Monday, December 31, 2018

Local Progress Associations as reported in the Dandenong Journal

This post looks at the activities of local Progress Associations mainly through the correspondence they wrote to the local Council - the Dandenong Journal reported on these Council meetings. Many towns had Progress Associations from the late 1920s to the 1950s - Bayles, Koo-Wee-Rup, Dalmore, Lang Lang, Hampton Park, Lyndhurst South, Pakenham South, Warneet and Tooradin to name some. Like many community organisations which rely on volunteers some formed, then were disbanded and then reformed years later. There was naturally less reporting on the Associations during the Second World War – I guess complaints about road conditions and drainage issues seemed trivial at the time, plus the community was involved with supporting the War effort. Sadly for all of us, the issues raised by these groups are not much different from the issues raised by Township Committees 70 or so years later!

Warneet Progress Association formed in December 1945 and one of their  activities in December 1947 was to fill the vacancies on the Warneet Foreshore Committee and to have  a site set aside for  a Public Hall (the hall still hasn’t been built). In 1953 the Progress Association asked for the construction of two ‘public conveniences’ (one at each jetty)  as even though the town had only five permanent resident families there was a big weekend population, with 40 to 50 car loads of visitors. The town had already received a grant of £1280 from the Tourist Resorts Fund but wanted the Council to put in the remaining 25 per cent and to take responsibility for the buildings. The Council was happy to subsidise one building but felt that the Warneet Foreshore Committee should be responsible for the upkeep.

In another coastal town, the Tooradin Progress Association asked for assistance in 1928 to carry out works on the Tooradin picnic grounds but the Cranbourne Shire said no funds were available. In the same year, they complained about the state of the ‘main coast road’ - the South Gippsland Highway and also complained about the action of the Koo Wee Rup Progress Association in diverting traffic from Koo Wee Rup along to Pakenham (so thus avoiding Tooradin). Fast forward 80 or so years later and Koo Wee Rup was doing all they could to get traffic out of the town!

Camping Ground at Tooradin, c. 1940s. Is this the same as the picnic grounds that the Tooradin Progress Association requested funding for in 1928? I'd say so.

Dalmore Progress Association was established before the War and it re-formed in 1953 with 60 members attending the first meeting. Some of their first activities included holding a Ball, entering a float in the Coronation day procession at Koo Wee Rup, forming a badminton Club and notifying Council about the state of local roads and drains. In 1953 the Pakenham South Progress Association complained to the Council about Ballarto Road; they wanted it graded and the drains cleared out.

The Bayles Progress Association in 1928 asked the Council for four lamps that they had promised them for street lighting. The same year they said that ‘approximately 20 services would be required in the sanitary area at Bayles’  -  as this would require the Council  ‘night man’ to empty the toilet pans at these properties, the Council decided that the service would be too costly. A year later they wanted a bridge built to give access to the Recreation Reserve; I am not sure where this Recreation Reserve actually was.  In 1947, they asked the Council to fence off the local bridges to assist farmers and drovers with cattle. They also asked the Council if they could take over some adjoining railway land to extend the park at Bayles, described by one Councillor as ‘a nice little park’ which had been established by the Association.

The Koo Wee Rup Progress Association in 1928 wanted permission from the Council to plant trees in Rossiter Road from Denham’s Road to Henry Street. A year later they were complaining about the state of Moody Street and they also wanted the Council to erect a danger sign at the School - not sure what that was about, presumably the state of the roads and not feral students.

In June 1944, the Association put in ‘numerous requests’ to the Council - the Dandenong Journal uses this head line on more than one occasion.  ‘No less than seven requests’ were before the Council - amongst the requests they wanted a foot bridge over the Station Street drain for use of the flax mill employees; they wanted a section of Sybella Avenue sealed and they wanted Boundary Road put into a ‘serviceable condition’ The next month they put another long list of requests in including some repeat numbers from the last time, because they regarded the replies to the original list as not being satisfactory. In 1947, the Progress Association agitated for the re-location of the Shire Offices from Cranbourne to Koo Wee Rup which was ‘a more central situation’. There was bit of discussion about this issue and a Councillor complained that the Progress Association was always late with their correspondence (thus presumably this could not be read before the meeting) and had to be put into extra correspondence and that the ‘Association was very critical of the Council and what the Council doesn’t do’ and ‘it’s time they woke up to themselves’

Finally, this didn’t come from a Progress Association but from the Country Roads Board in 1939 asking whether the Koo Wee Rup - Pakenham Road ‘is fit to be used as a public highway’ - still a question that people are asking.

First subdivision sale of Koo Wee Rup Township Estate in 1915

This advertisement for the 'First subdivision sale of Koo Wee Rup Township Estate' was from the  Gippsland Standard and Alberton Shire Representative  February 24, 1915. There is a fair bit of Real Estate agent hyperbole in the description - but it's a fun read about the area - they predict Koo Wee Rup will be a 'future city'!

 Gippsland Standard and Alberton Shire Representative  February 24, 1915

The Future City of 100,000 acres of rich reclaimed SWAMP (AND ADJACENT) LAND.
Auction Sale on the Ground. On Account of Owner. By A. F. Witham, Agent, Dandenong
Local Agent - Albert Woodman.
On SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 1915. at 2 p.m.

Liberal Terms 10 per cent, deposit, balance equal quarterly payments over three years at 6 per cent.

Go and see Koo-Wee-Rup and District before the sale.
It's Future - A Big Town - will at at once appeal to your judgment.
The Shops and Residential buildings now on the Estate form a mere beginning of the future town. On
the Estate are Two Churches, Hall, School and Bank. A large Hotel to be erected at once.
Splendid Gravel Roads all round the Estate, and all over the district. Average Annual Rainfall 30 inches. Only 40 miles from Melbourne.
A Big Fresh Water Canal close to Estate. Water obtainable at Shallow depths.
This Estate is the only possible Town Estate at Koo-Wee-Rup.
Good Railway Service, Close Settlement all round, increasing and extending every month. Prosperous Settlers.
Koo-Wee-Rup District land grows some of the heaviest yields per acre in Victoria of Potatoes, Onions, Turnips, Cabbage, Maize, all cereal crops., Good Fruit Tree land. Milk, Cream, Butter, Cheese produced in yearly increasing quantities.
Koo-Wee-Rup will be the junction station of the authorised and surveyed new Gippsland Railway to be constructed shortly.
Koo-Wee-Rup is the natural and only future trading centre for that Immense and Richest Soil District,
All roads centre at Koo-Wee-Rup.
Koo-Wee-Rup must shortly be the biggest loading station for Agricultural produce on the Great Southern Line.
Koo-Wee-Rup must be a favorite residental town, it is so conveniently situated and very healthy. Western Port Bay and Inlets only three miles away.

285 Collins street, Melbourne.
Vendors' Solicitors.

A.W. A . Wireless Experimentation Station at Koo Wee Rup - Part 3

This follow-up article about the A.W.A Wireless Experimentation Station at Koo Wee Rup was published in the Koo Wee Rup Sun on December 11, 1974. To see the original  article in the Koo Wee Rup Sun of November 6, 1974, click hereYou can view my post on the  the A.W.A Wireless Experimentation Station, here

See my post on the A.W.A Wireless Experimentation Station at Koo Wee Rup, here.  See the original article in the Koo Wee Rup Sun of  November 6, 1974,  here.

A.W. A . Wireless Experimentation Station at Koo Wee Rup - Part 2

This article about the A.W.A Wireless Experimentation Station at Koo Wee Rup was published in the Koo Wee Rup Sun on November 6, 1974. There were two photos with this article - you can view them on my post on the  the A.W.A Wireless Experimentation Station, here. See a follow up to this article in the Koo Wee Rup Sun of December 11, 1974, here.

See my post on the  the A.W.A Wireless Experimentation Station at Koo Wee Rup, here. See a follow up to this article in the Koo Wee Rup Sun of December 11, 1974, here.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A.W. A . Wireless Experimentation Station at Koo Wee Rup

Koo Wee Rup has been at the centre of International Wireless communications. In 1921, Amalgamated Wireless (Australia) Ltd. (A.W.A), selected Koo Wee Rup as a site for a Wireless Experimentation Station. The site of the Station was in Rossiter Road, near the intersection of Denhams Road, on land owned by John Mickle and operated from early 1921 to 1922. It was at this Station that it was confirmed that direct and efficient communication between Great Britain and Australia was feasible. Radio communications, at this time, were sent and received by a series of relays.

Wireless signals sent from Britain had already been received directly in Australia as early as 1918, as European Stations could be heard at certain times in Australia. These transmissions are effected by weather and especially sun activity (as anyone with a modern day HF radio would know).

Interior of the building showing the receiving apparatus.
Photo is taken from the Koo Wee Rup Sun of November 6, 1974

Great Britain had proposed the establishment of an Imperial Radio Scheme, based on a series of relays, at the Imperial Conference of 1921 (the fore-runner of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting). Australia would have been at a disadvantage under this Scheme as we were at the end of the line and many relays were situated in politically unstable countries. The Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, rejected this Scheme at the Conference.

The Koo Wee Rup Station was staffed by Thomas Bearup, E.A Burbury and E.G Bailey. Bearup later became Victorian Manager of the ABC. Their experiments used a heterodyne type receiver, with six stages of radio frequency amplication and two stages of audio frequency amplication. Their research showed that wireless signals could be received over long periods each day from New York, Rome, England, Paris and Germany and were consistent enough to prove that direct wireless communication was both practical and reliable between Australia and Britain.


The apparatus building and engine house at the 
Koo Wee Rup Wireless Experimentation Station. 
Photo is taken from the Koo Wee Rup Sun of November 6, 1974.
A.W.A (who worked in conjunction with the Marconi Company) won the Contract from the Australian Government to construct and maintain Wireless Stations capable of direct commercial services to Britain and Canada.

There were two articles on the A.W.A Wireless Experimentation Station at Koo Wee Rup published in the Koo Wee Rup Sun in 1974. To see the original article from November 6, 1974, click here. To see the  follow up article in the Koo Wee Rup Sun of December 11, 1974, click here.

This blog post also appears on my work blog - Casey Cardinia Links to Our Past and had appeared first in the Koo Wee Rup Township newsletter, The Blackfish.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Across the Koo Wee Rup Swamp in 1910 by bicycle

This article was published in The Australasian on April 30, 1910. The author took a trip, by bicycle, across the Koo Wee Rup Swamp - 90 miles of cycling in all. Read the original, here.

The Australasian on April 30, 1910


The cyclist may propose; but if he is wise, he will allow the wind to dispose; and that is what I did one day last week. I wished to take a run from the ranges to the north and N.E of the metropolis but found on waking that a fierce north wind would dispute progress in that direction; but I changed my objective. Adopting the Dandenong road, I passed through that town in a cloud of dust so dense that I had to slow down to walking pace, as nothing could be seen beyond a few yards. At the Berwick and Cranbourne junction, a mile beyond, a halt was made to determine which highway should be taken, and the road to Berwick was chosen, as indications of change of wind was apparent in the clouds.
The direction now was almost due east, hence the wind was less a helping factor than before. However, some fast coasts were obtained over the hilly section to Berwick, and another long one after climbing the steep hill in the town. Beaconsfield and Officer were then passed through; and at Pakenham, the lower road - that south of the railway - was taken to Nar Nar Goon and Tynong to Garfield, 48 miles from Melbourne, which was reached shortly after 1 p.m.

The term "Swamp" usually suggests an uninteresting area, and. 1 thought, in crossing the reclaimed Koo-wee-rup Swamp, that there would be little to interest. I knew there was roadway along the main drain, and on leaving Garfield a winding track, was followed in a S.E. direction, when the "drain" - it is more like a canal - was crossed at the rising village of lona, a distance of three miles. Crossing on a substantial bridge, and veering S.W, I followed the drain in a perfectly straight line, and over a fair to good surface for 4½ miles, where I passed through another village in the making, known as Cora
Lynn. Keeping straight on - the road and drain could be seen straight ahead as far as the eye could reach. I traversed another 4½ miles without a turn, making a continuous run of nine miles in a bee-line to the south-west. At the end of this stage was another small collection of houses, but I could not ascertain what the name was - if it had one.

Here the road and drain made an easy turn, more to the south, and in two and a half miles there is a divergence to the left, to Koo-wee-rup, the Township being about three-quarters of a mile distant. Not wishing to go further east I kept on for another mile, until the Great Southern line was met with, as well as a cross-road, where a turn to the right was made. But this track curved away to the north eventually, and I recognised that it was the wrong course. In a mile, however, a road running westward was adopted, which I thought would bring me out into the main Tooradin road, and after traversing it for five miles, over a fair, loamy surface, a cross-road was met with. To go northwards was useless, so turning lo the left and crossing the line in half a mile, a turn was made (in a similar distance) into a lane running to the west, and which, in two and a quarter miles, led me out on to the main road, about six miles from Cranbourne and 35 from Melbourne.

In the run from Garfield to Koo-wee-rup a distance of about 16 miles, there is anything but  monotony. In addition to the small villages, there are numerous homesteads between, while the plain is not devoid of vegetation or of trees. The high scrub growth by the roadside shielded me in a great measure when the wind changed to the west, though when it shifted further, and blew stiffly from the south-west, I had a rough time for a mile or so, what it made a further change and came up from the south. Still, it was not all easy going; but the roadway on the whole was fair - good, and like a racing-track in places - but repairs are now being commenced, and it will prove sandy until rain falls. Heavy rain, however, will play havoc with the tracks; in some places the black swamp land is bare, and when wet it sticks closer than a brother.

Although the season is, and has been very dry, there was plenty of water in the main drain; clear and running, though not very deep. It seems to me to be the course of a river, cut through the swamp, forming a natural drain, where previously the river (the Bunyip, I think), used to empty itself on the land, transforming it into a swamp. The only thing requisite for making the best use of this canal is more water, So that it could be used for carrying purpose. After passing Koo-wee-rup the land was less attractive, but there are plenty of cross-roads and tracks; some rough and others sandy. On reaching the main road I ran through Cranbourne and into Dandenong, where, after 90 miles cycling, I joined the train for Melbourne.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

How Nar Nar Goon celebrated the Armistice in 1918

The Pakenham Gazette had this article about the Armistice Celebrations at Nar Nar Goon in their December 6, 1918 edition.  The report said that 1,000 people attended the event, that's an a amazing number.  You can see the whole article on Trove, here, but I have transcribed it, below.


Wednesday last was a red letter day in the history of Nar Nar Goon, the occasion being a public demonstration and picnic in connection with the celebration of peace. The day was observed as a public holiday, all business places being closed, and it may be safely asserted that most of the residents of the district not only took part in the demonstration but did their best towards making it a

About a fortnight ago the towns people decided that it was desirable that something should be done to mark their appreciation of the glad news that an armistice had been declared and that there was every indication of an early and lasting peace. An appeal was made for funds to meet the expenses of the celebration, and this met with a most generous response, about £50 being raised.

Wednesday's event was a credit to the town and district, and it will always be looked back upon with
interest. Both young and old entered into the spirit of the day, and as a result everything worked smoothly and all had an enjoyable outing.

The day's proceedings opened with a monster procession, which completely eclipsed anything of the kind ever seen in the district, comprising 130 vehicles and numerous horsemen. A number of the vehicles, including buggies, jinkers and lorries, were nicely decorated with greenery and flowers, and there was a profusion of flags, all the Allies being represented.

An effigy of the Kaiser, the handiwork of Mr Mappin, of Tynong, was mounted on a horse. This was safe guarded by Master J. Ede, in the character of  'John Bull'  and was a special attraction.

Space will not permit of a description of the various vehicles, but it may be said that all were attractive, those of Mr E. Oram, representing 'The Day'  and Mr J. Spencer, representing 'Peace', being worthy of special mention.

Amongst those with decorated vehicles were :- Messrs A. Harris, M. Dore, J. Mortimer, J. Mulcare, T. Eves, A. Thorn, J. Kenny, J. Gray, S. Collins, T. Garrett, J. Latta, R. Brooke, T. Grigg, E. Oram, J. Spencer, jun., and J. R. Spencer, the last named driving a fine team of four greys in a buggy. There was also a decorated motor, driven by Mr Donald. Some of the riders were in fancy costume.
amongst the number.being Miss M. Raftis (Ireland) and Master Wadsley (England).

The procession was formed into line at about 11 o'clock, and, headed by the Richmond Juvenile Brass Band, marched from the township to the place chosen for the day's picnic.

Four returned soldiers, viz., Ptes. W. Comely, P. Neilsson and H. J. Lennon, of Tynong, and Pte. G. Bjursten, of Cora Lynn, held a prominent position in the procession.

On arrival at the ground judging took place for prizes in connection with the procession, and the awards were asfollows:
Best decorated vehicle: Mr E. Oram, Tynong, 'The Day'
Best Group: Nar Nar Goon.
Most original character: Master Ede, Tynong, 'John Bull'
Special prize: The Kaiser.
There were about 1000 persons on the ground, and a sports programme was carried through, providing plenty of enjoyment for young and old. A merry-go-round was provided for the

Thanks to the excellent management of the committee and the cordial cooperation of all present, the celebrations throughout were a decided success.

How Iona and Cora Lynn celebrated the Armistice in 1918

The Bunyip and Garfield Express of December 13, 1918 published this account of the Armistice celebration at Cora Lynn and Iona -

Armistice celebration
Victory picnic by Iona and Cora Lynn Combined

The Committee of the 'Victory' picnic which was held on the 4th inst were fortunate as far as weather conditions were concerned and the ground selected - Robinson's Hill - was an ideal camping place.
The procession left the Iona State School about 12 noon, and the many various costumes were both artistic and original. Mr J. Donald, well mounted, acted as marshal and kept the procession well up to time. Mr G. Osborn, head teacher Cora Lynn, had charge of the children, and the manner in which he handled them was the subject of favourable comment. The Iona Brass Band, under the baton of Mr W. Legge had the pride of place and was followed by Mr D. Donald, a returned soldier, carrying the Flag. Then came 12 returned soldiers in uniform, followed by various dressed groups and beautifully decorated vehicles, the procession being over  a mile long.

Immediately on arrival at the grounds the judging was completed and the results announced, after which the vast crowds formed themselves into picnic groups, and those who failed to fetch hampers were quickly supplied with edibles. The following gentlemen worked hard to make the gathering a success - Crs Cunningham, Walsh, Dowd, Messrs Donald, Dessent,  Holian, Quigley, Reidy, Pitt and others.             
 Subjoined are the results: -
Best dressed vehicle - C.Pitt - 1 
Red Indian - Alan Murdoch  1
Purple Cross - Nellie Bellman and Mary Fitzgerald 1 and 2
Sundowner - Harry Schmutter
Milkmaids - Annie Leithead and Dolly Pitt 1 and 2
Red Cross nurses - Jean Murdoch and Ada Dessent
Japanese lady - Phyllis Winter
Newspaper boy - Billie Blake
Silver starch - Lily Murdoch
Dunces - Hazel Pitt and Rose Leithead
Salesgirls - Mary Stewart and Nellie Taylor
Ruination - Alice Burleigh
Peanuts - May Taylor
Fancy dressed bicycle - M. Fitzgerald
Boys Siamese race - M. and J. Cunningham,  T.Taylor and D. Dowd 2
Girls Siamese race - B. Cunningham and Irene Hart 1
Married men's race  - W. Hart 1, P. Cunningham 2
The school's relay race caused some excitement; 4 schools of 8 boys each competed and the event was won by the Iona Convent school, with the Cora Lynn Convent school second.
Tug of war - Iona schools combined defeated Cora Lynn schools combined.
Cutting of the Kaiser's head caused a lot of amusement, and a number of boys and girls races were also keenly competed.

Friday, December 14, 2018

100 years ago this week - Koo Wee Rup is overrun by hoodlums

100 years ago this week - this letter about crime in Koo Wee Rup was published in The Argus of December 24, 1918.

The Argus December 24, 2018

For some time the residents of Koo Wee Rup have had to submit to a large number of robberies, petty thefts without any hope of retracing the stolen property or punishing the offender. Added to that
the conduct of a number of hoodlums at public functions had become so unbearable that promoters of public entertainments were fearful of the consequences. The  local  hall is generally  in a state of siege from the onslaughts of these ruffians, who rush the doors and endeavour to break into the supper room, using the most horrible language around the doors, and frequently bombarding the roof with road metal. 
All this was thrashed out at a public meeting some weeks ago and a letter was forwarded  to the Chief Secretary asking for police protection at Koo Wee Rup.  Up to the present time no reply his been received. 
It is no uncommon sight to see a stand up fight in the main street.  On Saturday night a number of men surged for over an hour in the main thoroughfare and into the early hours of Sunday,  while the air was filled with profanity, oaths and curses to which peaceable citizens had to listen. 
On Sunday night another scene took place when the great Australian adjective was heard to advantage as a preface to loud allegations of untruthfulness.  There is a policeman stationed at Lang Lang on the extreme edge of the district who has to patrol or endeavour to keep the peace in a district about 50 square miles in extent. Needless to say his energy must necessarily be somewhat distributed until it reaches vanishing point. 
Yours &c
Koo Wee Rup December 23.