Thursday, 25 November 2010

Rawlins Cottage, Devon Meadows

Rawlins Cottage, on Worthing Road in Devon Meadows, is listed on the City of Casey Heritage database as well as the National Trust Register. Even though it was only built in the 1920s the suite of buildings are considered significant. The following is from the National Trust significance statement This group of owner-built pole and pug structures of twentieth century date, comprising a farmhouse and outbuildings of 1922 and later, is significant at a State level as an example of primitive structures. They relate to a tradition of pole and pug building which was especially prevalent on French Island from the 1890s, and of earlier wattle and daub structures on both French Island and the Mornington Peninsula. The house itself, the creamery and one shed to the north-east, are substantially of this construction and, though severly decayed, illustrate the method very well. Two other sheds also contain fragments of pole and pug.

Two views of the Cottage, above and below. The photograph, below, clearly shows the construction method. The photographs were taken in 1994.

One of the out-buildings.

The City of Casey Heritage database says the Cottage complex is significant as a rare surviving example in the Devon Meadows area of a farm complex, which illustrates the development of the area as a result of closer settlement during the interwar period. Thomas and Alice Rawlins moved to Devon Meadows around 1920 from Lawloit, between Kaniva and Nhill in the Wimmera district. They moved because Mr Rawlins wanted to go somewhere which had green grass. They had four children Roy, Rhoda, Cyril and Phill. Rhoda was interviewed for the book Uncovering Devon Meadows: a collection of local lives* and she says that when they arrived there was only a little hut on the block and then her father built the house, he dug up the soil around and made the mud and put it in between the sticks. The house consisted of three bedrooms, a lounge and a kitchen and had only kerosine and candles for light. The family milked cows, grew their own vegetables and Mr Rawlins also had a horse and a single furrow plough. The photographs show Thomas (1880-1969) and Alice  (nee Eva Alice Lee, 1877-1956). The photograph of Mrs Rawlins was taken in 1942. In the next post we will look at more of the history of Devon Meadows.

Rawlins Cottage. Mrs Rawlins was obviously a keen gardener, as you can see in the photograph above. She won many prizes in the 1935 Devon Meadows Flower Show.

The Argus Saturday, November 23, 1935 p.18

*Uncovering Devon Meadows: a collection of local lives. Published by the Devon Meadows Primary School, 1985.
All photographs are from the Casey Cardinia Library Corporation Archive.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The mystery of the Quietly Club

I had an email from the Dandenong & District Historical Society asking if I knew anything about the Quietly Club in Berwick. They had received an email on this subject from Maurice Mishkel from Canada, a collector of stamps and envelopes. Maurice had purchased this envelope, below, addressed to Horace Bennett.

I passed the query onto Judith Dwyer and Corrine Brewis of the Berwick Mechanics’ Institute (BMI). The BMI have scanned their Minute Books and Attendance Registers and Judith recognized the art work. The artist was John Warne, a Berwick painter and decorator, who with his brother Charles a plasterer, had started a business in Station Street (now Gloucestor Avenue) Berwick in the late 1880s. In 1901 John married Henrietta Searle, the daughter of Henry and Jane Searle. Henry had operated a blacksmiths on the corner of Wheelers Street and High Street (known as Searle’s Corner) in Berwick from around 1860. Sarah and John had four children - Joseph Thomas (known as Tom) b.1902, Marian Hilda (known as Hilda) b.1904, Jack b.1907 and Samuel Charles b.1910. Tom followed his father and also became a painter and signwriter.

John Warne's illustration from the Attendance Register of June 18, 1894.

From 1893, until she married, Henrietta was the Librarian at the BMI. From the attendance books we know that both Horace and John Warne were regular visitors to the BMI and that John frequently ‘annotated’ the attendance book (see above) Horace’s last visit to the BMI was November 3 1894, and he added Fare the Well after his signature.

Horace's last visit to the Berwick Mechanics' Institute, November 3, 1894.

So what was the Quietly Club? – we don’t know but can only surmise it was a bit of an in-joke with John and Horace and the other lads. Perhaps it was to do with Libraries encouraging silence or the Library may have been quiet after Horace left.

Tarcoola Station is near Pooncarie on the Darling River and was firstly occupied by William Campbell. It was taken over by Charles Nicholson in 1851 and at the time consisted of around 30,000 acres. A series of amalgamations with other properties saw Tarcoola having over one million acres in the 1880s, with 21 workmen employed as well as Managers, cooks, maids, grooms, stable hands, a black smith and Chinese gardeners. Tarcoola was broken up in 1918 into ten leases. We don't know what Horace's role was at Tarcoola. An entry in the Attendance Registers lists Horace as a butcher, so may be that was what he also did at Tarcoola, nor do we know when he arrived at Tarcoola. The only other thing we know about Horace was that he was T.H Bennett, and that it is likely his father was also called Horace.

Horace is listed as a butcher, above, on January 10, 1894 and in the entry, below, of July 18, 1894 there is a reference to Good old Bennett, what price fish, so perhaps he also sold fish?

However as you can see, below,Horace also signed in as H.R.H The Duke of York October 8, 1894 and on November 1 of the same year he was The Humble Horace Bennett - so it does appear he was a bit of a joker.

The entry from March 6, 1894 - there's John Warne's signature and we think Horace Bennett is the father of Horace of Tarcoola. What does B.C.B stand for?

The whole Horace Bennett Quietly Club mystery brings up a few issues – first the importance of networks. There are hundreds of Local History and Heritage Societies in Victoria, many of whom keep in touch through regional networks such as the South Eastern Historical Association. We have our own network here in the Casey Cardinia Region, the Local History Reference Group, who meet quarterly. It’s good to know that if you can’t answer a query, then you can pass it onto someone who may be able to help. Secondly, it brings up the issue that the role technology now plays in Local History – without email we could never have passed around this query so quickly and if the BMI had not decided to scan all their records would Judith and Corrine have had easy access to the original registers and recognized the art work? Scanning has made all these old Registers immediately available at the click of a mouse button and another click can have these images whizzing around the world.

Thanks to Maurice for sharing his envelope and giving Horace Bennett and the Quietly Club a place in our history. I would love to hear from you if you know anything about Horace. The information on Tarcoola Station came from The history of Pooncarie and District by Rob Lans, Thelma Smith and Bill Smith. It was published by the Pooncarie School Centenary & Historical Committee c. 1988.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Lang Lang

Here are some interesting early views of Lang Lang. The photograph below is the Main Street (Western Port Road) taken in the 1920s. Amongst the shops in the photograph are a a General Store which sold The Argus as well as Texaco products; Tomlinson's Store which sold drapery, footwear and china; Glasscock's Grocery and ironmongery and the Post Office

The Cardinia Shire Heritage Study describes the English, Scottish and Australian Bank Ltd building (above) as one of the more architecturally sophisticated buildings for the district and the era. Its classically inspired rendered two storey parapeted form is unusual for commercial buildings in the Shire's townships. It was built in 1929.

The Masonic Temple was built in 1926. The Lang Lang Lodge, No.236, was consecrated on October 27, 1915 and met in the Mechanics' Institute until their Temple was built. The first Master of the Lodge was William Eason, who was the Head Teacher at Koo-Wee-Rup State School from 1914 to 1936.

The Soldiers Memorial Hall was originally built as a Mechanics' Institute. The original Hall had been built at Tobin Yallock and re-located into the new town of Lang Lang (based around the railway) in the early 1890s. In 1925 the Hall became a Soldiers Memorial Hall and the brick front was added. The Hall burnt down in November 1966.

Finally, a lovely view of Railway Avenue. The construction of the Great Southern Line was responsible for the development of Lang Lang. Lang Lang's fore runner, the town of Tobin Yallock, was based around the intersection of McDonald's Track and what is now the South Gippsland Highway. The nearest railway station to the Tobin Yallock settlement, called Carrington, opened in February 1890 and was re-named Lang Lang in the December.