Celebrating a local Historian

Celebrating a local Historian
01 March 2022

Ethel Warren (née Van Ooran) was born in December in 1923. George V was the reigning monarch and James Mitchell the Premier of WA. It was the year construction started on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Essendon defeated Fitzroy to win the VFL Premiership and the basic weekly wage was $9.15.

After starting her working life helping on the family farm in Muchea, Mrs Warren worked at the Claremont Can Factory with the army before joining the Women’s Australia Naval Service as a cook.

In 1943 Mrs Warren met and married her husband Colin, whose family had first settled in Bullsbrook in 1846. The couple moved to Colin’s family property, started a family and Mrs Warren was soon immersing herself in her local community and its history.

From the local Country Women’s Association (CWA) and Bullsbrook Community Kindergarten, to the Bullsbrook Parents and Citizens Association, and the Bullsbrook Residents and Ratepayers Association (BRAA), Mrs Warren worked tirelessly behind the scenes.

But it was the Bullsbrook Museum project that best captures Mrs Warren’s love of local history.

As one of the founding members of the Bullsbrook Historical Society, which published Memories of Chittering and Bullsbrook 1830 – 1995, Mrs Warren was instrumental in setting up this treasure trove of stories, memories and fascinating history.

Among the many supporters driven to create an educational, informative and interactive local attraction, Mrs Warren donated and loaned many valued items and helped curate the Warren family display featured in the museum.

She also diligently collected newspaper articles referring to Bullsbrook and the local district, providing an important record of the social, political and environmental events in Bullsbrook over the decades.

The museum’s variety of lovingly curated displays, housed in a heritage-listed former community hall built in 1904, all tell the story of Bullsbrook, from its aviation heritage, lime pits and tales of bushranger Moondyne Joe, to its agricultural legacy and early years as Perth’s food bowl.

Well into her 90s, Mrs Warren remained active and involved in the Bullsbrook community and was often at the museum welcoming visitors.

The fact the Bullsbrook community centre has been named in Mrs Warren’s honour is testament to the legacy this community champion and passionate local historian left when she passed away in 2019 at the age of 95.