Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Mrs Edgar Walker, Pen Bryn, Beaconsfield Upper

On December 27, 1904, according to the post mark,  this postcard was sent from Torquay, in England,  to Mrs Edgar Walker, Pen Bryn, Beaconsfield Upper. It is  a delightful postcard -  a self-portrait of Elisabeth Lebrun. Elisabeth (1755 - 1842) was  a popular French portrait artist who painted Marie Antionette over 20 times.


The card reads - Torquay 1st January 1905 - "A bright and Happy New Year to you" - the initials appear to be FMW.  



So who is Mrs Edgar Walker and what is Pen Bryn? We will start with Pen Bryn (Welsh for top of the hill) - it is the name of a house. The original building on the site was  Beaconsfield House which was built by William Brisbane (1842 - 1910) in 1877, on the highest point in the town on what was to become St Georges Parade and Salisbury Road. Most of the building was destroyed by fire on the night of May 30, 1893. Beaconsfield House was where the journalist, The Vagabond, based himself when he visited and wrote about Beaconsfield Upper in 1885, you can read about this here.

In 1902, David John Davies Bevan (1873 - 1954) built  Pen Bryn on the site. David Bevan was a barrister and appointed as a judge in the Northern Territory in 1913. In 1924 he married Doris Reed and they had two children.  He was the son of the Reverend Doctor Llewellyn David Bevan (1842 - 1918) and his wife Louisa Jane (nee Willett, 1844 - 1933).  Llewellyn was a Congregational minister and a leader of Protestant intellectual life in Melbourne, according to his Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB) entry, written by Niel Gunson,  which you can read here. The entry also includes information on Louisa.

Louisa was just as interesting, she wrote and illustrated hymns and was also involved in the National Council of Women.  The National Council of  Women in Victoria was formed in November 1901 at Clivenden in East Melbourne, the home of Janet Lady Clarke. Louisa Bevan was a foundation member. There was an interesting report of the founding of this branch in the Arena on November 28, 1901you can read it here.  Amongst other things the article tells us what the women were wearing -  Mrs Bevan was a most picturesque figure in black with Maltese lace draping her head and soldiers.  It's a shame it didn't actually tell us what the aims and activities of the Council were, but they included the education and health of women and the suffrage issue.

In 1904, Louisa Bevan was the Vice-President, and Evelyn Gough was the International secretary. Evelyn Gough, has an indirect connection to the area in that her daughter, Doris, married Merric Boyd, the potter. Merric was the son of Arthur Merric Boyd (1862 - 1940) and Emma Minnie A'Beckett (1858 - 1936).  Emma was the daughter of William Arthur Callandar A'Beckett, M.L.C., J.P. (1833-1901) and his wife Emma Mills (1838 - 1906) who built The Grange at Harkaway.

Back to the Bevans  - Llewllyn and Louisa had seven children - the aforementioned  David, who built Pen Byrn,  and three other sons, all with an abundance of given names -  Hopkin Llewellyn Willett (1871 - 1933),  Louis Rhys Oxley (1874 - 1946) and Penry Vaughan Bevan (1875 - 1913).  There were also three daughters  -  Sibyl Ceredwyn (1879 - 1962), Hester Gwladys (1870 - 1968)  and Muriel Eliza Marienne (1876 - 1955),  and an adopted daughter Dorothy Leigh Wilkins (1893 - 1970).


The Bevan family in 1909.
Image: Upper Beaconsfield: an early history by Charles W. Wilson (Upper Beaconsfield Association, 2013)

It is Muriel who is the Mrs Edgar Walker to whom the post card is addressed. Muriel  married Edgar William Walker (1879 - 1942) on  December 4, 1901. The service was conducted by her father, at the Independent  Church in Collins Street. Hester, Sibyl and Dorothy were the bridesmaids.The bride wore ivory crepe de chine, set off with a very handsome train of silvery brocade, the Church was beautifully decorated with an array of flowers and the reception was held at the Independent Hall. You can read reports of the wedding here and here.  The couple lived in Camberwell according to the Electoral Rolls and Edgar's occupation was listed as a commercial traveller. They had three children - Janet, David and Lois.

Sources -
The information about Pen Bryn comes from Upper Beaconsfield: an early history by Charles W. Wilson (Upper Beaconsfield Association, 2013)

The information on the Bevan family comes mainly from Marianne Rocke's Residents of Upper Beaconsfield website https://www.upperbeaconsfieldhistory.org.au/

The lovely post card was given to me by my post card collecting friend, Isaac.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Memorial to Sidney Webb in Narre Warren

In the last post I looked at the Mornington Hotel in Narre Warren - it's a bit of  a mystery, as I can find very little information about it. Here's another story with a bit of  a mystery - the creator of the  memorial to Sidney Webb (1844 - 1920)  at Narre Warren. When I was reading about the Hotel in Early days of Berwick (published 1948, updated 1959) I came across this about Sidney Webb The beautiful oak trees which he planted on the sides of the Princes Highway at Narre Warren stand as a living emblem to his memory. A tablet erected to his memory at the intersection of the North Narre Warren Road and Prince's Highway and unveiled by Sir George Knox in February 1955, at which the Shire President, Cr C. Harris, presided. The tablet bears the inscription -
Honoring
SIDNEY JOHN WEBB
who planted this row of 
Oak Trees in the year 1890.
The trees as young seedlings came from the Nobelius Nursery at Emerald, a pioneer family of nursery men now in its fourth generation. Mr J. Nobelius of Narre Warren is a member of this well-known family. Mr Smith, the man who designed the memorial was present at the unveiling. He also designed that well-known memorial near the Shrine of Remembrance in St Kilda Road, 'The Man with the Donkey'


The Sidney Webb memorial, unveiled Sunday, February 20, 1955 by Sir George Knox. You can see one of Sidney's oak trees in the background.

There was a report in the Pakenham Gazette of February 25, 1955 about the opening and we will quote from this to add a bit more detail about the occasion  - In a simple but impressive ceremony in the presence if about 200 district residents, a memorial to the late Mr Sidney John Webb was unveiled at Narre Warren last Sunday afternoon. An unobtrusive, yet pleasing memorial at the junction of Prince's Highway and Webb St., it is set amidst an even more impressive and lasting memorial - the magnificent row of oak trees which Mr Webb planted 55 years ago.  Mr Pat Sweeney, President of the Progress Association spoke, followed by the Shire President, Cr C. Harris. Cr Harris mentioned the battle that the Shire had with the Country Roads Board to save the trees when the Highway was widened. [The trees on the south side have since been removed.] The Federal Member, Mr R. Lindsay then spoke and he was followed by Sir George Knox. Sir George spoke about the outstanding qualities of Mr Webb who generally had the record of an outstanding citizen, with a vision into the future. In unveiling the monument Sir George said he did so to the Glory of God and in honour and memory of Sidney John Webb, who planted this row of oak trees in the year 1890. May his memory and all he worked for and achieved be a guide and inspiration to those who come after him. Sidney Webb's son, Harry, responded on behalf of the family and then all present were entertained at afternoon tea in the Narre Warren Hall.

Sir George also mentions the designer of the memorial Mr Smith, who was responsible  for that wonderful memorial in Melbourne, "The Man with the Donkey." He was pleased to see Mr Smith present that day. 

The 'Man with the Donkey' monument, designed by Wallace Anderson and unveiled June 20, 1936.
Image: Photographer: Rose Stereograph Co., State Library of Victoria  H32492/5212.

The 'Man with the Donkey', was  John Simpson Kirkpatrick, known as Jack Simpson, who rescued many wounded soldiers and carted them back to medical help on Gallipoli. You can read his Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB) entry, here.

The mystery is that the 'Man with the Donkey' monument  was designed by Wallace Anderson (read his ADB entry, here) and not Mr Smith, so why is it attributed to Mr Smith and who is he? I do not know, but here are three scenarios - 
1. There is more than one 'Man with a Donkey' monument at the Shrine, one designed by Anderson and one by Smith.  I don't believe that is the case.
2. The book and the newspaper both made a mistake attributing the monument to Mr Smith. That is possible but even if the newspaper account is incorrect, then surely that mistake would not have been repeated four years later in 1959 when the second edition of Early  Days of Berwick was published? Or did the book use the Pakenham Gazette as the source? More than possible given that Herb Thomas, the publisher of the Gazette was a founding member of the Historical Society of the Berwick Shire (in 1962) along with Norman Beaumont, an author of Early Days of Berwick. 
3. Mr Smith had a role in the design of the monument. We know that Wallace Anderson was the sculptor and the statue was cast in bronze in Italy. Did Mr Smith design the granite base? The Sidney Webb monument looks plain but it does have some carved detail at the top - the initials SJW - Sidney John Webb, thus Mr Smith has skill in stone carving. I cannot, however,  find any newspaper reports about  the 'Man with the Donkey' monument which mention Mr Smith.


The top of the Sidney John Webb monument showing  his initials, S.J.W. 
Image: cropped from the photo at the top of this post.

Whether or not Mr Smith had a role in the design of the 'Man with the Donkey' monument he did design the Sidney Webb memorial, but who was he? The book and the newspaper refer to him only as 'Mr Smith' not even a first initial. I have done some research on Trove, and have not found any evidence as to the identity of  Mr Smith, so I would be happy if anyone could tell me.


Advertisement for the dance held to raise money for the Sidney Webb memorial.
Dandenong Journal, July 7, 1954. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article218510769

The memorial was funded by the Narre Warren & District Progress Association.  They spent a few months in 1954 arguing with the Shire of Berwick and the Country Roads Board to have the memorial erected in their preferred location. An article in the Dandenong Journal of July 29, 1954, quoting Cr Rae said that he understood the memorial was already completed, inscribed and ready to place in position. Unfortunately it gives us no details about the artist.  I have created  a list of newspaper articles on Trove, on the monument, you can access it here. They are from the Dandenong Journal and only go up to 1954, so they are just about the planning and fundraising for the Memorial.

I have also created a list on Trove, of articles on the 'Man with the Donkey' monument. You can access it here

Friday, 22 November 2019

Mornington Hotel at Narre Warren

In 1855, Thomas and Eliza Walton took up land at Narre Warren - 414 acres. Fountain Gate Shopping Centre now occupies some of this land. The Waltons built the Holly Green homestead and occupied the land until 1868, when they moved onto 1,500 acres on the  Tarago River, however they still owned the property and leased it out. Around 1881, Sidney Webb purchased Holly Green. You can read more about Sidney Webb and his contribution to the development of Narre Warren, here.

At Narre Warren, also in Mr Walton's time, there was the old Mornington Hotel kept by Mr J. Gardiner on the corner of the Highway and North Narre Warren Roads. It was later kept by Mr John Payne but eventually dismantled by the late Mr Webb who afterwards owned the property for many years. The  site of the old hotel is marked by the present Narre Warren Fallen Soldier's Memorial Arch. (Early Days of Berwick

So, what do we know about the Mornington Hotel? Not very much at all. The Shire of Berwick Rate Books are missing up to 1874; the 1875 and 1876 ones are a  bit patchy, but we do find John Payne in the 1877/1878 Rate Books, listed as 'House & Land' at Narre Warren. He doesn't appear again until 1879/1880, then he is listed again in 1880/1881. In the 1881/1882 Rate Books he is listed  as a Publican. He does not appear in the Rate books again, so I presume this is the time the Hotel closed.


Entry from the Shire of Berwick Rate Books, 1881/1882 - showing John Payne's listing in Narre Warren and his occupation as Publican.


There was a John Payne, a publican who died October 14, 1903, he was from Collingwood. A John  Payne had the Wheatsheaf Hotel in Brunswick Street in the 1880s and later the National Hotel in Victoria Street. Is this the same John Payne who operated the Mornington Hotel? I cannot tell you. As for the other licensee, J. Gardiner, I have no information about him. Is he connected to Captain Robert Gardiner, early Berwick landowner? That is another thing I do not know.

If you have any information about the Hotel, Mr Gardiner or Mr Payne, I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Cranbourne Railway Station photographs from the Public Records Office of Victoria

The Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV) have a collection of photographs produced by the Victorian Railways, Public Transport Corporation and other agencies which they collectively call the  Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives - you can access it here (or www.prov.vic.gov.au > Explore the collection  > Photographic collections > Public Transport Photo collection) 

Here are the photographs showing the Cranbourne Railway Station, most likely from the 1950s or 1960s, when Cranbourne was still a country town. To see photographs of Pakenham from this collection, click here. To see photographs of Berwick from this collection, click here


Cranbourne, South Gippsland Highway level crossing, R class steam locomotive departing left side including derm and trailer
PROV -  Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems (VPRS12800)
H 5222a b/w signals


Cranbourne, South Gippsland Highway Level Crossing
PROV -  Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems (VPRS12800)
H 5223 B/W Signals


Cranbourne, South Gippsland Highway Level Crossing
 PROV -  Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems (VPRS12800)
H 5224 B/W Signals


View of Down End Cranbourne Station showing Water Tank 
[the next station in this direction was Clyde]
 PROV -  Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems (VPRS12800)
H 5227 B/W Station


View of Down End Cranbourne Station showing Water Tank.
[the next station in this direction was Clyde]
 PROV -  Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems (VPRS12800) H 5225 B/W Station

To see photographs of Pakenham from this collection, click here. To see photographs of Berwick from this collection, click here.

Pakenham Railway Station photographs from the Public Records Office of Victoria

The Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV) have a collection of photographs produced by the Victorian Railways, Public Transport Corporation and other agencies which they collectively call the  Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives - you can access it here (or www.prov.vic.gov.au > Explore the collection  > Photographic collections > Public Transport Photo collection) 

Here are the photographs showing the Pakenham Railway Station, most likely from the 1950s or 1960s, when Pakenham was still a country town. To see photographs of Cranbourne from this collection, click here. To see photographs of Berwick from this collection, click here


Pakenham Up End Level Crossing and Signal Bridge Flex. 
[This is the Main Street level crossing]
PROV -  Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems (VPRS12800)  S1376



 Pakenham Up Home Signal Flex
[looking west]
PROV -  Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems (VPRS12800)  S1378


Pakenham Down End Signal Bridge Flex
 [looking East - next station would be Nar Nar Goon]
PROV -  Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems (VPRS12800)  S1377


To see photographs of Cranbourne from this collection, click here. To see photographs of Berwick from this collection, click here

Berwick Railway Station photographs from the Public Records Office of Victoria

The Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV) have a collection of photographs produced by the Victorian Railways, Public Transport Corporation and other agencies which they collectively call the  Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives - you can access it here (or www.prov.vic.gov.au > Explore the collection  > Photographic collections > Public Transport Photo collection) 

Here are the photographs showing the Berwick Railway Station, most likely from the 1950s or 1960s, when Berwick was still a country town. To see photographs of Cranbourne from this collection, click here. To see photographs of Pakenham from this collection, click here


Berwick Station looking in Down Direction. 
PROV Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems (VPRS12800) H 4934 B/W Station


 Berwick Station Reconstruction Flex        
PROV Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems (VPRS12800) S 1380


 Berwick Island Platform Construction Down Side Flex
[Next station would be Beaconsfield. Is this 1956 when the line was duplicated between Berwick and Officer? https://vicsig.net/infrastructure/location/Berwick]
PROV Photographic Collection: Railway Negatives: Alpha-numeric Systems (VPRS12800) S 1381

To see photographs of Cranbourne from this collection, click here. To see photographs of Pakenham from this collection, click here

Thursday, 31 October 2019

University of Melbourne Digitised Map Collection

The University of Melbourne has a collection of maps, some of which they have digitised and are available on-line at https://digitised-collections.unimelb.edu.au/handle/11343/19 As you might expect from an Institution which started in 1853 - their collection includes both historic and more modern maps - there is the Ronald and Pamela Walker collection of maps of Asia Minor, 1511 - 1774, interesting in themselves and for students of Asian history, but there are also maps for people interested in local history.

There are over 260 maps of Melbourne including Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Plans, Sands and McDougall maps from 1868 to 1899, which show how Melbourne developed in that time.  Of interest to the Casey Cardinia region is the fact that the Melway Street Directory has been digitised from 1966 until 1999. These maps chart the change of this region from farmland to suburbia. The first five editions of the Melway are also available on the Melway Street Directoyr website - https://melwayed1.melway.com.au/

The State Library of Victoria also has street directories digitised from 1912 to 1952 - they don't, however,  cover the Casey Cardinia area - the closest we get is to Oakleigh or Frankston - even Dandenong must have been considered country then. Find these Street directories here - under their 'Popular Disgistised Collections'
http://digital.slv.vic.gov.au/R/?func=collections&collection_id=2982

The collection also includes some historic maps of Victoria - including this one, below, from 1851.


Victoria or Port Phillip, published by John Tallis & Co., 1851

Excerpt from a 1851 map showing our area - the Great Marsh is the Koo Wee Rup Swamp, north of that is Mt Ararat - the first Europeans who occupied this land were John Dore and Michael Hennessey, who took up the Mount Ararat Run, of 1,900 acres, at Nar Nar Goon  in 1844.  Rutherford is Rutherford Inlet - which goes to Warneet and Cannon's Creek. It was named after Thomas Rutherford who took up the Bourbinandera Run,  also known as Rutherfords for obvious reasons, in 1842. Jamieson is named for Robert Jamieson, who along with Samuel Rawson, took up the Yallock Run (on the Yallock Creek) in 1839. Further around the Bay, Anderson was at the Bass River.