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, above. 

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

South Bourke & Mornington Journal  December 21, 1911.

The name of the Hotel was changed in December 1911 to the Motor Club Hotel, this name changed 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.

South Bourke and Mornington Journal , Thursday January 18, 1912, page 1 

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).

South Bourke and Mornington Journal, Thursday, June 19, 1919.
The article, above, was on page 2 and the advertisement, below, was on page 1.

The existing Motor Club Hotel, was built around 1924 and 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.

Photo credits: the picture of the Mornington Hotel is from The Good County: Cranbourne Shire by Niel Gunson. The photograph of Thomas and Elizabeth Gooch and Motor Club Hotel photograph (immediately above) are from the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society collection.

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.