Sunday, January 20, 2019

What happened in Koo Wee Rup in 1916

This is a look at what happened in Koo Wee Rup in 1916, 100 years ago. These references all come from digitized newspapers available on Trove,  There were many references to the War and how the community was supporting the war effort, but this is mainly a look at the non military activities in the town.

The Australasian of February 5, reported that local potato and onion growers complained to the Railway department that they could not get their produce away promptly on the rail and that owing to the delay during hot weather the potatoes shrivel up.

On another railway matter on March 30 the Ballarat Courier had a report that the McDonalds Track Railway (or the Strzelecki line) construction was abandoned due to the scarcity of rails and the difficulty of obtaining them. The line was finally opened on June 29, 1922.

The Argus on April 5 reported that the Post Office at Koo Wee Rup had been connected to the telephone trunk line between Springvale and Korumburra.

The Argus April 5, 1916

The Lang Lang Guardian of April 19 reported that Mr Ward, a resident of Koo Wee Rup picked up a bottle on the Kilcunda Beach and it contained the following note, dated March 10:  From two boys bound for the Front on the Star of England A15. Having a good trip; a lot of the boys had a bad time on the first night out. Would finder kindly drop Mrs Brown, 170 Albert Street Newtown a line just for the novelty and also to my mother Mrs Feehan, Edward Street Adelaide. Wishing you luck and good bye. From two soldiers boys J. Feehan and J. McPherson. On the back was written - Will see you when we get back. This note was written three days after sailing. We can just sight Melbourne.  J. Feehan was John Walter Feehan and he survived the War; I have no information about his mate, J. McPherson. (Read the article, here)

The Argus on April 27 reported that the Main Drain had a siltation problem due to a build up of sand which varied in depth from four feet to seven feet. The sand was so vast at the 10-mile (just east of Cora Lynn), that it needed to be removed to prevent inundation of the adjoining land. It was estimated that the removal would cost about £20,000, unless it could be used in some commercial way such as in concrete.

The South Bourke and Mornington Journal of June 22 had a report on the state of a drain in Station Street. The defective drainage of Station Street about five years ago was said to be responsible for the death of Mrs Laurie, who was stricken with typhoid fever. The drain in front of her premises was filled with evil smelling stagnant water. A few months ago a young man from adjoining premises was seized with typhoid fever. Fortunately he recovered. The drain is certainly a menace to health….it is hoped that the Board of Health will order it to be  thoroughly disinfected and made so that stagnant water will not be in front of shops and dwellings. 

The Lang Lang Guardian of September 13, reported on the return billiard match between Lang Lang and Koo Wee Rup at the Palace Hotel. Total scores were Lang Lang 564 and Koo-Wee-Rup 487. The individual results were - Eason 150 points beat Smith 85; Keighery 114 lost to Donnelly 150; Athelstane 150 beat Boag 108 and Henderson 150 beat Bickett 144.

Lang Lang Guardian September 13, 1916

The Dandenong Advertiser of September 28 reported on recent floods which caused enormous damage and great suffering in many homes.  Sadly Lyle Raymond Loveday was drowned whilst out rabbiting. The paper reports that the boy was an exceptionally promising lad and would have been 12 years old on the day after the fatality. A son of Mr T. Cunningham of Tynong was also drowned in a drain in front of his house. Mrs Cunningham saw her son disappear, but was powerless to save him. The flood waters had broken through the McDonald, Seven Mile and McGregor drains.  The report goes on to say that the Dalmore country is submerged, most of the settlers having managed to wade or drive to Koo Wee Rup. (Read the article, here)

On November 22, the Lang Lang Guardian reported on a Ball held in aid of the Red Cross - over £3 was raised. The winner of the best lady’s costume was Miss Daisy Morden as Peace - her prize was a case of cutlery donated by Mrs D. McNamara of the Royal Hotel.  Mrs Cochrane representing Spring was second. Other costumes, all of a patriotic and imperialistic nature, were Miss M. Saunders - The Allies; Mrs Boag - Victory; Miss Williams - Red Cross nurse; Miss Cameron - Britannia; Mrs Scanlan - Lady Doctor and Miss A. Dixon - Anzac.

From the Lang Lang Guardian of December 20, 1916. The annual examinations conducted by the London College of Music were held in Koo Wee Rup. Pupils from as far away as Fish Creek, Korumburra and Wonthaggi were present as well as those closer to home from Tooradin, Clyde and Cranbourne. Miss Harris was the Koo Wee Rup Music teacher and she ‘presented’ twelve pupils of whom eleven passed. Miss V. Rundle and Miss M. Ryan became an Associate of the London College of Music, having received 82% and 80% on their examinations. As a matter of interest, all the students could have arrived in Koo Wee Rup for their music examinations by train - Tooradin, Clyde, Cranbourne, Fish Creek and Korumburra were all on the Great Southern line and the students from Wonthaggi would have caught the train from there to the rail junction at Nyora and then continued onto Koo Wee Rup. (See full report, here)

The same report, as above, also lists results from the Koo Wee Rup State School. Merit Certificates (awarded at the end of Grade 8) were obtained by Eric Glasscock, Arnold Eason, Claude Einsiedel, John Shelton, Stanley Coates, Edward Leeson, Bessie Colvin, Hope Dalley and Beryl Morden. Eric and Arnold also won awards for the best scholars in the school and Edward and Bessie  won a prize for the best essay on ‘The history of the British Navy’ not a topic that I imagine many Year 8 students would be required to write essays on today!  Qualifying Certificates (end of Year 6) were awarded to Violet Johnson, Henry Thompson, David Mickle and George Burhop. The awards were presented at a picnic held in the school grounds, where there was a large attendance of parents and friends who provided the children with an inexhaustible supply of dainties.

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