Bunbury resident’s push for statue for town’s pioneer Helen Scott

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Bunbury resident Annette Morgan is pushing for more recognition of one of the town’s first settlers, who was this month inducted into the WA Women's Hall of Fame.
Camera IconBunbury resident Annette Morgan is pushing for more recognition of one of the town’s first settlers, who was this month inducted into the WA Women's Hall of Fame. Credit: Ailish Delaney / South Western Times/Ailish Delaney

A Bunbury couple is pushing for more recognition of the work of one of the town’s first European settlers and calling to have a statue erected in her honour.

Helen McGregor Scott was the first white woman to settle in Bunbury when she migrated to Australia from Scotland in the 1830s and was this month inducted in the WA Women’s Hall of Fame.

As someone with a keen interest in her own family background, Annette Morgan was eager to learn the history of her Beach Road home when she purchased it 15 years ago.

Only then did she and her husband Bob find that it belonged to Jane Scott, Helen’s daughter-in-law, and it served as a maternity hospital in the 1900s — and that’s deep dive began.

Mrs Morgan took an interest in Helen’s life and work, so much so that she wrote the nomination for her Hall of Fame entry.

“Once we started doing the research, I realised what a powerhouse she was in the community and what a profound impact she had here,” Mrs Morgan said.

Helen and John Scott, the first European settlers of Bunbury.
Camera IconHelen and John Scott, the first European settlers of Bunbury. Credit: Picture: Bunbury Historical Society

The daughter of a doctor, Helen had grown up around the medical industry while in Scotland, but since women were not allowed to be doctors she became a nurse.

Helen worked as a midwife when she lived in Guildford and then worked as a healer in the Bunbury community.

“She learned the Noongar language to get to know the Aboriginal women in Bunbury and be able to help them with their birthing,” Mrs Morgan said

Mrs Morgan said Helen’s healing skills were an important part of the Bunbury community at the time and she deserved to be recognised for her contribution.

Bunbury resident Annette Morgan is pushing for more recognition of one of the town's first settlers, who was this month inducted into the WA Women's Hall of Fame.
Camera IconBunbury resident Annette Morgan is pushing for more recognition of one of the town's first settlers, who was this month inducted into the WA Women's Hall of Fame. Credit: Ailish Delaney / South Western Times/Ailish Delaney

The Scott family currently has a memorial, which was erected in 1961 and now sits at Centenary Gardens, in recognition of John and Helen Scott, and their sons Robert, William and John Jr and stepson Daniel McGregor.

However, Mrs Morgan is hoping for an independent recognition of Helen’s contribution to Bunbury and achievements.

It’s time for women to be recognised for their achievements, so we want to help her get recognised for her work.

Annette Morgan

“We all know about John Forrest, but when you think about Helen, the work she did and ground she covered and difficulties she had to endure, she deserves that special recognition,” Mr Morgan said.

Two other South West locals were inducted in the Hall of Fame — author May Gibbs, who lived in Harvey for a period, and Bunbury’s Mary Cuper, who worked as a telegraphist on the line to Geraldton via New Norcia.

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