Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Shire of Cranbourne and the Shire of Berwick

In the last post I looked at the development of the Local Road Boards and this post continues the story of Local Government in the region. The Road Boards became Shires, in the case of Cranbourne on February 24th, 1868 and on May 12th 1868 for the Shire of Berwick. In 1868 Shire of Cranbourne covered the area which now includes the towns of Bayles, Caldermeade, Cardinia, Carrum Downs, Clyde, Cranbourne, Dalmore, Hampton Park, Koo-Wee-Rup, Langwarrin, Lyndhurst, Pearcedale, and Tooradin, and Warneet. The area around Lang Lang was added to Cranbourne in 1872. In 1893,  Heath Hill, Lang Lang East, Yannathan and the area that was to become Catani in the 1920s  were annexed to the Shire of Cranbourne, from the Shire of Buln Buln. The first Shire President was James Lecky and early meetings took place in the Cranbourne Inn, until the Shire Offices, Post Office and Court House were built in Sladen Street 1875. On April 22nd, 1994 the Shire of Cranbourne changed its name to the City of Cranbourne.

Cranbourne Shire Councillors  from 1909

The Shire of Berwick extended from Dandenong Creek to Bunyip and also took in the hill towns of Beaconsfield Upper, Pakenham Upper and Gembrook, Garfield North and Tonimbuk. South of the Railway line it covered the Swamp towns of Cora Lynn, Vervale and Iona. The Scoresby Ward of the Shire of Berwick, including Clematis, Emerald and Avonsleigh was severed from Berwick and was annexed to the Shire of Fern Tree Gully in 1889. The first Shire President of the Shire of Berwick was James Wilson. The Berwick Road Board met in the Border Hotel (Berwick Inn) , until new premised were built in High Street in 1865. The Shire of Berwick used these premises until 1902, when the Council moved to the Pakenham Mechanics’ Institute. New Shire offices were built in 1912, on the corner of Main Street and John Street in Pakenham. The City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakeham were formed on October 1st, 1973 when the Shire of Berwick split , with the Cardinia Creek being the boundary.

 Berwick Shire Councillors, probably from the 1890s.

1994 was the year of reform for Local government in Victoria. The Kennett Government reviewed all Local Councils in Victoria. The City of Casey was created from the western section of the City of Cranbourne and the entire City of Berwick. The Cardinia Shire was created from the Swamp towns of the City of Cranbourne and the Shire of Pakenham. Emerald, Clematis and Avonsleigh were annexed from the Shire of Sherbrooke and added to the Cardinia Shire. Langwarrin and Carrum Downs went to the City of Frankston. The City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire officially came into being on the December 15th, 1994 at 4.00pm.

This photograph shows the opening of the Shire of Berwick Offices, on the corner of Main Street and John Street in Pakenham, in 1912. The building has now been re-located to the intersection of Main Street, McGregor Road and the Princes Highway and is the headquarters of the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society

Cranbourne Road Board and Berwick Road Board

The first form of local Government, in Victoria, were the Local Road Boards. These Boards had power to fix rates and levy tolls, and as the name suggests they were responsible for the maintenance of bridges and roads. The Cranbourne Road Board was proclaimed on June 19th, 1860 and Berwick Road Board on September 29th 1862.

The first members of the Cranbourne Road Board were Dr James Smith Adams, Chairman, who owned Balla Balla Estate; James Bruce, owner of Sherwood Park; Richard Burgh Chomley, owner of Tongola at Lyndhurst; James Lecky, Cranbourne land-owner who also owned the Cardinia Creek property; Edward Malloy, owner of Mayune property; Alexander Patterson (pictured), owner of St Germains Estate; Christopher Bond Peed, owner of Springmount; Patrick Thompson, owner of Oaklands and John Wedge, owner of Johnswood at Lyndhurst.

The first members of the Berwick Road Board were John Brisbane (Chairman), early Berwick landowner; Robert Bain, the owner of the Border Hotel (Berwick Inn) in Berwick; Francis Barr, a Berwick land owner; Michael Bourke, owner of the La Trobe Inn, later known as Bourke’s Hotel, at Pakenham; James Buchanan, owner of Ardblair, who later went on to be a Member of the Legislative Council; David Connor, licensee of the New Bunyip Hotel on the Bunyip River ; John Pitman, Pakenham landowner ; John Startup of Mount Ararat Station; John Troup, land owner at Narre Warren North and Gotlieb Wanke, a land owner at Harkaway.

There was no universal franchise and only males who owned property or were tenants and paid the rates on property, could vote. The Road Boards later became Shires.

This is a woodcut of Berwick in 1877. Robert Bain's Border Hotel (Berwick Inn) is in the foreground at the base of the hill. The Border Hotel was the meeting place of the Berwick Road Board until 1865 when new premises were built. The best source of information about early Berwick is The Early days of Berwick and its surrounding district, published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society. For Cranbourne it is The good country : Cranbourne Shire by Niel Gunson. Both are available at CCLC Libraries.

In the next post we will look at the development of the Shire of Cranbourne and the Shire of Berwick.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

The Year of the Potato

2008 is the United Nations Year of the Potato. Potatoes are a major component of U.N. strategies to provide nutritious food to the poor and the hungry. Potatoes can be grown world wide, they are nutritious, relatively quick to grow and an effective use of land as 85 per cent of the potato plant is edible. Potatoes have been grown in the Andes for over 8000 years and came to Europe via the Spaniards in the 16th century and then spread throughout the world. 

They have been grown in the Casey Cardinia Region since the start of European settlement, particularly at Gembrook and on the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp. The earliest mention of potato growing I can find is at Berwick in the 1850s, where they were transported to the gold fields at Castlemaine and Bendigo. The Backhouse brothers, at Gembrook, were digging 5 tons of potatoes to the acre in 1877, only four years after European settlement began in Gembrook in 1873. The western end of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp was said to have produced 3000 tons of potatoes in 1894, just one year after the blocks were allocated to settlers, after the major drainage works. 

Potatoes have also been instrumental in the establishment of local Railway lines. It was recognized from the start that potato traffic would be a mainstay of both the "Puffing Billy" line which reached Gembrook in 1900 and the Strezlecki line from Koo-Wee-Rup to Bayles, Catani and beyond which opened in 1922. Koo-Wee-Rup celebrated the potato at their annual Potato Festival, which ran from 1973 until 2000. Potatoes are still a valuable contributor to the local economy. In 2001 the gross economic value of potatoes to the Casey Cardinia Region was over $19.7 million , with the bulk of that, $18.5 million, coming from the traditional potato growing areas of Gembrook and the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp in the Cardinia Shire. Casey Cardinia settlers have known the value of the humble spud for over 150 years and it good to see that it has now been recognised by the United Nations. 

Frank Rouse grew potatoes on the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp at Cora Lynn for 57 years, until his retirement from the potato business in 2007. This photograph was taken in 1968 for a fertiliser company.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Place names and their meanings from the Casey Cardinia Region.

On our website, you will now find a list of Place names and their meanings from the Casey Cardinia Region. Most Place names fall into five categories. Many place names come from Aboriginal words. Some of these are Bunyip, Cardinia, Lang Lang, Narre Warren and Eumemmerring. In the early days of settlement, many places were named to honour "important" Government officials, either Australian or British. Beaconsfield, Lyndhurst and Gippsland fall into this second category. The third common source of names comes from the names of local European settlers, examples of these include Bayles, Cannons Creek, Catani, Doveton, Hallam, Officer and Pearcedale. Fourthly, some towns were named by the European settlers after British or Irish towns or places that featured in their lives before they migrated to Australia or because landscape features reminded them of home. Examples of these reminiscent names are Belgrave, Clyde, Iona and Skye. The final group of names are descriptive such as Blind Bight, Bald Hill (an early name for Lyndhurst), Five Ways, Heath Hill, and Mount Misery. To access the list of place names from the Casey Cardinia Region either click on this link http://www.cclc.vic.gov.au/placenames on our website homepage go to Local History then Topics.

If you have an interest in place names then it is worth chasing up Place names of Victoria by Les Blake (published by Rigby in 1976). It is out of print, but may be available in second hand books shops or through Public Libraries. Another fantastic source for Victorian place names is the following site by Eric Bird called Place names on the coast of Victoria at http://www.bcs.asn.au/vic_coast.pdf
Eric has researched all the coastal place names from the South Australian border to the New South Wales border including Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay.

The 1845 map, above, shows some of the early place names in the region, such as Baungan Waterhole, from which Bangholme took its name, Dandenong and Eumemmerring. It is taken from Call back yesterday : Eumemmerring Parish by Jean Uhl.

The photograph, below, shows the Sportman's Rest cottage on the foreshore at Tooradin, circa 1900. Tooradin, on Western Port Bay, is one of the many place names described by Eric Bird on his web site.

The people in this photograph have been named as  (left to right) Ateyo girls, Edith Walker, Frederick Atyeo snr, Mr Lemme, Bob Basan, Vic Lemme, Larry Basan. The circa 1900 photograph of Sawtell's Inlet was reproduced in the book Tooradin: a history of a Sportsman's Paradise and the first 100 years of State School No. 1503 by David Mickle, published 1975. This book formed the basis of Tooradin: 125 years of coastal history.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Lost and Almost Forgotten towns of Colonial Victoria.

Many people tracing their Family history, come across a town which cannot be located on a modern map. This may be because the town no longer exists or that it has changed its name. To help locate these "missing" towns you could consult Lost and almost forgotten towns of Colonial Victoria : a comprehensive analysis of Census results for Victoria, 1841-1901 by Angus B.Watson. Mr Watson has listed all the towns and villages , as defined by the Government Statist, for all Victorian censuses between 1841 and 1901. Perhaps your ancestor attended Tobin Yallock State School or Cannibal Creek State School or a family document lists Irishtown as an address. These won't be found on a modern map but this book will tell you that Tobin Yallock later became Lang Lang and Cannibal Creek State School was re-named Garfield and that the Emerald Gold field diggings were listed on the 1871 Census as Irishtown. The book also lists the population of the towns, so it is interesting to read that Berwick grew from a population of 60 people in 1861 with 14 dwellings to 452 in 1901 with 98 dwellings. This book is available for loan at our Pakenham and Cranbourne branches.