Sunday, 30 December 2018

Peter Paul Labertouche (c. 1827- 1907)

Peter Paul Labertouche is the namesake for the town of Labertouche, just over the Cardinia Shire border and north of Longwarry North. As Labertouche is such a grand name I thought it would be interesting to find out about him. For more reading I have created a list of newspaper articles about the Labertouche family on Trove, click here to access the list. 

Sketch of Peter Paul Labertouche
The Herald July 18, 1892

Here is a precis of Mr Labertouche's career in the Victorian Public Service. In April 1853, he was appointed as a Clerk in the Commissariat Department; in April 1858, Secretary for Roads and Bridges.  In July 1866, he was appointed as a Collector of Imposts and in December 1871 he had the role of certifying all accounts in the Roads and Bridges branch of the Department of Railways and Roads. In September 1876, he was appointed Acting Secretary for the Department of Railways and April 16, 1878 Mr Labertouche  reached the pinnacle of his career and was appointed Secretary for the Department of Victorian Railways. He retired from the position in 1892 after 39 years in the Victorian Public Service,  at the age of 65.

At a presentation to Mr Labertouche (reported in The Argus of November 9, 1892 read it here) it was said about him while  Mr Labertouche was secretary of the railways any person in the department could go to him in any difficulty and be certain of receiving his assistance and sympathy, if he were deserving of it. As a comrade, too, Mr Labertouche was always ready to join with his fellow officers in their social enjoyments and also to act in any other capacity m which he could assist the employees of the department

An article in the Ovens and Murray Advertiser  (read it here) said that he had been on an annual salary of 1,100 pounds which gave him a pension of 650 pounds per annum, which was round four to five times the average annual wage at the time.

I am not going to go into the minutiae of his working life with the railways, but instead tell you about his family and their glittering social life. Peter married Eleanor Annie Scales on February 22, 1859.  Peter died in March 1907, according to his obituary and by coincidence, his wife Eleanor also died in March 1907 - the 25th of  March, according to her Probate papers. They both died in London.

Peter and Eleanor's marriage notice in The Argus of February 23, 1859

They had the following children Pauline Hart Eleanor (Mrs Arthur Everett Leslie 1860 - 1939), un-named male (born & died 1861), Ethel Adelaide (Mrs Augustus Loftus 1862-1939),  Zoe (1864 - 1866), Raymond Sumner (1866 - 1867), Guy Neal Landale (1871 -1915). Ethel made a 'fashionable' marriage in November 1885 when she was married Captain Augustus Pelham Brooks Loftus. Loftus was the second son of the Governor of New South Wales, the Right Honorable Lord Augustus Loftus. The wedding was conducted by the Reverend C.P.M Bardin at Christ Church in Brunswick, the same minister and the same church where her parents were married. Bardin was a cousin of her fathers. You can read a report of the wedding in TableTalk, here.

Ethel and Captain Loftus' marriage notice in Table Talk June 26, 1885

Pauline married Arthur Everett Leslie, of South Kensington in London on June 19,  1889. You can read about this wedding, which took place in London,  here. I don't know much about Arthur, however apart from the fact that his divorce was  finalised in June 1885 from Maynard Eleanor Gordon. The two sisters,  Ethel and Pauline,  died in 1939, they were both living in England when they died - Ethel died November 28 and Pauline's death was registered in the first quarter of 1939, so January, February or March.

Guy Labertouche (1871 - 1915)

Guy married Muriel Stewart in 1908. He had been in the British Army and then in 1896 he transferred to the Indian Army, he was also in China during the Boxer Rebellion, so truly was  a 'son' of the British Empire. In 1895 he was appointed as aide-de-camp to the Acting-Governor of Victoria, Sir John Madden. Guy was killed in the First World War on April 14, 1915 at Shaiba, Mesopotamia (Iraq). There is a photo (above)  and information about him on the Scotch College, Melbourne, website here. Guy was the first old boy of Scotch College to die in the First World War.

Guy's engagement notice to Muriel Stewart in Punch August 6 1908

Back to Peter and Eleanor Labertouche - after Peter retired in 1892  he went to live in London, but it seems that Eleanor and the children were already living there. It is likely that they went to England with Ethel and  her husband in 1885, when Captain Loftus was appointed private Secretary to Sir Patrick Jennings England in his capacity of Commissioner to the Indian and Colonial Exhibition.  'Gussy' Loftus, as he was known, was very well connected. At one stage, the papers reported that Gussy's father, had succeeded to the title of the Marquisate of Ely, almost making the Labertouche family one step closer to the Aristocracy (read about it, here)  In 1886, his daughter, Ethel Loftus was presented to Her Majesty on May 5 (read full account, here) In the same year, Guy was accepted into Westminister School, London, which dates back to the 12th century.

A report of Ethel Loftus' presentation at Court in the Sydney Mail June 19, 1886

In April 1888 Mrs Eleanor Labertouche, Miss Pauline 'Nina' Labertouche and Mrs Ethel Loftus  opened an upmarket dressmaking firm called Madame La Grange et Cie.  They already operated a business called Victoire et Compagnie and came to an  arrangement with Lousie Baldossi, an experienced dress maker, who had a business called Madame Louise,  to manage the business for four years. Miss Baldossi was to receive 250 pounds per annum and 5% of the business profits. The relationship soon broke down and Miss Baldossi was sacked. She sued them for unfair dismissal and won her case and was awarded 100 pounds compensation. You can read more about this case here, It was well reported in the papers with some of them using the very 'punny' headline - a 'Dressmaking suit'. In 1889, Pauline was married in London to Arthur Leslie. It seems that the women continued in business as in September 1889 Princess Mary of Teck and her daughters visited their new business Victoire et Cie in Bond Street. Read the full report, here. One of Princess Mary's daughters, became  Queen Mary (the wife of George V) - so no wonder the Labertouche women were happy to let everyone know of their illustrious clients.

Of course, it wasn't all a glittering life for the Labertouche because in 1891, Peter's brother George was as charged with embezzling 10,000 pounds from the Imperial Pensions Department in Sydney. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in jail.

We will finish off this post with this tribute to Mr Labertouche All those who were associated with the late Mr Labertouche at the Railway Department speak of him terms of great affection. He was popular with all classes and possessed an extremely amiable disposition. (The Argus, March 18 1907, see full report, here.)

For more reading I have created a list of newspaper articles about the Labertouche family on Trove, click here to access the list. 

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

An Acrostic Seasonal history of the Casey Cardinia region - Holidays!

In this post we take an eclectic and acrostic look at some themes from our history and the first letter of letter of each theme spells Holidays! Last year we did Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

H is for Hunting. The most obvious example of hunting in the region is the Melbourne Hunt Club. The Club dates back to the 1840s and moved from Oakleigh to Cranbourne in 1929, to the corner of Thompsons and Narre Warren-Cranbourne Roads. Fox hunting needs both space and obliging land owners and Cranbourne provided both. The club moved to Pakenham in the 1990s and was replaced by a housing estate of the same name. The fox is an introduced species to Australia and they were imported to Australia by members of the Acclimatisation Society  - William Lyall (1821 - 1888) of Harewood in Tooradin was a member and he introduced deer, pheasants, partridges, hares onto his property for hunting purposes.

This is the Acclimatisation Society's medal - which shows some of the animals introduced to Victoria - deer, ostrich, pheasant, swan, rabbit and  hare.
State Library of Victoria Image IAN20/06/68/8   

O is for Oil and petrol used in cars and sold at Garages. In the 1910s cars were beginning to appear in towns. Lawson Poole opened the first garage in Cranbourne in 1919 and by the early 1920s garages that sold, leased and serviced motorcars were common in many towns - Koo Wee Rup had at least two garages in the town in that decade.

Advertisement for Glasheen Brothers garage of Tooradin,
Koo Wee Rup Sun August 14, 1924

L is for Land sales.  Land in this area was first leased to squatters from the 1830s and 1840s. During the 1850s townships, such as Cranbourne and Berwick were surveyed and the first land sales took place. For other towns  it was  a bit later - township lots in Garfield, for instance, were sold in 1887, Hampton Park allotments in 1920. Elaborate posters were developed to promote these land sales, you can see some of them here. Land sales were spurred on by the development of the railways, this advertisement for the Emerald Station blocks from 1905, were made possible by the establishment of the 'Puffing Billy' line which opened December 1900.

Emerald Station blocks land sales, March 25, 1905
State Library of Victoria

I is for Immigrants. Harkaway is a town settled by German Lutheran immigrants, who were connected not only by their faith but by intermarriage. You can read about these early German families, here. Another  area in the region predominately settled by migrants from the same country is Skye. Skye changed its name to Lyndhurst South in 1903 (although some sources list the date as 1894) after a murder brought unwelcome attention to the area. It changed back to Skye in 1964. Many of the early settlers had come from the Isle of Skye, an island off the north-west coast of Scotland. There was, of course, a large influx of migrants to this region after the Second World War, many from Italy and The Netherlands. A report of a Naturalisation ceremony held by the Shire of Cranbourne in 1960, gives some idea of the makeup of 'new Australians' in the region, read it here.

The Lutheran Church and bell tower at Harkaway.
Image:  Early Days of Berwick, 3rd revised edition, 1979.

D is for Dredges. The Koo Wee Rup Swamp was essentially drained between 1889 and 1893. This work was done by hand and it was't until 1913 that dredges were used on the Swamp. This was the year the Lubecker Steam dredge arrived from Germany.  It started work on the Lang Lang River - which was described as a wandering creek - and it turned that 'wandering creek' into a 'proper drain' to prevent flooding of the area. It moved to the Koo Wee Rup Swamp in 1916. Other photos of dredges used by the State River and Water Supply Commission can be seen here

Lubecker Steam Dredge
State Rivers & Water Supply Commission photographer, State Library of Victoria Image rwg/u873

A is for Airfields. The Casey Airfield at Berwick (now the site of Federation University and Nossal High School) was established 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. As Berwick developed it was considered unsafe to have planes landing and taking off over houses and it closed in 1994. There is another airfield in the region, at Tooradin, which is still used. This has the distinction of having a ship on the property. This is the Edwina May, owned by William Curtain and his son, Ray.  It was moored at Tooradin, so they could work on the boat, but sadly Ray was in a boat Darwin when Cyclone Tracy hit in December 1974 and the boat sank and he died. After that, Mr Curtain did not have the heart to finish off Edwina May, and she remains there today. The information about the Edwina May comes from the Australian National Shipwreck database.

The Edwina May at Tooradin airfield.

Y is for Yellow cheese and milk and other dairy industry products. The Dairy industry has been, until recently, a large part of the Casey Cardinia economy. Many small towns had milk or cheese factories - the one at Cora Lynn is still standing, the one at Bayles, built in 1966 replacing an earlier one, is also still standing, but now used for vegetable processing. Read about them here. The most prominent one in the area is the Old Cheese factory at Berwick - established in 1875, read about it here. Apart from the factories we also had George Hope's Model dairy at Cranbourne which supplied pure, unadulterated milk to the Lady Talbot Milk Institute, which in turn supplied  the pure milk to babies in Melbourne to help reduce infant deaths due to contaminated milk.

The c. 1875 Old Cheese Factory at Berwick  - built at a time when factories were built to be both useful and aesthetically pleasing.

S is for Settlements - Religious. There have been two religious based settlements in the Casey Cardinia region.  The best known settlement is Maryknoll which  was established in 1949 by Father Wilfred Pooley (1912-1969)  as a Catholic community based on the principals of faith, family life and co-operative enterprise. Less well known was the Jewish Land Settlement Trust endeavour which was established at Berwick in 1927. The actual settlement was at the Closer Settlement Board Estate, Hallam Valley, which was technically at Narre Warren rather than Berwick. The Jewish Settlement was not very successful and by 1934/35 most of the settlers had left the area.

It would be interesting to see the slides of Berwick from this 1928 presentation.
Hebrew Standard of Australasia August 24 1928