Friday, 13 December 2013

Harkaway - Max Thomson photograph collection at the State Library of Victoria

Historian, Mr Max Thomson, has donated his collection of historic photographs to the State Library of Victoria. Amongst the photographs are these ones of the Harkaway Hall - all taken by Michael J. Drew (1873-1943). They were all on glass negatives. Mr Thomson is the author of Little Hills, a history of Narre Warren North, published in 1977 to celebrate the centenary of the Narre Warren North State School, No.1901.

State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/462

The Hall looks finished on the outside, so perhaps these workmen were finishing off the interior. 

State Library of Victoria  Image H2012.171/464

The Hall, completed and sign written, above.  The Hall was officially opened on June 9, 1909 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Thomas Gibson Carmichael.  The only report of the opening which I can find  is from the Bendigo Advertiser of June 10 (see below) - I was a bit surprised that I couldn't find a local report. However, there is an account of the opening of the hall in the book Early Days of Berwick.   Mr James Curran, who wrote the chapter on Harkaway, reported that the Governor was escorted by a squadron of Australian Light Horse, the Narre Warren Troop, under the command of the late Lieutenant Alan Henry. The Troop also served as a Guard of Honour. 

Bendigo Advertiser, June 10 1909

State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/460

The photograph, above, was taken at the opening of the hall on June 9, 1909. Mr Curran also wrote that the people associated with the establishment of the Hall were Mr G.O.Lyon, Mr W. Warby, Mr Drew, Cr W. G. A'Beckett, Cr Kerr, Cr Barr and Mesdames R. Kelly, W.H. Jarrett, E. Wanke, Miss Mackie and Miss Troupe. Perhaps some of these people are in this photograph.

State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/498

This shows the interior of the Hall, it may be the opening day, however I can't identify any of these people in the photograph, above, and the ladies look as though they are more dressed for a summer's day rather than a June day. The man in the white suit also looks as if he is dressed for a summers day as well.  There is plenty of food, all labelled, so I believe that this is more likely to be a fete or a exhibition.

I thought I would see what I could find out about the photographer, whom the State Library lists as Michael J. Drew (1873-1943). I looked up the Indexes to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages and there is a Michael Forestall Drew born in 1873, who died in 1943 and so I believe that he is actually the photographer. According to the Electoral Roll Drew lived in Harkaway in 1909, his occupation was 'Independent means'. He is listed in Harkaway and Berwick in the Electoral Rolls until 1942.  His other photographs at the  State Library of Victoria include a lot of nature scenes of unidentified locations and unidentified family groups. 

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