35°49' S, 137°02' E
Roo Lagoon was first developed in the 1930s by Wally Williams.
The original property extended along the Borda Highway from an
area west of what would one day be Parndana to the Western
In 1936 a cottage (which still stands) was built, together with
a small shed beside the first of three wells which were then
used to water horses travelling from Kingscote to Cape Borda.
This well has now been restored and can be visited at the Roo
Lagoon woodturning Gallery.
It was not until 1940 that a guarantee from the Land Board
enabled Williams to have the survey completed and a Freehold
Title issued in his name. At this time the property was managed
for him by Fred and Audrey Tugwell who lived in the cottage and
had an extensive garden of vegetables and hollyhocks which grew
as tall as a woman.
Fred Tugwell tanned skins to perfection and sold them to the
then young R M Williams. He was also very skilled at plaiting
leather , the designs either flat, round or square.
Years later Wally Williams told of the time he and Fred were
inspecting the property when they spotted a large goanna at
about 7 yards away. ‘Cripes' said Fred, ‘I must have that one.'
He approached the animal very slowly, stooping lower and lower
as he went. The goanna never moved. Eventually, when he was
close enough, he reached out, lifted the tail, and then grabbed
it firmly and swung it back through the air and then crashed it
on the ground several times to kill it. 'It was,’ he said, ‘an
Gradually acres were sold off and the current property is now
roughly about 1000 acres and includes only Edwards Lagoon and
not the original Roo Lagoon which is several miles further west.
In the 1980s, Edwards Lagoon (about 100 acres of reeds), which
always dried out in the summer, was drained into the waters of
the Cygnet River so it could be sown down to pasture for spring
and summer feed.
It is considered unusual that there should be two lagoons in the
highest part of the Island, about 850 feet above sea level.
The property is still full of shelter belts mainly of melaleuca
and cup gums as well as the delicate spider orchid and there are
yaccas about 14 feet high which means they are probably 1000