Friday, 21 June 2019

The Tivendales of Officer

I did  a blog post a while ago on The Vagabond, a journalist who worked in Melbourne in the 1870s and 1880s (read post, here).  The Vagabond was John Stanley James (1843 - 1896) and after a mixed career in England and America he arrived in Melbourne in 1876 and commenced writing in The Argus, under the name of The Vagabond. As I said in the post, additional research has revealed that The Vagabond was more than likely, the father of J.B. Cooper, the author of the The history of Prahran and the History of St Kilda, amongst other works. This family research was undertaken by Julianne Spring, the great grand-daughter of J.B. Cooper. You can read more on this, here. There is a local connection between J.B. Cooper and this area, but first I will tell you something about him..

I believe the accepted story is that John Butler Cooper was born October 3, 1863 to Mary Butler in Melbourne. Mary was born in Ireland and then moved to England where was employed as a servant to a wealthy family. When she fell pregnant, she was sent to Australia to have her child. It  is thought that she added the name Cooper to the child's name to disguise the fact that she was unmarried.  She lived in Melbourne with members of the James' family and later married The Vagabond's uncle, John James. As I said recent research by Julianne Spring points to The Vagabond as the father of the Mary's child.

I went to a talk by Julianne at the Brighton Historical Society and she mentioned that John Butler Cooper had married Susan Tivendale and I immediately wondered if she was connected to the Officer Tivendales (Tivendale Road in Officer is named for the family) and she was, her brother James moved to Officer around 1889.

Susan and James were two of the nine children of James and Janet (nee Skeil) Tivendale. You can read about James and Janet and their family, here. James (the son) married Eliza Stevenson in 1877 and they had four children - George Frederick (1878 - 1965, married Ethel Georgeann Harris in 1908),  Matilda Elizabeth (1879 - 1956), William Thomas (1881-1955, married Rosetta Amelia Mary 'Dot' Harris in 1916) and Ernest Charles (1885-1960, married Florence Marden in 1913).  Ethel and Dot were sisters, the daughters of  Solomon and Rosetta (nee Sparkes) Harris of Beaconsfield Upper. Susan Tivendale and John Butler Cooper married in 1889 and they had six children between 1890 and 1908.

I am not actually sure if John Butler and Susan Cooper ever ventured down to Officer to visit her brother, James, however it is possible as they could easily have taken the train. James could have picked them up at the railway station in the horse and cart and they could have have spent a pleasant time in rural Officer, in the Tivendale house in Bay View Road and, on a clear day, if they climbed up the hill to the top of the road, they may even have viewed the Bay!

If they did visit they may also have had a close encounter with some wild life.  Ernest wrote this letter to Aunt Connie, who authored a children's page in the Weekly Times. The letter was titled Foxes and Snakes and was written on November 20, 1899 - Dear Aunt Connie,— I am returning my collecting card with the amount collected (£1 10s). Am I entitled to a certificate? There has been a lot of rain here lately. The crops are looking very well. Ours will soon be ready to cut. My brother got two foxes out of a burrow, and my father killed three snakes one day. He sees a snake nearly every day. Your affectionate nephew,— Ernest Charles Tivendale. (Yes, Ernest, and you well deserve one.—
Aunt Connie.)

Ernest Tivendale's letter to Aunt Connie of the Weekly Times
Weekly Times December 9, 1899.

Back to James - James is first listed in the Shire of Berwick Rate Books in 1889/1890 - he is a brick maker and he has a house and 10 acres in Lot 8, Section D, Officer's sub-division. James was one of five brick makers in Officer at the time.

In the 1880's the building trade was booming in Melbourne, and as suitable clay for bricks was found at Officer, a number of brick yards commenced business. At one period five were making bricks. they were Fry's om Starling Road; Holt's, near the Railway Station; Morey's, where the Tile Works are now; Reece's, where Whiteside's Orchard is ; and Tivendale's near where Hick's Pipe Works are. These are now gone, and no bricks are made in Officer.  (From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen: a brief history of the Shire of Berwick published by the Historical Society of the Berwick Shire, 1962) Most of the brick works closed in the 1890s due to the depression and the subsequent downturn in the building industry.

The Tivendale brick works was one of the brick works which did not survive and by 1897 the Rate Books list James as a farmer - he had 40 acres, Lots 5,6,8 & 10, Section D, Officer's sub-division. Where is this land? I am not exactly sure as I cannot find a Parish Plan with that sub-division on it, however the extract, above, from From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen locates Tivendales 'near where Hick's Pipe Works are', which is just to the west of Bayview Road. Hick's kiln and some  structures still remain at 335 Princes Highway in Officer, it has a  Heritage overlay (read this here)  but it is living a precarious existence surrounded by development.

James and Eliza left Officer in 1918 according to this report in the Pakenham Gazette -  Mr James Tivendale, an old resident of the district, is leaving next week, with his wife and daughter, to live in Mornington, his son Mr E. Tivendale having taken over the farm. (Pakenham Gazette, April 19, 1918) James died on November 20, 1921 aged 70 and Eliza died on October 2, 1942, aged 89.

The son who took over the farm was William and his brother, George, had a store at Officer. It was in the 1917/1918 Shire of Berwick Rate Books that George was first listed as a store keeper, but he had  a store as early as 1916 as he was listed as an agent for the South Bourke and Mornington Journal in May 1916. The Pakenham Gazette of June 1, 1917 reported that Messrs Tivendale and Adams, the local storekeepers, are arranging to erect new premises, a step necessitated by their expanding business. 

George Tivendale's store at Officer - his children are in front of the store.
Image is from North of the Line: a pictorial record, published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society in 1996. Image has been cropped.

In 1936, the Dandenong Journal of  January 16 - had this report on George Tivendale's store -
Mr. G. F. Tivendale has leased his grocery business for a term to Mr. S. A. Robinson, of Pakenham, who took over the business on January 4. Mr. Tivendale has been in business in Officer for over 20 years, and has seen many changes in its history. The original store was a small building near the site of Mr. Rudge's home. As the business improved, an enlargement was necessary, and the present corner site was wisely secured by Mr. Tivendale. Last year the store was enlarged again, and electric light was installed. The 'present corner site' was on the west side of the Princes Highway and  Tivendale Road.  Stanley Robinson, who took over George Tivendale's store, had operated a grocery store in Pakenham from 1925 - you can read about the Robinson family and their Pakenham grocery stores, here.

The Tivendales were involved in the Officer community over the years, such as the Officer Union Church where George Tivendale was one of the original Trustees. The Church was officially opened in December 20, 1929. Penny Harris Jennings,  the great niece of both Ethel Tivendale and Dot Tivendale, and the grand-daughter of their brother, Claud, has written a short history of the Officer Union Church, you can read it in the Beaconsfield Banner, here. (Penny's article is starts on page 13)

As this is not meant to be a comprehensive history of the Tivendale family, this is where we will leave them. I have created a list of articles and family notices connected to the Tivendale family on Trove, you can access it here.

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