Tuesday, 13 December 2011

City of Berwick

The inaugural City of Berwick Council meeting was held at 10.00am the Berwick Inn on October 1, 1973. Cr Barry Simon was elected as Mayor. Later in the day a Proclamation Ceremony was held, commencing at 12.45pm - amongst the highlights of the ceremony was the re-enactment of the 1862 meeting at the Berwick Inn to form the Berwick Road Board.

This photograph was taken after the first meeting at the Berwick Inn. The newly elected Mayor, Barry Simon, is at the front, behind the bar. Left to right are David Lee, Jack Thomas, Keith Wishart, Sid Pargeter, Jan Bateman, Jim Alexander, Joan Phillips, Ron Irwin, George Chudleigh, John Byron and Bill Hudson.

The City of Berwick was then officially proclaimed by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Rohan Delacombe. At 8.00pm the Council reconvened at the Doveton Public Hall to discuss regular Council business. The City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakenham were established by splitting the Shire of Berwick in two - the border was basically the Cardinia Creek.

The Governor of Victoria, Sir Rohan Delacombe, being greeted by the Mayor, Cr Barry Simon, and Mrs Ruth Simon at the City of Berwick Proclamation ceremony.

The City of Berwick was granted this Coat of Arms or Armorial Bearings on April 8, 1976. They were officially presented to the Council by Sir Henry Winneke, the Governor of Victoria, on March 25, 1977. The Arms were designed by Colonel Puttock, President of the Heraldry Society of Australia. The crest is the Helmeted Honey eater which stands on a tree stump which represents the symbol of a living tree as the City of Berwick was known for its many trees. The Shield shows a buckle, said to be a symbol for "sucess by endeavour". The bulls head and the lamb represents the farming heritage - the bull also reflects the original insignia used by the Shire of Berwick, shown below. The last part of the shield is a muzzled bear, taken from the coat of arms of Berwick-upon Tweed. Early land owner, Captain Robert Gardiner and his family had a connection to that town in the United Kingdom and it is said to be the source of the Berwick name. The two black horses (the supporters) represent the significance of the horse as a form of transport and the blue stone wall represents the Wilson Quarry and the quarries in the area.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Prisoner of War Camp at Koo-Wee-Rup

The Koo-Wee-Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society has copies of Commonwealth Government documents relating to the World War Two Italian Prisoner of War Camp at Koo-Wee-Rup or Bayles - the documents use both names to describe the location of the Camp. The Society has had a few enquiries about this Camp, mostly relating to the names of prisoners, however no names are included in the documents and as you might expect from a War bureaucracy much of the material relates to administration and officialdom. The Society does not have any photographs of the Camp, though would be keen to see some.

The Prisoner of War Camp was located on 7¼ acres on part of Lots 6 & 7, Section S Parish of Koo-Wee-Rup, which is the south side of the Main Drain Road, between Backhouses Road and Ballarto Road. There is a small sketch map with the documents, which is reproduced below on a copy of a Koo-Wee-Rup Parish Plan. The Commonwealth took possession of the land on August 7, 1944. The entire block of land (consisting of Parts, 6, 7 & 8) was just over 58 acres and was owned by the Estate of Ardolph Edward Mosig and Frederick Leonard Smith who were leasing it to Leslie Einsiedel. The land was being used for grazing and was described as “Flat Swamp land All cleared” There were no buildings on the block but there was a dam, which would be used by the Camp and so a trough was provided for Mr Einsiedel’s cattle. Mr Einsiedel was to get just over £10 per annum for the land.

The Camp was scheduled to open October 21, 1944. There would be one officer and ten ‘other ranks’ and 88 POWs, including one who was a medical orderly. The camp would consist of ‘P’ type huts from the Rowville Camp, and there was a one ton van and two 30cwt trucks to transport prisoners to and from work. The Prisoners were employed by the Department of Commerce and Agriculture and they were paid 1/3d per day, plus they were provided with all equipment, blankets, clothing, food etc. The prisoners came from the Murchison Camp and had a medical and dental before they were ‘allotted’ to local farmers to provide labour. Local contractors would provide perishable foodstuffs and appropriate arrangements were made with the local church authorities for the spiritual welfare of prisoners. Most other arrangements e.g. financial appear to have been carried out at Murchison.

The next lot of material we have comes from February 1946 when the camp was being dismantled; the hire of land was terminated on February 22, 1946. There is a list of buildings that were sold which gives us some idea as to what the Camp would have looked like. All buildings were made of CGI, which I assume is corrugated galvanised iron, though some were made from, at the time, the popular asbestos cement.
Buildings No.1, No. 2, and No. 3 all described as Sleeping Huts and all were 60 feet 8 inches by 18 feet 8 inches in size. They were sold to Melbourne University for £370.00.
Building No.4 - Kitchen and Mess 93 ft 4 inches by 18 feet 8 inches – sold to Toora R.S.L for £250.00.
Building No.5 - Kitchen, Mess, Recreation and Sleeping – 78 feet 8 inches by 18 feet 8 inches – sold to the Athlone Presbyterian Church for £210.00.
Buildings 8 & 9 - Latrines, each 12 feet by 12 feet. Sold to Frankston Fire Brigade for £51.00.
Building No.12 - Kitchen Store ,60 feet 8 inches by 18 feet 8 inches, and the Drying Room, 23 feet 4 inches by 18 feet. Sold to Loreto Convent, Toorak for £175.00
Mess and a Provision Hut - 57 feet by 18 feet, sold for £144.00 through Melgaard & Co.

It appears that all buildings were removed by April 1947 and the army then paid the owners just over £53.00 for damage, removal of concrete foundations etc.

So that’s what we know from the official documents. I asked my father, Frank Rouse, a few years ago if he knew anything about the Camp (he would have been eleven at the time) and he also spoke to two other local identities, Bill Giles and Ian Clark. Bill and Ian agree there was no strong security at the Camp and there was no security at weekends, but the prisoners had to wear orange overalls. Bill remembers seeing prisoners walking along the road at night when he was riding his bike home, and they could walk along the drain bank into Koo-Wee-Rup and to the Bay.

The POWs worked at selected farms including the AJC Asparagus farm (also known as Roxburghs) at Vervale. This was on the south side of Fallon Road, from Dessent Road, through to Simpson Road. Dad remembers truckloads of the prisoners driving down Dessent Road to the AJC farm in the morning, one guard on each truck. At lunch time a food van with a portable cooker would go the farm to feed them. Another truck load of prisoners would go to Dalmore.

Bill said they also worked on the Kinsella Brothers farm (Dan, Norman and Arthur) that grew a lot of potatoes and asparagus during the War. The Kinsellas were on the north side of the Main Drain, around Eight Mile Road. Dad said his brother Jim (who would have been thirteen at the time) remembers three Italian POWs digging potatoes with forks on the Rouse farm (Joe & Eva Rouse). Jim also remembered, as did Bill and Ian, that the prisoners had their own especially printed money and coins, but we are unsure how this was used.

So, that’s all the information we have, if you know anything else, then I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


Shown here are four photographs of Hallam. For information about the history of Hallam, click here.

This is Stoopman Motors - located on the south side of the Princes Highway and on the Dandenong side of the Hallam Hotel. The photograph is undated, but it may be from the late 1950s - perhaps someone can identify the cars.

These two photographs, above and below, are of Frawley Road. The tennis courts are shown above. They were taken 1977 or 1978.

This is Spring Square in Hallam - the photograph was undated, but it may be the same time as the two above - mid to late 1970s.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Pakenham Cemetery tour

The Narre Warren and District Family History Group conducted a tour of the Pakenham Cemetery on Sunday, October 30 2011. It looked at the graves of some of the local pioneer families including the Bourkes, the Dores, the Aherns, the Mulcahys - they all have roads named after them. We also looked at the grave of Mary Frawley, the source of Frawley Road in Hallam. Another grave we visited was that of James and Susannah Thewlis - the source of Thewlis Road which leads to the cemetery.

The site for the Pakenham Cemetery was gazetted on February 13, 1865 and the first Trustees were appointed on May 8 the same year.

From the Victorian Government Gazette, February 21, 1865 p. 459

The original Trustees were John Startup, Richard Fortune, Michael Bourke, Thomas Mulcahy and George Ritchie. They are all buried at the cemetery, apart from Richard Fortune. Richard's wife Jane is buried at Pakenham.

From the Victorian Government Gazette, May 23, 1865 p. 1158

John Startup leased the Mt Ararat run of 17,000 acres (6,800 hectares) which covered the area from Pakenham to Drouin. He later purchased 336 acres (135 hectares) on the corner of Mt Ararat Road and Bald Hills Road. Michael and Kitty Bourke established the Latrobe Inn on what is now the Princes Highway, near Toomuc Creek, around 1850. Michael Bourke also acted as the Post Master for nearly 30 years. Kitty Bourke kept the Hotel and Post Office from the time of her husband’s death in 1877 until 1910. The Latrobe Inn was a Cobb & Co. coach stop and for obvious reasons was later known as Bourke’s Hotel. George Ritchie was the owner of the farm Bald Hill, based around Ryan Road and McDonald's Drain Road, and south of the railway line. George Ritchie’s sister Jane was married to Richard Fortune, another Trustee. Richard died in 1868 leaving Jane with seven young children. Jane continued to farm at Nar Nar Goon and died in 1900. Thomas Mulcahy was a Pakenham landowner

Photo credits: The Pakenham Cemetery photographs were taken by Lynne Bradley.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Better Farming Train comes to Casey Cardinia

The Better Farming Train was established in 1924 by the Victorian Railways and the Departments of Agriculture, Education and Public Health. The train travelled around Victoria, stopping for a day at various country railway stations, and provided lectures and demonstrations to farmers to improve farming techniques and therefore raise agriculture production. If agriculture production was raised then the Railways would also benefit as nearly all produce was moved by rail. The train made 39 tours of country Victoria between 1924 and 1935 and stopped at over 390 towns. Over 250,000 people attended these lectures.

The train consisted of around 15 carriages and once the train arrived at the Station the various displays were set up. Each carriage contained information and exhibits about different areas of agriculture such as potatoes, dairy, bee keeping, poultry. The train actually carried livestock, cattle and pigs, enabling a hands-on approach to the subject. There was also a pasture carriage, which had various plant varieties growing. The train had expert lecturers in each subject to provide information and demonstrate new techniques.

Dr. A. E. V. Richardson, Sup't. of Agriculture (Delivering Inaugural Address on "Better Farming" Train at Bunyip).  Victorian Railways photographer.
State Library of Victoria Image H31183/4

The inaugural stop was at Bunyip, where it arrived at 9.20am on Monday October 13, 1924. It was met by the Berwick Shire President, Cr J. Dore and other members of the Council. Also present was the Prime Minister, Mr Stanley Melbourne Bruce, and the Railways Commissioner, Mr Harold Clapp. The Argus reports that they (the Prime Minister and Mr Clapp) were delighted with the success of the experiment. One thousand people inspected the train that afternoon and listened to the following lectures - Horse Breeding Act, Examination of stallions; Jersey and Red poll cattle; Friesian and Ayrshire cattle; Grading cows; Pigs; Herd testing; Milk grading; Grasses and top dressing; Feeding cattle; Bees and honey; Feeding pigs and Potatoes. For the women, there were demonstrations in needlework and lectures on mothercraft and child welfare. In the evening, Amalgamated Wireless Limited had a set attached to the train and district residents had the opportunity of hearing Dame Nellie Melba in Grand Opera.

The train was at Pakenham on Friday, October 21 1927. The Pakenham Gazette of October 28 reported that the dairyman and grazier found much to interest them in the prize sheep and cattle, the fodder, samples of wool, models of helpful devices, specimens of disease affected organs and tissues and suggested remedies, and the stock demonstrations. There were also lectures on calf rearing, pig breeding, potato culture, and for the orchardists a lecture on fruit culture. Once again the women were entertained by cookery demonstrations, needle work, home nursing lectures amongst other activities. The Gazette ended the report by saying the visit of the train was a success and much benefit should be derived from it.

The Better Farming Train was at Koo-Wee-Rup on November 15, 1927. This was reported in The Argus newspaper. The main topics of agriculture discussed were potato growing and dairying. As the article pointed out, the Koo-Wee-Rup region produced one fifth of Victoria’s total potato production with Carmen being the principal variety grown with yields of five tons to the acre. The potato lectures covered seed selection, storage, cultivation, manure application and disease control. The other focus of the visit was dairying and The Argus reported that 600 cans of milk were sent daily from Koo-Wee-Rup.

Better Farming Train, the Potato Section. Victorian Railways Photographer.
State Library of Victoria Image H28737/5

At Koo-Wee-Rup, over 100 women attended the Better Farming Train demonstration on cookery and needlework, clothing design and an infant welfare nurse was also available to examine babies In fact, so popular was this service that the ‘womens section’ or ‘domestic section’ of the train toured separately from the rest of the train from as early as 1925 and had also visited Koo-Wee-Rup on February 8, 1926.

Other visits to the Casey Cardinia region included - Lang Lang on November 10 1924 on way to South Gippsland and Cranbourne on Saturday 15 November 1924 on the return journey. It went to Berwick on Friday July 3 1930 and the train stopped at Clyde on Tuesday 21 July 1930 and the next day at Yannathan. There may well have been other visits to our region, I was going through reports on the train in The Argus trying to pick up any mentions of the tours, and that reminded me just how extensive the Rail network was in the 1920s and 1930s and so how many small towns could have been visited by the train. There is a great website with maps that show the rise and fall of the Victorian Railways http://www.vrhistory.com/VRMaps/

This is an interesting aspect of our history and reflects the importance of the railway in people’s life at a time when most people didn’t have a car and, until the 1960s, nearly all the farming produce (milk, potatoes other vegetables, cattle) from the area was dispatched by train to market.

Better Farming Train, a lecture on Child Welfare. Victorian Railways Photographer.
State Library of Victoria Image H28737/18

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Local History Expo

Discover more about the History and Pioneers of the Casey Cardinia Region at our Local History Expo. It's free and it's at the Narre Warren Library on Saturday, October 22 from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

The Local Heritage Groups will feature photograph displays and historical items. They will also be happy to answer your questions. The Groups at the Expo are
Beaconsfield History Committee
Berwick Mechanics’ Institute
Berwick Pakenham Historical Society
Cardinian Embroidery Project
Cranbourne Shire Historical Society
Dandenong High School ex-students Association
Edrington History Research Group
Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society
Lang Lang & District Historical Society
Mechanics' Institutes of Victoria
Narre Warren & District Family History Group

All welcome and it's free. Contact me for more details - Heather Arnold Local History Librarian Phone 03 9704 7696.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Yakkerboo Festival in Pakenham

Here are some photographs of the Yakkerboo Festival in Pakenham taken in the late 1980s or early 1990s. The Yakkerboo Festival started in 1976, as light-hearted community Festival. These photographs are from the Library Archive and were taken by the Shire of Pakenham.

The Pakenham Shire float, looking down Main Street towards the railway line. The Pakenham Hotel, built in 1928-29, is on the right. The roof of Hardy's Hardware store can be seen in the centre.

The Pakenham Kindergarten float, with the particularly unattractive Shire Offices behind. The modern facade on the 1912 Shire Offices was erected in 1962.

Above and below, views of floats passing the State Bank in Main Street, obviously taken at different times as the State Bank logo is different.

Another view of theYakkerboo Parade, this time on the corner of Main street and John Street.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Antiques Appraisal Day Saturday, September 24

Do you have a family heirloom at home and what to know what it might be worth? Is the cat's feeding dish that you got at a garage sale really Ming Dynasty china and worth more than your house?
Then bring the items along to the Narre Warren Library on Saturday, September 24 from 11.00am to 3.00pm as the Narre Warren and District Family History Group are holding an Antiques Appraisal Day. It costs $5.00 per item to be appraised and you can also purchase light refreshments. The experts are Vanessa Crew and Adam Truscott from The Collector at Murrumbeena and they appraise everything - china, glass, sculpture, furniture.
For more information go to the Narre Warren & District Family History Group website www.nwfhg.org.au or email treasurer@nwfhg.org.au or ring 5991 4499.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

South Bourke and Mornington Journal and the Motor Club Hotel, Cranbourne

Exciting news - Trove, the National Library of Australia digitised newspaper resource, has now added issues of the South Bourke and Mornington Journal to its content. It's a great resource and is currently on-line from 1872 to 1920. The Journal has lots of local news relevant to local and family historians in the Casey Cardinia region - its masthead boasts that it circulates throughout Dandenong, Berwick, Pakenham, Koo-Wee-Rup, Clyde, Lang Lang, Dalmore, Yannathan and Monomeith amongst other locations in the County of Mornington.

I came across some advertisements for the Motor Club Hotel in Cranbourne (or Kellys as it is more commonly known). The first Hotel on the site was the Mornington Hotel built around 1860 by Thomas and Elizabeth Gooch. The Cranbourne Road Board met in this building.

The Mornington Hotel, Cranbourne
Image: The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire by Niel Gunson

In The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire, Niel Gunson writes that Thomas Gooch was chief mate on the Sacramento. Elizabeth (nee Minister) had also been on the same ship, which was wrecked near the Heads, Port Phillip Bay. They both lost all of their possessions, but found true love and married each other in 1853. Elizabeth gave birth to nine children between 1855 and 1867. They were Thomas (1855), Alfred (1857), Susan Ellen (1859), Arthur (1860), Charlotte (1861), Walter Edward (1863), Harriet Beumont (1864), Frank Frederick (1865), Fanny Elizabeth (1867).

Thomas and Elizabeth Gooch
Image: Cranbourne Shire Historical Society

Application by John Taylor to change the name of the Mornington Hotel 
to the Motor Club Hotel
South Bourke & Mornington Journal  December 21, 1911. 

Sometime in 1911, John Taylor took over the licence of the Mornington Hotel and in December 1911  he applied to have the name changed to the Motor Club Hotel and this was approved at a Licensing Court Hearing held December 14, 1911. This name  may have been related to the birth of the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria in Tooradin or may have reflected the fact that Cranbourne was a popular destination for early motor car excursions. John Taylor purchased the freehold of the hotel in 1912.

John Taylor advertises that he has purchased the freehold of the Motor Club Hotel, January 1912.
South Bourke and Mornington Journal, January 18, 1912  

Julia O'Brien took over the licence of the Motor Club Hotel in February 1913, until March 1914. It was then operated by Gertrude and William Kilroy, until May 1918. Read more about the Kilroys, here. William James Taylor, then held the lease until Sarah Kelly, a member of the  Kelly family, who were also licensees of the Cranbourne Hotel (which was situated where Greg Clydesdale Square in High Street is now located) took over the license of the Motor Club Hotel in June 1919, as this article and advertisement in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal attests (see below).

Mrs Sarah Kelly takes over the lease of the Motor Club Hotel from Mr Taylor, in June 1919.
South Bourke and Mornington Journal, June 19, 1919

This was the first advertisement from Mrs Kelly at the Motor Club Hotel, June 1919.
South Bourke and Mornington Journal, June 19, 1919  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page6365244

The existing Motor Club Hotel, was built around 1924. I am basing this on the valuation in the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books - in 1923/24 and 1924/25 the Net Annual Value was 240 pounds, in 1925/26 -it had leaped to 420 pounds and the next two years it was 400 pounds, so I believe the increase in rates was due to the erection of the new building. As the Local Government year used to run from October 1 to September 30 then the new building would have been erected between October 1924 and September 1925 to appear at the higher valuation in the 1925/26 year.  The building is listed on the City of Casey Heritage Database, which describes it as a prominent local land mark and of historical and social significance.

The Motor Club Hotel, taken in the late 1920s or 1930s.
Image: Cranbourne Shire Historical Society  

Monday, 1 August 2011

Wattle time

If you live on the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp or drive through it, then you would have noticed the wattle trees are in bloom. I believe the species is the black wattle (acacia mearnsii). It grows anywhere, it is on the bank of the Main Drain from Iona to Koo-Wee-Rup and if you dig up any soil and leave it for a few weeks you will soon have black wattles growing. The trees are neat enough when they are young, but after a few years they get messy, branches break off and they begin to look a bit ugly.

The flowers are a pale yellow, not nearly as pretty as the Cootamundra wattle (acacia baileyana) or Australia's floral emblem, the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha Benth.) But from late July to the first few weeks of August the Black Wattle is glorious - they line the roads and the drain banks and you can look across the paddocks and see glimpses of yellow everywhere. It really is a magnificent sight.

Main Drain Road, looking west from the Eleven Mile Bridge at Cora Lynn.

The Main Drain, looking west, from the Eleven Mile Bridge at Cora Lynn.

You can also see other remnant Swamp vegetation, including the Swamp Paperbark (melaleuca ericifolia) . The photograph, above, was taken in Dessent Road at Vervale, but you can see this everywhere, including a stand near the sandpits in Thompson Road at Cranbourne and some along the Cardinia Creek, which you can see from the Pakenham by-pass. The picture (below) was taken, I believe, around Lang Lang in 1913. The plant can grow to ten metres high.

Another common plant are the reeds (phragmites australia), they grow everywhere on the Swamp, where there is a bit of water. This was taken also taken in Dessent Road. You can also see the reeds in the photograph, below. It is part of a series of post cards produced for Koo-wee-Rup in the late 1930s or early 194os. I think that's a blackwood wattle (acacia melanoxylon) behind the bridge.

William Wordsworth may well have been inspired by a host of golden daffodils, but to me there is nothing better that a host of golden wattles, brief though their time of glory may be, so here's another photograph, below, taken on the corner of Main Drain Road and Eleven Mile Road, Cora Lynn.

Friday, 8 July 2011


There is a great website produced by Joan Vanderhorn and John Campbell on the history of Clyde. Naturally enough it's called A Clyde history and the website address is  https://www.earlyhistory4clydevic.com/index.html Joan and her brother John grew up in Clyde and in 1978 John wrote the book A Clyde History: Public Hall and Mechanics' Institute Jubilee to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Clyde Hall. If you have an interest in Clyde history or just an interest in the general history of the area then this is a great site.

Joan has also created the Clyde Victoria 3978-History blog http://clydehistory.blogspot.com - to accompany the website. The blog is more interactive and you can leave comments - plus it is easy to add content to so is more immediate. The Clyde website and blog are great examples of using new technology to promote history. Obviously Joan and John have a great knowledge of Clyde history and by creating this website and blog they are sharing it with the wider community. It's not only this generosity in freely sharing the information that I feel is really important but the fact that the website and blog are recording the life of a township that is undergoing massive change - farms are now being developed into housing estates. I know that change is inevitable but that's why it is important that people like Joan and John are prepared to record and share our changing history.

However, this change is not the first change in the history of Clyde - this came came with the coming of the Great Southern Railway which was opened through to Tooradin in October 1888. A station was built south of the original Clyde township and this effectively created two towns, the original settlement between Pattersons Road and Hardys Road and Berwick-Clyde Road and the new Railway town (where the existing town of Clyde is). The old town became officially known as Clyde North as from 1915 and the rail town became known as Clyde. To find out about the Schools, Halls, Churches and other businesses in both Clydes click here.
The Library has very few photographs of Clyde, but we do have a few aerials from 1981, which I have reproduced below. The top aerial shows the Clyde Cricket Ground, called the Lineham Oval, on the corner of Clyde road and Pattersons Road (top right corner), then following Clyde Road to the bottom of the photograph, where it intersects with Twyford Road. You can follow Twyford Road into the second photograph where you can see the Clyde township.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Narre Warren Mechanics' Institute

The first township of Narre Warren was surveyed in 1860, and is now known as Narre Warren North and the township which developed around the Railway Station, which opened in 1882, became Narre Warren Railway Station and later just Narre Warren.

The man responsible for the growth of this town was Sidney Webb. Webb agitated for a Railway Station at Narre Warren and he collected money to purchase land for a road to connect the town to the Station. He built the early shops in the township which further consolidated when Sidney Webb donated land for the School which opened in 1889 and Mechanics' Institute which opened in November 9, 1891 (or the birthday of the Prince of Wales as the invitation, reproduced below, says)

The building was used for lectures, concerts, Balls, billiards, and meetings. It also housed a subscription lending library which initially was open 3.00pm to 4.00pm on Saturdays and 4.00pm to 5.00pm on Tuesdays. In 1898 there were 990 books in the Library and this had grown to over 2,000 in 1905. The Library ceased operation in 1941, when the books and the shelving were sold. Library services at Narre Warren later operated from a building in Malcolm Court.

The Mechanics' Institutes of Victoria have an ongoing scanning project to scan the existing records of all Victoria's Mechanics' Institutes. Over 1,000 Mechanics Institutes were built and 562 remain, including the Narre Warren one.

The records of the Narre Warren Mechanics' Institute have been scanned. The first Minutes we have are from the meeting of March 14, 1892, they are shown above. Given the role that Sidney Webb played in the development of the Narre Warren township it is not surprising to find that he chaired the meeting. The meeting appointed 'Messrs S.Webb and McDonnell as ' joint Librarians honorary.' S.Webb was Sidney Webb's son, also called Sidney. However, we have earlier Ledger records that date from August 1890, which list donations made for the establishment of the building and, later on, subscriptions. These scanned records provide us not only with a full picture of the workings and activities of the Mechanics' Institute but also a snapshot of who lived in the township at the time. They are an amazing resource.

Subscriptions collected in 1895, click on the image to enlarge it.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Lawson Burdett Poole and Laura Mary Poole (nee Brunt)

The Poole family have played a significant role in the development of the Cranbourne area, Brothers, Frederick (1826-1894), George (1827-1909), and Thomas (1837-1906) were early settlers in the area. George operated the Sherwood Hotel. Frederick was elected to the Cranbourne Road 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 and Mary Ann Poole had a son William Burdett Poole. William Burdett married Mary Frances Einsedel. Mary's grandmother Pauline Einsedel had migrated to Australia from Prussia in 1849 with four children. Her husband and other children had died of cholera shortly before the family left for Australia. Pauline's son Gustav settled in Cranbourne and one of their ten children was Mary Frances. William and Mary had three children - Lawson Burdett Gustav born 1898; Cora Violet (1900 to 1983, married Malcolm Gowan Watson in 1922) and Frances Myrtle (1902 to 1986 married Culbert Cecil Fisher in 1925). Lawson went to School at Cranbourne State School and then Swinburne Technical College and in 1919 opened the first garage in Cranbourne (shown above). His is also credited with having the first car in Cranbourne, a 1918 Buick; the first telephone line in 1920 and the first talking picture plant in 1929.

In 1932 he married Laura Mary Brunt (1891 to 1981). The couple are shown, above. Laura was also from an old Cranbourne family, her father was William Brunt and her mother was Mary Jane Espie. They lived at Spring Villa, where the Settlement Hotel is now located. William's cousin, Ralph, who came to Australia with him lived at Officer and is the source of the name Brunt Road. William was a Cranbourne Shire Councillor from 1904 to 1923.

Laura and Lawson had no children and devoted much of their life to community service. Lawson was a Justice of the Peace, an Honorary justice and Life Governor of the Dandenong Hospital, the Hastings Hospital and Westernport Memorial Hospital at Koo-Wee-Rup. The Berwick Hospital benefited from a donation from them and the Lawson Poole wing was named for him. Dandenong Hospital also had the Poole ward to honour their generous donations. The Pooles also supported a variety of local groups such as schools, churches and the Girls Guides. Lawson was involved in the Cranbourne Masonic Lodge from 1923.

Lawson was a member of the Cranbourne Turf Club, where he joined the committee in 1919 and was Chairman from 1959 to 1979. The Lawson Poole Stand at the Turf Club and the Lawson Poole Reserve in Cranbourne are named in his honour. Lawson died in 1987 and is buried with Laura in the Cranbourne cemetery.

Photographs: The photograph of the garage is from the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society collection. The photo of Laura and Lawson is from a brochure produced in 1977 for a Testimonial for the couple, but I have no other details about the form this Testimonial took. The picture of Lawson taken at the Race track is photo of an oil painting. The testimonial brochure and the oil painting are both in the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society collection.

Christopher Moody

Moody’s Inlet, which runs into Western Port Bay near Tooradin, and Moody Street in Koo-Wee-Rup are both named after Christopher Moody. Who was Christopher Moody?

Christopher Moody was born in Shepton Mallett in Somerset on February 7, 1833. He was the ninth child, out of fifteen of Austin Moody and his wife Jane (nee Perrett). His father is listed in the 1851 English Census as “a farmer of 180 acres employing 5 labourers” Thus, he had a middle class upbringing, however being the ninth child and fifth son, Christopher, like many younger sons, had to make his own way in the world and he and his younger brother, Charles, came to Australia. Another brother went to America. Four of his unmarried sisters, Elizabeth, Ann, Martha and Fanny, also made a life for themselves and in the 1860 Census they are listed as running a ‘Juvenile clothing shop’ in Frome in Somerset. Charles Moody died at Milford, in Pakenham on May 18, 1926, at the age of 91.

Christopher arrived in Australia in August 1854 on the Morning Star. He went to Commeralgyp Station at Rokewood, south of Ballarat to work and remained there until 1860 when he established the Barkley Flour Mills at Rokewood Junction. He married Jane Halbert Hyslop (1834-1885) in 1863. They had eight children Clara (1864-1906), John Austin (1865-1867), Isabella Mary (1868-1940), Edith (1869-1927), Jessie (1870-1960), Jane (b. & d.1872), Christopher John (1873-1943) and Celia (1874-1958). All the children were born at Rokewood. Christopher purchased 1,686 acres of the Great Swamp Run at the land sales held on March 25, 1875 for the amount of £2,451. Moody and the other land owners had to clear and drain their land.

Moody was elected to the Cranbourne Shire Council in 1884. His obituary in the Koo-Wee-Rup Sun of November 18, 1920 says that in all municipal matters, especially on roads, his sound and practical knowledge made his services of value. Moody was one of the strong personalities on the Council and Niel Gunson, in his book The Good Country, describes him as an astute councillor and man of inflexible principle. Moody was on the Council until he resigned in January 1894.

The family lived on their property called Invermead, on the South Gippsland Highway, east of the Inlets. The homestead had a dairy, workshops, slaughter house, poultry pens, pig sties and kitchen garden. Jane Moody died on December 8, 1885 at the age of 51, and is buried at Cranbourne cemetery.

In 1890, Moody owned the site of the Koo-Wee-Rup township and sub-divided the land between Rossiter Road and the Main Drain and Denham’s Road and the Highway. Very little of the land was sold due to the 1890s depression. The sub-division set out Moody, Gardner (called Koo-Wee-Rup Street by Moody), Henry (called Christopher Street by Moody) and Salmon Streets.

In his obituary Moody was described as a public spirited man who exercised influence for the advancement of the district. Moody donated the land for the Presbyterian Church and the Public Hall in Koo-Wee-Rup. He was Vice President of the Tooradin Mechanics’ Institute when it opened in 1882 and on the Tooradin State School Board.

Of Christopher and Jane Moody’s children it would appear that only one of them married – Jessie married Edward Percy Walker in 1898. Edward and his father operated the Tooradin store for a while and after his marriage, Edward had a store at Lang Lang and later at Dandenong. Jessie and Ted had seven children. Their five sons all enlisted in the Second World War. Their eldest son, Christopher, was the chief sub-editor and assistant editor of the Melbourne Sun when he enlisted. A report at the time of his death said that he preferred to fight as a Private rather than accept a commission as official broadcaster. He was killed fighting in Syria in June 1941.

Christopher Moody moved to his house, Shepton, in Rossiter Road in Koo-Wee-Rup when it was built in 1902. In his Will dated April 7 1910 Moody left this Shepton estate of about 386 acres, together with all the rest of his real estate to his son, Christopher. The residual of the Estate was to be sold and all divided into five equal shares for his son and daughters Isabella, Jessie and Celia. Edith was to receive the income from her share to support her, and if this was not enough then part of the principle. After Edith’s death the Will stated that the remaining part of her share was to be divided equally between the Melbourne, the Alfred, the Austin and St Vincent’s Hospitals. This suggests that she was unwell, even in 1910 when the Will was written. Christopher Moody died on November 17, 1920. A report in The Argus in January 1921 (reproduced below) said that his Estate was worth £51, 862 of which £3,910 was real estate and the £47,952 other assets. To put that in perspective in 1920 the average annual wage for men was £204 and for women was £99. The average annual wage today is about $50,000 so in today’s money his Will would be worth over $12 million - a tidy sum of money.

The Argus, Friday January 28, 1921. Page 6. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1734416

After Edith died on October 24, 1927 her share of the Estate was distributed to the four Hospitals. In 1927 this amounted to £7,200, and in 1929 another £1,147 was distributed. Christopher Moody is buried at Lang Lang, for some reason not at Cranbourne with his wife. The head stone also has the incorrect date on it and says he died in 1921. It seems a bit of a sad end for a man who contributed so much to the Community.

Photograph credit - The photo of Christopher Moody is from the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society Collection.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

World Heritage Day April 18

April 18 is the International Day for Monuments and Sites, more commonly known as World Heritage Day. According to the information on the official website World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. Protecting and preserving this valuable asset valuable asset demands the collective efforts of the international community. This special day offers an opportunity to raise the public's awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability.

The theme for 2011 is Water. When I found that out I thought it would prove to be a difficult theme, however once I started thinking about it, I discovered there is a huge amount of 'water related' heritage in the Casey Cardinia Region.

The Main Drain in flood in July 1958, taken at the Eleven Mile Road Bridge at Cora Lynn.

Here's a random list - the drainage of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp, the role of the beach in our cultural and social life, the fishing industry and families connected to this industry, water supply, swimming pools, lakes and swimming holes.

Water skiing at Tooradin, in the early 1960s.

Other water related heritage includes the role of the local Water Boards and the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission, who also built houses in towns such as Koo-Wee-Rup. Then there are railway steam engines and steam traction engines used in the timber industry.

Alf Weatherhead's Steam traction engine, taken at the Narre Warren Quarry. The Weatherheads also had other steam powered machines at their timber mills in North Tynong.

I thought some more and came up with ship wrecks, French Island, barges, jetties and wharves, the influence of creeks and water ways in early settlement patterns, Warneet Yacht Club, Bills horse troughs and the irrigation of orchards and market gardens.

The Royal Hotel at Koo-Wee-Rup built in 1917. This picture of a 'watering hole' was taken in the 1934 flood.

Finally there are floods, the history of our local hotels (watering holes) and families with a 'watery' name such as the Poole family of Cranbourne.

Lawson Poole's garage, established in Cranbourne in 1919.

The Casey Cardinia Library Corporation Local History Reference Group will give short presentations on a water related theme to celebrate World Heritage Day, on Monday, April 18 from 10.00am to 12 noon.

Venue is the National Trust Casey Cardinia Branch Rooms, Heritage Centre, Pioneers Park corner Peel Street and Lyall Road in Berwick.

All welcome. Guests are invited to bring along their own photograph or objects
which have a water related theme to share with the rest of the Group.