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.

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.

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