Friday, 16 November 2012

Digitised World War One newspapers

The State Library of Victoria has undertaken a project to digitise a number of World War One newspapers and these papers are now available on Trove - http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper  With the centenary of the commencement of the War in 2014 it is expected that there will be a huge amount of interest in how our ancestors and our community lived during this time and the  local newspapers will  provide a wonderful resource to both local and family historians. The newspapers were selected to provide as  broad a coverage of Victoria as possible and the papers  for the Casey Cardinia region are the Pakenham Gazette and its forerunner the Berwick Shire News which  have now been digitised from 1914 until 1918 as has the Lang Lang Guardian. The Bunyip Free Press is available from 1914 to 1915. The South Bourke and Mornington Journal has also been digitised previously and also covers much of our region, as does the West Gippsland Gazette.




Berwick Shire News and Pakenham and Cranbourne Gazette  8 September 8,  1915, pg 3
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92095834

The papers recorded sad news such as the death of local soldiers including Private Frank Leigh A'Beckett, who was the son of the grandly named Edward Fitzhayley A'Beckett and his wife, Jane Deodata A'Beckett (nee Bourke). 



Pakenham Gazette and Berwick Shire News   June 15,  1917, page 2
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92153530

The women also played their role in the War effort, some of course served as nurses overseas, but for the women who remained at home they worked on the family farms, fund raised for patriotic causes, joined the Red Cross, or as we can see from this report, knitted sock for the soldiers.

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Australian Inland Mission and the Pakenham connection

It is the centenary of the Presbyterian Inland Mission this year. It was established in 1912 as the Australian Inland Mission  by the Presbyterian Church with the Reverend  John  Flynn as the first Superintendent. Flynn’s  idea was to provide spiritual  support to those in the outback and this later developed to providing  medical facilities  as well.  Thus from  1917 he founded nursing services in remote areas and in 1928 he formed the AIM Aerial medical services. This service changed its name to the Royal Flying Doctor Service in 1954 and is still providing medical services  or the mantle of safety  as Flynn described it,  in the outback today. The Presbyterian Inland Mission has an interesting website www.pim.org.au.

There are two local links to the Australian Inland  Mission.  Firstly, John Flynn  was a Home Missionary at the Pakenham Presbyterian  Church in 1908-1909. I believe  a Home Missionary was sent to smaller churches, usually in country areas, who couldn't support an ordained  Minister.  John Flynn was was born in 1880 in  Moliagul Victoria to Thomas  and Rosetta (nee Lester ) Flynn . He was a ‘pupil teacher’ with the Education Department from 1898 to 1902. He began study as a ‘student lay pastor’ in 1903 and  did further study at the Presbyterian Theological Hall and was ordained in 1911. He died in 1951.

I have found two references to the Reverend  Flynn and his time at Pakenham  in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal available on Trove.  The first was from  February 3 1909  and is a  report of the St James Church of England Sunday School  picnic where  amongst the visitors was  Mr Flynn, the Presbyterian Minister and many of our Romans Catholic and other denominational friends. Pakenham was obviously a very ecumenical town. The second report from May 12 1909 (reproduced below)   was of  a very  pleasing and instructive evening held at the Pakenham Mechanics Institute when Mr J. Flynn delivered his lecture  Along the Snowy River.

South Bourke and Mornington Journal, May 12 1909, page 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66200050

There is another Pakenham connection to the AIM. The Reverend Victor Murrell was the Presbyterian minister there from 1963 until his death in May 1969. The Murrell family was in Beltana, South Australia as part of the Australian Inland Mission from 1949 until 1957. There is a memorial to the Reverend Murrell outside the Uniting Church in Main Street Pakenham. The memorial has been photographed and transcribed as part of the Casey Cardinia Remembers project www.caseycardiniaremembers.org.au, a project of the Narre Warren and District Family History Group. http://nwfhg.org.au



The memorial to the Reverend Victor Murrell outside the  Uniting Church at Pakenham. These photographs are from the Casey Cardinia Remembers website and are used with permission.


According to  a report in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of February 13, 1907 the Presbyterian Church in Pakenham was officially opened on Sunday, January 27 1907, so when John Flynn arrived sometime in 1908 it would have been a very new building. The Presbyterians had  previously met at the Mechanics' Institute.  The Church was was built by Alex Miller of Berwick and painted and varnished by C. and J. Warne also of Berwick. It was a weatherboard building and could seat one hundred people. The building cost £125 and  initially the congregation had to supply £35 and the Home Mission Committee £100 which would cost £10 in interest over ten years, however  £80 was raised by the congregation so they could start their worship in their church really free from any anxiety as to ways and means.  A new brick church was opened in October 1960 and the original church was moved back on the block and used as a Sunday School and it was demolished around 1987 to accommodate extensions to the Church.