Thursday, 20 February 2020

Dutch Family - Van Benbroek family of Clyde

I came across this article about the Van Benbroek family of Clyde in The Advocate, the Catholic newspaper, of July 26, 1951. It's an interesting look at the life of one of the many families that migrated from Europe after the Second World War.  You can read the original on Trove, here, and it is transcribed below.  I believe the family was known as Van Den Broek, so either they changed the spelling or the Advocate had the spelling wrong, but I will leave the name as Van Benbroek in te transcription.

The Advocate July 26, 1951 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article172519969

Dutch Family

This introduces the Van Benbroek family, from Braband, Holland, who have settled in Berwick, some 30 miles from Melbourne. There's mum and dad and thirteen children. They have transferred their lives from a five-acre farm in Holland to one of 300 acres in Victoria. From hand-milking three or four cows in a little lean-to adjoining the 200-year-old house at Braband, they have taken to milking some 57 cows (later it will be 75) with modern machinery and in a well-lit and newly-renovated dairy, situated in close proximity to their neat weatherboard dwelling.

Although only a few weeks in Victoria the Van Benbroeks have really settled in and are working the farm to a well-set plan. Tractors, harvesters, reapers, chaff-cutters and other agricultural equipment were all new to them, but they are getting the best use out of them.

Last Sunday - strictly kept as a day of rest by Dutch Catholics - was a real family reunion, with relatives and friends visiting to attend Mass in the sitting-cum-bed room and to join in the family dinner. With Rev. L. Maas, S.V.D., chaplain to Dutch migrants in Victoria, our representative went to Berwick just to see how the Van Benbroeks spent the day. For Mass at 10, more than 24 men, women and children crowded into the little room. Two of the lads - Joseph (13) and Louis (14) acted as altar servers. The Gospel, the sermon and the prayers after Mass were all said in Dutch. The Van Benbroek family reached Victoria this July and they have just the barest smattering of English.



The Van Benbroek family. 
The Advocate July 26, 1951 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article172519969
The original caption of the photo is On this page is a picture of the Van Benbroek family—father, mother and thirteen children—who arrived from Holland on July 15 and are now settled in Berwick. From a five-acre farm in their native land they transferred to 300 acres in Victoria. Sunday was a real day of rest and a day of reunion. Mr. Van Benbroek came to Australia with his family because he was attracted by this great southern land, which, he considers, affords many opportunities for starting life anew.


During dinner - consisting mainly of food cooked in the Dutch manner - there were two sittings. Most of the elders (12, sat down at once) were accommodated at the first session and the youngsters at the latter. When the meal was over there was the usual after-dinner talk with guests and members of the family discussing crops and such everyday matters. Music was supplied by a harmonica and the male folk smoked their Dutch cigars about the fire.

What prompted Mr. Van Banbroek to come to Australia? His considered view, he told our representative, was that Australia was a young country and there were more chances of settling and starting life anew here. He had considered America, but the great southern land attracted him more. In his home at Braband, Mr. Van Benbroek found it extremely hard to get sufficient food for his large family. Work, too, was not plentiful and memories of the wars not pleasant. They sold everything they had and with their savings embarked on a Dutch ship last May and reached Melbourne on July 15. It cost Mr. Van Benbroek 20,000 guildens (£2200 Australian currency) to bring his family and their furniture and goods to the country. Happily they were fortunate in finding a home immediately on arrival. The Dutch chaplain had prepared in advance for them and there was no delay in transporting them by truck from the ship to Berwick.

The family has not visited Melbourne or Dandenong yet. Transportation costs would be tremendous. However, they hope to make a shopping excursion one of these days. The family brought seven bicycles with them, and on free days the youngsters ride about the countryside. When there is no Mass at the farm, they go to Cranbourne and Berwick Catholic churches in the utility truck made available for their use on Sundays by Col. Neill (owner of the property they are living on).



The article was embellished by these stereotypical illustrations of traditional Dutch life.

Four of the Van Benbroeks (including one who is studying carpentry) are working on the farm for wages. They hope later to have their own farm. Two other lads are working in the neighbourhood and a third has secured a position as gardener in Melbourne. The girls help mother about the house. The four youngest boys - Gerard (10), Leo (12), Joseph (13) and Louis (14) - are attending school at Clyde, some 10 minutes' walking distance from their home. Incidentally, most of the family attend at the Clyde school - two nights a week for English lessons with many other New Australians who are working in the neighbourhood.

The Catholic Migration authorities appeal to Catholics to nominate Dutch settlers who wish to settle in Victoria. Nominators are obliged to provide accommodation but not necessarily employment. Those wishing to come to this country include young married couples and families with three to ten children. Many wish to engage in farm work and some are tradesmen.

This is an excellent opportunity for farmers to obtain competent help. Parish migration committees can also assist in the work of welcoming and assimilating these New Australians. Some Dutch families are prepared to bring out their own pre-fabricated houses. For this scheme land is required, and suggestions and help in this regard will be most welcome. Applications from those willing to sponsor Catholic Dutch migrants can, in the first instance, be made with Rev. L. Maas, S.V.D., Dutch Hostel, 276 Cotham-road, Kew (WA 3391).

Sadly, the family met with tragedy a few years after their arrival in Australia when Mrs Van Den Broek died of burns received after an accident in the home.



The report of Mrs Van Den Broek's accident
Dandenong Journal July 7, 1954 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article218510604



Mrs Van Den Broek's death notice. She was buried at the Berwick cemetery.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Maryknoll buildings designed by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock.

Maryknoll was established in 1949 by Father Wilfred Pooley (1912-1969) as a Catholic community based on the principals of faith, family life and co-operative enterprise. You can read more about the establishment of the town, here. I came across the following images of early buildings at Maryknoll (or St Mary's as it was originally called) designed by the architectural firm Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock. 

You can read about the firm on the website, Built Heritage in the Dictionary of Unsung Architects section - https://www.builtheritage.com.au/dua_smithtracey.html  This is the introduction to the article - Smith & Tracey was formed in 1949 by recent graduates Smith & Tracey was formed in 1949 by recent graduates Des Smith (1918-2003) and Dan Tracey (1916-1992).  Shortly afterwards, they were joined by Eric "Ric" Lyon (1918-2006) and Les Brock (1920-2006), and the firm re-branded as Smith, Tracey, Lyon & Brock.  It operated as such until Lyon and Brock both left around 1960, whereupon it reverted to its original name.  The article on the website also has a list of the firm's works. 

Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock worked on many projects for the Catholic Church including Christian Brothers College in Warnambool in 1950; St Joseph's School in Springvale in 1952; St Joseph's Benalla in 1953 and  St Vincent de Paul's Homeless Men's shelter on Flemington Road (Ozanam House) in 1954.  They also designed the Holy Family Church at Maryknoll.

 The Advocate, September 14 1950 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article172514072

This photo (above) and report of the opening of  Holy Family Church at Maryknoll appeared in The AdvocateThis is Holy Family Church-School, opened by Archbishop Mannix of St. Marys Rural Settlement, Tynong North, on September 3. The building was erected from a design by Smith and Tracey, architects, Sydney-road, Brunswick, who also prepared the large-scale map of the settlement which appeared last week. The erection of the first seven permanent homes is now being undertaken and these will be occupied by settlers, at present housed in temporary quarters in the vicinity. (The Advocate, September 14 1950, see here)  


This is the  large-scale map of the settlement prepared by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock, referred to in the paragraph, above. It was in The Advocate of  September 7, 1950, see here.


Presentation Convent St Mary's North Convent at Maryknoll designed by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock.
The Advocate, March 20, 1952. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article172523794

In March 1952, The Advocate, published this image (above) of the proposed convent for the Presentation Sisters to be built at Maryknoll. It was never built.

Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock also designed houses for the Maryknoll settlement.  One of these designs was written up in The Argus of November 1, 1954.


House designed by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock  for Maryknoll
Image: The Argus, November 1, 1954  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23459042

This is the transcription of the article about the Maryknoll house - 

 Home for County - by Harry Perrott Argus Property Writer

Until comparatively recent years, it was not unusual to see a house, originally planned for a suburban allotment, built on a farm or in a rural setting. Many country people evidently thought they could not have the convenience of "town" living without using a "town" house plan. This, of course, is not so, and the small house illustrated here has all the conveniences of modern planning, but is essentially rural in character.

The plan is a simple rectangle in shape and has a low pitched roof, covered with corrugated asbestos
cement sheets. External walls are of 10in. Baltic weatherboards. Provision has been made for another bedroom and a verandah to be added. The door into the third bedroom will be in the space now used for a cupboard between the bathroom and bedroom. The two bedrooms are 11ft. x 10ft. and 13½ft. x 10ft. and both are fitted with built-in wardrobes.

The kitchen, 13½ x 10ft., is divided by a fitment so that one section can be used for meals or other purposes. For economy, the kitchen and living room fireplaces have been combined in a common chimney stack. The sun room, 10½ x 10ft., is another interesting and useful feature of this part of the house. The living room, 15 x 12ft., has deep windows and double doors opening on to a 6ft. wide verandah. There is a service hatch from this room into the kitchen.

The house is one of a series of low cost houses designed by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock, architects, for a rural community at St. Mary's, via Nar Nar Goon, in Gippsland.  (The Argus, November 1, 1954, see here


Plan  of the house, described and shown above, designed by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock  for Maryknoll
Image: The Argus, November 1, 1954  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23459042

I have created a short list of newspaper articles from Trove that mention the firm of Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock, you can access it here.