This jetty reminded me of a similar one in south Australia; a small town called Port Germein. Port Germein never made the jump from small commercial port to small seaside tourist resort. On my last trip, Port Germein had a pub, a gas station and a street lined with closed businesses. It was dying; no cafes, no tourists, no money.
In both towns it was this lifeline – a port to the world – that gave them life. My walk back to the shore reminded me of this as I passed multiple brass plaques; thin metal memorials to locals who chose this spot as their final resting place. Being somewhat of a sentimental sort, I wrote a few down. They speak for themselves, however, may I guide you through them?
A father and son, side by side.
John "Tractor" Dear
Father of Jules Varga
His son, Jules Varga died four years later, he was 47.
Life is a challenge. Meet it.
Life is love. Share it.
Life is a dream. Realize it.
Life is a game. Play it
In this bay your ashes stay.
To have known you was to love you.
One plaque; Ken and Molly Spencer.
Ken was 60 when he passed, Molly outlived him by 26 years.
"Together again in the place they loved best"
"He said just toss him, so we did"
"A true gentleman at rest,
courageous and strong"
Herbert D. Gregson
A gentle man.
I could write all of them down - each one its own brand of pluck and poignancy. However, the one I will leave you with is Keith Collet, clearly one who had fished this jetty his whole life.
I pray that I may live to fish until my dying day
And when it comes to my last cast
I then most humbly pray
I land in the Lord’s great landing net
and peacefully go to sleep
and that in His mercy I be judged good enough to keep.
Busselton’s commitment to its jetty has in return given life to nearly 6 generations of this town. Sails, steam, coal, and now tourists are drawn to this jetty like the life that grows below it. The locals, always grateful, are as much a part of the jetty as the pilings that hold it above the sea.