Saturday, June 4, 2022

"Corpse" that came to life

This report appeared in the Sydney Truth newspaper of March 10, 1925. Not sure if it is true or not, but it’s a great story.

What does it feel like to be dead? “Scotty” McDonald, of Koo-wee-rup (Victoria), says it is quite a pleasant experience. "Scotty" ought to know, because he has been officially dead and buried, but confounded his mourners by walking in on them and ordering a pot of foaming beer.

"Scotty" is short and stocky, and somewhere over the 60-year mark in age. A grizzly moustache and stubbly beard mark his weather-beaten features. In a humble hut near Dalmore, five or six miles from

Koo-wee-rup, he lives while the potato-digging is on. Before his miraculous death, burial, and resurrection Scotty's headquarters were the Royal Hotel, Koo-wee-rup. There was he to be found in the intervals between his luring of the elusive spud from the soil.

Not Wilfully Dead.
Man is not master of his own destiny, and Scotty was not to be allowed to have control of his own death. The matter was taken out of his hands without his consent. A body was found in a paddock some miles from Koo-wee-rup, and was brought into the township by a passing carter. There is no such thing as a mortuary in the township, and as is customary in such places bodies are taken to the local hotel, where post-mortems and inquests are held. There the body was taken to the scene of Scotty's best triumphs on the imitation bagpipes, and an awed bar paused awhile over its pots of beer to talk of poor old Scotty's sudden end.

One "Butcher'" (christened Mick), who had quaffed the flowing bowl full many a time and oft with
Scotty, could not contain his tears. So while the habitues of the Royal hostelry held an informal wake for Scotty, the doctors made a post-mortem examination, which showed that death was due to certain persistent poisoning of the heart and other organs. "That's Scotty," said everyone who knew the "deceased.”

Mr Cole, J.P., of Lang Lang, came to Koo-wee-rup and held a formal inquest on the body of John McDonald, deceased. There was no question of foul play, and the medical evidence was accepted as sufficient for the granting of an order of burial. So Scotty was buried. A motor lorry belonging to Gilchrist and Co. was requisitioned, and the coffin was taken to the Lang Lang Cemetery on the Wednesday afternoon, and interred several feet below in the embracing Mother Earth.

Now, whose body was it, since it was not Scotty's? Undoubtedly a body was buried, but whose?
Was it a Joke?
Constable Whiteside, of Koo-wee-rup says it was the body of another McDonald altogether, and that someone must have been trying to play a joke on Scotty. But the explanation advanced by those who knew both Scotty and the other McDonald is probably nearer the mark. The other man, though taller, was very like Scotty in facial appearance; "like twins," one man described them. When the body was brought in everyone assumed that it was Scotty, and it was Scotty who was buried.

Came a public holiday, and all Scotty's cronies were gathered in the bar of the hotel. They missed the clank of his unconventional beer billy made from a 2lb jam tin. The beer splashed merrily on thirsty throats, and the till clanged cheerily. Prominent in the gathering was Mick, still willing to join in toasts to the memory of departed Scotty.

The swing doors opened from the street. Casually the company turned to see who was coming in. Then the silence of the tomb fell upon the crowd. With beer mugs poised in mid-air they stood as inert as the stuffed fox in the corner: An apparition from Eternity was framed in the doorway! The wraith of Scotty had come to haunt his former resting-place. "It's Scotty's ghost!" shrieked Mick. “It's a banshee, O-ooh !" He would not look, for had not his own scarf-pin been used to pin the blanket around Scotty's lifeless form? The ghost announced himself in full blooded human language to the gaping bar. "What the hell are you staring at?" he demanded. "What's the joke?"

Movement returned to the awed company. It might be Scotty's ghost that stood in the doorway, but at least it was a ghost that put on no superior ethereal airs. If Scotty had some back to haunt the bar he was going to do it properly, for as wondering eyes were dragged from the spellbound contemplation of the familiar face it was seen that the ghost carried Scotty's beer-billy. It seemed to have come prepared to haunt the place in a respectable manner, with the rattle of glasses rather than chains.

Cautiously the more daring spirits investigated, and were met with pointed instructions to go to the place that it might have been reasonably expected Scotty had come from, judging by his adjectives. A babel of explanations smashed the silence, and everyone tried to tell Scotty that he was dead.

He Ought to Know.
He refused to believe it, and told them so, asserting that he was the person who should know. Panting dispensers of news gasped word of Scotty's return to the people who did not happen to be in the pub at the time, and he became the show sight for the day - the man who had returned from the grave. Mick was the last to be convinced, and then, like the doubting disciple Thomas, he would only be convinced of the resurrection by physical contact. To him it seemed that Scotty's ghost had come before him as a warning, and it was some time before he would approach. Then, much to Scotty's indignation, Mick convinced himself by vigorously pinching the man who should have been dead.

The earnest explanations of the erstwhile mourners mollified the anger of Scotty, over what he thought was a rotten joke, and over a few "welcome back to earth" pots, he forgave them all and realised what had happened. While he was being "buried" he had been out some miles and he had not been able to assure them that the reports of his death, like those of Mark Twain's, "had been grossly exaggerated."

When a man is so unceremoniously shuffled off this mortal coil, without having a say in the matter, it is up to him to prove conclusively that he is very much alive. Was it not Constable Whiteside who had had some part in this dastardly attempt to take a man's life away from him? To be sure, and the honor of the McDonalds demanded a bout with the doughty limb of the law. Scotty decided that the honor of the McDonalds would be compensated by a wrestle for drinks, and therefore he challenged the constable to a fall - the loser to shout for the company. But the policeman declined to satisfy any ghost, and informed Scotty that a night in the lockup was all the satisfaction the pride of the McDonalds would get.

Koo-wee-rup had thought that it had seen Scotty make his last motor ride when the motor lorry bore away the rough coffin, but a few days later it witnessed a very hilarious ghost leave by motor for Lang Lang with the constable. On the Saturday morning he was fined 6s for being drunk. The fine was inflicted by Mr. Cole, J.P., who had three days before signed the order for Scotty's burial!

Source: Sydney Truth newspaper of March 10, 1925

Friday, May 20, 2022

Native cats or Quolls in the West Gippsland area and beyond

I came across this snippet in the book Early Days of Berwick (1), first published in 1948. It was referring to farming areas around Berwick - The native cats were a pest amongst the poultry but they appeared to contract some form of epidemic and they died out and now appear totally extinct (2). What are native cats? They are a type of quoll, a carnivorous marsupial - the Eastern Quoll - Dasyurus viverrinus - and were described by a writer as - the colour of native cats varies greatly. I have seen them practically all black, except for the characteristic white spots, but in others the colour has been grey, brown, bluey-grey, yellow, and a mixture of the above colours, but always with the white spots (3). They are about 60 cm in length, including the tail. Eastern Quolls are considered to be nearly extinct on the Australian mainland, but still exist in Tasmania (4).

Quolls or 'Native Cats'
Wild cats, c. 1880s. State Library of Victoria Image H29681/2

I did a search on Trove to find any references to quolls in the West Gippsland region in newspapers. The first report came from October 1872. This was a sad account of a farmer, named Wilhelm Tinzmann, of Dandenong, who committed suicide in October 1872 by drinking strychnine. He had legally obtained the poison from a local chemist to kill 'native cats'. Thirty four year old Wilhelm had been suffering from great pain in the head and had been desponding of late (5).

In April 1880, there was a report on the activities of the Acclimatisation Society, later called the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society, who had released Californian Quail into Victoria and they reported that it has succeeded wherever the scrub, as at Gembrook, is sufficiently dense to enable it to escape from its numerous enemies, in the shape of hawks and native cats (6). The activities of this Society were reported on regularly and in another report from April 1886, the Society was sent one white native cat, from Mr Staughton, near Pakenham to add to their collection (7).

In October 1884 there were various reports about the tragic death of eleven year old Edward Williams of Tynong who died after having been bitten by a snake. Edward had put his hand into a hollow log, in which he thought a native cat lay concealed, only to find that it actually contained a four foot tiger snake (8). This happened at eight o'clock in the morning and shortly afterwards he began to feel the deadly effects of the poison, and his father, alarmed at the lad's appearance, hurried with him to the railway station, and took him to the Alfred Hospital. The boy was quite insensible when admitted, at about two p.m., and was evidently dying. He expired very shortly after admission (9).

In 1899, the West Gippsland Gazette reported this story, which took place at an un-named location in Gippsland - A boy, son of a selector climbed a high white gum after a magpie's nest, but slipped from a bough, and, falling, just managed to catch a limb, from which he hung by his hands. After making repeated efforts to draw himself up he abandoned the endeavour as hopeless, and remained hanging, calling for help all the time. When he had been in this position for about a minute, a native-cat crept along the limb and smelt at his fingers. It then bit them. The boy shrieked at the animal, but it took no notice, and set deliberately to work to eat his hand. After the third bite, the youngster let go; and fell to the ground, breaking a rib and stunning himself in the fall. When he recovered consciousness, the cat had descended the tree, probably with the intention of resuming its meal if conditions were favorable. But the boy left (10)

A story was published in 1907 about life on the Koo Wee Rup Swamp, shortly after the Village Settlements were established in 1893. The story outlines the trials and tribulations faced by the settler and his family including the native cats killed the fowls.... and a vagrant kangaroo dog stole the baby out of the gin case cradle, and only dropped it after a two mile chase through the ti-tree (11). The last part  is particularly interesting given what happened to Lindy and Michael Chamberlain's baby, Azaria, in 1980.

This story was published 1912, but took place some time before and is a perfect example of why rabbit traps are now illegal - A mate and I were rabbiting in the Beaconsfield district, Victoria, and in one week we bagged [trapped] four sheep, one native cat, two opossums, one water-rat, one flying squirrel, one curlew, two magpie larks, and several hares. In addition, to these we also trapped a farmer's pet wallaby and our own fox-terrier dog. The animals that made the most noise were the hares, which screamed like terrified women. Native cats, as a rule, quickly tore themselves away, leaving behind a bunch of fur, and perhaps portion of a leg. Probably the week's trapping was even more varied, because several ot our traps had entirely disappeared — chains, pegs, and all. On another occasion we trapped a bull-frog (12).

The Australasian from August 1940 published this memory - "In the early 'nineties," writes Mr. A. H. McKibbin (Croydon), "I lived at Lyndhurst, near Dandenong. Immediately opposite our home was a primeval area of redgum bush which was a great stronghold of the native cats. These animals were a serious menace to our poultry, and some mornings I picked up as many as a dozen dead fowls resulting from carelessness in not closing the hen house door as tightly as it should have been shut. My father's method of dealing with these spotted terrors was kerosene case box traps with a drop door set on an internal trigger with bait attached. If the trap was sprung then without doubt the marauder was inside (13).

The Eastern Quoll
The spotted Opossum, 1789. Engraver: Peter Mazell.
State Library of Victoria Image 30328102131546/16.

The articles also talk about various urban locations where these quolls were found. This report is from 1910 -  the common native cat was until a few years ago very plentiful. In the early eighties it was not an uncommon occurrence to capture one or more of these creatures in the old Museum work-shops in the University grounds. The old stone fences around Coburg afforded good shelter, and here they were commonly hunted with terriers. In 1902 a female and two half-grown young ones were trapped by an old inmate of the Immigrants' Home on St. Kilda road (14) and brought to the Museum. In Victoria of recent years it has become so rare that it will soon be numbered with the animals of the past (15).  In 1926 a small colony was reported at Ivanhoe - the journalist from The Herald described them thus with its brownish coat, spotted and mottled with white, the native cat is almost a handsome creature (16). As late as 1956 there was  an isolated colony in one of the wilder parts of Studley Park; and every now and again the body of one is brought into the Museum after being dazzled and knocked over by a car at night on Studley Park rd, or the Yarra Boulevard (17)

As we have seen, the 'native cat' was not very popular with the early settlers, primarily because they attacked poultry. The quoll would kill multiple chickens in one session, unlike the fox [which] will usually take a fowl and depart, but the native cat is apt to kill a dozen or more before calling it a night (18). Because of this farmers seemed to have engaged in an all-out war against the quoll - they used poison, guns, traps - both rabbit traps and native cat traps - after which the captured animals were either shot or beaten to death. As quolls lived in hollow logs they were sometimes burnt to death if the timber was being burnt and if they escaped from the burning logs they were killed by waiting dogs (19). Interestingly, quolls were not killed for their fur, even though fur from all types of animals, both native and introduced species, was used extensively in the nineteenth century for garments (20). The skins were never valuable; in fact, it was such an unpleasant job skinning them that few men bothered about the skins at all (21).

A simple Native Cat trap
This illustration, plus full instructions on how to make the trap appeared in the

How prolific were the quolls? A writer to The Australasian from Gembrook on 1905 said - Throughout the county of Mornington (22) the cats disappeared about 24 years ago, when there was about a rabbit to the square mile in it. At that point and previously, there were about 50 cats to the square mile. Now I believe you could not find one. So far as I can remember the grasshopper plague, then the rabbit one, came soon after the disappearance of the cats (23). There was a theory that rabbits may have been responsible for the decline of the quolls and this was both raised and dismissed by a correspondent to The Australasian in 1918 - The mystery regarding the almost total extinction of the native cat, along with the native bear, has been the subject of controversy in this column for many years past. Yet no one has suggested a theory that can be regarded as satisfactory. The suggestion that it was due to the cats swallowing the fur of the rabbits was frivolous. In Gippsland, for instance, the native cats had practically disappeared before the appearance of the rabbit. The latter pest was extremely scarce before '98. Regardless of this fact, there are still people who persist in the nonsensical theory that rabbits were the sole cause (24).

The theory mentioned in the Early days of Berwick that they died of some form of epidemic is also supported by some writers - Despite the war waged against them by men, women, and children in the sparsely settled areas, the native cats seemed to hold their own, but a strange disease broke out amongst them and so many were wiped out that they never recovered from the epidemic (25). In 1940, Mr McKibbon, who shared his memories of the quolls at Lyndhurst also wrote that Epidemics of disease at the close of last century and first years of the present one probably quite unconnected with the rabbit were responsible for the disappearance of native cats, and naturally the increase of the rabbit was facilitated with the removal of this little marsupial carnivore, which previously destroyed large numbers of the young bunnies (26).

In 2014 the Australian Journal of Zoology published a research paper by David Peacock (Biosecurity SA, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia) and Ian Abbott (Science and Conservation Diviosn, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Western Australia) called When the ‘native cat’ would ‘plague’: historical hyperabundance in the quoll (Marsupialia : Dasyuridae) and an assessment of the role of disease, cats and foxes in its curtailment (27). This is the abstract - From an extensive review of historical material, primarily newspaper accounts, we collated >2700 accounts of quolls. We discovered 36 accounts that demonstrate the propensity for quolls to become hyperabundant. The geographical distribution of accounts implies that most refer to Dasyurus viverrinus...More than 110 accounts demonstrate that disease/parasite epizootics occurred in south-eastern Australia, commencing on mainland Australia possibly in the goldfields region of Victoria in the 1850s, or in south-eastern South Australia and south-western Victoria in the mid to late 1860s, and implicate these as the initial primary factor in the regional extirpation of Australia’s quolls. The loss of D. viverrinus populations in south-eastern Australia was reportedly from population abundances and densities that were sporadically extraordinarily high, hence their loss appears more pronounced than previously suspected. Accounts describing the widespread, rapid and major loss of quolls suggest the possible involvement of several pathogens. Ectoparasites such as Uropsylla tasmanica and ticks appear to be described in detail in some accounts. A few others state comortality of Felis catus and Canis lupus familiaris, suggestive of a disease of either or both of these species, such as Canine Distemper Virus, a morbillivirus with a propensity to be non-host specific, that may have caused the decline of the quolls, perhaps vectored by the reported ectoparasites.... Read the full report, here.

The researchers conclude - We emphasise that disease should receive as much focus as the conventional explanatory factors of predation and habitat loss. It would appear then that the book Early Days of Berwick which suggested in 1948 that the native cat appeared to contract some form of epidemic presented a plausible explanation for the demise of the quoll.

Trove list
I have created a list on Trove on articles relating to the 'native cat' in the West Gippsland region and beyond, access it here.

(1) Early Days of Berwick and its surrounding districts: Beaconsfield, Upper Beaconsfield, Harkaway, Narre Warren and Narre Warren North (Berwick Pakenham Historical Society), 3rd edition.
(2) Early Days of Berwick, op. cit., p. 18.
(3) The Queenslander, June 15, 1938, see here.
(4) Department of Environment and Heritage Quolls of Australia fact sheet, see here
(5) The Argus, October 9, 1872, see here.
(6) The Australasian, April 24, 1880, see here.
(7) The Argus, April 21, 1886, see here.
(8) The Age, October 24, 1884, see here.
(9) Geelong Advertiser, October 20, 1884, see here. The Leader of October 25, 1884 also has an account of the tragic story, see here.
(10) West Gippsland Gazette, February 7, 1899, see here.
(11) Mudgee Guardian, January 31, 1907, see here.
(12) Sydney Mail, December 18, 1912, see here.
(13) The Australasian, August 24, 1940, see here.
(14) The Immigrants Home, read about it here on the eMelbourne.
(15) The Argus, October 4, 1910, see here.
(16) The Herald, April 15, 1926, see here.
(17) The Argus, June 16, 1956, see here.
(18) The Queenslander, June 15, 1938, see here.
(19) The Queenslander, June 15, 1938, see here.
(20) I have written about a furrier, Mrs Mary Jane Gardner and the many types of fur she used in her business in my Victoria's Past: Rescued and Retold blog, here.
(21) The Queenslander, June 15, 1938, see here.
(22) County of Mornington - For Land Administration purposes Victoria was divided into Counties and then into Parishes – all of the City of Casey and nearly all of the Cardinia Shire is in the County of Mornington. Some of the Cardinia Shire north of Emerald, may be County of Evelyn. The Mornington Peninsula, Bass Coast and Phillip Island are also part of the County of Mornington. You can see a map here.
(23) The Australasian, July 29 1905, see here.
(24) The Australasian, April 13, 1918, see here.
(25) The Queenslander, June 15, 1938, see here.
(26) The Australasian, August 24, 1940, see here.
(27) Read the full research paper, here.

A version of this post, which I wrote and researched, has appeared on my work blog, Casey Cardinia Links to our Past.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

A short history of the first fifty years of Garfield State School, No. 2724

The Cannibal Creek State School, No. 2724, opened in April 1886 and was located in a rented building, on a block of land south of the railway line (1).  In May 1887, the Cannibal Creek Railway Siding was renamed Garfield and the school was renamed two months later in the July (2).   This initial location proved to be too damp and swampy and in 1888, the school moved to higher ground on the north side of the Princes Highway, west of North Garfield Road, into a new building (3). Some of the families who were at the school when it opened were Shipton, Badham, McMurtrie, Reynolds, Watson, Leeson, McNamara, Jefferson, Lawler, Stone, Archer,  Pearson and Boyle (4).

This site, though drier, was too far from the Garfield township for many parents and so a new site was selected closer to the town, on Garfield Road, on the top of the hill between the railway line and the Highway. The school building was re-located and opened there at the start of the school year in 1900 (5).  The teacher at this time was John Joseph Daly, who was at the school from 1897 until July 1914. Mr Daly was a very popular teacher and was married during the time he was at the school. He married Gertrude Grennan at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in St Kilda West on April 13, 1909. His wedding was written up in the Punch newspaper and, as was common in those days, a list of presents received was also published and three  gifts  from the Garfield community were listed - School children, silver butter knife and serviette rings. Garfield Branch A.N.A., handsome brass hanging Iamp. Residents of Garfield, purse of sovereigns (6). 

The school may have been in a more convenient location however some parents were still not happy. The South Bourke & Mornington Journal of November 21, 1900 reported
Much dissatisfaction is expressed at the failure of the Education department to provide sufficient accommodation for the Increasing attendance at the Garfield State School. The structure, which is 23ft. x 13ft., was supposed to accommodate 30 children, but the attendance averages 40, and at times there are as many as 50 children in the building. (7).

Newspapers used to have a Children’s column, edited by an ‘Aunt’ - in the Weekly Times children wrote to Aunt Connie and in The Advocate they wrote to Aunt Patsy. I found three letters which commented on the Garfield school. In 1903, Eva Siedeberg (8), wrote to Aunt Connie and gave this interesting account of her school and its elaborate garden -
My sister and I both go to school at Garfield. Our head teacher is Mr Daly, and Miss Skinner is our sewing mistress. They are both very nice. I am in the fourth class, and Madoline, my sister, is in the fifth. Nearly all of the children have a garden each, and the big boys have a garden between them; they grow vegetables. We have a garden in the shape of Australia, and for the towns are cactus, and for the ranges are violets; the edge of it is made of bark. Mr Daly and the boys have planted a lot of pines and blue-gums, and other sorts of trees. We also have a library in our school.... We had an arbor day at our school not long ago, and each child planted a pine. (9)

Mary Goulding (10) wrote to Aunt Patsy about her life in Garfield in November 1906 and had this to say about the school -
I pass through the township of Garfield every morning on my way to school. Then I go up a steep hill, and on the slope of the other side is the Garfield State school. Mr. Daly is our head teacher, and we like him very much. We were awarded a first class certificate for our school garden(11) Mary had written previously to Aunt Connie, in July 1906 and she said this - Mr. Daly is our head teacher. He is very kind to us. (12)

This is a photo of the female students at Garfield State School. 
 I wonder if  our letter writers, Eva and Mary are in this photo?
Garfield State School, No. 2724, dated c. 1900-1910.  State Library of Victoria Image H2008.13/15

In 1908, it was recommended that the School move again to be closer to town and the current school site was purchased (13). No doubt young Mary and many of her school mates would have been happy not have to walk up the steep hill every morning. The new building was erected, not without some drama as The Argus of June 17, 1910 reported -
A plumber named Robert Websack, was working on the gable roof of the new State school at Garfield, when a loose sheet of iron caused him to lose his hold. He grabbed the spouting but it gave way and he fell to the ground, distance of fully 20 ft., landing on his back between a heap of bricks and pile of timber. In his fall he clutched a ladder and this together with another ladder fell on top of him. He was stunned and for some time his fellow workmen thought he was dead, but later it was found that no bones were broken and that he had escaped with a severely bruised thigh and other injuries. (14)

The new school was officially opened on the morning of August 17, 1910 by the Minister of Education, Mr Billson. The Bunyip & Garfield Express of August 23, reported part of his speech –
He was very pleased to observe that the people of Garfield had used good judgement in their choice of the site for the school. It was almost essential that the building should be upon rising ground, and he could also compliment them on the large area of space they had allowed around the building as a recreation ground for the children. This was a wise policy, but one that had not been observed in the building of the earlier metropolitan schools, but the department now recognised that it was a necessary condition, and one which would receive consideration in the future; children required educating physically as well as mentally. He then continued on about Education policy and what the Government was doing in the area of education and it was reported that Mr Billson concluded his speech by proclaiming the day a school holiday and the children then adjourned to the recreation ground, where a picnic was held.

In 1915, a 5-roomed Teachers Residence was erected, a year too late for Mr and Mrs Daly.  To accommodate a growing school population, additions were completed in 1923 (15).  In 1929, the District Inspector wrote that The building at Garfield is at present too small for requirements . Two rooms – 20 ft by 21 ft and 36 ft by 24 feet are available for 117 pupils...many desks have  3 pupils.  The Inspector recommended that a new Infant room be built to accommodate 40 pupils.(16) Due to the Depression the building did not go ahead straight away and some classes were held in the Public Hall (17). The Infant room was opened on June 24, 1932. In the evening a reunion of past pupils was held. (18).  In 1933, the school was connected to electricity and in May 1934 the school was connected to a reticulated water supply (19)

The original school building which started off on the Highway and later moved to the top of the steep hill, was moved to Garfield North. The residents of the Garfield North area had purchased land for the school in January 1913 and it was promised that the old school would be shifted onto the site. Many parents had put off enrolling their children in anticipation of this new school, but it wasn’t until July 1914 that the building was relocated and the School, No. 3849, was opened at the beginning of August 1914 (20). 

The location of the three Garfield school sites and the Garfield North school site, superimposed on the Parish Plan of Bunyip by Bill Parish.
Bill's collection of material is at the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society.

(1) Cannibal Creek to Garfield: a history of Garfield Primary school, No. 2724, 1886-1986, published by the Centenary Committee. The Committee consisted of -  Mary White, B. Andrews, R. Spencer, Kevin Daley, Rosemary Parham and Mick whiting.
(2) The Argus, May 6, 1887, see here.
(3) Cannibal Creek to Garfield, op. cit., p. 16.
(4) Back to Garfield 1887-1962 Souvenir Booklet (Back to Garfield Committee, 1962), p.6
(5) Cannibal Creek to Garfield, op. cit., p. 20
(6) Punch, May 6 1909, see here.
(7) South Bourke & Mornington Journal, November 21, 1900, see here.
(8) Eva was the daughter of Hugo and Mary Ann (nee Edge) Siedeberg. Hugo was listed in the Electoral Roll as  a farmer.
(9) Weekly Times, September 26, 1903, see here.
(10) Mary was the daughter of Patrick and Ellen (nee O'Donoghue) Goulding. Patrick was listed in the Electoral Roll as a Railway employee.
(11) The Advocate, November 17, 1906, see here.
(12) The Advocate, July 14, 1906, see here.
(13) Cannibal Creek to Garfield, op. cit., p. 22
(14) The Argus, June 17, 1910, see here.
(15) Cannibal Creek to Garfield, op. cit., passim.
(16) Cannibal Creek to Garfield, op. cit., p. 27.
(17)  Cannibal Creek to Garfield, op. cit., passim.
(18) The Argus, June 27, 1932, see here.
(19) Cannibal Creek to Garfield, op. cit., p. 27.
(20) The Age, September 5, 1913, see here; There is a history of the Garfield North School - The school on the small plateau: the history of Garfield North State School, No. 3849 by Ron Smith (The Author, 2014).

Monday, May 2, 2022

Mechanics' Institute - Soldiers' Memorial Hall - Nar Nar Goon

The Nar Nar Goon Mechanics' Institute was officially opened on September 17, 1886. The building was located in Racecourse Road, just to the west of the current Post Office. The South Bourke & Mornington Journal reported on  the opening. 

The opening of the above hall took place on Friday evening, 17th inst., by a concert and ball. The hall was festooned with flags and the walls decorated with mountain and coral ferns, intermixed with wild heath, while two mountain ferns stood on each side of the stage. Practically speaking the building presented on Aden like appearance. The Hon. Dr. Dobson, M.L.C,, presided, and in his address said it gave him great pleasure in being able to come before the people of Nar-Nar-Goon, it being portion of his constituency, and he was very pleased to see such a noble edifice raised by the people of the district. The concert, which was a well-arranged one, in which Mr H. Allnut and the Misses Brooks took part, was then proceeded with, and passed off very satisfactorily. At the conclusion the hall was  put in order for dancing, which was kept up till a late hour, Mr. McRae acting as M.C.--Mr. McKay gave great satisfaction in conducting the concert. The entertainment as a whole was quite a success, and passed off pleasantly (1).

Advertisement for the opening of the Nar Nar Goon Mechanics' Institute. 
 From the Dandenong Advertiser, reproduced in Richard Myers' Berwick Mechanic Institute and Free library (2).

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, including the one at Nar Nar Goon, and over 550  remain today (3).  The buildings were  essentially a public hall with usually a Library 

An early photograph of the Nar Nar Goon Mechanics' Institute
Image courtesy of Jean Chatfield from the  booklet produced for the opening of the 
Nar Nar Goon Community Centre in March 1980.

In the early days it appears that 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.  Nar Nar Goon appears in the 1887, 1889, 1890, 1892 and 1893 editions of the Statistical Registers. The 1887 issue tells us that the building cost £350 to erect and of which £109 came from the Government and £100 from other sources, £209 in total, which meant that £141 pounds was still owing. They had a collection of 200 books and in  the first year 700 visits. In 1890 the book stock was listed at 130 and there had been 200 visits. In 1893 the opening hours had declined from daily to 'when books are required'. The book stock had further declined to only 130 volumes and there were only 50 visits (4).

The book In the Wake of the Pack Tracks (5) notes that in 1885 a group of residents formed a trusteeship, borrowed money, and built the front portion of the hall. Because of the land boom collapse and bank failures of the early 1890's Michael O'Brien had to pay off the debt, and the hall became his property. He used it to store grain and chaff which had to be stacked aside when the hall was needed for functions and religious services (6).

In the time that Michael O'Brien owned the building it was called interchangeably the Mechanics' Institute, Mechanics' Hall, the Public Hall and O'Brien's Hall (7) and it was made available for the usual activities held in halls, such as voting in elections and for public meetings. In 1902, for instance, meetings were held throughout the State on the question of parliamentary reform including one at Nar Nar Goon held on April 5 - it was reported on in The Argus (8)

Meeting held at the Nar Nar Goon Mechanics' Institute

Dances and concerts were held there, especially during the First World War to raise funds for patriotic causes and in 1914  it was reported that A syndicate has been formed at Narnargoon, and during the winter months skating will be indulged in at the Public Hall. A start will be made next Saturday night, April 4th. The price of admission is 6d, skates 6d, and floorage 6d. extra. Mr. F. N. Chatfield is the manager (9). This was roller skating, a popular past-time in those days.

Roller skating at the Nar Nar Goon

Who was the generous Michael O'Brien who owned the Hall? (10) 
He was the son of Daniel and Brigid (nee Walsh) O’Brien who built the Limerick Arms Hotel on the corner of Wilson Road and the Gippsland Road (now called the Princes Highway) at Nar Nar Goon in the 1860s.  Daniel, Brigid and their one year old daughter, Ellen, had arrived in Melbourne in September  1841 on the ship, the Forth. Also on the same ship were the Dore family  - John (c. 1808 - 1895) his wife Betty (nee Elizabeth O'Connor, c. 1808 - 1876) and their children Edward, Thomas, Patrick and Ellen, six more children were born in Victoria.  In 1844, John Dore and Michael Hennessey took up the Mount Ararat Run at Nar Nar Goon of 1,900 acres. The partnership existed until 1855. Michael Hennessey then moved to Dandenong and built the Bridge Hotel and later took over the Eumemmerring Hotel. In the 1860s, John Dore purchased the 640 acre Mt Ararat pre-emptive right. He later purchased another 387 acres and his son Thomas 300 acres so they held a total of 1,300 acres. The property was later bisected by the railway line when it was built in 1877.

Back to the O'Briens  - Daniel was a builder and the plan was to work in Victoria for four years save enough money and then return home, as it was they never did return to Ireland. The family first went to Waurn Ponds near Geelong where Daniel worked as a builder. They then  decided to buy some land  - Waurn Ponds being too dry looking they decided to buy in Gippsland and brought a farm called The Swamp at Mt Ararat or Nar Nar Goon. They were perhaps influenced in this decision by the Dores.

The O'Brien's  had more eight children in Victoria - Michael James born 1843 at Saltwater; Patrick Francis 1845, Jeremiah Gerald 1846,  Johanna Mary 1848, Catherine, 1853 - these four were born when they were at Nar Nar Goon. Bidelia Amelia 1853, Mary Ann 1856 and Daniel 1859 were born in North Melbourne.

Because the children needed an education the O'Briens moved back to town and built a house in North Melbourne so the children could go to school.  Daniel was again working as a builder but  his business partner stole the proceeds of the business and this forced the family to move back to Nar Nar Goon where they opened the Limerick Arms. This was  a success  as the Gippsland Road went as far as Sale and there was lots of traffic; it was also a Cobb and Co Coach stop.   The hotel also had  a reputation for being spotlessly clean and offering good meals. Every six months  a Priest would visit, and conduct a mass and also baptise any babies that needed  that sacrament.  The services were either held at the Limerick Arms or the Dore's House. 

The Limerick Arms Hotel, operated by Michael O'Brien's parents.
Image from Solid Bluestone Foundations by Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Penguin 1986)

A succession of tutors were employed by the O'Briens until they settled on Daniel Ahern. The O'Briens and the Dores also built a school on Mt Ararat Creek for their own children and the the neighbouring children and Daniel Ahern was the teacher. Mr Ahern later taught at Eumemmerring State School, later called Hallam State School from 1870 to 1890. Daniel was the father of James Joseph Ahern, Shire of Berwick Secretary from 1906 until 1948. Daniel died in 1886 at the age of 82 and Brigid in 1888 at the age of  77. The Limerick Arms was delicensed in 1908 and the building has been demolished. 

Michael, the second child and eldest son of Daniel and Brigid, married Johanna Mulcahy in 1883, the same year he opened the Nar Nar Goon Hotel.  He also built the first general store in the town, next to his Hotel. This was the Michael O'Brien who paid out the mortgage on the Hall and still allowed it to be used for public functions. Michael and Johanna had four children - Katherine Mary (1885-1942); Eileen (1887 - 1892); Julia Mary (1889 - 1943), married Keith Joseph Cahir in 1924) and Daniel Francis (1891-1947). Michael O'Brien died on November 6, 1915 at the age of 74, his wife Johanna,  having died on March 4, 1914 (11). You can read his informative obituary in the Dandenong Advertiser, here. His obituary said that he was a strenuous worker and had amassed considerable wealth. A sale of his estate was held on October 31, 1918 and as you can see from the advertisement below, he had extensive land holdings including Hotel, the Hall, the Store, the Blacksmiths, the Post Office, the cattle yards, the racecourse and other farm land.

Sale of Michael O'Brien's Estate
Pakenham Gazette October 25 1918

The Shire of Berwick Rate books note that the Hall and the Store were purchased at this sale by John Spencer and his business partner, Ernest Oram, who already operated the Store. In 1920 (12) the Hall was re-purchased by the Community and renovated and it became the Nar Nar Goon Soldiers' Memorial Hall. It was opened on April 22, 1921 and the Honor Board was unveiled at the same function.

The Pakenham Gazette of April 29 1921 had an extensive report on this event, which is transcribed in its entirety here - 

Nar Nar Goon Memorial Hall - Opening ceremony

Friday last was a red letter day in the history of Nar Nar Goon, the occasion being the opening of the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall and the unveiling of an Honor Board.

The young men of the district were quick to respond to the call of duty during the war period  51 enlisted and 11 paid the supreme sacrifice – and it was only fitting that the people of the district should show their appreciation of the gallant services rendered by the lads on their behalf and on behalf of the Empire as a whole.

During the past five years the residents have marked their appreciation in various ways – by farewells to the men who enlisted, by joyous welcomes to those who returned after taking part in the battle for freedom and liberty, by Red Cross efforts, and by assistance to the hospitals and rest homes that have been established to help those men who were disabled in the fight. Generous support has been given by the residents of the district to every effort put  forward, and there has always been a band of energetic workers ready to help forward every movement initiated.

The war being over the question of establishing  a suitable memorial in honor of the soldiers  was discussed, and it was eventually decided to purchased the public hall and renovate it. This had been done and Nar Nar Goon has a hall that any district might justly feel proud of. It is attractive and well appointed, and on Friday the Australian flag was flying from its flagstaff.

As anticipated, the opening ceremony attracted a large attendance and  great interest  was taken in the proceedings.

Brigadier-General Grimwade wrote stating that he was sorry that he unable to be present, owing to a prior engagement. He wished the residents of the district every success. Mr W.F. Startup, J.P., president of the league, occupied the chair. The school children marched into the hall to the strains of “Men of Harlech” and proceedings were then opened with the singing of the National Anthem.

The chairman said that it was with a feeling of relief to the committee that the time had arrived for the opening of the hall. The hall was finished in February, and ready for the opening ceremony, but the delay had been caused in connection with the Honor Board, which had just come to hand. He said the movement to assist the solders was started about three years ago, toward the close of 1917. A league was then formed in Nar Nar Goon to arrange for farewelling and welcoming soldiers and to assist in settling returned soldiers in the district. In 1918 a public meeting decided to hand this work over to what was known as the Nar Nar Goon Soldiers’ League, which was comprised of private citizens who undertook to help the soldiers. Later on it was recognised that this name gave a wrong impression, as it was not a soldiers’ league and it was then decided to adopt the present name Nar Nar Goon Soldiers’ Memorial League.

When the question of erecting a soldiers’ memorial was first discussed there was a difference of opinion as to the form it should take. About this time the hall became available, and it was decided to buy it, renovate it and make it worthy of the soldiers’ cause. It had been purchased and renovated and was now an ornament to the town. It could be used by the soldiers and their dependents and also by members of the general public, and the committee believed that all will agree that it was a fitting memorial for the soldiers and one that would compare favourably with memorials erected in other parts of the State.

As regards the financial position, he pointed out that before the hall was purchased an allotment of land adjoining was presented to the committee by Miss and Mr O’Brien, as a site for a memorial, and when it was agreed to buy the hall they generously allowed their gift to stand. The hall and half an acre of land had cost £200, and the total outlay for purchase and renovation was approximately about £640. Against that sum about £380 had been raised, leaving an overdraft of about £200. The property was not mortgaged, the amount of the overdraft being guaranteed by 15 or 16 residents. Of the sum raised £112 had been received in donations. A number of persons in the district had not given a donation because they had not been asked. To these he wished to say that either he or their energetic secretary– Mr J.R. Spencer – would be pleased to receive donations toward this fund.

Mr Frank Groves, M.L.A., said it gave him great pleasure to be present at the opening of their memorial hall. They recognised by the remarks of the chairman that the committee had done   large amount of work and had done it well. It was their duty to stand by the committee, as the movement could not be made a success without the co-operation of the whole of the people. All had received a great advantage by the work done by the soldiers. All had benefitted by their glorious achievements, and it was their bounden duty to help. The soldiers had laid the foundation stone of   new nation for us but this could only be built up while the Union Jack was flying over it. Those who thought otherwise were living in a fool’s paradise. It was necessary that we should be a united nation and any undermining influence must be stamped out. He appealed to the people to give the committee every assistance.

The Hon.  A.E. Chandler, M.L.C., said the committee had fixed on an appropriate time for the opening of their hall as the people were about to commemorate some of the bravest deeds in British history, when some of our boys scaled the cliffs at Gallipoli. By that act we had lost many of Australia’s best, and it fell to our duty to see that those they left behind were properly cared for. Many overlooked the fact that provision had been made by the Federal government for the education of the children of soldiers who had fallen. It was up to the people to see that these children got what they were entitled to. The Australians had proved themselves soldiers and men and had conquered where others had failed. The speaker then went on to refer to the need for more population in Australia, and also the need for spending more money in reproductive works.

Cr Chas. Pearson congratulated the people of Nar Nar Goon on having such  a fine hall. He did not know whether they had a library, but if not he advised them to get one as quickly as possible. A library was a great boon in any town, both to young and old. All agreed that the soldiers had done their work nobly, and we were under a debt of gratitude to them, as well as to the sailors, the nurses and the great army of workers who had take their part in the great war.

The chairman then called on Lieut. Mays to perform the ceremony of unveiling the Honor Board.

Lieutenant Mays said this duty was one that most soldiers liked to shirk, if possible. It was a sad duty but it had to be performed. On the Honor were the names of 51 gallant boys who had left Nar Nar Goon, and of these 11 had failed to return. They were all fine fellows, and the people were proud to know and live with them, and if needs be to die with them.  They had died for the liberty and Christianity of the British Empire. 60,000 of Australia’s noble dead had given their lives in Egypt, Mesopotamia or France, and there were memorials all over the country to perpetuate their memory and brave deeds.

On the 25th of April, 1915 – a Sunday morning – the cliffs of Gallipoli were scaled, and not all who went out returned. He extended his deepest sympathy and the sympathy of the people to the relatives of the fallen – the men who gave of their best – their all. The people of Nar Nar Goon desired to keep their memory green, and that was why the hall had been bought, renovated and handed over by patriotic citizens.  The soldiers at Gallipoli had shown the true fighting spirit and were never down-hearted. They fought shoulder to shoulder for the British Empire. There was no sectarianism and there were no political parties; and this was at it should be in Australia. They  fought for the great cause of freedom. When the Union Jack falls, said the speaker, it will be an end to all the great ideals of the Commonwealth. Referring to the Honor Board, he said memorial halls and tablets will decay, the written history of the war may be destroyed, but the memory of the deeds of our soldiers will live forever.

As the Honor Board was unveiled the audience stood for a minute in silence, with bowed heads. The names on the Board are as follows: -

Alto, A. (M.M.) / Blackwell, G.D. / Blackwell, R. B. / Cahir, K.J. /Chatfield, F.N. / Castle, W. / Carter, G. / Drummond, W.N. / Edwards, E.S. / Ferguson, A. / Gaskett, A. / Gaskett, W. / Huby, C. /  Holcombe, A.J. / Jones, A.A.C. / Kidd, J. / Liston, C. /  Lia, M. (M.M.) / Ledger, J. / Moore, W.F. / Madden, F (M.M.) / Matthews, G. / Mortimer, T.E.G. /  McCarthy, D. / O’Brien, J.J. / O’Brien, D.F. / Olsen, R.H. / Prior, J.S.G. / Perry, S. / Pettman, T.W. / Rogers, T.A. / Richardson, W.S. / Richardson, H.C. / Reid, K. / Rowe, W. / Startup, R.W. / Warren, R.J. / Wilson, R. (D.C.M.) /White, S. / Wade, A.

Child, A. / Dore, D.J. / Harris, L. / Lamb, C.H. / Madden, T. / Nash, H. / Ord, A.L. / Olsen, C.C. / Pepper, H.H. / Smith, J.F. / Taylor, W.D.

 Mr Fink returned thanks on behalf of the soldiers for the many kind things said by the speakers and for the interest generally   taken on behalf of the returned men. He said that some people often criticised the actions of the soldiers, but if they only thought for a moment of the conditions the men had passed through, both mentally and physically, while in Egypt and France they would be more sympathetic. After referring to some of his experiences in France he again thanked all for their efforts on behalf  of the soldiers.

The chairman,  in moving a vote of thanks to the speakers, said he had forgotten to refer to the new piano .This, he said, has been obtained mainly through the energetic work of Mr W. Kenny and Mr H. Spencer, jun. By collecting and other efforts they had been able to present the committee with a piano, with crockery, and also with utensils, the whole costing considerably over £100. For their good work they were created life members of the League. Cr Stephenson had also helped them in connection with the building of the hall, and as he was present he was sure all would be pleased to hear an address from him.

Cr Stephenson said he was pleased to be present, and he thanked them for the honor of taking part in the celebration in connection with their hall. Opinions differed, he said, as to the form memorials for our soldiers should take. Some favoured halls others drinking fountains, memorial parks or stones. But to his mind it did not matter much which form the memorial took – it was the spirit which prompted the movement. No doubt it was pleasing to returned men to see their efforts on behalf of the people were greatly appreciated. Referring to the incapacitated soldiers, especially those who had lost their sight or their limbs, he said nothing the people could do would compensate them, but it was our duty to see that they lived in comfort and had all they required. Speaking of their new hall he said the amount for renovating it might seem large, but they had to take into consideration the high cost of material. He could assure them that prices in every instance were cut down to bedrock and that not one penny was wasted in the work.

Mr R. Raftis, in seconding the vote of thanks, referred to the good work of the secretary in arranging for the opening ceremony, and his inability to get the services of any leading military officer, as all were engaged in connection with the Anzac celebrations. He also said the committee and people of the district were under debt of gratitude to Cr Stephenson for the assistance he had given in connection with the renovation of the hall. Although a busy man he had found time to come and assist them, and helped to get the building completed much sooner than it would otherwise have been. All, he said, were delighted with the hall. He had great pleasure in seconding the vote of thanks.

Mr Groves, in returning thanks for the speakers, made special reference to the manner in which Lieutenant Mays had performed his duty of unveiling the Honor Board. He said the people were more indebted to Mr Mays than they would be to one of the heads of the military department. He was sure all were greatly pleased with the way in which he did his work and they appreciated his action of coming forward at the last moment. At the close of the proceedings afternoon tea was served by the ladies and was greatly appreciated.

In the evening a grand concert was held when there was a crowded hall. A very fine programme was given by the following artists: - Miss I.  Hughson, Miss Emily Mitchell, Miss Ida Mitchell, Mr Sherwood and Mr W.  Mitchell. The various items were greatly appreciated.,

At the close an enjoyable dance was held, which also attracted a very large attendance. Splendid music was rendered by Mr Dug Lancefield, assisted by  Mr T. McGrath . Mr W.  Kenny was an efficient M.C. The floor was in excellent order and dancing was kept up to 3 a.m.

The best thanks are due to the President and committee who had charge of the days arrangements and to the ladies for their valuable assistance. To the hon. sec. (Mr J.R. Spencer,  J.P.) special thanks are due for his energetic and untiring work.

I have written about the soldiers on the Nar Nar Goon Honour Board, here

The Nar Nar Goon Soldiers' Memorial Hall 
Image from the Pakenham Gazette, February 2, 1968 courtesy of Jean Chatfield.

The Trustees for the Soldiers' Memorial Hall were John Dore, W. Carney, R. Raftis, C. Davis, John Smith, M. Cunningham and F. Chatfield (13).  The last named Trustee, Fred Chatfield began organising dances and Euchre card games to raise money for the Hall in 1923. This money helped fund additions to the Hall such as the Supper room, kitchen and toilets. Like many country dances at the time, whenever  a ball or dance was held Euchre was also on offer for the non-dancers. Fred continued to run the Euchre until 1972, when his son John took over. More recently another son Jim, took over the role (14).

Twenty years on in July 1942,  the Pakenham Gazette had the headline - Public Halls fall on evil days. Berwick Council considers plan to assist them. The plan was that if the Halls were transferred to the King then the Council would advance the money to pay off any overdraft and to give a yearly grant. The reason many halls were in such dire straits was because revenue had declined due to the War and many functions which were being held were not being charged for. At the meeting - 
Cr. Dore asked what would be the position of Nar Nar Goon Soldiers’ Memorial hall under such a scheme. Residents had some years ago bought, renovated and added to the old hall and it was now about out of debt. It was run in conjunction with the Recreation Reserve. Revenue from the hall now was almost nil, as most entertainments were run for patriotic purposes and the present committee had decided that for these the hall should be made available free of charge. However, certain expenses still had to be met, and without some method of financing the hall would slip back into debt. Some residents had collected £20 for the hall funds or it would be more in debt. In response, the Shire President, Cr McBride said he would take the matter up with the Minister for Lands (15). It appears that nothing came of this.

In 1950 the War was still effecting  the Nar Nar Goon Hall. They had applied for a new floor but due to shortages of material
the Building Directorate advised that a permit would not be available for the replacement of 1,200 square feet at a cost of £300. It was suggested that work be confined to the expenditure of £150 within the present financial year. Cr. Dore said that he had pointed out to the Directorate that this was the only hall serving the district and that the floor had reached such a stage that it could no longer be used. With no revenue coming in, the committee was at its wits end (16). The Building Directorate was established in October 1945 to control the procurement and allotment of building material and to ensure a balance between the construction of new houses and the construction of infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and factories (17).

The floor was obviously replaced at some time as the Hall was in use for nearly 30 more years. In 1953 it was reported that the Trustees were going to transfer the Hall to the Crown (18).  In 1979 the Hall was transferred again, this time to the Pakenham Shire, in exchange for an alternate parcel of land in Spencer Street near the Recreation Reserve. A new Hall (or community centre as they now called) was erected and this building was officially opened by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Winneke on  March 29, 1980. The old Hall, which had served the Nar Nar Goon community for 94 years was demolished and the land sold (19). 

The old Nar Nar Goon hall features as a mural on the Community Centre.
Image courtesy of Casey Cardinia Remembers

Thank you to Mrs Jean Chatfield, of Nar Nar Goon, for supplying some of this information as well as some very useful documents including copies of an article on the history of the Hall which appeared in the Pakenham Gazette on February 2, 1968 and the booklet produced for the opening of the Community Centre in March 1980.

Trove list - I have created  a list of articles on the Nar Nar Goon Mechanics' Institute / Memorial Hall, you can access it here

(1) South Bourke & Mornington Journal, September 29 1886, see here.
(2) Myers, Richard Berwick Mechanic Institute and Free library (BMI & FL., 1999), p. 81. Thanks to Jean Chatfield for telling me about this advertisement.
(4) Statistical Registers - available here on the Victorian Government Library Service website. I found out about these Registers from the book These walls speak volumes: a history of Mechanics' Institutes in Victoria by Pam Baragwanath and Ken James (published by the authors in 2015)
(5) In the Wake of the Pack Tracks: a history of the Shire of Berwick (Berwick Pakenham Historical Society, 1992)
(6) Ibid. pp 137-128.
(7) See my Trove list, here, for examples.
(8) The Argus, April 9, 1902, see here.
(9) Bunyip Free Press, April 2 1914, see here.
(10) The information about the O'Brien family comes from 
Early Settlers of the Casey Cardinia District by the Narre Warren & District Family History Group, published 2010
From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen: a brief history of the Shire of Berwick (Historical Society of the Berwick Shire, 1962)
Solid Bluestone Foundations and other memories of a Melbourne girlhood, 1908-1928 by Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Penguin 1986). Kathleen Fitzpatrick was the great grand-daughter of Daniel and Brigid O'Brien.
There is a bit more about the O'Brien family in this post about the Nar Nar Goon Honour Boards as well There are three O'Brien's on the Honour Board and also information in Footnote 2. 
(11) Information on Michael O'Brien's family comes from the Indexes to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages; Michael's death notice in The Argus, November 8, 1915, see here; Johanna's death notice in The Age, March 6, 1914, see here.
(12) The Shire of Berwick rate books show that Spencer & Oram owned the Hall in 1919/1920. The Local Government year (and thus the Rate books) used to run from October to September, so we know they owned it until at least September 1920. As it was opened as Mechanics' Institute April 1921, I am assuming the sale took place in the last 3 months of 1920 or the first three months of 1921.
(13) The Trustees list is from the Pakenham Gazette of February 2, 1968
(14) Information supplied by Jean Chatfield. 
(15) Dandenong Journal, July 22 1942, see here.
(16) Dandenong Journal, January 11, 1950, see here.
(17) Building Directorate  - The Age, October 30, 1945, see here; The Argus, October 31 1945, see here and The Age, February 2, 1946, see here.
(18) Dandenong Journal, February 25, 1953, see here.
(19) Booklet produced for the opening of the Community Centre in March 1980.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Voters' Roll, compiled July 1927, for the Koo Wee Rup Riding, Shire of Cranbourne 1928.

Voters' Roll, compiled July 1927, for the Koo Wee Rup Riding, Shire of Cranbourne 1931. This booklet is from the Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society collection. There are 191 people on this list, of which 23 are women. The more valuable your property was, the more votes you got.  Eleven people had property valued over  £200 - Mary Dunlop of Koo Wee Rup  £646; Percy J. Einsiedel, Monomeith £485; James Greaves, Yannathan, £390; John Mickle of Malvern  £327; Matthew Bennett, Caulfield,  £245; Alice Mickle, Yallock, £242; Charles Hornbuckle, Catani,  £240; William Paterson, Koo Wee Rup,  £235; Clements Greaves, Yannathan, £231; David Coles, Bayles  £219; Keith Cameron, Catani,  £215.

You can see the Voters roll for 1931, here.

Voters' Roll for the Koo Wee Rup Riding, Shire of Cranbourne 1928 - cover

Voters' Roll for the Koo Wee Rup Riding, Shire of Cranbourne 1928 -
Roll numbers 1-60.
Click on image to enlarge.

Voters' Roll for the Koo Wee Rup Riding, Shire of Cranbourne 1928 -
Roll numbers 61-119.
Click on image to enlarge.

Voters' Roll for the Koo Wee Rup Riding, Shire of Cranbourne 1928 -
Roll numbers 120-173
Click on image to enlarge.

Voters' Roll for the Koo Wee Rup Riding, Shire of Cranbourne 1928 -
Roll numbers 174-191
Click on image to enlarge.

I have transcribed the list - just the names and the addresses - so the names can be picked up in a Google and other Internet searches. Many of these people are also on the 1931 list, some with a slightly different spelling, so it is worth looking at that list as well, see it here.

  1. Anderson, Andrew P. - Koo Wee Rup
  2. Armstrong, John J. - Catani
  3. Ashby, Arthur W. - Yallock
  4. Bailey, Alfred P. - Yannathan
  5. Bath, Olive C. - Koo Wee Rup
  6. Bath, Wilfred J. - Koo Wee Rup
  7. Beattie, Henry - Caulfield
  8. Bennett, Matthew - Caulfield
  9. Bethune, Allen J. - Koo Wee Rup
  10. Bethune, Alexander J. - Koo Wee Rup
  11. Bethune, James - Koo Wee Rup
  12. Bethune, John W.M. - Koo Wee Rup
  13. Bethune, Norman - Bayles
  14. Bickerdike, Arthur -Sandringham
  15. Blyth, Edward V. - Bayles
  16. Body, William H. - Catani
  17. Bourke, Mrs D.J. - Koo Wee Rup
  18. Boxhall, Henry - Yallock
  19. Burgen, Frederick T. - Koo Wee Rup
  20. Burhop, Thomas - Koo Wee Rup
  21. Burton, Charles H. - Clyde
  22. Burton, Thomas - Koo Wee Rup
  23. Bush, Robert J. - Portarlington
  24. Byron, Johnson - Koo Wee Rup
  25. Cahill, Dennis - Yallock
  26. Cahill, John - Yallock
  27. Cahill, Mary - Yallock
  28. Callanan, John - Koo Wee Rup
  29. Callanan, J. Patrick - Koo Wee Rup
  30. Cameron, Keith - Catani
  31. Campbell, Alister - Koo Wee Rup
  32. Carson, William - Koo Wee Rup
  33. Cleversley, Edgar - Catani
  34. Cochrane, David - Koo Wee Rup
  35. Cochrane, Lucy - Koo Wee Rup
  36. Cochrane, Albert W. - Koo Wee Rup
  37. Cole, David - Bayles
  38. Collins, Mary L. - Koo Wee Rup
  39. Colvin, Andrew C. - Koo Wee Rup
  40. Colvin, Mrs John (Junr.) - Koo Wee Rup
  41. Colvin, Oliver - Koo Wee Rup
  42. Conway, Michael - Koo Wee Rup
  43. Cougle, Ernest - Lang Lang
  44. Davenport, Wilton Rowan - Koo Wee Rup
  45. Davey, John (junr) - Koo Wee Rup
  46. Davies, James - Catani
  47. Davis, Charles J. - Koo Wee Rup
  48. Dick, William - Koo Wee Rup
  49. Duncan, David H. - East Malvern
  50. Dunlop, Mary - Koo Wee Rup
  51. Dunning, A.A. - Melbourne
  52. Dusting, Robert - Koo Wee Rup
  53. Egan, Francis - Bayles
  54. Einsiedel, Percy J. - Monomeith
  55. Ferguson, Robert - Koo Wee Rup
  56. Forster, George - Koo Wee Rup
  57. Gardiner, Reginald E. - Catani
  58. Garnett, Garibaldi - Koo Wee Rup
  59. Giggins, Ernest - Bayles
  60. Gilchrist, Albert J.- Koo Wee Rup
  61. Gilchrist, Lillian - Koo Wee Rup
  62. Giles, John -Koo Wee Rup
  63. Gill, Samuel C. - Koo Wee Rup
  64. Goble, William - Koo Wee Rup
  65. Gray, George - Yannathan
  66. Gray, Margaret - Koo Wee Rup
  67. Grayden, Samuel - Yallock
  68. Greaves, Clements - Yannathan
  69. Greaves, James - Yannathan
  70. Greaves, William H. - Dandenong
  71. Griffiths, Bertram - Koo Wee Rup
  72. Griffiths, Cornelius - Koo Wee Rup
  73. Griffiths, Henry - Koo Wee Rup
  74. Guest, William - Koo Wee Rup
  75. Heffernan, Kate J. - Koo Wee Rup
  76. Henwood, William - Catani
  77. Hewitt, Allan - Koo Wee Rup
  78. Hobson, Edward - Catani
  79. Hogan, John - Caldermeade
  80. Holloway, Percy - Catani
  81. Hopkins, George F. - Koo Wee Rup
  82. Hornbuckle, Charles - Catani
  83. Hornbuckle, Robert J. - Myrnong (presumably Myrniong)
  84. Hornbuckle, Thomas - Melton
  85. Hornbuckle, William - Essendon
  86. Hubbard, Ward - Koo Wee Rup
  87. Hudson, James - Koo Wee Rup
  88. Hyland, John - Koo Wee Rup
  89. Jack, Thomas (Senr) - Koo Wee Rup
  90. Jack, Thomas M. - Koo Wee Rup
  91. Johnson, Eliza - Koo Wee Rup
  92. Johnson, John G.B. - Koo Wee Rup
  93. Johnson, Walter - Koo Wee Rup
  94. Kane, John - Koo Wee Rup
  95. Kean, Edmond H. - Bayles
  96. Keighery, Christopher - Koo Wee Rup
  97. Kershaw, Benjamin J. - Ankie
  98. Killeen, Thomas - Koo Wee Rup
  99. Kirwin, Thomas H. - Koo Wee Rup
  100. Knowles, James R. - Koo Wee Rup
  101. Kraft, Miss S.A. - Bunyip
  102. Lalor, V.S. - Koo Wee Rup
  103. Lavelle, Michael - Koo Wee Rup
  104. Leeson, Mary - Yallock
  105. Leyden, Edward - Koo Wee Rup
  106. Light, Thomas - Bayles
  107. Lineham, Benjamin - Yannathan
  108. Lineham, Frederick J. - Yannathan
  109. Lineham, George J. - Yannathan
  110. Lineham, William J. - Bunyip
  111. Livock, Glenelg - Koo Wee Rup
  112. Lyall, Ewen - Murray River
  113. Lyall, Helen, Manly, N.S. W.
  114. Mackin, Debbie - Koo Wee Rup
  115. Mackin, John Charles - Koo Wee Rup
  116. Malcolm, John W. - Catani
  117. Mallcott, William J. - Koo Wee Rup
  118. Marshall, Edward - Koo Wee Rup
  119. Marshall, Samuel - Koo Wee Rup
  120. Marshall, William - Koo Wee Rup
  121. Martin, Lawrence - Koo Wee Rup
  122. Matthews, John - Catani
  123. Methven, Thomas J. - Koo Wee Rup
  124. Mickle, Alice - Koo Wee Rup
  125. Mickle, John A. - East Malvern
  126. Millard, Albert E. - Koo Wee Rup
  127. Mills, Vern - Koo Wee Rup
  128. Misson, Edward W. - Lang Lang
  129. Moore, James H. - Koo Wee Rup
  130. Morrison, Joseph A. - Drouin
  131. Mortensen, Henry - Koo Wee Rup
  132. Mortensen, William - Koo Wee Rup
  133. McCord, Ellen - Yannathan
  134. McCord, Mary - Yannathan
  135. McDonald, John J. - Cora Lynn
  136. McEarchan, James - Melbourne
  137. McKay, John - Yannathan
  138. McKay, John - Koo Wee Rup
  139. McKissock, John T. - Bunyip
  140. McLeod, C.S. - Koo Wee Rup
  141. McNamara, James - Koo Wee Rup
  142. McWilliam, Ernest - Koo Wee Rup
  143. Nestor, Patrick - Koo Wee Rup
  144. Nicholson, Jane S. - Bayles
  145. Nicholson, Norman - Bayles
  146. O'Hehir, Richard - Koo Wee Rup
  147. Ollson, Karl N. - Catani
  148. Ollson, Louis William - Catani
  149. O'Neill, Annie - Catani
  150. O'Neill, Francis J. - Catani
  151. O'Neill, James P. - Koo Wee Rup
  152. O'Neill, John - Koo Wee Rup
  153. Osborne, Henry - Cora Lynn
  154. O'Toole, Mary - Albert Park
  155. Parkes, John R. - Koo Wee Rup
  156. Paterson, William K. - Koo Wee Rup
  157. Patullo, Abraham - Catani
  158. Patullo, Elsie M. - Catani
  159. Peck, Frederick - Yannathan
  160. Peck, William R. - Yallock
  161. Pollock, William J. - Koo Wee Rup
  162. Potter, Gordon - Koo Wee Rup
  163. Quigley, Thomas (Junr) - Cora Lynn
  164. Ridgway, Mark - Yannthan
  165. Rutter, John - Cora Lynn
  166. Sage, Michael - Gardenvale
  167. Sage, William T. - Bayles
  168. Salmon, William E. - Melbourne
  169. Saunders, William H. - Bayles
  170. Savage, Roy - Koo Wee Rup
  171. Secomb, Frederick S.L. - Bayles
  172. Sluiter, Cornelius - Koo Wee Rup
  173. Sluiter, William Ed. - Koo Wee Rup
  174. Smith, Francis G. - Melbourne
  175. Stephens, Francis P. - Yallock
  176. Stewart, John A. - Yannathan
  177. Tattam, Felix - Koo Wee Rup
  178. Taylor, William - Koo Wee Rup
  179. Turner, Ben - Koo Wee Rup
  180. Turnbull, Mary D. - Koo Wee Rup
  181. Wadsley, Thomas H. - Koo Wee Rup
  182. Walsh, Mary Ann - Catani
  183. Walsh, Thomas - Koo Wee Rup
  184. Whiteside, Robert - Koo Wee Rup
  185. Wilkinson, Ernest - Cora Lynn
  186. Wilkinson, Sarah E. - Cora Lynn
  187. Wilkinson, William - Cora Lynn
  188. Wilmott, Milford M. - Koo Wee Rup
  189. Wilson, James - Koo Wee Rup
  190. Wise, William - Bayles
  191. Woodman, Henry J. - Bayles

List certified on July 25, 1927 - D.S. McCulloch - Chairman; Fredk C. Curtis - Councillor; Geo. R. Burhop - Councillor; L.T. McLaren - Shire Secretary.