Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Lang Lang Guardian

The Lang Lang & District Historical Society has reproduced the entire Lang Lang Guardian on DVD. The DVD covers the years February 1902 until December 1918. According to the local history, Protector's Plains : history of Lang Lang Primary School No.2899 & District, 1888-1988 the Guardian was shifted to Koo-Wee-Rup in 1918, and became the Koo-Wee-Rup Sun. The Guardian provides a wealth of information on early Lang Lang and surrounding towns such as Yannathan and Yallock. It was really a one-stop paper which could provide the local farmer and his family with all the information they needed. For a start, it had International News, for instance the edition of May 3, 1902 has a report on the health of Queen Wilhelmina of Holland and a report on the cost of the Auckland Town Hall.

Lang Lang Guardian, May 3 1902. Click on all the images to enlarge them.

Naturally, there is also plenty of local news and always of interest are the advertisements. There are many advertisements from Melbourne and Dandenong Companies offering their services to the locals as well as advertisements from local firms, such as Ernest Cougle's store, where all the necessaries of a household could be purchased. Ernest Cougle had taken over the store in 1907 from John Donaldson, who had purchased the store in 1903 from the original owners, the Priestley family. They had arrived in Lang Lang in 1898.

This advertisement for Ernest Cougle 's store was in October 11, 1911 edition.

Local News covered sporting groups, Churches, Community Groups such as the Red Cross. Farmers could get reports from the Dandenong Market, information on farming issues such as how to improve the dairy herd and Poultry Notes. During the First World War, there were articles on locals who had joined up, plus fund raising efforts. In the item below, it mentions the death of Private Frank Keighery. Edward Keighery, a boot maker, and his wife Annie, had arrived in Lang Lang in 1903 with their four children, Christopher (b.1889), Frank (b.1894) Sheila (b.1899), and Ned (b.1901). Frank had enlisted on March 20, 1915, and embarked aboard HMAT Euripides on May 10, 1915. He was killed in action on September 11, 1915 at Brown's Dip, near Lone Pine on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

This section of local news is taken from the Lang Lang Guardian of October 27, 1915.

Finally there were articles of interest to women. The Guardian had Health information, a weekly serial and Fashion notes, so even though you lived in the country, there was no need to be unfashionable. This article, below, from 1907 caught my attention. This elegant Ladies Fichu Bodice could be made from Butterick Pattern 9618, which came in six sizes. The pattern could be purchased for 10 shillings from M.Thorp & Co in Collins Street.

Lang Lang Guardian, May 8, 1907. A Fichu is a woman's shawl, or piece of lace, worn around the neck or shoulders.

You can purchase a copy of this DVD from the Lang Lang &District Historical Society, P.O Box 8, Lang Lang, 3984 for $30.00 plus postage. They also have an interesting website at

Friday, 11 December 2009

Lord and Lady Casey and Edrington

We have spoken about Ancestry database in this blog before. One of my favourite databases in Ancestry is the Australian Electoral Rolls. Their coverage has now been extended, more years have been added and the coverage goes up to 1980. What sort of information can you get from the Rolls? They are useful to help track down ancestors if they have moved around a bit. Perhaps Great Uncle Bill may have left Victoria and moved to Western Australia after the Second World War, you may be able to trace his movements in the Electoral Rolls, and you could also find out if he has married by finding his wife listed at the same address.

Lord and Lady Casey on the front cover of the Bulletin magazine, November 2, 1968. 

Two of our more famous Casey Cardinia residents are Lord and Lady Casey of Edrington Berwick. Obviously much of their life is already on the public record, but we will see what we can discover about the Caseys in the Electoral Rolls and by using another of my favourite resources, the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Lord Casey, who was Governor General of Australia from September 1965 until April 1969,  was born just plain Richard Casey in 1890 (he wasn’t made a Life Peer, Baron Casey of Berwick and Westminister, until 1960) so we wouldn’t expect him on the Electoral Roll until around 1911 when he was 21. He was, however, then in England at Cambridge University and then spent 1914 until 1919 in the A.I.F. Casey was overseas again from 1924 until 1931 as Australia’s Liaison Officer for Prime Minister, Stanley Bruce. He married Ethel Marion Sumner Ryan (known as Maie) in London in 1926. In 1931 the Electoral Rolls list them at 91 Collins Street and his occupation is listed as an Engineer. At the end of 1931 he was elected as the Member of the House of Representatives for the seat of Corio and the Electoral roll in 1935 shows them at the Military Quarters in Duntroon in the A.C.T. His occupation is listed as M.H.R. Casey resigned from Parliament in 1940 and had a number of overseas postings and arrived back in Australia in 1946. We can then find them in the 1949 and 1954 Rolls at Edrington in Berwick, where his occupation is listed as a Politician, for he was now the member for La Trobe. Lady Casey’s occupation is listed in the Electoral Rolls as “home Duties” which seems a rather banal description for a woman who was an accomplished author, artist and historian, however this is just a reflection of the times.

Edrington in 1978.

If you don’t know Edrington, it is now the Community Centre for a Retirement Village, and it was built in 1906-07 by the West Australian pastoralist Samuel Peter McKay. Captain Robert Gardiner was the first European occupier of the land where Edrington is located and called the property Melville Park. It was sold to James Gibb and then to Samuel McKay. Edrington was designed by Rodney Alsop and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, where it is described as a two-storey red brick example of the English vernacular style with some reference to the Queen Anne style. It has also been described as being in the Arts and Crafts Style. Lady Casey and her brother, Colonel Rupert Ryan, inherited the property in 1934 from their aunt, Winifred Chirnside, who was the widow of Andrew Chirnside. The Chirnsides had purchased the property in 1912 and renamed it Edrington, after a family property in Scotland. Andrew and Winifred Chirnside died within three months of each other in 1934.

The Edrington garden in 1978. Lady Casey (centre) is pictured with two companions.

The house is surrounded by a Heritage Garden, part of which is shown above. Many of the trees were planted by James Gibb and during the early occupation of the Chirnsides. There is also a brick cottage on the site thought to have been built during the time of Captain Robert Gardiner.

Lady Casey outside the 1860s Cottage. T he photograph was taken in 1978.

Ancestry database is available, free, at all Casey Cardinia Libraries. The three black and white photographs are from a collection of Edrington photographs held in our Archive. The colour photograph is from the Bulletin magazine, dated November 2, 1968.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The 1934 Flood

It is 75 years since the worst flood on record hit the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp on December 1, 1934. The original Drainage works on the Swamp were completed in 1897 but later floods in 1901, 1911, 1923 and 1924 saw extra drainage work undertaken including the widening of the Main Drain and additional side drains. None of these works protected the Swamp against the big flood of 1934. 

Cora Lynn in an early flood, perhaps in the 1910s. The building on the right is the E.S.& A bank and the building in the middle is Murdoch's General Store.

There had been above average rainfall in the October and November and more heavy rain fell across the State on December 1. This rainfall caused a flood of over 100,000 megalitres or 40,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) across the Swamp and this was only an estimate because all the gauges were washed away. The entire Swamp was inundated; water was over six feet deep (1.8metres) in parts of the Koo-Wee-Rup township. At Cora Lynn, three feet of water (about a metre) went through my grandparent’s house in Murray Road. The family, including the four children aged 11, 5, 3 and nearly 1, had to retreat to the roof. This flood also affected other parts of the State, for instance, it was reported in The Argus that there was four feet (120 cm) of water over parts of the Princes Highway between Dandenong and Berwick. Over a thousand people were left homeless as a result. The Koo-Wee-Rup locals were just recovering from this flood when another flood of about 24 000 cusecs hit in April 1935.

Rossiter Road in Koo-Wee-Rup in the 1934 flood. The photograph was taken just near the Railway line, the building on the right is St George's Anglican Church.

As a result of the 1934 flood, the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (SRWSC) worked on new drainage plans for the Swamp and these plans became known as the Lupson Report after the complier, E.J Lupson, an Engineer. A Royal Commission was also established in 1936. Its role was to investigate the operation of the SRWSC. The Royal Commission report was critical of the SRWSC’s operation in the Koo-Wee-Rup Flood Protection District in a number of areas. It ordered that new plans for drainage improvements needed to be established and presented to an independent authority. Mr E. G Richie was appointed as the independent authority. The Richie Report essentially considered that the Lupson Report was “sound and well considered” and should be implemented. Work had just begun on these recommendations when the 1937 flood hit the area. The 1937 flood hit Koo-Wee-Rup on October 18th and water was 60cm (2ft) deep in Rossiter Road and Station Street. The flood peaked at 20,000 cusecs (50,000 megalitres) about half the 1934 flood volume.

Station Street, Koo-Wee-Rup, during the 1934 flood.

The main recommendation of the Lupson / Ritchie report was the construction of the Yallock outfall drain from Cora Lynn, cutting across to Bayles and then essentially following the line of the existing Yallock Creek to Western Port Bay. The aim was to take any flood water directly to the sea so the Main Drain could cope with the remaining water. The Yallock outfall drain was started in 1939 but the works were put on hold during the Second World War and not completed until 1956-57. The Yallock outfall drain had been originally designed using the existing farm land as a spillway i.e the Main Drain would overflow onto existing farmland and then find its own way to the Yallock outfall drain. Local farmers were unhappy at this, as the total designated spillway area was 275 acres (110 hectares). They suggested a spillway or ford be constructed at Cora Lynn so the flood water would divert to the outfall drain over the spillway. The spillway was finally constructed in 1962, though ironically its opening was delayed by yet another flood, as we can see in the photograph below.

This photograph was taken by my Uncle, Jim Rouse, in October 1962, before the official opening of the Cora Lynn spillway. The building, with the brown coloured roof, is the Cora Lynn Hall. The other buildings you can see in the background are the same as the ones on the other Cora Lynn photograph at the top of this post - the E.S.& A Bank and the general store, then Dillon's store. The road at the top left is the newly constructed spillway and you can see where flood waters have broken through the Main Drain bank and are spilling across it.

Monday, 23 November 2009

A little of Emerald Lake - by Graeme Legge

With the advent of a local swimming pool in the 1930s, residents had ready access to the refreshing coolness of water in the summer heat as well as having a facility in which to swim. And even many who couldn’t swim were not too self-conscious to simply walk into the water and splash around. In all honesty, in the days of rainwater tanks and when water-levels ran low, some were seen at the Lake cooling and refreshing themselves with the benefit of a block of soap! So it was that the younger generation of the time were often the first in families to be able to swim.

Emerald Lake Park, looking back from the Lake towards Main Road.

Swimming lessons for local school children were conducted before World War 2 in the 1930s. Miss May Aisbett was one teacher who conducted these lessons. Then there was Arthur Bolton, propagator at Nobelius Nursery who also gave lessons. Swimming lessons became part of the School curriculum in the late 1940s.Head Teacher, Phil Skelton of Emerald Township State School (now Emerald Primary School) taught swimming to the older pupils in the Lake. At afternoon recess (‘play time’) on Friday afternoons, those going swimming would leave the School, run down the road and along the tracks to the Lake and quickly change into their bathers and be ready for Mr Skelton’s arrival by car. The Children’s Pool was used for instruction in leg-kicking and arm-stroke practice. Upon swimming one length of the Children’s Pool a swimmer qualified for the ‘Herald Certificate’; two lengths earned the ‘Junior Certificate’.

Diving instruction saw children lined up, standing on one of a stone wall at the end of the Children’s Pool. In turn, each stood at the end of the wall, feet together, arms raised above the head followed by the instruction ‘Go in head first’. For any who seemed likely to jump instead, Mr Skelton was not beyond thrusting out his arm in front of the would-be diver’s ankles thus ensuring that ‘head first’ it was.

Children were dismissed from swimming lessons at the Lake to make their own ways home from the Lake. This was often an adventure in itself – passing fruit trees with delicious (but ‘green’) apples to feast upon and playing games. It was usually a leisurely trip home walking up the hill from the Lake. Later, with ‘safety’ in mind, School children were ‘bussed’ to the Lake and return for one shilling a week. Ray Lockyer, Jack Eudey and Hilda Van Den Dungen were among the volunteer, trained instructors who led the program.

The Lake and Kiosk in the 1940s.
An anchored ‘raft’ floated in the centre of the Lake as a safety measure upon which tired swimmers could rest. The distance across the Lake was underestimated by some swimmers, so the raft provided relief. But it was also a great source of play as a floating platform. The raft was made of eight ‘forty-four gallon’ drums with sturdy timber decking. A number of lifebuoys were also strategically located around the Lake ready for immediate assistance.

The Lake Kiosk. The first kiosk was built in the 1940s and the popularity of the Lake is evidenced by the number of cars and tourist buses in the car park.

There came a time when Emerald Life Saving Club was formed and went into action when swimmers ‘got into trouble’. In February, 1960 the Club Rooms were officially opened and a grand occasion it was. Sir John Latham, escorted by the bagpipes of the Victorian Police Pipe Band to the grounds of the Club House. Sir John said in his gracious remarks that ‘Emerald is no less a jewel than the stone after which it was named, and that the Lake is its highest facet.’ Residents continue to cherish the Lake and its beautiful surroundings with all its walks, parklands and playgrounds far beyond the swimming season.

Cr Graeme Legge is a Cardinia Shire Councillor, local historian and an Emerald identity. This article was first published in Signpost, the Community newsletter.
The photographs are from
Emerald In Focus : a photographic history published by the Nobelius Heritage Park and Emerald Museum, in 2006. It is a great book with over 300 photographs on all aspects of the history of Emerald. It is available for loan from Casey Cardinia Library Corporation or you can purchase a copy from the Emerald Museum. The Museum can be contacted on 03 5968 2152 or P.O Box 578, Emerald, 3782. The Museum and Heritage Park occupies part of the Gembrook Nurseries, operated by Carl Axel Nobelius and his sons from 1886.

Friday, 6 November 2009

The Encyclopedia of Melbourne

The Encyclopedia of Melbourne was published in 2005 by Cambridge University Press, and there is now an on-line version. The on-line version has all the original articles plus additional text and 'see also' links.
The Encyclopedia covers not just the inner city, but outer areas as well, so includes a short history of most towns in Casey and Cardinia. The Encyclopedia also looks at Melbourne landmarks, for instance, St Paul's Cathedral, the Australia Hotel, Georges and the Athenaeum ; concepts such as the Environment, Horse racing, Lanes & Alleys and Nature Strips ; Sport, Associations, Immigrant Groups, Religion, Banking, Politics and anything else which has contributed to the history of culture of greater Melbourne.

The on-line version of the Encyclopedia is called
eMelbourne : the City past and present and can be found at

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Berwick High School - foundation years

Berwick High School (now called Berwick Secondary College) opened on February 1 1977, with 110 students. Until the School opened, local children had to travel outside the town to attend a State High School. Early on, Dandenong High School, which was opened in 1919, was the High School Berwick children would have attended until a clutch of new High Schools were opened in the 1960s and 1970s. When Doveton High opened in 1960 over half of the students came from the surrounding area of Hallam, Narre Warren, Berwick, Beaconsfield, Clyde and Cranbourne. Hallam High opened in 1971, Pakenham High in 1967 and Cranbourne High in 1976. Koo-Wee-Rup High started in 1957, even though it was Higher Elementary School from 1953.

These two photographs show the construction of Berwick High School.
There was a lot of Community effort to have the High School established - the first public meeting to press for the establishment of a Secondary School in Berwick took place on September 16 1974. Nearly a year later on August 14 1975 the inaugural meeting of the Planning Association for the School was held. The vacancy for a Principal was advertised in the Education Gazette on April 7 1976 and in September of that year the foundation Principal, Roy Fraser, was appointed. Mr Fraser stayed until the end of 1979. The first issue of the School Magazine explains the meaning of the School’s motto Crescam which comes from the Latin - and can mean I shall grow, I shall prosper, or I shall increase, a positive motto for a new School. The School did grow and prosper and in 1981 there were over 700 students and the first Year 11 classes were held. 1982 saw the introduction of the first Year 12 classes.

The cover of the first School Magazine of 1977. The name of the magazine was taken from the School motto.

The School logo is the tea-tree flower. This was suggested by Carmel Sierakowski, the Librarian, and the artwork was designed by Julie Misso, who was the Craft and Graphic Communication teacher. The idea for the tea-tree came from Manuka Road, the location of the School, as the Manuka is a variety of tea-tea.
These photographs (above), taken from the School magazine, show the foundation staff from 1977. Top photograph (Back Row) Carole Bullock, Sheila Holden, Arwin Hurwitz, Sue Ryan, Laurie Cantwell, Vicki Hill, Alex Thals, Robert Hansen. (Front Row) Julie Misso, Barbara Lipscombe, Roy Fraser, Mr Norm Baldwin, Mrs C. Sierakowski. The staff in the bottom photograph are Alex Thals, Sue Ryan and Elizabeth Drake.
This is Form 7a, from 1977, the School's Foundation Year.

If you attended a High School, in the 1970s and early 1980s, then your School magazine probably looked like the early Berwick High School magazines. I went to Koo-Wee-Rup High in the 1970s and we had the same type of hand drawn graphics and illustrations and student designed covers, they have a lot more character than some of the current School magazines. The covers for the 1979 and 1981 Crescam Chronicles are shown here.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Doveton Library - the early years

Doveton Library began in the mid 1960s as a book exchange operating between members of the Doveton Presbyterian Church. The collection was held in the house where the Deaconess lived. The Friends of Doveton Library still have a copy of the catalogue of this Library. As you might imagine, there were many books of a religious nature for both adults and children, but there was also a collection of general books and a collection of books for Christian education. The list below is from the Religious books collection.

In 1967 a Community meeting was held to establish the Doveton Library, which would be run by a volunteer Committee, the Doveton Library Committee. The books were obtained from donations, from the Shire of Berwick, local businesses such as Heinz and General Motors Holden and community groups such as Rotary and the Presbyterian Church. The new Library was opened in part of the Methodist Church Hall by Cr Rynehart, with Mrs Patricia Adams as the Committee's first President. There was a stock of 1,427 Children’s books and 1,273 Adult books and 650 subscribers, who could borrow books a cost of five cents for adults and two cents for children. The Library was staffed by volunteers who run the service in a committed and professional manner.

Two long serving Doveton Library staff members. Joan Finlay on the left and Betty Fairbrother on the right. Mrs Fairbrother had been involved in the Doveton Library since the Book exchange days. This photograph was taken in the 1970s at the Kidd Road premises.

In 1969, the Shire of Berwick rented the Presbyterian Church Hall, in Ti Tree Drive, to accommodate the Library. In 1971 The Dandenong Valley Regional Library Service was established to provide Library Services for the Shire of Berwick, Shire of Cranbourne, City of Dandenong and City of Springvale. The Doveton Library became the second branch of the DVRLS on March 1 1973, after the Doveton Library Committee donated their book stock and other assets to them.

148 Kidd Road, Doveton

By this time the Library had moved into a house at 148 Kidd Road. The plans we have for this building (see below) are labelled “proposed layout, temporary premises” and dated January 25 1972. The Kidd Road location proved to be slightly more than temporary, as the Library was there for ten years.

The proposed layout of the temporary premises of the Library at Kidd Road, dated January 25, 1972.

The Council purchased an old service station at Autumn Place and this was converted into a Library and officially opened August 12 1983, by Cr Syd Pargeter, Mayor of Berwick. The continuous provision of Library Services to the residents of Doveton for the past forty five years is a testament to the hard work, community agitation and community support of Doveton residents. The volunteer spirit is still alive and well in Doveton as the Library has a supportive and resourceful Friends of Doveton Library group, who have been providing resources for the Doveton Library since April 1984.

The plan, above, comes from a brochure produced by the City of Berwick to commemorate the opening of the Doveton Library in Autumn Place. The cost of the land was $82,000, the building was $108,000, Furniture and Fittings $15,300 and Landscaping etc was $11,5000. The two photographs, below, were taken at the Opening on August 12, 1983.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Post Cards of Berwick

In this post we will look at three Post Card views of High Street in Berwick. The card, immediately below, shows the north side of High Street in the 1920s, looking east. The Berwick Hotel, also known as the Border Hotel, was established in 1857 by Robert Bain. It was the venue for the first Police Court in Berwick and the Berwick District Roads Board was also formed in this building in 1862. The earliest section of the building, the triangular single storey part, dates from 1857. The double storey sections were added in 1877 and 1887. The Bain family owned the hotel until 1909, with Susan Bain taking over as licensee after her husband's death in 1887. At the time of this photograph, it is advertised as being under new Management, with Byrnes as the licensee.

Further up the hill, you can Loveridge's store, which still operates in Berwick. Alfred Ellis Loveridge and his wife Emma (nee Crean) operated a store in Peel Street from around 1912. This was a continuation of the Crean family store, which had been established by Emma's father, John, in 1877. The store moved to High Street in the 1920s.

This is the back of the Post Card, sent in 1924 from Maxie to
his 'dear Ma'.

The Post Card, above, was recently donated to us by Mrs Audrey Stokes. Mrs Stokes had taken a holiday in the area in 1955 and purchased this Post Card as a souvenir. It shows the north side of High Street, looking west. At the top are the Tudor shops built in 1937 by Sir Sidney Sewell (1880-1949) and designed by architects Ballantyne & Wilson. Sir Sidney was a doctor, and a lecturer on the central nervous system. After World War One he looked after soldiers suffering from 'shell shock'. He later took an interest in the treatment of tuberculosis and established a service to care for patients. With Sir Richard Stawell he established the Association of Physicians of Australasia in 1930, which later became the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. An early tenant of the Tudor Shops was the Blue Plate Tea Room and travelling library. Jan's Tea house occupied one of the shops in this photograph.

This Post Card is from the 1970s or early 1980s. It shows the Hotel, the Tudor shops and the War Memorial, erected in the 1920s.

The information on Sir Sidney Sewell comes from the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Sherwood Hotel, Tooradin

The Sherwood Hotel, in Tooradin, was near the corner of the South Gippsland Highway and Tooradin Tyabb Road. It was built around 1870 on land owned by Matthew Stevens, who is listed in the Shire of Cranbourne Ratebooks from 1867. An early publican was John Wilson from 1873-1874. The Sherwood Hotel and 258 acres were put up for a mortgagee auction on March 14, 1878. The advertisement (reproduced below) lists the auction on behalf of the late John Strudwick, and it is thought that the Poole family purchased the hotel at this time. George Poole became publican at the Sherwood in December 1888.

The Argus Thursday March 7 1878, page 2.

The Poole brothers, Frederic (1826-1894), George (1827-1909), and Thomas (1837-1906) were early settlers in the Cranbourne area. Frederick was elected to the Cranbourne Road District Board, which became the Shire of Cranboure in 1868, from 1865 to 1872, 1873 to 1874 and 1885 to 1893. He was Shire President in 1887-88. Frederick lived at Triuna, Lyndhurst. Thomas lived at Lang Lang.

George Poole was bootmaker in Cranbourne, in the 1860s. He was elected to the Cranbourne Road District Board in 1866, and remained a Councillor until 1893. He was Shire President on three occasions. George Poole was described as a one of the most forceful personalities in the district and according to Gunson (the author of The Good Country : Cranbourne Shire) he dominated the Cranbourne Council and was very involved in policy making.

We have a first hand report of George and the Sherwood Hotel from a booklet Around Tooradin : the Sportsman's Paradise by Hawkeye. It was published, in serial form, in late 1888 and early 1889 to promote the sale of land around Tooradin. Hawkeye described the journey to Tooradin by train, the fishing, local hospitality. He described the Sherwood Hotel as like an old farm house, with a big dash of liberality and kindliness about it. The front portion is brick, and new weatherboard rooms have just been added. It is built just on the crest of a hill, and is in every respect a most comfortable house to stop at. Hawkeye describes George Poole as a fine specimen of a true Saxon. Big of limb, deep of chest, clear eyed, strong and powerful throughout, he reminds you more of the days when there were giants in the land than of a prosperous publican….. In his early days he visited America and became imbued with a touch of American smartness – with a knowledge of how to be cute and make money. On his return to England he was the first to start a real American bar where the thirsty Britain could obtain any drink from a mint julep to a cocktail. George then decided to try his luck in Australia. Hawkeye goes on to say that in Australia George had settled down quietly and his heart appears to be centered in his farming. George does not like the public house life, he hates drinking and talks of going into the coffee line. "Coffee is the thing", he says, "nothing like coffee, I think I’ll build a coffee palace".

The ground of the Sherwood Hotel had a large stable, a diary and milking shed. The Pooles milked forty cows. George also constructed a race course and bred horses. When the Melbourne Coach refused to stop at his hotel, he built himself a Coach, which met the Cranbourne train and travelled on to Grantville.

We do not know much about Mrs Poole, Hawkeye says she is a most obliging and attentive hostess and that she makes beautiful butter. I had assumed that the obliging Mrs Poole was George's wife, Ann (nee Seymour) whom he married in 1864. They had three children Ann, born 1865, who married William Hardy; Maria, born 1867, who married James Facey and Frederick, born 1870 who married Isabella Kernot. Ann died in 1916, aged 85. Ann had previously been married to Magnus Peterson, who had been born in Sweden. There were two children from this marriage Thomas, b. 1854 and Peter , born 1860. Peter was married to Caroline Kernot, Isabella's sister. You can read more about the Kernot family, here.  Magnus died in 1861.

As I said, I had initially assumed that George Poole's  obliging and attentive hostess  was his wife Ann, however, George had an on-going relationship with Mary Catherine (nee George) the widow of John Legge Strudwicke. Mary had married John Legge Strudwicke in 1871 and had two children Albert (b. 1871) and Louisa (b. 1875) and then John died in 1877.  John had been the owner of the Sherwood Hotel until his death, when the Poole family took it over. Mary's relationship with George Poole produced four children - Kate Poole Strudwicke (b. c. 1881), Richard Poole (b.c. 1882), George Poole Strudwicke (b. 1887) and Amy Poole Strudwicke (b. 1895) (so George was 54 when the first one was born and 68 when the last one was born). I can't find Kate and Richard's birth registration and George and Amy are registered twice, under both Strudwicke and George,  but have no father listed. However, both Kate and Amy have George Poole listed as their father in the Victorian Death Indexes. So the most obliging Mrs Poole referred to by Hawkeye is actually Mary, not Ann. I wonder what Ann thought of this - was she humiliated by George living openly with and having a family with another woman or was she glad to be rid of him and happy to live her own life or was it an amicable split that suited both of them?

The Sherwood Hotel, 1907. The Licensee, whose name is listed over the door, is John Lambell.

George Poole had left the Hotel sometime before 1906 and there were a series of Licensees from 1906 - John Lambell, Robert Porter, James Donohue, David McDonald, Mary Clapperton, Frank Gibbons, Florence Johnson and finally John Hopkins. The Sherwood Hotel was deprived of it's licence on December 31 1917, after a Deprivation Sitting of the Licenses Reduction Board. A amendment to the Liquor Licenses Act of 1906 allowed the Board to systematically reduce the number of Victualler's licences in Victoria, taking into account public convenience and number of other Hotels in the area.

The Sherwood Hotel, 1953

The article reproduced from The Argus Newspaper, has been digitised as part of the National Library of Australian Newspapers Beta project. Around Tooradin : the Sportsman's Paradise by Hawkeye is reproduced in Tooradin : 125 years of Coastal history, compiled by John Wells and the Tooradin Celebrate Together Committee.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Silver Wells, Gembrook

The Ure family were early settlers in Gembrook. John Ure had selected 213 acres of land in 1874 and moved to Gembrook with his wife, Jane (also called Jean), and their two sons Alexander (b. 1872) and John (b. 1873), who were both born in Scotland.  Another two sons, Robert (b. 1875)  and James Buchanan (b. 1881) were born at Gembrook. The Ures named their property Silver Wells due to the pure water they found when they sank their first well. Silver Wells had a suite of buildings including a number of houses, machinery sheds, barns, a cheese room, dairy and boiler room. It also had a Post Office and a store with a butchers room which served the small mining community, which had come to the area to search the local rivers for gold and silver. The Ures continued to operate the Store, at what was called North Gembrook, until 1901 when the commercial focus of the town shifted to the area around the Railway Station, for the Puffing Billy line.

General Store at Silver Wells

Detail of General Store, showing some construction details.

The Silver Wells property is on the Victorian Heritage Register, which states that the complex is notable for the range of vernacular construction used in the buildings, constructed mainly during the 1870s. For instance, the Stables are constructed in the drop slab method, the original house and Post Office are notched logs, which is a rare form of construction in Colonial Victoria. The dairy extension is built with split weatherboards. The roofs are a mixture of bark or shingles, though they have since been covered by corrugated iron. The four photographs below show some of the buildings and construction details.

The Heritage Register also states that the complex of buildings is located in a most picturesque setting, under mature conifers and with the remnants of a very early garden and orchard surrounding them.

The Silver Wells garden.

John Ure, who died in 1926 aged 85, was a Berwick Shire Councillor. He is pictured below in 1900 outside the Shire Offices in High Street in Berwick. He is the tall chap, sixth from left at the back. According to Genseric (Bill) Parker, author of Forest to Farming : Gembrook an early history, John Ure was six feet two inches. Jane Ure, who was the sister of the Hon James Buchanan of Berwick, died in 1905 aged 69.

Berwick Shire Hall, c. 1900. Photograph reproduced from
The Early Days of Berwick and its surrounding districts.

John Ure owned a bullock team as did his son, John, known as Jack. Jack's two eldest sons, Bob and Dave, also worked bullock teams. Bill Parker has an interesting account in his book of the cartage of a steam engine , weighing eight or nine tons, from a timber mill site to the railway at Nar Nar Goon. Jack and his sons had a team of twenty bullocks and firstly they had to haul the engine up a slope from the Mill site using a block and tackle, and they then had to drag it into Gembrook, a distance of three miles. This proceduere took a whole day. The next day a team of twelve bullocks drove the engine to the Nar Nar Goon station , via Mount Eirene, this journey took another whole day. They then had to return to Nar Nar Goon on the third day to load the engine onto a flat top train truck.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Endeavour Hills - Farms and Housing Estates

In a previous blog post we looked at the development of the suburb of Endeavour Hills. This blog will look at some of the earlier history of the area.
An early landowner of the area was Thomas Herbert Power who had owned the Eumemmering Run from the 1850s. Power’s land extended from Power Road, almost to Berwick and north to Heatherton Road. Power sold some of his land, known as Grasmere in 1888. The land for sale on October 30 1888 was advertised some of the choicest land in the colony. Other land originally owned by Power had earlier been sold and a purchaser, Dr John Tremearne, built the Four Oaks homestead around 1885. Two of the original four oaks still remain.

Four Oaks homestead (c.1885) and one of the two remaining oak trees. Photograph was taken in 1987.

The suburb was named after Captain Cook’s ship, the Endeavour. Other suggested names at the time included Pine Hill and Piney Ridge, due to the number of pine trees in the area. The pine trees were also reflected in the names of farms in the area - from 1894 Captain Jules Commans owned land in the area, called The Pines. By the time he sold the land in November 1922 he owned 1330 acres (about 540 hectares) - both north and south of Heatherton Road. Commans was a stevedore and was one of the directors and founders of the Victorian Stevedoring Company. He died in 1937, aged 79. One of Comman's daughters, Ruby, married Frederich Fischer and their grandson is Tim Fischer, the former leader of the National Party, deputy Prime Minister, and now the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See. The Comman's land was later subdivided and sold off and one of the early purchasers, in 1930, was David Brown of the Essex Dairy in Dandenong. He called his farm Essex Park. Brown sold to Edgar and Dorothy Anderson around 1940 who built the house pictured below.

Essex Park homestead (c.1940).

Piney Ridge was the name of a 645 acre (260 hectares) farm owned by Charles & Ellen Hartley from 1942 and managed by Viv Campbell. This land at Crown Allotments 7 & 8, Parish of Eumemmering was also once part of Captain Comman's land and had been originally owned by Thomas Power. It was a Jersey dairy stud and notable for the high boundary fences built to keep out trespassers and to protect the prize cattle. It was also used in the Second War World for manoeuvres by the American and Australian troops camped at Rowville. The Jersey cattle were sold at a Clearing sale in 1950 and the Hartleys then raised beef cattle. The 117 cattle sold for over 8,000 guineas or about 8,400 pounds. To put this in perspective, an average house in the outer suburbs of Melbourne at the time cost about 3,000 pounds. Mr Campbell kept a scrapbook of the newspaper articles related to the Hartley enterprise and the breeding of Jersey cattle, which we have a copy of in our Archive.

The Advertisement for the sale of the Hartley Jersey stud, from the Gippsland & Northern Co-operator of November 2, 1950. This is from the Campbell collection of newspaper articles referred to above.

Another early farm in the area was Mossgiel Park, of 745 acres (300 hectares). This farm was owned from 1904 until 1943 by the Winter family and called Danderago. Later owners, Robert and James Picken, called their farm Mossgiel Park and this become the name of the housing estate, though according to the Shire of Berwick Rate books the Pickens only owned the farm from 1950 until 1954. Mossgiel Park was named after a farm of the same name leased by the Scottish poet, Robert Burns.

The Mossgiel Park Housing Estate off Heatherton Road was conceived in 1974. The plan above shows the 'conceptual layout' showing parks, schools and shops and the 'density of persons per acre'. The developers were Development Underwriting Limited. Another Housing Estate north of Heatherton Road was Chalcot Lodge Housing Estate. This was an A.V Jennings Estate, and started around 1974.


A photograph from the Chalcot Lodge development brochure produced by A.V Jennings. The photograph was captioned The Avenue, and shows some of the Endeavour Hills pine trees.