Through the Eyes of Henry Gray: Investigating the influence of the Temperance Movement and Wesleyan Methodism on the Greenough Flats, Western Australia, 1839 – 1900
A new research project has just begun on the historic settlement on the Greenough Flats, which are situated approximately 400km north of Perth, and 25km south of Geraldton, Western Australia.
In Western Australia, a recommendation for the establishment of a temperance society in King George Sound (Albany) was put forward as early as 1833, on the basis that ‘temperance societies have been found to be highly beneficial by discouraging the use of ardent spirits’ (The Perth Gazette, 19th October 1833, p.167-8). Temperance advocates were aiming to combat numerous issues in the colony, such as increases in crime rates and illness, which were linked to drunkenness. Temperance advocates with religious motivations also tended to focus on making the connection between immorality and drunkenness. In this way, motivations behind the temperance movement were multi-layered.
This research aims to explore the nature of the temperance movement in Western Australia by examining social issues related to drunkenness and the motivations that lay behind the establishment of temperance and teetotaller societies in Western Australia. This research will also explore the ways in which the temperance movement influenced secular and religious organisations and commercial enterprise in the Western Australian colony by examining what motivated individuals to establish a lodge of the Independent Order of Good Templars (I.O.G.T.) in Perth and the Midwest (Geraldton & Greenough), what motivated settlers to join the movement, and whether members of the I.O.G.T. achieved the outcomes they set out to achieve. Particular focus will be given to Charles Watson Gray, who established the I.O.G.T. in Western Australia, and Charles’ father, Henry Gray, who established a network of general stores (H. Gray & Co.) in Greenough & Geraldton, and whose personal and commercial interests were influenced by his support for and involvement with the I.O.G.T.
Beginning in November 2015, archaeological investigations will be conducted at Henry Gray’s general store and the Temperance Lodge, which are two National Trust properties located along Company Road, on the Greenough Flats. This research has been initiated through collaboration with the National Trust (NTWA), which manages 19 historic places on the Greenough Flats. The NTWA wish to gain a greater understanding of the heritage places in Western Australia that have come into their custodianship.
Gray’s Store (HCWA1153) following restoration by National Trust and Palassis Architects in 1977 (Photo: Hetherington, February 2015).
View of ‘Temperance Lodge’ (HCWA3729) from Company Road (Photo: Hetherington, February 2015).
Facebook has also been used to connect and communicate with local residents, which has made it possible to connect with the wider community, including descendants of the settlers on the Greenough Flats. Descendants of Henry Gray and William Moore have already contributed photographs and documents from private collections, which have been of vital importance to understanding the history of Gray’s Store. Many of those who already take an interest in the history of the Greenough Flats settlement are familiar with the Pioneer Museum and Gardens in Greenough. Therefore, the project has been advertised through the museum’s Facebook page, to raise awareness about the upcoming fieldwork in Greenough, to spark further community interest and participation in this research.
Advertising the project on the Greenough Museum and Gardens Facebook page.
If you are interested in volunteering for the excavations in 2016, or wish to gain experience in historical archaeology, send an email to Melissa at: [email protected]
This blog first appeared in the ASHA Newsletter 2015, vol 45, no 3, pp 10-12.
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