by Norm Flynn
George Alexander Fee was born on 18 January 1870 to Forbes Fee of County Cavan, Ireland and Margaret Fee (nee Garvey) of Tipperary, Ireland. Forbes Fee had been a police officer until he took up farming at Dardanup in 1871.
The Fee property closely adjoined the Dardanup townsite to the south of the town. George lived there his entire life and took over the farm and shared the farming operations with his brother Robert.
In 1903 George married local girl Margaret Harris and they had a family of six children. Robert married Olive Payne in 1900.
The two couples shared the family home called Roseland which was a popular meeting place for many friends in the district. Dances were frequently held in their home. The brothers worked well as partners with George attending business matters while Robert had the necessary mechanical skills. Their farming operations included constant movement of cattle to their lease at the top of Lake Preston for grazing purposes. A stopover place for these droving runs is now a public recreation area along the Old Coast Road and is known as Fee’s Field.
In his late teens George learned and became proficient in writing in shorthand and maintained a diary between from 1886 up until shortly before his death on 13 November1942.
With his shorthand skills he became a correspondent for a Bunbury newspaper. His diary tells of instances such as him attending a political meeting run by John Forrest and then going home that evening to write up his story for delivery to the paper the next morning. His diaries have been published and contain a wealth of information on all aspects of life in Dardanup and the surrounding district.1
George and his family were active members of the Catholic Church and George filled many roles as a parishioner. He was also heavily involved in other community group such as being on the management committee of the Agricultural hall.
He became the Road Board secretary and later the president and attended State local government meetings.
George and his wife Margaret have many descendants in the State.
- Fee’s diaries were published in 2002 with details as follows: Flynn, N (ed.) Fee’s Dardanup Diaries: George Alexander Fee 1886-1942 of Roseland, Dardanup, WA (2002) in 2 volumes, Milligan House. Transcribed by Marilyn Jones, Patsy A. Middleton and Lyn Adams.