Thursday, March 23, 2023

Kitty Harris Townson and Margaret O'Riordan Hamilton of Koo Wee Rup

When the Fallen Soldiers' Memorial Hospital at  Koo Wee Rup opened on Wednesday, May 23, 1923 there was an extensive report in the Koo Wee Rup Sun (read it here). This line caught my interest -  Mrs M. Hamilton then declared open a ward to the memory of the late Mrs Townson.  This post looks at the lives of these two women. 

Kitty Townson

Kate Dyson Townson, known as Kitty, was born on July 11, 1881, the eldest of the six children of  William Harris (1846-1914) and his wife Mary Augusta Derrick (1860-1940). (1).  Kitty's great-grandfather, Thomas Derrick, was one of the original settlers at Kew, and her grandfather, Samuel Derrick, owned a farm on Bulleen Road (now High Street) in Kew, before he moved to Lancefield around 1880. Samuel's sister, Ellen Quick, who died at the age of 36 in March 1859, was the first person to be buried in the Boroondara Cemetery; she left behind four young children. Samuel's wife, Mary, also died young, at only 37. She was found in a waterhole on the farm at Kew and could not be revived. The Inquest returned a verdict of accidental death. Mary had been on the point of giving birth to a child and the baby also did not survive. Mary left behind eight children aged between 18 years and 2 years old (2). 

Kitty was born at Lancefield and her birth was followed by her siblings, William Howarth (1883-1926), Ruby Mary (1885-?), Samuel Derrick (1887-1888), John Samuel (1893-1961) and Tom Derrick (1897-1973). Her father, William, was a Music Teacher.  Around September 1900, William and Mary left Lancefield for Kerang, where he had accepted the offer of an extensive practice at Kerang and Pyramid Hill.  Kitty stayed in Lancefield to continue her duties of music teaching. (3).

Around 1910, Kitty moved to Cranbourne where she was listed in the Electoral Roll as a Music Teacher. She had this same address until 1916, however it appears she may have moved to Koo Wee Rup earlier than this, according to some of the reports, below, of her activities in the local area. 

Miss Harris supplies excellent music
South Bourke and Mornington Journal, October 13, 1910 

Kitty Harris' successful students
Lang Lang Guardian December 22, 1915  

More successful students
South Bourke and Mornington Journal January 25, 1917 

An excellent programme organised by Kitty
South Bourke and Mornington Journal March 14, 1918  

Why did  Kitty move from Lancefield to Cranbourne? It may have been because her brother, John, was  living in Yannathan around this time, although his address in the Electoral Rolls was actually Kerang, and his occupation was a Law clerk; however this report from the Koo Wee Rup Sun, of November 1918, claims him as a Yannathan soldier.

John Harris' brush with death
Koo Wee Rup Sun, November 6, 1918 

Whatever the reason for her move, Kitty was a popular personality in the area and on December 29, 1917 she married Henry John Townson at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Newport. One of the witnesses was Mary O'Riordan, more of whom below (4). Local historian David Mickle, describes Harry (as he was known) as a popular young storekeeper who worked at O'Riordan's store at Koo Wee Rup (5). The marriage certificate lists her age as 31 and his as 27; his age was correct but she was actually 36. Harry had been born in 1890 in Kilmore as Henry John Banks, to Sarah Banks and father 'unknown'. (6). 

Kitty organises a concert for the Bush Nursing Association
Koo Wee Rup Sun May 7, 1919, p. 1

Sadly, the marriage was cut short by the premature death of Kitty, who died of Spanish Influenza on June 12, 1919, when she was only 37,the same age as her grandmother, Mary Derrick and just one year older than her great-aunt, Ellen Quick (7).  We turn to David Mickle again who wrote - She had been a popular musician and played at most concerts and dances. Her death meant  a great loss to the town and everyone felt very sad about Harry's bereavement. (8).

Her Obituary from the Koo Wee Rup Sun (9)  is transcribed here. 
The news of the death of Mrs (“Kitty”) Townson, briefly referred to in our last issue, has been received everywhere with great sorrow. There was not a more popular and deeply loved lady throughout the whole shire, and her death leaves a wide gap which will be hard to fill. The deceased lady, by her charming personality and unaffected good nature, kind and charitable disposition, endeared herself to all who knew her. When her services for sweet Charity were required they were always given with a smile. Her name will always  be revered while there are loving hearts to beat and memory exists.

Truly the removal of this sweet woman from our midst amply demonstrates the axiom that -
Kind hearts are more than coronets
And simple faith than Norman blood.

The late Mrs Townson attended her last public function at the Five Mile on Friday night, June 6, and presented her last programme. This function is destined to be a memorable one, as it was the precursor of much pain and sorrow, and the removal from our midst of several residents  whose deaths are deeply deplored. On Saturday Mrs Townson took ill, and she lingered up to Thursday afternoon, when she passed peacefully away at the age of 37years. The deepest sympathy is felt for her sorrowing husband, who was ill in bed, but is now fortunately recovering. To Mrs Harris almost the utmost sympathy is extended in the loss of a loving daughter.

The funeral took place on Friday, the remains being interred in the Pakenham Cemetery. A large concourse followed the remains to their last resting place. It is certain that the cortege would have been much larger had the event been more widely known. The Rev. E.J. Evans read the Anglican burial service at the graveside. There were a large number of floral offerings. Amongst the mourners were Messrs Tom Harris and W.H. Harris, brothers of the deceased. The scene at the graveside was very affecting.  The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Mr O. Smith, of Pakenham.

It was interesting that Kitty had an Anglican Burial Service but was married in a Catholic Church; I presume Harry was a Catholic. The details of Harry's life after the death of his wife have proved somewhat elusive. At some time he left Koo Wee Rup and in 1923 he married Elizabeth Auld Kipling. In the 1927 Electoral Roll he is listed at 26 The Esplanade, St Kilda. In 1931, the couple were at 116 Harold Street in Middle Park and he also operated a grocery store in Victoria Street, Malvern. There were no children from either marriage and I believe he died in 1931 (10). 

Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Mary O'Riordan was born December 3, 1884, in Bordertown, South Australia to John and Elizabeth (nee O'Callaghan) O'Riordan. The family then moved to Victoria where Mary, known as Mollie, was born in 1887 and then Joseph Leonard (1890-1892). The last three children were born at Koo Wee Rup, where their father had opened the first store, in Station Street. John Leslie O'Riordan was born on August 26, 1892, the first white child born in Koo Wee Rup,  and he was followed by Eileen (1895 -1899), and Joseph in 1899 (11). 

 Jim and Joe Moore, Joe Morrison (Blacksmith), Margaret Hamilton, Les O'Riordan.  Mid 1920s. Standing in the entrance to O'Riordan's Store, the picket fence is of the attached residence. Station Street, Koo Wee Rup, Royal Hotel in background. 
Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society photo.

O'Riordan's Store and residence; Margaret Hamilton's Post Office, Station Street, August 1924 flood.
Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society photo.

Margaret's husband, Henry Campbell Hamilton (SN 4719) enlisted on January 14, 1916 at the age of 39 and his occupation was 'Manager, General Store' and his next of kin was his 'friend', Miss O'Riordan of Koo Wee Rup (12). Miss O'Riordan soon became his wife as they were married on January 29, 1916 at the Catholic Church in Koo Wee Rup. Henry was listed in the 1914 and 1916 Electoral as a 'horse trainer' and I assume that he managed O'Riordan's store (where Harry Townson also worked); so did he get that job when he became sweet on Miss O'Riordan or did he get into the family business after they started going out? Perhaps being the manager of a general store provided a more consistent income than being a horse trainer.

Wedding notice of Margaret and Henry
The Argus February 26, 1916

The Lang Lang Guardian (13) had this lovely report of their wedding. Mollie O'Riordan was her bridesmaid, she also did the honours for Kitty Harris the next year; and Kitty played the Wedding March at the service.
A very quite wedding ceremony was performed at St John's R. C. Church, Kooweerup, on the 29th ult., The Church was nicely decorated by the lady friends of the bride and although the day was wet and stormy, a large number of friends attended the service. The contracting parties were Miss Maggie O'Riordan and Mr Henry Hamilton, the Rev. Father Cusack was the officiating priest. The bride was given away by her brother, Mr J. L. O'Riordan, and Miss Mary O'Riordan, sister of the bride, acted as bridesmaid. Mr F. Ellis being best man. The bride was daintily gowned in white embroidered organdi muslin over white silk, and wore a pink crepe de chine hat with white lancer plume. The bridesmaid was gowned in white embroidered voile. As the bridal party left the church amidst showers of confetti, Miss K. Harris played the beautiful wedding march. A reception and breakfast was given at the Coffee Palace, where the toast of the 'Bride and Bridegroom' was ably proposed by Father Cusack, and responded to by the bridegroom. The bridesmaid's toast, proposed by Mr Barlow was responded to by Mr F. Ellis. The presents were both numerous and costly. The happy couple left by the evening train for their honeymoon, amidst showers of confetti and rice, and as the train was about to start their many friends sang 'For they are jolly good fellows.'

Their daughter, Mary, was born in 1917, and she was to be their only child as Henry sadly, Died of Wounds, on October 8, 1917, sustained whilst fighting in France. As Henry had embarked in July 1916 for service overseas, he would never have met his little girl.

The many death notices for Henry Hamilton. Alice and Denis McNamara had the Royal Hotel at Koo Wee Rup, interesting that they are related to Henry, I'll work out the connection one day.
The Argus, October 27, 1917

Mrs Hamilton died on July 20, 1938 at the age of 53. Her Obituary from the Koo Wee Rup Sun (14) is transcribed here. 

Obituary - Mrs M. Hamilton 

It is with deep regret that we have to record the death of Mrs Margaret Hamilton, which sad event occurred at 5.30 a.m Wednesday at the home of her sister, Mrs A. Grantley, Kooweerup. Deceased was the daughter of the late Mr and Mrs O’Riordan, pioneers of this district, and was born at Bordertown, S.A. Her husband, Mr Henry Campbell Hamilton, was killed in action in 1917. For the past 30 years  the deceased had capably performed the duties of post-mistress at Kooweerup, and through this office as well as the great interest she had at all times taken in movements  in the interest of the district and in charitable causes she had gained the friendship and love of all with whom she had come in contact, and the news of her demise has naturally created quite  a gloom over a very wide area. Deceased, who had been ailing for the past two years, had so bravely borne her suffering that to many her demise was anything but expected. She leaves a daughter (Mary), two brothers (John and Joseph), and one sister (Mrs A. Grantley) to mourn her great loss. The internment will take place in the Dandenong Cemetery to-day (Thursday), the cortege leaving St. John’s Church, Kooweerup, after Requiem Mass has concluded at 10 a.m. 

Mrs Hamilton also had an obituary in The Advocate (15) -
Mrs. Margaret Hamilton, of Kooweerup, passed to her eternal reward on Wednesday, July 20. She was the widow of the late Mr. H. C. Hamilton (killed in France) and loving mother of Mary, dearly beloved sister of Mollie (Mrs. Grantley), John Leslie and Joseph O'Riordan. Requiem Mass was celebrated at St. John's, Kooweerup, by Rev. J. McNamara, and was attended by a large congregation. The funeral was the largest ever seen in the district. The service at the graveside was read by Rev. Fr. McNamara, assisted by Rev. Fr. Cremin, P.P.; Rev. Fr. Joyce, P.P.; Rev. Frs. H. Ellis, W. Rovira, O'Sullivan. R.I.P

You can imagine what a sad, but proud, occasion the opening of the Fallen Soldiers' Memorial Hospital must have been for Margaret Hamilton, having to open a ward in honour of her late friend, Kitty Townson, and also having to see the Memorial plaque unveiled for the fallen soldiers, including her late husband, Henry (16)

(1) Birth certificate
(2) Kew Rate Books on; Samuel Derrick's obituary Weekly Times April 2, 1910, see here; I have written about Ellen Quick and the Boroondara Cemetery, here; Mary Derrick - her maiden name is listed variously as Lehmann, Leman and Layman. Report of her death South Bourke Standard, March 10, 1871, see here and report of her Inquest The Herald, March 10, 1871, see here.
(3) Indexes to the Victorian Births, Death and Marriages; Kerang Times, September 14, 1900, see here.
(4) Marriage certificate
(5) Mickle, David J Mickle Memories of Koo-Wee-Rup (The Author, 1983), p. 63 
(6) Marriage certificate, Index to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages.
(7) Death certificate
(8) Mickle, op. cit., p 63
(9) Koo Wee Rup Sun, June 18, 1919, page 1.
(10) Elizabeth Auld Townson died in 1937 and there was no mention of Harry in her death notice (The Age, August 31, 1937, see here). Also,  the 1937 Electoral Roll showed she was living (without Harry) at 317 Auburn Road, Hawthorn, which was her brother's address according to the death notice. The Commonwealth of Australia Gazette of July 2, 1931, see here, had the following notice -

Does this meant he was insolvent or that he had died? Either way, it's the last reference to Harry I can find. 

(11) Genealogy SA; Indexes to the Victorian Births, Death and Marriages; Mickle, op.,cit pp 19 and 36. John O'Riordan died September 17, 1901 and Elizabeth died March 9, 1910. 

The Argus September 18, 1901

Mary, known as Mollie, and Kitty's bridesmaid, married Alan Grantley in 1924. She died in 1980, aged 93. John Leslie (known as Les) O'Riordan married Margaret Colvin in 1918, and they lived at Mallow, in Rossiter Road, now the headquarters and Museum of the Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society. The house was built by her father, John Colvin.  Les died in October 1978 and Margaret in October 1955. I have written about Les, here. Joseph O'Riordan, born in 1899, died in 1957, I don't know if he ever married. 
(12) Attestation papers, National Archives of Australia, see here.
(13) Lang Lang Guardian, February 9, 1916, see here.
(14) Koo Wee Rup Sun,  July 21, 1938, page 1, 
(15) The Advocate, September 1, 1938, see here.
(16) Read about the Memorial plaque, here

Monday, March 6, 2023

Official opening of the Westernport Memorial Hospital at Koo Wee Rup on December 4, 1955

This account of the official opening of the Westernport Memorial Hospital at  Koo Wee Rup on Sunday, December 4, 1955 is transcribed from the Koo Wee Rup Sun of  December 7, 1955, p. 1. The Westernport Memorial Hospital replaced the Fallen Soldiers' Memorial Hospital which had opened May 23, 1923. You can read the report of the opening of this hospital, here, and the post also includes information on George Burhop and Margaret Hamilton, both instrumental in establishing the first hospital.

Westernport Memorial Hospital - Officially Opened by Dr J.H. Lindell

Despite inclement weather conditions there was a large attendance on Sunday afternoon to witness the official opening of the new 23-bed Westernport Memorial Hospital, costing £200,000, excluding furnishings, and erected in Kooweerup. The ceremony was performed by Dr. H. J. Lindell, chairman of the Hospitals and Charities Commission. Fortunately rain held off during the afternoon. Music rendered by the Pakenham Brass Band was greatly appreciated. Cr. W. R. Greaves president of the hospital committee, officiated as chairman.

Proceedings opened with the band playing the National Anthem.

Cr. Greaves on behalf on the committee, expressed his pleasure on witnessing the attendance of so large a gathering and extended a cordial welcome to all. He then called on Cr. L. J. Cochrane, M.L.A., (1) to unveil the memorials removed from the late Kooweerup Memorial Hospital and placed on a memorial wall erected at the entrance to the new hospital at a cost of close on £1000.

Cr. Cochrane said his duty was pleasant in one respect and in another a sad one. He then summarised the district’s past history in connection with nursing and medical activities from the foundation of the employment of a bush nurse under the jurisdiction of the Bush Nursing Association in 1919. Shortly after a cottage was built for the accommodation of the nurse and then a small Bush Nursing Hospital known as the Kooweerup Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital adjoining the cottage. All this had been accomplished under the direction of the late G. R. Burhop as manager-secretary and who had carried on up to the time the Westernport Memorial Hospital Committee took it over.

The Hospital under construction, February 5, 1955.
Image: Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society

A fallen soldiers’ memorial listing the names of the district men who had fallen in the First World War had been erected, also a memorial as a tribute to the late Mrs Margaret Hamilton, who had done outstanding work in every local organization and much good for the community and the benefit of the hospital. These memorials had been removed to the new hospital and in unveiling them it brought back to mind the achievements of district fallen men, and may we as successors prove worthy of their sacrifice.

A minute’s silence was then observed in memory of the fallen, followed by the Last Post being sounded by a Pakenham bandsman.

All assembled then adjourned to the front entrance of the hospital, where the opening ceremony was conducted. Among those present were Dr Lindell and Mr A. J. McLellan, of the Hospitals and Charities Commission, and their wives; Major Lindsay, M.H.R.; Cr. L.J. Cochran, M.L.A.; Cr. G.G. Knowles, Cranbourne Shire president; Cr. C. Greaves, Berwick Shire; and representatives from the Berwick, Pakenham, Wonthaggi, Warragul and Frankston Hospitals.

Cr Greaves read a number of apologies for unavoidable non-attendance, and said many more would have been present if weather conditions had been more favorable. He then gave a resume of activities in connection with the establishment of the Westernport Memorial Hospital from its inception in 1945, when after a survey of the district the Hospitals and Charities Commission recommended a district public hospital in Kooweerup. Ex-Cr. J. Thwaites, of Yannathan, was president of the first committee appointed, which in 1947 raised £7000 towards the project. After much unavoidable delay, in 1953 Messrs Bates, Smart and McCutcheon were appointed as architects to proceed with building plans, and the Trusteel Corporation was the successful tenderer. The district’s quote towards the cost of the hospital was £20,000, plus part cost of furnishing. The public had supported the committee’s appeals most generously, also local bodies and district shire councils. The committee was still receiving money and still more was needed. Cr. Greaves paid tribute to the medical and nursing staffs over past years. At present, he said, they had an excellent staff, headed by Matron Laird. He paid tribute to the district politicians and thanked the Hospitals and Charities commissioners, whose guidance and help, he said, had been unselfishly given. He then called on Dr Lindell to officially open the hospital.

Dr Lindell said he was deeply touched at the memorial ceremony and paid tribute to Cr. Cochrane for the way in which he had performed it. The memorial wall was, he said, quite fitting as a memorial serving the community. He was pleased to see such a number of hospital representatives present who has seen fit to take part in this new era of the establishment of more hospitals. It was not the Kooweerup or Westernport Memorial Hospital he was set to open, but one of a team in a whole team of hospitals and therefore it could not function on its own. A base hospital was to be established at Dandenong and the local hospital would be a member of that base hospital.

Success could only be achieved by hard work, a lot of money and full public support. All hospitals had many problems, especially in acquiring full nursing staffs. In this respect Kooweerup was most fortunate mainly due to having such an excellent matron. The public should stick behind the committee, doctors and nurses because it is their hospital – the committee is their democratic representatives. He hoped they would have better conditions than in the past and they had his sincere good wishes. He paid tribute to the architects responsible for the building and said the commission had found them to be co-operative, able and always willing to help.

He said they should now look forward to the day when they could enlarge the hospital. There are always at least 200 hospital beds occupied by children as the result of accident and illnesses which could be prevented, also many diseases which are preventable. Hospitals are now not only treating the sick, but acquiring knowledge how they can stop these things happening. They are in a new era and he hoped it would be a golden one. He considered it to be an honor in being asked to declare the Westernport Memorial Hospital open and hoped that it would long serve the community. Dr Lindell then unlocked the entrance door.

 The cover of the 1981 Annual Report - it's the only photo I can find of the Hospital, apart from construction ones.
Image: Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society collection

Owing to the wet condition of the ground surrounding the nurses’ home owing to recent rains, the official opening of this building was performed by Mrs Lindell on the same dais as the opening of the hospital. Mrs Lindell thanked the committee for their invitation to be present and in having the privilege to open such a lovely nurses’ home and said she had much pleasure in declaring it open.

On behalf of the committee and architects, Dr A. B. Hewitt presented to Mrs Lindell a very nice silver water jug. He said the commission was endeavouring to improve medical facilities in the State and that the committee greatly appreciated the attendance of the commissioners. Mrs Lindell suitably expressed her thanks for the gift.

Cr. Knowles thanked the committee for their invitation to be present on such an important occasion. The hospital, he said, bore a most appropriate name, as it bordered a district around Westernport Bay and one that was rapidly developing. He congratulated the district on possessing such a fine hospital and hoped that it would continue to prosper and serve their requirements.

The chairman then invited all present to inspect the hospital and nurses’ home, after which many partook of afternoon tea in a marquee erected on the ground and dispensed by the ladies’ auxiliary at a small charge.


My two sisters, my brother and myself were all born at the Westernport Memorial Hospital - in 1957, 1959, 1960 and 1964.  Here we all are at the Hospital in 1966 - Dad was having a hernia operation and we were visiting - I don't think we were allowed into the Ward to see him, as we were kids, but Grandma came with us and looked after us and took the photo. 

Rouse kids visiting our Dad at Westernport Memorial Hospital, 1966
Image: Veda Thewlis

(1) Leslie James Cochrane  (1894-1972) - I have written about him here -

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Official opening of the Fallen Soldiers' Memorial Hospital at Koo Wee Rup, May 23 1923

This account of the official opening of the Fallen Soldiers' Memorial Hospital at  Koo Wee Rup on Wednesday, May 23, 1923 is transcribed from the Koo Wee Rup Sun of May 24, 1923, p 4. Punctuation is original, but this has been re-paragraphed for clarity. 

Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital - Officially opened Yesterday.

It has been a penchant with vice-regal representatives from the Old Country to leave behind some monument of their labor whilst in our midst. One of the best movements so far conceived is that instituted by Lady Dudley, who started what is known as the Bush Nursing Association.  Lady Dudley was a woman with a big range of sympathy for the person out-back, and her travels in the various States taught her that in times of emergency and sickness the people in the outback settlements had to endure much risk and danger through lack of medical advice and assistance.

Realising the danger to which they were exposed, she called a few friends together and propounded the humanitarian idea that an organisation should be started that would make the prospects of their less fortunate brothers and sisters in district parts brighter and happier. Her idea took a concrete form, as what is now known as the Bush Nursing Association is now in existence, and is eminently carrying out the function she desired.

This organisation sends out nurses who are thoroughly equipped for their task, and thousands to-day are grateful for the work which has been accomplished.  Beginning in a small way, the organisation has been spreading steadily, until to-day there are 41 centres in Victoria, besides numerous centres in other States of the Commonwealth. Each year the movement is gaining ground, and the results of the various centres are so successful that inquiries are made for information with respect to how the centres are conducted. This is another instance illustrative of what a small seed sown by a woman with high and noble ideals can produce, and the association will ever remain a lasting memorial to the splendid work of Lady Dudley during the term she was with us as the wife of the Governor-General of Australia.

The life of a bush nurse is no sinecure. She has no hours she can call her own. She is “at it, and always at it.” She is ever ready at the least behest, night and day, on her mission of mercy. She is devoid of all the pleasures and comforts which surrounds her sisters in the more populous centres, but she recognises that she has a duty to perform to those in trials and tribulations, and she carries out her unselfish task with a cheery and optimistic spirit, and by her presence radiates happiness and comfort to all with whom she comes in contact. She realises that “the noblest service is the public good”; that life consisteth more than in eating and drinking, but that each person has a responsibility to fulfil to their fellow man and woman. Yet despite all the hardships she had to endure there must be compensation. The highest joy in life is “the joy of doing good.” To ease pain, to lighten the daily burden and to assuage grief must bring untold happiness and pleasure, and it is in this direction that the devoted workers reap some measure of reward.

It is these compensations which have urged on all humanitarian and Christian workers. The mission of the great Christian Leader was not only to preach the Gospel, but to heal the sick, etc., exemplifying that doing of such a work is fulfilling the highest law and carrying out His precepts. One cannot help recalling the noble life of Florence Nightingale, who so stirred by the terrible sufferings of the soldiers in the Crimean campaign, that she gave up her life of ease and brought benediction to thousands of soldiers. It is recorded that as she went about with her lamp in her hands the soldiers kissed her shadow as she passed. So in the peaceful development of our back block settlements the bush nurses go about with their lamps in hands demonstrating that they are worthy disciples of the above-named woman.

The Bush Nursing Association is a co-operative movement, which allows for the strong to help the weak. All persons who become members contribute a fixed sum each year, which is devoted to the payment of the nurse and the upkeep of the centre. Under this system it means that those who are well and fortunate help to alleviate the unfortunate and sickly member. This is carrying out in a practical manner the brotherhood of man, and it is regretted that in all centres there are men and women who are not seized with the importance of the principle involved. In every locality whether a person is possessed of means or not, he should remember that his contribution is helping to further and strengthen the movement, and in this manner convey help to those most in need.

In the Kooweerup Centre we have advanced a stage further than the majority.  Almost at the inception of the local movement it was recognised that better and effective work could be rendered by the erection of a hospital, where patients could be brought to receive the best attention possible. Such a method lightens the work of the nurse. Patients in outlying parts always presents a difficulty in reaching, and by concentrating the work in a healing institution much travelling, time and expense is saved. The idea was taken up with enthusiasm, and an appeal was made to the public, and it is gratifying to record that a good response resulted. The committee recognised that they owed a duty to the “deathless heroes” who fell in the late war and to memorialise their sacrifice it was decided to name the new edifice “The Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.” The committee endeavoured to secure the names of all district soldiers who fell, and their names are inscribed on a marble tablet at the hospital, and of them the words of an ancient epitaph can well be applied: “They sleep a holy sleep; say not that the valiant ever die.”

On such an important occasion as the opening of the hospital, which was fittingly performed yesterday by the President of the Shire (Cr Simpson Hill), a brief account of the past history of the local movement should be recorded.

It was the outbreak of the influenza epidemic which had the effect of attracting attention to the value of bush nursing work, and at a public meeting held on January 23, 1918, the local centre was established with the following office-bearers:- President, Mr. W. Eason; treasurer Mr C. Adeney; hon. secretary, Mr G.R. Burhop. On April 10, 1918 the following signed as guarantors:- Messrs F. Ellis, J.J.J. Hudson, H.D. Mills, D M’Namara, T. Jenkins, senr., and G.R. Burhop. Shortly afterwards the first nurse in the person of Miss Homeward [Homewood], took up duties and served the centre for six months, and later gave assistance for several months, owing to the large number of influenza cases. Nurse M’Kay, who rendered excellent services during the epidemic, served the centre for six months. The present nurse (Miss Walsh) took charge of the work on April 21, 1920, and has labored devotedly and assiduously ever since, and has earned the unswerving esteem of all  members by her kindly advice and sympathetic treatment. Nurse Cuff also gave appreciated service for a number of months.

Owing to the fact that the nurse did not have the comfort and facilities required, the matter of erecting a cottage was first mooted by the Secretary (Mr G.R. Burhop (1)) at a meeting held on April 8, 1919. The matter was taken up immediately, and the late Mrs Townson (2) displayed a large measure of interest in the proposal and organsied a series of entertainments and in this way gave a practical start to the scheme. The value of her work was recognised, as she was elected to the committee.  Mrs Townson’s life of service shortly afterwards terminated, for on June 14, 1919, she “passed beyond these voices to where there is peace.”

The dreaded influenza epidemic accentuated the disabilities the district was placed in through having no hospital, as a number of patients had to travel long distances through cold and adverse weather, and when they reached their destination they had not sufficient strength to combat the complaints they were afflicted, with the result that death ensued. This appealed strongly to a number of persons, and it was resolved on July 8, 1919 that a hospital be built as a memorial to the fallen soldiers of the district, and the woman’s ward to be known as the “Kitty Townson Memorial Ward.” 

The present site was purchased on March 16, 1920, and a fortnight later Messrs J. Mickle and G. Burhop were elected trustees. A queen carnival was the means of getting in a considerable amount of money, and it was decided to name the beds after the districts which provided the queens. On August 8, 1921, the secretary secured plans from the Health department, and these were placed in the hands of Messrs Beaver and Parnell, architects, Melbourne, with instructions to base their drawings on similar lines. Shortly afterwards tenders were invited and Mr J. Colvin, senr., succeeded in getting the contract.

Now that the hospital is an accomplished fact, we cannot conclude without saying that one outstanding personality in bringing the scheme to a successful consummation has been the untiring zeal and devotion of Mr G.R. Burhop. He has been absolutely absorbed in the work. The most difficult task did not daunt him, and he has given time, money and labor and he must feel highly elated that the object for which he has been striving is now a practical reality. He has worked in a splendid spirit and has been suffused with “the white heat of a passionate enthusiasm” for the centre. Mr and Mrs W.K. Paterson have taken an active interest in the work. Mr Paterson has occupied the position of treasurer for several years, while Mrs Paterson has given most valuable advice and initiated many successful schemes to promote the welfare of the centre. The committee has also given good support to all movements instituted to assist the funds.

It now remains with all persons to do their bit in maintaining the institution. They owe a duty to the work. The definition of the word duty is due to.  What is due to a cause is what you owe, and what you owe you should pay. So in regard to the Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital we hope the district will recognise their obligations; assist all schemes to promote its welfare, and make it worthy in every way of this rich and flourishing district. Only the past few weeks Dr Lyell Andrews has taken up practice here, and this fact will make the work of the local centre more effective.

Fallen Soldiers' Memorial Hospital, Koo Wee Rup, 1923. 
Image : Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society


Despite the unpropitious weather which prevailed yesterday afternoon, there was a large attendance to witness the ceremony of declaring the Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital open. Members of the Victorian Council of the Association were present, including Miss Cameron (superintendent) and Sir James Barrett (general secretary).

The ground was decorated and flags of the various nations floated gaily in the breeze. There were three stalls - refreshment, jumble, and linen – and juveniles, dressed in nurses costumes, solicited donations. The Kooweerup and District Brass Band rendered selections during the afternoon.

Mr W.K. Paterson presided and called upon Cr S. Hill (3) president of the Cranbourne Shire, to perform the opening ceremony.

Councillor Hill said:-
“We are assembled to-day for the purpose of opening this building, to be known henceforth as the Kooweerup Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, and to unveil a tablet to their memory. I do know why I have been especially singled out for this high honor – for it is a high honor – as I am sure there are others who could quit themselves much better than I can hope to accomplish. Whether it be from the fact that I am your shire president and having been the deciding factor that your shire offices shall be in this town, where shortly I hope to see the foundation-stone laid (4); whether it be from my long residence on the swamp and the battles I helped to fight for your rights and wishes; whether from the fact that during the early years I was frequently called upon to do work akin to what will be done on this building (5), or because I am one of the founders of the Fathers’ Association that you have so selected me I know not. But the fact remains I am here to do it, and I must heartily thank you for the honor and gladly accede to your wishes.

You have a district for which productivity, climate, variety of products and wealth is second to none in Victoria. I well remember when there was but one store and a boarding house where your town now stands. Its growth in a few years has been something miraculous. No town in the shire or two towns can compare to it, and it will be many long years before a halt is called – if ever.  It is the junction of a railway that is tapping still further untold wealth. You have the seaboard almost at your door, and it is not too far distant to see a time when the canal will be dredged and vessels of a class come here for your produce to supply the Naval Base and the mammoth steamers that will as assuredly come to Western Port Bay, as night follows day.

 You sent tour brave sons to take part in the Great War for freedom. Your sacred dead lie in foreign lands. This you can never forget. Later your shire will honor their obligations to them, but to-day you of your own volition are honoring them in a way that you deem befitting their actions, and that reflects the highest honor upon you; their sacred memory you seek perpetually to revere and the call of the suffering humanity to relieve. The idea of inaugurating this movement and monument first took place when the call of humanity was heard in the late deplorable influenza epidemic. Our loved ones lay suffering; hospitals were scarce; nurses scarcer; still loved ones passed away that might perchance have been saved could they have had the attention necessary.

 These things had their reflex in the late war. You remembered those you could not see, yet who you wished so gladly to help, and from these things sprang the birth of the idea. First a bush nurse, then a centre, and then a hospital. A band of workers was needed to carry this spending program out. You, like your sons, sprang into the breach. Your committee and indefatigable secretary would not accept defeat. Wise councils prevailed; they came to the shire council and pleaded your cause. The council donated £100, and the scheme was launched. And to-day you see the results of the labor of love – for it has been to them a labor of love – and what a most remarkable achievement they have made.

 In my hands is a copy of the annual report (June 30, 1922) of the Bush Nursing Association, and what do I find. I have turned over all its pages and find that there were at that date 42 centres in Victoria, but that the Kooweerup centre is the only one, where in four figures are found relating to its assets, etc. Truly a noble work and worthy of those who brought it about. I am sure that Sir James Barrett, the association’s hon. secretary, and Nurse Cameron, its superintendent, must feel delighted with such results. To them I leave details with which they are more familiar, and with these achievements I am going to ask you to unloose your purse strings and tell of its work to others, so that the institution will be made quickly quite free of debt and able to accommodate more patients if necessary.

Now, just to show you what the heroic band of bush nurses are doing, let me read an extract from the “Herald” of January 30, 1923. After reading the report the speaker continued: “Is not that splendid; it carries one’s mind back to the early days of the swamp, when men worked and slaved up to their middles in water to reclaim and pave the way for what it is to-day.  There were no nurses, doctors, dentists or hospitals here then, but there was at least one person who was sort of a bush nurse; doctor and dentist all in one, who did the best that could be done gratuitously, and who I think is not forgotten today. Of course, nursing and doctors have the humorous side as well as the serious, and often the hearty laugh helps more than the doctor’s physic.

 Diggers, if I say to you who is the first you will honor, I know and you know it will be the nurse, doctor, stretcher-bearer. All honor then to that grand body of heroines, followers of “Our lady with the lamp,” Florence Nightingale. May their shadows never grow less. Now let me get down to more mundane things. This hospital will cost between £1800 and £2000. It will be maintained by members’ subscriptions, donations and nursing charges. At present the number of beds is four, but provision is made for more when funds permit. Membership consists of a subscription of 30/ per annum, which includes attention for the year by the nurse to all family under 18 years of age. So far no life membership has been decided upon, but I put it up to the board of management that it is a worthy honor, in addition to the membership, and I think there are those who would be only too willing to become life members, to hand down to posterity the fact that you are and will honor your dead heroes.

 I feel I must be wearying you, so I will close with a true story of the swamp in the early days. There was no fruit grown upon it, so at the other end the boys used to visit the orchards at Garfield. On one occasion the owner of the orchard loaded his gun with saltpetre, and  the recipient was well pickled in a certain part of his anatomy that required after treatment. He still lived to tell the tale. A boy another time was up the tree when the gun appeared. In his haste to get down he slipped and dislocated his shoulder. When the mother brought him to the bush doctor she said, “Hadn’t you better tie him to the gate before you pull it in?” Being told no, but to let him lie on the ground, she said, “Well, I’ll sit on his chest for you; you don’t know him like I do.” He has won several bike races since then, some in this town, so he is all right. Another, a dental case, who kept saying, “Hold my head, hold my head.” The dentist felt like ramming the forceps down his throat. Anyhow he is still alive and his head is on his shoulders.  Another dental case. A perfect set of teeth, but monsters. Anyhow the patient insisted one ached and it would have to come out. He stood the ordeal bravely. It took five attempts to do the job. The poor dentist perspired like a person in a Turkish bath, but the job was done at last. That man is dead to-day. I do not know what killed him, perhaps Adams ale or the shock he got. Perhaps he is stoking the fires down below ready for the dentist.

 Recently there was another addition. Today it is this building; shortly it will be your shire offices, all of which testify to the grit and determination, like the pioneers of the district, to make this town a memorable one, but in no way can you more befittingly memorise it than by building and equipping a hospital such as  you have done  to-day and add to its wisdom, strength and beauty by dedicating it to your fallen heroes, and I have the greatest pleasure in now declaring it open.

 We come now to a different part of the programme, and I will ask you to uncover the head. In the generous nature of your hearts you have honored alike all the fallen in the Great War. This tablet that I am called upon to unveil contains the names of those heroes of that great deathless army that enlisted from these parts; the boys that never returned. Least we forget, to their sacred undying and imperishable memory I dedicate this tablet and now unveil it, and may their glorious, purified souls rest for ever with the Eternal God. Amen. I will ask you all to observe a strict silence for two  minutes.

 Sir James Barrett, on behalf  of the Bush Nursing Association, congratulated the local centre on being the first to open a hospital. He said that Lady Dudley and Lady Carmichael first started the movement, and instanced the hardships that settlers had to face owing to no medical service. To complete the medical unit here the telephone should be connected, and a motor ambulance and an extra nurse obtained.

Mr G. Burhop, hon, secretary, eulogised all the persons who had rendered the centre great assistance, and mentioned that the late Mrs Kitty Townson and himself first mooted the scheme here.

Mrs M. Hamilton (6) then declared open a ward to the memory of the late Mrs Townson.

Mrs D. McNamara donated a fully furnished cot, endowed by her son, Jack, to the memory of Mrs Townson. Mrs Appleford of Lang Lang, also donated a kosy cot (7).

The cost of the hospital cottage and furnishings will run into about £2000.

The names engraved on the memorial tablet are: - J. Banbury, D.G. Bethune, S. Blake, J. Bryant, T. Bryant, M. Callanan, L. Coates, P. Davis, J. Davy, C. Garbellini, H. Hamilton, J. Hannaker, R. Martin, C. Osborne, J. O’Shea, J. Randle, J. Slocombe, A. Williams, C. Woods. (8)

The memorial plaque, unveiled on May 23, 1923, the day the Fallen Soldiers' Memorial Hospital 
was opened. I have written about these men, here.
Image: Heather Arnold

(1) George Randall Burhop - Born in England on October 16, 1873 and died in Brisbane on May 30, 1949; he married Dorothea Pausacker in 1898 (she died 1962, aged 87) and they had four children - Dora, Amey, George and Thomas. George was a Cranbourne Shire Councillor 1921 - 1941 and Shire President 1927-1928. George arrived in Australia with his parents when he was 13 years old and after living in New South Wales and Queensland took over his parent's farm on McDonald's Drain Road in 1914 and later purchased a large allotment in Lea Road. Mr Burhop was the Secretary of Hospital for 28 years until his retirement in December 1947. Obituary - Koo Wee Rup Sun, June 1, 1949, p. 1.
(3) Cr Edward Simpson Hill, Shire of Cranbourne Councillor 1918 - 1924, Shire President 1922-1923, represented Tooradin Ward. He died on July 16, 1930, aged 69. Read a short obituary in the Dandenong Journal, July 31, 1930, here; he also enlisted at the age of 56 in World War One - I have written about him and other Dalmore soldiers (he was the Dalmore Post Master) here

Edward Simpson Hill - the husband of Charlotte and the father of Abner, Queenie. Roland, Crissie, Dudley, Rosie, Arthur and Ivy. 
The Argus July 17, 1930

(4) The Cranbourne Shire Offices never did move to Koo Wee Rup; they remained in the Municipal Buildings, built on the corner of the South Gippsland Highway and Sladen Street in 1875, until the new Shire Offices were opened in Cranbourne in 1978
(5) In 1916, Edward Simpson Hill was called upon to amputate a man's leg (under  telephone instructions from a Doctor); read about it in the Weekly Times of April 1, 1916, here
(6) Margaret Hamilton - I have written about Margaret here
(7) Kosy Cot - I thought at first it was  a typo, but it seems to be correct. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

Tynong Mechanics' Institute

The earliest public building in Tynong was the Mechanics’ Institute and this post looks at the history of this Hall and the other one (or was it two or even three?) Halls that may have at one time been at Tynong. You can read a general history of Tynong, here

In the nineteenth century the term ‘mechanic’ meant artisan or working man. The Mechanics’ Institute movement began in 1800 when Dr George Birkbeck of the Andersonian Institute in Scotland gave a series of lectures to local mechanics. The lectures were free and popular. They led to the formation of the Edinburgh School of Arts (1821) and the London Mechanics’ Institute (1823). The movement spread quickly throughout the British Empire. The first Victorian Mechanics’ Institute was the Melbourne Mechanics’ Institute established in 1839 and renamed The Melbourne Athenaeum in 1873, which continues to operate in its original building on Collins Street. Over a thousand were built in Victoria, and over 550  remain today (1).  The buildings were essentially a public hall with usually a Library. 

According to The Argus, the Tynong Mechanics' Institute was used to hold a political meeting in February 1886 (2) and I believe it was thus built in the previous year. The first school in Tynong which operated from August 1887 until 1892 was in the Mechanics' Institute (3). 

First reference I can find to the Tynong Mechanics' Institute
The Argus, February 23, 1886

In the early days Mechanics' Institutes had to send in a return to the Government and these returns were published in the annual  Statistical Register for the Colony of Victoria compiled from official records in the office of the Government Statist (4).  Tynong appears in the 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891 and 1892 editions of the Statistical Registers. 

The 1887 issue tells us that the building cost £145 to erect of which £21 came from the Government and £29 from other sources, £50 in total, which meant that £95 pounds was still owing. They had a collection of 236 books and they were open every evening. The next year, 1888, the book stock was 200, the opening hours were 1.00pm to 3.00pm and 7.00pm to 9.00pm and they had 550 visits throughout the year and received a Government grant of £20.  1889 - book stock -196; hours 9.00am -11.00am and 6.00pm to 8.00pm, annual visits were 350 and received a Government grant of £6 18 shillings.  1890 - same opening hours as 1889, book stock 207 and annual visits were 600. 1891 - book stock was 300; hours were 7.00pm to 10.00pm Thursday and Saturday and annual visits were 260. 1892 - book stock was 200, opening hours 7.00pm to 10.00pm on Wednesday and visits had declined to 100 (5). 

Fancy dress ball at Tynong
South Bourke and Mornington Journal September 6, 1903

The next Tynong school (No. 2854) opened on May 1, 1905 in the Tynong Hall and it was used for this purpose until 1908, when the old Cardinia school was shifted to a newly acquired site on the west side of Tynong Road (where St Thomas Aquinas School is now located) (6). 

In December 1917, the Dandenong Advertiser reported on
The occasion of the opening of the local public hall (the need of which has long been felt), on Friday evening last, was honored by the holding of a concert, a coronation ceremony and a ball......The purpose of the queen carnival was to provide funds, not only to put the building in such a condition, that the requirements of the Board of Public Health would be met, but also that some degree of comfort might be secured, and to this end a large committee room, and a ladies' room were' added to the structure. About £100 were spent on these improvements (7). This was not the current hall which opened in 1927, more of which later.

I feel  these additions of the Ladies' Rooms and the Committee Room were to the original Mechanics' Institute.  However, the book From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen notes that the first public hall was originally the school, put on land bought by the Progress Association in 1913 from Mrs Gault. It was opened in 1917 (8)So, was the 1917 building a new hall and not an extension to the old Mechanics' Institute? 

A report in the Pakenham Gazette of November 10, 1961 says the history of the 
Tynong Hall goes back to 1909, in which year the Progress Association purchased the present site from Mr Gault. A year or so later they purchased from the Education department an old Schoolroom and that served as Tynong’s Hall for many years. (9).

There is yet another account of a Tynong Hall from the Pakenham Gazette of June 15, 1962 which are the reminiscences of an early resident, Mrs Ryan. Mrs Ryan says -
Where Wilson’s home is at present in 1918 a partly built house, three rooms and frame work for more. The Centre rooms were at one time a Tynong Hall. It was in the paddock opposite the lane that runs between Jack Hamill's amd Keith Nilsson's. Mr Jas Smith later sold to Mrs Gault and Miss O'Connor. In the early 1920s Mr Jas Marsden bought it and had a nice 6-roomed home made of it. (Mrs Marsden for years had a catering business.) Mr Cecil Brand bought the property and turned it into a nice home and complete with fowl pens etc. There have been a few more tenants since then, and at present Wilsons occupy it (10).

The Tynong Hall at its re-opening in November 1961.
Pakenham Gazette November 10, 1961, p. 1

The current Hall was officially opened on January 14, 1927 by Councillor J. Dowd, the Shire President. The Hall cost £900.00 (11). Disaster befell this Hall thirty years later as the Pakenham Gazette of November 10, 1961 reported -
August 15, 1959 , was a black day in the history of Tynong. On it a gale, sweeping through a narrow belt of country, blew over their Public Hall. So great was the damage that opinion was almost equally divided as to whether the building could or could not be restored to its original condition. If August '59 was a black day, November 6th, '61, was a 'red letter night', for it marked the re-opening of a much better Hall than Tynong ever possessed before, with the addition of a new supper room and other rooms. Needless to say, the building was packed to the doors for the happy occasion. About 250 attended. The supper room had a well-equipped kitchen and there was also a Ladies' room. (12).

Tynong Hall
Image: Heather Arnold, 2023

Tynong Hall also has a Projection Room, clearly seen in the picture, above, which is currently inaccessible. I have no confirmed information about this Projection Room. Was it built in 1927 when the Hall was built – the 1920s was time when many Picture Theatres were being erected, so that would be logical.  However These Walls Speak Volumes: a history of Mechanics' Institutes in Victoria notes that in the 1950’s the Hall Committee purchased a film projector and used the Hall as a Picture Theatre and that there is a memorial tablet in the bio-box (13). But then I found this advertisement April 1952  about the Tynong Theatre plant being sold as a going concern. Were they selling recently acquired equipment? If the Theatre wasn't in the Hall, where was it? I have no answers.

Picture Theatre Tynong Plant sale.

The Mural of the Tynong Quarry, which supplied the granite for the Shrine of Remembrance. 
The Artist was Andrew Rowe and the mural was unveiled in 2004.
Image: Heather Arnold, 2023

The current hall was built in front of the Mechanics' Institute Hall, and in the 1950s and early 1960s original hall was being used as Infant Welfare Centre and a Supper room (14). I presume that the article, below, is referring to the 1885 building, however it really only adds to the confusion as to whether there was actually a hall built in 1917.  My local sources tell me that the building was sold and moved the Bayliss farm on the Highway (15). From there it was  relocated to Old Gippstown in 1973 (or 1978), where it remains today, and Old Gippstown claim it to be the original Mechanics' Institute (16).

Move to sell Tynong's first public hall (or was it?)
Pakenham Gazette, February 9, 1962, p. 10

So, were there in fact three or even four Tynong Halls? The 1885 Mechanics’ Institute, the 1927 current Hall and a Hall that was opened in c. 1910 or 1917 or was there yet another Hall that became part of Mr Wilson’s house? Tynong is said to be Aboriginal for ‘plenty of fish’ but I believe it must really mean ‘plenty of halls’. 

Trove list - I have created a short list of articles about the halls at Tynong, access it here

(2) The Argus, February 23, 1886, see here
(3) Vision and Realisation: a centenary history of State Education in Victoria, edited by L.J. Blake. (Education Department of Victoria, 1973)
(4) Statistical Register for the Colony of Victoria, access them here.
(5) Ibid
(6) Vision and Realisation, op. cit.
(7) The Dandenong Advertiser, December 20, 1917, see here.
(8) From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen: a brief history of the Shire of Berwick (Historical Society of Berwick Shire, 1962), p. 44.
(9) Pakenham Gazette, November 10, 1961, p. 1.
(10) Pakenham Gazette, June 15, 1962. p. 5.
(11) The Argus, January 17, 1927, see here. 
(12) Pakenham Gazette, November 10, 1961, p. 1.
(13) Baragwanath, Pam and James, Ken These Walls Speak Volumes: a history of Mechanics' Institutes in Victoria (published by the authors in 2015), p. 584.
(14) Pakenham Gazette, February 9, 1962, p. 10; Information supplied by Mrs Gladys Quigley and Mrs Bev Henwood February 28, 2023.
(15)  Information supplied by Mrs Gladys Quigley and Mrs Bev Henwood February 28, 2023.
(16) Baragwanath and James (see above) note it was removed in 1973 and the Old Gippstown website (see here)  says 1978.

A version of this post, which I wrote and researched,  has appeared on my work blog, Casey Cardinia Links to Our Past, as well as the Garfield Spectator. This is an updated and expanded version.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Tynong - a short history

Tynong is a town on the edge of the Koo Wee Rup Swamp in West Gippsland. The area was opened up in the 1870s for farming and timber, which was used for sleepers for the construction of the Gippsland Railway line. The line, from Melbourne to Sale,  was opened in stages - Morwell to Sale - June 1, 1877; Oakleigh to Bunyip - October 8, 1877; Moe to Morwell - December 1, 1877; Bunyip to Moe - March 1, 1878 and the last stretch from South Yarra to Oakleigh on April 2, 1879 (1).  In this area the original railway stations were Dandenong, Berwick, Pakenham and Bunyip.

The first reference I can find in the newspapers to Tynong was a  May 1876 marriage notice between John M'Keone, of Tynong and Ellen Bourke of Pakenham.  Michael and Kitty Bourke, the parents of Ellen, had taken up Minton's Run,  a property of 12, 800 acres on the Toomuc Creek in Pakenham in 1843. Around 1850, they established the La Trobe Inn, more commonly known as Bourke's Hotel, on the Gippsland Road (now called the  Princes Highway) and Toomuc Creek.

Marriage notice - the first reference I can find to Tynong in the newspapers

The next reference I can find to Tynong also relates to the M'Keone family - in October 1876 their farm was advertised for sale. 

The M'Keone farm for sale at Tynong
The Argus, October 26, 1876

M'Keone's farm was re-advertised in December 1876.

As we can see by the advertisement above the farm was near the main Gippsland Road and adjoining the Koo Wee Rup Swamp - it was one of the nicest little farms within many miles around.  Judging by the description, I believe that the farm was located between the railway line and the Gippsland Road  right on the edge of the Swamp and I believe that this was the farm purchased by Melbourne engraver and artist, Cyrus Mason (1829 - 1925).  I have written about him here

The early residents in the area were actually mainly at North Tynong and the 1962 publication From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen (2) lists these settlers as Rogerson, Brew, Jolly, Pharoah, Lamb, Ingwerson, Middleditch, Robertson, Kerr, Lungrum, Mazenti, Mentiplay, Davis, Parkes, Ewart, Doomsday, Highton, Rutledge, Kersey, Cunningham, Rowlerson, Orack, Linborg, Noble, Brockway, Burke, Weatherhead. The book notes that Sleeper cutting, eucalyptus distillery, milling and grazing were the main activities. 

There was agitation from the settlers for a railway station at Tynong after the line opened up. It was reported that in August 1880-
On Wednesday last, a deputation introduced by Mr Mason, M.L.A., and Mr. Buchanan, M.L.C., waited upon the Commissioner of Railways, and asking that a siding should be constructed at the intersection of Kelly-road with the Gippsland line, near Tynong. It was represented that the convenience  of the settlers who lived in the direction of the neighbouring mountains would be greatly served by the stoppage of the trains at that point, and it was stated also that the traffic on the line would be much increased if accommodation such as that requested was provided. Mr Patterson replied  that he would issue instructions that the siding should be made (3).  I do not know where Kelly Road was. 

Mr Patterson, the Railways Commissioner was a man of his word and a stop was opened at some time in early 1881 (4). 

After the station opened tramways were constructed from the mills. Mike McCarthy, in his book Settlers and Sawmillers: a history of West Gippsland Tramways and the Industries they served (5)lists the early mills and their establishment -  Maffey and Sons, c. 1882; William Fraser, 1884,  who sold to David Smythe in 1886. And as noted by McCarthy - From 1895 the firewood industry at Tynong declined rapidly. It wasn't until Horatio Weatherhead and his sons arrived from Lyonville (near Daylesford) late in 1908  that timber again became an important  commodity in the economy on this part of Gippsland (6)

Horatio Weatherhead's Mill in North Tynong in 1910.

Horatio Weatherhead (my great-grandfather) was granted a license by the State Forests and Nursery Branch of the Department of Lands and Survey,  to mill 2,000 acres of forest in North Tynong. He shifted his operations from Lyonville and his first mill commenced around December 1909 at Wild Dog Creek.  From that date,  Horatio and his sons Fred, Arthur, George, Frank and Alf all operated various mills in North Tynong, either together or separately. From 1947 Arthur's sons Roy, Max and Cyril had a mill on Cannibal Creek until it finally closed in 1979 (7).

Original sub-division of the town of Tynong, 1883, as you can see the original allotments were south of the railway line. 
Village lots at the Tynong railway station, Parish of Bunyip, County of Mornington / surveyed by J. Lardner, Assistant Surveyor, 11.6.83 ; lithographed at the Department of Lands and Survey, Melbourne by F. Kelly, 12.9.83.

During this time the town of Tynong, based around the railway station, was growing. In November 1882, a Post Office was opened at the Railway Station (8). A school opened part-time with Garfield, in the Mechanics' Institute in August 1887, but closed in 1892. The Mechanics' Institute opened in 1885 and I have written about this and the other Tynong Hall (or was it Halls?) here

The next school (No. 2854) opened on May 1, 1905 in the Tynong Hall and in 1908, the Cardinia school was shifted to a newly acquired site on the west side of the road that went from the railway line to the  Highway (where St Thomas Aquinas School is now located).  This building soon proved to be too small and new school was built, opening in April 1915. The Tynong School closed in April 1951 and the school population moved to Pakenham Consolidated School.  A school at Tynong North (No. 4464) operated from June 1930 until December 1951, when both the building and the students were transferred to Pakenham Consolidated (9).

Tynong, possibly 1920s
Image: North of the Line:  a pictorial record (Berwick Pakenham Historical Society,  1996)

In July 1917, a Memorial Grove, to honour the local men who had served in the War was planted at the Tynong State School, you can read about this here

Aerial of Tynong, 1985 - the treed site is the old school site.
Shire of Pakenham photographer

In July 1903, it was reported that - 
the land for the first shop opened in Tynong was surveyed on Friday last, so we shall have a store at last. I am in formed that it is for Mr. Harcourt of Bunyip and Garfield (10). This was Edwin Harcourt. Other Tynong shopkeepers include Alfred Watson from around 1906/1907 until 1917/1918; he then entered a partnership with Henry Coombs to become a Land and Estate Agent.  Harriet Snell, in the 1920s and from 1927 until 1931 she leased the store to  Francis Ryan (more of whom below). Harriet died in March 1932, aged only 47 and Ernest Oram then took over the Store (11) Ernest Oram was also a foundation member of the Tynong Plumpton Club also called the Tynong and District Coursing Club, formed in 1941. I have written about this here

Around 1908 John Mappin had a blacksmith and coach-building operation on the corner of North Tynong Road and the Highway and George Rowlerson also had a blacksmith business at Tynong.  In 1920, George Cousins opened a butchers shop, on the south side of the railway line in 1920. The old Feed Store was built in the 1940s (12).  The town  really didn't get much bigger than this. 

Sadly, Tynong never rose to become the Queen City of the East

Tynong also supplied the granite for the Shrine of Remembrance which was built between June 1928 and November 1934 to honour the soldiers who served in the First World War. There was a competition to design this memorial to the soldiers of the Great war and it was won by Philip B. Hudson and James H. Wardrop. It was built by the Company, Vaughan and Lodge and was officially opened by the Duke of Gloucester on November 11, 1934 (13).

Granite for an everlasting Shrine
The Argus, November 14, 1928

This is a not very clear photograph (above) of the Tynong Quarry - transcription follows - 
Granite for an everlasting Shrine - 
Certain that the people of the State will approve fully, the National War Memorial Committee has now decided that the Shrine of Remembrance shall be built, not of freestone, which is subject to weathering, but of granite, the most lasting of structural materials. Beautiful silver-grey granite of an eminently suitable kind is available at Tynong, in Gippsland, and workmen are shown in the photograph hewing the blocks of granite from the hillside. Inset:-A fine heap of granite blocks ready for dressing. They measure from six cubic foot upwards.

Tynong Granite Quarry, 1929

The Quarry ended up supplying 100,000 cubic feet of granite for the Shrine of Remembrance, which was valued at from £50,000 to £60,000 (14).   Not only was important to the economy of the town, but it  had the added benefit of bringing electric light to both Tynong and Garfield at the end of August 1929. On September 6,  1929, The Age reported -
Messrs. Vaughan and Lodge's granite quarry, which has been opened to supply stone for the Shrine of Remembrance, has commenced operations under power supplied by the Yallourn Electricity Commission. The whole of the machinery is driven by electricity, and when the undertaking is fully developed 32,000 volts will be used. The firm has installed a large steel saw 12 ft. in diameter, which cuts the stone into blocks from four to ten Ions in weight. It is said to be the only implement of its kind in Australia, and works with eight "teeth" on chilled steel revolving shot, cutting through a block of stone six feet by three feet deep in thirty minutes. Six compressed air drills, technically known as "hammer jacks," capable of drilling holes twenty feet deep, are used in the breaking-down process, and three electrically-driven cranes are employed in carrying the blocks to the saw benches. Up to the present blocks of flawless granite containing up to 40,000 square feet have been unearthed. The stone is said to be equal for building and monumental purposes to anything of its kind in the world. This discovery was made some years ago, when the stone was in demand for additions to the Melbourne Town Hall. The quarry is expected to keep eighty men permanently employed (15). 

The book, From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen, referred to previously, says Mrs Mary Ryan, who lived at Black Rock, first noticed the granite stone when a war memorial was being discussed, and through her it came to the notice of those responsible  for the memorial (16).  A plaque that was unveiled  at the Tynong State School on Remembrance Day in 1934 to commemorate the contribution of the Tynong Granite to the building of the Shrine. It was removed in 2005 to Railway Avenue, near the War Memorial, and re-dedicated (17).  

The plaque commemorating Mrs Ryan's role in the use of Tynong Granite for the Shrine of Remembrance.
Image: Heather Arnold, 2023

The plaque describes Mrs Ryan as a local amateur geologist. It is possible Mrs Ryan was living at Black Rock in 1962 when the book was published, but between 1927 and c. 1931 Mary Ann Ryan and Francis Michael Ryan were listed at Main Street, Tynong, his occupation being storekeeper (18). In fact, in December 1930, Mary Ryan applied for a Victualler's Licence for premises at Tynong. If successful she was going to build a brick hotel with ten bedrooms for the use of the public, three bathrooms, diningroom, &., at a cost of £4000. The application was refused on the grounds that there were only 200 people in the locality and other hotels near by (19). 

In 1931, The Age had a short report on fossils found at Tynong by Mrs Ryan - 
Tynong.....has of recent years come into prominence as n place where vast supplies of flawless granite have been found..... It is, of course, nothing more than a slender coincidence that another kind of stone has been found there which may prove to have considerable scientific interest, namely, a number of fossils, including the skull of a native bear, and various bones, the property of Mrs. M Ryan. If, as is thought, one of the stones is fossilised whale bone, the fact should be of exceptional interest to geologists. The fossils have not yet been subjected to the discerning scrutiny of the scientific eye, fortified with a microscope, but a photograph has been sent to the Australian Institute of Anatomy at Canberra, the director of which (Sir. Colin Mackenzie) has expressed his interest in them. (20).  I wonder of it was actually a fossilised whale  bone? 

The 1940s in Tynong saw the Fire Brigade established  in 1942 and  the  Infant Welfare Centre opened in the Hall, in September 1943, with Mrs Ritchies as President and Mrs D. Jolly as Honorary Secretary. (21).

The opening of the Tynong Infant Welfare Centre. 
You can read about Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown, Director of Infant Welfare, here.
Dandenong Journal, September 22, 1943

Tynong Office bearers of the Infant Welfare Centre from the 1943-1944 Annual Report 
of the Victorian Baby Health Centres Association, see here.

Another interesting fact about the area is that in March 1949, 540 acres of land in North Tynong off Snell Road, was sold by Reg Sykes to Father Wilfred Pooley, to establish a 'City of God' in the bush. This was part of a broader movement in the Catholic community, encouraged by the Melbourne Archbishop, Dr Daniel Mannix, for Catholics to move away from the distractions of the city to a rural environment and become closer to God. The  North Tynong rural settlement, St Mary's, was based on the principals of faith, family life and co-operative enterprise. To that end, Catholic families would move to the community, own a few acres of land to build a house and work in  the co-operative industries which were established including a housing co-operative, a joinery, hardware store and an aerated water factory. The cornerstones of community life, the Holy Family Church and the Holy Family School, were both opened by Archbishop Mannix on September 3, 1950 attended by more than 3000 people. With the arrival of a Post Office in 1955 the name of the settlement changed from St Mary's to Maryknoll, to avoid confusion with other towns named St Mary's (22).

A trestle bridge in North Tynong, 1912, Eva Weatherhead is standing on the bridge. 

Before we leave Tynong - When Horatio and his sons left Lyonville in 1908 for North Tynong, his wife Eleanor (nee Hunt) and their youngest child, Eva, remained in Lyonville until she finished Grade 8 at the end of 1913. When she was 16,  Eva travelled by train to Melbourne to attend Stott's Business College and then worked in town, boarding in South Melbourne. Eva returned home in early 1919, to look after her elderly mother and became the Post Mistress in Tynong, renting her office  from Mrs Julia Hollingsworth, who operated a coffee palace for 17/6 per month. At the time the Post Office was on the south side of the railway.  Eva held this position until she married Joe Rouse, a farmer from Cora Lynn, in November 1922.  They had seven children, including my Dad. Grandma was always very proud of the fact that the Shrine was made of Tynong Granite and used to tell us about this when we were young. 

Trove list - I have created a list of articles on Tynong, which I have used for the research for this post. access it here.

(1) These dates are from Victorian Railways to '62 by Leo J. Harrigan (Victorian Railways, 1962)
(2) From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen: a brief history of the Shire of Berwick (Historical Society of Berwick Shire, 1962).
(3) South Bourke and Mornington Journal, August 18, 1880, see here.
(4) It was there in April 1881 - The Argus, April 13, 1881, see here.
(5) McCarthy, Mike Settler and Sawmillers: a history of West Gippsland Tramways and the Industries they served (Light Railway Research Society of Australia, 1993)
(6) McCarthy, Mike, op. cit, p. 18
(7) McCarthy, Mike, op. cit, pp. 18-22
(8) Victoria Government Gazette, November 17, 1882, p. 2705

Opening of the Tynong Post Office

(9) Vision and Realisation: a centenary history of State Education in Victoria, edited by L.J. Blake. (Education Department of Victoria, 1973)
(10) South Bourke and Mornington Journal, July 22, 1903, see here.
(11) Shire of Berwick Rate Books, Electoral Rolls, newspaper articles and advertisements. Francis Ryan is not listed in the Shire of Berwick Rate books as owning the store, Harriet Snell is listed as the owner  in the years the Ryans were in Tynong.
(12) The 1908 Electoral Rolls list John James Mappin, Coachbuilder at Tynong and George Walter Rowlerson, Blacksmith at Tynong; neither are listed in the 1906 Rolls. Mappin's address -  corner of North Tynong Road and the Highway - comes from From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen, see footnote 2. The butchershop information is from Cardinia Shire Heritage Study, volume 3: Heritage Places by Graeme Butler & Associates (Cardinia Shire, 1996). The Feed Store information is from Cardinia Local Heritage Study Review 2008 - Volume 5: Stage B Individual places, Draft June 2008, Context P/L.
(13) History of the Shrine of Remembrance
(14) The Herald, January 25, 1932, see here
(15) The Age, September 6, 1929, see here.
(16) From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen, op. cit. p.44.
(18) Electoral Rolls on Ancestry - the Ryan's weren't in the 1926 Rolls at Tynong, but they were listed there from 1927 to 1931 and not listed at Tynong in the 1934 Rolls. They are not listed in the Shire of Berwick Rate Books as owning the shop.
(19) The Age, December 23, 1930, see here
(20) The Age, August 19, 1931, see here
(21) White, Gael Maryknoll: history of a Catholic Rural Settlement (Artistic Wombat, 2002)