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, August 6, 2013

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.

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