Preston Beach developed as a settlement after good catches of fish were reported in the early 1950’s. In 1957 a local syndicate was formed and purchased 25 acres of land for 2 pounds an acre from Stevie Mitchell who owned about 1000 acres of land for cattle grazing. Individual syndicate members could hold no more than one unit and initially, each member contributed 10 pounds ($20) to draw from one of 58 blocks.
In 1959 the syndicate ceased and the former Drakesbrook Road Board took over control of the settlement and it has grown from there.
The golf course was constructed in 1974, reticulated in 1976 and opened in 1978. At the time it was privately owned in connection with the former caravan park next door which also commenced business in 1978. In 1981 both were owned by Alan Bond, however by 1982 it was sold on. The Preston Beach Golf Club was formed in 1984 and the golf course opened at the instigation of the Preston Beach Progress Association and in 1986 the Shire of Waroona purchased the golf course.
The “causeway” you have just crossed was built by syndicate members in 1956. Before this time the main access to the beach was slightly south of the present day causeway. Access to the beach was impossible when the water in Lake Preston reached a depth of 0.9metres. Before it got to this depth, the route was marked with pegs to guide vehicles across a high point in the lake bed.
Aerial Fertiliser spreading
Prior to 1969, on the northern side of the causeway, on the eastern side of Lake Preston, Hal Watts conducted aerial fertiliser spreading for Charlie Robertson and Merrick Tyler who owned property north of Lake Preston. Hal landed his Piper Pawnee on the eastern side of Lake Preston, on the northern side of the causeway. Bulk agricultural fertilser was carted in by Mitchells transport and unloaded in a pile ready for scooping up into the rear of the Piper Pawnee plane. The plane would then take off to the north and commence aerial spreading.
Yalgorup National Park
Yalgorup (Yalgor is the aboriginal meaning for swamp or lake) was set aside as a National Park in 1968, with Lakes Pollard, Martins Tank, Yalgorup, Hayward, Newnham Clifton and Preston, added in 1971. Features of the park include the mysterious tunnels in the hillside, Lake Clifton Thombolites, home for migratory and native birds, native animals and vegetation, walk trails and picnic sites.
- Lake Preston is 9 times more saline that the ocean.
- Electricity came to Preston beach in 1973.
- Communication to Preston Beach from 1969 was by two-way radio operated by the Shire of Waroona Foreman.
- Donald Campbell had planned to utilize Lake Preston to make his record breaking water speed record if his plans to use Lake Dumbleyung were thwarted.
- Frank Bonney used Lake Hayward for water skiing, prior to building his own Water Ski Park south of Perth.
- At the end of summer when the water in Lake Preston receded enough, salt was raked, bagged and boxed and used for salt licks for cattle.
Local History Book - Drakesbrook Days and Waroona Years
History of Preston Beach Golf Course - Waroona Historical Society Inc
Oral History – Tyler family
Photographs – Jack Caporn collection held by Tyler family