Saturday, 1 August 2020

St Paul's Anglican Church in Clyde

The Clyde (1) area was until a few years ago a strictly rural area and in common with most country areas the significant community buildings consisted of the School, the Hall and Churches. This post looks at the history of St Paul's Anglican Church. Most of the early history comes from A Clyde History website (see here). The Church was located on the east side of Berwick-Clyde Road, between Patterson's Road and Hardy's Road (2), on land donated by the Ridgway family (3). The early history is a bit hazy - Anglican services were held in either the School or an earlier building on the site (4).  There is evidence that the early church was called St John's (5). A new Church was erected in 1887 and officially opened on May 1, 1887 (6) and as 1887 was the Golden Jubilee year of Queen Victoria's reign the Church was called St Paul's Jubilee Church (7). 

The building was destroyed by a bush fire on February 21, 1906. This was a devastating loss to the community but they were fortunate that the fire did not cross the road and burn down the school which was sheltering 50 children.


Report of the fire that destroyed the Church


The people of Clyde worked quickly to replace the building and the new Church was opened by the Archbishop of Melbourne, the Reverend Henry Lowther Clarke on December 15, 1906 (8). The Church served the people of Clyde for many more decades - not only Church Services and Sunday School but a venue for the milestones of life - weddings and funerals. I have included two reports below.


Report of the wedding of Lorna Collins of Clyde to Jack Duncan of Cardinia at St Paul's, Clyde.
Dandenong Journal, October 21, 1945 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/214333655#


Obituary of Mrs Ann Hardy (nee Poole) of Clyde North. Her funeral was at St Paul's.

Times changed and the Church closed. In 1999 (9) it was relocated to Beaconhills College in Pakenham. These photos show the Church shortly before it was relocated. They are part of the Casey Cardinia Libraries collection.


St Paul's Anglican Church, Clyde, c. 1999.


St Paul's Anglican Church, Clyde, c. 1999.


St Paul's Anglican Church, Clyde, c. 1999.


Gone! Site of  St Paul's Anglican Church, Clyde, c. 1999.


Trove List 
I have created a short list on Trove of newspapers articles connected to St Paul's at Clyde, access the list here. All articles referred to here are on the list.

Notes
(1) This is an explanation about the naming of Clyde and Clyde North. It was named after the River Clyde in Scotland. The name was originally given to a watercourse that divided the Mayune and the Garem Gun runs. Apparently, a shepherd named James McKay, who worked for Alexander Cameron (1813 -1896) had cut the name on a tree whilst watering sheep, the name was then used for the creek and then the town. Clyde was initially based north of the existing town along Berwick Road, basically between Patterson Road and Hardy’s Road. When the railway went through in 1888, the town which developed around the railway station became known as Clyde and the original town was called Clyde. http://seha.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Place-names-and-their-meanings-by-Heather-Arnold-July-2020.pdf
(2) This early history of the Church comes from Campbell, John A Clyde History: Public Hall and Mechanics’ Institute Jubilee (Back to Clyde Committee, 1978. John Campbell's book forms the basis of some of the material on the Clyde History website which is researched and maintained by Joan Vanderhorn. Joan and John are siblings. See the website here https://clydehistory.000webhostapp.com/.   You can read the full entry on St Paul's here - https://clydehistory.000webhostapp.com/html/0503chpauls.html The location of the Church comes from this map from the website https://app.box.com/s/234lb7txspov3z5k488c
(3)  Campbell, John A Clyde History: Public Hall and Mechanics’ Institute Jubilee (Back to Clyde Committee, 1978) The pages are not numbered.
(4) Campbell, op. cit.
(5) Two examples of the use of St Johns - South Bourke & Mornington Journal November 16, 1881, see here  and  South Bourke & Mornington Journal May 30, 1883, see here.
(6) Campbell, op. cit.
(7) Campbell, op. cit.
(8) Campbell, op. cit.
(9) The date of the removal of the Church comes from the website. You can read the full entry on St Paul's here - https://clydehistory.000webhostapp.com/html/0503chpauls.html

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Postcards of Beaconsfield Upper

Here are some postcards of Beaconsfield Upper (1). The photos may have been taken earlier, but two of the postcards are postmarked 1907 and I believe the cards were most likely produced around this time. The first 15 years or so of the twentieth century were a boom time for postcards - they enabled people to send  a short message involving commercial transactions (see here) or for personal reasons (see here) or to extend seasonal greetings (see here) - the sort of transactions that we would make today with a quick phone call, email or text message.  They were also a source of cheap souvenirs for holiday makers to either keep as a momento or to send to family and friends at home. There is an interesting history of postcards on the Australia Post website, see here.


This is Stoney Creek Road, Beaconsfield. Beaconsfield Upper was originally called Beaconsfield, but gained the 'Upper' due to the establishment of the Beaconsfield Railway Station, which opened December 1, 1879. The settlement which developed around the Station was at one time called Lower Beaconsfield, however when a new Post Office was established there in June 1891, the town around the Station was officially known as Beaconsfield and the town in the hills, Beaconsfield Upper (2).  The town is also referred to as Upper Beaconsfield.  Stoney Creek Road  was once known as the Main Gembrook Road (3) and runs in an arc from the Beaconsfield-Emerald Road, where it returns to a few kilometres north. Stoney Creek is a tributary of the Cardinia Creek.


This is labelled Burke's Road, Beaconsfield. I presume this is Bourke's Creek Road which runs from the Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road at Pakenham Upper and meanders along past the R.J. Chambers  Flora and Fauna Reserve to the Beaconsfield-Emerald Road at Dewhurst, which is north Beaconsfield Upper.  Bourke's Creek is a tributary of the Toomuc Creek.  Bourke's Creek is most likely named for the Bourke family who took up Minton's Run on the Toomuc Creek in 1843 and established the La Trobe Inn, also known as Bourke's Hotel, on the Gippsland Road (now the Princes Highway) around 1850. You can read more about the Bourke family, here.


This area shown in this postcard is known as Charing Cross, a triangular area at the intersection of Beaconsfield-Emerald Road and St Georges Road and Salisbury Road. The image used in this postcard dates from 1898 (4) and shows the General Store. The term Charing Cross comes from the area in London and according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica the name derives from the Old English cerring (“a bend in the road” or “a turn”) and refers either to the nearby great bend in the River Thames or to a bend in the Roman road that ran west from London (5).


The first mention I could find in the newspapers of the term Charing Cross was in 1891, when George Craik (6) wrote to the Shire of Berwick on behalf of  H. J. Williams (7) to erect a verandah on the shop.
South Bourke and Mornington Journal February 4, 1891 



A bucolic scene.


Notes
(1) These are from my own collection -  I was given three as a gift and purchased one of them. You know how it is, we all have to stay home due to Covid 19 and so on-line shopping fills in the time that I used to use for socialising and attending Historical Society activities!
(2) Wilson, Charles W. Upper Beaconsfield: an early history (The Author & the Upper Beaconsfield Association, 2013), p. 44.
(3) Wilson, op.cit., p. 31.
(4) Wilson, op.cit., p. 107, 107
(6) George Craik (1840-1918)  You can read about George on Marianne Rocke's excellent and extensive website, Residents of Upper Beaconsfield,  https://www.upperbeaconsfieldhistory.org.au/   George's entry is here 
(7) H. J. Williams - not sure who this is - Marianne lists a Henry Jabez Williams and a Henry Joseph Williams, but they don't seem to be associated with the store.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Country Roads Board Photographs

The Country Roads Board was established in 1913 to maintain major roads in Victoria. Previous to this all roads were the responsibility of the local councils. The Public Records Office has digitised much of the CRB's photographic collection, you can access them here.  In two other posts I shown the Princes Highway photographs (see here) and the South Gippsland Highway photos from this region (see here). This post show four other photos of the area.


400 gallon heaters set up for spraying on the Cockatoo-Gembrook Road, 1931.
Photographer: Country Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image 30_00259


Road running North from Cockatoo station, 1913.
Photographer: Country Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image 13_00036


  Brunt's gravel pits near Cranbourne, 1913.
Photographer: Country Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image 13_00183


Quarry at Tynong opened up by contractor Manrell, Pakenham, 1929.
Photographer: Country Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image  28_00201

 CRB's photographic collection can be accessed here.  The CRB Princes Highway photographs from this region can be seen here and the South Gippsland Highway photos from this region, here.

South Gippsland Highway - Country Roads Board photographs

The Country Roads Board was established in 1913 to maintain major roads in Victoria. Previous to this all roads were the responsibility of the local councils. The Public Records Office has digitised much of the CRB's photographic collection, you can access them here.  This post shows the South Gippsland Highway photographs from this region; the Princes Highway photos can be seen here.  Other CRB photos of the region can be seen here.


South Gippsland Highway section 1 - maintenance tent: Cranbourne - Dandenong Road, 1914. 
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684  Image  14_00191_B


South Gippsland Highway Section 1 - between Cranbourne and Tooradin - recently reconstructed, 1936.
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684  Image  36_00144


South Gippsland Highway Section 1 - between Cranbourne and Tooradin - recently reconstructed, 1936.
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684  Image  36_00145


South Gippsland Highway Section 1 : between Five Ways and Tooradin, 1945.
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684  Image  45_04174


Bridge across Tooradin Inlet on South Gippsland Highway - Section 1, 1927.
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684  Image 25_00075


Bridge across Tooradin Inlet on South Gippsland Highway - Section 1, 1927.
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684  Image 25_00076


Bridge across Tooradin Inlet on South Gippsland Highway - Section 1, 1927.
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684  Image 25_00077


South Gippsland Highway Section 1 : reconstruction near Koo-Wee-Rup, 1934
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image  34_00103


South Gippsland Highway Section 1 : reconstruction near Koo-Wee-Rup, 1934
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image  34_00104


Timber bridge over main drain at Koo-Wee-Rup - South Gippsland Highway - Section 1, 1913.
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image  13_00177

I don't know what that building is on the left.


South Gippsland Highway - section 1 - Lang Lang River looking upstream with old bridge in background,  1928.
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image  28_00178


Old bridge over Lang Lang River on South Gippsland Highway - section 1,  1927.
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image  25_00072

 CRB's photographic collection can be accessed here.  This post shows the South Gippsland Highway photographs from this region; the Princes Highway photos can be seen here. Other CRB photos of the region can be seen here.

Princes Highway - Country Roads Board photographs

The Country Roads Board was established in 1913 to maintain major roads in Victoria. Previous to this all roads were the responsibility of the local councils. The Public Records Office has digitised much of the CRB's photographic collection, you can access them here.  This post shows the Princes Highway photographs from this region, plus two from Dandenong; the South Gippsland Highway photos can be seen here. Other CRB photos of the region can be seen here.


Main Street, Dandenong, 1913. 
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684  Image 13_00047_A


  Township of Dandenong - market day - Princes Highway East, 1913.
 Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684  Image 13_00158


  Berwick township section East side looking West, 1928.
Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image  28_00005

St Andrews Presbyterian, now Uniting Church, is on the left.


  Berwick township section East side looking West, 1928.
Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image 28_00005


Junction of Princes Highway East with road to Upper Beaconsfield, 1913.
Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image 13_00032_A

This is, of course, Berwick and the Border Hotel / Berwick Inn.


Princes Highway East Section 1 - between Pakenham and Nar-Nar-Goon, 1918
Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image 18_00030


Princes Highway East section 1 - from Tynong Road - base course of granite, 1929.
Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684  Image 28_00098


Princes Highway East section 1 - between Garfield and Tynong turn-off: maintenance of granite sand surfacing 1929
Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684  Image 28_00100


Bridge over Bunyip River between Bunyip and Drouin : Princes Highway East, 1913
Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image 13_00166


Princes Highway East section 1 - bridge over Bunyip River, 1929.
Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image 28_00095


Princes Highway East Section 1 : wrecked approach span : Bunyip River Bridge after December floods 1934 : Eastern end
Photographer: County Roads Board VPRS 17684 Image 34_00084

CRB's photographic collection can be accessed here.  This post shows the Princes Highway photographs from this region, plus two from Dandenong; the South Gippsland Highway photos can be seen hereOther CRB photos of the region can be seen here.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Children's Hospital

On April 20, 1898 the foundation stone of the Children's Hospital was laid by Beatrice Maie St John Madden, Ivy Victoria Clarke and Ethel Maie Sumner Ryan. The three girls  carried out their duty on behalf of the children of Victoria. Although these girls represented the children of Victoria, they were not truly representative of the children of Victoria as they were from families belonging to the  squattocracy (1) or 'upper class' - families well connected to each other, to politicians, to power and to money. What has this to do with our region? Well, the last named child, Ethel married Richard Gavin Gardiner Casey and they lived in Berwick - we know them as Lord and Lady Casey, and Lord Casey is the source of the name for the City of Casey. This post will look at this significant event in young Ethel Maie Sumner Ryan's life.


The three girls

The Weekly Times of April 30, 1898 (2) reported on the event and the list of invited guests, including the Acting Governor, Sir John Murray and the role of the three girls - After a few words by the architects, the stone was hoisted, and a bottle containing records of the hospital and the newspapers of the day, was placed in a cavity beneath it. The three little girls, who were all tastefully dressed, and carried handsome bouquets, then stepped forward, and very sedately and prettily went through their part of the programme. First of all they carefully measured the stone. Then they were supplied with a spadeful of mortar upon a polished cedar platter, and with their silver trowels they each took up a morsel and deposited it beneath the stone. "Lower, please," called one of the little ladies to the man at the windlass; then "lower yet," and the stone was dropped into its place. Then with serious faces the three took up one after another a miniature spirit-level, and laid it this way and that across the stone. Lastly, with tiny mallets of cedar they tapped the stone, and their task was done. And then they made a speech. At first little Miss Madden was the spokes-maiden, and this is what she said: - "Ladies and Gentlemen, -We three little girls are very pleased and very proud to be allowed to-day to help this hospital. We declare this stone well and truly laid, and we hope that God will bless this building, and that He will save many dear little children from death and pain by its means." Then the three together lifted up their voices, and said: "On behalf of the children of Victoria, we declare this stone well and truly laid." There was great cheering at this announcement, and the little ladies retired, each carrying with her in a silk-lined morocco case the silver trowel which had been presented. (Weekly Times of April 30, 1898, see here)


The foundation stone of the 1898 building.
Image: Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne 1870 - 1970 by Lyndsay Gardiner (3).


The laying of the foundation stone ceremony

The Children's Hospital began in 1870 in  a house at 39  Exhibition Street (then called Stephen Street). In 1873 it moved to Spring Street. This building could accommodate 15 inpatients as well as providing an outpatient service. The hospital moved again in 1876 to Carlton, to a house purchased from Sir Redmond Barry. This new building provided a substantial increase in space, it could house 24 inpatients and was located on the block bounded by Rathdown, Pelham and Drummond Streets. The hospital expanded with the erection of the new building in 1898, designed by Guyon Purchas and William Shields. It remained on this site until January 1963, when it moved to Flemington Road in Parkville (4).  The Hospital became the Royal Children's Hospital in 1953 (5).


The 1898 building
Children's Hospital, Drummond Street Carlton, exterior view, c. 1900. 
Photographer: Charles Rudd. 
State Library of Victoria Image H39357/103

We will have a look at the life of these three girls.
Beatrice Maie St John Madden. Beatrice, born in 1890, was the youngest daughter of Sir John Madden and his wife Gertrude Frances Stephen. She had four older sisters, Amy (born 1873), Gertrude (1875), Sylvia (1876), Ruby (1877) and one brother Guy born 1879.  The family lived at Cloyne, in St Kilda and had a country residence, Yamala, at Frankston. Sir John (1844-1918) was a lawyer and was appointed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1893, the year he was Knighted. Lady Madden, who died in 1925 at the age of 72 was the President of the Austral Salon and the Bush Nursing Association. Sir John was described as an indulgent father (6) and Beatrice grew up in an wealthy and well connected household.


Beatrice Madden, aged about six. I believe this was taken at Yamala.
State Library of Victoria Image  H93.236/3

Beatrice married Maurice Howard Baillieu in March 1912 in a fashionable wedding, as the newspapers described Society weddings in those days. It was attended by the Governor of Victoria as well as Dame Nellie Melba, amongst other guests (7).  Maurice was the son of James Baillieu and the brother of William Baillieu, who was a partner in the firm of Munro and Baillieu, prominent Melbourne auctioneers. You can read about the Baillieu family here, in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Beatrice and Maurice had a son John and a daughter Sandra (8). Beatrice died in 1957 at the age of 66.


Photo of Beatrice Madden published at the time of the laying of the foundation stone. 
Melbourne Punch April 28, 1898 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/21092377#

Ivy Victoria Clarke. Ivy was the daughter of  Sir William Clarke (1831 - 1897) pastoralist and philanthropist, who in 1874 inherited property in Victoria worth £1,500,000 which is very serious money. This property included land at Berwick, where he was instrumental in having the Old Cheese factory built, read about this here.  In 1881, Clarke was created  a Baronet, the only hereditary title in Australia, so Ivy's background was equally as 'prominent', perhaps even more so than that of Beatrice. Sir William's first wife died in 1871 and in 1872 he married Janet Snodgrass, who had been the governess to his four children. She was the daughter of Peter and Charlotte Snodgrass, more of whom later. They had seven children - Clive (born 1874), William (1876), Agnes (1877), Francis (1879), Reginald (1880), Lily (1884) and Ivy in 1888. The family homes were  Rupertswood in Sunbury and Cliveden (now demolished) in East Melbourne. Lady Clarke was also very philanthropic and was involved with the Austral Salon, the Melbourne District Nursing Society, the first president of the National Council of Women among many other organizations. In 1889, Lady Clarke donated £5000 for the construction of the Hostel for Women University Students, Trinity College known as  Janet Clarke Hall. 


Photo of Ivy Clarke published at the time of the laying of the foundation stone. 
Melbourne Punch April 28, 1898 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/21092377#

Ivy married Robert William Knox in 1912. He was a business man, director of various companies and President of the Australian National Theatre Movement. He was Knighted in 1934. Ivy was involved in various charitable and community organisations, including being the President of the Australian Women's National League. She died in 1962 at the age of 74. As a matter of interest, to me at least (9), when Ivy's mother, Janet Clarke, died at the age of 57 in April 1909 she left an estate of  £109,000 and made a number of individual bequests to her children. Ivy received Honiton lace and her mother's diamond tiara. Honiton lace was an English lace and was used on Queen Victoria' wedding gown when she married in 1840. I wondered if Ivy had used the lace in her own wedding gown, but it wasn't, her dress was of satin and tulle and embroidered with pearls (10).  Ivy's life was indeed  a life of privilege however her father died when she was nine, her mother when she was twenty and her son Keith in 1946 at the age of 27, so all the money in the world can't insulate you from the death of loved ones. Keith had served in the War with an English regiment, was awarded the Military Cross and Bar, but died as a result of an operation in 1946 (11). Ivy and Robert had another son, David, and a  daughter Rosemary.


Lady Clarke wearing her diamond tiara, which she left to her daughter Ivy.
Photo: The Long last summer: Australia's Upper Class before the Great War by Michael Cannon (12)

Ethel Maie Sumner Ryan.  Maie as she was known, was born on March 13, 1891 in Melbourne.  She was the daughter of Sir Charles Snodgrass Ryan and Alice Elfrida Sumner.  Her brother, Rupert Sumner Ryan had been born in 1884. Sir Charles was the honorary medical officer to the Children's Hospital from 1883 until 1913, then became consulting surgeon. Sir Charles was the son of Charles Ryan and Marion Cotton. Marion's sister Charlotte was married to Peter Snodgrass and they were the parents of Janet, Lady Clarke. Thus Charles Ryan and Janet Clarke were first cousins. John Cotton, the father of Marion and Charlotte, was a naturalist and had published two books on birds in England before he arrived in Australia. He had plans to publish a book on the birds of Port Phillip, illustrated with his own drawings, but died before this eventuated. His grand-daughter, Ellis Rowan, was also a talented artist, who painted exquisite pictures of  wildflowers and birds. Ellis was the sister of Charles Ryan and  the aunt of young Maie.


Photo of Maie Ryan published at the time of the laying of the foundation stone. 
Melbourne Punch April 28, 1898 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/21092377#

Maie married Richard Gavin Gardiner Casey in London in 1926. He was an engineer, a politician and  the Governor General of Australia from 1965 to 1969, you can read about his career here. They had two children, Jane and Richard. It was through Maie's mother that we have the connection to Berwick. Alice Ryan's sister Winifred Sumner was married to Andrew Chirnside, one of the Chirnsides of Werribee Park. Andrew and Winifred purchased Edrington in Berwick in 1912 and when the couple both died within three months of each other in 1934 Edrington passed to Maie Casey and her brother, Colonel Rupert Ryan, niece and nephew of Winifred. Edrington at Berwick was the family home of Lord and Lady Casey (well one of them, they also owned a house in East Melbourne).  There are some interesting photos of the Caseys at Edringtonhere. Maie was a talented artist, a writer and  a poet. She also complied and edited Early Melbourne architecture, 1840 to 1888:  a photographic record (13). Sadly, many of the buildings had been demolished when the book was published,  I'd hate to think how little remains now.  It's a great book, well worth trying to obtain a copy, if you want to see how marvellous Melbourne once was. Lady Casey died in 1983. Read more about her, here.


Lady Casey standing beside a small aeroplane. Both Lord and Lady Casey flew planes. They established their own airfield at Berwick, Casey Airfield
State Library of Victoria Image H2013.295/1


Footnotes: 
(1) Squattocracy - what  a great word this is - the Colonial Aristocracy. The first evidence of its use was in 1846 according to A dictionary of Australian colloquialisms by G. A. Wilkes (Sydney University Press, 1978) A squatter was a respectable pastoralist occupying Crown land by licence. Most of these squatters then purchased the land at the first Government land sales, in the Casey Cardinia area these sales took place in the 1850s. The ownership of land was a source of great wealth, as we can see with Sir William Clarke.
(2) Weekly Times of April 30, 1898, see here.
(3) Gardiner, Lyndsay Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne 1870 - 1970 (published by the Hospital in 1970)
(4) Gardiner, op. cit.
(5) The Children's Hospital becomes the Royal Children's Hospital reported in The Age August 7, 1953, see here.
(6) Sir John Madden, an indulgent father comes from his Australian Dictionary of Biography entry written by Ruth Campbell, see here.
(7) Beatrice Madden's wedding was reported on in The Leader, March 16, 1912, see here and The Australasian, March 16, 1912, see here. The State Library of Victoria has a copy of her wedding photo, see here.
(8) I wondered whether the three girls kept in touch or were friends. I found a  report of Sandra Baillieu's wedding to Alexander William Stewart in September 1950. It was a small wedding with family and intimate friends and Sir Robert and Lady Knox were present, so it appears there was still some connection between Beatrice and Ivy. The report was in The Argus November 27, 1950, see here. You can see the photos of 'Melbourne's Society Wedding of the Year', here.
(9) I was interested that Ivy inherited her mother's tiara, because I love tiaras! It's not often you get a chance to write about tiaras in Local History blogs, so even though it is not central to the story, I wasn't going to let this opportunity pass.
(10) Ivy's wedding was reported in Punch November 12, 1914, see here and The Leader, November 14, 1914, see here.
(11) The obituary of Keith Knox was in The Argus November 12, 1946, see here and The Age of November 12, 1946, see here.
(12) Cannon, Michael The Long last summer: Australia's Upper Class before the Great War (Nelson, 1985)
(13) Casey, Maie Early Melbourne architecture, 1840 to 1888:  a photographic record (Oxford University Press, 1975)

Monday, 1 June 2020

The Dunkinson family of Narre Warren


This postcard of the Dandenong Post Office was sent from that building on December 14, 1910 to Miss Dunkinson of Narre Warren.


The letter reads - I am sending your basket up by train this afternoon, I took it up to Mrs W but I see it has not gone yet. I am very sorry for keeping it so long, G.N.  It is not  a very interesting message, even though I do wonder why G. N. had Miss Dunkinson's basket in the first place. I can't tell you who G.N is or who Mrs W. is but I can tell you who Miss Dunkinson is and the amazing connection her father has to the start of Australian Rules Football in Victoria. The family is also the source of the name Dunkinson Street in Narre Warren.

We will start with Mr Dunkinson - John Valentine Dunkinson. His first connection to Narre Warren is in 1890 when he is listed in the Shire of Berwick Rate books, renting one acre with a house, part Crown Allotment 12, Parish of Berwick, from Sydney Webb. CA 12 is on the north side of the Princes Highway, and the west side of Narre Warren North Road (1). His occupation was listed as a labourer and he remained at this property until his death in 1930, having purchased it around 1914. John and his family had been living at Gisborne before the move to Narre Warren.

John was born on February 14, 1836 in Yass, in New South Wales, to William and Georgina (nee McGregor) Dunkinson.  When he was two, his family came by boat to Melbourne, a journey which took six weeks (2). On April 23, 1856 John married Mary Ann Butler, the daughter of Alexander Bishop Butler and his wife Charlotte Selina Mortimer, of Cheltenham (3). The had five children (4) all born in Melbourne -   
Charlotte Selina - born 1857 and died in Dandenong 1933,  aged 76.
Alexander William (Alec) - born 1859, married Vida Amelia Grenfell in 1895 and died in Kalgoorlie in Western Australia in 1913.
Arthur Herbert - born 1861, married Ellen Eliza Vibert in 1884, death date unknown.
Georgina Emily - born 1863,  died in Narre Warren in 1950, aged 87.
Florence Adelaide - born 1866, died 1867, aged 1.


John Valentine Dunkinson, aged 92

It appears that John Valentine Dunkinson had a number of interesting accomplishments. A letter to editor of The Argus in December 1907 said  Mr. W. Dunkinson, of Narre Warren, Gippsland, [is]  if not the oldest colonist, must be very near it, as he was brought to Victoria in 1838 from Sydney by his parents (5)An article reporting on his 91st birthday said he was an authority on the Australian aborigines and their curious customs (6)It was an interview with Mr Dunkinson in The Sporting Globe in 1928 (7) which talked about his many significant sporting achievements - he was a founder of Australian Rules Football, helped peg out the Melbourne Cricket Ground, was the first ever central umpire for a football match and an inaugural and life member of the Richmond Cricket Club. It is a fascinating interview covering not only the history of sport in Melbourne, but also some of Melbourne's history, read it here.  I will quote some of the Sporting Globe article -

Only two of the founders of the Australian game of football - H. C. A. Harrison and John Valentine Dunkinson aged 92 - are still alive. Mr Dunkinson is a remarkable old gentleman. Still clear of vision and alert, this grand old Australian delights in visits from present or past athletes. He prizes photographs of players, which were presented to him by Syd. Sherrin.

Mr Dunkinson recalls the match played between the Police and the Fourteenth Regiment. So strenuous was the play that most of the players were in the hospital for several days afterwards. It was a fight to the finish in those days. If no decision were reached in one day, the match would be continued at a later date.

At first the umpire controlled the play from the goals, but the futility of this was soon seen, and Dunkinson was the first man to act as central umpire. In addition to umpiring a great deal, Mr Dunkinson was one of the original Melbourne players.

The original Melbourne ground was near Spencer street, but this was not connected with the M.C.C. The old ground, to his knowledge, was located there in 1856. The next ground was just below Prince's bridge. There was a little pavilion and a picket fence. Floods however, brought down silt, which was deposited in the locality. He took a prominent part in the construction of the present M.C.C. ground, and helped to peg off the area chosen. A man named Gass was the contractor.Many old gum trees, "crusty old devils," according to Mr Dunkinson, had to be shifted by blowing up the trunks.

In addition to taking an active part in football, Mr Dunkinson was associated with cricket. He played with Richmond and was the first member of the Punt road club. He recalls such players as Ted Mortimer, Jack Huddlestone, and Sam Costick. At his home at Narre Warren he has a photograph of the Australian Aborigines' team, which went to England in 1869 "I remember them as a great bunch of fellows—a gentlemanly lot."

So that's Mr Dunkinson, the extraordinary sportsman. But who was Miss Dunkinson - the recipient of the postcard? It can only have been Charlotte or Georgina and it was Charlotte. Charlotte is listed in the Electoral Rolls, living with her parents at Narre Warren from 1903 right through to 1928. Her occupation was always 'home duties'. Georgina moved around - in 1906 she was in Brunswick, in 1913 she was in New South Wales near Moree, then from 1913 until 1926 she was listed in the Electoral Rolls at Mornington Junction, the old name for Baxter. Her occupation was also 'home duties' (8).

John Valentine Dunkinson died on May 14, 1930, aged 94. His wife, Mary Ann, died October 20, 1917, aged 84. Charlotte died on October 16, 1933 aged 76 and her sister Georgina, who was also unmarried, died June 7, 1950 aged 87. They are all buried at the Berwick Cemetery (9). I don't have any information on how Charlotte and Georgina lived their lives. I presume Charlotte remained at home helping out with the household and taking care of her parents as they got older. Georgina, who lived way from the family home, and still had her occupation listed as 'home duties' in the Electoral Rolls may have been a live-in companion or  a housekeeper.

Did John and Mary Ann have any grandchildren? Alec, who died in Kalgoorlie, and his wife Vida had one daughter, Hazel Dorothy, who was born in Melbourne in 1896. Albert and his wife Nellie (who died in 1905, aged 42) had two daughters - Alice Esther May, born 1886 and Alexandra Beatrice, born 1889 and one son Richmond Valentine Dunkinson, born in 1887. Richmond was Killed in Action at Gallipoli on May 4, 1915 (10).

I can only hope that when Miss Charlotte Dunkinson walked down to the Narre Warren Railway Station in December 1910, after receiving her postcard, that her basket was waiting for her.


Trove List - I have created a list of articles connected to the Dunkinson family of Narre Warren on Trove, you can access it here.

Sources
(1)  Around 1920, Georgina, John's daughter, purchased the house but John continued to be listed in the Rate Books. An entry for Georgina in an Electoral Roll has her address as Narre Warren North Road, so I presume the house backed onto the northern section of Webb Street.
(2) Interview with the Sporting Globe of May 26, 1928, see here.
(3) Marriage information from a Marriage notice in The Argus of  April 24, 1856, see here and the Index to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages, see here.
(4) Information on the children comes from the Index to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages, see here and various family announcements in the newspapers on Trove.
(5) The Argus, December 20, 1907, see here.
(6) South Bourke & Mornington Journal, February 17, 1927, see here.
(7) Sporting GlobeMay 26, 1928, see here.
(8) Electoral Rolls are available on Ancestry database.
(9) Information on the death dates comes from the Index to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages, see here and various family announcements in the newspapers on Trove.
(10) Information on the grandchildren comes from the Index to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages, see here and Richmond's entry the AIF Project, see here.