip and Mary Christina Weston were the first of the Weston family to settle in this district in 1875. They lived at Carmel near Mason and Bird’s Mill for two years. Richard was a wheelwright carpenter. He later became the first land holder of Pickering Brook taking up 250 acres below the present golf course, and established the “Springdale” orchard. He was a pioneer orchardist and mill owner and mill-worker in this area.

Richard had earlier worked as a carpenter and wheelwright at Mason’s Mill in what is now Mason Mill Road off Canning Road, in Carmel. A small village was soon established at Mason and Bird’s Mill, for 85 men, 15 women and 30 to 40 children. Mason built 30 slab huts, a blacksmith-wheelwright shop,a storehouse, saw pits and a neat three-roomed weatherboard cottage where he stayed when in the hills. An assembly hall, also used as a schoolroom, was also constructed.

Mason’s Mill was the furthest outpost of settlement in the hills, so when Richard took up his landholding at “Springdale”, he further extended settlement in the area.

Richard Weston was born in Limerick in Ireland and Mary was born in Fremantle to an English father and Irish mother. They were very loyal to their church. Since then there have been many mixed religion marriages including that of Anne Hewison and Gregory Weston. Ann was Church of England and the Weston’s were Roman Catholic.


At one stage Richard and Mary decided to go and live in South Australia. They made the decision in a hurry after the ship left Fremantle. They then travelled to Albany so that they could catch the ship there. They were held up several times on the way and when they arrived in Albany it was only to see the ship disappearing out of sight. It really was lucky because before the ship reached South Australia it met severe storms and crashed into rocks and sank. There were very few survivors.

Richard and Mary, who at the time were disappointed at missing the boat, slowly returned to Carmel and settled down near Mason and Bird’s mill.

Richard and Mary’s first son Francis was born on the 17th January 1876 and he died two days later and was buried on a nearby hillside in the bush. This was a common practice in pioneering days when there was no cemetery except in Perth. This small grave is just down the road from where Mason’s Mill once stood. Richard made his son’s coffin and built a fence around it – the workmanship was meticulous. (Described in detail in “Kalamunda of the Dreamtime” by F. J. McNamara) The name and dates of birth and death of Francis Weston were inscribed on the head piece that was carved by Richard. He also made the picket fence around it. Thereafter, Richard tended the grave, clearing around it in case of bushfires.

When he moved to Pickering Brook, he rode there regularly to keep it in order and safe from fire, until he died in 1922. For the next forty years Gregory Weston, the seventh son of Richard and Mary’s eleven children, also rode on horseback to maintain it. This tradition was continued by his son, Niel. Niel’s two daughters Marilyn (Rollings) and Jill (Della Franca) and their children and grand-children are looking after it now. This tradition set by a loving father of his first-born son, will surely endure.

The grave has been heritage listed by the Heritage Council of Western Australia and also appears on some road maps as “historic grave”.

At Mason’s Mill there was no shop, though there was a small school. The settlers rode on horseback through rough bush tracks to Guildford for stores. For years this was also the practice at Pickering and the task often fell to the wives whilst the men carved a living from timber or the land.

After Mason’s Mill closed some families remained in the cottages, including Richard Weston and his wife. This settlement was the only one in the hills – the furthest outpost from Perth-Guildford. Kalamunda was not settled until some years later.

Richard decided to go further afield by a few miles and took up 250 acres of land at Pickering Brook. Between clearing the land and making the beginnings of an orchard, Richard established a small mill south of Carinyah Road – it is shown on many local maps as “Westons”. Clearing land was a mammoth task and early settlers had little in the way of equipment. He built a house on his property “Springdale”, which the family occupied when they left Mason’s Mill. “Springdale” was situated below the present golf course. The house was built near a small creek. One of the Gava brothers now lives on part of that original block.

Richard and Mary had eleven children. Their names were;

Francis born January 1876, died two days later
Francis John (Frank) born 1876, died 1953
Henry Joseph born 1878, died 1928
Richard born October 1880, died one day later
Christina Mary born 1881. died 1883
Bertha Amelia born 1884, died 1964
Gregory Phillip born 1886, died 1962
Eva Susie born 1889, died 1968
Louis Noel born December 1891, died 1973
Lillian Mary born 1894, died 1971
Mary Elizabeth (Mollie) born 1896, died November 30th 1920


Their house at “Springdale” was a long building. At one end was a sitting room opening on to a railed verandah. As the family grew up this room was used for family get-to-gethers and impromptu dances for them and the few locals. As Canning Mills opened more people came into the area but the land settlement was slow. Frank and Harry Weston supplied the music on their accordions. In the room was an organ and about once a month a priest came from Perth or Guildford, to give Mass and the organ was used regularly.

Most of the children eventually moved away from the area, but Gregory settled in Pickering Brook on a property not far away from his father’s “Springdale” property. Frank and Harry ran the orchard and inherited it after Richard and Mary died in 1922. Both had built houses on separate parts of the property. Harry’s house being at the edge of it along what is now the road to Canning Mills and Karragullen. He had a large barn with two huge pine trees beside it. This was often used for social events – dances , even a wedding breakfast – and this continued until the Carilla Hall was built in 1926. Harry also had a tennis court on the flat land by the creek and family and friends enjoyed tennis there. He and Lucy, his wife, were keen on tennis. His property was like “old Springdale”, a social centre for the district. Harry was killed in a motor accident in 1928, at the foot of Kalamunda Hill. He and his wife had been with another couple to play tennis at a venue near Guildford, when the driver appeared to blackout and the car veered into a culvert. “Springdale” then lost its focus as a social centre.

A couple of other private tennis courts were built a little later, at Shadforths and Padgetts, and later on club tennis courts appeared at the old club.

Richard Weston was responsible for building the huge “Daisy Bell” whim, which was used to haul large jarrah logs from the bush to the mill. He was a very talented wheelwright and carpenter.


Richard Weston’s four daughters married. Eva lived in Pickering Brook after marriage and had four daughters. In the late 1920’s they moved to Mount Lawley. Bertha also lived in Mount Lawley but her husband was often in Pickering Brook in his job as Inspector of Fruit with the Agricultural Department. Lily married a farmer and lived in Broomehill. Mollie, the youngest, died in late 1919 after a severe illness.

Of the large Weston Family, the only ones now bearing the name are the son and grandson of Mervyn Weston, Frank’s elder son. He lived in Busselton for many years. These descendants visited Pickering Brook recently and are interested in the family history. Some of Mary Weston’s family also retain interest. Her sister Susie Moriarty lived for a time in the Pickering Brook townsite in the 1930’s.

Frank Weston, was the second of Richard and Mary’s eleven children. He was a partner with Syd Smailes in a small Sawmill at Pickering Brook prior to moving to Cottesloe where he conducted a blacksmiths’ business. He was a member of the Road Board for a number of years, and was instrumental, to a great extent, in establishing the Piesse Brook Soldiers’ Settlement Scheme. He was a first class axeman, and at many a log-chopping contest was the handicapper and starter. On giving up axe work he took up firewood and sleeper contracting. About 1,500 of the jarrah poles on which the Perth G.P.O. rests were cut by him.
Frank Weston had six children: Leila, Ilma, Phylis, Marjory, Laural and Louis.
He died on 12th December 1953, aged seventy-seven

Louis Weston had returned from the war and was stationed in Busselton with the Forestry Department. He married Annie Elizabeth May Reading in 1929 and lived there until his death in 1973.

Gregory Philip Weston remained in Pickering Brook and took up 50 acres of land about 2 miles from “Springdale”, on the Barton’s Mill road, in about 1920. At first he built a small house on the further block, near the creek but after a while – about 1924-1925 – sold half the land to the Holroyd Family and assisted by Harry, built a house on the block nearer Pickering Brook and the main road. This property was also called “Springdale”. He and his wife Anne (nee Hewison) had married in November 1918 and with their family, lived there for many years. Greg was the only one of the sons to remain in Pickering Brook and was well known and respected by all. After World War 1 there was growth in population, largely due to the Soldiers Settlement Scheme (which Frank Weston helped engineer locally).

Gregory and Anne had three children, Hazel, Niel and Merle.

Gregory was a Justice of the Peace and he helped many families who came to the district over the years.

Gregory remembers that day it snowed at Walliston in the late 1890’s. It was on the property of Dave Wallis. The snow was seen by Dave Wallis, Greg Weston and Frank Weston. He also remembers the time when a huge tree was cut down near Mason’s Mill. It was too big to haul, but years later in 1887 it was cut up and made into furniture presented to Queen Victoria for her Jubilee. It could be that a bit of Kalamunda still stands in Buckingham Palace.

Gregory’s children, Hazel, Niel and Merle spent many happy times playing in the creek that ran through the property. A canoe made from a sheet of corrugated iron added to their fun and was a real challenge to paddle.

A very popular regular event was the gathering of friends and relatives for Sunday lunch. Such gatherings included family, relatives and friends such as William and Helen Hewison who owned the Pickering Brook Post Office and General Store, Alice and Bert Beard who later took over ownership of the shop, Roy and Doris Gray who owned the Karragullen General Store, Flo Hewison who married Ray Owen, together with six children.

Playing Tennis was a very popular sport and many families had their own courts. As its popularity increased, two courts were built behind the Carilla Hall, next to the School. The site is still used by the school today for court related sports. Local women played tennis and joined in afternoon tea every Wednesday. It became a real social event and was eagerly looked forward to each week.


Back Row


Middle Row


Front Row


Greg Weston was a Justice of the Peace for many years until his death in 1962. On the day of his funeral, Mr. Bendall (the storekeeper who was new to the district) was on his grocery delivery round only to find scarcely a soul on any property and was bemused. Everyone was at the funeral service.

Family Tree (2018)

Gregory Phillip (Dec.)
Anne Hewison (Dec.) Hazel Weston (Dec.)
Ted Hodgson (Dec.)

Niel Weston (Dec.)
Mollie Green Marilyn Weston
Ian Rollings (Dec.) Sean Rollings
Emily Rollings

Jill Weston
Fred Della Franca Craig Della Franca
Gail Mitchell Della Franca
Nicholas Della Franca
Nathan Della Franca

Grant Della Franca
Kylie Will Della Franca
Lydia Della Franca

Sandra Della Franca
Peter Georgia

Merle Weston
Ron Dunlop Anne Dunlop
Rod Safstrom Marcus Safstrom
Kieron Safstrom

Brett Dunlop


Niel Weston married Molly Green and they had two children, Marilyn and Jill. Niel carried on his Grandfather’s talent as a exceptional axeman and worker of timber. He built his own house on his property at Pickering Brook. Many other examples of his workmanship still remain throughout the district: The entrance arch to the Pickering Brook Sports Club, the post and rail fence around the McCaskill Grave at Canning Mills, the post and rail fence around the Weston Grave at Carmel, the entrance arch at the Kalamunda & Districts Historical Society and the entrance arch at Walliston Primary School.

Niel Weston, Greg’s son, added his father’s block to his own and Anne Weston lived in the house until her death in 1970. It was always a happy, hospitable home.

Mac Beard relates a Weston Story. He remembers his father was helping Niel Weston build his new house which they had nearly finished when Laurie Spriggs pulled up in his truck. Stopping at the top of the steep drive he walked down to the new house with a couple of bottles of refreshments to share with the weary builders. However the handbrake failed and the truck rolled down the slope and crashed in the front of the house almost completely demolishing the front room.

Many members of the Weston Family have attended the Pickering Brook Primary School over the years. Only two ex-students have ever returned to the school as teachers. Greg Weston’s daughter Hazel was a student at the Pickering Brook Primary School and later became a teacher there. The only other student to return to the school as a teacher was Jill Weston’s daughter Sandra Fields (nee Della Franca).

Now Niel’s daughter Jill (Della Franca) lives on the property in a house next to the old home which was demolished. On the last property Niel owned in Kingsmill Road, his elder daughter Marilyn (Rollings) lives.

Niel Weston’s widow Mollie, and his two daughters and their families, still live in Pickering Brook. His sisters Hazel and Merle, are married and live in Floreat and Nedlands but return to Pickering Brook often.

Richard and Mary’s descendants still keep in touch with Pickering Brook and the bonds are strong and filled with affection for this wonderful area which was initially pioneered by Richard Weston.

Heritage Listing

In 2009 The Weston Grave was officially listed on the Register of Heritage Places by the Heritage Council of Western Australia. It was recognised as the last remaining timber headboard on a lonely grave in the Perth Metropolitan area and a rare surviving example of a custom bush burial.

The Grave at Carmel

The east wind is wailing at Carmel Today,

The forest is singing of wind and of wave,

The she-oaks are sighing, the tall jarrahs sway,

as silent we stand by a little bush grave

A son of true pioneers sleeps in this plot,

For eighty five years in this grave he has slept,

Soothed by the soft lullabies over his cot,

Aware of a watch and ward faithfully kept.

We think of his mother to honour and praise,

The pioneer mothers so faithful and true,

Who trod the blue Range and its stern rugged ways,

Ah! what were their thoughts when the easterlies blew.

The she-oaks bend lovingly over his bed,

Like spirits of Pity, of Mercy, of Love,

And sigh their sad lullaby over the dead,

Who lost his life here to find it above.

The east wind is mourning at Carmel today,

The forest is singing of sea-beaten shore,

Of crashing of breakers, of far-flung salt spray,

Of grandeur of ocean and depth of its roar.

But, silent, we stand by the little bush grave

To think of the days that have long passed away,

And of the true men and women so brave,

Over whom mourns the east wind at Carmel today.


Records at the State Records Office show that a RICHARD WESTERN was a Ticket of Leave man who served the final years of his sentence at Mason and Bird’s Timber Mill. He was sentenced to serve a period of seven years for “Possession of House Breaking Tools” and transported to Perth in 1864, according to the “Register of Convict Arrivals”.

Further research will probably confirm that RICHARD WESTERN and RICHARD WESTON are the same person, since there is a strong similarity in age, place of employment, and nature of employment.