Sunday, January 20, 2019

What happened in Koo Wee Rup in 1918

Here is a look back 100 years at what happened in Koo Wee Rup and surrounds in 1918. 1918, is of course, the year the Great War ended on November 11, so the local community was still involved in fundraising for the War effort, local men were still enlisting and soldiers who had served were returning home, but this article will mainly look at the other activities that went on in the area.

On Sunday, January 13 light rain began falling and by Monday the heaviest falls for some years occurred and there was 3 inches (75 ml) of rain in 48 hours. (Lang Lang Guardian January 19, 1918)

In the Dandenong Advertiser of January 31 there was this report - Mr P. Einsiedel, of ‘Myora Park’, Monomeith, who may be termed the ‘Cattle King’ of South Gippsland, last week sold to Mr E. Manifold, Camperdown, 420 bullocks and they are to be despatched to their western home by special train tomorrow. Back in the days when Monomeith had a railway station and cattle were carted by rail and not road. It would have been an impressive sight to see that many bullocks at the Monomeith Station. (Read the full report in the Dandenong Advertiser, here)

On March 9, the Lang Lang Guardian reported that the dredge is making satisfactory progress in widening and deepening the drain. It is now crossing the Yallock Creek and making towards Koo Wee Rup. This was the Lubecker Steam bucket dredge, imported from Germany by the Public Works Department Engineer, Carlo Catani, in 1913.

The Cranbourne Shire Health Inspector’s report was published in the Dandenong Advertiser on April 11. Dr Langley reported - The health of the shire has been very satisfactory, especially if we might judge by the very few cases of infectious diseases reported during 1917. There were 7 cases in all - three isolated, one case of diphtheria at Koo Wee Rup, two at Pearcedale, and one group (the McKay family) at Yallock, consisting of four cases. This outbreak at Yallock was looked into by your officers, and it was found that the disease was brought from the Infectious Diseases Hospital, where one child had been an inmate with scarlet fever. The premises and drainage were all in good condition and the house was fumigated. The Infectious Diseases Hospital had opened in 1904 at Fairfield and people with small pox, typhoid, scarlet fever, diphtheria etc were sent there for treatment and hopefully to isolate the outbreak of what could be fatal diseases.

On April 12, the Koo Wee Rup Red Cross met. The secretary, Miss Jack, reported sending to the Central depot for the quarter ending March 30 the following articles: 29 undershirts, 3 flannel shirts, 4 sets pyjamas, 18 handkerchiefs, 11 pairs of socks, 3 helmets, 8 scarves and 100 washers. (South Bourke and Mornington Journal, April 25 1918)

Also on April 12, Mr James Maroney the Station Master at Koo Wee Rup and his wife, Mary, were given a farewell, as he was taking up an appointment at Violet Town. Mr Maroney was presented with a wallet of notes and Mrs Maroney a prayer book, mounted in silver, by the ladies of the Church. (Lang Lang Guardian, April 20 1918)

The same article in the Lang Lang Guardian reported that Corporal Gilchrist and Privates Cochrane and McGree were warmly welcomed by a number of friends at the Railway Station. They later received a public welcome home at the Hall. (Lang Lang Guardian, April 20 1918). You can see a photo and more information about the Welcome Home, here, on one of my other blogs.

The Birregurra Times of July 23 had this to say about the Koo Wee Rup Sun - We have received the first issue of the ‘Koo-wee-rup Sun’ a well-written and cleanly-printed weekly. The journal, which is ably conducted by Mr G. F. Hopkins, should be a real acquisition to the whole of the Cranbourne shire, and if it goes on as it has started we predict a long and useful career for it. The Koo Wee Rup Sun was the successor to the Lang Lang Guardian.

Birregurra Times July 23, 1918

The Koo Wee Rup Sun of July 31 reported on the unveiling of the the Yallock Roll of Honor  at the Yallock Hall (read report, here) The board, made of blackwood, contained the names and photos of 57 local boys. The Honor Board is now at the Lang Lang R.S.L. More information, including all the names of the soldiers, can be found here, on one of my other blogs.

There was a flood in the Koo Wee Rup area in September - water was a foot (30 cm) deep in the Koo Wee Rup North State School and the teacher, John Donald, had water waist deep through his house.  The report in the Koo Wee Rup Sun goes on to say that this building is situated in a position particularly liable to flood, for every freshet in the Five Mile drain causes inconvenience. During the two years of the present teacher's regime he has suffered no less than 23 floodings, a record that must surely reach the limit of exasperation. The structure was removed about 100 yards some time ago, to evade or try to minimise the risk, but without any relief.  Water was also a foot deep in the Koo Wee Rup North Hall. (Koo Wee Rup Sun, September 11, 1918 - see full report, here)

In October, Mr M.D. Dalley of Koo Wee Rup, wrote the following letter to the Farmers’ Advocate newspaper - Among the papers of my late father the following recipe was found; it has been used by him on many occasions, and found an excellent embrocation (lotion). For the benefit of farmers I give it: - 1 oz. Laudanum, 1 oz. Tincture of Myrrh; 1 oz. Tincture of Aloes; ½ oz. Sulphate of Zinc; 1 oz. Carbolic Acid. Mix with 5 oz. salad oil. 
For the young readers of this article, the word oz is the abbreviation for an ounce which is about 28 grams. These ingredients were obviously freely available at the time; I am not sure how you would access them all now. Laudanum is opium mixed with alcohol and, not surprisingly, no longer available at the local shops; Myrrh is a type of tree resin and was one of the gifts given by the Three Wise Men at the birth of Jesus; Aloes is made from the leaves of the aloe plant; Sulphate of Zinc is the dietary supplement; Carbolic Acid or phenol is used as an antibiotic or disinfectant and is considered to be a poison. Salad oil sounds like the least dangerous and easiest to obtain ingredient out of this list. As a matter of interest, Mr Dalley’s full name was Moorabool Darriwell Dalley, quite an unusual set of given names. He was born at Batesford, which is on the Moorabool River, and Darriwell is the name of a land administration Parish, just north of Batesford. Darriwell was also the name of the 1879 Melbourne Cup winner. (Farmers' Advocate October 4, 1918)

Farmers' Advocate  October 4, 1918

In The Argus on December 19 there was a report headlined ‘Children without schooling’
Strong discontent is expressed over the delay of the Education department in providing a
School at Dalmore East. The residents have for 12 months past offered to provide and clear a site, but nothing has been done. There are about 40 children not receiving education, including families of returned soldiers, who were promised school facilities when they took up their blocks.  It is felt to be little short of a scandal that children within 40 miles of a big city have no means of acquiring education.  The school, on Island Road (and later called Island Road School)  eventually opened on June 23, 1919. The building they used was the original Koo Wee Rup State School located on the corner of Bethunes Road and the Bayles Road. This building was shifted into Koo Wee Rup in 1910 and used until a new school was built in 1915. Dalmore East closed in 1974 and in 1984 the building was shifted back into Koo Wee Rup and is now on the Primary School site.  Read the full Argus report, here

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