Sunday, May 28, 2017

Inaugural meeting of the Koo-Wee-Rup branch of the Country Women’s Association in 1944

The Koo-Wee-Rup Sun of November 9, 1944 reported on the inaugural meeting of the Koo-Wee-Rup branch of the Country Women’s Association. I have transcribed the article and researched and added some biographical information in everyone mentioned in the article.

On Wednesday afternoon, 25th ult. [October 25 1944] a most important and pleasing event took place in the Kooweerup Memorial Hall, viz the inaugural meeting of the local branch of the Country Women’s Association. Mesdames Nicholson, Keighery, Mortimer, Riggall and Harder transformed the hall into a delightful meeting place. The stage end was banked with shrubs and flowers and the eastern end was set with tables to hold a delicious afternoon tea provided by Mrs H. Bourke and Mrs C. Einsiedel. 

Cr Cochrane, as deputy for the Shire President, in a few well chosen words assured the convenors of the personal interest of the councillors in the formation of a local branch and welcomed and introduced the official party. Mrs Sewell, M.A., representing headquarters, was the speaker for the afternoon and seldom have the ladies of Kooweerup listened to a more able speaker who clearly and concisely and interestingly covered the whole of the functions and aims of the association. As a result 30 members were later enrolled. Miss Kent, [West Gippsland] Group President and Mrs Ellwood, Secretary installed the following office bearers. President , Mrs E. Glasscock; vice presidents Mesdames H. Bourke and Nicholson; secretary, Mrs A Mortimer; treasurer, Mrs R. Levey; committee Mesdames C. Einsedel, C. Keighery, A. Hewitt, E. Holley, W. Levey and W. Henry. 

On taking the chair Mrs Glasscock assured those present that she fully realized the importance of the office she had been elected to. After hearing Mrs Sewell’s account of the activities a branch can undertake she also realized the great importance a branch is to a district. She congratulated Mrs Nicholson and Mrs Bourke for the way they had organised the meeting. Afternoon tea was then partaken of and the function closed with the President passing a vote of thanks to the visiting ladies for their attendance, also the local ladies who had supported the effort. 

As is usual in newspaper reports of this time first names are rarely used, you only get the first initial of the person and in the case of women, they don’t even get the initial of their own first name, it is the initial of their husband’s first name. I have done some research in the Electoral rolls, old newspapers and indexes to marriages to give these women a name (and I believe the names are all correct) so, below, is an alphabetical list of all the people mentioned in the article. 

Bourke, Aileen (nee Donoghue). Wife of Hugh Bourke, grazier, of Monomeith.

Cochrane, Leslie James. Cr Cochrane was a Shire of Cranbourne Councillor from 1930 to 1964 and Member of the Legislative Assembly from 1950 to 1970. Cochrane Park is named after him.

Einsiedel, Agnes Constance (nee Grant). Wife of Percival Gustav Claude Einsiedel, grazier, of Monomeith.

Ellwood, Margaret Jean (nee Mason). Secretary of the West Gippsland Group and a member of the Harkaway Branch. This is Margaret Ellwood, wife of Allan, who was the Manager of the Boys Home (Melrose Training Farm for Boys) at Harkaway.

Glasscock, Phyllis (nee Witty). Wife of Eric Gordon Glasscock, grazier, of Monomeith.

Harder, Alma Evelyn (nee Sevior). Wife of Dudley Grenfell Harder, Bank official, of Sybella Avenue.

Henry, Alma Constance (nee Sturley). Wife of William Henry, Bank Manager E. S. & A. Bank at Koo-Wee-Rup.

Hewitt, Vera Wakefield (nee Mann) Wife of Dr Alan Hewitt of Rossiter Road.

Holley, Constance Mary (nee Feild). Wife Edward John Holley, Theatre Manager, of Koo-Wee-Rup.

Keighery, Eva Emily Adeline (nee Misson). Wife of Christopher Keighery, saddler, of Rossiter Road.

Kent, Kathleen Valetta. This is Kathleen Kent of Wilson Street, Berwick. She was elected as President of the West Gippsland Group on March 16, 1944 at the half yearly group conference held at Dandenong, attended by nearly 100 delegates, according to the report in the Dandenong Journal. Kathleen belonged to the Berwick branch, she was the granddaughter of William Wilson, who established the Berwick quarry in 1859 (now Wilson Botanic Park)

Levey, Marie Alice (nee Jackson). Wife of Wilfred Levey, farmer, of Manks Road.

Levey, Mollie Enid (nee Humphries). Wife of Raymond Wallace Levey, farmer, of Manks Road.

Mortimer, Adele (nee Lamb). Wife of Afton Lindsay James Mortimer, hairdresser, of Rossiter Road.

Nicholson, Jane Stewart (nee McDougall). Wife of Norman Nicholson, farmer, of Bayles.

Riggall, Edna Muriel (nee Flack). Wife of Horton Riggall, surveyor, of Gardner Street, later lived in Charles Street. They were married in 1932 and the wedding was reported in Table Talk  June 23, 1932, a newspaper that reported on popular culture - theatre, movies, sport and the activities of the ‘social set’. Mrs Riggall is pictured, left.

Sewell, Alice Maud (nee Cunning). Wife of Sir Sidney Sewell, a Melbourne surgeon noted for his research into tuberculosis. The Sewells lived at 'Roads End', Berwick. Lady Sewell went to Melbourne University where she obtained  a Master of Arts in 1906. She founded the Lyceum Club in 1912 with Ethel Osborne, a club for women who had graduated from University or had achievements in their own right.

Lady Sewell is pictured above with the Duchess of Gloucester and Mrs McDonald.
The Argus December 13, 1945

‘Back to Bayles’, February 25, 1967

The Koo-Wee-Rup Sun of March 1, 1967 had a full report on the ‘Back-to’ Bayles held 50 years ago. It is transcribed below.

Caption from top photograph: Violet Kimber, travelled all the way from Mildura for the "Back-to Bayles. She is seen with her daughter, Mrs. Dulcie Jukes of Fawkner Caption from second photo: Back to Bayles after 40
years are Mr. and Mrs. F. Secomb of Dandenong (right) with their son Fred of Heathmont and
daughter. Freda (Mrs. Bissett) of Benalla.

Many Re-unions at Bayles ‘Back-to’ Celebrations
Last Saturday, February 25th was a memorable day in the history of Bayles when the first ever ‘Back-to’ was held, with hundreds of people present during the whole of the day. An estimated one thousand people were catered for over the day, which commenced with a roll call at the school and climaxed with a barbecue and dance at night. President of the ‘Back-to’ committee, Ray Fechner, said the day had been a fantastic success. He paid tribute to the hard working committee, headed by secretary, Vic Walker, for their great work in preparing for the day.

At 10.30 a.m., the proceedings were opened by Mr. L. J. Cochrane, M.L.A. who welcomed all the visitors, and his wish of ‘get around and meet your old friends’ was hardly necessary, as on all sides were happy greetings and re-unions. Ray Fechner started off calling the roll, which included many well known district names. A former teacher at the school, Alan Cairns of Loch continued, assisted by the present teacher, Gary Robbins, with 370 names being read out on the roll. Dressed for the part in true school-boy style was a former pupil, Keith Ridgway of Kooweerup, complete with cap, short pants and school bag. Morning tea was served at the school before visitors moved over to the hall, the focal point for the day's events.
Bayles took on a really festive air for the celebrations with coloured bunting erected in the Main Street. Picnic tables and seats were set out in the park, pony, donkey and camel rides proved very popular with the youngsters. Hilarious entertainment was provided with the ‘catch a greasy pig’ contest and pillow fights on a slippery pole. A demonstration by the Bayles Fire Brigade with teams taking part in target practice brought its share of excitement.
A highlight of the day was a dog competition organised by well known dog fanciers, Mr. and Mrs. K. A. Boxshall of Bayles. Sections for pedigree dogs as well as novelty events for the best dustbin fossicker, best ball chaser etc. proved most entertaining and a real delight to the children. Mrs. Boxshall judged the pedigree events and Mr. R. Toogood assisted her with judging the novelty sections. Trophies were awarded to the winners.

During the afternoon, Mr. Ray Fechner extended a welcome to all and called on a former resident, Cr. P. B. Fechner, who said what a pleasure it was to attend such a wonderful day. He congratulated the ‘Back-to’ committee for their splendid job - an all in effort, calling for the co-operation of each one. He said that he was pleased to see so many elderly people present, including some of the earlier settlers.

The Shire President, Cr W. Thwaites, joined in welcoming the visitors, but his special duty was in presenting the Bayles Hall Committee, with a memorial plaque, in memory of the late Daly Ridgway recently deceased, who had been secretary of the hall committee for a period of 34 years. He called for a minutes silence for the late Mr Ridgway who had been Bayles’ main citizen.

As a token of appreciation for his twenty two years service to the Bayles Fire Brigade, as Captain, Sam McKay was presented with a silver tray and set of crystal glasses. Cr Thwaites made mention of the fact that the first Captain of the Brigade, Gordon Potter was present. He was the Captain for one year, and ever since then Sam McKay has held the position. Mr. McKay expressed his appreciation for the gesture.

The ‘Back-to’ committee felt especially pleased and honoured to welcome some of the districts oldest residents. These included, 95-year-old, George Murdoch of Carnegie, who was the oldest visitor present; an early Yallock settler, Mr. H. J. Boxshall; 90-year-old Harvey Games of Lang Lang; Jim Ridgway of Lang Lang; Fred Secomb of Dandenong; Albert Kuhnell of Ivanhoe and Bumpa Gee of Kooweerup were amongst the older people who joined in the days celebration and had a wealth of stories to tell of the early days at Bayles.

Mr and Mrs Fred Secomb of Dandenong who were present with their son, Fred, of Heathmont and daughter Freda (Mrs K. Bissett of Benalla), left Bayles forty years ago in August 1927. Their children attended the Five Mile School, which has since been closed down. Mr Secomb, Snr said he saw the Bayles railway line go through.

One of the happiest reunions took place between Albert Kuhnell of Ivanhoe and Bumpa Gee. Mr Kuhnell who left Bayles 42 years ago in 1925 built the first bakers shop in Bayles in 1919, when George Murdoch, ran the local store. Business was brisk in those days as the rail line went through the town to Catani. Bumpa Gee brought the bread across from Garfield before Mr Kuhnell commenced baking, and then worked with him for a short time. Mr Kuhnell sold out to Mrs Owens. His two sons Robert (Rosanna) and William (Heidelberg West) accompanied Mr Kuhnell ‘Back to Bayles’.

Visitor all the way from Mildura, Mrs Harry Harker (nee Violet Kimber) travelled the longest distance to the re-union. Old-timers recalled her husband, the late Harry Harker, a former League footballer with Melbourne and renowned for his stab kicking. He also played in local teams including Nar Nar Goon and Garfield.
Hundreds stayed on for the monster barbecue at which 250 lbs of chops and sausages were consumed, the barbecues were setup outside the hall. An estimated 600-700 people attended the gala dance held in the hall to climax the day's activities with Ray Fechner as the M.C. The dance band included well known locals Bumpa Gee and Bill Huntingford.
During the evening, a panel of three judges, Mesdames M. Thwaites, K. Burton and E. McKenzie, selected Miss Bayles from the very large crowd of dancers. The choice was Miss Joy Gibbons, with other finalists being Val Ridgway, Norma Tierney and Lynette Barker.

At the 'Back to Bayles' held February 25, 1967.
Photo: Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society

Space does not permit the publication of all who attended but some of the visitors who returned are mentioned below. Mrs I. Smethurst, Frankston; Alma Feild, Dandenong; Mrs Jean Footit, William Footit, Dandenong; Ray Maddock, Dandenong; Mrs M. B. O'Connell, Dandenong; Mrs J. M. Watson, Huntingdale; Mrs S. Rouse, Mt. Waverley; Mrs J. Kitchin, Burwood; N. A. Bethune, Mrs Bethune, Altona; Bob Jarred, Olive Jarred, Paynesville; C. Flewin, Moorabbin; Alan Cairns and family, Loch; S. Flewin, Moorabbin; G. McKay, Yallourn; Lyn Barker, Moe; D. Maunder, Dandenong; Ron Finck, Bentleigh; F. Stronach; Bob Wheatley, Tooradin; E. Kuhnell, West Heidelberg; G. L. Williams, Mitcham; J. J. Williams, Mitcham; N. V. Smythe, W. Smythe, Balwyn; D. Davies, N. Davies, Fairfield; E. Hickmott, Berwick; W. G. and Mrs Black, Korumburra; F. N. Secomb, Heathmont; Mrs K. Bissett (nee Freda Secomb), Benalla; Mr and Mrs Fred Secomb, Dandenong; G. V. Carroll, East St Kilda; L. Armstrong, Stanhope; Mrs E. Evans, Stanhope; Mrs N. Goldsworthy (nee Quigley) Yallourn; J. Rees (Quigley), Kerang; W. McCallum (nee Wilma Harker); F. M. Harker, Casterton; B. Quigley, Morwell; Mary Sanders, (Murdoch) Coburg; Arthur Murdoch, Ormond; A. Richardson, Lang Lang, (Scanlon's Drain, 1916); V. Knight, Dandenong, L. Knight; K. Quigley, Pakenham South; Bob Hampton, Zeta Hampton, Dandenong; L. M. Clapperton; Mrs E. Jenkins, (Eva Bethune), Maribyrnong; Harry Taylor, Mrs H. Taylor, Upwey; Mr and Mrs G. Barnes; G. Potter; H. Flewin; C. Flewin, Dandenong North; Moya Cameron, E. Keilor; A. Kuhnell, Ivanhoe; R. Kuhnell, M. Kuhnell, Rosanna; S. Gill; D. Louder, Morwell; Hughie Murdoch, Narre Warren; R. Cutler, Fred Cutler, Eagle Point; H. Gudgin, Nar Nar Goon; Stephens family, Laverton, Braybrook; Alison Nicholson, Hawthorn; MoIIie Pouris, Pascoe Vale; L. J. and Mrs Allen, Melbourne; Mrs A. Casey, Drouin West; W. Garnham, E. Bentleigh. Dulcie Jukes, nee Harker, Fawkner; Arthur Jukes, Fawkner; L. H. Finck, Girgarre; M. McGhee; D. J. McGhee, Oakleigh; R. W. Maisey and daughter Val Rodgers of Bunyip; N. Williams, Oakleigh; T. McClure, Bunyip; S. Collyer, Isabelle Collyer (nee Games); L. Robbins (nee Dalrymple) Kyabram; R. J. Norman, M. Norman, Forest Hill; L. Colliver, Tynong; Dave Harker, Warragul; S. V. Colliver; E. Geddes, Forest Hill; Bill and Mary Marshall, Dandenong; Jean Mitchell (Murdoch); Lily Bertram (Murdoch), Lilydale; E. Wildes, Oakleigh; Ron Hayward, Noble Park; Joan Hughes (Hansom), Elsternwick; B. Cox, Highett; E. B. Henry, Mountain View; A. Wildes, Oakleigh; J. G. Roden, Fawkner; T. Boyle of Toorak; Adele Turner; R. B. Birrell, E. Malvern; F. Saunders, Coburg; Goonan family, Seaford; Gloria Kane, Newborough East; K. Garnar, Dandenong; S. Mitchell, Glenhuntley; Tony Pellissier, Snr; Les Huntingford, Thornbury; R. E. Peck, Frankston; A. Feild, Carrum Downs; L. Huntingford, Thornbury; Jack Gray, Bub Gray (Feild) Modella; Vin and Mary Doherty, Thorpdale; E. J. Cox, Dandenong; C. Weaver, Tecoma; H. vandersloot, Pakenham; J. Coleman, Heathmont; Nellie Rowley, Spotswood, Arch Murdoch, Hughesdale; Tom O'Brien, Glenrowan; Rene Games, Highett; Bill and Joyce Archdall, Springvale; J. and L. Schramm, Tatura; J. J. O'Neill, Dandenong; Vin Cartwright, Thornbury; Bill Woodman, Korumburra; J. McKenzie, Moe; Mr and Mrs Bill Gray, Dandenong; Gallasch family; Cliff Cartwright; Kevin and Valmai Morton, (Sommers), Glen Iris; Peter Johnson, Yanakie; V. Cochrane, Wal Cochrane; Mrs Mills (Sylvia Henwood), Mt Waverley.

100 years ago this week - Telephone charges

The rates charged for conversation with the undermentioned places from the Warragul exchange are as under for the first three minutes or portion thereof, and for each additional three minutes or portion thereof respectively:- 

West Gippsland Gazette May 29 1917

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Letters to Aunt Connie of the Weekly Times: Cora Lynn, Garfield, Tynong and Bunyip

The Weekly Times used to have a ‘Young Folks’ page, edited by ‘Aunt Connie’ and children would write letters to Aunt Connie and have them published in the paper. In  this post we will find out how they described Garfield, Bunyip, Tynong and Cora Lynn. In another post we looked at what the children wrote about Koo-Wee-Rup, Lang Lang and Five Mile. I have researched some biographical information about the writers. 

Ten year old Eva Siedeberg wrote to Aunt Connie in September 1903. My sister and I both go to school at Garfield. Our head teacher is Mr Daly and Miss Skinner is our sewing mistress. They are both very nice. I am in the fourth class and Madoline my sister in the fifth. Nearly all of the children have a garden each and the big boys have a garden between them; they grow vegetables. We have a garden in the shape of Australia and for the towns are cactus and for the ranges are violets, the edge of it is all made of bark. Mr Daly and the boys have planted a lot of pines and blue gums and other sorts of trees. We also have a library in our school and there are many nice books. We live about three miles from Garfield and about four from Bunyip. 

I don’t know much about Eva, apart from the fact that she was the daughter of Hugo and Mary Ann (nee Edge) Siedeberg and by 1909 they are listed in the Electoral Rolls at Prahran, so weren’t in Garfield that long. The only other thing I know was that, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, she applied for a divorce from her husband, Austin Corcoran, on the grounds of desertion in October 1927. They had been married at Winton in Queensland in 1916.

Ethel Brent, 13 years 10 months wrote in October 1907.  I live in Tynong which is situated 43 miles from Melbourne on the main Gippsland Line.... Tynong is a small township consisting of two stores, a railway station, post office, hall and a bank. The school is held at present in the hall but a new school which is being moved from Cardinia Creek will be ready for occupation at the end of October. The town itself is on a flat but the hills rise towards the north. A vast swamp occupies the southern portion. To the east of Tynong is Garfield and to the west Nar Nar Goon. The chief occupation of the residents is farming and dairying. The cream is sent to Melbourne to the butter factories to be made into butter. By the station is a saw mill to which wood is sent to be cut into blocks.... The school was opened two years ago last May. There are 32 children’s names on the roll and the average for last week was 27.

Ethel was the daughter of Felix and Emma (nee Larcombe) Brent - Felix was a farmer.  Ethel married Geoff Bryant in 1921 and she died at the age of 44 in February 1938.

In November 1907, 10 year old Arthur Murdoch writes from Cora Lynn. I go to school every day and I am in second class.  I have two miles to walk to school. We have a football at school and we have great fun with it. My father is getting a new store built at Cora Lynn. It will only be about two chains from the school. We are having lovely weather here now. The grass is looking beautiful in the paddocks...There are a great many snakes here this season. I killed a small one last week.

Arthur was the son of George and Emma Rose (nee Parker) Murdoch who owned the Cora Lynn store from 1907 to 1922. Arthur (Service Number 2636) served in the First World War; he enlisted at the age of 19 in October 1917. His name is on the Cora Lynn War Memorial and he died in 1984.

Dorothe Nelson, 14 years old, from Bunyip wrote in October 1915. Bunyip is a very small but picturesque township. It is situated on a hill overlooking an extensive and promising plain...The population of Bunyip is nearly 500. It is increasing every month as many people are buying and settling on the Swamp as the land is very fertile owing to a river, known as the Bunyip River, flowing through it down to Westernport. Potato crops are just showing above the earth now, and the orchards are a mass of pink and white blossom. Of course, crops and orchards are not grown and kept in the township, but on the plain which Bunyip overlooks.

Dorothe (sometimes listed as Dorothy) was the daughter of Albert Horatio and Ada (nee Pendleton) Nelson. Albert was a farmer, and by 1916, according to the Electoral Roll they had moved to Croydon. Dorothy married Charles Hancy in 1925 and she died in 1984.

In November 1915, 14 year old Eva Weatherhead, of Tynong, wrote to Aunt Connie.  Tynong is a small country township situated on the main Gippsland line. In it are two stores, a boarding house, post office, station, school and some very nice private residences. We live over five miles from Tynong. There are some very pretty fern gullies. They are made beautiful by the different sorts of ferns and shrubs with creepers climbing everywhere....A very good view can be obtained from the mountains, and on clear days one can easily see the sea.  Tynong is on the edge of the Koo Wee Rup Swamp. The people around here make a living by farming, dairying and fruit growing principally... I have two soldier brothers. One is at Seymour and the other at the front. I have three cousins at the front. One was killed, and another wounded.

Eva was the daughter of Horatio and Eleanor (nee Hunt) Weatherhead and married Joe Rouse in 1922 and they lived at Cora Lynn. She’s my grandma and died in 1982.

Marion McDonald, 11 years 11 months, wrote to Aunt Connie in April 1924 about Cora Lynn.  We live on a farm of 80 acres three miles from the township of Cora Lynn. There is a State School, two shops, a bank, a hall and a cheese factory in the township of Cora Lynn. We go to Church in the Hall and we also go to the Cora Lynn School.

Marion was the daughter of John James and Marion Leslie (nee Wilson) McDonald. He was a carpenter and coincidently built my grandparents house - Joe and Eva Rouse, see above - when they married in 1922. Marion married William Rodber in 1935 and she died in Queensland in 2009.

In January 1925, 12 year old Jean Chilcott wrote to Aunt Connie with another description of Tynong. Tynong is a very small township. There are two grocers, two butchers, two fruit shops, two blacksmiths, one draper, and one dressmaker’s shop and also one post office. The school is about a quarter of a mile from the township. Our teacher is Mr Giles. There are about 50 children going to Tynong School.

Jean was the daughter of William Henry and Gertrude (nee Cubit) Chillcott.  William was a farmer. By 1928 William and Gertrude are in Tasmania, according to the Electoral Rolls. Jean married Reg Diprose of Yolla, in Tasmania, in 1939 and she died in 1954, aged 42.

In  this post looks at how children described Garfield, Bunyip, Tynong and Cora Lynn in their letters to Aunt Connie. In another post we looked at what the children wrote about Koo-Wee-Rup, Lang Lang and Five Mile.

Letters to Aunt Connie of the Weekly Times: Koo-Wee-Rup, Lang Lang and Five Mile

The Weekly Times used to have a ‘Young Folks’ page, edited by ‘Aunt Connie’ and children would write letters to Aunt Connie and have them published in the paper. The letters are quite descriptive and the children would write about their gardens, the town they lived in, their farms, school life etc. In this post we look at how the children described Koo-Wee-Rup Lang Lang and Five Mile. In another post we look at what they wrote about Garfield, Bunyip, Tynong and Cora Lynn. I have researched some biographical information about the writers.

In January 1902, Linda Ellis of Koo-Wee-Rup wrote to Aunt Connie. The grass is very poor about here, and the grasshoppers are numerous. They eat all the grass up. They ate the leaves off our turnips, and now they have started on the fruit trees. A couple of weeks ago the crows started on the grasshoppers, and they are having such feeds. It is amusing to watch them fight to get the most grasshoppers. There is a lot of work going on here at present, as all the drains are being enlarged. It will be a good thing when they are done, as it will keep the people from being flooded. We are only milking four cows at present; they do not give much milk.

In September 1903 Linda wrote again, this time a much more poignant letter.  The crops around here are looking splendid. We have a nice lot of cabbages in, but just as soon as they begin to look nice and green the hares come and eat them off. My father is away from home just now, working, and we do miss him so much. Since I last wrote to you we have lost a little sister, and just six weeks before she died one of my aunties died in New South Wales. Mother took my little sister to the Children's Hospital, but the doctors could do nothing for her, and about three months afterwards she died. My father's mother died, too, so you see we had a very bad misfortune last year. Our flower garden looks very nice this year; especially the violets.....Some of my cousins are saying what they would like to do when they grow up. I think I would like to always stay at home. I do not like going from home.

Linda was the daughter of Henry Ernest and Jemina (nee Milroy) Ellis; she was the eldest of ten children, born in 1890.  By 1909 the family is listed in the Electoral Rolls at Abbotsford. Linda married Richard Semmens in 1911 and she died in 1966

In May 1902, P. Rundle wrote to Aunt Connie about Koo-Wee-Rup Our township consists of two general stores, a blacksmith’s shop, a draper’s shop, a bakery and also a butcher’s shop.  We have a nice Presbyterian Church and a Sunday school combined. The Roman Catholics have recently called for tenders for the erection of a chapel. A few months back some of the leading spirits of our town called a meeting, in view of building a public hall. It has been decided to do so, so we now have the prospect of another building in our small township. The local agent for the Massey-Harris machinery has arranged with my father to hold a field trial of their farm implements in one of our paddocks on Tuesday, the 20th. Everybody seems to think that it will be a fair trial, as everything looks very favourable so far. As we live about four miles from the township, we do not see much life, so we expect to have a pleasant day the day of the trial.

This is Priscilla Rundle, born in 1888 to James and Janet (nee Campbell) Rundle. She is listed in the 1909 Electoral Rolls as a school teacher. She married William Freeman in 1913 and they farmed around Traralgon. She died in 1965.

In July 1904, eight year old Dorothy Gray wrote to Aunt Connie I have one little sister, Vera Muriel. She is two years old. I am learning to ride. We have a large orchard. Koo Wee Rup is a small place. It is very wet in winter. There is a township and in it there is one butcher, one baker, two grocers, one saddler, one blacksmith, one boot maker and a draper’s shop. The people get their living by sowing oats and maize, mostly, and dairying....My father planted 600 fruit trees. I like going to school. I wish there were six school days. We are milking six cows and we also have a separator. We send the cream away once a week now. We used to send it twice a week in the summertime. My little sister is such a chatter box. My pets are a cat, parrot, calf and pup.

Dorothy was the daughter of Richard and Margaret Mary (nee Browne) Gray.  Dorothy was married in 1916 to Albert Jack. A report in the paper said that she had been in charge of Christies Post Office, Wonyip for the past three years and the couple would be making their home at Daylesford. Wonyip is north of Foster. She died in 1985.

Also in July 1904, Ethel Glover from Caldermeade wrote to Aunt Connie.  It has been a cold, wet day to-day, but Nellie and I went to school. Bertha has a bad cold, and she has been home from school all the week. My sister gives her lessons at home. We have skipping at school to keep us warm these cold days. I passed in everything except mental arithmetic at our last examination. I am in the higher sixth, and Nellie is in the fourth class. We go to Lang Lang State School. I will tell you a little about Lang Lang. It is becoming quite a flourishing little centre. There are four grocers' shops, two blacksmiths', two drapers', a chemist's, a green grocer's, a saddler's, barber's, baker's, and two dressmakers'; a butcher's, a printing office and butter factory, besides many private residences. So you will see it has made great headway since the railway has been constructed. When my father came to Gippsland first, 15 years' ago, Drouin was the nearest railway station, and he says the roads were in a fearful state then. We have got good roads at Caldermeade. It will soon be twelve months since we came here to live. My little sister Alice is sixteen months old now, and she does torment us sometimes, when we are doing our lessons. She likes to get hold of a pen and if we don't watch her she will make a dive at the ink bottle. She races about all day like a little rabbit, and she can say a few words. We have a nice little pony to ride now. I am very fond of riding, and so are my sisters. When we lived in Lang Lang East we sometimes rode to school over the hills and small creeks, "gullies," we call them. One evening, when crossing the last gully, our pony stumbled, and tipped us over her head, splashing into the water. We were not long in scrambling up the bank, dripping wet, and the pony was quietly waiting for us. It was good of her not to clear off home and leave us.

Ethel (born 1891) had five sisters and one brother, the children of Samuel and Johanna (nee Bindt) Glover. Ethel married David Scott Donaldson in 1917, they lived in Lang Lang and she died in 1971.

Katie Garbellini, Five Mile, wrote in November 1916 I will take for my subject a flood that we have just had. It began to rise one Saturday afternoon and we were not able to get out until the following Friday. There were two little boys drowned, one having been swept off his feet from the flow of the water. We had to paddle out in the water to milk our cows, while my brothers had to take the horses away. I have one brother at the front. He has been in the trenches for about six months, but has not been wounded yet. He left home on May 4, 1915, to sail to Egypt. I have five sisters and seven brothers. Four of us go to school, which is about a quarter of a mile away. There are 49 children attending our school. I am 13 years and eight months old, and in the seventh grade at school.

In March 1917, Catherine Garbellini, as she called herself,  wrote again.  I will take for my subject ‘Our Farm’ There are 110 acres in our farm, of which 65 acres are under potatoes. The potatoes are looking well after this rain. We had about 40 acres sown down with oats and barley, but it is now cut and stacked, and the rest of the land we have sown down with grass for the horses and cows. We have six horses and a little foal, besides seven cows. We separate our milk, and send our cream to the factory, where it is made into butter. My brother at the front has been in hospital for about two months. My age is 14.

Katie Garbellini wrote again in July 1918, this time about Koo-Wee-Rup.  Koo-Wee- Rup is a large, one sided township. It consists of a large hotel, a coffee palace, a school, a baker’s shop, two butcher’s shops, three churches, four general stores, a lollie shop and a blacksmith’s shop. Large quantities of oats, barley and potatoes are grown, but some of the farmers are talking of growing flax. I have left school and am helping at home. I wish this War was over. I have had one brother killed. Many of the boys from here have gone and some of them have returned.

Katie was the eighth child of Pietro (Peter) and Jane (nee Crombie) Garbellini. She married David Blackwood from Pakenham South in 1923 and they had four children and lived in the Pakenham area. She died in 1983. Her brother, George, enlisted in February 1915 at the age of 23 and was Killed in Action in France in May 1917.

In May 1919, eleven year old Airlie Ragg from Lightwood Park Yannathan wrote I will take for my subject the district where I live. Our nearest town is Lang Lang, eight miles away. There is a  school, hall, church and butter factory here but they are situated in different parts of the district. The chief thing that is done here is dairying. Some of the farmers send their milk to Melbourne, others send their cream to the factory. The country all around here is very flat and is often flooded in the winter. The Lang Lang River flows through Yannathan. Most of the farmers around bore for water, and have windmills to pump the water for the cattle. It is good grass country, mostly rye grass and clover. There is no railway here at present. Our nearest station, Caldermeade, is eight miles from here. There is a branch railway line being made from Koo-Wee-Rup to a place called McDonald's Track and the Yannathan station is going to be on farm where I live. My brother and I go to the Heath Hill School, which is nearer for us than the Yannathan School. I have a little sister, her name is Nancy. She is just four years old, and is going to school next year. I am eleven years and three months old and in the seventh grade at school.

Airlie was the daughter of Thomas and Rose Amelia (nee Newbound) Ragg. She married Thomas John Collins in 1937 and they lived (according to the Electoral Rolls) in Flowerdale and they had five children.

In this post we looked at how the children described Koo-Wee-Rup Lang Lang and Five Mile. In another post we look at what they wrote about Garfield, Bunyip, Tynong and Cora Lynn.