Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Pakenham Cemetery tour

The Narre Warren and District Family History Group conducted a tour of the Pakenham Cemetery on Sunday, October 30 2011. It looked at the graves of some of the local pioneer families including the Bourkes, the Dores, the Aherns, the Mulcahys - they all have roads named after them. We also looked at the grave of Mary Frawley, the source of Frawley Road in Hallam. Another grave we visited was that of James and Susannah Thewlis - the source of Thewlis Road which leads to the cemetery.

The site for the Pakenham Cemetery was gazetted on February 13, 1865 and the first Trustees were appointed on May 8 the same year.

From the Victorian Government Gazette, February 21, 1865 p. 459

The original Trustees were John Startup, Richard Fortune, Michael Bourke, Thomas Mulcahy and George Ritchie. They are all buried at the cemetery, apart from Richard Fortune. Richard's wife Jane is buried at Pakenham.

From the Victorian Government Gazette, May 23, 1865 p. 1158

John Startup leased the Mt Ararat run of 17,000 acres (6,800 hectares) which covered the area from Pakenham to Drouin. He later purchased 336 acres (135 hectares) on the corner of Mt Ararat Road and Bald Hills Road. Michael and Kitty Bourke established the Latrobe Inn on what is now the Princes Highway, near Toomuc Creek, around 1850. Michael Bourke also acted as the Post Master for nearly 30 years. Kitty Bourke kept the Hotel and Post Office from the time of her husband’s death in 1877 until 1910. The Latrobe Inn was a Cobb & Co. coach stop and for obvious reasons was later known as Bourke’s Hotel. George Ritchie was the owner of the farm Bald Hill, based around Ryan Road and McDonald's Drain Road, and south of the railway line. George Ritchie’s sister Jane was married to Richard Fortune, another Trustee. Richard died in 1868 leaving Jane with seven young children. Jane continued to farm at Nar Nar Goon and died in 1900. Thomas Mulcahy was a Pakenham landowner

Photo credits: The Pakenham Cemetery photographs were taken by Lynne Bradley.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Better Farming Train comes to Casey Cardinia

The Better Farming Train was established in 1924 by the Victorian Railways and the Departments of Agriculture, Education and Public Health. The train travelled around Victoria, stopping for a day at various country railway stations, and provided lectures and demonstrations to farmers to improve farming techniques and therefore raise agriculture production. If agriculture production was raised then the Railways would also benefit as nearly all produce was moved by rail. The train made 39 tours of country Victoria between 1924 and 1935 and stopped at over 390 towns. Over 250,000 people attended these lectures.

The train consisted of around 15 carriages and once the train arrived at the Station the various displays were set up. Each carriage contained information and exhibits about different areas of agriculture such as potatoes, dairy, bee keeping, poultry. The train actually carried livestock, cattle and pigs, enabling a hands-on approach to the subject. There was also a pasture carriage, which had various plant varieties growing. The train had expert lecturers in each subject to provide information and demonstrate new techniques.

VPRS 12903/P1 Photographic Negatives: Railways: Box Systems Item Box 156/03
Description BETTER FARMING TRAIN DISPLAY. K CLASS LOCO No.109 AND VARIOUS CARRIAGES AND DISPLAYS c1930s


The inaugural stop was at Bunyip, where it arrived at 9.20am on Monday October 13, 1924. It was met by the Berwick Shire President, Cr J. Dore and other members of the Council. Also present was the Prime Minister, Mr Stanley Melbourne Bruce, and the Railways Commissioner, Mr Harold Clapp. The Argus reports that they (the Prime Minister and Mr Clapp) were delighted with the success of the experiment. One thousand people inspected the train that afternoon and listened to the following lectures - Horse Breeding Act, Examination of stallions; Jersey and Red poll cattle; Friesian and Ayrshire cattle; Grading cows; Pigs; Herd testing; Milk grading; Grasses and top dressing; Feeding cattle; Bees and honey; Feeding pigs and Potatoes. For the women, there were demonstrations in needlework and lectures on mothercraft and child welfare. In the evening, Amalgamated Wireless Limited had a set attached to the train and district residents had the opportunity of hearing Dame Nellie Melba in Grand Opera.

The train was at Pakenham on Friday, October 21 1927. The Pakenham Gazette of October 28 reported that the dairyman and grazier found much to interest them in the prize sheep and cattle, the fodder, samples of wool, models of helpful devices, specimens of disease affected organs and tissues and suggested remedies, and the stock demonstrations. There were also lectures on calf rearing, pig breeding, potato culture, and for the orchardists a lecture on fruit culture. Once again the women were entertained by cookery demonstrations, needle work, home nursing lectures amongst other activities. The Gazette ended the report by saying the visit of the train was a success and much benefit should be derived from it.

The Better Farming Train was at Koo-Wee-Rup on November 15, 1927. This was reported in The Argus newspaper. The main topics of agriculture discussed were potato growing and dairying. As the article pointed out, the Koo-Wee-Rup region produced one fifth of Victoria’s total potato production with Carmen being the principal variety grown with yields of five tons to the acre. The potato lectures covered seed selection, storage, cultivation, manure application and disease control. The other focus of the visit was dairying and The Argus reported that 600 cans of milk were sent daily from Koo-Wee-Rup.

At Koo-Wee-Rup, over 100 women attended the Better Farming Train demonstration on cookery and needlework, clothing design and an infant welfare nurse was also available to examine babies In fact, so popular was this service that the ‘womens section’ or ‘domestic section’ of the train toured separately from the rest of the train from as early as 1925 and had also visited Koo-Wee-Rup on February 8, 1926.

VPRS 12903/P1 Photographic Negatives: Railways: Box Systems Item Box 156/12 Description BETTER FARMING TRAIN DISPLAY. K CLASS LOCO No.109 AND VARIOUS CARRIAGES AND DISPLAYS c1930s

Other visits to the Casey Cardinia region included - Lang Lang on November 10 1924 on way to South Gippsland and Cranbourne on Saturday 15 November 1924 on the return journey. It went to Berwick on Friday July 3 1930 and the train stopped at Clyde on Tuesday 21 July 1930 and the next day at Yannathan. There may well have been other visits to our region, I was going through reports on the train in The Argus trying to pick up any mentions of the tours, and that reminded me just how extensive the Rail network was in the 1920s and 1930s and so how many small towns could have been visited by the train. There is a great website with maps that show the rise and fall of the Victorian Railways http://www.vrhistory.com/VRMaps/

This is an interesting aspect of our history and reflects the importance of the railway in people’s life at a time when most people didn’t have a car and, until the 1960s, nearly all the farming produce (milk, potatoes other vegetables, cattle) from the area was dispatched by train to market.

VPRS 12903/P1 Photographic Negatives: Railways: Box Systems Item Box 156/16
Description BETTER FARMING TRAIN DISPLAY. K CLASS LOCO No.109 AND VARIOUS CARRIAGES AND DISPLAYS c1930s

The Department of Primary Industry have a on-line exhibition of Better Farming Train photographs www.dpi.vic.gov.au > About us > Services > Library Services then scroll down to Virtual Exhibition. There are also photographs (some are shown here) on the Public Records of Victoria site www.prov.vic.gov.au Go to Access the collection > PROV’s Digitised Records and Online Indexes then scroll down to Images On-line Public Transport Corporation Photographic Collection.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Local History Expo

Discover more about the History and Pioneers of the Casey Cardinia Region at our Local History Expo. It's free and it's at the Narre Warren Library on Saturday, October 22 from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

The Local Heritage Groups will feature photograph displays and historical items. They will also be happy to answer your questions. The Groups at the Expo are
Beaconsfield History Committee
Berwick Mechanics’ Institute
Berwick Pakenham Historical Society
Cardinian Embroidery Project
Cranbourne Shire Historical Society
Dandenong High School ex-students Association
Edrington History Research Group
Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society
Lang Lang & District Historical Society
Mechanics' Institutes of Victoria
Narre Warren & District Family History Group

All welcome and it's free. Contact me for more details - Heather Arnold Local History Librarian Phone 03 9704 7696.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Yakkerboo Festival in Pakenham

Here are some photographs of the Yakkerboo Festival in Pakenham taken in the late 1980s or early 1990s. The Yakkerboo Festival started in 1976, as light-hearted community Festival. These photographs are from the Library Archive and were taken by the Shire of Pakenham.

The Pakenham Shire float, looking down Main Street towards the railway line. The Pakenham Hotel, built in 1928-29, is on the right. The roof of Hardy's Hardware store can be seen in the centre.


The Pakenham Kindergarten float, with the particularly unattractive Shire Offices behind. The modern facade on the 1912 Shire Offices was erected in 1962.

Above and below, views of floats passing the State Bank in Main Street, obviously taken at different times as the State Bank logo is different.


Another view of theYakkerboo Parade, this time on the corner of Main street and John Street.