2018 year in review | Busselton and Dunsborough

The year started out with excitement as Busselton held its first same-sex wedding with Shelly and Jules saying “I do” in front of family and friends on the foreshore.

Plenty happens in the first month of the year when the Festival of Busselton puts on a variety of events to keep the summer fun.

The annual float parade had families lining Queen Street, with children excitedly spraying the crowds with water and collecting lollies thrown from floats.

February kicks off the school ball season with high school students stepping out in their finest to celebrate their final year of school.

A generous donation from an inaugural member of the Naturaliste Volunteer Marine Rescue group was enough for the volunteer group to buy a new boat which they named the RV Guiness in memory of the late Jerry Guiness.

After 22 years of not seeing a clean shaven face, Scott Robinson took it all off for cancer research in memory of his late mum Dawn.

 A community group formed to help restore Tuart Forest, which is the only forest in the world to grow a particular variety of tuart trees.

Queen Street glittered in March with hundreds of people lining the streets to celebrate Busselton’s first ever pride event supporting the LGBTIQ community.

Busselton’s Black Dog Ride were blown away by the success of this year’s event which attracted 300 riders to raise funds for the  National Suicide Prevention Strategy and Lamp Inc.

Dunsborough’s foreshore was transformed with 30 artworks dotted along the coastline for Sculpture in the Bay.

Busselton’s favourite sheep Stewie became an international heartthrob with followers on social media from as far as the UK and the USA.

The Old Butter Factory turned 100 years, the community marked the occasion with historical exhibits, demonstrations and photos from the early farming settlement of Busselton. 

Sadly, two weeks later a fire broke out in the historic museum causing extensive damage to the building and destroyed many of the exhibits on display.

In April, Relay for Life raised more than $58,000 for the Cancer Council, acclaimed WA artist Andy Quilty was named the winner of the Vasse Art Awards and Ronald McDonald House opened it's latest family retreat in Busselton.

Nannup made headlines with Ride WA planning to make Nannup’s state forests and the South West town an international cycling mecca.

In a sign of the times, Busselton’s last video store closed, Port Geographe’s now famous salvage crew returned from QLD with a TV show and girls with autism were celebrated on World Autism Day at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory.

Emergency services were kept busy in May when the first storm hit the region ahead of winter and artist Violet Watts was name a finalist in Australia’s prestigious Young Archie awards.

Thousands of visitors came to the region to compete in the Ironman 70.3 and the community celebrated the many wonderful volunteers who help make this place great.

Dunsborough campaigners Puma2Go were let down by a Supreme Court decision when it handed down a decision about the location of a controversial petrol station in the town’s centre.

Owners of the Discover Deadly Naturaliste Reptile Park in Carbunup River were left gutted after animals were stolen from the centre.

Kmart frenzy gripped the region in June when the specialty store opened its doors for the first time in Busselton and the region was hit by a second storm causing extensive damage to the coastline.

Relationships Australia WA and headspace officially opened their doors and

Beloved teacher John Filipiak was overwhelmed by the community’s generosity, which raised funds to help buy his family a new car after he sustained life changing injuries in a car accident.

The Undalup Association officially opened Merenj Boodja, Busselton’s very own bush tucker garden, depicting the six Noongar seasons during Reconciliation Week.

Much to everyone’s delight Busselton, resident Dennis Ngo returned to the region and followed in his family’s footsteps - opening his first Chinese restaurant in the Vasse Village.

Excitement stirred for the Busselton Margaret River Airport development when Qantas shortlisted Busselton to be one of two locations for a pilot training academy.

Three Bears surf break near Yallingup was closed due to a decomposing whale carcass drifting south of the coastline.

It would not be June without the region swinging to the smooth sounds coming out of Dunsborough for Jazz by the Bay.

Things got muddy in July when thousands of people ran through the fields of Bootleg Brewery and trail riders darted through trails for the Capel 200 Trail Bike Rally.

The Busselton Football Club treasurer Shontelle Bowman braved the shave to help raise $13,541 for the Leukaemia Foundation. 

After years of deliberation the City of Busselton council approved a cafe development for the Dunsborough foreshore and in Busselton The Good Egg was named cafe of the year.

August sizzled with film stars who were in town for CinefestOZ and hundreds of students from around WA raced around the foreshore for Pedal Prix.

Ride sharing giant Uber arrived in the region and Eagle Bay resident Diane Laurance was featured in US Vogue for her empowering Instagram blog the Dumped wife’s revenge.

The state government announced it would start a SMART drumline trial off the coast of Gracetown and a surfboard hanging in the WA Surf Gallery was returned to its rightful owner in NSW after it was stolen in the 1970’s.

All the glitz and glamour of Casino Royale took over The Good Egg to raise money for Beanies for Brain Cancer research and Dunsborough friends held a flea market to to raise funds for their friend Rebecca Williams who was diagnosed with cancer.

Brent Burns told us how he was re-vegetating the earth microbe-by-microbe after uncovering their link to soil and Erin Brockovich threw her weight behind the fight against the contamination of groundwater by toxic PFAS chemicals affecting residents in Vasse.

In October, former Dunsborough police officer in charge Pete Bahen retired from the force before school leavers made their way to the coastal town for their annual celebration.

The world’s best culinary masters made their way to the region for Gourmet Escape in November and Bistro Breton opened their doors in Busselton giving us a taste of French crepes.

December brought back thousands of triathletes to Busselton to compete in the Ironman event  and the West Coast Eagles hit town with the 2018 Premiership Cup.