Monday, 25 August 2014

Bush Nursing Hospitals

The Bush Nursing Hospital Movement began in 1910 with the establishment of the Victorian Bush Nursing Association. At the time, the current medical system consisted of big hospitals such as the Royal Melbourne and St Vincents, which were run along charitable lines and whose role was to treat poor people, who could not afford to pay a Doctors fee.  There were also private hospitals which only the wealthy could afford. To help offset medical costs Friendly Societies or Lodges were established which people could join for a yearly fee. This gave them access to the Friendly Society doctor and access to medicine dispensed from the Friendly Society Dispensary. The problem arose when members of Friendly societies needed to be treated in Hospitals and thus most ended up in public hospitals, which were overcrowded, as most people could not afford private hospitals. There was also a growing move to nurse people in their own homes through what is now the Royal District Nursing Service.  People in the city and the suburbs could have a nurse visit them to help recover from confinements and general illness. This type of service took pressure off the public Hospitals. Lady Dudley, the wife of the Governor General, was aware of these visiting nurses and had also seen first hand the need for skilled nurses in the bush, so from these experiences came the idea of Bush Nursing Hospitals.

Lady Dudley spoke publicly of the need for nurses in the bush and a concert, with Dame Nellie Melba as the guest star, was organised to raise initial funds for the Bush Nursing Hospital Movement. This concert was held in November 1909 and Lady Casey’s mother, Mrs Charles Ryan (nee Alice Sumner), was one of the organisers.  An inaugural meeting was held in the December and the Draft Constitution for the Australian Order for District Nursing was drawn up. In the end, a nationwide system did not eventuate; however local areas took the idea on and began raising funds for their own Bush Nurse. The local community had to raise the money to fund the cost of the nurse’s salary, board, uniform and a ‘means of locomotion’. The salary was set by the Bush Nursing Association at the rate of around £80.00 per annum, the rate of pay for a hospital nurse with five or six years experience.

The first Victorian nurse was appointed to Beech Forest in March 1911 and other early appointments were Gunbower, Buchan and Panmure. Eventually some towns provided cottages for the nurses to provide accommodation for both the nurse and the patient. Koo-Wee-Rup was an early example of this where the original nurse, Nurse Homewood, started work in the bush nursing centre in July 1918; this was later replaced by a Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.


Koo-Wee-Rup Hospital, 1923
Photograph: Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society

Both Pakenham and Berwick had Bush Nursing Hospitals which are still remembered by many locals. Pakenham was established in 1926 in a house in Rogers Street with Sister Kerville in charge.  In the first year the hospital treated 110 medical and surgical cases and 45 midwifery cases.  In 1928, a new hospital was built on the Princes Highway and in 1929 a nurse’s quarters was opened.  The Hospital was funded by the Community, by subscriptions and patient fees. There were with 190 subscribers in the first year. The Pakenham Race Club was a large supporter of the Hospital holding annual Charity Days to support both the Pakenham and Koo-Wee-Rup Hospitals. The Hospital provided medical services to Pakenham and the surrounding areas until the early 1990s.


The official opening of the Pakenham and District Bush Nursing Hospital on Saturday, February 11, 1928. The Hospital was opened by the State Governor, Lord Somers. The local scouts formed a guard of honour. 
Photograph: North of the Line: a pictorial record compiled by the Berwick-Pakenham Historical Society.

The Berwick Bush Nursing Hospital was opened on March 9, 1940 in a building on the corner of Gloucester Avenue and Gibbs Street. This building had been used as a private hospital for the previous thirty years and, for the twenty years before that, as a Private School. Membership fees were set at £1.10 per annum for a married man, his wife and any children under 18; membership for a single person was 15 shillings and this allowed the subscriber to hospital admittance for half the regular fee. A new building was opened in 1953 and called the Dr Percy Langmore Block in honour of the Berwick Doctor who provided medical services to generations of Berwick folk from 1907 until he retired after World War Two. The Berwick Hospital was taken over by the St John of God Health Care group in 2003.


Berwick Bush Nursing Hospital.
Photograph: Bush Nursing in Berwick: the first fifty years by Eileen Williams (see below)

Sources and more information:

Monday, 18 August 2014

Western Port - a short history of early European activity

Both the Cardinia Shire and the City of Casey have Western Port as part of their border. The Bay has been a popular recreation spot for many of us over the years - for instance, we used to go to the beach at Tooradin when I was young; Dad and my uncle had a boat so they used to water ski down there, and Dad used to go fishing there as well. These activities would have been repeated by many local families since the European settlement of the region. Further afield, Phillip Island continues to be a holiday destination for many locals. The Bay has also been used commercially by fishermen. What follows is a short history of the Bay since the arrival of  the Europeans.

Western Port Bay was 'discovered' by George Bass (1771-1803)  on January 5, 1798. Bass had left Sydney (Port Jackson) on December 3, 1897 with the purpose of discovering whether a strait existed between Tasmania (Van Diemen's land) and the mainland. As we know the Strait did exist and it was named after him. Bass named Western Port thus as it was the most westerly port that was known at the time - or as he wrote in his journal I have named the place, from its relative situation to every other known harbour on the coast, Western Port. Bass navigated around what was to be called Phillip Island, but did not realise that the land mass that became known as French Island, was indeed, also an island. They were also unaware of Port Phillip Bay - I wonder what Western Port would have been called if they were. The journey was a remarkable feat of navigation and enterprise, the party was away for eleven weeks, had eked out the original six weeks of supplies they took with them, they sailed 600 miles of uncharted coast line all in an open boat that was only 28 feet, 7 inches (8.7 metres) long.

After Bass, the next official  European activity was carried out in the Lady Nelson, under Lieutenant James Grant (1772-1833) - they arrived  at Western Port on March 21, 1801. The crew planted a garden on Churchill Island and they charted the Bay. The Lady Nelson returned in December 1802 under First Lieutenant John Murray (1775-1803) and harvested the wheat crop planted by Grant the year before, and on January 5,  1802 they 'discovered' Port Phillip Bay. In April 1802, the French Captain Hamelin in the Naturaliste reached Western Port and circumnavigated  and mapped French Island.


Oyster breeding park, Rutherford Creek, Western Port Bay
State Library of Victoria Image A/S22/09/84/15

The French interest in this region prompted the British Government to establish, in 1803,  a settlement at what is now Sorrento, under Lieutenant Governor David Collins (1756-1810). In Western Port, enterprising sealers had moved in - seals were hunted for their skins and their oil. Sealers also abducted Aboriginal women, to act a sex slaves and to exploit their hunting knowledge. In 1826,  the British sent the Dragon, under the command of Captain Samuel Wright and the Fly, under the command of Captain F. Wetherall to Western Port, they landed at what is now Rhyll and claimed formal possession on December 3, 1826 and on December 12 they claimed formal possession of a site near Corinella. At Corinella, a settlement was soon established - gardens, roads, wells, buildings including Government House, military barracks, storehouse, hospital, blacksmiths, stables etc - most of the labour was supplied by the 21 convicts. This was a short lived settlement and was abandoned in January 1828.


Captain Wetherall's 1826 map of Western Port
Source: Western Port Chronology 1798-1839: Exploration to Settlement by Valda Cole (see below)

Later on pastoral settlements took place - in 1835 Samuel Anderson (1803-1863) and Robert Massie settled on the Bass River.  Moving  around to the Bay, to the area now covered by Casey and Cardinia - in 1839 Robert Jamieson and Samuel Rawson settled at the Yallock Station, on the Yallock Creek. Frederick and Charles Manton took up Manton's Old Station in 1840; the Balla Balla run was taken up by Robert Innes Allen in 1839; Thomas Rutherford took up the station (Bourbinandera) based around what was to be known as Rutherford Inlet in 1842; the Lang Waring run was taken up in 1843 by William Willoby. Later on, from around the 1850s,  all these  large runs were broken up and sold and other European settlers arrived.


These are aerials of the top section of Western Port, taken January 22 1970 - not exactly what the early Europeans would have seen, but I can never resist using an aerial photograph! You could only imagine what these early explorers and cartographers would say if they could see the land they charted today, from an aerial or satellite image. The township is Warneet. The land mass on the left is Quail Island, Rutherford Inlet separates Quail island from Chinamans island. Quail island was originally known as Harris Island, it was named for Surgeon John Harris, member of the N.S.W Corps. Chinamans Island was so named as Chinese fishermen were said to live on the island.


This is Warneet, again, and Cannons Creek. We also see the top of Quail Island and Rutherford Inlet.


The land mass on bottom right is Quail Island, with Watson Inlet to the left. From the middle top, there is an L-shaped road - this is Craigs Lane. The road running down to a creek/inlet on the right is Vowell Drive.


This connects to the aerial above - on the right is Vowell Drive. On the left is Tyabb-Tooradin Road and Callanans Lane, this forms a triangle, where the Pearcedale Conservation Park and  Moonlit Sanctuary is located. There is Watson Inlet, part of the Yaringa Marine National Park, again. The inlet is named after  John Watson, whose property 'Freehall', was near to the Inlet.  John Watson was the owner of considerable property in the Parish of Tyabb, a prominent citizen and a member of the Mt. Eliza District Road Board. A Mornington Peninsula Shire  Council Ward is named after him (Personal correspondence from historian, Valda Cole)

Sources:

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Nirvana Park and Nirvana Dairy

I had a query about a property called 'Nirvana Park' in Cranbourne. As I knew nothing about it, I went to Trove and typed in 'Nirvana Park' and I found it was a property owned by Frederick David Spottiswood from about 1944 to around the mid 1960s.

The 1945/46 Rate Books list about 60 acres in various parcels owned by Spottiswood and shows  he also leased land from the Crown and the Railways - the railway land was from the Railway line, north to Camms Road, with High Street/South Gippsland Highway being the western boundary and Narre Warren Cranbourne Road,  being the eastern boundary.  Mr Spottiswood operated an  Illawarra Shorthorn stud at ‘Nirvana Park’. An article in the Kiama Reporter of July 4, 1945 (left) reports that Mr Spottiswood  who has achieved distinction for the extensive milk retailing business he has built  up in  Malvern and in a similar manner to the model business thus established, he aspired to the creation of  a model stud farm with the noted Australian Illawarra Shorthorns the breed to be utilised. More about the milk retailing business later.

I have spoken to a long term Cranbourne resident, Val,  and she told me that his dairy was  a red brick building on Camms Road.Val also told me that the Spottsiwoods moved from the original farm in Camms Road to another property in Cameron Street, south of Sladen Street or Berwick-Cranbourne Road as that part of Sladen Street is now called  (about opposite the back entry of the Cranbourne RSL) where they also had  a dairy. Fred and Vevers Spottiswood are listed in the Electoral Rolls in Cranbourne until 1968 and by 1972 they are in Frankston.

Mr Spottiswood was a Shire of Cranbourne Councillor from 1949 until 1955 and he was Shire President from 1951 to 1952. He was also on the Committee of the Cranbourne Turf Club and Chairman in 1951/52.

Fred  Spottiswood is on the right of this photograph. It was taken at the 1964 Cranbourne Cup presentation.
Source: Of heath and horses:  a history of the Cranbourne Turf Club by Mark Fiddian (Published by the author, 1993)

Before he came to Cranbourne in 1945,  Mr Spottiswood operated the Nirvana Dairy (hence the name of his farm) on the corner of Waverley Road and Belgrave Road in Malvern East.  If you know the area, it is where Dairy Bell ice cream factory still operates today.  Many of us from this area are familiar with the Dairy Bell factory as we had to use  Malvern Road before the South Eastern Freeway (which ended at Toorak road) was connected to the Mulgrave Freeway which finished at Warrigal Road (about 1989 they were connected by the South Eastern arterial)

I am not sure when Fred Spottiswood started the Nirvana Dairy, the earliest reference I can find to it is in November 1934 when the Dairy won a prize for the best 'four wheeled light delivery turnout'  in a parade of business vehicles held in Malvern. Spottiswood is first listed in the City of Malvern Annual reports as an ice cream manufacturer in the 1936/37 year.   The City of Malvern Annual reports  can be found here. They are,  surprisingly, interesting reading as many businesses had to registered under the Health Act, and they are listed in the reports and thus the reports present an interesting  picture of the area at the time - for  instance in 1936/37 there were 32 other  ice cream manufacturers in the City of Malvern as well as the Nirvana Dairy.

Nirvana Dairies opened  a new building on October 28, 1938. I believe this is the existing Dairy Bell building.  It was opened by the Minister of Agriculture,  Mr Hogan, who described the dairy as sanitary, of durable interior, having ample space, good lighting, ventilation and drainage.  The story of 'Nirvana Park' and Nirvana Dairy is a good example of the connection between rural and urban industries that was once obvious to most Australians and is now largely lost. It was the Minister for Agriculture opening the new dairy because it was recognised that rural industries, such as the dairy industry, needed secondary industries, such as the 33 ice cream manufacturers in Malvern,  to sell their product to. Small factories like the Nirvana Dairy, often had a house attached where the owner lived  and they were part of the fabric of every suburb; unlike today where the industrial area in many towns is set well away from the residential area.


Account of the opening of the Nirvana Dairy in Malvern
The Argus October 29, 1939  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12528044

On a personal note - Frederick David Spottiswood was born October 4, 1903 and died June 12, 1992. He married Vevers Hemsworth (nee Lasslett)  in 1942. Vevers was born January 31, 1915 and died May 31, 1999. They are both interred at the Bribie Island Memorial Garden in Queensland, his plaque describes him as 'always optimistic' and her plaque describes her as 'stylish and witty'.

 I have created a list of newspapers articles about Nirvana Park and Nirvana Dairy on Trove, click here to access the list.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Opening of the Shire of Pakenham Offices on July 28, 1983

In the last post we looked at the some photographs that showed the view from the top of the hill before the Shire of Pakenham Municipal Offices and Council Chambers were built. In this post we will look at the opening  ceremony of the offices, which were officially opened  by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Brian Murray on July 28th, 1983. The picture below shows the Governor  with the Shire President, Cr Austin Bastow, at the opening ceremony. These buildings are still being used by the Cardinia Shire, even though they are moving to a  new building in Officer in a few months.


The official opening of the Shire of Pakenham Municipal Offices and Council Chambers by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Brian Murray with the Shire President, Cr Austin Bastow on July 28th, 1983.



The Governor, Sir Brian Murray, addressing the audience.


The same scene, as above, but from a different angle.  The woman seated directly behind the Governor is Mrs Bastow, wife of the Shire President; further along the row is Cr Bastow and Mrs Murray. 


Cr Bastow addressing the audience. 


The Governor, being greeted by the Shire President, on arrival.


The  Vice-Regal tour of the new building.


The Governor shaking hands Russell Broadbent; Mrs Broadbent is next to Russell. The then Federal member for McMillan, Barry Cunningham is on the right of the photograph.


Two views of the audience.



The photographs, above , were taken by a professional photographer (perhaps some-one from the Pakenham Gazette) and we also have some coloured 'snaps' taken at the same event.