Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Vision and Realisation : a centenary history of State Education in Victoria

I have written before about some of my favourite local history resources, and Vision and Realisation : a centenary of State Education in Victoria (full details at the bottom) is right up there at the top of my list. It is a three volume history of State education in Victoria and consists of over 4,100 pages. It includes a history of education in the colony of Victoria from the denominational schools onwards, a history of secondary schooling, technical schooling and teacher education. The most interesting part for family and local historians is a short description of each state school established before 1973. Many of these schools no longer exist, but were created to fill a need at the time. For instance there may have been an influx of children due to gold mining or timber milling or a soldier settlement sub-division so a school was established as a result and when the mine or mill closed the school also closed.

What sort of information can we find in Vision and Realisation? Pictured below is Tynong North School No.4464. This school was opened on June 8th 1930, but the residents had been petitioning the Education Department for a school since 1922. The School building had come from the Nar Nar Goon North School, No 2914, which had a new building erected in 1929. The first Head Teacher was Samuel Bromberger, who served there until 1938. The School closed in December 1951 and the pupils and building were transferred to Pakenham Consolidated School.
Tynong North State School. Courtesey of Bruce Weatherhead.
Our other photograph (shown below) is of the Koo-Wee-Rup North School, No.3198. This school, at Five Mile, started life in 1894 as the Koo-Wee-Rup South School, with Head Teacher, Peter Norris. The original building came from the San Remo School. The name of the school was later changed to Koo-Wee-Rup North. The school was closed in November 1959 and the children travelled by bus to Pakenham Consolidated School.

Koo-Wee-Rup North State School, 1927.
From the collection of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society.

These two examples show the type of information you can gain from Vision and Realisation. Some entries are just a small paragraph and some run for over a page. The three volume sets is out of print, but I have seen it on secondhand book sites for around $150.00

Vision and Realisation : a centenary history of State Education in Victoria, edited by L.J. Blake. Published by the Education Department of Victoria, 1973.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Lady Talbot Milk Institute

On Monday, April 11th in 1927, Lady Stonehaven, the wife of the Governor General, Lord Stonehaven, visited the Caulfield Model Dairy Farm at Cranbourne. Lady Stonehaven was shown the milk production process, by the proprietor, Mr George Hope. He explained the production process from milking, cooling, bottling and sealing to the final act of packing the milk in ice-lined cases for delivery to the railway station for distribution in Melbourne. 400 gallons (around 1800 litres) was produced daily in the 1920s, principally for the Lady Talbot Milk Institute, which then distributed this special milk to around 1,600 babies. The milk was regularly checked by laboratories at the University of Melbourne for contamination, the cows were checked Government veterinary officers to ensure they were free from tuberculosis and the farm employees also needed to have medical checks. These checks were done to ensure the milk was pure and safe for the babies.

Early in the 1900s there was concern about the high infant mortality rate, and various schemes were introduced in order to improve the life of mothers and babies. Lillias Skene (1867-1957) a welfare worker and women’s activist, suggested the establishment of a safe milk supply which contributed to foundation of the Lady Talbot Milk Institute in 1908. Mrs Skene also fought for the establishment of Infant Welfare Centres. The role of the Lady Talbot Milk Institute was to supply pure bottled milk to infants to reduce deaths caused by unsanitary milk. Before refrigeration and pasteurization, coupled with generally low standards of hygiene and germ control, unsanitary milk was a major cause of infant death and illness. Contaminated milk could cause tuberculosis, gastric upsets, diarrhoea and typhoid. Pasteurisation was introduced in Victoria in 1905, but did not become compulsory until after the Second World War even though interesting enough, even in 1927 the milk from George Hope’s farm was not pasteurised, and its purity came from the stringent handling methods.

The Institute was named for Lady Talbot, the wife of the Governor of Victoria, Sir Reginald Talbot. Lady Talbot, born Margaret Jane Stuart-Wortley in 1855, married Sir Reginald in 1877. Sir Reginald was Governor of Victoria from 1904 until 1908 and during this time Lady Talbot promoted many charitable ventures including the Talbot Colony for Epileptics, which later became the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre. The Lady Talbot Milk Institute supplied milk, with an ice chest, to ‘deserving’ cases. Families had to apply through Infant Welfare Centres, the local council or be recommended by their doctor and the milk was subsidised by a combination of the local council, the State Government and Institute funds. In 1914-1915 the City of Prahran donated £100 for the ‘special milk’ and their Annual report of that time said that the provision whereby mothers may obtain this boon for sickly infants has been much appreciated, and the reports to hand indicating the advantages in the saving of child life by this means are highly encouraging.

George Hope had commenced his Model dairy in Kooyong Road in Caulfield and purchased 592 acres (240 hectares) at Cranbourne in 1911. This land was the Mayfield pre-emptive right, originally owned by Alexander Cameron. The earliest date I can find for George supplying milk from Cranbourne, under the Lady Talbot Dairy scheme, is 1923 and it was being supplied from his farm until at least 1938. George was protective of his milk’s reputation and in November 1925 he went to court to seek an injunction to stop other dairies using the milk bottles with the Lady Talbot Milk Institute label and filling them with ordinary milk. A public advertisement appeared in the Argus of December 5th, 1925 warning dairymen against the use of the specially labeled bottles. Incidently, Lady Talbot Milk Institute milk bottles now sell for about $20 to $25.00, according to bottle collecting sites on the Internet.

The Argus,  December 5 1925