Friday, 26 July 2013

Bunyip aerial photographs 1985

Last week I posted some aerial photographs of Garfield, taken by the Shire of Pakenham in November 1985. Click here to see these photographs. This week we will look at aerial photographs of Bunyip, taken at the same time also by the Shire of Pakenham.

 Bunyip, looking south, towards Recreation Reserve. The intersection is of High Street, Princess Street on the right, A'Beckett Street on the left. High Street then continues as Nash Road.


Bunyip, looking north. The intersection is of Bunyip-Modella Road with the Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road and the railway line. Bunyip-Modella Road becomes Hope Street, north of the railway line. 

Almost the same shot as above - Bunyip, looking north. The intersection is of Bunyip-Modella Road with the Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road and the railway line. Bunyip-Modella Road becomes Hope Street, north of the railway line. 

Bunyip, looking east. This is the intersection of Hope Street and Princess Street (running off the left) across to High Street. 

 Bunyip is on the Gippsland Railway line to Sale. The line runs from top to bottom, on the left of the picture (or west to east). Further left is the Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road. On the right of the line are the shops, hotels and Public Hall in Main Street. 

Bunyip Recreation Reserve. The road to the west of the Reserve is the Bunyip-Modella Road. You can see the Railway line, running from the top (west) to the right. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Garfield aerial photos 1985

These photographs are from our Archive collection and were taken by the Shire of Pakenham and are dated November 1985. In the another post we will look at aerial photographs of Bunyip, taken at the same time.

The road that comes in from the centre left is Garfield Road, which runs out to the Princes Highway. It intersects with the Gippsland railway line; the south side of the railway line is Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road. 

Garfield, looking south. Garfield is on the Gippsland railway line. North of the line is Railway Avenue and that's Campbell Street running of Railway Avenue. South of the line is Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road. The road that is parallel to the strut of the plane wing is Fourteen Mile Road, with the Recreation Reserve beside it. The little street on centre right is Beswick Street and the building to the right of it is the Garfield Picture Theatre. 

Aerial photograph of Garfield, looking south east. Garfield is on the Gippsland railway line to Sale and the Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road. The road that comes in on the centre right, at right angles to the railway line, is the Thirteen Mile Road 

 Photograph showing the Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road, which runs next to the Gippsland railway line. Photograph labelled 'Cr Matthews, Garfield', presumably the property of Cr Jeune Matthews which was on the Tynong side of Garfield. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

Squizzy Taylor Myths

Let me start this by saying that I consider Squizzy Taylor to be nothing more than a common criminal and I think that his criminal lifestyle should not be glamorised, as it seems to be at the moment. However, over the years I have been asked if Taylor ever spent time in this area and have been told of possible sightings - so in this post I intend to try to work out fact from fiction.

First myth: Squizzy Taylor's sister, Mrs Bufford, ran the Hallam Hotel and he was a frequent visitor there. (Click here for an account of this)  According to a report in The Argus of July 12, 1927 Elsie Bufford took over as licensee of the hotel in July 1927. Previous to this she had been at the Commercial Hotel in Yea, and a report in the Alexandra and Yea Standard said Mrs Bufford sold this hotel in  February 1927. Squizzy Taylor died October 27, 1927, so he may have been a frequent visitor for the three months before he died, but she wasn't his sister.  According to the Indexes to the Births, Deaths and Marriages, Leslie 'Squizzy' Taylor had three sisters and four brothers - one of his sisters, Irene,  died as an infant; Gladys married Leslie Mouldey and Alice married Alfred Wiggin. His parents are listed as Benjamin Isaiah Taylor and Rose Jones. Elsie Bufford was born in Corowa in 1892 to Dougal McDonald and Maria Green. She married George William Bufford in 1916, it was obviously not a happy marriage as an article in the The Argus of April 14, 1937 (reproduced below) shows she was granted a divorce from her husband on the grounds of desertion.

Elsie held the Hallam Hotel licence until October 1933. I am not sure where she went after that but she was at the Colbinabbin Hotel from at least 1936 until August 1938.  She married Reginald Skews in 1938 and died in Red Cliffs in 1956. So the myth is that Taylor visited the Hallam Hotel because the licensee, Mrs Bufford, was his sister. Mrs Bufford was not his sister and she only had the Hotel for three months before he was killed, so I am saying that this is a myth and has no basis in fact!

Second myth: Squizzy Taylor attended the races at Nar Nar Goon and Garfield. According to the book by Hugh Anderson The rise and fall of Squizzy Taylor:  a larrikin crook, Taylor was a keen race goer and started his 'legitimate' working  life as a apprentice jockey. Garfield held races from 1902 to 1933 and there were races at Nar Nar Goon until 1942. Both towns were on the train line, so access was easy. So, this myth is plausible.

Third myth: Squizzy Taylor frequented Cannons Creek. Why first reaction to this is 'Why would he bother?' Today, of course, this area is a pleasant town but in the 1920s, and before, it was really nothing but coastal scrub - the first land sales in the area didn't take place (according to the Shire of Cranbourne Rate books) until 1930, three years after Taylor died, so at the time there would have been nothing but a few fishing shacks, the holiday house of Sir Aaron Danks and the house of the fisherman, Nicola Nicolella. There were no shops and no hotel, it was around seventy kilometres from Melbourne and past Cranbourne the roads would have been dirt tracks. It was a long way from the bright lights and social activity of Taylor's inner Melbourne haunts. Anderson has reports of him in Frankston (which was a holiday destination in the 1920s)  and St Kilda, so there were plenty of closer places to go to the beach.  I am saying that, once again, this is a myth and has no basis in fact.

Fourth myth:  Squizzy Taylor had a hide out in North Garfield.  There is a property in North Garfield Road that is currently on the market and this connection is one of the 'selling points'. Once again, my reaction is 'Why would he bother?' In the 1920s North Garfield was pretty remote, the property that is for sale is 5 kilometres north of the highway and about the same distance again into the township and about 85 kilometres from the inner suburbs, Taylor's usual haunts.

Apparently, Taylor was on the run from police from around mid 1921 until September 1922. According to Hugh Anderson it was impossible to say where Leslie Taylor spent all his time during those months, but fantastic stories were current throughout his Pimpernel period of him being seen, here, there and everywhere, in many disguises as a quick change artist. Anderson said he may have spent time  in the cellars beneath the old Bijou Theatre, then a flat in East Melbourne and in the summer he lived in St Kilda. He was also nearly caught during a robbery in Elsternwick during this time. Taylor wrote various letters to the newspapers at the time to taunt the police. It takes both money and connections to be able to hide out from the Police for over  a year and  for Taylor, his sources for both would be found amongst his supporters in the inner city. Garfield was a small town, strangers would have been noticed, and as Taylor carried out at least one robbery during this time, it would seem that he didn't have a years supply of money under the bed to maintain his lifestyle and there are more targets to rob in the city rather then Garfield.

Another rumour I have heard connected to Garfield is that a female acquaintance of his grew marijuana on the hide out property and took the train to town periodically to sell it, on his behalf. It seems like an awfully long supply chain - it was nearly ten kilometres to the Station, along some fairly quiet roads; Taylor had both enemies and the police looking out for him all the time, it just sounds like a woman would be fairly vulnerable to being captured or attacked by either parties. So the myth is that Taylor had a hide out in North Garfield. I am saying that this is just  myth and has no basis in fact.

If you are a Taylor supporter, then I am happy for you to present facts to prove that I am wrong!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Beaconsfield Upper history

A history of Beaconsfield Upper has just been published. The author, Dr Charles Wilson and his wife, Yvonne, moved to the 'charming, loosely structured hilltop village' as he describes it, in 1977. They lost their house in the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires, but re-built and stayed in the community. Dr Wilson started to research the history of the town and had amassed extensive notes, but sadly passed away in 2010 before he could convert the notes into  a book. His family and the Upper Beaconsfield Association were keen to see a book published and so commissioned Jennifer Coates and Wendy Eldridge to undertake this project, with Jennifer compiling the work and Wendy project managing it. The result is a handsome, well indexed, authoritative work, which predominately looks at the non-indigenous history of the area. It starts with the squatting runs, Panty Gurn Gurn and Mount Misery, then Bowman's Track and the early selectors and land owners. There is a section on local places and properties, local families and chapters on Guys Hill and Dewhurst.  You can purchase a copy of the book from places in the town - more information is available on the Upper Beaconsfield Association website. We also have copies for loan, check here  for availability.

Just a note on names: Beaconsfield Upper is the official  name of the town, although many locals prefer Upper Beaconsfield. It does seem that the two versions of the name have been used interchangeably over the years, in fact a search on Trove reveals around 3,900 uses of the term Upper Beaconsfield from 1880 to 1980 and around 4,100 uses of the term Beaconsfield Upper in the same period.