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

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 -

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

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Stratford Strettle and his family

I have come across the Strettle family name on many occasions in my historic research - Stratford Strettle was a Stock & Station Agent and conducted many sales in the region. He was also, at one stage, the owner of the property Tulliallan, then known as Gladys Park, at Cranbourne (or Berwick as it was often listed as), the property where his brother, William, died. His father, Abraham, owned the property Sweet Hills at Lysterfield. However, I came across these sad public announcements about the birth and death of Stratford's son and then the death of his wife, Annie,  and I thought if anything summed up the precarious life of women where marriage was followed closely by childbirth and childbirth often by the death of the mother or the baby (and sadly in some of the poorer countries around the world today this still happens) then it was these two notices. So I thought we would have a look at the Strettle family.

Bacchus Marsh Express  July 14, 1877

We will start the story with Stratford's parents. Abraham Strettle married Mary Sullivan (also sometimes listed as O'Sullivan) in Cork in Ireland in 1835. They had five children, listed below. Mary  died in Melbourne on November 14, 1864 at the age of 54 and Abraham died 'at sea of consumption' on March 25, 1876. He was on his way to New York and is buried at the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn in New York. Mary did not actually live at Sweet Hills as she died the year before Abraham took up the property, but you can read about Sweet Hills, here. According to Stratford's obituary, when he died in 1919 he was a 'colonist of 66 years', which means the family arrived about 1853. According to their daughter Maria's marriage notice (see below)  the family had previously been in South Africa (Cape of Good Hope being the name of the area when it was a British Colony)

Maria Strettle's marriage notice.  The Age November 25, 1854

The Strettle family were extraordinarily good at putting Birth, Death and Marriage announcements in the papers and if you are a genealogist then this is the sort of family you would want to be related to! From these notices I have discovered the following information about the Strettles. Abraham and Mary Strettle had five children born in Cork in Ireland -
  • William, born c. 1838,  who died at the age of 47 at the Tulliallan / Gladys Park  property on July 15, 1885. Birth date is approximate as it is taken from the death date, so I am not sure if William and Maria were twins or just born really close together.
  • Maria, born c. 1838, who died in Victoria at the age of 27 in 1865. Maria married William Minifie on November 22, 1854 and died on January 4, 1865, after  a 'long and painful illness' according to her death notice. She had three daughters - Florence Kate, b. 1857, Edith Eveline, b. 1861 and Ellen, born & died 1864.   Florence and Edith were listed as beneficiaries in the will of their grandfather, Abraham.
  • Katherine (Kate) was born c. 1840 and married William Summers Flint in January 1870, they had three sons - Arthur, b.1871; Walter, b. 1872 and Bertie, b. 1875. When she died in Claremont in Western Australia at the age of 70 on May 27, 1912, her three sons were still alive.
  • Ellen, b. c. 1841 and died in Melbourne aged 20 on December 8, 1861.
  • Abraham Stratford, born 1845 who died December 19, 1919 aged 74. 

Death notice for Ellen Strettle  in The Argus December 9, 1861

Death notice for William Strettle The Argus July 21, 1885

Back to Abraham Stratford Strettle, known as Stratford. Stratford married Annie Eliza Johnston on April 22, 1868 at St James Cathedral in Melbourne. According to the marriage notice in The Argus, she was the third daughter of Waldron Johnston of Fairfield, Malvern. The notice didn't list her mother naturally (they never did)  but she was Bridget McIntyre. Waldron was a hotel owner.

Annie and Strettle had three children before the stillborn son who is listed in the announcement at the top of this post 
  • Ethel Mary, born January 9 and died January 29 in 1869. 
  • William Stratford, born December 17, 1870. He married Florence Young in 1906 and had three children - Bruce  Stratford, b. & d. 1909; Margaret Somerville, b. October 15, 1910 and married Richard Caney in 1942 and Joan Elizabeth, b. 1913 and d. 2003 in Melbourne.  William died in Perth on January 4, 1934. 
  • Stella Kate, born November 13, 1873. Stella married Herbert Powell (c. 1863 - 1941) in Adelaide in December 1894 and died November 9, 1900 in Melbourne at the age of 26. In the seven years between her marriage and her death she had three children - William Hamilton, 1896 - 1936, died in South Africa;  Keith, 1898 - 1971 and Stella Kate b. 1900. Little Stella died July 16, 1902 and the death notice lists her as the adopted daughter of James and Alice Cuming, Jnr.  Not unusual in those times for a  baby to be adopted informally after the death of a parent, especially the mother. 
  • Unnamed son stillborn in July 1877.
Annie Strettle died without  a will but her probate papers said she left an estate of 15, 570 pounds - that was a lot of money in those days, but even all that money could not protect her from the dangers of child birth.  Maternal mortality at this time was in the region of 40 to 60 deaths per 1000 births (that means five mothers died per 100 births) and this didn’t decline until the 1940s, largely due to antibiotics. The infant mortality rate in Victoria from 1870 to 1900 was anything from 115 to 140 that is for every 1000 births between 115 and 140 babies would die under the age of one including Annie and Stratford's daughter, Ethel, and their grandson, Bruce.

In 1878, the year after his first wife, Annie, died Stratford married  Jessie Powell (c.1859 - 1932)  the daughter of William Hamilton Powell. Stella's husband, Herbert,  was also the son of William Hamilton Powell so it looks like Stella married her step-mother's brother. There was one child from the marriage of Stratford to Jessie, and that is Hamilton Stratford Strettle, born December 8, 1887. Hamilton was listed as a motor mechanic when he enlisted in the A.I.F on April 21, 1916. While he was overseas he married Leonie Pickman in Belgium in October 1919 and his occupation then was listed as 'Island trader' - what ever that is, but it sounds romantic. Hamilton Returned to Australia February 1920. In 1931, Hamilton, Leonie and Jessie were living on Point Nepean Road at Rye and he was back to being a motor engineer, clearly no call for the occupation 'Island trader' in Port Phillip Bay. Jessie died May 8, 1932 at the age of 73, Hamilton died in 1960, Leonie in 1974.

Stratford and Jessie lived at Tulliallan / Gladys Park from 1882 to December 1886 and then leased the property until it was sold 1904 - you would have to surmise that the death of his brother in tragic circumstances from a gun shot wound might have been a factor in his leaving the property in 1886. You can read more about the Tulliallan /Gladys Park  property here.

Stratford Strettle was, as I said before, a Stock & Station Agent. If you put his name into Trove you get over 9,000 results, so naturally we wont be listing all his business dealings here, but here are just a few of his advertisements of some of his many activities that took place all over Victoria.

South Bourke & Mornington Journal December 3, 1884

South Bourke & Mornington Journal January 28, 1885

Stratford Strettle died December 19, 1919 aged 74. His obituary, below, said that he lost money in the  1890s collapse of the land boom and, as  it appears that he didn't leave a  will, we can't tell how much he was worth when he died, but you could assume that he was 'comfortable' if he could afford to own a few trotting horses. But like the death of his first wife, Annie, being well off did not protect you from family tragedy. If you put his family deaths into a time line then it shows how much death touched his family which would have been fairly typical of the time - 1861 - sister Ellen died;  1864 - mother Mary died; 1865 - sister Maria died; 1869 - daughter Ethel died; 1876 - father Abraham died; 1877 son stillborn; 1877 wife Annie died; 1885 - brother William died and 1900 - daughter Stella Kate died; 1902 - grand daughter Stella died.

Stratford Strettle's obituary from The Argus December 23, 1919

South Bourke & Mornington Journal   December 25, 1919

Friday, 23 February 2018

Cranbourne Shire Sesquicentenary

It is 150 years since the Shire of Cranbourne was proclaimed on February 24, 1868. The Shire took over from the Cranbourne Road Board which was created in 1860. A celebration was held  at Greg Clydesdale Square, High Street Cranbourne on Saturday, February 24 2018. 

Proclamation of the establishment of the Shire of Cranbourne 
from the State Government Gazette of March 6, 1868.  

You can read the proclamation better, here 

Here's my time line of local government in the Cranbourne Shire area - 

1860 - Cranbourne Road Board proclaimed June 19. The first members of the Cranbourne Road Board were Dr James Smith Adams, Chairman, who owned Balla Balla Estate; James Bruce, owner of Sherwood Park; Richard Burgh Chomley, owner of Tongola at Lyndhurst; James Lecky, Cranbourne land-owner who also owned the Cardinia Creek property; Edward Malloy, owner of Mayune property; Alexander Patterson, owner of St Germains Estate; Christopher Bond Peed, owner of Springmount; Patrick Thompson, owner of Oaklands and John Wedge, owner of Johnswood at Lyndhurst. Population of the Road Board area was 857.

1861 - The town of Cranbourne proclaimed on February 25.

1868 - Shire of Cranbourne proclaimed February 24. The Road Board members then became the first Councillors. They were James Lecky - Shire President; Edward Malloy, Alexander Patterson, William Norquay, Frederick Poole of Triuna, Lyndhurst; Edward John Tucker, owner of the Cranbourne Hotel; Thomas Keys, George Poole and Herbert Foley who owned Sherwood Park.

1873 - The 'agricultural area of Lang Lang' was annexed to the Shire of Cranbourne on July 4.

1875 - Cranbourne Shire Offices opened March 6. Before the Shire Offices opened meetings were held at the Cranbourne Hotel.

The Cranbourne Hotel, the venue for early Council meetings. This was built in the 1860s and demolished in the 1970s and was located around where Greg Clydesdale Square is in High Street. 

1893 - Yannathan and Lang Lang East annexed from the Shire of Buln Buln to the Shire of Cranbourne on January 23.

Cranbourne Shire Offices, 1942

1978 - New Cranbourne Shire Offices officially opened in Sladen Street, April 22.

1988 - Cr Judy Elso, became the first female Shire President of the Shire of Cranbourne.

1994 - City of Cranbourne created on April 22.

1994 - The City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire officially came into being on the December 15 at 4.00pm.

The City of Casey was created from the western section of the short-lived City of Cranbourne (Cranbourne, Tooradin, Pearcedale, Devon Meadows, Hampton Park etc) and the entire City of Berwick.

The Cardinia Shire was created from the Shire of Pakenham, the eastern end of the City of Cranbourne (Koo-Wee-Rup, Lang Lang, Yannathan, Bayles, Catani etc) plus Emerald, Clematis and Avonsleigh which were annexed from the Shire of Sherbrooke. Langwarrin and Carrum Downs went to the City of Frankston from the City of Cranbourne.

The City of Cranbourne, Shire of Pakenham and City of Berwick ceased to exist on December 15 at 4.00pm.

Shire Offices 1969 - taken from the verandah of Lawson & Laura Poole's house opposite. 

The Shire Offices are  one of the few remaining historical buildings left in Cranbourne, we are lucky it is still there. There was a push to have it demolished in the early 1970s and it was saved by a public campaign let by the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society and Mr Herb Thomas, the owner of the Pakenham Gazette and the President of the Berwick Pakenham Historical who led a media campaign informing people of the history and worth of the building.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Aerial photos of the flat, coastal region of Casey Cardinia

These aerials of the flat, coastal ares of Casey Cardinia are part of the Department of Lands and Survey, Aerial Survey of Victoria - some are dated 1939 or 1947. It's hard to see the detail so the best way would be to click on the photo to enlarge to it and then right-click and save the image. Then you can enlarge it to get the detail.

1947 - Bayles, Cora Lynn and Koo Wee Rup North

1947 - Yannathan, Catani and Heath Hill

1947 - Modella, Iona, Vervale

1947 - Caldermeade, Monomeith, Yallock. This photo shows the Monomeith airfield.

1939 - Cranbourne

1939 - Devon Meadows and Clyde

1939 - Tooradin and Koo Wee Rup

1947 - Lang Lang

1939 - Hallam, Narre Warren, Berwick, Beaconsfield and Hampton Park.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Ten oldest Hotel buildings in the Casey Cardinia area

Whenever  a town was established one of the earliest buildings erected was a Hotel and if you travel down to Melbourne to the inner suburbs - Carlton, Fitzroy, North Melbourne, South Melbourne, Collingwood etc then you would be aware that hotels were seemingly built on every street corner from the 1850s, 1860s onwards. It wasn't quite the same out here of course, but we did have  a number of Hotels built in the 1860s - the Limerick Arms at Nar Nar Goon, the Mornington Hotel and the Cranbourne Hotel at Cranbourne, Bourke's Hotel at Pakenham to name  a few. However, very few of these buildings are still here - there are still hotels on the site in some cases but the original buildings have been demolished. So  here are what I believe are the oldest Hotel buildings in the Casey Cardinia Region - if you think I am wrong, then let me know!

1857 - The Berwick Inn or Border Hotel is not only the oldest hotel but one of the oldest buildings in the region. The Hotel was established in 1857 by Robert Bain. The  original building consisted of the  triangular single storey part which is made of hand-made bricks from local clay. The two storey  sections were added in 1877 and 1887. Robert Bain and his wife, Susan (nee Stewart) whom he married in 1859, operated the Hotel together until he died on February 27, 1887. Susan then operated the Hotel until she passed away June 26, 1908. The Hotel has since had a number of owners but is still going strong. You can read more about the Bain family and the Hotel  here.

The Ranges Hotel,  Gembrook, 1940s or 50s. 
State Library of Victoria Image H32492/267

1902 - Ranges Hotel at Gembrook is the second oldest Hotel in the area and was built in 1902 - shortly after the arrival of the Fern Tree Gully and Gembrook Railway, as the Puffing Billy line is officially known, which opened on December 18, 1900.  The Berwick Shire Rate books list Jessey and Isabella Sykes as having a Hotel at Crown Allotment A11 in Gembrook from 1894. I have reproduced the entry, below.

Shire of Berwick Rate Books, 1884/85

However in The Argus of November 27, 1901 (reproduced above)  there was an application from Jane McMahon to obtain a licence for the premises 'about to be erected'. It seems likely therefore that a hotel was on the site from 1894 and that after the Railway line came through a new and bigger hotel was erected.

The Argus November 27 1901

To prove that McMahon's Hotel was actually The Ranges Hotel, this is a report of the sale of the Hotel and some land from John McMahon to Fred Pitt in 1904. Fred and Howard Pitt operated the Hotel until 1921 when it was taken over by John and Catherine Beacham who transferred the licence to Wolf Dorfman in February 1935. Dorfman transferred the licence to Daphne and Alfred McGregor in 1946

The Argus March 15, 1904

1915 - The Royal Hotel in Koo Wee Rup.  The Hotel was constructed for Dennis McNamara by Mr A. G Oliver  for the contract price of £3,305. The finished building was a ‘fine commodious building of nearly 30 rooms’, according to the Lang Lang Guardian, and ‘one of the finest edifices of the kind in Gippsland’. The rooms were fitted out by Mr McKee of the Royal Arcade ‘in a most up-to-date and luxurious manner’.  It was officially opened on Thursday, September 9, 1915. 

1915 - The Iona Hotel at Garfield  The first hotel in the town was opened in 1904 and was destroyed by fire in 1914. The existing hotel opened in 1915. The South Bourke and Mornington Journal  from May 27 1915 reported that the Shire of Berwick Health Inspector, Dr H. White, had inspected the Iona Hotel and he was pleased with the appointments and sanitation of the place and that no expense had been spared by the proprietors to make it all respects one of the best equipped hotels in the colony.

Iona Hotel at Garfield, shortly after opening.
Berwick Pakenham Historical Society photo

1924 - Railway Hotel in Bunyip -  The Hotel is also called Stacey's Hotel after Thomas Stacey. According to Call of the Bunyip - Thomas Stacey 'purchased the block of land where the Railway Hotel is situated' so I assume he built the original hotel on this site around 1890.  Call of the Bunyip says the Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1924, but an article in The Argus (see below) says that it was demolished in late 1923 - so not sure which is correct.  The existing building was opened in October 9 1924 (or it was possibly Oct 2 - I am not sure which 'Thursday afternoon' the report refers to.)

The Argus October 8 1923

The Age October 10, 1924

1924 - Motor Club Hotel (Kellys) in Cranbourne.  The Hotel began life as the Mornington Hotel around 1860. In about 1912 it was known as the Motor Club Hotel and in 1919 it was taken over by the Kelly family.  You can read more about this here. The existing hotel was built around 1924 - I am basing this on the valuation in the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books - in 1923/24 and 1924/25 the Net Annual Value was 240 pounds, in 1925/26 -it had leaped to 420 pounds and the next two years it was 400 pounds, so I believe the increase in rates was due to the erection of the new building. As the Local Government year used to run from October 1 to September 30 then the new building would have been erected between October 1924 and September 1925 to appear at the higher valuation in the 1925/26 year.

1927 - Gippsland Hotel (Top Pub) at Bunyip. There was a Gippsland Hotel in Bunyip from the mid 1880s owned by Laurence Finch, his daughter Sarah took over the licence around 1897. Sarah  married William Kraft who took over as the licensee and it was known as Kraft's Gippsland Hotel. On April 11, 1927  the Licensing Court approved the plans for the rebuilding of the Gippsland Hotel at Bunyip (see below)  It's interesting that it says that the Hotel was destroyed by fire, I haven't seen that anywhere else.

The Age April 13, 1927

1928 - Central Hotel at Beaconsfield  Janet and David Bowman opened a hotel on this site in 1855, it was called the Gippsland Hotel and later the Central Hotel. You can read more about the Bowman family and the hotel, here.  The existing  building dates from 1928. There was a Licencing Board hearing regarding the rebuilding of the hotel in September 1927 (see article below) and the new building work had to commence by February 1928, so I assume it was finished that year. The Cardinia Shire Heritage Study by Graeme Butler and Associates (1996) says that 'part of the earlier building may survive within the perimeter if this later structure.'

Report of the Berwick Shire Council meeting in the Dandenong Journal September 22, 1927

1929 - Pakenham Hotel at Pakenham   The Hotel near the Railway Station at Pakenham was  built for Daniel Bourke sometime between 1877, the year the railway arrived, and 1880 - I have seen various dates listed in various books. The Hotel was originally called the Gembrook Hotel and later the Pakenham Hotel.  The existing Hotel was built for Esther and Joseph Shankley and opened in April 1929. The Dandenong Journal described the Hotel as an 'ornament to the Main Street.' I don't have the exact date for the opening however the Pakenham Gazette had these advertisements in April 1929 - so I am assuming the opening date was between April 19 and April 26, 1929.

Pakenham Gazette April 19, 1929

Pakenham Gazette April 26, 1929

1931 - Hallam Hotel at Hallam  The Hallam Hotel started operation in 1872 or around 1879 (depending on sources) in William and Mary Hallam's General Store. A new building may have been built by Edmund Uren in 1886. The existing building opened in 1931 - and 'a portion of the old building was either modernised and extended'  or it was rebuilt completely - there are conflicting reports. Either way, it has changed so much that I am rating it as a 1931 building, so it is the tenth oldest Hotel building in Casey Cardinia. You  can read more about the Hallam Hotel, here

1934 - Palace Hotel at Lang Lang I said this was the top ten, but I will include the Palace Hotel, as it is a 1930s building. In 1893 the Flintoff family, who had previously operated the Tobin Yallock Hotel,  built the Lang Lang Coffee Palace near the station.   The building later acquired a liquor licence and was renamed the Palace Hotel. The original building burnt down in May 1933 and the new Palace Hotel was built on another site (where it is now) and opened in June 1934.

Special mentions

  • Pine Grove Hotel in Beaconsfield was built around 1880 and was destroyed in the Ash Wednesday fires in  1983. 
  • The Nar Nar Goon Hotel was built in 1883 and was destroyed by an explosion on May 21, 1972. 
  • Bourkes Hotel, also called the La Trobe Inn, on the  Toomuc Creek in Pakenham was opened in 1849 by Michael and Catherine Bourke - there is still a hotel on the site but I believe that there is very little of the original building left (if any). 
  • The Cardinia Park Hotel in Beaconsfield, started life as the Bush Inn, around the 1870s but has been 're-built', sometime before 1962 according to From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen 
  • Cranbourne Hotel on the site of where the Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre is now located was built in the 1860s and demolished in the 1970s. 
  • Richard Taylor's Half Way House Hotel at Lyndhurst was opened in 1871 and demolished in 1966.
  • Paradise Hotel Clematis - started by Michael O'Connor at Paradise Valley, later called Clematis - it was listed as a 'wine hall and accomodation house' in a newspaper report November 24, 1900. I am unfamiliar with this building and not sure how much of the original building remains.
  • Tooradin Hotel -  There was a hotel at Tooradin from around 1870. In 1888 Larry Basan took over the licence  and rebuilt the hotel in 1895.  The hotel was demolished in 2016 after being unused for many years.
  • Tuesday, 9 January 2018

    Cranbourne Library site - from squatter run to industrial plant to recreation complex

    The Narre Warren & District Family History Group, the Local History Archive and the Local History Librarian (that's me!) are now located at the Cranbourne Library Complex, we used to be at Narre Warren, so I thought we would take a look at the history of the Cranbourne Library site, starting from the arrival of the Squatters.

    The first Europeans in the region to occupy this site were the Ruffy Brothers.  They squatted on the Tomaque run, after having arrived from Tasmania in 1836 or 1837. Tomaque was situated between Dandenong and Cranbourne. The brothers had Tomaque until 1850, however in the 1840s they also took up the Mayune Run of 32,000 acres. Mayune was situated around what is now the town of Cranbourne. The Brothers held Mayune collectively, until Frederick took over the lease from 1845 to 1850.  You can read more about the Ruffy Brothers in a previous post.

    Back to Mayune - in 1845  Mayune was reduced in size with the eastern part being renamed Ravenhurst and taken up by John Crewe.  Crewe also later acquired Mayune from Frederick Ruffy in 1850 just before he (Crewe) died in 1850 at the age of 31.  Crewe’s widow Eliza then took over the lease of the property which was then acquired by Alexander Cameron in 1851. Who were the Crewes?  We can get an idea of the social status of the family by John and Eliza's marriage notice and Eliza's death notice (see below). According to these notices John was the second son of Lieutenant-Colonel Crewe of Madras and also the nephew of Lord Crewe of Crewe Hall, Cheshire. Crewe Hall (pictured below)  is a Grade 1 listed mansion built in the first half of the 1600s for Sir Randolph Crewe. The location has been the seat of the Crewe family since the 12th or 13th century. It is now a hotel. So clearly John Crewe came from illustrious forebears.

    Crewe Hall in 1710, the family seat of John Crewe. The Crewe's house on the Mayune property would have none of the comfort or glamour of this building. 
    Artist Unknown - Hinchliffe E. 'Barthomley: In Letters from a Former Rector to his Eldest Son' (Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans; 1856), facing p. 324

    John and Eliza Crewe's marriage notice in the Port Phillip Patriot March 30 1847.

    Eliza Crewe's death notice in The Australasian March 21, 1868

    Eliza Crewe died in 1868 at the age of 44. She was the daughter of Thomas Baynton and Eliza Arabella Smith. Thomas Baynton was the brother of Zillah Baynton who was married to Benjamin Rossiter, who took over the Ravenhurst property from Crewe after his death. You wonder was this to help out their niece, Eliza Crewe, or they just knew the area and wanted to settle here.  Benjamin and Zillah’s son, Charles Rossiter who was married to Ellen O’Shea (from the family who gave O’Shea’s Road its name) moved to Yallock around 1875 and is the source of the name Rossiter Road in Koo Wee Rup. A bit more on Thomas Baynton - he had the Darlington Run near Kyneton in 1841. Baynton the town near Kyneton is named after him. Totally irrelevant to this story but an interesting fact is that the Bourke and Wills Exhibition passed by the Baynton property on its way north - Ludwig Becker sketched the occasion (see below). Ravenhurst was  later named Tulliallan and you can read more about the Rossiters  here on my post on the Tulliallan.

    Crossing an ancient crater from near Dr. Baynton's 25 August 1860 by Ludwig Becker.
    State Library of Victoria Image H16486

    Alexander Cameron (1815 - 1881) took over the Mayune lease from  Eliza Crewe in 1851 as we said. At later land sales he purchased some of the land and renamed renamed the property MayfieldNiel Gunson, in his book The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire (from where most of the following information on Alexander Cameron - both senior and junior - comes from) considers that Cameron is the father of modern Cranbourne like most Scots settlers he valued the services of an industrious tenantry and gathered a community about him which formed the nucleus of the future town.  One of his ‘industrious tenants’ a shepherd named James Mackay is said to be responsible for the name of Clyde.  Gunson says that the watercourse that was the boundary between the Mayune run and the Garem Gam  run was named Clyde creek as MacKay had ‘cut the name on a tree whilst watering sheep’ and the name was used for the creek and then the town.

    Cameron was a trustee of the Presbyterian Church in Cranbourne which opened in May 1860, he was Cranbourne Cemetery Trustee, a member of the Cranbourne Road Board from 1863 to 1867. Alexander had been one of the original petitioners to have the Road Board established which happened on June 19 1860. 

    Cameron was also one of the first people to bring to a wider public the discovery of the Cranbourne meteorites. The first meteorite was discovered by William MacKay, who assumed that it as part of an iron deposit. He had made it into a horse shoe and it was displayed  at the Melbourne Exhibition of 1854.  In 1860 Cameron took the horse shoe to Melbourne to a conference to convince the powers that be that Cranbourne should have  a railway line due to the commercial possibilities of this iron deposit.  At the conference the Town Clerk of Melbourne, E.G Fitzgibbon,  thought that this was not iron but a meteorite and he then presented his findings to the Royal Society and this put the Cranbourne Meteorites on the world stage with interest from the British Museum and the Emperor of Austria!  As a matter of interest, Cranbourne would have to wait until 1888 -  another 28 years for a railway - you can read about the line here.

    After Alexander Cameron (who incidentally gave his name to Cameron Street) the land went to his son Alexander junior (1850 - 1920). Alexander was also a member of the Cranbourne Shire from  1881 to 1898 and Shire President 1883-84, 1891, 1892 and 1893. Gunson says that Cameron along with George Poole and Christopher Moody were strong personalities who dominated the Council.  In 1884 it was reported that six out the eight Councillors refused to sit 'under the Presidence of the present Chairman due to his obstructiveness and prevention of business'

    Cameron moved to Mayfield in 1883 - he was described as an ‘extraordinary speculator’ and he rented at one time  nearly every rentable property in the Cranbourne, Tooradin and Koo Wee Rup area, all up he had 5,000 acres in 1896 plus land belonging to his brother. On the Mayfield property he had nine studs of horses, cattle and sheep and also grew barley, oats and flax. Not surprisingly Cameron was also instrumental in establishing the Cranbourne Sale Yards – although arguments went on from 1883 to 1889 as to where they should be located - the rear of the Shire Offices was the eventual location and they held their first sale January 1890. In spite of what seem liked a profitable business in  1889 Cameron was forced to mortgage the estate and went to the Collie district in WA, where he died in 1920.

    We don't have a photograph of Alexander Cameron, but here's one of his Champion Ayrshire bulls. that won a prize at the 1891 Royal Melbourne Show.
    Illustrated Australian News September 1, 1891

    After that the land where we are now was leased to various people  - Charles Cochrane, James Downey, Edward Henty, John Monohan to name a few until  around 1932 when the estate was sold to a Henry Creswick, who I believe was responsible for sub-dividing the land into smaller parcels as by this time it was getting hard to trace the land owners in the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books. There is some connection between the name Creswick and the Melbourne Hunt Club, which is just to the north of the Library site - haven't quite worked this connection out yet - but the Hunt Club moved to Cranbourne in 1929.   Some of the Mayfield property (the Pre-emptive Right section) had already been sold to George Hope (around 1911) who established his model dairy  having moved from Kooyong Road in Caulfield. You can read about this here.

    So now we have a bit of a gap in ownership of the land so lets fast forward to 1980 when the Sperry New Holland era started. Sperry New Holland had commenced operations in Victoria at Dandenong in 1955. They manufactured agricultural equipment including hay balers and hay bale elevators.  In 1980, they purchased a 46 hectare site (around ten times the size of their Dandenong operations) in Cranbourne-Berwick Road, Cranbourne. They built a 2 hectare factory and it opened around 1982. Initially there were over 400 people employed  but a recession hit within 18 months and there were redundancies and layoffs. In 1985 the Company was taken over by the Ford Motor Company, but continued producing machinery and also made parts for car manufacturers. There is an interesting article called New Holland in Australia 1945 - 1987 written by Ray Smith, who held various roles in the New Holland Company from 1955 until he retired as the Marketing Director in 1991. You can read it here.

    The factory had its own spur line from the main South Gippsland Railway line. The spur line went into what is now the The Shed, a skate board facility,  so  I presume it was used a for despatch. If you are interested in railway infrastructure then there are some photographs of the old line on the website, here.

    The Ford  New Holland factory closed down around 1992  as  operations were shifted to New South Wales and sadly,  workers were made redundant. The entire site was sold to the Cranbourne Shire for five million dollars. The Casey Cardinia Library Corporation moved into the Administration building in 1996 and the main factory building is now the Terry Vickerman Indoor Sports Centre.

    Terry Vickerman was the Cranbourne Shire Chief Executive for 22 years until he retired in December 1994, after the Council amalgamations. He was responsible for the purchase of the building, which was not without its critics. There was a report in the Cranbourne Sun of March 16, 1992  about the acquisition (see left). The Shire of Cranbourne Ratepayers and Residents Association threatened to stand candidates against the sitting councillors who had voted for the purchase - the gist of the complaints against the purchase were that the Council had not provided enough information on the transaction and that residents outside of the Cranbourne township would have to pay for the site but would obtain no benefit from it. You can read more about the purchase of the site and see some photos here.

    Either way, 25 years on, whether the five million dollars purchase price was a fair price or not the site and its associated buildings are now a real asset to not only the Cranbourne community but further afield.