A surveyor from the Mines Department reported in 1886 that the area near Greenbushes Well contained tin in alluvial deposits. In 1888, David William Stinton found a half pound of tin in a gully south of the present townsites and the resulting influx of prospectors and miners created a demand for tradesmen, merchants and storekeepers, with the population peaking at over 3000 by 1907.


By the turn of the century three thriving townships existed

  • Bunbury End (or South Greenbushes)

  • Greenbushes

  • North Greenbushes

 

There are now two townsites; Greenbushes, which is 1 km off the South Western Highway, and North Greenbushes, which is 3 kilometres north of the Greenbushes townsite on the eastern side of the South Western Highway.

 

Although regarded primarily as a mining town, timber milling and farming have also played a significant role in the history of the district. The first timber concession of 5000 acres was issued in the district in the early 1890s. The first freehold lease for farming was also granted around the same time. When mining activities were at a low, the timber industry and farming activities provided the main source of employment.

 

Farms were also established in the Greenbushes area in the 1920s as part of the Group Settlement Scheme which operated in the 1920s to re-settle soldiers returned from World War 1 and assisted migrants from England

 

The first timber concession of 5000 acres was issued in the district in the early 1890s.  Greenbushes district was also allocated as one of the Group Settlement areas.

The history of Greenbushes

1886 Mines department found alluvial tin deposits 

1888 Tin discovered by David Stinton

1898

1890 5000-acre timber concession established at North Greenbushes 

1891 Post and telegraph office was established 

1893 First school building opened 

1894 Greenbushes Club Ltd formed

1896 Nelson Arms Hotel built 

1898 First freehold settlers selected land

1898 Railway station opened at North Greenbushes 

1898 Miners Arms Hotel built 

1899 St Barnabas Anglican Church built

1899 Police station built 

1899 Courthouse built

1899 Adelaide Timber Company lease granted 

1899 Railway Hotel built

1899 Branch of the West Australian Bank opened

1900 Five head battery erected 

1900 Brookman Hotel built

1900 Courthouse Hotel built 

1901 Greenbushes district gazetted as a Road Board District 

1901 Methodist Church built 

1901 Public hospital built

1902 Kerosene lamps installed 

1903 Duke of York Hotel built

1904 Roman Catholic Church built

1904 Roman Catholic School established

1904 North Greenbushes School opened

1906 Private maternity hospital opened

1907 Road Board office built

1907 Anglican School established

1907 New post office built

1907 Exchange Hotel built

1910 South Greenbushes School opened

1910 Mining registrars office moved  to Bridgetown

1910 Welford Hotel changed to Shamrock Hotel

1917 Gas street lighting installed

1919 RSL formed

1922 War Memorial unveiled

1924 South Greenbushes School closed

1925 Group settlement scheme established

1926 North Greenbushes School closed

1927 Courthouse Hotel dismantled and moved to Pemberton

1928 Timber Corporation moved to Palgarup.

1931 Private maternity hospital closed

1933 Electric lighting installed

1935 Footpaths along the main street sealed

1935 CWA. formed

1935 Vultan Tin Mines Ltd commenced hydraulic sluicing of tin

1936 Main street sealed

1937 Catholic School closed

1941 Home Guard formed

1942 Air observation post established

1942 Sister Kate's Home for Children established

1942 Greenbushes Tin Pty Ltd given Government assistance to sluice tin on a claim previously mined by dredge.

1944 Apple-packing shed built

1944 Group schools closed

1945 School bus service introduced

1949 Newton Ice Works opened

1949 Duke of York Hotel  dismantled

1954 The SEC. came to town

1961 Aberfoyle Tin NL granted temporary reserve over district

1963 Town water supply connected

1964 Greenbushes Tin No Liability was set up

1964 Greenbushes Tin Limited in operation

1965 Primary  school  destroyed by fire

1966 New school opened

1970 Greenbushes Shire amalgamated with Bridgetown

1972 Bank of New South Wales closed branch

1973 Catholic Church destroyed by fire

1973 New Catholic Church opened

1976 South West Highway re-routed

1976 Lindsay's shop closed

1977 Police station closed

1978 Bush fire brigade formed

1979 Jewell Investments Pty Ltd incorporated (later became Lithium Australia)

1982-85 Greenbushes Tin Ltd in operation

1983 Police station handed to school

1986 Greenbushes Limited formed and operating alongside Lithium Australia Ltd

1987 Old Methodist Church destroyed by fire

1988 The "Tin Centennial" celebrates 100 years since the discovery of tin in the district

1990 Greenbushes Tin merged to form Gwalia Consolidated Ltd.

1990 Greenbushes Ltd and Lithium Australia Ltd merged with Gwalia Consolidated Ltd

1991 Uniting Church opened

1993 Primary School celebrates 100 years

1993 Post office closed and Post Office agency opened

1994 Telecentre opened

1997 Cosy Corner Store closed

1998 Gwalia Consolidated merged with Sons of Gwalia

1998 Greenbushes Discovery Centre opened

1998 New mine lookout opened

1999 Gwalia Consolidated Ltd merged with Sons of Gwalia Ltd

2001 Centenary Celebrations at Greenbushes 

2001 Tantalum Expansion Project at Greenbushes Mine 

2001 Underground Mine Opens 

2003 Underground Mine in 'Care & Maintenance'

2004 Replica underground mine 'Discovery Decline' opens at Greenbushes Discovery Centre 

2004 Sons of Gwalia in Administration

2007 Discovery Forest display & Discovery Theatrette open at Greenbushes Discovery Centre March

2007 Town Square garden opens in August

2007 Talison Minerals formed

2009 Talison Lithium Limited (lithium mining) following company split

2009 Global Advanced Metals Pty Ltd (tantalum & tin mining) 

2010 Talison Lithium Limited listed on Toronto Stock Exchange

2010 Global Advanced Metals formed

2013 Talison Lithium Pty Ltd formed

Greenbushes Primary School 

 

Located at the termination of Blackwood Road in the Greenbushes townsite the Greenbushes Primary School caters for students from Kindergarden to Year 6.

 

In 1893 a two-acre site was allocated for the first school to be established at Greenbushes. The school was open for three months of the year and was attended by seven boys and ten girls.In 1899 a school was built on the present site, located opposite the Miners' Institute Hall and Courthouse.  In 1900, attendance stood at 102. In that same year, two more rooms were added, able to accommodate up to 125 pupils.


Tragedy struck on February 14th, 1965 when the main school building was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and the new school building was occupied for the first time on 1st Nov 1965. In 1993 the school celebrated its centenary with a "BACK TO GREENBUSHES" day. Old pupils attended a school reunion and other activities.

 

Milling Today
The 'Whittakers' mill was originally owned by George Smith Lumber Company, then around 1954 it was sold to Lloyds. Whittakers purchased the Mill on 31 January 1973 and in 1998 they produced 50,000 cubic metres of timber (Jarrah, Karri & Radiata Pine.)
In 1999, the Whittakers operation was shut down and the work force of around 200 employees was stood down. Blue Leaf Corporation took over the operations at Whittakers Mill and commenced production in July 2000.

In February 2016, the Whittaker’s Mill was acquired by Auswest. This company also operates the Manjimup Processing Centre and Pemberton Mill.

Mining Today

Talison Lithium Limited operates the Greenbushes mine at which lithium minerals are produced. Global Advanced Metals produces tantalum and tin minerals at its Greenbushes operations.