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

"High Beach" and the Haunted Hill

Ocean glimpse from High Beach
The view from the balcony at "High Beach", Cottesloe, inset shows the view circa 1926
The picture on our home page shows a sketch of our house ("High Beach"), whilst this picture shows a glimpse of the Indian Ocean with Rottnest Island on the horizon at the left. In 2005 Michael Webster distinctly recalled being impressed by the view from the "High Beach" balcony of the British Pacific fleet anchored in Gage Roads on its way to fight the Japanese in the islands in WWII. In those days the view was a lot less obscured than it is now.

"High Beach" is located on what is known locally as Claremont Hill. The aboriginal place name for this hill is Kabamunup, which is said to mean "the hill that is haunted as punished by the Wagul, due to Nyungars breaking a food law". Bolton & Gregory

Haunted Hill at Claremont
At Karbomunup and Beereegup (Claremont Hill and Peppermint Grove) some children broke one of their food laws, and the janga woggal living in the hill became so boogur (angry, sulky) that it came out of the hill and swallowed all the men, women and children of the place, except one woman, who was gobbelguttuk (pregnant). There is, or was, a peculiar shaped stone on or near the shore at Claremont which was supposed to have been the gobbelguttuk woman and the stone and the hill were ever afterwards forbidden ground. No spears must be sharpened at night in the vicinity; nor any daaja [meat, food] cut up or broken in the wrong way. A native named Bimba, within recent times broke a crow's wing, in the wrong manner, and that evening Bimba's dog's back was broken; and still more recently some Nor'-West natives, in defiance of the superstition held a corroboree on Karbomunup Hill, and two of their number were killed by the Woggal. Rushes were also strewn in the vicinity of Karbomungup.

Osborne Steps, Cottesloe W.A.
Osborne Steps, Cottesloe W.A.
An undated used postcard from The Austral Series addressed to Mrs Lillie Von Der Hyde of Bicton Western Australia

Freshwater Bay c1915
Freshwater Bay, Claremont.
Bulloch Bros postcard with the hand written date "8/12/16" [1916]. Addressed to Mrs R Mason in Albany from her brother Ted. Ralph H Mason married Violet A Bailey in 1912. Possibly taken from the top of the Osborne steps.

People living in the this area of Cottesloe (some of which is now in the Town of Claremont) used to give their address as Osborne instead of Cottesloe. The name came from the Osborne Hotel which later became part of Loreto Convent.

A popular way of arriving at the hotel was by river. There was a landing at the foot of the cliff and ferries from Perth would bring customers who then climbed the "Osborne Steps" to reach the grounds of the hotel.

The Encyclopedia of Australian Science has a biographical entry on Daisy Bates

Bates, Daisy M (1912) Haunted Places of the West in The West Australian May 11, 1912
Bolton, Geoffrey and Gregory, Jenny (1999) Claremont: A History UWAP
James, Ruth Marchant (1977) Heritage of Pines: A History of the Town of Cottesloe Western Australia Cottesloe, The Town of Cottesloe