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.