Errol Seymour writes stories from Dunsborough's past

Scandals, secrets, tragedies and heroes are the basis of a book The Boy Who Told Stories: The Seymours of Dunsborough written by Errol Seymour whose ancestors were early settlers of Dunsborough.

Mr Seymour spent many years researching his family's history through old diaries, letters, interviews, newspaper articles and letters to the editor.

He discovered family cover ups, a murder allegation, and wonderful heroes who were early pioneers of Dunsborough.

"It is not a boring history book, a lot of family history books go through what happened, I have written it more like a novel and everything in it is perfectly true," he said.

"There are various stories running side-by-side throughout the book," he said.

"I tried to develop the characters from newspaper stories and stories which had come down through the descendants and historical interviews which were done by the Busselton Historical Society, who have been very helpful."

Mr Seymour said one of the main characters in the book and hero was Robert John Seymour.

Robert started the Dunsborough township and built the first corner store, bakery, garage, holiday cottages on the beach and a transport business.

"He was quite an entrepreneur and had a pretty dramatic start, his parents were the original pioneers of Dunsborough who were William Fredrick and his wife Mary," he said.

"Fredrick started the first farm in Dunsborough and the original cottages which were first built were halfway between the centre of Dunsborough town and the beach on Dunn Bay Road.

"He started the farm when he started the Castle Rock whaling station, he actually came out to WA as a whaler and was hired by a Fremantle whaling company.

"William was a strong man and good leader of men and he managed the whaling station from its beginning in 1846 right until its end in 1872.

"While he was there he setup his own farm on the beach and was considered a bit of a mysterious character even a bit of a dodgy character, which adds interest to the book.

"He was confused in official records in the Battye Library of Western Australian History with another William Frederick Seymour who was a convict.

"The other thing which eventually contributed to that was the fact he was not a Seymour at all, his surname was Palmer, descendants from Surrey, Guildford in England."

Mr Seymour said why William changed his name was never passed down through generations beyond his son Robert.

"Some of the evidence was discovered in William's old cottage before it was torn down in the 1980's, as Dunsborough developed," he said.

"My aunt discovered some old whaling diaries and letters in the cottages and saved them before they were destroyed."

Mr Seymour said tragedy struck the family on many occasions.

"First of all, while William was running the fishery two of his daughters took a sailing boat from Canal Rocks into Busselton with a couple of boys from the Smith family," he said.

"The girls were about 10 and 11 years old, the boat tipped over and the girls drowned, this happened just off Dunsborough beach.

"Their mother Mary and one of the daughters saw it from the beach, they were there waving at them as they sailed passed on their way to Busselton.

"It was a huge tragedy and William probably blamed himself for it.

"A little while after that William was accused of murdering one of his employees.

"A former convict with a ticket of leave was working for him, he was supposedly a friend and they were working out at one of William's properties in Yallingup, the guy got shot.

"William came home that night with a story that the man tried to club a seal which had come up on the rocks and was using the butt of his gun pointing up when the gun went off and shot him in the chest.

"The body fell into the water and disappeared and was found a few days later by a policeman, he examined the body and got a bit suspicious about the whole thing."

If you would like to buy a copy of Mr Seymour's book please go online to vividpublishing.com.au/theboywhotoldstories.