Friday, 31 May 2013

The mystery of Minihan's Road

Monahan's Road is in Cranbourne; it runs from Sladen Street up to Breens Road. There is a park on Monahan's Road called Minihan's Reserve. However, I believe that Monahan's Road was originally called Minihan's Road after the Minihan family.  So, the mystery is why is it now known as Monahan's Road and what happened to Minihan's Road?

1963 aerial of Cranbourne  (photograph taken December 14, 1963). Monahan's Road is on the left hand side of the photograph,and ends at what appears to be  a ploughed area, but is now, I think, part of  SP Ausnet Cranbourne Terminal Station.  You can see the beginnings of a new housing estate, centered either side of Camms Road, to the left of the Railway Line. This includes streets such as Evelyne Avenue, Virginia Avenue, Rosalie Avenue etc. Also off Camms Road and between  the railway line and the South Gippsland Highway, you can see the development of Circle Drive, to the north of this is Clairmont Aveneue and Fenfield Steet . What looks like a quarry is now Donnelly Reserve. 

The Minihan family were listed in the Shire of Cranbourne Rate Books from 1868. William Minihan is listed  as owning 54 acres (about 22 hectares) in Section 5, Lot 9 in the Parish of Lyndhurst. William Minihan is buried in the Cranbourne Cemetery. He was buried in Janauary 1911, having passed away aged 88. In the same grave is his wife Mary (nee Coffey) who died in 1905, aged 76 and their daughter, Mary, who died in 1896, aged 32. Also buried in the cemetery are some of their other children - Catherine, who died in 1947 aged 87; Ellen who died in 1896 aged 31 and Patrick who died in 1926 aged 70. There were two other children - Johanna, who married Patrick McGrath in 1896, aged 26 and  a son John, who died in 1936, aged 69.

John and Patrick are listed in the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books, as owning land in Cranbourne, from the 1880s. All the land owned by the family is in Lots 7,8,9 and 10 in the Parish of Lyndhurst. This is exactly the same area where Monahan's Road is today. So we know from the Rate Books that the Minihans owned the land from the 1860s until 1937, when it was sold after John died.  I presume that they were dairy farmers as it was the most typical farming activity in the area at the time and there are reports in various papers of John selling dairy cattle.

This is a sketch map produced around for the publication of the book Cranbourne: a town with a history, published by the City of Casey in 1996. (You can access an on-line copy of this book here). A long term Cranbourne resident, Mrs Kelsall, identified the location of Cranbourne residents in the 1930s and 1940s and shows John Minhihan's house on Monahan's Road.

We also know there used to be  road called Minihan's Road. The Cranbourne Shire meeting minutes were reported in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal, and in the paper which was published November 7, 1900 a contract is let to 'from and gravel'  part of Minihan's  Road.

South Bourke and Mornington Journal, November 7 1900.

When John died in 1936, the family notice in The Argus, lists his address as Minihan's Road in Cranbourne, though seen on the sketch map, above, his house is located on Monahan's Road.  The notice is reproduced below.

John Minihan's death notice in The Argus, February 17, 1936, showing his address as Minihan's Road.

I believe that Monahan's Road was originally called Minihan's Road. We know that there used to be a Minihan's Road in Cranbourne; we know that the Minihan family lived on what is now called Monahan's Road and that they owned land on either side of Monahan's Road for seventy years. The mystery is, why was it changed? I do not know.  In sporting parlance, if I was a Minihan, I would say 'we was robbed'.

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