About this blog

This blog is about the history of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp and neighbouring areas, such as Pakenham, Cranbourne and Garfield, and any other historical subjects I feel like writing about. It's my own original research and writing and if you live in the area you may have read some of the stories before in the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society newsletter or the Koo-Wee-Rup township newsletter, The Blackfish, or the Garfield township newsletter, The Spectator.
Heather Arnold.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Western Port Road

The Western Port Road started at Dandenong and traversed the old Shire of Cranbourne from Cranbourne to Tooradin to Tobin Yallock (the original Lang Lang township). This section is now known as the South Gippsland Highway. The road later continued onto Corinella and Bass and this section eventually became known as the Bass Highway.  The section of road from Dandenong to Tooradin had obviously been passable to some extent as early as 1839 because we know that Samuel Rawson and Robert Jamieson overlanded their cattle to Tooradin in the December of that year and then continued on by boat to their Yallock Station on the Yallock Creek.

Niel Gunson in his book The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire* says it was fairly clearly defined by the 1850s, however it wasn’t until 1859 that a permanent roadway was surveyed which allowed access by wheeled traffic and livestock. In spite of this, Gunson writes that transporting stock from the Yallock Creek Station to Melbourne still took four days in the 1850s and 1860s. Even though the road was formed it wasn’t until 1868 that the section from Dandenong to Cranbourne was metalled.

The main problems with the road was the need to cross the inlets (such as Lyall’s and Moody’s Inlets) before bridges were constructed.  In 1845, Edward Cockayne was given the right to operate a ferry service but he was a bit eccentric and unreliable and sometimes ignored the signals of the travellers (such as a lit fire or the firing of a pistol) so they were forced to spend a night marooned on the side of the inlet. His licence was finally cancelled in 1853. Cockayne occupied a hut where Harewood is now located and it is believed that the stables on the property date back to the time of Cockayne’s occupancy. Cockayne Inlet in Western Port Bay is named after Edward.

In 1864, a John Carson offered to conduct a ferry service, but this was declined by the Cranbourne Road Board. In 1865 James Smethurst erected two bridges  over the Inlets, according to Gunson, I am not sure which Inlets he is referring to but the same year the mail contractor, John Murphy, complained about the state of the Yallock and Tobin Yallock bridges.  The bridge at Tooradin was built in 1873.

However, people were resourceful in those days and traversing creeks and inlets didn’t stop commerce and the trappings of civilisation as on November 13, 1860 a weekly mail service was introduced to Corinella via Yallock and by 1865 there was a two day a week coach service from Cranbourne to the Bass River also via Corinella.

The southern end of the Western Port Road was constructed in the 1860s. Joseph White, author of the book One hundred years of history: Shire of Phillip Island and Woolamai 1875-1928, Shire of Bass 1928-1975** said the road was originally surveyed in 1862 and the first route from the settled areas near Tobin Yallock in the Shire of Cranbourne was by a cattle track that kept to the tops of the range as the coastal route was swampy and needed many creek crossings. The opening of the road led to settlement being opened up and as we said before the establishment of a Cobb & Co. coach service. Very little work was done on this section of the road until the Shire was formed in 1875 and it received another boost in 1913 when the Country Roads Board was established and took over responsibility for the road.

There was a report on the state of the Western Port Road in the Leader newspaper of September 19, 1874. The newspaper correspondent was talking about the development of the Grantville area and had this to say about the journey to the settlement.

 A coach (Cobb's) leaves the Star Hotel from Dandenong every morning in week days. There is a very good metalled road from thence to the flourishing post town of Cranbourne - 9 miles - but the remainder of the road from the latter place here is simply execrable. Some portions of it are even worse than execrable, for they are, in this season of the year, and the three months just passed, absolutely dangerous, and do anything but credit to the road surveyor's department. After leaving Cranbourne, there is a couple or three miles of fairly metalled road, but after that (and this passage I pen for the especial benefit of the above department) come the counterparts of the Great Dismal Swamp, and the Valley of the Shadow of Death. One spot in particular, called Frenchman's Hole, or Flat-bottomed Creek, is highly dangerous to a stranger. The mails are carried over this beautiful spot twice a week, on horseback, and no doubt the man who carries them could give a much more graphic account of this picturesque route than myself. Be that as it may, the traffic on it is much on the increase, and I consider it shameful neglect on the part of the post-office authorities not to organise a better system of mail delivery for this district; and the sooner they let us have three deliveries a week instead of two the better for our convenience and their reputation. [You can read the full article here.]

Frenchman’s Hole was near Lang Lang and according to Niel Gunson, a Frenchman had tried to cross the two miles of the flat land but he disappeared down a hole, covered with water and only his hat was ever discovered or so the legend goes.

*The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire by Niel Gunson, published by the Shire of Cranbourne in 1968
**One hundred years of history: Shire of Phillip Island and Woolamai 1875-1928, Shire of Bass 1928-1975 by Joseph White, published by the Shire of Bass in 1974.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Local 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 or Cranbourne or 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 and the following Trustees were appointed at the same time - Alexander Cameron, Patrick Thomson, James Smith Adams, William Sykes and Edward Malloy.  William and Annabella Lyall are both buried at Cranbourne - they were the owners of Harewood house on the South Gippsland Highway which they built starting in 1865. A report of the content of his will (it was once quite common for newspapers to report this type of information) 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. William died in 1888 and Annabella in 1916.  Also buried at Cranbourne is Charles Rossiter, the source of the name Rossiter Road.  He lived at Hawksdale at Koo-Wee-Rup from around 1873 and was instrumental in having the first school in the area built on the corner of Bethunes Road and Bayles Road in 1884.

The site for the Pakenham Cemetery was reserved on February 13, 1865 and the first trustees were appointed on May 8, 1865 and they were John Startup, Richard Fortune, Michael Bourke, Thomas Mulcahy and George Ritchie.  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’.  Charles Wadsley who died in 1944 at his home in Koo-Wee-Rup is also buried at Pakenham. Mr Wadsley was a Past Master of the Koo-Wee-Rup Masonic Lodge and ‘an expert on asparagus growing’ according to his obituary.

Victorian Government Gazette May 23, 1865

Pakenham Cemetery Trustee, George Ritchies grave at Pakenham

The Bunyip Cemetery site was officially reserved on November 22, 1886 and on December 6, 1886 the first Trustees were appointed - Joseph Williams, George Birch and James Barnes. 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. This was a result of the high infant mortality rate at the time before vaccinations and antibiotics came into widespread use. Here is a sample of this depressing and sad list: William Barnes aged 6 - cause of death Diptheria; Ethel Wayneith, 9 months - Marasmus (severe undernourishment); John Peart, 2 months - Marasmus; David Fallon 9 weeks - Maramus; Ann Benham 10 months -Pneumonia; Lily Norton 10 weeks - Whooping cough; William Heuson 4 months - Whooping cough; Denis McIvor 20 days - Meningitis; Mary Anne Mulligan 3 years - Diptheria.

Lang Lang Cemetery site was reserved on December 5, 1887 and the first Trustees appointed December 10, 1889 were Thomas Poole, William Jones, Prosper Henry Victor Le Roux, Joseph Foster, William Norquay, Patrick McGrath, Edmund McGrath and Alexander McMillan. As a matter of interest the grandly named Prosper Henry Victor Le Roux is actually buried at Cranbourne. Christopher Moody – the source of Moody Street is buried at Lang Lang.  He was a Cranbourne Shire Councillor.  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. 

 Victorian Government Gazette December 13, 1889

Lang Lang Cemetery Trustee George Poole's grave at Lang Lang

Garfield 1971

I came across some old Bunyip & Garfield Express newspapers from the early 1970s and so thought we could take a look at what was happening in the area in 1971 - 45 years ago.

The Longwarry Dance which was held every Saturday was a huge social event. In July, Gaynor Gibson, won the ‘Girl of the night’ in front of 810 people. Gaynor was an 18 year old typist and the daughter of Hilton and Greta Gibson of Vervale. Admission to the dance was 60 cents and there was a bus from Pakenham, with a pick-up at Nar Nar Goon, Tynong, Garfield and Bunyip as well as buses from Warragul, Drouin and Thorpdale which picked up from Trafalgar and Yarragon.  In the November, Doug Parkinson performed at the dance to over 1,000 people.  The bands playing on the night that Gaynor won her title were ‘popular local bands’ Solid State, Purple Haze and Noggins and Batts. It appears that each ‘Girl of the night’ then had to face the judges again in the quarter finals and ultimately the ‘Girl of the Year’ was awarded in December, in 1971 to Marilyn Cross, a 19 year old clerk from Catani.  Marilyn won $50.00 in cash as well as a coloured photograph from Holley Studios in Warragul and ‘a garment’ from Lazanne Fashions also in Warragul.

There were weekly advertisements from Tuttons’ Self Service store at Garfield (Phone Garfield 72) and back then you could buy a large tin of Milo for 48 cents and a large tin of peaches for 32 cents. Each week there was also a big advertisement from Robinson’s SSW Foodmarket, Main Street Pakenham (Phone  Pakenham 5) as well as Permewans at Bunyip (they had two phones - Bunyip 2 or 8)

In July, the Garfield Newsagency was sold by Mr & Mrs McArthur to E.H & P.C  Vardon.  The Newsagency sold Education supplies, books and magazines, cigarettes and tobacco, toys, travel goods, sporting goods, electrical appliances, cycles and accessories.  Also advertising was Gilmore’s Garfield Sport and Cycle Store which sold a huge range of sporting goods and gifts as well as being a Tobacconist and a Hairdresser.

In July, the Garfield Progress Association advocated for a Technical School to be built in the town as they said that everyday 100 students catch the train to either Drouin or Warragul to further their education and there were 700 children travelling to secondary schools at this end of the Shire.   A Technical school was never established in Garfield but there was a report in February 1972 about Warragul Technical School going co-ed – there were 610 boys and 10 girls (all the girls specialised in art) The paper reported that the girls had settled into the school ‘in true women’s liberation fashion’ and ‘the order of the day is smart uniforms which contrasts pleasantly to the boys dress’

In November, Dorothy Anne Fashions  ‘presented a showing of colourful gay summer fashions including hot pants, swim wear, slack suits, frocks and nightwear’  The parade was opened by Colin Teese who introduced Mrs Simcocks  ‘who very capably compered the evening’  The models were Leeane Fawkner, Mollie Giblin, Mary O’Hehir, Gaynor Gibson, Debbie Matthews, Joy Tait, Margaret Jacques, June Matthews, Maarke van Donk, Lynne Lewis, Coleen Potter, June Simcocks, Carol Lupton, Penny Cox, Lesley Moyle, Jenny Lee and Denise Payne. Rhonda Cox and Helen Weatherhead ‘styled four models hair in different short and long styles’ while the fashions were being shown. The models for the hair were Corrie Naus, Edna Cox, Denise Payne and Jill Brenchley. The Parade raised $160.00 for the Swimming Pool.

The same issue as the Fashion Parade report had the headline ‘Dedication lacking says Garfield Official.’ Mr Laurie Marsh, Vice President of the West Gippsland Football League said ‘that there was something lacking in the footballer and officials of today.... The task of administration was becoming harder because it was difficult to get the dedication which marked the old players.  It was difficult to get this in these days of fast cars when so many young fellows had so much money in their pockets. It was different from the old days when players were prepared to change in an old fashioned furniture van or the scrub.’ Mr Marsh also said that this lack of dedication was not confined to the players; some umpires were ‘not very fit and not very talented’

Work commenced on the new Garfield Telephone Exchange in November. This was an automatic exchange which would allow subscribers in Garfield, Iona and Tynong to dial direct to Melbourne without going through the Exchange.

The Garfield C.W.A Annual General Meeting was held in November and Mrs H. Marson was elected President; Mrs E. Kavanagh was Secretary; Mrs L. Kellaway was Treasurer and the Vice Presidents were Mrs A. Dick, Mrs L. Kierce and Mrs V. Marsh.

Finally, the Shire of Berwick granted permission to the Garfield Christmas Eve Carnival Committee to block off Main Street, from 8.00pm to 11.00pm, between the Thirteen Mile and the bakery for the Carnival to be held on December 24. There would be the ‘usual attractions’ including hay rides, jinker rides and the arrival of Father Christmas, who would distribute free ice creams and chips.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Koo-Wee-Rup ANZ / E.S. & A Bank

The ANZ Bank in Rossiter Road is closing down in the next few weeks (May 2015) so this is a look at the early history of the bank in Koo-Wee-Rup. The bank started in the town 110 years ago as the London Bank, in 1920 the London Bank amalgamated with the English, Scottish & Australian Bank (E.S. & A Bank) who in turn amalgamated with the ANZ in 1970.

The Garfield branch of the London Bank was established in 1905 and in August 1905 an Agency had been established at Koo-Wee-Rup and by the next year there were Agencies at Iona and Tynong. The first manager was Clarence Adeney, described in one report as the ‘genial Mr Adeney’ and described by David Mickle as ‘a kind and gentle man’. He retired in early 1920 and was replaced by Mr W. K Patterson.

Above: Article from South Bourke and Mornington Journal, August 16 1905
The Lang Lang Guardian reported on September 5 1906 that Mr A. Woodman had accepted a contract from the London Bank to erect a Bank chambers and dwelling at an estimated cost of £600. The construction was to be of oregon and plaster and it was also proposed to use tiles for the roof.  An advertisement in the same paper in the November said the London Bank Agency had been converted into a branch and ‘will be open daily for the transaction of all usual banking business’ – so I believe this would have coincided with the completion of the new building.

The Bank was obviously going well as in October 1912 they purchased the site of their building for a ‘satisfactory price’ according to the South Bourke & Mornington Journal.

In 1919, a ‘Receiving Agency’ was established by the bank at Dalmore - it opened Wednesdays from 10.15am to 1.00pm.

Above: E.S. & A. Bank in  Station Street, Koo-Wee-Rup c. 1940s
Below: The Lang Lang Bank 

In the October of 1919 the Koo-Wee-Rup Sun reported that The contractor for the alterations to the London Bank at Koo-Wee-Rup has the work well in hand and will complete it in a few weeks. It speaks well for Koo-Wee-Rup when the local bank has to enlarge its premises. The extra room will be needed in anticipation for the next record season. The second storey was added at this time and the banking chamber was enlarged, a manager’s office added as well as a room upstairs to be used as residential quarters. A strong room was also constructed and the ‘premises were renovated throughout’.

The works were not completed until the December owing to ‘labour trouble, strikes and railway delays’  The architects were Ballantyne and Hare – who designed houses in Malvern and Toorak and in 1929 Cedric Ballantyne designed  the Regent Theatre in Melbourne.

The Cardinia Shire Heritage Study describes the Bank as an early example of the architectural style known as ‘towards modernism’ and it is one of three former E.S. & A Banks on the Heritage Study. The other ones are the Garfield Bank, which was built in 1925 and the Lang Lang Bank, which was built in 1929.  The Garfield Bank is thought to have been designed by Twentyman & Askew, the same Architects as the Lang Lang bank. .

There was an E.S & A. Agency at Cora Lynn, which was staffed about a morning a week and closed in the early 1960s. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Garfield Progress Association

This post looks at the activities of the Garfield Progress Association (GPA) and its forerunner, the Garfield Progressive Association, mainly through the correspondence it had with the Berwick Shire. The minutes of the Shire meetings were extensively reported in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal and later the Dandenong Journal. You can find these papers on Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper

The first mention I can find is in 1901 where the Progressive Association was complaining about the state of local roads - a sign of things to come as roads and drains were the usual source of complaints right up to the 1950s. For instance, in September 1901 the Association wanted ‘the scrub on the road from the Station to the State School to be cut as there was no room for traffic’ (this was when the school was located up the hill on Garfield Road) In December of that year the the GPA had written a letter to The Age newspaper asking why the Department of Public Works ‘cannot do its works properly instead of wasting public money’ - a question many people still ask today of  the Government.

In August 1903, the South Bourke and Mornington Journal had a tongue in cheek look at the town of Garfield.  The reporter interviewed an unnamed local who, amongst other things, thought that Garfield was progressing so much and the Railway station was so busy that it needed to have a station master instead of a station mistress. He went on to say that Garfield had a strong political body in the town (the Progressive Association) and that they had lots of trouble with the Iona (Ward) Councillors so they were going to ‘put  a man into council so he will do what they want him to do’.  The local would not be surprised if the GPA was the cause of the agitation to get the Federal site (Canberra) shifted from NSW to Victoria and if it was then Garfield would stand a chance of being chosen!

I can’t find many reports in the 1910s, probably because the community was pre-occupied with the war effort, but it appears that by the mid 1920s the Association was up and running again and they were obviously convinced that Canberra would remain as the Federal Capital and not be shifted to Garfield so they were back complaining to the Council about the state of local roads, especially the North Garfield Road. In February 1928, the GPA was asking for a rubbish tip to be established at Garfield. And later that same year they asked the Council to ‘guarantee’ 15 street lights.

In 1932, the GPA asked the Bills Estate for a trough for Garfield - it was at one stage located outside the hotel. These troughs were funded from a bequest from the will of George Bills, who died in 1927. His will left various bequests and the bulk of his Estate was to be made available by his Executors to Societies for the protection of animals, such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and for the construction of horse troughs for the relief of horses or other ‘dumb animals’. These troughs were to be inscribed with the names of George and his wife Annis.

In 1944, the GPA asked for a street light opposite the west railway crossing (sort of where the 13 Mile Road comes into town) and, of course, more road improvements. In 1945, they had turned their attention to parks. The GPA had written to the council asking how their negotiations were going with the Railways regarding the proposed extension of the park facing Main Street. ‘There is keen local interest in the beautification of this town and the additional park area would be an asset in this direction’  They later (July 1945) asked permission to plant two ash trees in front of the Baby Health Centre -  whether that was  a priority for the mothers attending the  Health Centre is another matter as in August 1943 Sister Spence had reported to the Council that ‘we are looking forward to the improvement of the old baby Health Centre at Garfield which at present is a  fine sieve for rain’

In 1946 there were the usual complaints about drains - especially the unsatisfactory drainage on the steep Garfield hill and also a complaint  was made to the Council about ‘the cattle and horses  which are permitted to wander  in streets and roads around Garfield, constituting a constant menace to householder’s gardens and trees’. The Council Ranger was instructed to ‘make a raid’

In April 1947, the GPA made advances to have the Ballarat Starch Company start a factory in Garfield - the factory would obtain starch from potatoes and the establishment of the factory would ‘provide a profitable outlet of unsaleable rejects and rubbishy potatoes’.

In August 1950, the GPA asked the Council to convene a public meeting to consider the erection of a memorial to those who had paid the supreme sacrifice in World War One and Two.  In 1953, the GPA was once again on a political bent when they supported the election of Reg Sykes to the Berwick Council. Reg was described as a ‘young man who served the the RAAF as a member of the Air Crew in the south west Pacific’. He also had a 300 acre property on the Princes Highway at Tynong.  Reg had also owned 540 acres in Tynong North which he sold in 1949 for £4,500 to the Catholic Church for the establishment of township of Maryknoll.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Bunyip Dramatic Society

When my father, Frank Rouse, was young - around 17 to 19 years of age in the early 1950s, he was a member of the Repertory Society or Dramatic Society in Bunyip. The Company put on plays at the Bunyip Hall and the Cora Lynn Hall.  The plays were usually two acts long, with an interval. Dad doesn’t remember the names of any of the plays but in one play he played the role of an English gentleman on a train who kept getting off the train at the wrong station and in another he played the role of a Minister of Religion.

The Society had maybe 15 to 20 members who also made the stage sets; Dad built the train for the train play.

His acting career started largely because he had the essential attributes of being young, male, tall and willing. Another member of the Society was Win Reid who taught Dad at Sunday School at Cora Lynn and she organised the Sunday school concerts and also taught elocution and encouraged Dad to join the Repertory Society. It was a short lived acting career which was fun while it lasted and he still remembers the advice he was given which was ‘to speak to the back row, so your voice carries’

Other members of the Society were Hughie Pound who ran the Radio store in Bunyip, where Loretta’s Hairdressing is now located; Colin Flett who had  a general store, with a good range of hardware, where the Bendigo Bank is; Frank Harker who lived on the Eleven Mile at Cora Lynn (all that remains of his house are the two palm trees in the paddock); Don and Pat Whysall – Don was in the Fire Brigade and Pat was a teacher; Betty Storey who lived on Murray Road, a neighbour of the Rouses; Dad’s oldest sister Nancy; Nelly Dixon (nee Edis) married to Geoff Dixon, who was a builder; Russell and Elizabeth Spence  - remembered as ‘an older couple’ and Arthur Holgate, who was ‘quite old’. Mr Holgate was the local Registrar of Births and Deaths and is remembered in our family because he incorrectly registered the date of my sister Megan’s birth in February 1957. He wrote the registration date down as the birth date and we didn’t find out until she had to apply for a birth certificate 20 or so years later.

Denise Nest has a paragraph about the Dramatic Society in her book, The Call of the Bunyip: history of Bunyip, Iona and Tonimbuk 1847 to 1900..  She mentions a few other names apart from the ones Dad remembers - Rex Taylor and members of the Thomas and Roberts families.

Bunyip and the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp 1887

This account of the township of Bunyip and the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp comes from the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of August 3, 1887.  Click here to access this article on Trove

From an occasional Correspondent.

"Vare iz de downsheep" The interrogator was a foreigner, and the person questioned was, Mr. Barrow, the local storekeeper of the "rising" township of  Bunyip. For Bunyip, by the way, is at present only a small hamlet; in fact it is able to do very little more than 'claim to have, a ''local habitation" as well as a name. Nevertheless it has two hotels, well conducted by Messrs. Hanson and Finch. These two hostelries, with Mr. Barrow's general store, amicably uniting themselves pretty well form the township. There are also one or two unpretentious dwelling houses about, and a State School, of which Mrs. Skinner is the tutelary genius, lies back a little out of sight. 

But still Bunyip may be designated as a rising township, for it stands prominently upon a steep "rise" overlooking the great Koo-wee-rup Swamp. To the foreigner's enquiry, "vare iz do downsheep," the interrogated resident replied with a majestic and comprehensive sweep of the hand, which took in the whole of the vast municipal settlement, "it is here." The foreigner looked puzzled and gazed earnestly round the whole sweep of the horizon, and then a bright idea penetrated his befogged intellect. "Oh! over de hill" he said, and was about to rush on thitherward to seek the goal of which he was in quest; but he was intercepted in his intention by the resident, who rejoined-"No; here. This is the township. Circumspice!"  It was calculated to wound the civic patriotism to have thus with minute emphasis pointed out the locality in which one lives, but there is nothing for it but to remit it to the category of "another injustice to poor old Ireland," and Bunyip must bear its trials with what heroic fortitude it can. 

I don't have any photos of Bunyip from 1887, but this is the Gippsland Hotel (Top Pub) and Main Street in 1908.
Photograph from The Call of the Bunyip by Denise Nest. 

It was only the other day that a young lady in a passing train, looking out over the dreary stretch of Koo-wee-rup Swamp with its forest of dead timber, expressed somewhat emphatically, if not euphoniously, the opinion that this was the last place the Creator made, and was left unfinished by Him. But then the day was a gloomy one, and the prospect from the train was not enlivening. Had the critic been able instead to have stood on the summit of the hill on which the township stands, on a bright day and have seen the magnificent view of the Cannibal ranges, and a sweep of mountain scenery right away to the snow-covered Baw Baw; and again, out over the Koo-wee-rup Swamp, the hills and the sea (ships being sometimes even discernable to the naked eye) had this opportunity been afforded to the fair critic, she would doubtless have been less severe in her comments. More than this, had she been gifted with prophetic, not to say poetic, vision she would have had presented to her mind's eye a still more attractive picture, when the now dismal-looking Koo-wee-rup Swamp shall be moved by the industry of the husbandman, and picturesque homestead with beautifully verdant fields shall gladden the eye and heighten the beauty of the even now splendid panorama. 

And this enhancement of the beauties of the locality should not be hidden in the very far distant future, and that some are far-seeing enough to perceive that this is evident from the fact that at a recent sale of Bunyip land lots at the outside boundary of the suburban area realised as much as £6 per acre. During his election tour Dr. L. L. Smith pledged himself to get the reclamation of the Koo-wee-rup Swamp entered upon as one of his first Parliamentary works, but the hon. gentleman substituted a trip to England, and since his return has forgotten to redeem his promise. But the work is one which must inevitably be undertaken before very long, for such a splendid tract of richly fertile country cannot long be allowed to lie waste within so short a distance of the metropolis. Here is a direction, Mr.Editor, in which your pen, so long wielded in advocacy of the interests of this district, might usefully be exercised. Meanwhile Bunyip is dependent for its existence upon the firewood trade. In a small place like this little can be expected in the way of social news. The arrival and departure of mails and trains constitute the excitements of the place.