Monday, 16 December 2013

William A. Smith lace factory in Doveton

Lace Street in Eumemmerring is the only  reminder of the William A. Smith lace factory which operated there from 1949 to the 1980s.  When the factory was built it was in Power Road, however Power Road was later diverted around the Eumemmerring Creek and the small section of it, south of the Creek, was renamed Lace Street (see aerial photograph below). The factory was in an area which has gone through many changes of name - initially Eumemmerring, then Dandenong, from 1954 called Doveton and from 1981 called Eumemmerring (again)

This article was  in, of all papers, the Kalgoorlie Times of March 30 1948 and is about the establishment of the lace factory. It also appeared word for word in the Burnie Advocate.  

Maria Harding, in her book, Doveton: a brief history says that the factory was built in 1949 and started operations that year. Two managers houses were also built at this time.  Mrs Harding writes that this factory made handkerchiefs, napery and veils, no doubt using the products imported from the English factory. In 1953, another factory was built alongside the original one and this factory manufactured lace. A third managers residence was also built and eighty four people were employed. The factory operated until the 1980s when it closed as it could no longer compete with cheaper imports. The factory, which was on the west side of Lace Street was sold and has been demolished as have the three houses.

The employees of the lace factory in 1951.

There was an article in the Women's Weekly of April 22, 1959 entitled Dandenong: a symbol of industrial strength. This article looked at various factories in the Dandenong,  including the lace factory. They interviewed William Smith and he claims that his factory was the first in Dandenong. It goes on to say that at his 300 year old walnut desk, brought from England, Mr Smith sighed ' for the old days at Dandenong (1947) when not a light could be seen for miles at night'.  "Look at the bustle now', he said. A heavy stream of traffic packed the four-lane highway in from of the factory.

This picture accompanied the Women's Weekly article about Dandenong and shows some of the lace factory employees.
Women's Weekly of April 22, 1959

This is a 1963 aerial of Doveton / Eumemmerring. Click on photo to enlarge it. That's the tree-lined  Eumemmerring Creek, snaking through from top right to bottom left and just to the right of the Creek, at the bottom, you can see Lace Street and the two factories on the western side, along with the three Manager's houses. Further north, the two ovals are Robinson Reserve and L.S. Reid oval. The intersection middle top is that of Frawley Road/Paperbark Street with Power Road. Follow Power Road to the bottom of the photo and it intersects with the Highway.  Power Road was diverted at this end as it would have been too expensive to build a bridge to take heavy trucks*. 

 *William Smith in an interview with Maria Harding

Friday, 13 December 2013

Harkaway - Michael Drew photograph collection

Historian, Mr Max Thomson, has donated his collection of historic photographs to the State Library of Victoria. Amongst the photographs are these ones of the Harkaway Hall -  taken by Michael Drew (1873-1943). They were all on glass negatives. Mr Thomson is the author of Little Hills, a history of Narre Warren North, published in 1977 to celebrate the centenary of the Narre Warren North State School, No.1901. You can read about Michael Drew, here.

Harkaway Hall
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/462

The Hall looks finished on the outside, so perhaps these workmen were finishing off the interior. 

Harkaway Hall
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria  Image H2012.171/464

The Hall, completed and sign written, above.  The Hall was officially opened on June 9, 1909 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Thomas Gibson Carmichael.  There is an account of the opening of the hall in the book Early Days of Berwick.   Mr James Curran, who wrote the chapter on Harkaway, reported that the Governor was escorted by a squadron of Australian Light Horse, the Narre Warren Troop, under the command of the late Lieutenant Alan Henry. The Troop also served as a Guard of Honour. 

An account of the opening of the Harkaway Hall by the Governor of Victoria, 
Sir Thomas Gibson-Carmichael, on June 9, 1909
Punch June 18, 1909

The Governor, being escorted by the Narre Warren Light Horse Regiment, to the Harkway Hall opening.
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/457

Opening of the Harkaway Hall, June 9, 1909.
Photographer: Michael Drew
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/460

The photograph, above, was taken at the opening of the hall on June 9, 1909. Mr Curran also wrote that the people associated with the establishment of the Hall were Mr G.O.Lyon, Mr W. Warby, Mr Drew, Cr W. G. A'Beckett, Cr Kerr, Cr Barr and Mesdames R. Kelly, W.H. Jarrett, E. Wanke, Miss Mackie and Miss Troupe. Perhaps some of these people are in this photograph.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Roads, Rates and Rubbish - 1980s

Traditionally, Councils had their main focus on the three Rs - Roads, Rates and Rubbish. I have spoken before about the Shire of Pakenham slides which I have scanned - so here a representative lot showing the three Rs in the 1980s!

 The Pakenham Shire and the City of Berwick were formed on October 1st, 1973 when the Shire of Berwick split, with the Cardinia Creek being the boundary. The Pakenham Shire became the  Cardinia Shire officially on the December 15, 1994 at 4.00pm. The Cardinia Shire consists on the old Pakenham Shire, the rural eastern parts of the Cranbourne Shire and Emerald and surrounds, which came from the Sherbrooke Shire.

I believe this was taken in 1993. The population of Pakenham was 25,648 at the 2011 Census.

Amongst the slides were these two, above and below, obviously done for a presentation, explaining the Rates notice and how the Shire spends its money - in 1981 when the slides were created  the Council budget was just over $5 million and 38% was spent on roads, streets and bridges. The Council budget is now about $93 million.

Rubbish - being collected in the old fashioned manner, where 'garbos' physically picked the bins. For Health and Safety reasons this has now been stopped.  Truck owned P.H & E.P Young, Ballarto Road, Cardinia.

Roads - Shire of Pakenham digger. 

Finally - just to prove that rate payers received other services for their rates - here is the Pakenham Library, taken in June 1981.  The Council obviously wasted no rate payer money on aesthetically  pleasing features when they built this building, utilitarian is perhaps the kindest description we could use.  The Library was opened in 1979, in John Street when it was a dead end, before Safeways and the Target shops were built.  There is an aerial photograph of the building here.  This Library was replaced by the second John Street Library in 1991.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Touring in the 1930s.

I have just been given this fabulous set of Shell maps. Judging by the wonderful Art Deco style cover I presume that they are from the 1930s. 

The maps also include parts of the Motor Car Act. Click on the image to enlarge it. My favourite part of this Act covers the Wind Screen Wiper. It says that Every vehicle fitted with a wind screen must have attached thereto an efficient wiper. The Act also warns us not to use a Public Highway for racing or  a trial speed and also not to sound the horn when passing Churches. And another interesting part of the Act says The law now requires drivers to signal when about to stop, turn right or when the driver requires other vehicles to pass him on his right.

However, because this is a blog about the history of the Casey Cardinia, then you may be interested in this map. If we travel along the Princes Highway from Dandenong, we get to Narre Warren. Narre Warren North is described as 'Old Narre Warren', which is what it was, I just haven't seen it described like that on a map.  Modern day Narre Warren was established when the railway station opened in 1882. If we head up to the hills, going east from Belgrave, the town of  Aura is of interest. Menzies Creek was known as Aura from 1917-1923. 

Further east we have Gembrook North and Gembrook West, names no longer in use. Also of interest, right down the bottom we have Sherwood Junction, also a name no longer used, on the corner of the South Gippsland Highway and Tooradin-Baxter Road and further east they still use the name Yallock, even though with the opening of the Bayles station in 1922, the town and the name began to fall into decline.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Endeavour Hills Library - 1980s

The Endeavour Hills Library was officially opened on May 31, 1987 by the Mayor of the City of Berwick, Cr Eddie Barron. Here are some photographs of the Library and the Library site from around this time.

This is the site of the Library, next to the Community Centre. The Community Centre opened October 17, 1982. The shopping centre had opened in 1979.

This is the Library site, before construction started.

The day of the opening. All participants received a commemorative bookmark, below.

Above and below, are two early photographs of the Library from 1987/1988.

The Library was renovated and extended in 2007.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


These are more slides from the Shire of Pakenham collection which  I have been scanning.  They were taken in 1993, which isn't that long ago, in some ways, but considering the massive change in this area in the past twenty years they document the changes in Beaconsfield from the country town that it was to the suburb that it is becoming today. 

The old township signs that were erected by the Shire of Pakenham.

Princes Highway, Beaconsfield. The town of Beaconsfield was by-passed with the opening of the Berwick by-pass in December 1983.

The Beaconsfield Railway Station July 1993. The railway station was opened on December 1, 1879.

This building was used as an Antiques store in 1993, but as you can see below, was originally Adamson's hardware store. It is located in Woods Street.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Oral Histories collection launched today!

We officially launched our Digitised Oral History collection today! The interviews were recorded on cassette tape by Dr Debbie Stephan, the City of Berwick and later City of Casey Historical Officer and by students from Berwick Secondary College  in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These tapes  have been sitting in our Archive since then. Over that time, no-one had an opportunity to listen to them or even knew what a great resource we had, so we thought it was time to digitise the tapes and make them available to the general public.  There are over 50 tapes already digitised with another 30 to go. We haven't edited them at all, just improved the sound quality. They are now available on our website - click on this link and it will take you straight there.

These oral histories cover a wide range of subjects and time periods. Dr Stephan had interviewed people associated with the formation of the City of Berwick  such as Mr Neil Lucas, the CEO; Mr Ross Currie, City Engineer; Mr Jeff Marjoram, Director of Community Services and Mr Ron Chidgey, Technical Services. We were fortunate that Neil Lucas, Ross Currie and Ron Chidgey could attend the launch - in fact Neil did us the honour of officially launching the collection today. We listened to some of Neil's interview and he talked about the very first City of Berwick Council meeting which was held at 10.00am at the Berwick Inn on October 1, 1973. It was held at the Berwick Inn as that is where the first Berwick Road Board meeting was held.

This photograph was taken after the first meeting of the City of Berwick 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. Our oral history collection also includes interviews with David Lee, Barry Simon and Jan Bateman

The oral histories are not just related to municipal affairs - other people interviewed include - Mr Vivian Campbell, the manager of the Piney Ridge farm which was located where the suburb of Endeavour Hills is today; Mr Ted Allen of Cranbourne who talks about his service in World War Two; Dr Noel Stephenson who talks about the changes to the Berwick Bush Nursing Hospital; Miss Lucy Bailey, of Araluen, whose grand parents came to Narre Warren North in the 1890s and established the first orchard in the area; Mr Doug Smith who talked about Cranbourne when it was a country town and Mrs Queenie Brundrett who talked about Narre Warren North in  the depression.

This is just a snap shot of the broad range of stories, memories and information that you will find in our oral history collection. Many of the people interviewed have now passed on, but a part of them will live on in these oral histories.

You can access the Oral histories from our web page and there are links in the Local History section or just click here

Friday, 11 October 2013


In a previous post I posted some mystery photographs, that turned out to be of Dewhurst, a small town in the Cardinia  Shire between Beaconsfield Upper and Emerald. The original township is now under the Cardinia Reservoir. The mystery photographs were identified by Mrs Dorothy Burgess (nee Bishop) who grew up in Dewhurst. Mrs Burgess also gave us copies of some of her own photographs and has allowed us to post them on our blog. These photographs, along with the ones shown in the previous post, provide a fairly comprehensive record of life in the original township of Dewhurst from the 1930s to the 1950s. I am grateful to Mrs Burgess for allowing us to share her photographs.

This is the wedding of Dorothy Bishop and Alex Burgess in March 1957 at the Dewhurst Methodist Church.

This is the Dewhurst Methodist Church congregation, taken April 29, 1956. The Methodist Church was located down hill from Elephant Rock (opposite Bimbimbie Drive).   Left to right are Andrew Haldane, Jill Haldane, Mrs Hamilton, Ethel Lewis, Stan Hamilton (at back in doorway) George Lewis, Margaret Bishop, Frances Bishop, Hilda Haldane with baby Ruth, Edwin Hamilton, Val Hamilton (Bramley), Graeme Horsfall (the lay preacher), Dorothy Bishop, Irene Horsfall and Rodney Horsfall.

This was the last service at the Methodist Church and was held in December 1972.


Dewhurst School, No. 4522,  with the large shelter shed at the back.

Then School was later extended.

The Dewhurst School Mothers Club. Back row - Mrs Moore, Mrs Wilson, Dorothy Bishop and Ruby Pratt. Front row - Di Ladd, Elaine Bruce and baby, Frances Bishop and Ethel Peart. Elaine  Bruce was married to the son of Mary Grant Bruce, the author and journalist.

This is Dewhurst Primary School in 1935. Back row - Hilda Hamilton, Grace Black, Mary Mumford, May Black. Second from back - Mary Bishop, Beverly Downey, Ethel Hamilton, Barbara Renfree. Second from front - Pater Downey, Ernie Rainey, Edwin Hamilton, Don Wilson. Front row - Ron Shanks, Norm Wilson, Ray Wilson.

Dewhurst School - perhaps late 1930s. Back row - Don Wilson, Edwin Hamilton, Miss Crow (teacher) Hilda Hamilton, Peter Downie, Ray Wilson. Middle row - Barbara Renfree, Betty Hamilton, Beverley Downie, Mary Bishop. Seated at front - Ron Shanks, Norman Wilson. 

Dewhurst School - c. 1940. Back row - Ettie Hamilton, Barbara Renfree, Marjorie Wilson (checked top), Hilda Hamilton, Edwin Hamilton, Peter Downie, Don Wilson (wearing cap), Ray Wilson (wearing tie). Front row - Ann Bell (nee Black)*, Beverley Downie, Mary Bishop, Dorothy Bishop, Mary Hamilton, Stan Hamilton (hands over face) Ron Shanks, Maurice Downie, Norman Wilson and John Downie. Dorothy was too young to have started school but used to go to the school to play with her siblings.

Dewhurst School students - mid 1940s.  Back row - John Nash, Adolf Champion, David Halley, Stan Hamilton. Middle row - Margaret Halley, Winston Champion, Margaret Bishop, Janice Peart. Front row - George Bishop and Robert Wilson.

Dewhurst School students, mid 1940s. - Back row - Stan Hamilton, David Halley, Brian Richardson, Dorothy Bishop, Mary Hamilton. Front row - Janice Peart, Robert Wilson, Helen Miller, Margaret Halley, George Bishop, Margaret Bishop. We have  a great photograph of Mary Hamilton's wedding in 1954, here.

Dewhurst School - mid 1940s. Back row - David Halley, Stan Hamilton, Dorothy Bishop, Mary Hamilton, Brian Richardson. Front row - unknown girl, Winston Champion, Margaret Halley, Margaret Bishop, George Bishop, Janice Peart. 

Dewhurst School 1950. Back row - Winston Champion (hidden), David Halley, Mr Waugh (teacher), Adolf Champion, Stan Hamilton. Front row - Janice Peart, Robert Wilson, Margaret Halley, Ken Peart, George Bishop, Margaret Bishop.

For more Dewhurst photographs, click here.

*Thank you to Malcolm Bell for supplying the name of this girl (his mother). We previously had her listed as 'unknown', but I put the photo on our Casey Cardinia Heritage Facebook page on December 21, 2017 and she was identified.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Hampton Park Jan 28 1970

These aerials of Hampton Park were taken on January 28, 1970, back in the days when it was just a county town. It was before the Eumemmerring By-pass was built, which was started in 1969 and completed in 1972. To see more photographs of this area, click here.

This shows the South Gippsland Highway, going from bottom right to top left of the photograph. The first road from the bottom of the picture, on the left of the Highway is Abbotts Road - it bisects the railway line. Around the middle, on the right of the Highway, is Somerville Road and above that is Pound Road.

This shows Somerville Road. The five roads on the south side are View Street, The Fairway, Parkland Avenue, Ora Street and Wren Street. On the north of Somerville Road is Bride Street, running beside the oval. On the right of the photograph is Hallam Road and it intersects with Pound Road, where the trees surrounding the four small paddocks look a bit like a swastika.  You can see the Hallam Main Drain at the top of the picture.

This photographs also shows the intersection of Hallam Road and Pound Road. It also shows the intersection where Pound Road diverts at at 45 degree angle at the Shrives Road ineresection.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Gembrook Union Church

These are photographs taken in the 1980s of the Gembrook Union Church and the Gembrook Catholic Church, Sacred Heart. The Union Churches have always interested me - they seemed to have been built in small communities, with a eucumenical spirit. There was one built at Yannathan in 1890, which was used by the Anglicans, the Presbyterians and the Methodists.It was used until 2011, when it closed down and was sold. There is also a Union Church at Officer. This was built in 1929 after 500 pounds was raised from members of the public. Previous to this, church services took place in the public hall.

The Gembrook Union Church, taken in the 1980s.

According to Bill Parker in his book Forest to Farming, the Gembrook Union Church was opened on April 6, 1879. The land, on the corner of Ure Road and Mountain Road,  was donated by the Reverend John Bromby  on the condition that the building could be used by all denominations. The property was 'owned' by the Pastoral Aid Society, a union between the Church of England and the Presbyterian Church.  The first services were Anglican and they were conducted by the Minister at Berwick. Later services were Presbyterian. The church is now the Gembrook Uniting Church. In 1905, an Anglican Church was built in Gembrook, St Silas.  St Silas was closed around 1994 and is now privately owned, though it does still seem to be used for some services.

Another view of the rather austere Gembrook Union Church, taken in the 1980s.

The third church built in Gembrook was Sacred Heart Catholic Church, built in 1921. Bill Parker writes that it was built by a Mr Twyford, 'a skilled carpenter and devout Anglican'. It is in Main Street in Gembrook and still operates today. It is pictured above, in a photograph taken in the 1980s.