"High Beach"
Some Western Australian History & Some Family History & Some More

The Naming of Israelite Bay with some brief History

Prior to becoming the first permanent European residents of Esperance, members of the Dempster family were exploring for good grazing country in that vicinity. Part of their diary entry for the 14th June 1863 reads "A bay named Israelite Bay in honour of the blacks. They were of the Dadjunna tribe." (Rintoul p25).

Norman Tindale's book, Aboriginal Tribes of Australia, states "...the European name of Israelite Bay is a geographic label witness to this being the boundary between those who did and did not practice circumcision at the time of the naming of the country by Westerners." (Tindale p41).

In the Christian and Jewish faiths, among the provisions of the first covenant with Abram (Abraham) is that the circumcision of men will be a sign that the covenant is being kept. (Genesis 17 1:14) The descendants of Abraham's grandson, Jacob were known as the Israelites. (In Genesis 32 28:29, Jacob was renamed Israel and hence his descendants were the Israelites).

Other European navigators and explorers such as Matthew Flinders and Edward John Eyre had earlier been in the vicinity of Israelite Bay but it appears they did not name it. (DLI in respect to Matthew Flinders).

A map depicting the deployment of Western Australian customs staff in 1893 showed that a landing waiter was stationed at Israelite Bay. (Day p357)


A landing waiter was a customers officer on the wharf charged with checking goods against those listed in the ship's manifest. (Day p xxxiv)


Day, David (1992) Smugglers and Sailors: The Customs History of Australia 1788-1901 AGPS, Canberra

Department of Land Information. Geographic Names Database.

Erickson, Rica (1978) The Dempsters UWAP

The Hebrew Bible in English, Torah - http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm.
(Note: reference verses for the Torah and the New English Bible are the same).

The New English Bible (1970) OUP & CUP

Norris, Murree (nd) History of families and their settlements in the area surrounding Israelite Bay. Typescript manuscript reproduced in Campbell, R. McK (1995) Israelite Bay Post Office and Telegraph Station. The National Trust (Perth).

Rintoul, John (1964) Esperance: Yesterday and Today Esperance Shire Council

Tindale, Norman B (1974) Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environment Controls. Distribution, Limits, and proper Names. Australian National University Press, Canberra.

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