George and Mary Ann Boyle came to Western Australia on the ship Berkshire arriving at Fremantle in 1855. They settled in York in 1856 and later in Greenhills in 1870. The 1859 census records that they had 30 acres barley, 10 acres wheat, 7 acres green crop and hay, 10 acres fallow, 1 acre kitchen garden, 3 horses and 30 pigs.
They had four daughters and four sons – a Home-Grown Work Force and employed local labour. Richard Michael Boyle was the fourth child and first son of George and Mary Ann. He married Ellen Watkins at St Peter’s Church of England, Gilgering in 1881. This gem of a church still stands today on the banks of the Avon and longs to be rediscovered by the traveller wishing to pay their respects to our grand pioneers who rest in the picturesque graveyard. Richard and Ellen’s Home-Grown Work Force boasted thirteen children and Thomas their third child and his wife Bertha Ann Meink who farmed the riverside Hawkhurst property happily contributed to the Home-Grown Work Force with seven sons and two daughters. Early in their farming career Grandmother Boyle said she didn’t want any of those “skinny” Merinos running around her farm – she wanted nice, happy fat lambs.
Today the descendants of Tommy and Bertha Boyle still honour Grandmother’s wishes and are renowned producers of prime lambs. Kevin Charles Boyle was Tommy and Bertha’s third son. He was a POW after the fall of Singapore and after the horror of those years he was not inclined to go too far from Mt Bakewell again. The sons and grandsons of Kevin and his wife Judy Boyle (nee Ward) today farm holdings of land well in sight of Kevin’s beloved Mt Bakewell. Into the 21st Century they have carried the proud traditions of their forefathers. Tony and Sally Boyle and Peter and Ann Marie Boyle have produced their own Home-Grown Work Force of five enterprising sons all with the determination and enthusiasm of ancestors George and Mary Ann.
How proud these pioneers would be were they to gaze upon the much expanded land holdings. Fertile farmlands, still producing barley, wheat, and hay with plenty of “nice, happy fat lambs” to reassure Grandmother that those early Avon Valley pioneering efforts are well remembered by those who farm this legendary land today.