Shay Gap. Western Australia

Like many other people I like to go surfing the ‘net just to see what comes up that may well have some meaning for me.

Well yesterday I struck it lucky, I came across a site called Bingley Rural, “Good heavens” said I “have I stumbled onto the Netherfield Park website?” (those that know me know I’m an ardent Jane Austen devotee and of her ‘Pride & Prejudice‘ especially); but no such luck.

What did grab my attention though was a post entitled ‘Tyke down under’ so I read this load of ‘old cobblers’ because that is what it is.

It’s written by a man who calls himself and I quote, a “ten quid pom” to give authenticity to his tale of self aggrandisement; there is no such thing as a ten quid pom, the Australians are a bit more poetic than that!

We are “ten pound poms” (notice the nice ring that has to it), I know because I am one. I landed on the not so sunny shores at Station Pier Melbourne on a cold wet blustery Saturday, 7th April 1951, we should have docked two days earlier but the storm raging in the Great Australian Bight kept us riding it out, outside Port Phillip Heads. Welcome to sunny Australia.

Back to Tyke down under; he carries on about many things but one that caught my eye was his rant regarding the West Australian mining town of Shay Gap.

I won’t say that the writer is a stranger to the truth but I will say he doesn’t let the truth stand in the way of a good story but what he has to say about “Shay” is a figment of his imagination and to make him look the tough pioneer and ‘good guy’ to his chums back home in Bingley Rural.

In fact what he says about Shay Gap is so much rubbish and codswallop that I’ve decided to write some posts in the hope of setting the record straight after the tykes scurrilous attack on a fine little town and the many men and women like me who lived and worked there.

So for those of you interested keep watching!

If you don’t believe what I said about the tykes post go read it for yourself at:


15 thoughts on “Shay Gap. Western Australia

  1. Looking forward to your posts, Brian!


    1. Why Thank you very much Lauren, I’m about to make a start on them now. πŸ™‚


      1. Well writ sir, although your description of me fitted you too.I love criticism, fattens the soul you know. Enjoyed your Melbourne cup piece too. I was in WA 73, won a few bucks myself. Eric Firth.


        1. I really can’t see how my description of you fits me but then again if it makes you happy. Thank you for the comments. I shall be writing more regarding Shay in the near future.


  2. Well writ sir, although your description of me fits you perfectly. I love criticism, fattens the soul you know.Enjoyed your Melbourne cup piece too. I was in WA 73, won a few bucks . Eric Firth.


  3. Truth is mate your just a publicity seeker. We wrote about two different places at two different times. My Shay Gap was a building site yours the town we built. Two different places , two different groups of workers.


    1. Where you get the idea that I’m a publicity seeker from I can’t imagine. Your blurb in the Bingley Rural seems to be a bit of big noting. Perhaps you should have been more straight in your post. I write blogs for my amusement and it is of no great moment if nobody cares to read them but I always accept and acknowledge all and any comment or criticism, providing they are kept within the rules as outlined in” Rumblings & Ramblings”.

      I thank you for your comments.

      Brian Smith


      1. Which allows you to call other writers liars. Also what could be clearer than me going to a, “New town being built?”. Eric


        1. Nothing; thank you for your comments.


  4. Mark Anslow 07/11/2013 — 19:21

    Eric mentioned that he was in Shay Gap in late 1972 while it was being built and was involved in this building work, which was prior to the time that you are referring to. He was describing a makeshift bar that was set up during this time rather than the bar that you talk about.


    1. Well perhaps he should have made himself clear in the first place his blurb reads as follows cut and pasted from the Bingley Rural which does not indicate that Mr Firth was there when the town was being built. No mention in the following about his being one of the pioneers at Shay Gap. I did know from the Irishman that I took over from that there were plenty of fight during the construction stage, however there was not one in my time there. Thank you for your comments.

      The work was in an area named Shay Gap. I’d already read about it in the papers: it was a big story at the time, back in 1973 I think. A new town was being built for miners and their families about 800 miles north and 200 hundred miles east of Perth, with the press describing it as β€œa 21st-century space-age town”. But to me the buildings were more 1940s British pre-fab than space age. Shay Gap did look a lot like the moon though.


      1. Mark Anslow 08/11/2013 — 19:42

        Just to clarify, the Bingley Rural is not a blog site. It’s a printed community magazine for this area. We replicate content on the web for locals who don’t get a printed copy. The articles are written by contributors in the area such as Eric and aimed at local residents. Any contributor will therefore have that in mind.


        1. Thank you for that I should have realized what it was and I apologies for my error. Thank you for the comment. Brian Smith


  5. I shan’t be reading them. Chutz. Eric Firth.


    1. That’s your prerogative. Thank you for the additional comment.


All comments appreciated and acknowledged

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