Middlesex 31

History

The Middlesex 31 vineyard was established in 1993 with the first vintage being the 1996 Chardonnay. In 1921 the Group Settlement scheme was started by Sir John Mitchell. The aim was to populate the South West of Western Australia and to achieve self sufficiency in dairy products which were at the time being supplied from the east of Australia. Group 31 of the settlement scheme was named Middlesex because it was at the centre of three groups and the spokesperson hailed from Middlesex, England. There were also two other families from London in the UK. The reality of the settlement was that winters were cold and rain was constant. Clearing the land proved very difficult with the use of limited hand tools. The land beneath the deep forest proved to be quite infertile for farming, and then the great depression hit. Debts built up and with disease, mental depression and suicide common, most of the settlers simply walked off the land in search of more fruitful circumstances. In 1932 a Royal Commission was set up and the land was repossessed and revalued. The cleared land soon started to regrow, and tobacco farms were set up on many properties previously within the scheme, prospering until the 1970s.