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.