Monday, 24 February 2014


Nyora is on the very edge of the Cardinia Shire in the bottom south east corner, east of Lang Lang. The actual township of Nyora is not in Cardinia, but some of the surrounding farms are, so  I thought we would have a look at the history of Nyora.

Photograph by Albert Arnell, taken between 1922 and 1929.
State Library of Victoria Image H2013.48/27

The area was originally known as Lang Lang East until the Great Southern Railway line went through from Dandenong to Port Albert, and the railway station built in the area was called Nyora.  Nyora is from the Aboriginal word for “wild cherry tree”. This line was opened as far as Lang Lang in February 1890 and it was opened to Nyora and Loch in November 1890.  However the actual township site had been proclaimed on December 23, 1886 and it was surveyed in 1887 by John Lardner an assistant survey on the Lands Department. He is the Lardner after whom Lardner's Tracks is named. The first land sales in the township were held on September 6, 1887.  Shops were built, including a general store and post office, bakers and coffee palace.  The telephone  was put on at the Railway station in November 1891.  The hotel opened in a small wooden building in 1891, burnt down  in November 1913 and the existing brick building was erected in 1914.  To cater to spiritual needs, the Methodist Church at Nyora started in 1922 in a building that was originally the Jeetho West State School and St Marks Anglican church was opened in October 1930. The Anglicans had previously held services in the hall.

As is the pattern for most county towns  the Government set aside land for community purposes -  land for sale yards was gazetted  March 11, 1890; for the   cemetery in September 8, 1890, and a racecourse  in February 1896. The town of Nyora had  a boost when the railway line to the Wonthaggi coal fields (or the Powlett coal field as it was originally called) was opened on May 9, 1910 and Nyora became  a railway junction.

Nyora Railway Station
Public Records Office of Victoria photograph VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5416

Nyora Railway Station
Public Records Office of Victoria photograph VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5414

Nyora Railway Station
Public Records Office of Victoria photograph VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5413

The first school in the area was State School No. 2523, originally called Little Lang Lang. It opened on July 1, 1883 in a building 22ft by 13ft.; it was replaced by a larger building in 1889 and changed its name to Lang Lang East in 1890. It closed October 1903, reopened November 1904 and closed again in June 1907 (or 1908 according to one source). This school was north of the township, on a corner of Allotment 61 on the Lang Lang East Parish Plan. I can’t work out where it is on a modern map as none of the maps seem to have a road  marked anywhere close to where the school was!  The building was removed in 1914.  There was agitation as early as 1890 for a school closer to the town, and from 1894 until 1901 many parents sent their children on the train from Nyora to the Lang Lang School. For a while the School was conducted in the Public Hall but finally on May 1, 1903 Nyora School, No. 3401 was opened.

This is from the Parish Plan of Lang Lang East - the township of Nyora can be seen bottom left. The original school on Lot 61on Charles Humphries land, is circled in red. It was no wonder that the people on Nyora wanted a new school built in the town, it was a long way away.

The Nyora Hall commenced construction in 1891 and was completed by the April of the next year. This hall is thought to have burnt down in the 1898 bush fires and the new Hall was opened in March 1900, on a new site (which is the site of the existing hall).  This Hall was extended over the years to include a Library and other rooms. Sadly this well used hall was destroyed by fire on January 20, 1968. The Community worked hard to raise funds for the new hall which was opened on December 6, 1974.

Source: Nyora: its yesterdays and today by Joseph White (Nyora and District Centenary Year Celebrations, 1978)

Monday, 10 February 2014

Cranbourne Primary school, No. 2068

On June 1, 1856 the Presbyterian Denominational  School at Cranbourne was opened, although another source says the opening date was May 21, 1856.  The teacher, James Henry, had twenty two pupils, eleven boys and eleven girls. The School, which was erected at a cost of 205 pounds,  was located on Sladen Street, where the Presbyterian Church is today. The second teacher was Mr Walker, who was followed by Archibald Thompson, who was at the school from 1858 until around 1886.

Cranbourne School, 1890s

In 1862, the Common School Act was passed and all  schools were then managed by the Board of Education and the Presbyterian Denominational School became the Cranbourne Common School, No. 144. In 1873, it became the Cranbourne State School, No. 144 and by 1876 had an enrolment of 100 pupils, with an average attendance of 70. A new school was needed and it was built on the South Gippsland Highway, just south of the Police Station. Not only was there a new location, but the  school had  a new number, No. 2068. School No. 2068 opened on May 1, 1878 and the old School No. 144 officially ceased to exist on May 31 the same year.

Cranbourne School, around 1900

The School gradually acquired some 'mod cons' - town water in 1924, electricity in 1947, the telephone in 1953 and septic tanks in 1959. In 1933 the school population was 118 and by 1959 it was 150 and once again the school was running out of room, so classes were held in the Anglican Church Hall. Numbers declined with the opening of Cranbourne North Primary School, No.4887,  in February 1962 (this school is now called Cranbourne Park).  However, there was still a need for a newer, bigger school and this was built on the current location in Russell Street and it opened on February 5, 1969. The school on the South Gippsland Highway was later demolished and is now the site of the Senior Citizens.

Cranbourne School, 1947

Cranbourne School - it looks fairly deserted, so I assume it was taken around 1969, after the school moved to the Russell Street location. The photo, below, appears to be from the same time.