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.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Koo-Wee-Rup in the 1940s

These photographs, from the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society collection , are from a series of post cards of Koo-Wee-Rup, most likely taken in the 1940s. If you are interested in  historical buildings in Koo-Wee-Rup then have  a look at Koo-Wee-Rup Then and Now: a walk through  local history.  I did the research and the text for the walk, the photographs are from the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society collection (apart from one) and I took the modern photographs. You can access it here on the Koo-Wee-Rup Bypass website.

 St George's Church of England. It opened in 1917, and due to declining numbers the last service at the Church was held in 2012.


St John the Baptist Catholic School, opened in 1936.


 The Main Drain or the Bunyip River, at Koo-Wee-Rup.


The Primary School at Koo-Wee-Rup. the original school was opened in 1884; it moved to this Rossiter Road location in 1910. This building was built in 1915 and burnt down in 1950. The Primary School relocated to Moody Street in 1960.


Above and below, two views of Rossiter Road. Scott's guest house was opened in 1934, the Alcove cafe next door was opened in 1933. The fire station is on the right - the Fire Brigade was established in November 1943 and a temporary fire station operated until the permanent building opened in 1947.


The Mills buildings (where the Radio shop is) were built about 1925.


Station Street, looking towards the Royal Hotel, which is the double storey building in the background. The E.S & A Bank was erected in 1912.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

100 years ago this week - Hotels

This was in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of December 19, 1912, 100 years ago this week. It is an interesting listing of local hotels - many still in existence. 

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Starting from the top - the Border Inn, also known as the Berwick Inn, is still operating. It was established in 1857 by Robert and Susan Bain. After Robert's death in 1887, Susan took over as licensee until her death in 1908. Bourkes Hotel at Pakenham is on the Princes Highway where it crosses the Toomuc Creek. It was started in 1850 by Michael and Kitty Bourke and was originally called the La Trobe Inn. Michael died in 1877 and it was then operated by Kitty until 1910. The Cardinia Park Hotel at Beaconsfield still operates. It was originally called the Bush Inn and would have opened in the 1870s or 1880s. The Racecourse Hotel at Eumemmerring - not sure where  this was exactly, however it would have been on the Princes Highway near the Eumemmerring Creek. The Pakenham Hotel is the one near the Railway station. When it opened around 1880 it was known as the Gembrook Hotel; the existing building dates from 1929. The Gippsland Hotel at Beaconsfield, is now known as the Central hotel and was built on the Princes Highway near where it crosses the Cardinia Creek. It was started around 1855 by David and Janet Bowman. The existing building dates from around 1928. The  Gippsland Hotel at Bunyip is known as the Top Pub and was built around 1925. The Hallam Hotel is still operating on the original site, it started around the early 1870s. The Iona  Hotel at Garfield still operates, it opened in 1904, burnt down in 1914 and the existing building dates from 1915. The Nar Nar Goon Hotel is also still operating,  though the original building, built in 1883 for Michael O'Brien,  burnt down. The New Bunyip Hotel, was on the Princes Highway where it crossed the Bunyip river, it started in the 1870s. The Pine Grove Hotel, first started in the 1880s in Upper Beaconsfield and still exists. The Railway Hotel in Bunyip was built in 1924 to replace the 1890s building which was destroyed by fire, it is still operating. The Ranges Hotel in Gembrook apparently started in the 1890s and has been extended over the years.  I don't know about the next four hotels - the Albion, the Bridge and the Club Hotels in Dandeong and the Bridge Hotel in Mordialloc. The Cranbourne Hotel was opposite the Motor Club Hotel in High Street Cranbourne and the building was demolished in the 1970s. The  Halfway House Hotel at Lyndhurst no longer exists, it was opened in 1871. The Motor Club Hotel at Cranbourne, known as Kellys is going strong, the existing building was built inn 1926.
The Hotels in the second column are outside my area of knowledge, apart from the Paradise Hotel, which is listed at Paradise Valley, this is now known as Clematis.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Iona Riding, Berwick Shire

This is from the Pakenham Gazette of August 30, 1963 (page 9). Most of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp was in the Shire of Cranbourne and it was the Iona Riding of the Berwick Shire that had the Swamp towns of Cora Lynn, Vervale and Iona. The  Iona Riding also took in Tynong, Garfield and Bunyip.  Although this is nearly 50 years ago the main complaints are still  the same - drains and road conditions. the Shire President at the time was Cr Trevor Kilvington of  Gembrook Road, Pakenham. He was Shire President for a short time, he took over after the death of Cr E.A. C 'Bill' Russell who died in May 1963 and served until the November. The Shire Engineer was Ronald Joseph Chambers, who served from 1948 until 1973.



Sunday, December 9, 2012

100 years ago this week - Weather

This is a weather report from the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of December 12, 1912. The 'terrific storm' happened Monday, December 9.


 South Bourke and Mornington Journal December 12, 1912  http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Garfield Race Club

A meeting of the Garfield Progressive Association was held in December 1901 ‘to consider the advisability of holding a race meeting’. It was decided to hold a meeting on the Recreation Reserve which was in the process of being cleared and fenced, see article from the South Bourke and Mornington Journal, below. In fact, according to other newspaper reports, residents from near and far had met on Saturday afternoons and ‘transformed the old Reserve into something like a decent place’. The track was 1 mile 3 furlongs in length and a grand stand was also planned. The West Gippsland Gazette said the track would be one of the finest this side of the metropolis.



South Bourke and Mornington Journal, December 25, 1901 p.2
 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70048093

The Race Committee consisted of President - Joseph Henry Walker; Vice President and Chairman of Stewards - Charles Pitt; Stewards - Messrs John Daly (the Garfield school teacher), J.T Kelly, Donald, Pitt, Fitzpatrick, William Ritchie and Captain A’Beckett;  Clerk of Course - Mr Shandley; Starter - Mr Pitt; Judge - Mr Walker; Saddle cloth steward - Thomas Hegney; Clerk of scales - Mr Archer; Weigher – Mr S. Walker; Pony measurer -  Mr Fitzpatrick; Handicapper - Mr Smith and  the Hon. Surgeon was  Dr Cowen.

The first race meeting was held on Wednesday, March 12 1902.  The results were: Handicap Trial Stakes over five furlongs - first Iolanthe, second Premier and third Fly; Handicap Novelty Pony race over four furlongs -  Zoe, Palos then Woodbine; Garfield Handicap over 1¼ mile - Nemesis, second Millman (late Harkaway); Galloway Handicap over five furlongs - Palos, Miss Dive then Fairleigh;  Handicap Flying Stakes over 5¼ furlongs - Iolanthe, Nemesis then Millman; District Maiden Hack race over four furlongs - Patamba, Bung Smith then Honesty. The last race of the day was the Consolation race over four furlongs won by Fairleigh, Premier with Honesty third.
I don’t have a record of the prize money for the first race meeting but the prizes for the November 10 1902 race included 5 sovereigns for the Novice Race, Garfield Handicap, Novelty Pony Race and the Handicap Flying Stakes and 3 sovereigns for the Time Handicap Trot. To give some perspective a sovereign was worth £1 and the average person would have earnt less than £2 per week at the time.

The November 1902 race meeting was registered under V.R.C Rules. Other Race meetings held included a meeting in November 1903 with over 50 entries, ‘some of them from the very best stables’. Naturally in those days the horses would have been transported by rail and in The Argus on April 5, 1904 the Garfield Club Secretary complains about the Victorian Railways not providing enough horse boxes on trains, so therefore horses were left behind at railway stations and not able to race at the meetings.

In spite of what sounded like a successful few years the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of December 7, 1904 had an article saying that the Garfield Race Club would be disbanded and another one established. Then a report in the same paper of February 19, 1909 said that on the previous Saturday at the Iona Hotel, ‘a meeting of gentlemen’ decided to form a Race Club with E.J Hattersley elected President; Vice President - Mr M.J Walsh; Treasurer - Mr H.A Hourigan; Secretary - Charles Cail and Stewards were John Daly, Charles Pitt (who was also Starter), M. Walsh, D. Danson, M.Doran  (who was also Clerk of Course); Clerk of scales - Mr R. McNamara; Starter - Charles Pitt  and Judge was Mr C. Pearson. It would be interesting to know why a new Club was formed in late 1904 and another in 1909 - did people just fall out with each other? Did it go broke and have to start again?  It is hard to know 100 years down the track.

In any event, the Garfield Racing Club held a race meeting on March 5 1909 with a prize of £12 for the one mile Garfield Handicap and £10 for the six furlong Welter Handicap. In 1911, the Garfield Club expressed interest in joining the Gippsland Racing Association and race meetings were reported up to 1913, then there are fewer reports of race meetings during the First World War. A Race meeting held in November 1920 had so many horses entered, over 70 horses and ponies had came from Melbourne, that the last race had to be abandoned or else the horses and patrons would miss the special train back to Melbourne at 5.55pm. There were five races on the day, each with two divisions.

In March 1923, a report says that over £400 was spent in remodeling the track and there were reports of Pony Races in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Garfield wasn’t the only race course in the area - around 1907 the Nar Nar Goon Club was established, they held early races on a course in ‘Mr O’Brien’s paddock’ which may have been the same race course which gave Racecourse Road its name.  Bunyip, Iona and Cora Lynn also held race meetings. However, in 1933 the Chief Secretary wanted to curtail the number of race meetings in country areas for the season which was to begin on August 1 and thus at a meeting held on July 10, 1933 Garfield had its races reduced from two to zero, Bunyip three to zero, Iona one to zero and the same for Cora Lynn and Koo-Wee-Rup.  So it was all over for Garfield and these other towns and many other courses close to Melbourne, as this effectively closed these Clubs. A race meeting was held at Pakenham to liquidate the liabilities of the Garfield and Bunyip Clubs in the December 1933. The Nar Nar Goon Race Club survived until 1942.

This information comes from Trove, the National Library of Australia’s digitised newspapers project. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper