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.