Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Lions of Berwick - Part one

There are two lions near the War Memorial in the centre of High Street in Berwick, In 2009 Jim Mynard wrote an article in the Pakenham Gazette about the lions. He had been in contact with Mrs Janice Digby-Beste from Queensland. Mrs Digby-Beste said her husband's great grandmother, Ellen Trestrail, paid 5000 pounds to have them made in New Zealand in the 1880s. They were then shipped to Melbourne and placed outside their house at 181 Beaconsfield Parade in Middle Park.

Berwick War Memorial, High Street, June 1986. 
You can see one of the lions to the left of the Memorial.

The lions were a yellowish colour and were thought to be oamaru. They were in Middle Park until the family home was sold in 1961. The lions were sold for 100 pounds by Ellen Trestail's then elderly daughter-in-law to what sounds like  a smooth talking stranger, so they went out of the family and the family had no idea where they went. The  statues were painted white when they were in Berwick.

Brentwood gates, Clyde Road, Berwick
Photographer: John T. Collins. Photo date June 22, 1968. 
State Library of Victoria Image H90.100/1962   

The lions were placed at the front gate of Brentwood farm on Clyde Road in Berwick by the owner, Henry Wells Rowden, who possibly purchased them from man who purchased them from the Trestrails.  Rowden purchased Brentwood in 1962. In the mid to late 1970s  the Brentwood Housing Estate on the Rowden land was started and  the lions were moved to High Street from Brentwood  sometime around 1975  but not as close to the War Memorial as they are today. Obviously they were later re-located closer to the War Memorial and you can see photos of  what I believe is this re-installation of the lions,  here.

This is High Street Berwick, dated June 1975 and you can see the lions near the War Memorial, but not as close as they are today. I had loookd at this photograph many times and never noticed the Lions before, so I am grateful to Paul Poulton, who follows this blog and our Casey Cardinia Heritage Facebook page for pointing them out to me.

This is an aerial of Brentwood farm, taken sometime before 1988

This is an aerial of the Brentwood area taken January 9, 1978. You can see the Brentwood farm  property at bottom left, sadly we can't see the lions, and the start of Bemersyde Drive (sorry, incorrectly spelt on this map!) Click on image to enlarge.

Here's a later aerial dated May 4, 1994. Bemersyde Drive (incorrectly spelt on this map)  is almost around to Brentwood farm. There has been a lot of development in the 16 years since the 1978 aerial, shown above.

You can see photographs of the re-installation of the Lions in High Street, Berwick, here.


Unknown said...

Is there a serial number or something else that proves the lions in Berwick are the same ones Trestrail family.

Heather said...

I do not know, all I know is the information published by Jim Mynard in the Pakenham Gazette in 2009. A lot of research was done at the time - the Council had no information about the lion's history neither did the R.S.L or the Local Historical Society. Mr Mynard used his extensive network to get the information that he did. Thanks for your comment, Best wishes, Heather.