05 Jul 2022 Pickup of historic bible for 34th WA Governor’s Swearing-in ceremony
Chris Dawson, who is currently the WA Commissioner of Police, will be sworn in as the 34th Governor of WA on the 15th of July 2022. Mr Dawson is also the great great grandson of Elijah Dawson who was one of the colonial pioneers of the Busselton area. Mr Dawson has requested that he be sworn in using the bible which belonged to his great great grandfather and which is now part of the collection at the Busselton Museum.
On Sunday, 3rd July 2022 Mr Dawson came to the Busselton Museum, housed in the Old Butter Factory, to personally collect the Bible from the Busselton Historical Society who manage the Museum and its collection. This trip to Busselton is part of a ‘farewell tour’ that he is undertaking, visiting a number of police facilities and expressing his thanks.
Mr Dawson was welcomed at the Museum by Mrs Stephanie Piper, the President of the Busselton Historical Society, who showed Mr Dawson the temporary display highlighting the bible surrounded by items that would have been common in Elijah Dawson’s day. Mrs Piper noted that when Elijah Dawson first arrived in The Vasse it was a very different world. In 1839, a few years after Dawson’s arrival, the settlement only had a population of 77 settlers.
In his response Mr Dawson related the story of how Elijah Dawson and his wife Ann brought the bible from England and that when they sailed on the Emily Taylor from Perth to Augusta, Governor Stirling, the first Governor of Western Australia, accompanied the settlers. This meant that the bible, the first Governor of WA and the man who would become the first Police Constable of The Vasse all sailed on the Emily Taylor together. This happenstance bears more than some parallels to the modern day circumstance where Chris Dawson, the Police Commissioner, a direct descendent of Elijah Dawson, would swear in as the 34th Governor of WA on the very same bible.
Volunteers of the Busselton Historical Society provided light refreshments whilst the Bible was carefully packed for its journey to Perth.
For more details on the Dawson Bible and its story please visit the Museum’s online catalogue.
Speeches from the day can be viewed here