Thursday, January 17, 2019

What happened in Garfield in 1917

This is what happened in Garfield 100 years ago in 1917.  Naturally the town was still focused on the war effort, local men were still enlisting, sad news about injuries and deaths continued to arrive and the town was still raising money for the War effort and the comfort of soldiers. These reports all come from the various newspapers available on Trove,

The South Bourke and Mornington Journal reported on a divorce case on February 15. There were no privacy considerations in those days and divorces were often reported in full detail. In this case, the divorce was reported in two local papers and the Melbourne dailies, The Age and The Argus.  George Bird sought a divorce from his wife, Grace Bird, on the ground of desertion. Both the parties were 52 years of age and they had been married in October 1896 and there were two children. In January 1909, Grace had left Garfield, where they had been living for eight years taking her daughter with her. George had seen her twice since then and she stated that she would not return because she found life in the country, ‘too slow’. The divorce was granted and the alimony was fixed at the rate of 15 shillings a week. George was a baker and it was reported in a paper in August that he was building a new brick bakehouse and storeroom in Garfield.

On March 1, the Dandenong Advertiser reported on the annual excursion of children attending schools from Longwarry to Pakenham took place. The trip was to Sandringham, one of the beautiful stretches of our bay shore.  A very large number of children accompanied by their parents and friends were conveyed to the seaside in three special trains which were fully loaded. The trip being thoroughly enjoyed by the excursionists. 

There was a report in The Argus of March 22, of two house fires in Garfield.  On March 15, Mr T.W. Jefferson’s four roomed house was totally destroyed by fire caused by the wind blowing open the front door and scattering sparks from the fire. On March 19, a house owned by Mr H.A. Hourigan and occupied by Mr & Mrs Norton was set alight when Mrs Norton accidently overturned a lamp. The blaze spread quickly and the house was well alight before help was available. The report goes on to say that the house was insured for £130 and the furniture for £100.  T. W Jefferson was Thomas William Jefferson, the brick maker and H. A Hourigan was Henry Hourigan who was a coach builder.

In May, it was widely reported in many papers that Carlo Catani had retired as Chief Engineer of the Public Works Department. A function was held on May 9 and the Premier of Victoria, Sir Alexander Peacock presented Mr Catani with an ‘Illuminated address’. Catani was responsible for the all drainage works on the Koo Wee Rup Swamp from 1893 and had been employed by various Government Departments since his arrival in Melbourne from Italy (via New Zealand) in 1876.

The Cora Lynn Horticultural Show was held on May 12. The exhibits were down from previous years but they were of very good quality, in fact the fancy work was of an exceptionally fine standard a triumph of art and patient industry. (Dandenong Advertiser, May 24, 1917). Whilst on the subject of shows, the Iona Cheese Factory won a prize at the Royal Melbourne Show in September for the best cheese over 6 months old and not less than 300lbs in weight (that’s 136kg - a big cheese!) The Cora Lynn Cheese factory was second. (The Age, September 26, 1917)

Gippsland Independent June 22, 1917

On June 8, local teachers met at Tynong and were given instruction in gardening. The instructor, Mr Lee, of the Drouin School pointed out that the geometrical style was not now encouraged, and that elaborate and complicated arrangement of flower beds should be avoided. He advised having most of the school garden laid out in grass, and flower beds distributed over those lawns. Shrubs formed a fine background for the beds.  Teachers today, should be grateful that they don’t have to plant and maintain the school gardens in addition to their many other duties! (Gippsland Independent, June 22, 1917)

In more school news on September 13, the Dandenong Advertiser reported that September, Garfield Head Teacher, Mr Thomas Loutit was transferred to Sea Lake and in December various newspapers reported that Mr William Waugh was transferred to Garfield State School from Elphinstone.

At the beginning of August, Mrs Aspinall, the wife of the Manager of the London Bank in Garfield was presented with a very chaste silver rose bowl, suitably inscribed by the members of the Church of England Sunday school.  Chaste in this case means without unnecessary ornament. Mr Aspinall was presented with a gift, a valuable case of pipes at a social evening a few weeks later.  William and Jean Aspinall were moving to Moama, they had been in Garfield since about 1913. (Dandenong Advertiser, August 9, 1917 and August 30, 1917)

Dandenong Advertiser August 9 1917

The Pakenham Gazette of September, 14 reported that the Post Office, known as Kirwan’s was to be changed to Vervale. This is the Post Office on the corner of Main Drain Road and the Thirteen Mile. It was known as Kirwan’s after John Kirwan who ran the Post Office and general store from 1907 until 1915 when it was taken away from him as he was convicted of selling liquor without a license.

And finally in November in a report on the Berwick Shire Council meeting, Cr Pearson pointed out that owing to the different meal hours at various Post Offices the telephone service was held up from about 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day. At Nar Nar Goon, the office was closed from about 4pm to 5pm and at Bunyip from 5pm to 6pm. He moved that the Department be asked to arrange for a uniform closing hour. The motion was seconded by Cr Dore and carried. (Pakenham Gazette, November 9 1917)

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