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Our History

Katrine Steading 1832

Katrine Steading History

Location T (Katrine), consisting 2,560 acres (1014.14 hectares) fronting the Avon River, was granted to Dr James Lyttleton and his wife Sarah in 1832, the property was leased out for grazing, until the unfortunate death of Dr Lyttleton in 1835.

In 1838 John Cooke with his wife Mary Ann settled at Katrine here, as a tenant of Mrs Lyttleton, and in 1842, they started the original Wayside Inn, which they operated until 1844.

They also conducted an official Post Office from Katrine from 1842 to 1847.

It seems that Mr Cooke and family remained here until 1851 as the property manager/lessee.

In late 1842, the property was sold to Dr Samuel Viveash, and the property was to stay in the Viveash family for the next 4 generations.

Over a period of time the Viveash families developed, with the help of Convicts and Neighbours, the “town” of Katrine, which grew to include a general store, a Wayside Inn, a Post Office, 2 schools, a Blacksmith and Carpenter shop and probably any number of other businesses and services required by a small town.

All reports indicate that Katrine was a very busy location.

Farming was of course the main focus for the property, and it seems that a very successful community developed, with all manner of commodities being produced and traded here, from grain crops to horse, cattle and sheep produce.

Katrine eventually became more of a private residence again in the late 1800’s as Northam and Newcastle (Toodyay) became bigger and more developed.

By 1894, the then current owner, Simeon Viveash, his wife and 10 children, resided at the property, along with servants and convicts, and their much-loved Aunt.

 All living and breathing life into the “town” known as Katrine, 3 more generations of the Viveash family were to live, love and enjoy the environment that their forebears had so lovingly developed and established for future generations.

In 1985 the property was sold to neighbours Ross and Pam Mac Kenzie, by this time, some of the buildings were beginning to show their age, and were in desperate need of maintenance and restoration. Ross and Pam Mac Kenzie did not want the buildings to become further ruined by vandalism and the ravages of time, so sub-divided the land, which is now known as “Katrine Steading” from the rest of the property, and sold Katrine Steading to Rex and Christina Downie and family.

When Rex and Christina first looked at Katrine they could see the potential to restore some of the glory that was being overshadowed by time and damage and so started a multi year long process to help sub-divide the property and start the extensive restorations that you can see when you visit the property.

Many hours of labour and countless hours of problem solving have gone into what can be seen by anyone who visits Katrine Steading, however, the work is not yet done.

 Although Rex, Christina and family have moved on, Katrine Steading is now in the guardianship of Jeni Pages and Wayne Tink who purchased the property from the Downie family in 2020 (yes during the Covid Pandemic) to hopefully continue the work and vision that the Downie family had so lovingly toiled away at.

Jeni and Wayne have admired the location and the buildings for several years and are in the process of fleshing out the property for use as a BnB and Reception centre, which we believe is in line with what The Downie family were aiming for, and we hope, will bring Katrine Steading to life once again.

Katrine Steading Homestead