Where is Busselton?Busselton is a coastal town on Geographe Bay, in the South West corner of Western Australia. Lying approximately 230 kilometres from the capital city of Perth, it is home to iconic Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden jetty structure in the Southern hemisphere. It has a climate the envy of many places world-wide that is usually referred to as Mediterranean. No longer referred to fondly as 'sleepy hollow', the town is now a major service centre for the region and a gateway to the famous wineries, forests and beaches of the South West.
A brief historyAlthough the area is the home of the Wardandi Aborigine people, it was not until the 1830's that the region was first settled by Europeans. During subsequent years forestry and timber products were the major industries. During the 1920's Busselton and surrounds underwent an influx of mainly British ex-pats as part of the WA government's Group Settlement Scheme. Although touted as a failure, with the hardships resulting in many walking off the land, the hard work of the early settlers seeded the development of today's cattle & dairy industry and since the 1970s the region has developed a growing reputation as a premier wine-growing centre.
In 1966 when the first Busselton Health Study was initiated the population of Busselton was around 6000 people. Today this number is approaching 30,000 and is set to grow over the coming years as more and more people are drawn to the region. We see this growth as a positive benefit to the research activities in Busselton as it not only adds great value to the existing dataset but also allows future studies into the changing demographic of the population.
Why conduct health studies in Busselton?Busselton is ideal for epidemiological studies due to a stable population and the generous support from the community in participating in research activities. Many people come to the region and never leave making it ideal for longitudinal (follow-up) studies. As the main industries of the region revolve around tourism, agriculture and leisure pursuits, the confounding effects of heavy industry and pollution are minimised. This is particularly useful for understanding the natural progression of many diseases, particularly respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.
The Busselton Population Medical Research Institute would like to thank the people of Busselton for their on-going support and participation in the Busselton Health Studies and look forward to continuing this relationship in the future.
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