Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Carrum Downs

Historically, the township of Carrum Downs was always split between the Shire of Frankston* and the Shire of Cranbourne (Frankston Dandenong Road being the boundary)  - however after the 1994 Council amalgamations all of Carrum Downs was consolidated into the City of Frankston. However, because Carrum Downs has spent 134 years as part of the Shire of Cranbourne and its predecessor the Cranbourne Road Board,  I feel it deserves a place in this blog.

Carrum Downs grew out of  a farming settlement that was sub-divided about 1908 - cattle, oats, onions and potatoes were some of the agricultural products to come out of the area.

Mornington and Dromana Standard August 22,  1908    http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70085197

The first school  in the area opened on March 22, 1909 in a house owned by Mrs Blades. The purpose built school opened on Frankston Dandenong Road on September 11, 1911. The head Teacher, Evelyn McIntire was in charge of  sixty students. Growth in the area was steady until 1960 when the school population rose to 100 and two more rooms were added**

Frankston and Somerville Standard  May 17, 1930  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73516919

The Carrum Downs Memorial Hall was opened with a ball on Wednesday, May 21 1930 as  this article (above) attests. The School was on the Frankston side;  the hall was on the Cranbourne side as was the Recreation Reserve in Wedge Road and the Scout Hall. Early on the locals were obviously not happy with either Frankston or Cranbourne as in 1910 there was a movement to secede from both and go to Dandenong!

In the Shire of Cranbourne part of Carrum Downs was the Brotherhood of St Laurence settlement for unemployed people. The founder, Father Gerard Tucker (1885-1974) believed there needed to be an alternative to being unemployed and subsequent slum living conditions in the inner cities. The Carrum Downs settlement was established in 1935 with the object to provide men and their families simple shelter and a place to produce their own food. The settlement had  a community farm and  the country location enabled the children to live  a healthy life away from the bad influences of he inner city.  In 1946 had become  a home for aged people and it still operates in this way.

These photographs of the Brotherhood of St Laurence settlement are form the State Library of Victoria.

Croquet lawn  and Cottages. State Library of Victoria Image H32492/1622

 I suspect that the croquet lawn was developed when the village became a place for elderly residents, rather than the unemployed.

Single cottages. State Library of Victoria Image H32492/1625

Cottage Hospital. State Library of Victoria Image H32492/1619

There is an interesting account of the Brotherhood of St Laurence settlement that was written as a submission for a 2004 "Inquiry into sustainable urban design for new communities on outer suburban areas" - click here

* The Shire of Frankston and Hastings was split into two in 1960. The Shire of Frankston became the City of Frankston in 1966. The Shire of Hastings was amalgamated into the Mornington Peninsula Shire in 1994.
** Vision and Realisation: a centenary history of State Education in Victoria.

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