Monday, December 23, 2019

Cora Lynn in flood

This postcard was  sent by my grandfather, Joseph Rouse, to his uncle Bob, Robert Rouse. I say it was sent, not sure that it was, but it was written out.  Joe was born in November 1892 and he and his father, James, arrived at Cora Lynn in July 1903 (read about this here).  The post card shows Cora Lynn in flood, possibly the 1911 flood. The building on the right is the E.S & A Bank. I believe it opened around the same time as the Cora Lynn Cheese factory, which was December 1910 or early January 1911.

This is what was written on the post card. It doesn't sound like Grandpa was much of  a correspondent.

Dear Uncle Bob,
Just a  few lines to ask how you are all getting on write and let me now (sic) as soon as you can and I will write again. Dan Tierney told me to write years ago but I have never done so. This card was taken in the time of the flood last year you can see Tierney's house the furthest away with the pine trees in front. I will close with love to all for  now. I remain your loving nephew, Joseph Rouse.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Koo Wee Rup - an acrostic

This is a potted history of Koo Wee Rup, using the name as the acrostic.

K is for Koo Wee Rup - the name of the town and the Swamp. Koo Wee Rup is Aboriginal for “blackfish swimming”. The railway station at Koo Wee Rup was named Yallock when it opened in 1890 and it was renamed Koo Wee Rup in 1892. There has always been a bit of an issue as to how you spell Koo Wee Rup. It could be Koo wee rup, Koo Wee Rup, Kooweerup, KooWeeRup, Koo-wee-rup or Koo-Wee-Rup.  On my Birth Certificate it has the town spelt as both Koo-Wee-Rup and Kooweerup and various documents from my time at the High School in the 1970s has the name spelt as Koo-wee-rup, Kooweerup and KooWeeRup, so even Government organizations were having a bet both ways. VicNames - the Register of Geographic Names lists it as Koo Wee Rup. You can access their website here  See also, here.

O is for Oil and Petrol, sold at garages. The first garage in Koo Wee Rup, was Mills and Davey, who were agents for Dodge Cars. They began advertising their up-to-date motor garage in the Koo Wee Rup Sun from January 1924.  As well as having the Dodge Agency, Mills and Davey were also Agents for Triumph and Harley Davidson Motor Cycles. The building is still there, it’s the yellow building in Station Street. Dusting’s garage (now the Vet surgery in Rossiter Road) was built around 1926 and owned by Robert Dusting from around 1930. In September 1932, Dusting announced in the Koo Wee Rup Sun that he had secured the Ford Dealership for Koo Wee Rup and Districts. Light’s garage was built for Thomas Burton and opened in February 1939. The Koo Wee Rup Sun described it as a new modern, commodious motor garage with up-to-date machinery and electric light.

Mills & Davey Garage at Koo Wee Rup
Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society photograph

O is for Overseas Communication and by this we mean the Amalgamated Wireless (Australia) Ltd Wireless Experimentation Radio Station which was erected off Sims Lane in 1921. It operated until 1922. This Station confirmed that direct and efficient communication between Great Britain and Australia was feasible. Radio communications, at this time, were sent and received by a series of relays. Wireless signals sent from Britain had already been received directly in Australia as early as 1918, as European Stations could be heard at certain times in Australia. These transmissions are affected by weather and especially sun activity.  The experiments at Koo Wee Rup used a heterodyne type receiver, with six stages of radio frequency amplication and two stages of audio frequency amplication. The research showed that wireless signals could be received over long periods each day from New York, Rome, England, Paris and Germany and were consistent enough to prove that direct wireless communication was both practical and reliable between Australia and Britain. See also, here and here.

The A.W.A Radio Station at Koo Wee Rup

W is for Water - as early as 1918 there was agitation for a water supply scheme in Koo Wee Rup and this issue came up periodically with the Koo Wee Rup Progress Association, however it wasn’t until 1929 that the Koo Wee Rup Water Works Trust was formed. Later that year the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (SRWSC) approved the plans for a water scheme and applications for tenders for the work were advertised in June. The tenders were for the construction of Head works, including an elevated reinforced concrete tank (the water tower that is still there) and settling basin - tender price was £4985.00 which included the construction of the water tower, the laying of pipes, the pumping machinery.  How did the Scheme work? Water was obtained from the Bunyip Canal (Main Drain) and was pumped into a concrete settling basin of 160,000 gallons (one gallon is about 4.5 litres) having passed through a filtration process. It was then pumped into a 90-foot (about 27 metres) tower which had an 83,000-gallon capacity. The water was then distributed around the town. See also, here.

E is for Education - there have been five primary schools called Koo Wee Rup and ironically the original Koo Wee Rup State School, No.2629, was actually called Yallock, until 1903 when it was changed to Koo Wee Rup. The Cora Lynn State School, No. 3502, was known as Koo Wee Rup Central when it opened in January 1907 and changed its named to Cora Lynn in September of that year. The Modella State School, No.3456, was known as Koo Wee Rup East when it opened in January 1904. The Koo Wee Rup North State School, No.3198, at Five Mile, was initially called Koo Wee Rup South when it opened in July 1894. Finally, the Iona State School, No. 3201, was originally known as Koo Wee Rup North.

E is for Eternal Rest - or Cemeteries. The Koo Wee Rup Swamp doesn’t have a cemetery, I presume because it was too wet and swampy, so residents of the Koo Wee Rup Swamp could be buried at Pakenham, Cranbourne, Lang Lang or Bunyip depending on what area of the Swamp they lived. The earliest cemetery was the Cranbourne Cemetery - the site for the Cemetery was reserved on December 11, 1857.   William and Annabella Lyall are both buried at Cranbourne - they were the owners of Harewood house on the South Gippsland Highway which they built from 1857. A report of the content of his will says that William Lyall ‘directs that his body be buried in the allotment set apart on his property as a private burying ground and that as little expense as possible be gone to in connection with his funeral’.  It doesn’t appear that his wishes were adhered to in the matter of the burial as he has a substantial grave at Cranbourne. Also buried at Cranbourne is Charles Rossiter, the source of the name Rossiter Road.  See also, here.

The site for the Pakenham Cemetery was reserved on February 13, 1865 although it is believed that the first burials actually took place in the 1850s.  The owner of the Royal Hotel at Koo Wee Rup, Denis McNamara, was buried at Pakenham after his death on July 27, 1925. Mr McNamara had started a business in Koo Wee Rup in 1891, then left the area and returned in 1904 when he purchased O’Riordans store and in 1915 built the Royal Hotel. His funeral was described as one of ‘the largest in the district, representative of every class and creed’.  The Bunyip Cemetery site was officially reserved on November 22, 1886. This cemetery was used by folk living on the eastern end of the Koo Wee Rup Swamp such as Cora Lynn and Iona. The first official burials did not take place until eight years after the Cemetery was officially gazetted with the first one in March 1894. Of the first 20 burials in the register, 19 were children. Lang Lang Cemetery site was reserved on December 5, 1887. Christopher Moody, the source of name Moody Street is buried at Lang Lang. In 1890, Mr Moody owned the site of the Koo Wee Rup township and sub-divided the land between Rossiter Road and the Main Drain and Denham’s Road and the Highway. Very little of the land was sold due to the 1890s depression. The sub-division set out Moody, Gardner (called Koo Wee Rup Street by Moody), Henry (called Christopher Street by Moody) and Salmon Streets.

The Bunyip River from a 1940s postcard.

R is for River - the Bunyip River or the main drain of the Koo Wee Rup Swamp. It was William Thwaites of the Public Works Department who came up with the scheme to drain the Koo Wee Rup Swamp by the creation of the main drain from south of Bunyip where the Bunyip River entered the Swamp to Western Port Bay. Work started in 1889 and finished in 1893.  Over the years, many more drains were dug or enlarged. The maintenance schedule from the SR & WSC, that we have at the Historical Society, lists 136 different drains, with a total length 465 km.

U is for Unions - the union between a man and a woman in Holy Matrimony commonly known as weddings. I don’t know when the first marriage took place in the town, it was probably officiated by a visiting minister in a private house. The first church building in the town was the Presbyterian Church where the first service was held in 1896 and the first Catholic Church was built in 1902. The Anglican Church was built in 1917 and the Methodist Church (now Uniting) was moved from Yallock to Rossiter Road in 1932. Reports of engagement parties, kitchen teas and weddings were the mainstays of local papers for decades and photographs began appearing in the 1960s in the Koo Wee Rup Sun. Early reports listed all the gifts received and they all had descriptions of the dress, bridesmaid’s dresses, the ‘going away’ outfit and what the mother of the bride and mother of the groom wore.

P is for Potatoes which have been grown on the Koo Wee Rup Swamp, since it was drained.  The western end of the Koo Wee Rup Swamp was said to have produced 3000 tons of potatoes in 1894, just one year after the blocks were allocated to settlers. By the 1920s, the area was producing one quarter of Victorian potatoes. Potatoes have also been instrumental in the establishment of local Railway lines. It was recognized from the start that potato traffic would be a mainstay of the Strzelecki line from Koo Wee Rup to Bayles, Catani and beyond which opened in 1922.  The importance of the potato was celebrated by the Annual Potato Festival which took place from 1973 to 2000. It was a major fundraiser for the Koo Wee Rup Hospital.

Frank Rouse (My Dad)  grew potatoes on the Koo Wee Rup Swamp at Cora Lynn for 57 years, until his retirement from the potato business in 2007. This photograph was taken in 1968 for a fertiliser company.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Record consignment of cattle brought to Monomeith, April 1967

These great photos (the colour ones), courtesy of Neville Clark, are of Hugh Bourke, off-loading cattle at Monomeith Railway Station. They had been sent from Casino in New South Wales. There was an article in the Koo Wee Rup Sun of April 26, 1967, about the shipment.  Neville thought it was 760 head of cattle, the paper quoted 731, which ever is correct, that is a lot of cattle.  I have transcribed the Koo Wee Rup Sun story.

Koo Wee Rup Sun April 26, 1967, page 1

From page 1 - Record consignment of cattle brought to Monomeith
Cattle made the news this week when a record shipment of731 head arrived at Monomeith in a  53 car special train. The cattle had been bought in Queensland by Mr Hugh Bourke and their arrival created somewhat of a flutter in the local community.  See story inside.

Koo Wee Rup Sun April 26, 1967, page 3

From page 3 - Off-loading 731 cattle at Monomeith Station
A record consignment of 731 head of cattle, transported on a special train of 53 stock cars arrived at Monomeith on Monday afternoon. The cattle had been purchased two weeks ago by local graziers, Mr Hugh Bourke and his son, Mr David Bourke at sales in southern Queensland.  The cattle travelled over 1000 miles by the time they had arrived at Monomeith.
It was by far the biggest consignment of cattle to come to this area and was also the biggest one train load.
The cattle were loaded at Casino. They had to travel upwards of 20 miles on foot before undertaking the long rail trip to Monomeith.
It was certainly a memorable sight to see the big diesel pull into the Monomeith station hauling 53 trucks. A large number of people were on the station to see the operation completed.
An inspection of the cattle, mainly Herefords, revealed that they were in remarkedly good condition. 
The cattle were unloaded in three lots, the same as they had been purchased. Each lot was driven up to the Bourke property to begin the term of fattening for the Melbourne market.
Mr Hugh Bourke says the operation of buying cattle in 1967 was quite a business and involved quite a deal of air travel. On this buying trip he had been accompanied by his son David and Mr Stan Teague from Younghusband & Co. Mr Teague inspected all the cattle prior to the sale.
Mr Bourke said that he purchased the first lot of over 300 cattle and left to attend another sale by air. The remaining four hundred odd head were purchased by David.
On the trip the cattle were accompanied by big Bill McCormick and his nephew Mr Peter McCormick from McCormick and Co. Livestock agents from Casino.
Mr Bill McCormick had the touch of the big outback about him, but he was the essence of efficiency and had complete control of the operation.
The Bourke family at Monomeith have landed two prior shipments of cattle from the north at their property. The first was of over 300 head and second one was over 500 head.

The cattle at Monomeith Railway Station April 1967.
Photo courtesy of Neville Clark

The 'big diesel' Monomeith Railway Station April 1967.
Photo courtesy of Neville Clark

The 53 stock cars - Monomeith Railway Station April 1967.
Photo courtesy of Neville Clark

Monomeith Station, April 1967.
Photo courtesy of Neville Clark

Monday, November 11, 2019

A canal from the Yarra River to the Latrobe River via the Koo Wee Rup Swamp

On July 20, 1867 The Age published this letter to the Editor, from J. Wood Beilby of Dandenong. Mr Beilby suggested the construction of a 140 mile long canal from Yarra River to the Latrobe River, via the Koo Wee Rup Swamp and the Bunyip River flats. The canal would be 30 feet wide and four to five feet deep and suitable for stern-paddle wheel steam tugs and barges. The canal was never built.

John Wood Beilby arrived in the Port Phillip District in 1841 and ran stock on the Gardiner's Creek, he then worked on various runs from Flowerdale to the Glenelg River and was an early explorer of the Mallee region. In 1850 he was associated with the Wedge Brother at Corhanwarrabul on the Dandenong Creek and and took over the Tirhatuan run from the Reverend James Clow (1790-1861), also on the Dandenong Creek. He later spent much time contributing to the Press and he died in 1902, aged 83. The Australasian of June 6, 1936, published a short biography of him and other Pastoral Pioneers, in serial form, you can read his story, here.

Sir, — I beg space to draw the attention of the Government and of all interested in the speedy opening up of a ready and economical mode of communication between Melbourne and the Gipps Land Lakes, by means of a canal suited for stern-paddlewheel steam tugs and barges. The route from the Yarra via the Tanneries or valley of Gardiner's Creek, Leman's Swamp, the Brighton Reedy Swamp, with fall to the edge of Carrum Swamp; thence the Teatree Swamp, through Berwick to the Koo-wee-rup Swamp; thence the Bunyip river flats, and across to the Moe Swamp margin, and thence by the Latrobe River to the Lakes, is throughout, with short exceptional localities, through a low-lying country, which would be immensely reproductive if drained. Much of the land is in the hands of the Crown, and if a liberal grant were made to a canal company, and debentures secured upon it, the undertaking would secure much of the capital required. The work would be of immense value to agriculturists and road boards in the districts intersected, in furnishing an outlet for draining operations, and, would yield an immense return to Government in the shape of reclaimed lands available for agricultural occupation, and by facilities for location upon rich lands now shut out from population by want of means of communication. Moreover, cheap freight or carriage, and facilities for landing goods anywhere along the route traversed, would tend more to development of local enterprise than rapid railway transit, to such stations as would be appointed as such on a line of railway. There are an infinity of products, available for increasing city trade and the general commerce of the colony, besides agricultural produce. Timber, bark and gums of various kinds; granite as varied in color and beautiful as any imported for our public buildings; clay suitable for pottery, or brick or tile, and drain pipe manufacture; coal too, and hosts of other mineral products would teem in from every direction. The expense of a canal, thirty feet wide by four or five feet deep, with all locks, fences, canal boats, bridges, &c., has been estimated on the confident authority of a canal engineer to cost not more than £3000 per mile. The distance from the Yarra or Melbourne to a navigable part of the Latrobe river would be under 140 miles. We have but little material en route harder than blue clay to excavate. We require no imported materials (or scarcely any) and the work throughout would enlist the favorable interest of the neighboring population, who would largely avail themselves of, and by increased production would reciprocate to the proprietors the benefits derivable from water carriage, accessible without necessary stations, at their very doors. The flow of water from the creeks and rivers intercepted in the course traversed would amply supply waste by evaporation and locks by the intervention of equivalent precautions. The colony would go ahead on its own resources without further increase of our national debt ; and room, and a suitable sphere of operations would be provided amidst rich arable lands rendered thus accessible and valuable for location of small capitalist immigrants, to whom a wise policy would offer special inducements to resort to our shores. — 
Yours obediently.
Dandenong. J.WOOD BEILBY.
The Age July 20, 1867, see it on Trove, here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Henry James Boxshall (1880 - 1968) obituary from the Koo Wee Rup Sun

Henry Boxshall wrote a history of the early families at Yallock - you can read it here. I came across his obituary which was published in the Koo Wee Rup Sun of November 27, 1968. It is an interesting account of early Yallock, his life and the early life of the Boxshall family in Victoria. It is transcribed here.

Well Known Yallock Resident Passes
 A very highly respected resident and member of one of Yallock’s early  pioneering families, Mr Henry John Boxshall passed away at the Westernport Memorial Hospital, Koo Wee Rup on Saturday November 23 at the age of 88 years.
Confined to a wheel chair for several years, the late Mr Boxshall was, however in his usual health and good spirits till he became ill and was admitted to hospital just the day before he died.

His grandfather, Mr James Boxshall was a landscape gardener in Dorset England, before migrating with his family to Australia with the Dendy Migrants, in the sailing ship, ‘The Earl of Durham’
On arrival in Victoria in 1842 they settled in Brighton and owned property there to the extent that Boxshall Street, Brighton was named after them.
Harry Boxshall’s father, Mr Thomas Boxshall married Miss Elizabeth Mills of Brighton on February 27th 1875 and they had a family of eight children.
For fourteen years Thomas Boxshall was the curator of the Exhibition Gardens, Carlton, and was responsible for the layout of a large area of those gardens.

Boxshall Street in Brighton - that's the Brighton Town Hall in the background. 
Photo: Isaac Hermann.

In 1895, when the depression hit Melbourne and the Yallock Village Settlement was proclaimed, Thomas Boxshall was one of the many pioneers who left the city and purchased a Yallock Settlement block. Harry Boxshall at this time was a young lad of 14 years.
This property where the late Harry Boxshall resided is one of the few original properties that has not changed hands. Thomas Boxshall died at Yallock in September 1917 and was buried in the Brighton Cemetery.
For the past 73 years Harry Boxshall had been dairying, in conjunction with another property which he purchased later.
Harry was a member of the Brighton Historical Society and furnished much information to Mrs. Sambells*, secretary of the B.H.S about the early days of Brighton.

An event remembered in the district for many years was the marriage in 1905 of Harry Boxshall and Violet Izzard performed at a double wedding ceremony with Jim Hatty and Letitia Cox, both now deceased, but also of early Yallock families.
The marriage took place at the Yallock Hall, St Savour’s Church of England, Yallock, being built shortly after. The ceremony was followed by a grand reception and dance to which all the district was invited and helped to provide the repast.
Harry and Violet Boxshall raised a family of 3 sons, Oswald, Horace and Roland and one daughter, Beatrix, who with the exception of Horace (Moe) reside at Yallock.
Mrs Boxshall passed away in 1961.

The late Harry Boxshall was a foundation member and secretary of the first Yallock Cricket Club and was recognised as a champion back-stop in the district associations. He played in Yallock’s first match against Yannathan team in 1896.
He had a very retentive memory and could relate amusing anecdotes and interesting details about early matches.
Of special interest to him was the Yallock State School, of which he was correspondent for a period of 20 years.
An accomplished historian on the Yallock district, Harry Boxshall compiled a history of the school, district and personalities, which was recently published in this paper.
He was a regular guest at the Yallock school education days and this year enjoyed his day out at both the Yallock and Caldermeade schools’ open days.

To members of his family is extended the sympathy of the community in the passing of this respected gentleman.
A very large crowd of local identities gathered at St Savour’s Church of England, Yallock on Tuesday for the funeral service following which the cortege proceeded to the Lang Lang Cemetery.

* I think it is Sambells, I can't read the first letter of the surname in the newspaper report, as it is in the fold of the pages.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Families at Yallock by H.J. Boxshall

Families at Yallock this was written by H.J. Boxshall, it was published in The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire by Niel Gunson.  Families at Yallock was from Mr Boxshall's  work History of Yallock Village Settlement - it was published in the Koo Wee Rup Sun over three weeks in June /July 1968 - I will transcribe it one day.

Henry John Boxshall was born on December 31, 1880 to Thomas and Elizabeth (nee Mills) Boxshall, they had seven other children. Thomas was the curator of the Exhibition Gardens in Carlton for fourteen years, and in 1895 the family moved to Yallock.  Thomas died in 1917 and Elizabeth in 1925, they are both buried at the Brighton Cemetery.  Thomas' father James Boxshall, was a Dendy migrant and he and his family had come to Victoria on the Earl of Durham in 1842 and settled at Brighton. Boxshall Street in Brighton is named after the family. You can read Thomas' obituary in the Brighton Southern Cross of January 9, 1904, here. In 1905, Henry married Violet Izzard, from another pioneering Yallock family. They had three children who died as infants, Clifford, Daphne and Donald and three sons, Oswald, Horace and Roland and one daughter, Beatrix, who all lived to adulthood.  Violet was born in November 1880 and died in September 1960. Henry remained at Yallock until his death on November 24, 1968. He and Violet are buried at Lang Lang. Most of this information comes from Henry's obituary in the Koo Wee Rup Sun of November 27, 1968. It is transcribed, here.

The following is Mr Boxshall's account, which I transcribed from The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire. I haven't altered the punctuation but I have separated the text into paragraphs, to make it a bit easier to read.

 Families at Yallock by H.J. Boxshall

The following are the names of the firstcomers to settle on their blocks at Yallock, starting at the corner of Finck’s Road - the No. 5 Road; when known, former occupations are given in brackets. The corner block was occupied by W. Donaldson (bricklayer) them A. Renfrew (furniture salesman) H. Treeby (labourer) J. Treeby (farm labourer) were next, then my father T. Boxshall (landscape gardener). Mr Boxshall was for 14 years foreman of the Exhibition Gardens, Carlton, and had laid out a large area of those gardens, an elder brother of mine A. Boxshall (engine driver Vict. Rlys) was next. H Scharf (carpenter) came next. Mr Scharf had left Germany to escape militarism, two of his sons enlisted in World War 1 and both were killed in France. W. Chance was on the next block and next to him O.W. Reitchel (bricklayer) on the corner block at the Hall Road was M.O Donald (mail contractor and studmaster), the last four allotments mentioned are now occupied by Mr Geo. Peck.

The block now owned by Mr Deppeler was occupied by E. Rossiter, the 60 acres now owned by Mr Still belonged to the Lyall family, on the corner block now F. Stephens’ was Mr Simmill (blacksmith). Mr J. Jones was first on the block now owned by Mr F. Ashby. Mr Jones was a saddler by trade, next to Jones was Arthur Orford (labourer) his house was burned down during the bushfires of 1897, he then left the district.

The first on the block opposite the Hall and now belonging to the Bailey family were Mr Kroschell, Mr Glowasky whose son was later a well known member of the Victorian Police Force. Mr Chas Woodman owned these two allotments for some years. One of the earliest settlers was Mr F.P Stephens (farmer) he donated land for the Church of England, his son Mr F. Stephens now resides on the property, next was Mr Priestly, Senior. Mr E. Bateson followed him and lived on the property some years. Mr Bateson was a member of the first School Committee, he donated land for the Methodist Church, the Ashby family now own that farm, Mr Geo Wright (builder) lived on the corner block owned by Mr C. Brazil - names I recall further east and on McKays Road are G. Richardson, Geo. Casey, J. McKay, J. Orchard. B. Lineham, W. Cadee, L. Coates, J. Teckleson, T. O’Shea and W. Cameron.

The land for the hall was given by Mr Fred. Simmill who owned that block, next on O’Brien’s Road was T. Harker, now owned by Stephens and Thompson, Mr J. McGhee was next, Mr F. Lineham occupies that property now. Mr W. Harker owned the block at the corner of O’Brien’s Road and No. 6 road, also on O’Brien’s Road lived Mr J.T. O’Brien, a local Cranbourne Shire Councillor for many years, he was a former overseer on the drain works. Mr James Stevens (a Sailor) was next, this farm was afterwards owned by Mr A. Dalyrimple, a School Committee man for some years, after his departure it was taken over by Mr Horace Barr (A.I.F.) Mr W. Fechner now owns it.

The first to live on the block now owned by Mr W. Thomas was Mr A.T. (Dick) Priestly, son of Mr Priestly mentioned before. Mr Priestly afterwards had a general store in Lang Lang and a farm at Yannathan, next to Priestly’s was Mr E. Powis who kept a boarding house at Dandenong, his son H. Powis lived on the block, he was a well known footballer at Dandenong and at one time played for Essendon League, he was also a member of the local cricket and football clubs. On the outbreak of the Boer War he enlisted, was a member of the Fifth Contingent and served in S. Africa, when World War 1 started he again enlisted and saw service abroad.

Early comers who did not stay long were Chas. Williams and a man named Rodgers, the latter was the first on the block lived on for years by the Gudgin family. Salisbury was the name of the man who took over from Rogers, then came the Gudgin family. Mr Gudgin Sen. Was followed by his son William and then his grandson Harold, this property is now owned by Mr Geo. Light. On the School Road, close to the School was Mr C.J. Izzard (saddler) who donated the ground for the school. Mr Izzard was Secretary of the first Yallock Progress Association. Where Mr Light now lives was Robert Fountain, on the next block was Mr D. Ware, Mr E. Collyer, one of our earliest School Committee men, followed Mr Ware, that block is now owned by Mr W. Fechner, on the block now occupied by Mr Fechner was Mr W. Hatty Sen., others to live on that block were Mr Savage, D. Cahill and S. Flewin, Mr W. Hatty Jun. was on the next allotment, the corner block was first owned by Mrs Brown, Mr D. Abel now owns those blocks, Mr W.A. Cox lived for a while on one of those blocks now owned by Mr A.M Bethune.

The first to live on the block now occupied by Mr T. Light was Charles Ware a former road contractor, on the next block was Thomas Kirwin (farm labourer) and next was Mr A. J. Cox (Bootmaker). Mr J. C Hatty was first on the block now where Mrs. Humphrey lives. Mr Wise (late A.I.F) also loved there for some years. Early settlers on the No.6 or Catani Road were: Mr F. O’Neil, E. Giggins, W.R. Donaldson, V. Blythe (Mr Blythe was an ex-serviceman and was for some years president of the local branch of the V.D.A.)

On Finck’s Road adjoining Donaldson’s were: J. Yeaman (Engine Driver) next B.J. Cox, father of George Cox who now lives there. On the next allotment was H. Reid who left his block when his house was destroyed by fire. On the Finck’s and No. 6 Roads where Mr E. Kane lives was W. Nichol’s and later Chas. Woodman, the block across the road was first owned by W. Scanlon. Mr L. W. Finck Sen., was next. Mr Finck was Secretary for the School Committee for many years and also Secretary for the Hall Committee.

A former member of Parliament names Tetherly, who at one time represented Ballarat in Victorian Legislative Assembly, had a block on the Yallock creek bank, there he put up  a tent and started to clear some of the land for a garden, he had only put in  a few weeks work when the creek flooded over and washed him out, he gathered up his belongings and left, never to return. Next to Tetherly’s  Mr T. Pretty built a home right on the creek bank, when the creek flooded the water was soon running through the house and Mr Pretty and his family had to wade knee-deep through the flood and take refuge with a more fortunate neighbour, by midnight the house was half submerged, after the flood subsided Mr Pretty lost no time in moving his house to higher ground. Another sufferer from that flood was a Mr Taylor who built himself a wattle and daub hut close to the creek, the water rose too fast for Mr Taylor, an elderly man, to get out and he managed to get on to the roof of his shack where he remained all night, he was rescued early next morning by Mr. C. Ware, who rode his horse, a powerful draught, through the flood to the hut and brought Taylor to dry land, that experience was enough for Mr Taylor, he also departed never to return. Mr David Gray then took over the blocks vacated by Taylor and Tetherly and later he bought Mr Petty’s farm, after World War 1 he sold the place to the Repatriation Commission. Mr H.V. Izzard (late A.I.F.) lived there for some years, when owing to illhealth, he had to leave and go on to a small farm at Hallam Valley. Mr L.W. Finck Junr, also a former serviceman now owns that property.

I would like to record here the name of Fred Crispin who was a share farmer on ‘Quamby’ for a few years prior to 1914. He enlisted soon after the outbreak of the war. Mr Crespin was an accomplished organist and piano player. During his residence at Yallock he was Organist at St Saviour’s Church of England and was also in great demand as a pianist at local dances. Mr Crespin was also a good cricketer and captained the local Eleven during his stay at Yallock, on his return from war he was unable to take up farming again owing to failing health and was given employment in the Lands’ Office at Melbourne, he died soon after taking that position, his passing was greatly regretted by all who knew him.

Monday, August 26, 2019

William Lyall and the Acclimatisation Society

William Lyall, the owner of Harewood, on the South Gippsland Highway, introduced deer to his property in 1868. Lyall was an enthusiastic member of the Acclimatisation  Society which was started in Victoria  in 1861.The object of this Society was the introduction, acclimatisation, and domestication of all innoxious animals, birds, fishes insects, and vegetables, whether useful or ornamental ; - the perfection, propagation and hybridisation of races newly introduced or already domesticated; - the spread of indigenous animals, &c. from parts of the colonies where they are already known, to other localities where they are not known. (The Argus February 26, 1861, read full article, here)

From the First Annual report of the Acclimatisation Society,  1862, listing William Lyall as a Committee member.

William Lyall also introduced other species to his property including partridges, pheasants and hares. The following is a report of William Lyall’s attempt to introduce hares and the casual manner in which some early settlers sought to eradicate native fauna to protect the introduced species.

Hares. — Mr. Lyall, of Frogmore [Carnegie], turned out some English hares a year or two ago on his property at Western Port. The spot he selected lies between the shore of the bay and some cultivated ground. About the spot there is plenty of clover in the form of low bushes and tall grass and solsolaceous plants. Since the hares were first turned out they have been occasionally seen, have bred, and have also appeared to be thriving well. We regret to learn, however, that an enemy, has lately attacked and killed one or two grown ones. This is a species of hawk, which either strikes them when running or darts down upon them. We should like to know what hawk it is for there are very few here large enough to attempt anything of the kind. The Australian eagle commonly called an "eagle-hawk" has been known to stoop and carry off kangaroo rats, &c, and we suppose it is this bird which has killed Mr. Lyall's hares as it is also often very destructive to young Iambs.

Strychnine is the best remedy, and in many parts of the colony it has been so much used in that eagles are not so numerous as in former years. The best mode of applying it is this - Place the skinned carcase of any dead animal on an open piece of ground that it may be seen easily; score the fleshy parts with a knife, making the cuts within half an inch of each other, and sprinkle into them a few grains of strychnine crushed to a fine powder between two pieces of writing paper. We have seen five or six poisoned a single day. (Freeman’s Journal April 5, 1862, see article here.)

Hard to believe that you would kill a wedge-tailed eagle, they are so magnificent to watch. I was going to say that they were different times then, but there was a case last year where a man was charged with poisoning over 400 eagles in East Gippsland, so sadly, it still happens.

This is a letter, written to the Acclimatisation Society, from William Lyall about his success with some of his introduced species.
Yallock, Sept 29, 1865.
Dear Sir - A sight of the Sambur deer has just put me in mind of my duty to the  Society - that is, to report progress. The animals entrusted to my care have, l am happy to say thriven remarkably well. The three does have three fine fawns, and all are in fine condition. To-day, a doe and a buck were enjoying themselves by taking a swim in a waterhole—indeed, they appear to be fond of the water: so much so, that I am bound to believe that swamps must be their natural habitat. I feel certain that all the islands in the great swamp will, in time, become stocked with the magnificent Sambur deer. At present there is rally one of the bucks (the youngest) remaining with the does: another has taken possession of the garden here, and a very bad gardener he has proved himself to be, I propose having him taken over to join the does in the swamp, where he will he out of harms way. I believe that this part of the colony is, perhaps, better adapted for a home for the pheasant than any other part of Victoria. If the council will send a few down, I win take charge of them.
My hares are doing well and are spreading over the country.
Wishing the society every success, believe
me, dear sir, yours very truly.
WILLIAM LYALL.  (Australasian, October 7, 1865, see letter, here)

A report in 1919 said that deer are to be found in the scrub around Koo-wee-rup
Swamp and Lang Lang, but they are scarce now, having been thinned down by settlers. (The Argus, March 21 1919) There are still plenty of hares around, we have heaps of them at Cora Lynn, which I guess we can ‘thank’ Mr Lyall for.