Monday, 27 July 2015

Fern Tree Gully and Gembrook line or the Puffing Billy Railway line

Puffing Billy is one of Victoria's most popular tourist attractions and is also one of the most popular tourist railways in the world, it has around 350,000 visitors each year. You can read all about Puffing Billy activities and access the time table on their website  - the website also tells you how you can become  a volunteer with Puffing Billy - they have over 1,000 volunteers who undertake  a range of roles. 

The Fern Tree Gully and Gembrook line opened on December 18, 1900, closed in 1954 and re-opened as a tourist railway 1955 to 1958 and then  re-opened again  in July 1962 and had been going strong ever since. You can read more of the history here. Puffing Billy starts at Belgrave, the next stop is Menzies Creek and the other four stops - Emerald, Lakeside, Cockatoo and Gembrook  are in the Cardinia Shire, so here is look at some historic photos of the Puffing Billy or Free Tree Gully and Gembrook line as it was first called, from the State Library of Victoria photograph collection.

Since I have posted these photos I have had some correspondence from a reader, Andrew, who has provided some additional information about some of the photos. His comments are in italics. Thank you Andrew.

View of encampment near railway line, possibly Gembrook. This photo has Gembrook inscribed in pencil on the back and was possibly taken during the construction of the line, late 1890s.
Max Thomson Collection, State Library of Victoria Image H2013.70/9

  This is a construction camp taken on the bend just before "Pinnock's Cutting" which is just before Pinnocks Road on the approach to Emerald.

Gembrook, c 1900
State Library of Victoria Image H35215/27

A new railway line, a new opportunity for pranksters! This photo is called 
'Accident - Gembrook railway - a joke' Photographer: Mark James Daniel. Dated August 26, 1900.
State Library of Victoria Image H92.200/359

Railway Station, Gembrook, c, 1900
State Library of Victoria Image H35215/26

Gembrook Train, c. 1900
State Library of Victoria Image H35215/25

Taken at Upper Fern Tree Gully.

Railway line, Gembrook, c. 1907
State Library of Victoria Image H41019

The water tank between Selby and Aura (Menzies Creek), where the 1953 landslide happened (about where the photographer was standing).

Steam train dropping off passengers, Clematis Station, c. 1910s. This station was called Paradise Valley when it opened in 1902, the name was shortened to Paradise in 1908. The area was known as Paradise until 1921 when a public meeting voted to change the name to Clematis, after the wild clematis creeper that grew prolifically in the area. 
State Library of Victoria Image H2009.29/85

Gembrook Train, Victoria, c. 1912. This is a great photo - the women in their lovely hats, the interesting hand tinting of the photo, the lack of cars which is a reminder of the days when most people walked to all local activities.
State Library of Victoria Image H84.414/11

Taken at the level crossing just after leaving Upper Ferntree Gully about where the big bend is in the road at the bottom of the "mad mile".

Railway Station, Gembrook.
 Date range listed is 1920s to mid 1950s, but it is believed to be more likely taken around the time of the First World War.
Rose Series postcard, State Library of Victoria Image H32492/2159.

The narrow gauge train, Cockatoo.
Date range listed is 1920s to mid 1950s.
Rose Series postcard, State Library of Victoria Image H32492/2165

Taken just after the train had crossed the Cockatoo Creek bridge on its climb into Cockatoo.

Puffing Billy, 1950s. Photograph is dated at SLV as 1950-1954, but this may be taken between 1955 and 1958 when it first ran as a tourist line.  Photographer: Percy Spiden
State Library of Victoria Image H2008.121/51

This was taken at the Selby-Aura Road level crossing in Selby, and appears to be a works train just prior to the reopening to Menzies Creek in 1962.

Lakeside Station. Lakeside opened 1944, but this looks like it was taken late 1950s or early 1960s.
 I wonder who these people are?
State Library of Victoria Image H2010.137/17

This looks like it was taken early to mid-'50s (just before or after closure) as the track-bed isn't overgrown.

Greetings from, Emerald Lake, c. 1976
State Library of Victoria Image H41350

 This was taken sometime after 1965 on the same bend as the first photo on the approach to Emerald.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Yannathan State School re-union November 28, 1964.

This is an account of a reunion, held November 28 1964,  of pupils who attended Yannathan State School. It is an interesting list of names and surprisingly for the time includes the women's maiden names and married names and, as it also has a few snippets of Yannathan history, it is a valuable source of family and local history. We don't have very much about Yannathan on this blog, so I have transcribed the article for you.

Koo-Wee-Rup Sun, December 2, 1964.

Big crowd enjoy reunion at Yannathan

Every pioneer family who selected land in the Yannathan area was represented by one or more of their children at a get-together of ex-pupils at the at the Yannathan State School last Saturday afternoon.

The re-union was held for pupils who had attended the school in the 1900 to 1914 period. Over 150 former pupils and friends attended the occasion coming from many areas as far away as N.S.W.

The oldest scholar was Mr Joe Smethurst of Melbourne who is 84 and attended the school 77 years ago.

Original school buildings
The school building was built 88 years ago in 1876 and except for a few new windows the present school is the original building. It was originally built near the site of the present Yannathan store and moved to its present site about 1890. 
Beautifully cut, trim lawns and gardens provided a delightful setting for the occasion. The school and grounds had been prepared by the head teacher, Mr Palmer, assisted by Peter Aldrick.

After the picnic lunch, old pupils who had not seen each other for years swapped yarns and recalled incidences from their old school days at Yannathan. So busy were the old friends chatting together that there was hardly time for any formal speeches, however a former pupil, Mr Norman Ridgway of Yea, moved a vote of thanks to the organisers on behalf of all the visitors. This was seconded by Mr Harry Smethurst of Athlone.

Old timers recalled how pupils came many miles to attend the Yannathan School, some walking from Bayles and Yallock, while others rode ponies from Monomeith and Caldermeade. In its hey day there were 62 pupils on the roll at the school and many at the re-union expressed amazement at how they ever fitted into the tiny school.

Her father opened the first Yannathan store
One of the ex-pupils at the afternoon was Mrs Liddle of East Malvern, formerly Vida Nelson, whose father, the late William Nelson, opened the first general store in Yannathan in the 1870s, on the site where the present store stands today.

The fist mail run
Another visitor, Mr Norman Ridgway of Yea is the brother of Walter Ridgway who delivered the first mail run in the Yannathan district. Travelling by horse and jinker the mail came from Monomeith to the Yannathan Post Office and onto Heath Hill.

Another old timer at the re-union was Mrs Willis of Oakleigh, formerly Annie Smethurst, aged 79. The youngest pupil at the afternoon was Mrs Howlett of Glenroy, formerly Crissie McKay The oldest mother at the gathering was 86 year old Mrs Mark Ridgway of Frankston who was presented with a gift by Mr Norman Ridgway.   To conclude the re-union afternoon tea was provided by the Yannathan Mothers Club, followed by the singing of Old Lang Syne.

Amongst old scholars present were: Elsie Anderson (Mrs Stewart, Sandringham); Annie Orchard (Mrs Bateson, Archies Creek); George Beer (Blackburn); Ted Cozens (Monomeith); Millie Casey (Mrs Chandler, Dandenong); Bert Coates (Mathoura, N.S.W); Eardley Coates (Koo-Wee-Rup); Jessie Coates (Mrs Wadsley, Koo-Wee-Rup); Ruth Carson (Mrs Clarke, Templestowe); Dorothy Carson (Mrs Adeney, Sandingham); Les Edey (Yarram); Claude Einsiedel (Koo-Wee-Rup); Vic Lineham (Deniliquin); Ruby Lineham (Yannathan); Elsie McCraw (Mrs Greaves, Croydon); Gladys McCraw (Mrs Greaves, Kyabram); Ethel McKay (Mrs Wilson, Box Hill); Maggie McKay (Mrs Bowman, Glen Alvie); Myrtle McKay (Mrs Grayson, Ashburton); Pearl McKay (Mrs Trewin, Archies Creek); Chrissie McKay (Mrs Howlett, Glenroy); Claude McKay (Glen Alvie); Edie Matthews (Mrs E. Dwyer, Koo-Wee-Rup); Frank McCraw (Yannathan); Dorothy McLeod (Mrs Head, Yannathan);  Harry Hawkins (Warragul); Jessie Hawkins (Mrs Collins, Warragul); Marjorie Hawkins (Mrs Rhodes, Warragul); Maud Leeson (Mrs Crispin, Kew); Alf Leeson (Lang Lang); Ted Leeson (Longwarry); John Orchard (Inverloch); Rich Orchard (Almurta); Dave Orchard (Glen Alvie); Mavis Patullo (Mrs M.McCraw, Yannathan); Silvia Patullo (Mrs Greaves, Bairnsdale); Norman Ridgway (Yea); Vera Ridgway (Frankston); Tom Hatty (Yannathan); Ruby Stephens (Mrs Thompson, Bayles); Vida Nelson (Mrs Liddle, East Malvern); Joe Smethurst (Melbourne); Annie Smethurst (Mrs Willis, Oakleigh); Herb Smethurst (Blackburn); Harry Smethurst (Athlone); Myrtle Smethurst (Caulfield); Clarrie Smethurst (Mlebourne); Nita Smethurst (Mrs Gardiner, Mooroolbark); Jessie Wright (Mrs Luke, Mornington); Nellie Wright (Mrs McFadgen, Moorabbin); Alice Wright (Mrs Pither, McKinnon); George Wright (Shepparton East); Arthur Wright (Shepparton East): Dick Wakenshaw (Cora Lynn).