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.

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.

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