Monday, 29 August 2016

Cr Jan Bateman

Jan Bateman, who was the first female Mayor for the City of Berwick passed away on August 26, 2016 at the age of 81. Mrs Bateman  was a Shire of Berwick Councillor from 1971 until 1973 and then recontested in the first City of Berwick Election held in 1973 and won so she was an inaugural City of Berwick Councillor. She was Mayor 1980/81  - as we said, the  first female Mayor for the City of Berwick. She  resigned from the Council in 1984. Mrs Bateman was re-elected to Council in 1992 and stood down when the Council amalgamations took place in 1994. She then took up the role of one of the Commissioners for the newly created City of Maroondah and served as a Commissioner from January 1995 until March 1997. Mrs Bateman was awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) in recognition of her service to the community in June 1985.


This photograph was taken after the first meeting of the City of Berwick, on October 1 1973 at the Berwick Inn. The newly elected Mayor, Barry Simon, is at the front, behind the bar. Left to right are David Lee, Jack Thomas, Keith Wishart, Sid Pargeter, Jan Bateman, Jim Alexander, Joan Phillips, Ron Irwin, George Chudleigh, John Byron and Bill Hudson. 

Janice Gwendoline Bateman (nee Harrop) and her husband John had moved to Doveton in 1957, according to  a report in a local paper when she was elected Mayor in 1980.  Mrs Bateman was the last of  a trio of pioneering female Councillors who all had the distinction of being the first female Mayor for local Councils. Mrs Jeune Matthews, who passed away in 2012, was the first female Shire President (they are now called Mayors) for the Shire of Pakenham in 1979 and Mrs Judy Elso, who passed away in December 2015 was the first female Shire President of the Shire of Cranbourne in 1988. It's hard to believe now, given that Local Government commenced in this area with the formation of the Cranbourne Road Board in 1860 and the Berwick Road Board in 1862, the precursors of Shires of Cranbourne and Berwick, both of which were established in 1868, that it actually took around 120 years for a female to be given the top job.

Cr Bateman was interviewed in 1994 about the early days of the City of Berwick, you can listen to this here.


 Cr Bateman, the photo isn't dated, but presumably taken during her Mayoral year in 1980.

Interestingly, 1980, the year after Cr Jeune Matthews' stint as Shire President, Jan Bateman was Mayor of Berwick and Cr Lenore Gullquist was Shire President of Pakenham, so Pakenham Shire had the distinction of having two females in the top job in a row. Also of note, while we are talking about pioneering women in local government, the Shire of Berwick had a female Shire Secretary from 1951 until 1966, Miss Beatrice (Trixie) Thomas. This was a rare position for a woman to hold. Miss Thomas was the daughter of Albert Thomas, who founded  the Pakenham Gazette in 1909.



Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Timbarra Housing Estate, Berwick

The Timbarra Housing Estate was established in November 1989. It was an Urban Land Authority development. The brochure (cover reproduced left) said that the chief objective , in planning this large residential sub-division, is to provide a mix of housing styles and prices on lots of varying size. In this way we will be able to make housing more affordable to more people who have  a variety of lifestyle requirements....It is clear that the traditional three bedroom house on a quarter acre block of land is no longer relevant to a significant proportion of households, many of which are just one or two people....A great deal of planning has gone into ensuring that Timbarra offers all the facilities a growing community will need. A complete range of community facilities, meeting places, walkways, parks and school sites will be provided...

One of these facilities, the Timbarra Community Centre opened July 10, 1993.

Timbarra covered an area of 200 hectares of gently undulating pasture, scattered with shelter belts of trees was the brochure's bucolic description of the land.  An estimated 300 homes will be under construction early in 1990 and by 1994 it was estimated that there would be around 3,000 houses.


Location of Timbarra from the 1989 sales brochure.

We have a brochure (see below) from the Urban Land Authority advertising a ballot to buy land in the Timbarra Estate - The Gateway. The ballot took place May 9, 1992. The brochure includes a number of street plans (or Housing Siting Policy Plans) for Gumnut Court, Magdalene Place, Sunnyside Drive,Coowarra Way, Emma Court, Leonard Avenue, Adelaide Court, Oscar Court, Theodore Terrace and some of The Gateway, so if you live in any of these streets then it is likely that your block of land was purchased on May 9, 1992. You can see one of these plans, below.


The Gateway Ballot May 9, 1992 brochure. Timbarra Housing Estate  was originally in Narre Warren, until a boundary change 'moved' it into Berwick, see more about this, below.
The Gateway Lot Plan from the May 9, 1992 brochure


The is the House Siting Policy Plan for Sunnyside Drive and Magdalena Place from the May 9, 1992 brochure

The land was originally farm land owned partially by the Sweeney Family. The Sweeney Brothers, John and Daniel, arrived in Narre Warren around 1854. They had extensive land holdings in Narre Warren on both sides of the Princes Highway including where the Timbarra Estate is now. Daniel remained a bachelor and John married Alice Reedy and they had ten children.  The Sweeney’s have played a major role in the development of Narre Warren. Descendants of John and Alice donated land for the old Narre Warren Oval and for Our Ladies Help of Christians Catholic Church and Don Bosco School. Pat Sweeney sold the land where Timbarra is partially located  to the Housing Commission of Victoria in 1971, but it was later developed by the Urban Land Authority as a private estate not a housing commission estate.

Timbarra is an Aboriginal word meaning Grass Tree, the botanical name of which is Xanthorrhoea Australia. 

As you can see on the 1992 brochure, the Timbarra Estate was originally part of Narre Warren but  is now part of Berwick. The Melway Street Directory Edition 21, 1991 to 1992 has the Timbarra Estate in Narre Warren, with the boundary of Berwick and Narre Warren being Hessel Road. The Melway Street Directory Edition 23, 1995 has Timbarra Estate in Berwick, as the boundary has changed to Narre Warren North Road.  An article in the Berwick City News of January 13, 1994 says that the Office of Place Names has officially assigned boundaries to 10 suburbs in the City of Berwick and the Narre Warrren/Berwick boundary is listed as Hessel Road.

So we can establish that in December 1993 the boundary of Berwick/Narre Warren was Hessel Road and that sometime in 1995 it had changed to Narre Warren North Road.  Thus the Timbarra Estate had ‘moved’ from being in Narre Warren to being in Berwick sometime in 1994 or 1995 but I cannot be more specific than that.