Friday, January 18, 2019

What happened in Koo Wee Rup in 1911

This is a look at what happened in Koo-Wee-Rup and surrounding areas one hundred years ago, in 1911. These references are taken from various papers on-line at

On January 9, The Argus reported that The maize crops on the Koo-wee-rup Swamp have been completely destroyed by a plague of caterpillars. The cabbages and potatoes arc now being attacked.  More more bad news for the local farmers was reported in The Argus on February 7 - Potato diggers on Koo-wee-rup Swamp have ceased work, owing to Irish blight being discovered in the district, and many of the men have taken their departure for other potato districts. Strict measures have been taken by the Government to prevent the disease from spreading, and also to prevent potatoes affected form being marketed. This was not the end to the disastrous season the local farmers were having because The Argus reported on March 23 that the potato blight was also attacking carrot crops. To top if off the Weekly Times of March 25 reported that due to prevalence of pleuro-pneumonia among cattle, the sale yards at Koo-wee-rup and Lang Lang have been closed. It wasn't until May that the sale yards were re-opened after the outbreak had been checked.

Continuing on with the ordinary year, on June 12, The Argus reported that Main Drain (or Koo Wee Rup canal as it was called) had overflowed at Cora Lynn and flooded the surrounding area. There was also one foot of water in the newly built Mechanics' Institute (Public Hall). As we can see from the later report, below, this postponed the official opening of the Hall. This report said there was three feet of water through the Hall. The Hall was officially opened in August - the event was presided over by Shire President, Cr W. Carney and official guests were W.S Keast, M.L.A, after whom the hall was named and Mrs Keast. This was reported on in The Argus of August 9, 1911.

The Argus June 14, 1911

In other matters not connected to farming or floods, The Argus of February 10, 1911 reported on a Victorian first for the town of Cora Lynn - The parents of children at the Cora Lynn State School, in Gippsland, have secured the distinction of appointing the first school committee in Victoria under the new Education Act passed last year which provides for the constitution of such committees in place of the old boards of advice. Well done, Cora Lynn! You can read the full article, here.

On October 7, The Argus reported on a a proposed extension of the railway line from Nar Nar Goon to Cora Lynn and on through the Gippsland Country - that never happened! There was later report on October 17 (read it here) that said the proposed line was to go from Cora Lynn to Modella and then onto Mirboo.

The Argus October 7, 1911

We will end on a sad note, on October 26, The Argus reported on the sad news that the body of a newly-born male child in an outhouse there. Constable Watt had taken the body to the Morgue, and a post-mortem examination had shown that suffocation was the cause of death. I can't find a follow-up report so we don't know who this unfortunate little child was.

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