Sunday, December 15, 2013

100 years ago this week - St Thomas' Horticultural Show

A three day horticultural show was held at St Thomas' Church of England in Bunyip, 100 years ago this week in December 1913. It raised fifty five pounds which went  towards building the Parsonage. The church was opened on December 28, 1902 and the Parsonage opened in June 1915.

The Argus December 22 1913

Mrs Beatrice A'Beckett won eight first prizes, including that for champion carnation, roses and a collection of flowers. Amongst the other prize winners was Horace Nelson, listed in the Electoral Roll as a farmer from Bunyip; the Reverend Kent; William Kraft, who with his wife Sarah, ran the Gippsland Hotel in Bunyip. Their son, William, later became the manager of the Drouin butter factory. Another winner was  Joseph Holgate, store keeper of  Bunyip, who won the champion bloom. A couple of lads, A. Boyle and Cecil Corrigan  also won some prizes.  Miss Allen won a number of prizes for best arranged basket, ladies sprays and gents' button-holes. Miss Allen doesn't have  a first name or initial listed, so I don't know who she was; Miss P. Holland won the prize for wild flowers, but she wasn't in the Electoral Roll in 1914.

In the cookery section, Mr William Walker won the 'best plain cake made by a married man. He is listed in the Electoral Roll as a hairdresser of Bunyip. Captain Arthur A'Beckett, came second in this category - he was the husband of the prize winning Beatrice. Mr A. Boyle won the prize for the batchelor's cake. There is a Frederick and Elizabeth Boyle listed in the Electoral Rolls (Frederick is listed as carpenter) so perhaps they are the parents of Mr A. Boyle and the lad, Master A. Boyle who won prizes. The Reverend Banks won the second prize in the bachelors division. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Home Deliveries to Cora Lynn in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Rouse family have had the newspaper delivered to Cora Lynn and Vervale since the end of World War Two. Dad remembers that Mrs Simcocks, from the Garfield Newsagency, used to deliver papers and the mail in her Chev (or it may have been a Dodge, it was a big American car). In the late 1950s, Mrs Simcocks got a VW Beetle and used that for deliveries.  We also got the mail delivered by Mrs Simcocks - apparently she took it from the Garfield Post Office to the General Stores at Vervale and Cora Lynn, where it was sorted and then delivered it with the papers.

If you lived less than two miles from the Post Office / General Store at Cora Lynn or Vervale, you didn’t get a mail delivery you had to pick it up from the Post Office.  Mrs Simcocks would also bring out small parcels such as items from the Chemist or even meat from the butchers if you rang early enough. The Rouse family on Murray Road always had the Sun News Pictorial delivered and this continued when Dad and Mum got married in 1956 and moved onto the farm on Main Drain Road. Sadly, our newspaper deliveries stopped at the end of June, 2017.

This is Grandma and Grandpa (Joe and Eva Rouse) and Delacy* the dog, taken around 1950. Joe's reading the paper, delivered that day from Garfield. I think Grandma has her apron in her hand. It's taken in front of the toilet, obviously a sunny spot!.

After Mum and Dad were married in 1956, they also had the bread delivered from the Garfield Bakery. Clarrie Lindsay delivered it on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Mum always ordered a Vienna loaf and this was delivered, unwrapped, and put into the letter box, which sometimes meant that if Mum and Dad had been out during the day it was a bit crusty when they took it out of the letter box a few hours later. In the 1950s, some of the owners of the bakery were the Umlaufts and the Lowndes.

The butcher, Mr Cumming, from Bunyip also delivered meat to Grandmas. Dad says that the butcher came out in his van and would do the butchering on the spot - the carcase had already been skinned etc, but he would just cut off chops etc to order. It sounds like a bit of a health and safety nightmare, but obviously people were made of sterner stuff in 1940s and 1950s!
This photograph shows some of the shops in Main Street in Garfield. 
It is possibly an Anzac day service as they appear to be laying a wreath, 1960s.

Mum always went to the butcher in Garfield; she went to Jimmy Fawkners, who was up near the Opp shop. She also went to Ernie Robert’s grocery shop (where the cafe is) which was a general store and also had hardware, crockery and groceries. Philip and Vera Wharington also had a grocery store in Garfield and they also stocked haberdashery.  However, around 1968 Robinsons in Pakenham opened up an experimental self service store and Mum began to shop there. Robinsons had operated a grocery store in Pakenham from the 1950s and later had the SSW store until Safeways took it over (around 1980)

Grandma, and most of the surrounding area, also had groceries and other goods delivered from Dillon’s store at Cora Lynn.  Les North, the delivery man, would come around the day before and take the order, which would be delivered the next day. The Cora Lynn store had opened in 1907 and the Dillon family took over in 1927 and operated it for decades.

* the dog was named after Grace De Lacy Evans, of Vervalac, Iona. She married Percy Pratt on June 24, 1919. Mr Pratt is on the Iona Honour Board, you can read about him and the other soldiers with an Iona connection, here.

Agnes Mickle - Pioneer woman

Alexander and Agnes Mickle (nee Johnston) arrived in Victoria in October 1857 on the ship, Blackwall. Agnes was 28 and Alexander was 27. They had tried to come to Australia the year before but their boat, the Mull of Kintyre, was shipwrecked just after it had left Scotland. They both came from Berwickshire, on the Scottish border.  Alexander was the third of the Mickle brothers to arrive in Melbourne, with John having arrived in 1838 and Thomas in 1841. John Mickle, who along with his partners, William Lyall and John Bakewell, had amassed a large amount of land which they divided up in 1856. John Mickle’s share included parts of the Yallock Run, which he renamed Monomeith and Alexander and Agnes came out to manage this property.

Alexander and Agnes took a bullock dray from Melbourne to Tooradin, then went by boat to the mouth of the Yallock Creek. They lived in the original homestead until 1860 when a new house was built. In November 1861, Alexander died suddenly from appendicitis and peritonitis and Agnes was at Monomeith, eight months pregnant and with her two children David, aged 3 and Isabella Margaret, nearly 2. The only other person on the property was “the lad” John Payne, who had to ride into Cranbourne for the Police to make arrangements for the burial. Their third child, John Alexander, was born four weeks later on Boxing Day, 1861.

Agnes Mickle

Their son, David, was the grandfather of the local historian Dave Mickle. He has written various books and was instrumental in establishing the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society. Dave Mickle has written about Agnes, but no where does he write about what must have been the sheer horror (or so it seems to me) of the situation that Agnes was in - alone on the farm at the Monomeith; no close neighbours; about 30 kilometres from the nearest town which was Cranbourne, which at the time was a small town with a population of 115; and two little children and a baby on the way.

The management of the Monomeith property was taken over by Andrew Hudson, who was a cousin of the Mickles. Andrew planted wheat and operated a dairy farm. Agnes married Andrew on May 17, 1865 and had two more children, Agnes Lilly, who was born in 1866 and in 1868, when Agnes was 40, she gave birth to James Johnston  (Johnston was her maiden name). Andrew and Agnes and family moved from the Monomeith property to Protectors Flats near Lang Lang, where along with the dairy farm, they also grew tobacco. In 1879, they moved to the Warook property on the Yallock Creek and built a house (not the existing Warook house) and a dairy. They leased this, on a ten year lease, from William Lyall. Towards the end of this lease they started building The Grange, in Koo-Wee-Rup. Sadly, before they moved, Andrew Hudson died suddenly at the age of 55 on August 3, 1888. Agnes, a widow once more, moved into The Grange a few months later on October 1.

After Andrew died it seems that her sons, John Mickle and James Hudson, took over the farm and they operated Koo-Wee-Rup Dairies, where they purchased milk from local farmers and made cheese, then later (after 1899) James worked on his own and milked  cows and produced cheese.

Agnes also faced the death of her two daughters, who both died within a year. Isabella Margaret had married Richard Scott of Poowong in 1886 and had six children. She died in February 1902. Her other daughter, Agnes Lilly, had a more tragic life. She married George Hook in 1899 and their first child, Isaac, died in 1905, aged 5. Their second child, George was born on February 2, 1903 and sadly Agnes Lilly passed away six days later on February 8. Maternal mortality at this time was in the region of 40 to 60 deaths per 1,000 births, this means about 5 mothers died giving birth out of every 100 births. This didn’t decline until the 1940s, largely due to the arrival of antibiotics. Interestingly, little George, was adopted by his uncle, John Mickle and his wife Laura (John Mickle being the child Agnes gave birth to, four weeks after Alexander died)

Agnes Hudson died on December 10, 1913 aged 86. Her obituary in the Lang Lang Guardian describes her as having had a long, useful and honourable life …the deceased lady who was loved and respected by those who had the priviledge of knowing her, possessed the sterling attributes of the great Scottish race whose early pioneering enterprises left such as impress on the early land settlement in the colonies…. her mind was bright and active to the close.. and her health was remarkedly good.  So this is a tribute to a remarkable pioneer woman, Agnes Hudson, who survived a ship wreck, the birth of five children, the death of two husbands and that of her two daughters.

Monday, October 21, 2013

100 years ago this week - Iona State School, No. 3201.

This comes from The Argus of October 22,1913, 100 years ago this week.

The Iona State School was located on the corner of Thirteen Mile Road and Bunyip River Road at Vervale. It commenced in 1894 and was originally known as Koo-Wee-Rup North; in 1899 it changed its name to Bunyip South and then in 1905 to Iona. When the school opened on July 9, 1894 it had 83 pupils and the Head Teacher was Arthur Jamieson. By 1895, it had grown to 120 pupils and the new Head Teacher Joseph Lyons arrived in the April of that year. He had three assistants – Mr Colquhoun, Miss Alston and Mrs Lyons. Joseph Lyons remained at the school until 1903. The Teachers Residence was built in 1908; previous to this the Head Teacher had to live in Garfield.  The original building burnt down on July 6, 1913.  The new building opened on April 28, 1914 with 164 pupils. In 1942, electricity was supplied to the school and the telephone was connected in 1964.

Celebrations took place in 1964 to mark the 50th anniversary of the new building with between 500 and 600 people attending. Another celebration took place in 1989 to mark the 75th anniversary the 1914 building. Sadly, the school community could not celebrate one hundred years of education as the school was closed on December 17, 1993, seven months short of its centenary. The building is now at Nar Nar Goon and used as a Scout Hall.

Sources: On the edge of the swamp: a history of the Iona Primary School No. 3201 1894-1994 by Denise M. Nest ( Iona Primary School Back-To-Committee, 1994)
Vision and Realisation : a centenary history of State Education in Victoria edited by L.J. Blake (Education Department of Victoria, 1973)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

100 years ago this week - Wife wanted

This was in a couple of newspapers, 100 years ago this week in October 1913, the Adelaide Mail, Bendigo Advertiser and the Horsham Times.  I am not sure if the story is true, or if the love lorn cheesemaker found himself a tall, fair lump of  a Protestant, but either way, it's  a great story!

The Adelaide Mail October 18, 1913 page 5.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show 1960

This is what the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show used to be like.  My dad, Frank Rouse and my Uncle James Rouse (J. & F. Rouse Potato Growers, of Cora Lynn, telephone Iona 331 ) demonstrated  the washing and packing of potatoes, on machinery provided by Port Implements. You could buy the finished produce, 4 pounds of potatoes for 2 shillings and six pence. The spectators were very formerly dressed compared to today.

Show special advertisement in The Age September 23, 1960

That's Dad, leaning on the machine with his back towards the rollers.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

100 years ago this week - Bunyip Court case

This appeared in The Argus of September 16, 1913 - 100 years ago.

Victor Little (1892-1939) was the fourth of five children of James Little and Hannah Hughes. James had land at Iona and Little Road was named after the family. Victor and his wife Mareia lived at Iona and his occupation on the Electoral Roll is listed as a Dealer. They are both buried at the Bunyip Cemetery.
There is a Thomas McGuire listed in the Electoral rolls of 1909 at Bunyip South, occupation is farmer. Margaret McGuire is listed at same address. I presume that they are the same couple buried at the Bunyip Cemetery - Thomas, died 1933, aged 82 and Margaret (nee Fitzsimmons) died 1921, aged 67. They have three sons buried at Bunyip as well, Thomas John, died 1922 aged 33; William Patrick, died 1928, aged 38 and Peter James died 1952, aged 58. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Garfield - after the coming of the Railway

In another post I looked at the history of Garfield up until the coming of the Railway, which is really the seminal event in the history of Garfield. The Gippsland line to Sale was opened in stages - Sale to Morwell in June 1877, Oakleigh to Bunyip on  October 8 1877, Moe to Morwell December 1877, Moe to Bunyip March 1878 and the last stretch from South Yarra to Oakleigh in 1879. Originally, the only Stations between Dandenong and Bunyip were Berwick and Pakenham. The timber industry boomed after the railway and a series of sidings developed along the line to despatch timber such as Officers Wood Siding in 1881, where the Officer family sent firewood to Melbourne.  This is now the Officer Station. Around the same time, Fraser’s Siding was established to accommodate Donald Fraser’s Saw Mill and this later became Longwarry. In the Garfield area the Railway lead to the establishment of two early industries, Jefferson’s Saw Mill and brick works and the Cannibal Creek Saw Mill Company.

Joseph Jefferson established a saw mill in 1877 on the site of what was to become his clay pit, off Railway Avenue. He sent this timber out via Bunyip Station until a local siding, the Cannibal Creek Siding, was built in 1885 to accommodate the timber tramline which was constructed by William Brisbane, a contractor on behalf of Francis Stewart.  This tramline run for about 8 kilometres, to the Two Mile Creek,  the Garfield North road basically follows this tramway.  In the same year, Cannibal Creek Saw Mill Company Limited was registered in October by the Stewart family, with William Brisbane being a minority shareholder. Stewart had already obtained the saw milling rights to 2,000 acres of forest in 1883. Both Stewart and Brisbane had been involved separately and jointly in other mills and tramlines at Berwick, Beaconsfield and Nar Nar Goon.  The Cannibal Creek Saw Mill Company sounds like a very grand enterprise but apparently the Company was in trouble by December 1885, the tramline was disbanded in 1887 and the Company was placed in liquidation in 1888, however it deserves it’s place in Garfield’s history as the Cannibal Creek Siding, became the Garfield Railway Station.

 Getting back to Joseph Jefferson, his was a very successful business, as well as producing timber products such as fence posts and rails and firewood, he also mined the sand on his property to be used in the building industry in Melbourne and when he discovered clay on his property he began making clay bricks. The 1880s was a boom time for Victoria and Jefferson could produce over 50,000 bricks per week and fire 75,000 at a time in his kiln. The Depression of the 1890s saw a decline in the building industry which flowed onto his business and the brickworks eventually shut down in 1929.

In the next post I will look at the growth of the township which grew around the Cannibal Creek Siding.

If you are interested in the Timber Industry, then a good book is Settlers and Sawmillers : a history of the West Gippsland Tramways by Mike McCarthy. It is published by the Light Railway research Society of Australia in 1999.

Cannibal Creek becomes Garfield

In the previous post we saw how a township developed around the Cannibal Creek Siding and this township became Garfield. One of the first public buildings was the Cannibal Creek State School which opened in 1886. The School was located on the Princes Highway, west of North Garfield Road. In 1899 the School building was re-located to Garfield Road at the top of the hill, half way between the Princes Highway and the Railway Station. In 1910 the Garfield School No. 2724 moved to a new building on its present site near the Railway Station. The old building was removed in 1914 to North Garfield where it became State School No.3489.

1886 and 1887 was a time of the consolidation for Garfield - in May 1886 the Cannibal Creek Post Office was established at the Railway Station. In the same year there was community agitation to have the name of the settlement changed.  On December 11 a petition was presented to the Berwick Shire from the ‘residents of Cannibal Creek’ objecting to the name of Swamp Vale for the name of the Railway siding and Post Office and suggesting that the place be named Hopetoun. The Council resolved to ask the Railway Commissioners to alter the name to Hopetoun.  In the end Hopetoun was rejected on the grounds that there was another Hopetoun in Victoria and Garfield was chosen. The Post Office became known as the Garfield Railway Post Office on May 16, 1887 and around the same time the School also changed its name from Cannibal Creek. Township blocks were sold in Garfield and the township of Garfield was officially gazetted on November 21, 1887. For the next few years the town developed, still relying on the timber and the brick works as a major source of employment, however Garfield also had a blacksmith, a builder and a beekeeper and some carriers. By 1888 Garfield also had a football team.

If you are interested in names then Hopetoun, the proposed named for Garfield came from Lord Hopetoun, was the seventh Earl of Hopetoun and the first Marquess of Linlithgow. He was Governor of Victoria from 1889 to 1895, and in 1901 the first Governor General of Australia. The name Garfield came from the assassinated American President, James Garfield, who was shot July 2, 1881 and died September 19, 1881. Swamp Vale naturally comes from the fact that Garfield was on the edge of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp. The Swamp was drained by cutting a canal from Bunyip to Western Port Bay, the Main Drain. The major drainage works took place from 1889 to 1893 when the Swamp was then considered ready for settlement and Garfield became a service centre for the Swamp residents. New businesses were established such as a baker, carpenter, saddler and even a Sweet shop run by a Mrs Williamson.

Early days of Garfield and Cannibal Creek

The earliest recorded European settlers in the Garfield region were the lessees of the two Connabul Creek Runs, both leased in 1845. Connabul Creek 1,of 8,960 acres, was leased by Michael Ready (or Reedy) and James Hook and Connabul Creek 2 was leased by Terence O’Connor and a Mr Hayes. Essentially, these Runs were located between the Ararat Creek and the Bunyip River, north of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp. Another source tells us that a Mr Thompson had the Cannibal Creek cattle run from 1845.

The term Cannibal Creek is believed to have come about because early Surveyors in the area had left their fox terrier in their camp and when they returned they found the dog had been killed and eaten by Dingoes and thus they named the creek Cannibal Creek. Another version of the name is that the word Coonabul comes from a corruption of the Aboriginal word couna meaning “forehead” and bal meaning “he” or “she”. This possibly referred to the shape of Mount Cannibal, which was thought to resemble a head.

The Garfield area opened up after a road was surveyed from Dandenong to Gippsland in 1847 along the edge of the ranges and when this proved to be impassable in places, a new road, which became the coach route, was surveyed in 1859. This went through Cannibal Creek, via the old township of Buneep and onto Crossover. The Melbourne to Sale telegraph line followed this route in 1865, which eventually gave the road the name of Old Telegraph Road (see map).  Where this road crossed the Cannibal Creek, a small settlement was surveyed in 1860 and the township of Cannibal Creek was born. In 1866 Jabez Janes established the Pig & Whistle, on the south side of Cannibal Creek.  According to a public notice in The Argus of December 21,1866 Jabez applied for a Beer Licence in my house of five rooms finished and others partly built. He was granted the licence, however a year later he was declared insolvent due to the falling off of business in consequence of the Government changing the line of road between Cannibal and Shady Creeks. He had debts of £192 pounds. Three years later Jabez, who was described as a beer-seller at Cannibal’s Creek was back in the Courts again, when he was charged with deserting his de facto, Mary Anne Goldsmith, with whom he had five children, and leaving her and the children without support  He was ordered to pay support and put up a Surety of £20. The Argus goes on to report that as the man had neither money nor friends to assist him he was sent to gaol.  The next licensee of the Pig & Whistle was Mrs Kathleen Leeson. Mrs Leeson died in 1910, aged 100 years old. Kathleen and her husband Robert had selected land at Cannibal Creek in the early 1860s.

Competition for the Pig & Whistle came with the establishment in 1867 of David Connor’s New Bunyip Inn. This was built on the Bunyip River on the Gippsland Road, as the Princes Highway was then called. The coach route then changed direction at Cannibal Creek and turned south east to this Inn, and became known as Old Sale Road (see map). A small settlement developed around the Inn, including the establishment of a bakery by William Snell. However, Garfield really took off with the establishment of the Railway, which we will look at in the next post.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cora Lynn - the early days

Cora Lynn is nine miles from the start of the Main Drain at Western Port Bay. Some of the towns along the drain were settled as part of the Public Works Department Village Settlement scheme. This scheme was devised by Engineer Carlo Catani in 1893 and was part of a work creation scheme that allowed unemployed married men to be given a 20 acre block of land on condition that  they work two weeks on maintaining the block and the next two weeks on paid work clearing the drains. The first settlements were at Five Mile (later Koo-Wee-Rup North) and around the fourteen mile point (at Iona) and two miles further west, so thus taking in the thirteen mile point and what became known as Vervale. I believe that Cora Lynn was not part of this Village Settlement Scheme and certainly the original block sizes along the drain near Cora Lynn were not twenty acres but, according to the Parish Plan, sixty acres to the west of Cora Lynn and from 40 acres to 80 acres to the east. They were taken up from around the mid 1890s.

The first evidence I can find for the age of the Cora Lynn township was 1904 as the township plan shows some blocks having been purchased in that year. Other land sales took place later and I found an advertisement for sales of township blocks in The Argus of October 5, 1909.

The Cora Lynn State School opened in January 1907 and was originally called Koo -Wee-Rup Central. The Cora Lynn store was opened by George Petrie Murdoch Junior in 1907, and a post office opened on July 1, 1907 and this prompted the Cora Lynn Progress Association to request a name change for the area, and thus Cora Lynn was adopted. This began a period of growth for the town. The community soon held social activities, such as dances, in the shelter shed at the school. This was obviously inadequate and in April 1910 a meeting was held for the purpose of establishing a Mechanics’ Institute and Library at Cora Lynn. At the same time euchre parties and dances were held to raise money to clear the recreation reserve - in July 1910 over 100 people attended such a function.  In either December 1910 or January 1911 the Cora Lynn Cheese factory opened.  A branch of the London Bank (later taken over by the E.S & A bank) opened in a small building next to the General Store around this time (perhaps in response to the establishment of the Cheese Factory?)

Cora Lynn, maybe 1911. The small building on the right is the Bank, next to it is Murdoch's store.

However, all this progress had a down side as the South Bourke and Mornington Journal reported in August 1910 – the Cora Lynn Progress Association has complained of the excessive speed at which motor cars and bicycles are being driven through the shire on the narrow roads and several  persons had experienced very narrow escapes from accidents. 

By 1910, the School numbers had increased so much that students had to be taught in the shelter shed. Cora Lynn led the way in February 1911 when the parents of the school had the distinction of appointing the first School Committee in the State. This Committee replaced the old Boards of Advice. The Minister for Education praised the Cora Lynn School Committee for the superior report that they had submitted according to an Argus report on February 10, 1911.

The Cora Lynn hall, called Keast Hall was named after William Keast (1866-1927). Keast was the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the area from 1900 to 1917. This hall was to be opened on June 13, 1911 but the official opening was delayed due to the fact that three feet of water was running through the hall, one of the many floods to hit Cora Lynn. I am unsure when the official opening then took place, but there is a report of the Berwick Shire Council meeting held in early November 1911 which gave approval from the Board of Health for the opening of the Mechanics’ Institute at Cora Lynn, so it is possible that the opening was delayed a few months due to repairs after the flood. The original building would have been fairly basic as a concert was held in June 1917 to raise money to line the hall. The community had held various functions over the years for the hall including a skating night in July 1914.

Other town activities included sports gatherings held on the newly cleared recreation reserve and in January 1915 a Cora Lynn branch of the Victorian Potato Growers Association was formed.  On April 15, 1916 the first Cora Lynn Horticultural show was held. It was opened by Mr Keast, who was introduced by the Show President, Mr W.J Johnston, and the event was held in his ‘own’ hall. Mr Keast said the show was a natural display of the fertility of the district and the industry of the tillers of the soil.  The report in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of April 27, 1916 said the display of goods was highly creditable and it went on to say that the ladies, without whom a exhibition would be a failure, pleased the eye by their gorgeous display of fancy work and literally caused the mouth to water by the appearance of preserves, confectionary and the many tempting objects they alone know how to produce. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Nar Nar Goon to Mirboo railway line

The Argus, October 17, 1911.

I came across this the other day. I can tell you that the Railway line never eventuated, but it would have been interesting if it had. Cora Lynn never got  a railway station - the closest stations were Tynong and Garfield on the Gippsland line and the Bayles and Catani Railway Stations on the Koo-Wee-Rup to Strezelecki line. This line opened on June 29, 1922 and closed in stages with the Catani station closing in April 1950 and Bayles in February 1959.

Here's what it says:
Railways Standing Committee
Nar Nar Goon to Mirboo
Cora Lynn, Monday – the Railways Standing Committee visited Cora Lynn today, and took evidence in the public hall in regard to the proposed railway route from Nar Nar Goon to Mirboo, via Cora Lynn and Modella. Over 100 persons were present.
Mr Melville, M.L.C., presided, and Messrs Billson and Warde were also present.
Evidence was given by Messrs Kinsella, Porter, Murdock and Dyer in favour of the proposed line, and all favoured it going through Cora Lynn, in order to tap land to the south of that township. Messrs Chambers and Schmutter (Modella League) favoured the same route, provided the line was carried through Modella.
 The Committee also took evidence at Nar Nar Goon and Messrs Reid and Latta were examined in regard to the proposed route. The latter gentleman said that he had been 29 (?) years on 700 acres of land and after that time his land was only now in a fit state to produce crops which would be valuable to him.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tynong & District Coursing Club

A meeting was held in late August 1941 to form the Tynong & District Coursing Club. The President was Peter Gleeson and the Secretary was Ernest Oram. Peter Gleeson was a farmer at Tynong and Ernest Oram was the storekeeper at Tynong   I am unfamiliar with grey hound racing,   but apparently a Coursing Club conducts plumpton meetings where two greyhounds compete on a straight track and are released from a set of slips instead of a starting box.

The Argus September 1 1941, page 3

In the March of 1942 the newly formed club was allocated the rights to conduct the classic coursing events – the Derby and the Oaks. The report in The Argus, said that the Tynong Club has practically completed the building of a magnificent enclosure on a site distant a mile from the town.  The course was on the Gleeson property on the Eleven Mile Road, near the corner of the Nine Mile Road (the Tynong-Cora Lynn Road) near where Gleeson Road adjoins the Eleven Mile Road, today. The opening meeting was held on May 16, 1942. The events included an All aged stakes, two Bitch Puppy stakes, two Dog Puppy stakes and a Maiden stake.  The All Aged stake was won by Palm Grove, owned by Rupert Colliver, a neighbour of the Gleesons.

Various other meetings were held in 1942, including the Derby in July and the President’s Cup meeting in August. The prize for this event was a Cup plus £25, a fairly substantial prize, the equivalent of about one month’s wages. The Club also raised money for the Red Cross and by October 1942 had raised £200.
In 1943, the Tynong Club won the right to host the Waterloo Cup. The first Waterloo Cup was conducted in 1873 and the event is still being held, in fact the 2011 and 2012 Waterloo Cups were conducted at the Lang Lang Coursing track. The 1943 event took place over two Saturdays on July 31 and August 7.  It was won by Keep Elert, defeating Air Flash, and the prize was £250 pounds, plus a Cup. 

There are reports about races throughout the 1940s and the Tynong Club appears to have grown in status fairly quickly, in fact it was reported in the Gippsland Times of September 19, 1946 that the Sale Club aims to take some Tynong glory and get a classic such as the St Ledger, Oaks, Derby or the blue ribbon event of plumpton coursing, the Waterloo Cup. It failed to get the Waterloo Cup as Tynong hosted it again in 1947 and also in 1954. The 1954, the Cup was won by Byamee, who is in the Greyhound Hall of Fame for winning the event from 1953 to 1955.

An article in The Argus of February 17, 1954 talked about grey hound racing in general and the fact the Victorian Government was legislating to bring in ‘tin hare racing’.  I presume that previous to this, live hares were used as the lure. There had been reports in various papers on Trove about community groups conducting ‘hare drives’ and bagging hares to be sent to the Tynong Coursing Club. The article also said that grey hound racing was at the cross roads and in the doldrums and that it had been unwise to change the venue of classics, such as the Waterloo Cup, and hold it in places that had  insufficient accommodation ...or accommodation unfit to house a greyhound, let alone humans.  I don’t know if that referred to Tynong, but it was a fairly isolated course, with the nearest accommodation being the Garfield, Nar Nar Goon or Pakenham Hotels.

In June 1955, Mr M. A. Cunningham, the treasurer of the Club, collected the major prize money for his four entries at the Tynong Club meeting.  In fact, one of his dogs, Belabek, left the crowd flabbergasted, when it won by 12 lengths.  The last line in the article was Fielders [bookmakers] said it was one of the worst days they had seen this season. The Tynong Coursing Club was still going in May 1956, but Dad thinks it didn’t go on for much longer after that.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Island Road School No. 3952

The Island Road School, formerly Dalmore East, opened June 23, 1919. The people of Dalmore East had been agitating for a school for a few years. In August 1916, Mr W. Giles, the Secretary of the Manks Road and District Farmers Association had written a letter to the Education Department with a list of 36 children who might attend the local school. In October 1916, the Education Department purchased one and a half acres of land from F. Wood for £20.00 per acre. A working bee was held to clear the land as the Education Department had a spare building in Koo-Wee-Rup that they were willing to move to Dalmore.  This building was the original Koo-Wee-Rup State School, No. 2629, building. School No. 2629 had opened on November 1, 1884 on the corner of Bethunes Road and the Koo-Wee-Rup to Bayles Road. It was originally known as Yallock School and changed its name to Koo-Wee-Rup on July 24, 1903. The building was shifted into Rossiter Road (where the Secondary College is) in September 1910. This building became redundant when a new building was opened in February 1915. It was this redundant building that the Education Department wanted to move to Dalmore East.

The School, in 1913, on the Rossiter Road site.
Photograph from the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical society collection.

Perhaps due to the War there were difficulties finding a contractor to re-locate the building and it wasn’t until May/June 1919 that a contractor could be found to move the School.  When it was opened on June 23, 1919 there were eighteen children enrolled –Alice Dixon, Annie Dixon, Ethel Dixon, Elsie Follett ,Vera Follett, Bessie Giles, Pauline Giles, Rosalind Levey, Wilfred Levey, David Mills, Alice Pepper, Gwendelon Pepper, Samuel Pepper, Sarah Pepper, Clara Wood, Clifford Wood, Emily Wood and Frank Wood. Another twelve children enrolled during the year. 

The first teacher was Miss Estella Forbes. Estella Forbes had previously taught at Flemington Primary School and this School had an average attendance of 580 students in 1915, so Island Road would have been a bit of a shock to her. Estella did not stay very long as the first year of operation saw a succession of teachers; after Estella there was Elizabeth Anderson, then Alexander Munro, then Eric Elliott who started in 1920 and left in 1923. This succession of teachers probably reflects the reality of teaching in a one teacher country school - many of these teachers would have been young; there was no school house so they would have had to board locally or else travel in from Koo-Wee-Rup on a horse, or as Eric did a bicycle. As well, resources were poor and the teachers complained about lack of basic resources such as desks and blackboards.  

The School, in 1969, at Island Road.
Photograph from the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society collection.

The School was surrounded by water in the December 1934 flood but it did not enter the actual building, although the shelter shed and outdoor toilets were inundated.  It was due  to the fact the school was an island during the flood that James Marshall, who was the teacher at the school from 1932 until 1936, suggested that the school change its name to Island Road School  and this was adopted in 1935. 

From 1919 until 1945 there had been 15 teachers at the school, and the school was closed for a short time in 1944-45 when no suitable accommodation for a teacher could be provided. This succession of teachers came to an end in 1945 when Allan Humphries was appointed, as he stayed until 1955. During his tenure, electricity was installed in 1953.
A Young Farmers Club was established at the school in 1939 by teacher Walter Koochew and in 1946 Allan Humphries started a Scout Troop, with himself as the Scout Leader.  Mr Humphries also started evening classes to teach English to the newly arrived migrants from Holland, Italy and Greece. After Humphries left in 1955 there was another succession of teachers with none staying more than three years.  At the time of the Island Road School Golden Jubilee celebrations and ‘Back-to’ in 1969, student numbers were down to seventeen. In a documet that we have at the Society, it was reported that in the fifty years the school had educated 344 students. Over 500 people attended the Golden Jubilee celebrations.  Island Road School, No.3952, closed in 1974 when enrolments were down to six. 

In 1984, Koo-Wee-Rup Primary School, No. 2629, celebrated its centenary and fittingly its original building was moved back onto the Koo-Wee-Rup Primary School site from Island Road that year.   

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cora Lynn October 20, 1937

These are State River and Water Supply Commission photographs taken on October 20, 1937 during the flood, at Cora Lynn.

This shows the Cora Lynn Hall, Keast Hall. It was to have have been officially opened on June 13, 1911 however it had three feet of water through it,according to an article in The Argus of June 14, 1911 (see below). The Hall was then officially opened in early August. The Hall closed in the 1980s.

The Argus June 14, 1911

 The Cora Lynn Store and the E.S.& A Bank. I am not sure when the Bank opened. There was a London Bank (later taken over by the E.S & A bank) in Garfield from 1905 and by 1908 there were Agencies at Koo-Wee-Rup, Iona and Tynong, so I suspect it was around this time. In the 1950s it was staffed about a morning a week and closed in the early 1960s. The Cora Lynn State School, No. 3502,  is in the background, at the right. It opened January 1, 1907 and closed on May 29, 1951. The students and building were transferred to the Pakenham Consolidated school.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

100 years ago this week - an account of two acccidents near Pakenham

An account of two dray accidents appeared in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal, 100 years ago this week, in May 1913.

South Bourke and Mornington Journal May 8, 1913. Page 5.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Who was the first white child born on the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp?

According to Mickle Memoirs of Koo-Wee-Rup written by Dave Mickle, the first white or European baby born in the town of Koo-Wee-Rup was John Leslie O’Riordan who was born in August 1892. John’s parents, John and Elizabeth, had opened the first store in the town in 1890. I checked the Victorian Births Deaths and Marriages Indexes (BDMs) and they list Horace Napier Mackenzie as being born in Koo-Wee-Rup in 1891, the year before John, so should Horace get the credit for being the first European baby born in Koo-Wee-Rup?  Horace’s parents were George and Grace Mackenzie. Grace was the teacher at the Yallock, later known as Koo-Wee-Rup State School, from 1888 until 1911.  The other baby listed as being born in 1892 was Andrew Clark, the son of John and Barbara Clark. I imagine these births were registered at Cranbourne as they had a Registrar of Births and Deaths, Alexander Duff, who was appointed in 1855. Koo-Wee-Rup’s first Registrar was Alexander Leithhead, who was appointed in June 1894.

Then I wondered if we could determine was the first white baby born on the Swamp, in general, not the town of Koo-Wee-Rup. There were many men working on the creation of the Main Drain between 1889 and 1893, at one time over 500 were employed - many of whom had their families with them and after the adoption of Carlo Catani’s Village settlement scheme more families arrived and lived on their allocated twenty acre block – by September 1894 there was said to be 230 families on the Swamp or 1280 persons.

Once again I checked the BDMs to see what Swamp babies I could find - Yallock, the Village settlement outside of Bayles, had eight babies listed between 1892 and 1895. One of the problems in determining birth places is that it seems that many babies in the BDMs have the place of registration listed as the place of birth. The first Registrar at the eastern end of the Swamp was not appointed until January 1, 1895 when James Pincott was appointed for Bunyip South (as Iona was previously known). In 1894 no babies were listed as being born in Bunyip South but in 1895, 49 were registered, 69 the next year and 49 in 1897. As a comparison, in 1895 only 36 babies were registered at Dandenong so that’s a lot of babies and I suspect that due to travel difficulties many parents had put off registering their children until a Registrar was appointed locally.

Even to get to Nar Nar Goon, which had a Registrar since 1887, would have been a long journey. Nar Nar Goon had 64 babies registered between 1889 to 1895. Garfield did not get a Registrar until September 1899 when John Daly was appointed and eight births were registered in 1900, these are the first births listed at Garfield in the BDMs, though it seems unlikely there had been no births in the town in the previous twenty or so years.  Previous to this it appears that Garfield babies were registered elsewhere – for instance Ingebert and Mary Gunnulson (he was a Garfield builder) registered babies at Nar Nar Goon in 1889,1890, 1892 and 1894, in 1896 at Bunyip South and in 1900 at Garfield.  George and Mary Brownbill registered babies at Bunyip South in 1896 and 1898 and Garfield in 1901.  So this shows the difficulty in determining how many babies were born on the Swamp and who was the first.

Most of these early births would not have had a Doctor present. There was one at Cranbourne, at least from 1866, though a report said that he was a clever man, but one who had the habit that many otherwise good man has fallen victim to. The Minister [Alexander Duff, the Presbyterian Minister] kept his books and instruments and for special cases he sobered up for a couple of days, the hotel being tabooed to him till he had completed the case in hand. It may well have be less risky not to have a doctor attend. A doctor visited Koo-Wee-Rup weekly from Cranbourne from around 1900 and the first resident Doctor in the town came in the 1920s. A Bush Nursing Hospital with a skilled nurse opened in Koo-Wee-Rup in July 1918. Many women, especially in rural areas, would have had a local midwife, usually very experienced but with no formal qualifications attend to her when she gave birth at home. The availability of nurses and doctors would partly account for the improvement in the infant mortality rate. In the 1890s, this rate varied from ten to thirteen percent, that is for every 1,000 babies born, 100 to 130 babies would die under the age of one. In the 1920s this rate had dropped to around six percent.

There was an interesting case reported in The Argus in May 1893 – the headline on the May 8 story was Supposed child murder at Koo-Wee-Rup. The body of baby boy was found buried in a box. The police interviewed Mrs Johnson, an experienced nurse, who had helped deliver the baby of a Mrs Parker on February 4, 1893.When Mrs Johnson had arrived Mrs Parker was lying in a miserable bed with only a piece of blue blanket for covering and alongside the bed was the dead body of a well grown fully developed male child. When Mrs Johnson returned the next day the baby had gone and she was told that the father on the baby, Michael O’Shea, had buried the baby. Subsequently Ellen Parker and Michael O’Shea were charged with causing the death of the child and arrested. You can read the full article on Trove, here.

The account of the inquest, in The Argus of May 17 1893 (reproduced from Trove, left) said that both Ellen and Michael belonged to a rough and very unrefined order of society. The jury decided that there was insufficient evidence to convict the accused and they were found to be not guilty. A very sad state of affairs for all concerned and it especially brings to focus the hard life the early settlers lived on the Swamp, with primitive, wet conditions, no decent housing, no schooling for the children, poor wages and no medical help.

This brings us back to the first question as to who was the first white baby born at Koo-Wee-Rup or on the Swamp.  In the end, it doesn’t really matter. Of more importance is the quality of life and I can report that of the first three babies said to have been born in the town of Koo-Wee-Rup, John O’Riordan, Horace Mackenzie and Andrew Clark all had more fortunate lives than the poor, little baby born to Ellen Parker, as John lived until he was 85, Horace lived until he was 93 and even Andrew Clark (whom I know nothing else about) lived until he was 67.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Koo-wee-rup, the race horse

The Argus newspaper, which is available on-line on the National Library of Australia website  started in 1848 , so I thought it would be interesting to see when Koo-Wee-Rup had its first press mention. The earliest report was July 1, 1856 however in October 1868 I found the first mention of a racehorse called Koo-wee-rup, so I thought I would tell you about the horse.  The horse’s name was usually spelt as Koo-wee-rup, so that’s the way we will spell it. The horse was owned by Mr L.O Patterson. I can’t find a connection with Alexander Patterson, who was the owner of St Germains at Clyde and one of the original members of the Cranbourne Road Board, but I wonder if there is a connection, given the name of the horse.  Alexander Patterson mainly bred draught horses and his horse, Sprightly, won the silver medal for the ‘Colonial Bred Entire Draught Horse’ at the Port Philip Society’s Show in 1856. Alexander also had a few racehorses. Getting back to Koo-wee-rup, the horse was entered in the Maiden Plate on the first day of the Victoria Racing Club’s Spring Meeting which was held on Thursday to Saturday, November 5-7, 1868.  The Maiden Plate was for three year olds, over a mile and a half. A report of the race described Koo-wee-rup, like the majority of Touchstone’s progeny, appeared small and weedy. In the end, Palmerston won the race with Koo-wee-rup, who threw his rider directly the flag fell, bringing up the rear. 

In March 1869, Koo-wee-rup was entered the Helter Skelter Stakes of the Victorian Racing Club’s Autumn Meeting, which he won by half a dozen lengths in a canter.  The horse was then sold to Mr Clarke for £41. Clark entered Koo-wee-rup in the Woodstock Races in May  1869 and he was the favourite to win the District Plate until it oozed out that a protest had been lodged against him on account of his owner not residing within a radius of fifteen miles of the district. The horse won and the stewards reserved their decision until a future day.

In November 1870, Koo-wee-rup was entered in the Footscray Plate on Derby Day. His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh (Queen Victoria’s son) was in attendance on the day. According to The Argus Koo-wee-rup was the first to show in front [and]…at the Abattoirs Koo-wee-rup again took the lead…coming into the Straight Koo-wee-rup was still leading, the others being close up, and  the whips being plied freely in all directions. The Dane came to the front soon after passing the turn and won with comparative ease, Koo-wee-rup being second.  Koo-wee-rup’s owner lodged a protest against The Dane for a cross coming up the Straight but the Stewards dismissed the protest.

In March 1871, at the Geelong Races the day’s sports wound up with a hack race, for which seven started. The first heat was won by Koo-wee-rup. In late November 1871 at the Ballarat Turf Club Spring meeting Koo-wee-rup was one of five starters in the Scurry Stakes and won with the most ridiculous ease, 20 lengths in front of Stafford. The horse was afterwards disqualified for being 4 pounds underweight.   On December 15, of the same year, Koo-wee-rup won the Stewards Cup at the Talbot Races, beating six others and was later sold for £42 to Mr P. Glenister.  The final mention I could find of Koo-wee-rup was at the Croxton Park Race meeting on Boxing Day, 1871. The horse was entered in the Selling race and later at the same meeting entered in the Flying Handicap, a one mile race. The betting was 5 to 2 against the horse and at the bottom of the hill Koo-wee-rup fell and broke his leg. Sadly, an unhappy ending for Koo-wee-rup.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Vervale is a little known town or locality between Cora Lynn and Iona. I grew up in Vervale, although I often say Cora Lynn, because no-one has heard of Vervale. Most people haven't heard of Cora Lynn either, but it's slightly more well known. The Shire of Berwick Rate Books give us some idea of the development of Vervale. Ratepayers in the area were listed as living in Cora Lynn or Iona until 1916 when some of these same ratepayers had Clarke’s Post Office as their address. This had changed to Vervale in 1917. The area was also known as Kirwan’s after John Kirwin, who established the Post Office in 1907. Vervale was first written as Vere Vale. Vervale means “green valley”, a bit  ironic as  it is just flat Swamp land.

Vervale didn’t have a lot of facilities – there were no Churches, for instance. Until around 1960 Methodist and Presbyterian Services were held on alternate Sundays at the Cora Lynn Hall, or Presbyterians could attend the Iona Presbyterian Church. Catholics could attend St Josephs Church at Iona and those of the Methodist and Anglican faiths could attend Churches in Garfield. There were no Vervale sporting teams – you had to go to either Cora Lynn or Garfield to play sport.

Vervale General Store and Post Office, taken 1967 or 1969.
National Archives of Australia photograph.

What Vervale did have was a General Store and Post Office, established in 1907 by John. Kirwan. According to the Shire of Berwick Rate Books it was sold to James & Edith McMannis in 1916. Mr McMannis died April 9, 1959, aged 90, and Mrs McMannis died June 4, 1967, aged 88, thus ending 51 years of store ownership. I only remember going there once, it must have been just before Mrs McMannis died and all I remember was that Mrs McMannis looked really old. Given that she must have been well into her eighties and I was only about seven, it's not surprising. Mr and Mrs McMannis are buried at the Bunyip cemetery.

Vervale also had a State School, and although it had three names it was never called Vervale. State School No. 3201 was established in 1894 as Koo-Wee-Rup North School, changed its name in 1899 to Bunyip South and changed its name again in 1905 to Iona. The School closed December 1993.

However, Vervale does have one claim to fame as it was the first place in Victoria in which asparagus was commercially grown. Thomas Roxburgh, who was a Shipping Agent, planted the first commercial crop of asparagus at his farm on Fallon Road,  Cheriton Park, though locally it was referred to as Roxburgh Park. The earliest reference I can find to this planting is an article in The Argus from May 8, 1912, page 6.

The Argus from May 8, 1912, page 6.

It's a bit hard to read - so here's what it says.   Asparagus Culture.  Bunyip, Tuesday. - Mr Roxborough, an enterprising resident of Melbourne, who owns land on the Koo-wee-rup Swamp, has grown nine acres of asparagus at Iona, and a jam company has offered to erect a canning factory on the land if he grows 20 acres.

The jam company, was, I presume A.J.C., as the farm was later called the A.J.C farm. Even though it says Iona it was really Vervale, but as I said before, Vervale  wasn't used as a name until about 1917.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Koo-Wee-Rup township

This is a short history of the various institutions in the town of Koo-Wee-Rup.

The first School was established in 1884 between Koo-Wee-Rup and Bayles (at Bethunes Road) with 22 pupils. It was known as the Yallock School, until 1903 when the name was changed to Koo-Wee-Rup. In 1910, the school moved to Rossiter Road (to the Secondary College location) and a new building was built in 1915. In 1953, the Higher Elementary School was completed. This School included both primary and secondary classes (Forms 1 to 3 or Years 7 to 9). The School became a High School in 1957 and shared the building with the primary school students until November 1960 when the Primary School opened in Moody Street.  St John the Baptist Catholic School opened in 1936.

The arrival of the Methodist Church in 1932.
Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photograph.

In 1896, the first service took place in the Presbyterian Church, which is still standing today. The first Catholic Church was built in 1902 and the current church dates from 1962.  The Anglican Church was built in 1917 and closed in 2012 and the congregation moved to the Uniting Church.  The Methodist Church (now Uniting) was moved from Yallock to Rossiter Road in 1932. It is shown in the photograph, above. In 1978 this building was moved to a camp in Grantville and a wooden church, the Narre Warren East Uniting Church, was relocated to the site, it was given a brick veneer and a new hall added and opened on February, 3 1980.

A Bush Nursing hospital was built in 1910. In 1923 the Memorial Hospital opened in Station Street and moved to a new building in  Rossiter Road in 1955. In 1946, the Infant Welfare Centre was opened in a room at the Memorial hall and in 1953 the Pre-School opened.

Construction of the Hospital,  1921.
Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society Photograph.

A Cricket Club started in 1893, the Recreation Reserve opened in 1906, and a football team had started by 1907. The Royal Hotel was erected in 1917. The Masonic Lodge commenced in 1923. The Wattle Picture Theatre was opened in 1927, the same year the Koo-Wee-Rup Electric Light and Power Company supplied electricity to the town. In 1929, the first Koo-Wee-Rup Scout Troop was formed. To add further to the amenity of the town in 1930 the water tower and the water supply system opened and in 1943 the Fire Brigade was formed.

The Koo-Wee-Rup Railway station was opened on August 18, 1889. The Station was originally called Yallock and was re-named Koo-Wee-Rup in 1892. In 1922, Koo-Wee-Rup became a railway junction with the opening of the Strzelecki railway line. This line was closed in stages and the last stretch from Bayles to Koo-Wee-Rup closed in 1959. Passenger services to Koo-Wee-Rup ceased in June 1981 were reinstated December 1984 and ceased again in July 1993.

Oldest buildings in town
The 1884 School building, which had moved from Bethunes Road to Rossiter Road, was shifted again in 1919 to become the Island Road School. The School closed in 1974 and ten years later the building moved back to the Primary School site in Moody Street.
However, the oldest building still on its original site is the house, “The Grange”, off Sybella Avenue. This was built in 1887-88 for Andrew and Agnes Hudson, though sadly Andrew died just before they moved in. Agnes, nee Johnston, was firstly married to Alexander Mickle. Alexander and Agnes were the grandparents of Local Historian, David Mickle.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

100 years ago this week - Food production

One hundred years ago, this week in March 1913, this appeared in the West Gippsland Gazette, and is a reminder of what a rich area this once was for food production.

West Gippsland Gazette   Tuesday 4 March 1913, page 7

At Iona, a Creamery run by the Fresh Food and Frozen Storage Company, was opened in 1897 and by 1900 it had 500 suppliers. The Creamery operated until around 1907. In 1906 Drouin Co-Operative Butter Factory established a factory in Iona on the corner of Little Road and the Main Drain. It closed in October 1928 and was demolished in 1930. Another butter factory, operated by Holdenson and Neilson, operated in Iona from 1912 and was taken over by the Drouin Co-Operative Butter Factory in April 1921.If you have been to Iona recently, it is hard to believe that it ever sustained two butter factories.  Cora Lynn also had a cheese factory, click here to find out more about it.

This is a photo of my grandparents (Joe and Eva Rouse) farm at Cora Lynn, taken in 1928. It was typical of the many small farms on the Swamp.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

100 years ago this week - the Bunyip

This interesting account of  a Bunyip appeared in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal, 100 years ago, in February 1913.

South Bourke and Mornington Journal Thursday 20 February 1913, page 2.

Monday, February 4, 2013

100 years ago this week - the state of the drains

This was in the The Argus, 100 years ago this week, in February 1913. 100 years on, local residents are still concerned about the state of the drains, so no change there.  It's a bit hard to read, so I have copied the text, below.

The Argus February 5,  1913 page 11

Sir, It is about two years since the big flood on the Koo Wee Rup Swamp and the Government promised to clear out the main canal and remove the sand and silt which had accumulated in it and so prevent it from overflowing again. But nothing has been done and if heavy rains fall there will be a recurrence of the flood and much valuable produce will be destroyed. It is scandalous that the Government, after spending so money in reclaiming this rich country, should allow the canal to silt up, where for a small outlay, it could be kept clear. The cost of this should be borne by the settlers at so much per acre. They would gladly pay to make themselves safe from floods. I hope that Mr Watt will keep his promise over this matter and instruct the Public Woks Department to proceed with the work before the coming winter. 
Yours etc    K.W.R  Feb 4

Mr Watt was William Alexander Watt, Premier of Victoria from May 18 1912 to December 9 1913 and December 22 1913 to June 18, 1914.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cora Lynn Store

The Cora Lynn was opened in 1907 by George Petrie Murdoch Junior. As we saw in the last post George and his father, George Senior, were some of the earliest owners of township allotments in Cora Lynn. Murdoch operated the store until 1922 when Alex Chisholm took over. Chisholm was there until 1927 when the Dillon family took over the store and operated it for decades. It closed 1999.

Cora Lynn store, c.1910. Peter Corcoran standing in front with bicycle.
(Photograph from the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society collection)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cora Lynn township plan and early land sales

State Library of Victoria collection

Cora Lynn township plan. This shows the original township allotments and the first owner of the allotments after the Government land sales. In Section T some of the sales must have taken place in 1904 as Allotments 14a to 14c have a purchase date of  June 28, 1904. Land sales were generally advertisedin the newspapers and I have found this report in the Argus of October 5, 1909 with Allotments 10b, 10d and 10f of Section T for sale - each about half an acre. According to the Plan, above,  George Petrie Murdoch Senior and Junior  purchased this land and the other adjoining allotments.  George Junior also operated the Cora Lynn store.

The Argus, October 5 1909 page 2

Monday, January 7, 2013

100 years ago this week - Ice Cream manufacturers

This is from a report, in the South Bourke and |Mornington Journal, 100 years ago this week,  of  the Berwick Shire Council Meeting held on Saturday, January 11 1913 and refers to applications to make Ice Cream at Garfield and Bunyip.

South Bourke and Mornington Journal January 16, 1913 page 5.
From Trove

In the 1914  Electoral Roll, Catherine Louch was listed as the Newsagent at Garfield. Margaret Bell of Bunyip is listed as a 'Confectioner'.  Commercial production of ice cream was relatively new in Australia. According to the book Cream of the Country: a history of Victorian dairying by Norman Godbold (Dairy Industry Association of Australia, 1989) ice cream became popular around 1910 and there were many manufacturers. They originally used custard in the ice cream but this was revoluntionised by Fred Peters, an American, who had arrived in Sydney in 1908 with his mother's ice cream recipe which used only pure dairy products. It took Peters four year to accumulate enough money to go into the ice cream business  and when he did in 1912 the demand for his 'American' style ice cream was amazing. Peters Ice Cream is now part of Nestles.

I don't know how successful the new ice cream making ventures of Catherine and Margaret were, however in the 1919 Electoral roll Catherine is still listed as the Newsagent, but in the 1924 Electoral roll there is a Catherine Louch listed in the St Kilda area and her occupation is listed a 'Confectioner', so it seems likely that her career started in Garfield. You can read more about Margaret here.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cora Lynn Cheese Factory

The Cheese Factory at Cora Lynn is  a prominent landmark, and as you can see by the date on the factory, it was established in 1910. This photograph was taken in 1998 and it has since been refurbished. I have tried to find out the exact date of the opening, but can only conclude from the following newspaper reports that it was either December 1910 or January 1911. The factory was extended in the 1930s and in 1932 had around 500 regular suppliers, however it was closed in the late 1940s. 

The Argus Wednesday, August 3 1910 page 6

Tenders were accepted in October 1910 to build the factory.
The Argus Saturday, October 15 1910 page 20
The Factory was under construction in December 1910.

Berwick Shire News   Wednesday, December 7, 1910.

The factory had just been completed in January 1911.

The Argus, Tuesday January 31, 1911 page 6.
From Trove