Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Casey Cardinia and the Como connection

Como house, in South Yarra, was purchased by Charles and Caroline Armytage in 1864. They raised their ten children at Como and it was in the Armytage family until 1959, when it was handed to the National Trust. The Armytage family also have a local connection. Caroline purchased Holm Park (built c. 1877) at Beaconsfield in 1883 as a country residence. Charles had died in 1876 aged 52. Ada Armytage (one of their five daughters) is the Armytage most closely associated with Holm Park



Holm Park, Beaconsfield, c. 1958. Photographer: Colin Caldwell.  
State Library of Victoria Image H84.276/7/21A 

Ada and her sisters were very philanthropic. Ada was involved with the Scout movement and held Scout camps every year at Holm Park and in 1935 the World Scout Jamboree was held there. She also built the "Armytage Own" Scout troop hall in Dandenong. It is on the Princes Highway, near the High School, and has fascinated me since I was a child because it looks like a castle.


"Armytage Own" Scout Hall in Dandenong  on the Princes Highway, 1950s.
State Library of Victoria Image H2011.171/5a


Ada also allowed local people to hold their wedding reception at Holm Park. The most significant contribution Ada made to the Casey Cardinia region is the planting of the Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour (along the Princes Highway from about St Michael's to the Cardinia Creek). This Avenue of Honour was initiated by Ada. The original avenue consisted of 123 Hybrid Black Poplar trees. They were planted in 1929 to honour the Beaconsfield locals who had served in the First World War. The Avenue still presents a scenic vista and is a fitting tribute to the Beaconsfield Soldiers and to Ada Armytage. You can read about the Avenue of Honour here


A book on the Armytage family The Armytages of Como : pastoral pioneers by Anita Selzer is available for loan, check availability here. It can also be purchased from the National Trust shop at Pioneer Park, Berwick. The shop is open 11.00am-3.00pm everyday except Tuesdays.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Australian Army War Diaries




















The Australian War Memorial (www.awm.gov.au) has digitised war diaries from the First and Second World War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. They are the diaries of the Unit's administration, operations and activities and rarely contain information about individuals. However, they can give you a real feel for what was happening on a day-to-day basis and will be of immense interest if you had relatives serving in a particular unit. The soldier is my great uncle Alf Weatherhead , who was in the 23rd Battalion. The map (click on image to enlarge it) is from the diary of the 23rd Battalion and it formed part of Battle Order 20 from July 20 1916. The diaries are on the Australian War Memorial web site - follow this link. http://www.awm.gov.au/diaries/index.asp. These are an amazing resource and well worth exploring.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Emerald and the Nobelius Nurseries.


The Emerald Museum and Nobelius Heritage Park is at Crichton Road in Emerald. The park occupies part of the Gembrook Nurseries, operated by Carl Axel Nobelius and his sons from 1886. Carl was born in Finland in 1851 to Swedish parents and he migrated to Melbourne in 1872. By 1903 Nobelius was advertising over one million trees for sale and this had increased to 3 million trees just before the First World War. The nursery concentrated on fruit and ornamental trees and supplied trees world wide, including to South Africa to replant their orchards after the Boer War. Many of the ornamental trees planted by Nobelius can still be seen at the Nobelius Heritage Park. The Emerald Museum has an interesting display of material representing Emerald's past including Nobelius memorabilia, the Writers of the Dandenong exhibit and a gold mining exhibit. Gold was discovered at Emerald in 1858. The Emerald Museum is open on Wednesdays 10.30am until 12 noon and Sundays, 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Telephone : 03 5968 2152. An attractive and informative booklet , Nobelius Heritage Park : an illustrated guide by Jo Jenkinson, is available at the Museum.

Tooradin - the birth place of the RACV


Tooradin can claim to be the birth place of the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV). Susan Priestley, in her book The Crown of the road : the story of the RACV, tells us of the formation of the RACV.

On  a fine weekend late in September 1903, a dozen of Melbourne's more prominent wheelmen, who were also proud owners of the new motorized cycles, took their machines on a very pleasant outing to the flat reaches of Tooradin on Westernport Bay...The outing was reported in the Australian Cyclist... and the next issue of the journal featured a prominent article on the very singular lack of a motor club in Melbourne.

The writer of the article was probably Sydney Day  described by Mrs Priestley as a printer by trade but  a cyclist and cycling writer at heart . Mrs Priestley says and that he was one of the three like-minded friends who claimed to have hatched plans for  a motoring club while on that trip to Tooradin.  The other members of the trio were James Coleman (manager of a Cycle business) and Henry (Harry) Barton James, advertising manager of Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company.

In 1903 there were about 30 cars in Melbourne and at least twice as many motor cycles. The Automobile Club of Victoria was established at a meeting, attended by 55 men, at the Bridge Hotel in Mordialloc on December 6, 1903. The Chairman was Harry Maddox and the committee was Syd Day, Thomas Rand, Henry Sutton, E.C Joshua, H.C Bagot, A.P Merrill and D.M. Officer. The last named is David McMaster Officer, a surgeon, who died in New Norfolk, Tasmania,  in 1916. I am fairly sure that he must thus be connected to the Officer family, after whom the town of Officer was named, as they originated from New Norfolk. He was the son of John and Sarah (nee McMaster) and was born in Warnambool - I just don't yet  have the connection between John and Sir Robert Officer, the patriarch of the Officer family in Australia.

The Crown of the Road   (published by McMillan in 1983) also has interesting photographs and information on early cars and motoring in Melbourne. 

Monday, 5 November 2007

Cardinian Embroidery Project


The Cardinian Embroidery project began in 2005 with two main aims - to bring together people from all over the Cardinia Shire to share their skills and work together and to produce a unique work of art that reflects the character of the Shire and contributes to local heritage. It consists of eight panels featuring historic buildings, parks and events in all the towns in the Cardinia Shire. Over 2000 people contributed to the embroidery. It can be viewed , free of charge, at the Cardinia Cultural Centre in Lakeside Boulevard, Pakenham. The Centre is open from 8.30am until 5.00pm Monday to Friday, Saturday for events only and Sunday 11.00am until 3.00pm. It is an extraordinary piece of work that showcases the history of the Cardinia Shire as well as the embroidery skills of the residents of the Cardinia Shire.

The Shrine of Remembrance exhibition


The City of Casey presents the travelling exhibition "History of the Shrine : a building with a soul'. The Shrine of Remembrance is a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who have served in the armed forces. This exhibition traces the history of the Shrine including original footage of the dedication ceremony in 1934. The Shrine, itself, has a connection to the Casey Cardinia region as it is made from granite from a quarry at Tynong. For more information on the Shrine go to http://www.shrine.org.au/. For information on the travelling exhibition go to the City of Casey website http://www.casey.vic.gov.au/.

The exhibition is at the Balla Balla Centre, 65 Berwick Cranbourne Road, Cranbourne. Monday, November 19th 2007 until Friday, January 11th 2008. 11.00 am -4.00 pm Monday to Friday. Free.

Welcome to our blog

Welcome to the Casey Cardinia Library Corporation history blog. This blog plans to keep you up to date with Heritage happenings in the Region and state wide, and also, to present snippets of historical information from the area. Over the next blog posts we will look at some of the Historical Societies in the Region that were established to collect the history of particular areas. We will start with the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society. This Society was formed in 1968, its primary aim at the time was to save the "Sportsman Rest" fisherman's cottage,built c. 1873, on the Foreshore at Tooradin, from demolition (pictured above). A group of concerned citizens convinced the Shire of Cranbourne to purchase the property, on the proviso that the "group" will repay half the $6,000 purchase price. The Cottage is now a Museum and is furnished with household items donated by local families. It is still managed by the Society and is open to the public on the weekends. In 2005 the old Tooradin North Primary School (pictured below) was re-located to the site and this is now used as an education centre. The School building was originally the Monomeith State School. Monomeith School had started in 1920 and moved into this building in 1924. The School closed in 1933 and the building was re-located to Tooradin North in 1935, where it was used until 1970, when Tooradin North State School was closed. The Cranbourne Shire Historical Society meets on the fourth Thursday of the month at the Old Shire Offices in Cranbourne.
For more information ring 03 5998 3643.