Monday, 14 May 2018

Miss Fanny Dango


Miss Fanny Dango
State Library of Victoria  Image H85.73/6

On November 29, 1910 the actress and comedienne, Miss Fanny Dango, married the Australian 'squatter', Sam MacKay, in London. Samuel Peter MacKay was the owner of Melville Park in Berwick. The Melville Park property was later renamed Edrington, and is now a retirement village. Sam, 45 years old, had recently been divorced from his 43 year old wife, Florence Gertrude (nee Taylor) MacKay on the grounds of her 'misconduct' with Harry Mulvey, a chauffeur, and Donald Bain, a Real Estate Agent of Berwick (and the son of Robert and Susan Bain, who owned the Border 
Inn at Berwick). The term 'misconduct' was a  euphemism for 'sexual activity' or an affair.


The Argus, December 1 1910


According to his obituary, published in Pastoral Review, June 16 1923 (see here) Sam MacKay, was born in 1864 in Mount Gambier. He left school at 13 and did some cattle droving, until he decided to move to northern Western Australia where he worked in the pearling industry. Later on his father and two uncles purchased the one million acre Mundabullangana Station, east of Roebourne. By 1903, when his father died, he bought the Station outright. In 1905 he purchased Melville Park at Berwick from James Gibb and lived there until 1912. MacKay built the mansion (now called Edrington) at Berwick around 1906/1907. The building was designed by Rodney Alsop and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, where it is described as a two-storey red brick example of the English vernacular style with some reference to the Queen Anne style. It has also been described as being in the Arts and Crafts Style. The building is pictured, below. MacKay's obiturary ends with Although the late Mr. Mackay was a well-known pastoralist, he was better known as a breeder and lover of thoroughbred horses, and his colours were a familiar sight on the chief racecourses in Australia.



Melville Park (now Edrington) built by Sam MacKay.

In 1892 Sam married Florence Gertude Taylor in Western Australia. Florence was from Yangdine, near York in Western Australia. They had three children - Elsie Gertrude (born 1893 in Roebourne, W.A., died in Melbourne in 1963 - she married actor Lionel Attwill in Chicago and became an actress); Marjorie (born and died 1895) and Samuel Keith (1900 - 1924) You can read about the family here, in an article entitled The Tragedies of the MacKays in the Sunday Times, July 27, 1924. Keith had recently died in an aeroplane accident at near Port Headland when the article was written.  Sam and Florence were divorced in August 1910, a few months before his marriage to Fanny. Sam and Fanny then had one son, Peter Angus, born in 1911.



Weekly Times August 13, 1910

Above is an account of the MacKay divorce  from the Weekly Times. As Sam married Fanny a few months later in the November, you would have to assume that they were already acquainted whilst the divorce proceedings were being heard.

Who was exotically named Fanny Dango? Fanny was born in 1878 as Fanny Rudge, to Henry and Elizabeth Rudge of Birmingham. She had four sisters who also became actresses - Letitia (stage name Letty Lind), Sarah (stage name Millie Hylton), Elizabeth (stage name Adelaide Astor) and Lydia (stage name Lydia Flopp) and two brothers who followed their father's career as a brass founder. 

The Association of British Theatre Technicians website has the following information about Fanny and her sisters - http://www.abtt.org.uk/event/the-british-music-hall-society-study-group/

The Rudge sisters, professionally known as Letty Lind (1861-1923), Millie Hylton (1868-1920), Adelaide Astor (1874-1951), Lydia Flopp (1877-1962) and Fanny Dango (1878-1972), all hailing from Birmingham, were primarily dancers but later developed their singing talents, working in pantomime, variety and music hall, musical comedy and burlesque, often at the Gaiety Theatre in the 1880s and  90s. Letty Lind was in the last George Edwardes burlesques (at the Gaiety) and the first George Edwardes musical comedies (at Daly’s); she also had a professional and personal relationship with the dramatic author and entertainer Howard Paul (1830-1905) and was the mother of his illegitimate son, she later had an enduring relationship with the 3rd Earl of Durham (1855-1928) and another son. Millie Hylton had a successful career in variety as a male impersonator and as a principal boy in pantomime, but later appeared in legitimate theatre and was the mother of actress Millie Sim (b.1895). Adelaide Astor was married to George Grossmith, Jnr. and had a son, George Grossmith (manager) and a daughter, Ena Grossmith (b.1896, actress). Lydia Flopp had a briefer career than her sisters and an unhappy marriage. Fanny Dango followed her sisters onto the London stage and ended up a wealthy woman in Australia. The Rudge sisters were cousins of music hall artist, Millie Lindon (1877-1940) who was married at one time to T.E. Dunville (1868-1924), however they divorced long before his sad and dramatic death and she later re-married three times.

Fanny was in Australia working in various States quite on a frequent basis between 1900 and 1910, according to newspaper reports at the times. If you put her name into Trove, you will get many results.



The Age  September 11, 1907

Fanny died in Victoria in 1972 aged 91.  Her son, Peter, died aged 40 in 1951.

I am indebted to Bib Flavell of the Edrington Park History Group for telling me about Fanny Dango.


Friday, 4 May 2018

Grassmere becomes Doveton

The suburb of Doveton was established in the mid 1950s by the Housing Commission to provide housing for the employees of the 'Big Three' Industrial companies, International Harvestor Company (established 1952), H.J Heinz (1955) and General Motors Holden (1956).

The area was originally known as Dandenong or Eumemmerring or more especially Grassmere after Thomas Herbert Power's estate. It was called Grassmere well into the 1950s, and renamed Doveton after John and Margaret Doveton in 1953 or 1954 who had given their name to Doveton Avenue (where their house was located). The use of the name in Doveton Avenue preceded the use of the name as a suburb as we can see from this wedding report, below, from the Dandenong Journal of  April 22, 1951. The photo  shows Miss Ethel Florence Hilyear of Doveton Avenue, Grassemere and her groom, Mr David Newport.


Dandenong Journal April 22, 1951

Another article in the Dandenong Journal of October 24, 1951 (see below) talks about General Motors Holden feeling that Eumemmerring as an address is 'unwieldly', although apparenttly International Harvester thought it was a 'thundering nice name. The Journal asked if anyone knew the origin of the name and a further article in the Journal said the name was Irish. Not sure about that - most sources seem to say that it is of Aboriginal origin and means 'we are pleased to agree with you' or on a related theme, a word expressing pleasure or agreement.



Dandenong Journal, October 24, 1951.




Dandenong Journal November 21, 1951



Dandenong Journal April 29, 1953

According to an article in paper (see above) the name of Doveton was agreed to by the Shire of Berwick in April 1953 after  a request from the Hallam Progress Association. This decision preceded the establishment of the Housing Commission project at what was then called Dandenong East.

The Age September 27, 1954.

The Doveton Housing Commission Estate was announced in September 1954.

Dandenong Journal October 13, 1954

It seems that the formal adoption of the name Doveton for the Housing Commission Estate was in October 1954, according to the report in the Dandenong Journal, above. The area had been known as Dandenong East. It does appear that the year 1954 was the year the name Grassmere was finally abandoned for the area east of Doveton.  The modern day suburb of Eumemmerring was gazetted on May 20, 1981. As a matter of interest Doveton is a variation of the name Dufton which means ‘Farmstead where doves are kept’ in dovecotes.

Friday, 20 April 2018

City of Cranbourne logo

The City of  Cranbourne must take the prize for the shortest-lived local government body in Australia - it lasted 237 days. It was created on April 22, 1994 and  ceased to exist on December 15, 1994 at 4.00pm when it was essentially split between the newly created City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire. Of course,  the area had a long history under other names - the Shire of Cranbourne and the Cranbourne Road Board - you can read about that here on my Cranbourne Local Government timeline - http://caseycardinialinkstoourpast.blogspot.com.au/2018/02/cranbourne-shire-sesquicentenary.html

I have wondered why the City of Cranbourne was created in April 1994 given that the Kennett Government was already well into their review of local government (or destruction of local government whatever your viewpoint of Council reform was or is ) by that time and some change had already taken place (e.g. Flemington had been excised from the City of Melbourne and added to the then City of Essendon in 1993) however that's all history now.

To keep the memory of the short-lived City of Cranbourne alive, here is the City of Cranbourne logo and signage instructions and protocols. Click on the images to enlarge them.










Friday, 13 April 2018

Shire of Cranbourne Information booklet 1975

This is the Cranbourne Shire Information booklet from 1975. The Cranbourne Shire area was just a rural Shire then - they had revenue of $2.36 million, the Koo Wee Rup Swimming pool was under construction, the Cranbourne Elderly Citizens was in the pipe-line for construction on the 'old State School site fronting the South Gippsland Highway', the library service operated from  a mobile library which visited High Street Cranbourne, Langwarrin, Pearcedale, Devon Meadows, Clyde, Hampton Park, Tooradin, Lang Lang, Carrum Downs, Skye, Cranbourne South, Catani, Bayles, Cardinia and Koo Wee Rup. Dog registration was $3.00 per dog or $1.00 if you were a pensioner.



Click on each image to get an enlarged version.










Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Farm Hedges

Hedges have traditionally been used in the country to delineate property boundaries and as wind breaks. Traditionally, in this region, Cypress trees have been planted for this purpose and it is quite usual to see rows of old cypress trees along the road sides. However 100 years or so after the cypress trees were first planted they begin to look very straggly, have a tendency to blow over in high wind days and in the past 5 to 7 years they have also suffered from Cypress canker and row after row of the trees have died. On the Koo Wee Rup Swamp it was thought that this canker took hold after the February 2011 floods. So due to these circumstances many old cypress trees are now being removed.


This is my grandmother's farm on Murray Road at Cora Lynn, c. 1957.  A good illustration of cypress trees used as wind breaks.


This is an aerial of Brentwood farm at Berwick, taken sometime before 1988. Another illustration of the use of cypress hedges as wind breaks. Brentwood was on Berwick Clyde Road, located near what is now the southern part of Bemersyde Drive. You can still see some of the Brentwood cypress trees in the Brentwood Park housing estate, especially lining Chirnside Walk.


These are other cypress trees on Murray Road, in the process of being removed - they are at the ugly, straggly stage.  Photo was taken June 2013.


Another type of hedge that was planted in the area was English Hawthorn or Whitethorn (C. monogyna). You can still see some of these remnant hedges at Caldermeade,  along Ballarto Road near Cardinia and near the Catani township amongst other places.

The Cardinia Shire Heritage Study* has this to say about the hedges In Cardinia Shire, hedges were used extensively from the late nineteenth century onward as an efficient form of fencing, particularly on the large pastoral estates in the southern parts of the Shire around Koo Wee Rup. Windrows of trees were also planted, chiefly Monterey Cypresses or Pines to protect stock and crops. These trees and hedges also had an aesthetic value that added a picturesque quality to the landscape and consequently 'bear witness to the immigrants' desire to have familiar surroundings in this strange new land'  

Usually planted in straight lines along the edges of paddocks and along boundaries, they closely followed the north-south and east-west lines marked out by the allotment surveyors and hence emphasised the grid layout imposed by the Government survey upon the landscape. 

The most common hedging plant used in Cardinia Shire was English Hawthorn or Whitethorn (C. monogyna), one of a number of different plant varieties used throughout Victoria in the nineteenth century. One of the earliest hawthorn hedges in the former Cranbourne Shire was established in 1882 at Caldermeade near Lang Lang (Gunson, 1968)

This last reference is to Niel Gunson, The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire** The hedge referred to was planted by Alexander McMillan (1825 - 1897). Alexander was the fifth son of Archibald McMillan (1789-1863) who purchased the Caldermeade property in May 1881, when the property was put up for sale after the death of Archibald's widow, Katherine. At the time the property consisted of over 3,000 acres.  Alexander kept the property in excellent condition and planted the hawthorn hedgerows around 1882. There are still hedges along parts of Caldermeade Road and the South Gippsland Highway.

The Cardinia hedges along Ballarto Road are likely to be associated with the ownership of land by the Patterson family in the nineteenth century according to the Heritage Study* You can see these hedges from the Cardinia township to Pound Road. Alexander Patterson (1813 - 1896)  had acquired the St Germains run of nine square miles (5, 760 acres) in 1848. Some of the St Germains property, facing Ballarto Road was sold off after 1906** You can read Mr Patterson's obituary in the South Bourke & Mornington Journal of December 30, 1896, here.

We will now look at the Catani hedges. The Heritage Study* has this to say about these hedges - This series of Hawthorn Hedges surround almost the whole boundary of the property that is bounded by Caldermeade, Heads, Taplins and  Walshes roads immediately to the south of Catani township.

The exact date of the Hawthorn hedges at Catani is not known, however, it appears that they may have been associated with the farm established by James Smethurst, a farmer of Yannathan, in the late 1880s. Smethurst obtained the Crown Grant for Crown Allotment 21D, Parish of Yallock in July 1888. CA 21D is the land now bordered by Caldermeade, Heads, Walshes and Taplins roads. 

Smethurst did not own the property for long. A small portion of land at the corner of Caldermeade and Heads roads was sold to William Scott in 1889, while the balance was sold in 1891 to James Greaves, a butcher from Dandenong . James sold to William Henry Greaves, a farmer, in 1899. He owned the property until 1933. In 1932, the north-east corner was sold to the Presbyterian Church of Victoria as the site of the Catani Presbyterian Church.

The Hawthorn Hedges as they exist today therefore appear to correspond with the boundaries of the land as selected by Smethurst in 1888 so may have been planted by him as a condition of the Grant. Alternatively they could have been planted by Greaves after 1891.

James Smethurst who owned the land may have been James Smethurst Snr or James Smethurst Jnr - hard to tell from the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books as they  both own lots of land and it does not seem to specifically mention CA 21D. James Smethurst (1822-1905) and his wife Sarah (nee Hulton 1846 - 1907) arrived in area at Cranbourne in the late 1850s and had land at Yannathan and Cranbourne. James Smethurst Jnr (1846 - 1909) and his wife Eliza (nee Stanlake 1856-1909) also had  land at Yannathan as did  his brother John Henry Smethurst (1849 - 1898). John and his wife Annie (nee Redfern 1853 - 1925) had the property Glen Avis at Yannathan and was also a Cranbourne Shire Councillor. (Family information come from Early Settlers of the Casey Cardinia Region)



The Hawthorn hedges in Catani that are of heritage significance.  The township of Catani is at the top left, the road on the left is Walshe's Road, at the bottom is Head's Road, on the right is Caldermeade and at the top is Taplins Road.  The little square at the top of the marked roads is the Catani Presbyterian Church (now a  Community Church) as referred to in the Heritage Study description. This photo is from the Cardinia Local Heritage Study Review  Volume 2: Key Findings & Recommendations  Revised Report  May 2011 undertaken by Context Heritage Consultants.


This is the hawthorn hedge in Taplin's Road at Catani. The old cypress trees are part of the Catani Recreation Reserve. (April 2018)


Walshes Road hawthorn hedge, looking back towards Head's Road. The pile of trees on the right are felled cypress trees. (April 2018)


Red hawthorn berries - Catani (April 2018)


Caldermeade Road hedges at Catani (April 2018)

The Heritage Study also lists a hawthorn hedge on Linehams Road at Catani and there is also a hawthorn hedge at Clyde, from around Patterson Road, down to the old railway line - it will be interesting to know how long the Clyde one will last with all the rapid development going on in the area.

The Heritage Study* quotes this passage from Early Days of Berwick*** Mr Walton, father of Mrs G.W Robinson, introduced the hawthorn hedge one of the charms of North Narre Warren into the district. He taught the art of thorn setting or layering, as practiced in England which by the interlacing of the upper and lower branches hedges were rendered cattle and sheep proof.  Mr Walton was Thomas Walton, who wife his wife Eliza,  arrived in the Narre Warren area in 1852 and built Holly Green (located where Fountain Gate Shopping Centre is today). The Waltons left the area in 1877 and  Sidney Webb purchased Holly Green in 1880. It was their daughter, Eliza Mary Walton, who married George Washington Robinson in 1867. Robinson was the Shire of Berwick Engineer from 1876 to 1890.


This is the Holly Green property in 1900 - the property has a post and rail fence facing what is now the Princes Highway, but the other boundary fences could still be Mr Walton's hedges.


*Cardinia Local Heritage Study Review Volume 3: Heritage Place & Precinct citations  - Final report, revised November 2013, September 2015 undertaken by  Context Heritage Consultants.

 ** Gunson, Niel The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire (Shire of Cranbourne, 1968)

 *** Early days of Berwick  and its surrounding districts of Beaconsfield, Upper Beaconsfield, Harkaway, Narre Warren and Narre Warren North. (3rd edition, 1979)  

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Casey Cardinia and the End of the World - Nevil Shute's 'On the Beach'

Casey Cardinia has a  double connection to the 'end of the world' and the connection is through Nevil Shute and his book,  On the Beach, published in 1957. On the Beach is set mainly in Melbourne after a nuclear war has wiped out everyone in the Northern Hemisphere, however a deadly nuclear cloud is slowly making it's way down to the southern hemisphere killing off all humans and animals as it goes. So what is the Casey Cardinia connection? Nevil Shute lived in Langwarrin when he wrote the bookLangwarrin, used to be part of  the old Cranbourne Shire until the 1994 Council boundary changes when it then become part of the City of Frankston - so as it was written in the Shire of Cranbourne then that's a positive connection to the Casey Cardinia Region.




Here's the proof that Nevil Shute Norway lived in Langwarrin. He is listed in the Shire of Cranbourne Rate Books 1950/1951 as having 47 acres and 30 acres. You might need to click on the images to enlarge them.


The other connection to the area was that when the book was made into a film starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner in 1958 and 1959  scenes were filmed at George Wilson’s property at Harkaway Road in Berwick. This filming took place in January 1959 when the temperature was 106 to 109 degrees (41 - 42 degrees Celsius).  Only four of the nine Berwick scenes ended up in the final cut. Shute Avenue and Kramer Drive in Berwick are lasting memorials to the film location.

You can read about the making of the film, directed by Stanley Kramer, in this account written by Philip Davey, here https://2015.acmi.net.au/acmi-channel/2009/film-essay-on-the-beach/  Philip Davey is the author of the book When Hollywood came to Melbourne : the story of the making of Stanley Kramer's On the beach, published in 2005.

Here are some photos we have in the Archive, donated by a member of the Wilson family, of the filming of On the Beach in Berwick.


Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck





The following account of Nevil Shute's life is taken from Julian Croft's article published in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, you can read it in full, here. Nevil Shute (real name Nevil Shute Norway) was born in London on January 17, 1899 and went to Oxford University and became an engineer. He started his working life at de Havilland Aircraft Co. and also learnt to fly. He then worked at Vickers Ltd. During this time he was also writing novels which he had published under the name of Nevil Shute, so as not to compromise his professional engineering career. In 1932 he established his own company, Airspeed Ltd, which was quite successful - however he parted company with Airspeed Ltd, amicably it seems, in 1938 and received a large payout that allowed him to write full time. 


Portrait of Nevil Shute by Ian Hassall, 1962. 
National Library of Australia https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-134347151/view

In 1950 Nevil, his wife Frances (nee Heaton) and their two daughters migrated to Australia, to Langwarrin. A town like Alice which was published in 1950 was written at Langwarrin, other novels followed and it was in 1957 that On the Beach was published.  Nevil died on January 12, 1960 of a cerebral haemorrhage. He was cremated at the Necropolis at Springvale.


Anglican Church of St Thomas, Lanwarrin
Photo from the Parish website http://www.lpac.org.au

Nevil Shute generously left 8,000 pounds in his will to build a new Anglican Church at Langwarrin. The Architects were Wynstan Widdows and David Caldwell. The builders were John Wolt and Staff. The Church Church, named in honour of St Thomas, was dedicated on August 29, 1964. It is quite an interesting design, described as highly mannered Modernist Church design... exhibiting some Frank Lloyd Wright inspired characteristics*  In the end the final cost of the Church was 15, 825  pounds and the parishioners raised the rest of the money.   The 8,000 pounds was a generous bequest for the Church, given that Mr Shute's estate was valued at 100,000 pounds, according to the newspaper report, below, although a report a few years later said the Estate was worth 154, 000 pounds at the time of his death and in the four years hence had grown to 230,000 pounds.



This report was in Canberra Times of May 20, 1961



Canberra Times August 12, 1964

* The information about the Church comes from  the book Church of St Thomas, Langwarrin: a potted construction history - celebrating the centenary of Nevil Shute Norway written and published by David Caldwell in 1999. Mr Caldwell was the Architect who worked on the Church.  The description of the Church being 'highly mannered etc' was from Graeme Butler & Associates from their 1997 Frankston City Heritage Study and quoted by Mr Caldwell.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Quail Island

Quail Island is situated at the northern end of Western Port Bay across Rutherford Inlet from Warneet. Adjacent to Quail Island is Chinaman Island. You can see Quail Island on the left of the aerial, below, and Chinaman Island in the centre under the Warneet township. Cannons Creek is at the top of aerial.


Aerial from October 19, 1986. Quail Island on the left of the aerial, below, and Chinaman Island in the centre under the Warneet township. Cannons Creek is at the top of aerial. Towards the top of Quail Island you can see a dam, so that would have been in the vicinity of the house that was once on the Island and destroyed in the 1898 bush fires.


Quail Island was so named due to the number of quail in the island. Chinaman Island was named becasue Chinese fishermen were said to live on this island and they fished for the type of fish eaten by the Chinese, dried them and sent them to China. Quail Island was originally used as a pastoral run - one of the earlier lease holders appear to be Henry Greer and James Wheatley as the following advertisement appeared in The Age of May 25, 1864.

The Age  May 25, 1864

I presume that in the end James Wheatley took over the lease as in August 1864 he offered a portion of Quail Island to the Acclimatisation Society for them to run stock. Whether Wheatley's offer was accepted or someone else took over the lease, the Island was used to stock game  as Quail Island was 'temporarily reserved for Acclimatization purposes' on April 16, 1866. A report in The Age of August 14, 1867 said that 'nine black Indian partridges and seven Cape partridges had been sent down to Quail Island, for liberation'



State Government Gazette April 24, 1866

This advertisement (below) regarding the sale of Quail Island give us some idea of development on Quail Island as by July 1868 the Island had a 'good three roomed house and sheep yards' and was connected to the main land by a bridge. The house was destroyed in a bushfire in 1898. You can see one of the 'permanent lagoon' or dams in the aerial photo at the top of the post. Graham Patterson, in his Coastal guide, quotes an article from The Argus of November 1, 1865 relating the story of the housekeeper on the Quail Island Station and her misadventure in returning home from Cranbourne one day. It's well worth a read, which you can do, here.


The Argus July 7, 1868

As best as I can I have traced the  lease hold holders or owners of Quail Island - it is part of the Parish of Sherwood and was part of the Cranbourne Shire. The first time I could see Quail island itemised in the Rate Books was 1877/1878 when Alexander Hunter was listed. Hunter also had the Balla Balla run at this time. The Island had been advertised for sale in September 1878 (see advert here) so he may have purchased it around then.  Alexander Hunter had Quail Island until 1884/1885. Donald Tolmie is listed in the Rate Books from 1885/1886 until 1887/1888. From 1888/1889 Charles De Arth (also called De Ath) is listed n the Rate Books until at Quail Island until 1889/1900, the next year his name is crossed out and in July 1901 this notice (see below) appeared in South Bourke and Mornington Journal, reporting on the proceeding of the Cranbourne Police Court. After De Arth, James Ridley had the Quail Island lease until 1912/1913 when Francis Callanan took it over. By then it was listed as 2000 acres although it had been variously listed as being of 3,000 or 4,000 acres - perhaps by this time they could accurately measure the island. Callanan was at the island until 1915/1916 when the Rate Books have the annotation 'Abandon' and 'Reverted to the Crown'


South Bourke and Mornington Journal July 3, 1901

In 1908, the Department of Agriculture inspected Quail Island to see if it was suitable for closer settlment or  a labour colony, but in the end both options did not go ahead  for various reasons including distance from the Cranbourne Railway Station. After Francis Callanan abandoned the Quail Island lease I can find no other lease holders and as it did not become  a labour colony or was taken up for closer settlement I presueme that it was unoccupied. In March 1928 it was proclaimed a 'Sanctuary for native game' - as game is considered to be animals which are hunted for sport of food, it doesn't seem like much of  a sanctuary. The next time we hear of Quail Island is when koalas are transferred there from French Island.


State Government Gazette March 21, 1928


The Argus of January 15, 1930 reported that transference of koalas from French Island to Quail Island has began. Many families of koalas were captured and transferred in boats over the five mile strait between the two islands.  The residents of French Island complained that koalas were present in such large numbers that they denuded every gum tree within reach and they asked for permission to thin them out bu shooting or alternatively have them removed. As koalas are protected the second option was chosen.

A report in The Herald in May 1932 also spoke about the koalas being removed, so the process of removal to Quail Island and neighbouring Chinaman Island was still taking place. This article (which you can read here) talks about Mr R.H. Bennetts, from the Department of Fisheries and Game as 'the welfare officer for the little migrants' so this must be the same R. Bennetts who took the photograph, below.




Koalas being placed in boxes to be transported from French Island to Quail Island, 1930. 
Photographer: R. Bennetts



Another photo taken at the same time by, Mr Bennetts, of the koalas and the boxes they were transported in from French to Qaail Island. 

In April 1933, The Age reported (read article here) that 200 koalas had already been transferred and that it was recommended that another 150 - 200 also be transferred as gums on French Island were suffering from blight but that Quail Island had an adequate food supply. A later report published in the Argus in June 1933 (read it here) said there were only 1,000 koalas left in Victoria and that eventually the only populations  would be on the Western Port Islands.

However, fast forward ten years to 1943 and there were various reports and letters in the papers about the health of the koalas on Quail Island. They were either starving due to lack of feed or else they were in a state of good health. In March 1944 The Age reported  (read it here) that the Chief Inspector of Fisheries and Game recommended the transfer of a number of koalas from the Western Port Islands in the coming months. Amongst the places suggested as new homes for the koala was the Wombat State Forest, Brisbane Ranges and Healesville. 

There is an interesting film on YouTube, Koalas removed from Quail island,  filmed  around 1944, about the removal of the koalas to near Trentham. You can view it here   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IEhbC6M7EA



Koala in crate which is being transferred from French Island to Quail Island
Argus newspaper collection of  photographs, State Library of Victoria Image H2004.100/1011

There must still have been koalas on Quail Island in 1960 as the 'Regulations for the care, protection and management at the Chinaman Island and Quail Island Koala Reserves' was gazetted in August 1960.


State Government Gazette   August 24, 1960.


There was talk in the early 1960s of turning Quail Island into a jetport but, as you know that never happened. Quail island is now a Nature Conservation Reserve and some of the waters around it are part of the Yaringa Marine National Park. Quail Island and Watson Inlet are also of State Geomorphological Significance - you can read about this here - http://vro.agriculture.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/portregn.nsf/pages/port_lf_sig_sites_watson

I have created  a list of newspaper articles connected to Quail Island, on Trove. You can access the list, here