Thursday, 27 December 2012

Cardinia Creek at Soldiers Road, Beaconsfield

The first four photographs, below, are of the Cardinia Creek at Soldiers Road, taken in the late 1970s. They also show the old wooden bridge which was replaced around 1980 with a wider, concrete bridge. Bucolic, riparian and nostalgic are words that spring to mind to describe these photographs.  They were taken by the City of Berwick.

This is the construction of the new Soldiers Road bridge and shows the Beaconsfield Railway Station in the background.

 Above and below, the circa 1980 concrete bridge on Soldiers Road,  over the Cardinia Creek.

Utilitarian and functional are the words that spring to mind to describe this scene.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Cr Jeune Matthews

I wish to commemorate the passing of Cr Jeune Matthews, who was a Councillor from 1972 until 1988, originally for the Shire of Berwick and from 1973 for the Shire of Pakenham, which was created when the Shire of Berwick split (the area west of the Cardinia Creek was renamed the City of Berwick). In 1979,  Cr Matthews had the distinction of being the female Shire President of the Shire of Pakenham, and its predecessor, the Shire of Berwick. This was a remarkable achievement given that local government in this area began with the formation of the Cranbourne Road Board in 1860 and the Berwick Road Board in 1862, the precursors of Shires of Cranbourne and Berwick, both of which were established in 1868.  The City of Berwick’s first female Shire President/Mayor was Cr Jan Bateman in 1980 and for the Shire of Cranbourne it was Cr Judy Elso, in 1988.

Juene (nee Johnston) and her late husband, Cyril, farmed at Garfield and had five children. She died on December 7, 2012 aged 83.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Sister Hollins and Sister Lewis and the Pakenham Infant Welfare Centre

There is a  new Childrens Centre in Pakenham, called the Hollins Children Centre.  It has two kindergarten rooms, a toy Library, a meeting room and rooms for the Infant Health nurse.  When Councils and developers are looking for appropriate names for new buildings, parks, streets or other infrastructure, they sometimes contact Local History Societies or me, the Local History Librarian for ideas. At times, they decide that the  name we suggest is a suitable name and this was the case with the Hollins Children Centre. I was reading through the Souvenir Booklet from the Back to Pakenham celebrations held in March 1951 which has the history of various institutions in Pakenham, including the Infant Welfare Centre. The article mentioned that Sister Hollins and Sister Lewis were the first nurses involved with infant welfare in the area, so I suggested  that the new Centre could honour the nurses and in the end it was decided to call  the centre after Sister Hollins. I was very excited and thrilled that the Cardinia Shire Council selected one of 'my names' and I attended the official opening on November 20, 2012.

I have posted the section on the Infant Welfare Centre, below. As you can see the only information we had was that the nurses were called Sister Hollins and Sister Lewis, so my first task was to find out some other information about them.

The first place I looked was on the electoral rolls, available on the Ancestry family history database, available free, at all our Libraries. I found Lillian Ada Hollins  in 1936 Electoral rolls at the Pakenham Bush Nursing Hospital and Muriel Mary Lewis in the 1937 Electoral rolls also at the Hospital. (Electoral roll entries reproduced below)  - so now at least I had some given names and could look for other information.

Muriel Lewis first appeared in the Electoral rolls in 1924 when she was a nurse at the Royal Children's Hospital. She was listed at Pakenham from 1937 until 1942. In the book Somebody’s baby: a history of the Pakenham and District Hospital 1926-1992* by Heather Shallard it says Sister Lewis resigned in 1945 and according to the Electoral Rolls from 1949 through to 1968 she was living in the Camberwell/Balwyn area.  I found the death of a Muriel Mary Lewis  (I cannot confirm 100% that it is our Sister Lewis, but I feel pretty confident that it is)  in the Victorian Death Indexes in 1970. Her parents are listed as Thomas Lewis and Hannah Eliza Dinning.  I also found  Muriel's birth record  in North Carlton in 1901  and that of her sister, Bessie Isabel, born 1904 in Beechworth. Sister Lewis is buried at the Necropolis (or the Springvale Botanical cemetery as it is now called).

Lillian Ada Hollins was listed at Pakenham in the  1936 to 1942 Electoral rolls. Heather Shallard writes in her book that  Sister Hollins left in 1944 to get married and I found a report of the wedding in the Pakenham Gazette of Friday, September 29, 1944 (reproduced below). The wedding took place at the Presbyterian Church in Pakenham and Sister Lewis was the bridesmaid. The groom, Sydney Banbrook,  was employed by the Shire of Berwick in the Engineering Department.

Pakenham Gazette of Friday, September 29, 1944. page 1

The last paragraph mentions a 'social' to be held in their honour at the Mechanics' Institute. According to a report on the 'social'  in the Pakenham Gazette of October 13, Mrs P.F Thwaites paid a high tribute to Sister Hollins and praised her  for the good work she had done for the Hospital, always ready to help and she was not only capable but a good business woman and the good position of the hospital was largely due to her efforts. Cr Houilhan  told the gathering that Sisters Hollins and Lewis had done marvellous work for the Hospital and there was not one patient who had been there but would, if sick again, go there instead of to a metropolitan hospital (sic). The President of the Hospital, Mr J.J. Ahern, also recognised the outstanding service that Sisters Hollins and Lewis had the Hospital was one of the best managed and equipped Bush Nursing hospitals in the State due chiefly to the Sisters. Mr & Mrs Banbrook were then  presented with a wallet containing 44 pounds.

The Banbrooks left Pakenham and in the 1949 Electoral rolls they are listed in Darwin, where Sydney is a Surveyor in the Department of Works and Housing. He died in South Australia in October 1963 and Lillian died there in June 1965. I haven't yet found a Birth Record for Sister Hollins, so I don't know who her parents were or when she was born.

*Somebody’s baby: a history of the Pakenham and District Hospital 1926-1992* by Heather Shallard. Published by the Pakenham & District Hospital, 1992.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Digitised World War One newspapers

The State Library of Victoria has undertaken a project to digitise a number of World War One newspapers and these papers are now available on Trove -  With the centenary of the commencement of the War in 2014 it is expected that there will be a huge amount of interest in how our ancestors and our community lived during this time and the  local newspapers will  provide a wonderful resource to both local and family historians. The newspapers were selected to provide as  broad a coverage of Victoria as possible and the papers  for the Casey Cardinia region are the Pakenham Gazette and its forerunner the Berwick Shire News which  have now been digitised from 1914 until 1918 as has the Lang Lang Guardian. The Bunyip Free Press is available from 1914 to 1915. The South Bourke and Mornington Journal has also been digitised previously and also covers much of our region, as does the West Gippsland Gazette.

Berwick Shire News and Pakenham and Cranbourne Gazette  8 September 8,  1915, pg 3
National Library of Australia

The papers recorded sad news such as the death of local soldiers including Private Frank Leigh A'Beckett, who was the son of the grandly named Edward Fitzhayley A'Beckett and his wife, Jane Deodata A'Beckett (nee Bourke). 

Pakenham Gazette and Berwick Shire News   June 15,  1917, page 2

The women also played their role in the War effort, some of course served as nurses overseas, but for the women who remained at home they worked on the family farms, fund raised for patriotic causes, joined the Red Cross, or as we can see from this report, knitted sock for the soldiers.

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Australian Inland Mission and the Pakenham connection

It is the centenary of the Presbyterian Inland Mission this year. It was established in 1912 as the Australian Inland Mission  by the Presbyterian Church with the Reverend  John  Flynn as the first Superintendent. Flynn’s  idea was to provide spiritual  support to those in the outback and this later developed to providing  medical facilities  as well.  Thus from  1917 he founded nursing services in remote areas and in 1928 he formed the AIM Aerial medical services. This service changed its name to the Royal Flying Doctor Service in 1954 and is still providing medical services  or the mantle of safety  as Flynn described it,  in the outback today. The Presbyterian Inland Mission has an interesting website

There are two local links to the Australian Inland  Mission.  Firstly, John Flynn  was a Home Missionary at the Pakenham Presbyterian  Church in 1908-1909. I believe  a Home Missionary was sent to smaller churches, usually in country areas, who couldn't support an ordained  Minister.  John Flynn was was born in 1880 in  Moliagul Victoria to Thomas  and Rosetta (nee Lester ) Flynn . He was a ‘pupil teacher’ with the Education Department from 1898 to 1902. He began study as a ‘student lay pastor’ in 1903 and  did further study at the Presbyterian Theological Hall and was ordained in 1911. He died in 1951.

I have found two references to the Reverend  Flynn and his time at Pakenham  in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal available on Trove.  The first was from  February 3 1909  and is a  report of the St James Church of England Sunday School  picnic where  amongst the visitors was  Mr Flynn, the Presbyterian Minister and many of our Romans Catholic and other denominational friends. Pakenham was obviously a very ecumenical town. The second report from May 12 1909 (reproduced below)   was of  a very  pleasing and instructive evening held at the Pakenham Mechanics Institute when Mr J. Flynn delivered his lecture  Along the Snowy River.

South Bourke and Mornington Journal, May 12 1909, page 2 

There is another Pakenham connection to the AIM. The Reverend Victor Murrell was the Presbyterian minister there from 1963 until his death in May 1969. The Murrell family was in Beltana, South Australia as part of the Australian Inland Mission from 1949 until 1957. There is a memorial to the Reverend Murrell outside the Uniting Church in Main Street Pakenham. The memorial has been photographed and transcribed as part of the Casey Cardinia Remembers project, a project of the Narre Warren and District Family History Group.

The memorial to the Reverend Victor Murrell outside the  Uniting Church at Pakenham. These photographs are from the Casey Cardinia Remembers website and are used with permission.

According to  a report in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of February 13, 1907 the Presbyterian Church in Pakenham was officially opened on Sunday, January 27 1907, so when John Flynn arrived sometime in 1908 it would have been a very new building. The Presbyterians had  previously met at the Mechanics' Institute.  The Church was was built by Alex Miller of Berwick and painted and varnished by C. and J. Warne also of Berwick. It was a weatherboard building and could seat one hundred people. The building cost £125 and  initially the congregation had to supply £35 and the Home Mission Committee £100 which would cost £10 in interest over ten years, however  £80 was raised by the congregation so they could start their worship in their church really free from any anxiety as to ways and means.  A new brick church was opened in October 1960 and the original church was moved back on the block and used as a Sunday School and it was demolished around 1987 to accommodate extensions to the Church.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Eumemmerring Run

Doveton, Hallam, Endeavour Hills and the modern day suburb of Eumemmerring  were originally part of the  Eumemmerring Run. This run was 14 square miles (10,240 acres or 4,100 hectares) and was taken up by Dr Farquhar McCrae (1807-1850) in 1839.  It was described as good sheep country. Dr McCrae was the brother-in-law of Georgiana McCrae (1804-1890) who was married to his brother Andrew. Georgiana kept a journal, later published as Georgiana's Journal.  Later the same year it was taken over by Leslie Foster (1818-1900) or to give him his full name -  John Vesey Fitzgerald Leslie Foster, apparently known as 'alphabetical Foster’. Foster is pictured left.  Foster was, amongst other things, a first cousin of Sir William Foster Stawell (1815-1889) who was appointed Victorian Attorney General in 1851 and became Chief Justice of Victoria in 1857. Stawell Street in Cranbourne was named after him, as well as the town of Stawell. Foster also, in 1843, challenged Dr McCrae to a pistol duel over a land sale, when McCrae refused Foster whipped him and his horse with a horse whip. He was later fined £10 and had to pay £250 in damages. He went on to help draft Victoria’s constitution, acted as the administrator of the Colony between the departure of Governor La Trobe and the arrival of Governor Hotham.

Foster held the run until 1842 when it was taken up by Edward Wilson and James Stewart Johnson until 1846 when Thomas Herbert Power (1801 to 1873)  took it on.  The property then went from around the Dandenong Creek/Power Road all the way to Berwick. Power was a member of the Legislative Council from 1856 until 1864 and had land in other areas including Hawthorn, and is the source of the name Power Road. When he died in 1873 the value of his Estate was over £40,000. He still owned, according to his Probate papers 1,848 acres (747 hectares) in the Parish of Eumemmerring  when he died. Part of his Probate papers are reproduced below. You can see some of alloments  in the Eumemmerring Parish Plan, further below.

Part of  Thomas Herber Power's Probate papers. listing his Eumemmerring land, valued at £6006.  Wills and Probates up to 1925 are digitised and available on the Public Records Office of Victoria website.

Eumemmerring Parish Plan (partial) showing some of the land owned by Thomas Herbert Power.
It was apparently Power (pictured right) who called his property Grassmere and the Doveton  area was known as Grassmere or Eumemmerring until it was named Doveton in September 1954. On October 30 1888 Munro & Baillieu Estate Agents offered for sale  the Grassmere property of 3,000 acres (1214 hectares) subdivided into lots of between 1 acre and 20 acres (up to 8 hectares), some of which  was land from the Power Estate. It was described as having  extensive views of both mountains and sea and only a few minutes walk from this happily situated and pretty township, so fast becoming a favourite residential estate. The pretty township was Dandenong, pretty it may have been but even Usain Bolt wouldn't have made it from Dandenong to Grassmere in a few minutes. 

This is the plan of Grassmere which appeared in The Argus of October 30, 1888.  Marked on the map is the proposed railway line to Fern Tree Gully, which never eventuated.

It is highly unlikely McCrae, Foster or Power ever lived in the area, however in  the 1850s there were other land sales, especially around the Eumemmerring Creek, of smaller sub-divided blocks and farmers arrived and created a community - the  Eumemmerring, Denominational School started in 1858 and two Inns and  a race course were established and of course, a bit further east was the Hallam Hotel which began as a general store run by William and Mary Hallam, in the 1860s. These settlers didn't (generally) have roads named after them nor are remembered in any other way but Jean Uhl has listed them, on page 97,  in her book, Call back Yesterday: Eumemmering Parish (published by Lowden Press, 1972)  and they deserve to be recognised here.

Sources: Call back yesterday: Eumemmering Parish by Jean Uhl (Lowden Press, 1972). The photographs of Foster and Power are from the Parliament of Victoria website www.parliament The Probate record of Thomas Power is from the Wills and Probate Papers digitised by the  Public Records Office of Victoria The Grassmere plan comes from The Argus, available on Trove
The information on Leslie Foster comes from the Australian Dictionary of Biography on-line at The original article was written by Betty Malone.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

History Week - October 21 to 28, 2012

Celebrate History Week, October 21 to 28  2012, with these local events.

Sunday, October 21
Fishermans Cottage Museum Open Day.
Visit the 1873 Fishermans Cottage Museum, fitted out with period furnishings, managed by the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society. There is also a collection of items relating to the history of Cranbourne and Tooradin in the old school room.
Free entry, refreshments available.  Foreshore Road, Tooradin, 10.00am to 4.00pm.
More information: Polly Freeman 5998 3454.

Wednesday, October 24
Berwick Mechanics’ Institute Open Day.
The Berwick Mechanics’ Institute has provided a Library service in Berwick since 1862 and to celebrate their 150th anniversary they invite you to their Open Day.
See some of the treasures of the collection including original 19th century books, the Lord Casey collection and silk paintings by Ellis Rowan.
Free, refreshments served. BMI 15 High Street, Berwick, 10.00am to 4.00pm. More information: 9707 3519

Friday, October 26
The Dovetons of Doveton.
Discover the exciting story of the life of John and Margaret Doveton, after whom the suburb of Doveton was named. Local History Librarian, Heather Arnold, presents some fascinating facts about the couple.
Doveton Library, 10.30am to 11.30am. Free. Bookings essential. or Doveton Library 9792 9497.

Friday, October 26
Local History talk, Radio 3SER 97.7FM. 
Bryce Eishold joins local history enthusiast, Judith Dwyer, to present the Local History spot on Radio 3SER at 5.30 pm, on the last Friday of the month. This months guest is Chris Keys, the President of the Dandenong and District Historical society.

Sunday, October 28
Cranbourne Cemetery tour.
Join the Narre Warren & District Family History Group on a tour of Cranbourne Cemetery. Come and hear a few of the 3,000+ stories behind the headstones as they explore Cranbourne’s early history and the 
accomplishments and tragediesof some of the district’s early settlers. 
The 90 minute tour will cost $5 per person paid on the day – however bookings are essential.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Aerial photos of Doveton, Eumemmerring, Hampton Park and Dandenong

These aerial photographs were taken on March 3, 1970. The label says they were taken at  a 'height of 1,500 feet generally, down to 1,000 feet'. That is 450 metres down to 300 metres.  All the photographs have 'Eummemmerring Bypass from end of Mulgrave Bypass to South Gippsland Highway" on the back.  I presume that they were taken along the route of the proposed road between Stud Road and the Princes Highway East, which would act as a by-pass to the City of Dandenong. This work started in 1969 and was finished in 1972. The photographs are from the Shire of Berwick and have been annotated on the front  at some stage by a Council employee. 

This is the Princes Highway at Hallam/Eumemmerring, showing Kays Avenue at the bottom right and the General Motors Plant in the centre of the photograph. The South Gippsland freeway now runs to the left of  Kays Avenue and the right of General Motors. It's page 91 of the Melway Street Directory.

Kays Avenue is in the centre, the Princes Highway bi-sects the photograph, Doveton Avenue is to the right and  you can see the General Motors factory, centre left. 

Looking west (or towards Dandenong) up the Prince Highway. Kays Avenue is just below centre right.

This is looking south, over Eumemmerring and  General Motors to Hallam/Hampton Park. Kidds Road is at the bottom, right. General Motors Holden is at the centre, towards the top of the photograph. Florence Street is in the centre. It doesn't exist in the Melway anymore.

Another view across towards General Motors Holden.  Power Road is bottom right.

This is the South Gippsland Highway and Pound Road intersection at Hampton Park, looking north to General Motors Holden factory. It's page 96 of the Melway Street Directory.

The same intersection as above, the corner of the South Gippsland Highway and Pound Road. If you have been along here recently you would know that there have been some massive changes since this photograph was taken. To see another aerial photograph of this area, click here.

 This is Gladstone Road in Dandenong, looking towards where it intersects with Brady Road and further on Halton Road.  It's Map 81 of the Melway Street Directory.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Casey Airfield at Berwick

The Casey Airfield was established at Berwick in 1938 by Colonel Rupert Ryan, who owned the Edrington property with his sister, Lady Casey. Ryan's brother-in law, Lord Casey owned a Perceval Gull monoplane and flew to and from Canberra, where he was a member of the House of Representatives. Lady Casey was also a pilot. From 1948, until the early 1960s the airfield was also used by the Victorian Motorless Flight Group for gliding. In 1968, Colonel Keith Hatfield and Major Ron Kerrison took over the airfield and operated a flying school under the name Group Air P/L. Sadly, less than two years later, Major Kerrison and his passenger, Mrs Roma McLeod, were killed in  an aircrash at the field. Colonel Hadfield was born in 1919 and served in the British Army in World War Two, then joined the Australian Army after the War  and flew with the American Air Force in Korea. When the airfield was established in 1938, Berwick was a small country town, however by the 1990s, it had developed into a suburb of Melbourne and it appears that a small airfield had no place in Berwick anymore. The beginning of the end came in 1992 when the Berwick Campus of Chisholm TAFE was constructed and it finally closed in 1994 when it was announced that the Berwick Campus of Monash Universtity was to be built on the site.

 The Airfield, photograph undated, possibly 1940s.

This photograph of the Airfield is from the book, Berwick Nostalgia, published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society.

Aerial photograph of the Casey Airfield, taken December 27, 1963. The road bi-secting the photograph is Berwick-Clyde Road. The Railway line shows up as a curve from the top left to the bottom right of the photograph. You can see the criss-crossing of the runways. The hangars appear in the centre of the photograph, they are the white dots, the dark dots are the rows of cypress trees, still seen in the 1992 photograph further below.

 An air show at Casey Airfield. The Photograph is most likely from the 1980s.

 The photographs, above and below, were taken in October 1992.

This was also taken in October 1992 and shows the construction of the Berwick Campus of Chisholm TAFE in the background.

The official announcement that the State Government had obtained the Casey Airfield site for the Berwick Campus of the Monash University. Photograph dated January 6, 1994. Left to right are Federal Member for Latrobe, Bob Charles; Tertiary Education Minister, Haddon Storey; Monash University Deputy Vice Chancellor, Ian Chubb; City of Berwick Mayor, Cr Norma McCausland and the State Member for Berwick, Robert Dean.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Narre Warren Library - 'turning the sod' 1992

These photographs were taken in February 1992  at the 'turning of the sod' for the new Narre Warren Library. The Library was opened November 21, 1992 and you can read more about the history of public library services in Narre Warren here. The Narre Warren Library has come a long way since 1992, in the 2011-2012 financial year the Narre Warren Library  had 766, 373 loans, nearly 27 per cent of the total loans for the Casey Cardinia Library Corporation and over 350,000 visits from our patrons.

This is Kirsty Lottkowitz, the Shire of Berwick Mayor, at the time, 'turning the sod'. As with many Government occasions, the 'official' function often happens after a building has been opened or, in this case, work has already started, because you can see in the photograph below, that Cr Lottkowitz and Neil Lucas, are standing in front of a  substantial hole. Mr Lucas, was the CEO of the City of Berwick. 

 These two shots show the excavation work for the Narre Warren Library, with Fountain Gate Shopping Centre in the background.

Finally, a view of the excavations looking towards the Civic Centre. If you are interested in construction photographs, then you may be interested in the post on the construction of the Endeavour Hills Leisure Centre which was opened in November 1990 (click here) or the construction of the City of Berwick Civic centre in 1978 (click here)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Main Street Pakenham

Here are some views of Main Street in Pakenham. I don't have  a date for the first three photographs, but I would guess they were taken around 1900.

This is Main Street, looking towards McGregor Road. 
 State Library of Victoria Image H82.96/138

Main Street Pakenham, looking towards the Railway Station. The same view is below. The verandah on the right is the same verandah on the building on the right, below. This store was originally owned by Mr Crump, later taken over by McAfees, then sold to Robinsons.

You can see Robinson's SSW supermarket, in this 1980s photograph. It was later taken over by Safeways and is now the IGA. Safeways moved to its new building behind Main Street around 1984. This was the beginning, in my mind, of Pakenham's transition from being a country town to a suburb, when people no longer did all their shopping at small, independently owned businesses  in the Main Street.