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. In January 1935 the World Scout Jamboree was held at Frankston, and 180 of the scouts visited Dandenong and then had afternoon tea at Holm Park, hosted  by Miss Armytage. There is a report about this in the Dandenong Journal of January 10, 1935, read it here. You can read about the World Scout Jamboree, here. Ada  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. The Hall was officially opened with a Ball on July 3, 1930, attended by the Governor and his wife, Lord and Lady Somers, General Sir John Monash, General Sir Harold and Lady Chauvel and a host of others.

"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.

No comments: