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.

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