Links to our Past - history

Mornington Farmers' Society or the Berwick & District Agricultural & Horticultural Society

The Berwick and District Agricultural & Horticultural Society hold an annual show at Akoonah Park in Berwick.  The Show can trace its origins back to the first event organised by the predecessor of the Berwick and District Agricultural & Horticultural Society, the Mornington Farmers' Society in 1857. The name  Berwick and District Agricultural & Horticultural Society was adopted by the Mornington Farmers' Society at the Annual General Meeting held July 25, 1918.

Here is a short history of the evolution of the Show Society. In July 1848  the Moonee Ponds Farmers' Society was established. The aims of the Society  were to encourage  a spirit of emulation amongst agriculturalists and makers and importers of agricultural implements by offering prizes to be competed for annually - for the best samples of grain and other agricultural  produce; for the best stock for agricultural, grazing and dairying purposes and for the best agricultural implements, also by offering prizes to be competed for at annual ploughing matches and for the encouragement of district farming societies. (Source: Early Days of Berwick, which has a very comprehensive chapter on the Mornington Farmers' Society and the  Berwick & District Agricultural & Horticultural Society)

The Moonee Ponds Farmers' Society wasted no time and held their first ploughing on July 28, 1848. You can read  a report in The Argus about this event here. On August 18 1848 a meeting was held and the named of the Society was changed to the Port Phillip Farmers' Society. You can read about this. once again in The Argus, here. The Port Phillip Farmers' Society had three branches - Gisborne, Bacchus Marsh and the Mornington branch, which was established in October 1856. It was named Mornington from the County of Mornington. For land administrative purposes Victoria was divided into Counties and the Mornington County took in the Mornington Peninsula, Bass Coast region, Phillip Island, Cranbourne Narre Warren and east to Bunyip and  parts of Emerald and Gembrook.

We will return to Early Days of Berwick to find out how the Mornington branch was established -  At a meeting at Bowman's Hotel on the Cardinia Creek in 1856, for the purpose of forming a  District Roads Board, Mr Alexander Patterson brought forward a proposal to form a district Pastoral and Agricultural Society as a branch of the Port Phillip Farmers' Society, of which he was a district member. The idea was heartily approved by the meeting and about twenty enrolled as members. Shortly afterwards, on 6th October 1856,  a meeting was held in Dandenong, when it was resolved that a Society be established and named the Mornington Farmers' Society in accord with the title of the central society. It was further resolved that there should  be  a committee of nine member and the following were elected by ballot: Dr James Smith Adams, Dr James Bathe, Messrs Abraham Gardiner, Isaac Keys, William Lyall, Alexander Patterson, Charles Rossiter, Thomas Walton and John Wedge. Mr Patterson was elected Secretary and Treasurer.

The Mornington Farmers' Society held their first Ploughing match on Wednesday May 30, 1857 at 'Mr Walton's Farm near Dandenong' - this was Thomas Walton, who came to what is now called Narre Warren in 1852 and built Holly Green - his farm is now occupied by the Fountain Gate Shopping Centre. The Early Days of Berwick has the location of this first ploughing match taking place at Cranbourne, but this report, below, from The Argus contradicts this (this not to denigrate the research published in the  Early Days of Berwick which was first published in 1948 -  we now have a huge range of resources available to us on-line that were unheard of in 1948) The second ploughing match was held at Cranbourne, you can read about it here.



The Argus May 2, 1857 You can see the full article on Trove, here http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7148950 and I have transcribed it, below. 


MORNINGTON PLOUGHING MATCH
The first district ploughing match of the Port Phillip Farmers' Society, in the county of Mornington, took place according to advertisement on Wednesday last at Mr. Walton's farm, near Dandenong.
The ground selected proved to be admirably adapted for the match, and all the arrangements made by Alexander Patterson, Esq., a member of the society residing in the neighbourhood, were calculated to give entire satisfaction to the competitors and spectators assembled ou the occasion. 
Messrs. Thomas Miller and William Dewar attended as
judges from the central society. Mr. Charles Forrester, who had been appointed to act with them as the local judge, preferred entering the lists as a competitor, and as will be  seen from the awards subjoined, succeeded in  carrying off a second prize, thus practically showing that his appointment by the Committee
 was a judicious one.
The number of entries at the hour for starting amounted to twelve, viz.,-seven horses and five bullock teams. The quantity of ground allotted to each competitor was half an acre, and, in the majority of instances, the work was completed in excellent style. The judges expressed themselves highly pleased with the ploughing in both classes, and their decisions gave entire satisfaction to all parties interested.

The awards were as follows :
Class 1, Ploughing with Horses.
First Prize- A Gold Medal awarded to Mr. A. Patterson -ploughman John Gellie.
Second Prize -First Silver Medal, awarded to
Messsrs. J. and P. Brisbane - ploughman James Rutherford. '

Class 2, Ploughing with Bullocks.
First Prize - Gold Medal, awarded to Mr. John Mills - plough held by himself.
Second Prize - First Silver Medal, awarded to Mr. Charles Forroster - plough held by himself.
Mr. James Buchanan's ploughing highly commended.

Best Team of Mares or Geldings at work in the field - 
First Silver Medal, awarded to Mr  Isaac Keys for a pair of very superior mares.
Best team of Bullocks, at work in the field. 
First silver medal, awarded to Messrs. J. and P. Brisbane.

Although, from various causes, the number of competitors was not quite so large as expected, still, as a commencement, the meeting was a most satisfactory one.. The attendance of spectators throughout the day was numerous, and comprised all the agriculturists of note in the locality. Their previous
support of the Port Phillip Farmers' Society has been most cordial,while the spirit evinced regarding the match, coupled with the successful result of the day's proceedings, speaks favourably as to the desire for agricultural improvement existing in this rapidly rising district.

After the termination of the match, the gentlemen present sat down to a dinner, hospitably provided by Mr. Walton, and eventually separated, with the determination to support next year's ploughing match with increased spirit.

You can read about the 1858 ploughing match, here. It was held on the property of the Reverend Alexander Duff at Cranbourne.

Mornington Farmers' Society - ploughing match at Cranbourne in 1858

In another post we looked at the establishment of the Mornington Farmers' Society, which in 1918 became the Berwick and District Agricultural and Horticultural Society. This is an account of their second annual ploughing match held at 'the property of the Reverend Alexander Duff in the township of Cranbourne'  Reverend Duff owned most of the block bordered by Russell, Bakewell, Cameron and Childers Street - the site is now occupied by Cranbourne Primary School.

The following report was published in The Argus  on June 9, 1858 -  you can read the full article here on Trove,  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7295876 I have transcribed the article below.

PLOUGHING MATCH.
MORNINGTON BRANCH OF THE PORT PHILLIP FARMERS' SOCIETY.
The second annual ploughing match of the Mornington branch of the Port Phillip Farmers' Society took place, according to appointment, on the property of the Rev. Alex. Duff, in the township of Cranbourne, on Friday last, and was in every respect a successful gathering of the friends of agricultural progress in that district.

The number of teams and ploughs assembled on the ground amounted to 15; viz., eight horse and seven bullock ploughs, being three in excess of last year ; and it is but justice to state, that in the display on this occasion a very decided improvement was evinced, both as to the quality of the teams and the care and skill of the workmen contesting for the prizes.

On the completion of the work allotted to the various competitors, the Judges, Messrs  Dick, Wade and Leckie, proceeded to their inspection, and handed in their awards, as follows :

PLOUGHING WITH HORSES 
First prize - Gold medal, or £6 - To John Tait, ploughman to Mr. Creighton.
Second prize - £3-To Nicholas Fowler, ploughman to Messrs C. and T. Rossiter.
Third prize - £2, or first silver medal-To George Wooff, ploughman to Mr. Cameron.

PLOUGHING WITH BULLOCKS
First prize - Gold medal, or £6 - To James Buchanan ; plough hold by himself.
Second Prize - £3 - To James Darnach, ploughman to Messrs Brisbane,
Third Prize - £2, or first silver medal - To Thomas Mitchell, ploughman to Mr. R. Patterson.

BEST TEAM OF MARES AND GELDINGS AT WORK IN THE FIELD
First Prize - First silver medal -To Messrs. C. and T. Rossiter.
Second Prize - Second silver medal-¡To Messrs Creighton.

BEST TEAM OF BULLOCKS.

First Prize - First silver medal – Mr M. M’Lelland
Second Prize-Second silver medal-Mr. J. Buchanan

Most of the leading gentry and agriculturists of the district, together with a sprinkling of the fair sex, visited the field during the progress of the match, and in the evening were hospitably entertained by the worthy proprietor.

The vice chair was occupied by A. Patterson, Esq., to whose exertions in the capacity of hon. secretary the success of the society Is in a great measure to be attributed. A variety of excellent speeches followed, in the course of which frequent allusions were made to the fact of the grain-growers of the district taking some of the principal prizes, in competition with those of Adelaide and Victoria, at the late show of the Port Phillip Farmers' Society, and all present expressed their satisfaction at the results of the second annual ploughinig match of the " Mornington Branch."


You can read about the first ploughing match held at Mr Walton's farm at Narre Warren, here.

Victorian Places website

One of my favourite websites is the Victorian  Places website  http://www.victorianplaces.com.au/
We'll use the website's own words to tell you what it is all about This is a website containing the history of all the places in Victoria (Australia) that have now or once had a population over 200 at any time since the establishment of Victoria as a British colony. The project is a joint initiative of Monash University and the University of Queensland.



It's  a great website, and one of the coolest things about it is the homepage with a green Melbourne tram - the pictures in the window scroll through and the search box is the route number sign on the top right - it's a fabulous example of graphic design. 
What you find for each town is a history, any significant events, the development of the town from country town to suburb (applicable),  an entry on the town  from the 1903 Australian Handbook, population statistics,  some photos and a 'further reading' list. It'a a great resource if you want a concise history of a town that you have an interest in for family or local history purposes.

Reading the excerpts from the Australian Handbook is also interesting as it gives a snap shot of the town in 1903, even though it is a bit sad that many of these towns were better served with public transport and  services such as banks than they today. I have picked three towns from the City of Casey and three from the Cardinia Shire (and in the interests of historical municipal fairness they are also three towns from the Shire of Cranbourne and three from the Shire of Berwick) to highlight the Australian Handbook entry








Victorian Places, a great website, you can find it here   http://www.victorianplaces.com.au

Sperry New Holland Factory at Cranbourne


The Sperry New Holland building at Cranbourne, c. 1992
Sperry New Holland commenced operations in Victoria at Dandenong in 1955. They manufactured agricultural equipment including hay balers and hay bale elevators.  In 1980, they purchased a 46 hectare site (around ten times the size of their Dandenong operations) in Cranbourne-Berwick Road, Cranbourne. They built a 2 hectare factory and it opened around 1982. Initially there were over 400 people employed  but a recession hit within 18 months and there were redundancies and layoffs. In 1985 the Company was taken over by the Ford Motor Company, but continued producing machinery and also made parts for car manufacturers. 
The factory had its own spur line from the main South Gippsland Railway line, The spur line went into what is now the The Shed, a skate board facility,  so  I presume it was used a for despatch. If you are interested in railway infrastructure then there are some photographs of the old line on the Vicsig.net website, here.
The Ford  New Holland factory closed down around 1992  as  operations were shifted to New South Wales and sadly,  workers were made redundant. The entire site was sold to the Cranbourne Shire for five million dollars. The Casey Cardinia Library Corporation moved into the Administration building in 1996 and the main factory building is now the Terry Vickerman Indoor Sports Centre.
Terry Vickerman was the Cranbourne Shire Chief Executive for 22 years until he retired in December 1994, after the Council amalgamations. He was responsible for the purchase of the building, which was not without its critics. The Shire of Cranbourne Ratepayers and Residents Association threatened to stand candidates against the sitting councillors who had voted for the purchase - the gist of the complaints against the purchase were that the Council had not provided enough information on the transaction and that residents outside of the Cranbourne township would have to pay for the site but would obtain no benefit from it.

Cranbourne Sun March 16, 1992. It's  a scan of a photocopy, so it's  a fairly ordinary image, but if you click on the photo you can enlarge it and read it.
It depended on who you asked if the cost of the site at five million dollars was reasonable or not.  It does appear that many ratepayers were unhappy with not only the initial purchase price but with the money required to convert it to its new purpose - an estimated ten million dollars. However, according to a report in Hansard on May 3, 1994, the local member Gary Rowe (Liberal member for the Legislative Assembly seat of Cranbourne from 1992 to 2002) considered that the five million dollars was a  'bargain basement ' price.

Hansard May 3, 1994. Access Mr Rowe's full speech here
Either way, 25 years on, whether the five million dollars purchase price was a waste of tax payers money or  a bargain the site and its associated buildings are now a real asset to not only the Cranbourne community but further afield - there is the Cranbourne Library, the incredibly busy Casey Indoor Leisure Complex (Terry Vickerman Centre),  The Shed Skatepark, The Factory Rehearsal Centre for the Arts, the Casey RACE (Casey Recreation and Aquatic Centre) and the  Balla Balla Centre.



We found this envelope the other day in a cupboard in a store room at Cranbourne Library - it was the key cupboard,  all the keys are still there -  but we souvenired this for the Archive, as it has the Sperry New Holland logo and the Cranbourne address!

Hallam late 1950s.

These photographs were taken in the late 1950s and were donated to our Archive by Jim Alexander, a former Councillor for the City of Berwick. They show Hallam, before suburbanization when it was still mainly rural.

This is thought to have been taken in  1957 and is labelled 'From Frawley Road, looking north'

Same view as above from Frawley Road but looking north to north west, also most likely 1957.

Phil Key's new house, looking from Frawley Road, 1958. The house is now on the corner of Kilberry Crescent and Cressonierre Court, even though these streets were built later as I have a 1963 aerial photograph and the land hadn't been subdivided, so this house originally had  a driveway off Frawley Road. According to Google Earth, the house is still there. 

As above, construction of Phil Key's house in 1958.

This is Phil Key's house, looking south to south east, 1958. The white farm house, behind Mr Key's house,  is described as Frawley's house. In the top right hand corner of the photo is a two storey building, most likely the Hallam Hotel.

Labelled as 'Near Frawley road, looking north to north east'  1957

Labelled as 'Looking towards Frawley Road, 1958'

'When there were Stations' website

I have written about railways on quite  a few occasions in this blog, because I have an interest in railways from a social history point of view - the role they played in the development of towns, the freedom they gave to the local people to move about the State (or even interstate) in the days before nearly everyone owned a motor car. The other thing I like about railways is well before on-line shopping became almost the norm the whole world could be delivered to you from mail order catalogues to your local railway station - take a look at some of the old Weekly Times on Trove - and anyone from jewellers to Department stores to agricultural implement makers would send you a printed catalogue to order from.  Goods are no longer delivered to our local railway stations - most are unstaffed and the railway buildings replaced by a few open shelters but before these stations, and parcel sheds, goods sheds and Station houses disappeared forever Dave Phillips and others took lots of photos of old stations and you can see them on the  When there were Stations website  http://www.stationspast.net/

Here are some of the great local photos from When there were Stations


Bunyip Railway Station taken December 11, 1989. Photographer: Dave Phillipshttp://www.stationspast.net/


Garfield Parcels shed taken January 29, 1989. Photographer: Frank Jones.http://www.stationspast.net/

Tynong Goods Shed taken October 7, 1987. Photographer: Dave Phillips.http://www.stationspast.net/
There are also photographs of Nar Nar Goon, Officer and Beaconsfield from the Gippsland line from the Casey Cardinia region.

Lang Lang Station, taken January 21 1990. Photographer: Dave Phillips.http://www.stationspast.net/

Tooradin Station House, taken August 21, 1990. Photographer: Dave Phillips.http://www.stationspast.net/
There are also photographs of Koo-Wee-Rup and Cranbourne from the South Gippsland line from the Casey Cardinia region.

Robert and Susan Bain and the Border Hotel / Berwick Inn

Robert and Susan Bain were the proprietors of the Berwick Inn also known as the Border Hotel in High Street in Berwick.

The hotel was established by Robert Hudson Bain (1831-1887) in 1857 which was four years before the town of Berwick was gazetted. Early Days of Berwick  has this to say about the name of the establishment at a very early age, possibly the late 1840's the district was marked out for Police administrative purposes embracing the Port Philip area and with its limits at Bacchus Marsh and Berwick respectively.  This theory that Berwick was the 'border' of this administrative area and thus the hotel was named the Border Hotel,  is supported by the fact that there is an historic hotel in Bacchus Marsh called the Border Inn, construction of which started in 1850. The book goes on to to say when the original Port Phillip Farmers' Society was formed [in 1848] two branches one at Berwick and one at Bacchus Marsh were formed so that district links existed between these two places. The other theory suggested by Early days of Berwick  is that Bain named it after his birth place, the  border town of Berwick-on-Tweed, however Richard Myers, author of the book, Berwick Mechanics' Institute and Free Library has dismissed this idea, as Bain was born in Falkirk in Scotland.

Robert Bain came to Australia in 1855 when he was 24 years old. He married Susan Stewart in 1859 and they had eleven children, but more about them later.


Berwick Inn in 1858
Robert was very much involved with the civic life of Berwick. He was Post Master from 1859 to1872, he was the first secretary of the Berwick Road Board which was formed in this building in 1862. He was on the board of the Berwick State School from 1862. The hotel was the venue for the first Police Court in 1865. It was also the first meeting place for the Berwick Mechanics' Institute and the Bains later donated the land upon which the Mechanics' Institute stands on. The building is one the oldest in the Casey Cardinia Region. The earliest section of the building, the triangular single storey part, dates from 1857. This is made of hand-made bricks from local clay. The two storey sections were added in 1877 and 1887.

   The Bain family owned the hotel until 1909, with Susan Bain taking over as licensee after her husband’s death on February 24, 1887 at the age of 56.  Robert Bain's obituary in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal can be read here  but it reads in part - Connected with school, with Mechanic's Institute, with Cemetery, with everything that concerned the town ship; he was always ready to do his part...... Scandal, whether to hear or to utter, was abhorrent to him. He was full of humanity toward all, ever ready. to give honor to whom honor as due, and help them who were in need.    His funeral was at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church and he is buried at the Berwick Cemetery.


The Bain family taken in the 1880s.Photo: Berwick Mechanics' Institute and Free Library by Richard Meyers
We know that Robert gets much deserved credit for his role in public life, but Susan was in the background raising their eleven children and when her husband died in 1887 and when her youngest child was only eight, Susan took over as the licensee of the Hotel and managed the business until just before her death at the age of 69 on June 26, 1908.   Her obituary in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal  described her as highly respected and that her many good deeds will long be remembered by residents in and around Berwick. You can read the full report here.



Death notice for Susan Bain from the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of July 1, 1908http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66147962
As you can see from the Death Notice, above,  by the time Susan passed away in June 1908,  only three of her eleven children were still alive and two sons had died in Janaury 1908 from a heat wave  - you can read about their sad deaths here, in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of January 22, 1908. Susan was born on December 28, 1838 in Scotland, the daughter of Robert Stewart and Catherine Campbell*,  and she arrived in Melbourne in 1857 and as we saw before, married Robert two years later. Her sister Margaret also lived in Berwick with her husband George Brown. George owned a drapers shop in the town. Margaret died July 28, 1884 at the age of 50, according to her death notice in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal. Her only child, George was killed in 1887 at the age of 23, accidentally hit by  a train whilst walking back to Berwick from Beaconsfield along the railway tracks. You can read the Inquest and description of his funeral here, in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of June 8, 1887. George Brown later married Mary Jane Patterson and built Inveresk in  1891, the house on the corner of High Street and Rutland Road in Berwick.

Here is  a list of Robert and Susan's children*
Catherine (born 1860 -  died October 1900 - known as Kate,  married John Murray Leggatt in 1878)
Jane Hudson (born 1861 - known as Jean,  she is the Mrs W.S Withers listed in the death notice. Jean married Walter Seward Withers in 1886, they are listed in the 1911 English Census, living in the town of Goodworth Clatford, near Andover,  in Hampshire and she died in June 1926 at Andover)
Margaret Anne Stewart (born 1863,  known as Maggie, married Charles Allen Champion in November 1889 and died in March 1891)
James (born 1865 - died January 1908)
Robert (born 1867 - died  January 1902)
Harry Wilson (born 1869 -  died April 1902)
George Alexander (born 1871 - ?)
Edwin Clarence (born 1873 - died 1875)
Susan Stewart (born 1875 -  died 1876)
McCulloch Stewart (born 1877 -  died January 1908)
Donald Stewart (born 1880 -  died January 1937)

The Berwick Inn is still functioning in the original buildings (with some extensions). After Susan Bain died, the next owner was also a woman, Helen Struth who owned the hotel from 1909 to 1948. Gordon Blackburne was the third owner from 1948-1960. During his time the Melbourne Hunt Club called in for their traditional stirrup cup before a days riding. Blackburne Square in Berwick is named after Mr Blackburne.


The Melbourne Hunt Club outside the Berwick Inn  - the riders are Alec Creswick, George Missen and Rupert Richardson.Photo: Berwick Nostalgia: a pictorial history of Berwick published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society in 2001.


* The genealogical information is partly from Early Settlers of the Casey Cardinia District published by the Narre Warren & District Family History Group.

An Arcrostic Seasonal history of the Casey Cardinia region - Happy New Year!

In this post we continue our eclectic look at some themes from our history and once again,  the first letter of each theme spells a seasonal greeting! In the last post we did an historic take on Merry Christmas.

H is for Hospitals. From the 1860s, many towns local had small private hospitals run by experienced nurses and for anything more complicated (if you survived the journey)  you would have to attend one of the large public hospitals in Melbourne. Around 1909, the Bush Nursing Hospital movement developed - the local community had to raise the money to fund the cost of the nurse’s salary, board, uniform and a ‘means of locomotion’. The salary was set by the Bush Nursing Association at the rate of around £80.00 per annum, the rate of pay for a hospital nurse with five or six years experience. The first Victorian nurse was appointed to Beech Forest in March 1911 and the earliest example in this area was at  Koo-Wee-Rup when Nurse Homewood, started work in the bush nursing centre in July 1918; this hospital was later replaced by a Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (and later still the Westernport Memorial Hospital)  The Pakenham Bush Nursing Hospital opened in February 1928 and the Berwick Bush Nursing Hospital in March 1940. The Shelley Memorial Hospital in Bunyip opened March 1966.


The official opening of the Pakenham and District Bush Nursing Hospital on Saturday, February 11, 1928. The Hospital was opened by the State Governor, Lord Somers. The local scouts formed a guard of honour. Photograph: North of the Line: a pictorial record compiled by the Berwick-Pakenham Historical Society.

A is for the Arts. The picturesque countryside around Emerald has attracted many writers over the years including Katharine Susannah Pritchard, Vance Palmer and Nettie Palmer. Jeannie (Mrs Aeneas) Gunn had a connection to the Hallam area and the  artist, Jessie Traill lived in Harkaway. The Boyd family, whose ranks include artists Emma Minnie (nee A'Beckett) Boyd, Arthur Merric Boyd and Arthur Boyd and the writer Martin Boyd all had  a connection to The Grange at Harkaway.


The Grange, Harkaway - rear view  by  William Gilbert a'Beckett (1864 - 1941) William was the sister of Emma Minnie Boyd, mentioned above.State Library of Victoria Image H2008.111/10
P is for the Princes Highway and other roads. The Princes Highway was originally known as the Gippsland Road but its name was changed in 1920, after the visit of Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII, then the Duke of Windsor). The South Gippsland Highway was known as the Westernport Road (or sometimes the Grantville Road). The sketch map, created by William Thomas in 1840, (see below) shows how the roads developed, naturally coming from Melbourne and then on the left running down to the Mornington Peninsula and on the right through Dandenong and down to Ruffy Brothers run at Cranbourne (the start of the South Gippsland Highway). The  turnoff to the north of Ruffys that is the 'road to Mr Cloes [i.e. Clows] and onto Nerre Nerre Warren. Clow is the Reverend James Clow who took up the Tirhatuan run in 1838 - an area from Dandenong to modern day Heatherton Road which includes parts of Endeavour Hills. Nerre Nerre Warren is where the Corp of Native Police were established in 1837 (where the Police Paddocks are located)


William Thomas' sketch map form 1840Image scanned from The Dandenong Police paddocks : early use as native police headquarters and aboriginal protectorate station, 1837-1853 by Marie Hansen Fels (Department of Conservation and Environment, 1990)

P is for Pubs. Some of the earliest establishments in all areas were Hotels - used for refreshment, accommodation and as coach stops where horses could be changed over and refreshed. One of the oldest buildings still standing in the region is the Border Hotel  also called the Berwick Inn in High Street in Berwick. The earliest part of the building was constructed in 1857 by Robert Bain. In 1850 the La Trobe Inn was established on the Toomuc Creek at Pakenham by Michael and Kitty Bourke. In 1855, David and Janet Bowman built the Gippsland Hotel on the Cardinia Creek at  Beaconsfield and in the same year  the Mornington Hotel on the corner of Narre Warren North Road and  the Gippsland Road (Princes Highway) was established by J. Gardiner and later taken over by John Payne and dismantled in the 1880s or 90s. Another Mornington Hotel was established in 1860 in Cranbourne by Thomas and Eliza Gooch and around the same time the Cranbourne Hotel was also established by Robert and Margaret Duff. The name Mornington came from the County of Mornington - for land administration purposes, the State of Victoria is divided into Counties and then Parishes, most of the Casey Cardinia region is in the County of Mornington. In the 1860s the Limerick Arms Hotel was built on the Gippsland Road at Nar Nar Goon by Daniel and Brigid O'Brien and from 1857 there were various hotels in Bunyip.

Y is for Yachts, yawls and other boats that sailed in Western Port Bay - which brings us to the Fishing Industry. Some of the earliest settlers in Tooradin were fishermen. George Casey was the first fisherman and settler, followed by Jimmy Miles and  then in 1876 Henry and Elizabeth Kernot came over from Hastings. They had eleven children including Isabella Poole. Isabella owned the Fishermans Cottage  from 1910 to 1949. It is now the home of the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society.  The Cottage is one of the few remaining examples of the fishermen’s houses that originally dotted both sides of Sawtell’s Inlet in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The last of the professional fishermen, Henry Kernot and Arthur Johnstone (whose mother was a Kernot), surrendered their licence in 1999.


Pomp Colvin's Patrobus, 1915 - a Tooradin Fishing boat.Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photo
N is for Nature. Not only was Western Port Bay an important for fishing, both amateur and commercial, but it is also an important nature conservation area. The Department of Environment website has to say about the importance of Western Port  In 1982, a large portion of Western Port was designated as a wetland of international importance under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention). The site occupies 59,297 ha and consists of large shallow intertidal areas dissected by deeper channels, and a narrow strip of adjacent coastal land in some areas. [See the full report here]  One of my favourite blog posts that I have done for this blog is one on Arcuate Ridges or curved sand ridges which are the remains of the walls of ancient lake beds. The town of Cardinia is on an arcuate ridge. Before we leave Nature we need to mention the world significant Royal Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne. There are acres of remnant bushland, plus the Australian Garden that showcases the  diversity of Australian flora from all climate environments - see more on their website www.rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-cranbourne

E is for Emergencies. Floods and bush fires have been part of the life of the community  since European settlement. The most devastating bush fire was that of Ash Wednesday fires on February 16 1983 when many lives were sadly lost and hundreds of houses and other buildings were destroyed in  Beaconsfield Upper, Cockatoo and neighbouring areas and throughout Victoria and South Australia. You can read the bald facts of this disaster here. The other emergencies we have in this region are floods, especially on the reclaimed Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp The most devasting flood took place in 1934 where up to 2 metres of water inundated the Swamp. There was also major flooding in other parts of Victoria.


Rossiter Road in Koo-Wee-Rup in the 1934 floodKoo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photo
W is for Weekly newspapers.  This area is fortunate that it's  social life and history has been recorded in local newspapers since the 1860s. The South Bourke and Mornington Journal was published from 1865 to 1927 when it became the Dandenong Journal. We are lucky that you can access this on Trove from  1872 to 1954. This paper covered the Counties of Mornington and the southern portion of the County of Bourke (where Melbourne is located)  Other significant newspapers include the Pakenham Gazette, published by the Thomas Family since 1909. The Koo-Wee-Rup Sun and it's predecessor the Lang Lang Guardian and it's successor, The Cranbourne Sun was published from 1902 to the 1980s. Some editions of these papers are also on Trove.


The South Bourke and Mornington Journal masthead - it circulated in Dandenong, Berwick, Pakenham, Cranbourne, Brandy Creek, Grantville, Hastings, Oakleigh and Templestowe amongst other places
Y is for Yallock Creek and other waterways. The first European settlement in the area took place on creeks, for the obvious reason that water was required for 'man and beast' In 1837 Captain Robert Gardiner took up a pastoral lease at Berwick on the Cardinia Creek. In 1839  Samuel Rawson and Robert Jamieson settled on the Yallock Creek and in the same year the 14 square mile (3,600 hectares)  Eumemmerring Run, based on the Eumemmerring creek, was taken up by Dr Farquhar McCrae.

Bridge over the Cardinia Creek, 1887.Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria photograph album, State Library of Victoria Image  H2012.114/1
E is for Eternal Rest or Cemeteries. We have eight cemeteries in the area - Berwick, Bunyip, Cranbourne, Gembrook, Harkaway, Lang Lang, Nangana (also called Emerald and Macclesfield) and Pakenham. You can read about them here.  Naturally in the early days people were buried quickly for health reasons and so often selected the closest burial ground and thus you can see generations of local families in the same cemetery.  With the establishment of a crematorium at the Necropolis in Springvale, this provided another option for 'eternal rest' and so if you can't find your relative in the local cemetery then they may well be at Springvale. My own grandfather, Joe Rouse from Cora Lynn, who died in 1954 was cremated at Springvale and had  a niche there, in spite of the fact that his father and daughter were at Bunyip as well as his parents-in-law - but it seemed to have been the modern way of thinking at the time.

A is for Architecture and significant buildings. Both Cardinia and Casey have undertaken Heritage Conservation Studies. The original City of Berwick Study was done in 1993 and has been updated since and the earliest Cardinia Shire one was in 1996 with updates in 1999 to cover the areas that were previously part of the Shires of Sherbrooke and Cranbourne. What would be the oldest building in Casey Cardinia? Good question - possibly the Berwick Inn (Border Hotel) - the original section was built in 1857. I'd be happy to hear of any other contenders. What is the most significant building? Possibly Edrington, the former home of Lord and Lady Casey. Lord Casey was the Governor General of Australia from September 1965 to April 1969 and apart from being a grand mansion it is this Vice Regal connection that adds to the significance. Once again, I'd be pleased to hear of any other contenders.


Edrington, Berwick, photographed in 1978.
R is for Retail or shopping. Unless you are under 35 then I don't need to tell you how shopping has changed over the years. From the mid 1850s when our towns began to develop the shops sprung up along the High Street or the Main Street - a general store, a blacksmith, a baker, a butcher  would be some of the earliest stores. Later  on there would be a boot maker, green grocer, hairdresser, perhaps a confectionary shop (I know it sounds fanciful but both Garfield and Bunyip both had one in the 1910s) maybe a tobacconist, and later on Banks, dress shops, specific grocery stores rather than a general store were established. This strip shopping was how people shopped until the development of the big shopping centres - Centro Shopping Centre in Cranbourne  and the Endeavour Hills Shopping Centre both opened in 1979 and Fountain Gate Shopping Centre in 1980 and the first major shops off Main Street in Pakenham opened with the new Safeways in 1984.


Shops in Main Street, Pakenham, c. early 1980s. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR

An Acrostic Seasonal history of the Casey Cardinia region

This is an eclectic look at some themes from our history and the first letter of each theme spells a seasonal greeting!

M is for Mechanics Institutes. Our earliest Library in the area is the Berwick Mechanics' Institute and Free Library which started in 1862 and is still going strong. There were once over 1,000 Mechanics' Institutes in  Victoria, many still exist as public halls, but there are now only six that still lend books, including the Berwick one. It is a remarkable achievement and there would be very  few other institutions that have played a continuous role in the history and social life our our community for over 150 years.


Berwick Mechanics' Institute 1970s
E is for Education. The earliest schools in the area opened in 1854 - there was a  school on Captain Robert Gardiner's property at Berwick - this was the fore-runner of the existing Berwick Primary School. In 1869 it was re-located to a new building on the corner of Lyall Road and Peel Street  and later moved to Lyall Road. Also in 1854 a Church of England School opened in Lyndhurst, the first teacher being Robert Davies. There were 12 boys and 10 girls at the school and they paid 2 pence per day to attend.  Free education in Victoria did not come in until 1872 when the Education Act made the Government responsible for 'free, secular and compulsory' education. Students who wished to continue their studies past Grade 8, the level at which State schools originally finished,  would have had to have gone onto a private school until State High Schools were established. Depending on where you lived in the region you could have gone to Warragul High (opened 1911) or Dandenong High (opened  1919) or Upwey High (opened 1937 as a Higher Elementary  and became a High School in 1944). Koo-Wee-Rup (opened in 1953 as a Higher Elementary and in 1957 as a High School) and the 1960s saw Doveton High open in 1960, Monbulk High  in 1963, Pakenham High in 1967 all providing local familes with closer options for continued education.

R is for Religion.  When towns were first surveyed the Government set aside sites for Churches. The earliest purpose built  Church in the area was, I believe, Scots Presbyterian Church in Cranbourne built in 1860, although before this services would have been held in private homes. This building no longer exists so the oldest church building in the area is St Johns Anglican Church in Cranbourne erected in 1865 and still in use today.   Other nineteenth century Churches in the area that are still in use for their original purpose include St Andrews Presbyterian (now Uniting) Church at Berwick built from 1879, the Avonsleigh Church of Christ built 1887 and the Koo-Wee-Rup Presbyterian Church built in 1888 as a Wesleyan Church in Cranbourne and then shifted to Koo-Wee-Rup in 1896.



Scots Presbyterian Church, Cranbourne, built in 1860 and replaced in 1953 by the existing Church.
R is for Recreation  The earliest record I can find of  any organized sport in the area is this advertisement (below) from 1860 of the Cranbourne Cricket Club's Annual dinner at the Schnapper Point Hotel. Schnapper Point is now known as Mornington. The Berwick Recreation Reserve was gazetted on July 14, 1863, five years before land was set aside in Cranbourne for 'public recreation and racecourse purposes' on August 3, 1868.


The Argus April 7, 1860 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5680160

Y is for Yallock Creek and other waterways. The first European settlement in the area took place on creeks, for the obvious reason that water was required for 'man and beast' In 1837 Captain Robert Gardiner took up a pastoral lease at Berwick on the Cardinia Creek. In 1839  Samuel Rawson and Robert Jamieson settled on the Yallock Creek and in the same year the 14 square mile (3,600 hectares)  Eumemmerring Run, based on the Eumemmerring creek, was taken up by Dr Farquhar McCrae.


Bridge over the Cardinia Creek, 1887.Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria photograph album, State Library of Victoria Image  H2012.114/1
C is for Councils. The first form of local government in the area were the Road Boards - the Cranbourne Road Board was proclaimed June 19, 1860 and the Berwick Road Board on September 29, 1862. These Road Boards became Shire Councils in 1868 - Cranbourne on February 24 and Berwick on May 5.

H is for Holes in the ground - quarries and other extractive industries. The most  well known quarry in the area would be Wilsons Quarry at Berwick which began in 1859 and was owned by the Wilson family until 1978. It is now Wilson Botanic Park. There are other quarries in the area - the granite quarry at Tynong where the stone for the  Shrine of Remembrance was sourced is a well known example and of course there have been (and still are) sand mines at Cranbourne and Lang Lang.


 Quarry the granite for the Shrine of Remembrance at Tynong.
The caption reads (in part) 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
 The Argus of November 14, 1928 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3968930
R is for railways. Railways have been pivotal in the development of the Casey Cardinia Region. The Railways have always been used for personal travel - to go to work, to go into Dandenong or Melbourne for reasons such as shopping or to access medical services - but they have also influenced the location and growth of towns, transported produce to markets and tourists to holiday destinations. We have had four railway lines traversing the region and three are still operating. The earliest line is the Gippsland line to Sale which was opened from Oakleigh to Bunyip in October 1877 and fully opened in 1879. The Great Southern line commenced construction in 1887 and was fully operational from Dandenong to Korumburra by June 1891. It was later extended to Port Albert. It now only goes as far as Cranbourne. The famous Puffing Billy line, officially called the Fern Tree Gully to Gembrook line, opened in December 1900. Finally the Strzelecki line from Koo-Wee-Rup to Strzelecki opened on June 29, 1922 and closed in stages until it was completely closed in February 1959.

I is for Industry.  The 'Big Three' were established at Dandenong in the 1950s  - International Harverstor in February 1952, Heinz in 1955 and General Motors Holden in 1956. Between the three of them they employed thousands of people  and they had an immediate impact on the area.  The factories required workers and even though a Railway Station was built for GMH and opened in the October or November of 1956, it was good if there was a pool of workers living close by, thus Doveton was established  as a suburb in 1954 by the Victorian Housing Commission to house these workers. The factories also accelerated the housing development in Hallam, Hampton Park and Cranbourne  from where people could drive to work and park - GMH alone  had a 1000 space car park.


International Harvester Factory, 1980s.
S is for Space. This area is notable for the Cranbourne Meteorites. So far thirteen meteorites have been discoverd in the area in virtually a straight line from Officer to Clyde to Devon Meadows to Pearcedale from 1853 to 2008. You can visit the Cranbourne No. 12 meteorite at the Civic Centre in Narre Warren and the Cranbourne No. 13 meteorite at the Casey RACE Swimming pool in Cranbourne.


Cranbourne meteorite  with the chain which was employed to pull it from its position for transport to the Melbourne Museum, 21 February 1862. Photographer: Richard Daintree.State Library of Victoria Image H36595
T is for Timber Industry. The Gippsland Railway line encouraged the growth of the timber industry by providing a source of transport to cart the timber to Melbourne where it was used to build houses, fences etc and as  a fuel supply. Officer and Garfield both owe their existence to the timber industry and the towns developed around the railway sidings used by the timber industry.


Carting timber at GembrookState Library of Victoria Image H32492/2163
M is for Market Town - that is Dandenong. The history of our area is historically linked to Dandenong as it was a service town to the surrounding area.  For instance, Dandenong had a large public hospital with specialists. It was also where the local children went to High School until local schools were built from the 1950s onwards.  Dandenong was also the major shopping area for people from the surrounding area  and a trip to the Dandenong market to buy clothes and other goods was a ritual for many. The Dandenong Market was also the major livestock market for the area. In the late 1940s and the 1950s my father used to drive his parents from Cora Lynn to the Dandenong market where they sold their eggs, chooks and calves (all carried on the back of the ute) and they were just one of the many thousands of small farmers who did the same. The Dandenong Market originally located on the corner of Lonsdale and McCrae Streets and opened in 1866, 150 years ago.  It moved to its present location on Clow Street around 1926 and in 1958 the stockyards moved to Cheltenham Road.  The Dandenong Stock Market was the last municipal owned and operated facility in Victoria, and closed on December 22, 1998. It is now a housing estate.

A is for Agriculture and farming.  Small family farms, were  were the main stay of the rural economy of this area from around the 1880s to the 1970s. These farms were dairy farms, poultry farms, pig farms, potato farms and market gardens.  The first settlers in the area were the squatters and large (often absentee)  landowners but from the 1850s the big squatting runs were broken up, Government land sales took place and other farmers moved in. Later on these farms were subdivided again (basically 1880s onwards)  and this gave small farmers the opportunity to purchase land - this was historically the pattern of settlement for most of our region. It was also encouraged by government schemes such as the drainage of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp and the Soldier Settlement Scheme after the Great War. We still have family farms in the area, but the nature of agriculture has changed and farmers need to get bigger to survive, plus there are land use competition pressures from  the ever expanding Urban Growth boundaries.


My grandma, Eva Rouse (nee Weatherhead) and my aunty, Nancy Rouse, on their small family farm at Cora Lynn, c. 1927.
S is for Swamp.  The Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp originally covered about 40,000 hectares or 96,000 acres and is part of the Western Port sunkland. The Swamp area is basically contained in  the Cardinia Shire which is about 128,000 hectares, so if you imagine that if it was left undrained, then one third of the Shire would be a Swamp.  The Chief Engineer of the Public Works Department, William Thwaites (1853 - 1907) surveyed the Swamp in 1887 and his report recommended the construction of the Bunyip Main Drain from where it entered the Swamp, in the north, to Western Port Bay and a number of smaller side drains. A tender was advertised in 1889. In spite of strikes, floods and bad weather by March 1893, the private contractors had constructed the 16 miles of the drain from the Bay to the south of Bunyip and the Public Works Department considered the Swamp was now dry enough for settlement. At one time over 500 men were employed and all the work was done by hand, using axes, shovels, mattocks and wheel barrows. By 1904, over 2,000 people including 1,400 children lived on the Swamp. Many more drains have been added over the years.


MERRY CHRISTMAS

Harkaway Lutheran Chuch

I wanted to find out about Lutheran Church at Harkaway so I started with one of my key resources for the history of the area  Early Days of Berwick and its surrounding districts and this (inter alia) is what the book said about the Church -
In 1869 it was decided to erect a school building. Under the guidance of builders Weise and Mayer, the settlers built a substantial weatherboard building more generally known as the German Church. On weekdays this served as a Church and on Sundays, a Church..... Because the school was  to be also used as a church, a bell was erected bear the building in 1869.....The earliest known Lutheran Pastor was Mattias Goethe, whose signature appears on the early marriage certificates. Then came Pastor Herlitz, who was suceeded by Pastor Schramm. Rev Hermann Herlitz was Pastor of the Lutheran Church at Melbourne and head of the Lutheran General Synod of Victoria.....At Harkaway during the Pastor's  absences the service swere conducted by  Dr G. Wanke. His son, the late Immanuel, acted as organist. (Early Days of Berwick, 3rd revised edition, 1979)



This photo of the Lutheran Church and bell tower is from Early Days of Berwick, 3rd revised edition, 1979.
This didn't tell me when the Church was demolished, neither did one of my other key resources In the Wake of the Pack Tracks, so I emailed Lyn Bradley, President of the Narre Warren & District Family History Group to see if the Group had any information on the Church and she sent me back a great document from 1935,  that they have in their Research Room. We don't know who wrote the article or where it was first published but it did tell us about the closure of  the Church  -   In later years due to many changes, the church in which the early settlers took such an active interest was closed. The organ was sold in 1912 and the building disposed of for removal -  so I assume the closure date was 1912 or a bit earlier and the building removed about the same time  - however there is more about the closing date below. The following is what the document had to say about the Church -

On December 11 1869 the local members of the Lutheran Church, desirous of erecting a church building secured a site having a frontage of 100 feet to Hessell's Road. The land was purchased  from the late Dr E.Wanke for the sum of 1 pound. Five trustees were elected, namely Messrs Louis Linsing, Ernest Hillbrick, John Fritzlaff, Heinrich Edebohis and Peter Erdman. As a result of a combined effort the church members erected a building which fulfilled the dual purpose of church and State school. By voluntary subscripion a bell was obtained, its weight being 210 lbs and its pleasing tone was the pride of the pioneers.  For many years Pastor Herliz (whose son, Dr Herliz, lives at Cheltenham) made the journey from Melbourne to conduct the services. He was very popular and the services were always well attended. In those days the late Mr I.G Wanke was one of those who presided at the organ.

The late Jacob Hessell conducted school for some time until transferred to the present school building.

On July 6 1882 five new trustees were appointed, Messrs Jacob Hessell, John Fritzlaff, Rudolph Halleur, August Dubburke and Rudolph Anderson. In later years due to many changes, the church in which the early settlers took such an active interest was closed. The organ was sold in 1912 and the building disposed of for removal. Two cypress trees that were planted many years ago by the late  Goulob Aurisich,   are still growing on the site. At the  special request of the then two remaining pioneers, the  late  I.G Wanke and R Anderson, the bell was retained, and being close to the cemetery. it is tolled on the occasion of funerals, and is always rung on New Years Eve.  Those interested having passed away the site was developed into a 'no mans land'.Consequently, on  on February 25, 1935 a public meeting was held in the local hall. Cr D Boyd presiding, and those members of the Lutheran Church who attended appointed three trustees for the site Messrs H.I Wanke, J.W Nicol and H. C Weist. Mr Wanke is chairman and Mr Weist secretary and treasurer. On Saturday last, June 8. the new trustees entered into possession to carry out out their duties

Emulating John Batman, who had 100 years ago turned the turf with  atwig on the bamsk of the Merri Creek, the chairman turned the turf on the site, but with a spade, and each trustee planted a tree to commemorate the occasion. The bell was removed, and the dangerous tower pulled down  after a service of more than 60 years. Thanks to the generous spirit of Mr Nicol and several other enthusiasts, material and labour is to be provided for a new tower fro the bell which, it is hoped, will ring out the old and welcome in the New Year for many years to come.  

The Bell Tower was officially opened on December 28 1935.



This is a report on the election of the Church Trustees as reported in the document, above.Dandenong Journal March 7 1935http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article213963825
We have found this snippet of information in the Berwick Shire Council report in the Pakenham Gazette in 1917 (see below) which refers to the 'old Lutheran Church'  so this presents two possibilities - the Church building was still there in 1917 and hadn't been removed or else the site was locally known as the 'old Lutheran Church' even though the building did not exist.  

Pakenham Gazette June 8 1917http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92154301
To throw another possibility into the mix the Narre Warren & District Family History Group also have a copy of  the Harkaway Cemetery: a brief history* in which an historic overview of Harkaway was written by Val Exell on September 29, 2000.  Mrs Exell writes this about the Church - On this site the belfry and the Lutheran Church were built in 1869, the bell coming from Germany. Until destroyed by fire the building was used for school on weekdays and Church on Sundays and closed in 1912. So the 1912 closure date is confirmed but Mrs Exell says the building was burnt down and not 'disposed of for removal'  

In the end whether the Church building was burnt down or removed (or possibly both) it doesn't really matter but I was a bit surprised that the Church closed as early as 1912 given the prevalence of the German ancestry amongst the Harkaway settlers, but the building was 43 years old by then and the Harkaway Hall was only three years old (it opened on June 9, 1909) so this would have been an alternate gathering place. 


This photo of the Church is from Oak Trees and Hedges:  a pictorial history of Narre Warren, Narre Warren North and Harkaway (published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society in 2002)
*Harkaway Cemetery: a brief history was created through a Work for the Dole program and published in 2001 by the Peninsula Training and Employment Program Inc.

Start of the Fountain Gate Shopping Centre

These fourteen photos are labelled 'the start of the Fountain Gate  Shopping Centre' They were taken by a now unknown City of Berwick staff member and show, as the name suggests, the start of the construction of the Shopping Centre.  The Fountain Gate Shopping Centre was opened on March 11, 1980 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Winneke, so these photos were most likely taken early 1979.

This is the view looking back towards the Civic Centre, which was officially opened on December 8, 1978, also by Sir Henry Winneke. Sir Henry was the Governor of Victoria from June 1974 until March 1982.

Another view looking towards the Civic Centre

Another view to the Civic Centre - there is the double storey section and what looks a bit like a colonnade on the right is section that faces the carpark on the Library side, you can see it better in the photo, below.


Similar views as above.

This is taken from the verandah on the east side of the Civic Centre, looking north.

I believe this is a view to the houses in the Fountain Gate Housing Estate on the west side of the Centre, possibly Raven Court or Fountain Drive and Summerlea Road, looking over what would be the Max Pawsey Reserve.


I believe this is looking north towards the transmission line that runs parallel to Brundrett Road in Narre Warren North

A nice row of pine (or are they cypress?)  trees - is it the same one as in the shot above? In the aerial below from January 9 1978 there are a few hedges of pines or cypress, not sure which one this is.

This is aerial of the Civic Centre and the Fountain Gate Housing Estate was taken January 9, 1978. I've included it here to see if it will help me get some orientation on the photos, hasn't really helped but it might help you. It does however show the landscape before the shopping centre was constructed.

I feel that this is looking north towards Narre Warren North

I think this is looking west to the Fountain Gate Housing Estate and Tinks Road

This is what became Magid Drive looking towards the Princes Highway

Looking west and the one below is looking south west.


Flood - July 29 1987

These photographs were taken by the City of Berwick on July 29 1987

Beaconsfield Park showing the flooded Cardinia Creek. The Beaconsfield Park sign was erected in 1939 and refurbished and reinstalled in 2011 (it was then stolen and a new sign was made. I believe the old sign has just been found and that specific people living locally are 'helping police with their enquiries' )

Beaconsfield Upper Road

Beaconsfield - end of Adamson Street, looking west over Cardinia Creek and the Edrington property

Beaconsfield - Soldiers Road, north up the Cardinia Creek.

Hallam - Eumemmerring Creek looking east from end of George Avenue. 

Hallam - Eumemmerring Creek looking west from end of George Avenue.

Hallam - Gunns Road looking north to James Cook Drive and Hallam North Road. The photos were labelled in red texta, which was good as we know what they are, but the downside is that the texta has marked other photos. 

Hallam Road North looking west.

Hallam Road North looking south west.

Hallam Road North looking south to Belgrave-Hallam Road

Hallam Road North, Eumemmerring Creek looking east.

Hallam Road South, east side, looking south to the Railway line. Hallam Station is on the far right

Hallam Road South, east side, looking south to the railway line. This adjoins the photo above,

Ovals near Fountain Gate Shopping Centre and the retarding basin.

Gold Mining in Beaconsfield and Berwick region

The Berwick Beaconsfield area was once the location of gold fields.  What do we know about this gold discovery? The Early Days of Berwick (first published in 1948) had this to say about the subject  There were numerous gold mining companies about this time in 1870. To mention two, there were the Berwick Amalgamated Quartz Mining Co. and Happy-Go-Lucky Gold and Quartz Mining Company. As they brought numerous cases before the Court for non-payment of calls they could not have been too payable. In later years I heard my father speaking of another gold mining show in the district called the Go Bung which did not had a  very promising name to say the least of it. (This is from page 22)

This is also from The Early Days of Berwick   In even earlier days it is interesting to note that that the population of Beaconsfield exceeded that of  Berwick no doubt due to the gold mining activities carried out in Beaconsfield.... The gold mining was carried out in gullies named Mayfields, Walkers, Sailors and Haunted Gullies. An explanation of the latter being so named was said to be due to a miner wandering about the bush in the nude and appearing ghost like to his mates who were more or less in a similar condition of inebriation. (This is from page 115) Haunted Gully is now part of the Beaconsfield Reservoir.

This is what it says in the In the Wake of the Pack Tracks book
In 1872 H.J Valentine found gold south of Beaconsfield Upper in the Haunted Gully, now covered by Beaconsfield Reservoir. Prospecting was also carried out in Mayfield Gully to the east and Sailors and Welcome Gullies to the west. At one time over 200 miners were reported to be working in the locality. However yields were small and not payable  and no mother lode located (This is from page 57)

Also from In the Wake of the Pack Tracks (page 54)
For a time gangs of Chinese diggers, many wearing pigtails arrived at the Beaconsfield Railway station by the first train on Mondays and walked in single file up the Chinaman’s track (Bowman’s track) to the Haunted Gully diggings in Upper Beaconsfield.

The Berwick Amalgamated  Quartz Mining Company was registered on July 23, 1866 and as you can see from the notice in the Government Gazette, below, there were many familiar  local 'names' as shareholders - John Brisbane, Robert Bain, James Gibb, William and Ralph Brunt to name  a few.

Victoria Government Gazette July 27, 1866http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/

The Happy-Go-Lucky Gold and Quartz Mining Company was registered on April 26, 1869. The General Meeting of the Company was held in January at Souter's Gippsland Hotel at Beaconsfield where William Brisbane, James Gibb, S.W Brooke, David O'Shea and Charles Souter were elected Directors. You can read an article in the Gippsland Times about this meeting here.
Victoria  Government Gazette April 30, 1869http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/
There seems to have been a few different stages of gold discovery in the area - the establishment of the Mining Companies ( Berwick Amalgamated  Quartz Mining Company and Happy-Go-Lucky Gold and Quartz Mining Company) in the late 1860s, possibly as speculative ventures, then the actual discovery of gold in the region, which according to various reports on Trove was in 1873 and then there was another small gold rush in the early 1890s.

The Argus of June 16 1873 had this to say about the gold discovery in Berwick in 1873 -

The new gold field lately discovered in the ranges near Berwick about 30 miles from Melbourne, has excited some little interest, and new life has been infused by the discovery into the hitherto somewhat dull township. The scene of the operations can be reached without much difficulty. The road as far as Berwick is the main road to GippsLand, and in dry weather presents few difficulties, but in the rainy season some parts of the road are rendered almost impassable. The worst portions of the road are between Oakleigh and Mulgrave, where an attempt has been made to mend the road with clayey mud, the effect being anything but pleasant to travellers. The diggings lie about five miles north-east of the township of Berwick, amongst the spurs of the Dividing Range. The nearest way of reaching the gold-field is from the Gipps Land Hotel, near Kardinia Creek. A track leads from there to the diggings and is easily passable on horseback or on foot, but the steep ranges render the road scarcely suitable for vehicles. The mining operations are confined almost entirely to Haunted Gully and the immediately adjacent gullies. It is about two years since the prospecting for gold was commenced in that locality by some men employed by Mr. C. Wiseheart, of Melbourne, and other persons who were convinced that the country in that direction was auriferous. Some of the gullies were tested, and the result showed that the belief was not ill-founded. A shaft was sunk in Haunted Gully last year by a man named Valentine, and a quantity of washdirt was obtained averaging 6dwt per load. A prospectors' lease of 30 acres in the gully was applied for by Mr. Wiseheart and those who were acting with him, and the ground was pegged out. The news of the discovery however soon spread and in a short time the place was rushed. The ground which had been already secured by Mr Wiseheart was taken up, and in consequence of the difficulties which arose the matter was bought under the notice of the Minister of Mines. A compromise which, according to the nature of compromises, was not considered satisfactory by either side, was effected, and it was decided that Mr. Wiseheart should be allowed to choose 10 acres. He has selected 10 acres in the upper part of the gully, and the remainder of the ground which he applied for has been taken up by the other miners. The foregoing facts show the circumstances which have already transpired in connexion with this new discovery of auriferous country, but a description of the present appearance of the gold-field will doubtless prove of more general interest. You can read the rest of the article here.

There are other articles in the newspapers about the dispute between Mr Wiseheart and the other miners. I have created a list of many of the articles on Trove relating to these goldfields, you can access the list here.

There was also another minor gold discovery in the region in 1893. Clearly as Beaconsfield did not turn into another Ballarat, then the discovery must have also been economically unviable.


The Age May 7 1891http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article190632810
As mentioned before, I  have created a list of many of the articles on Trove relating to these goldfields, you can access the list here.

Bunyip Byways Tourism map

I came across this Bunyip  Byways tourism map the other day. The Bunyip Byways was a joint tourism promotion from the City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire.


Click on the images to enlarge them.
Bunyip Byways was obviously established after December 15 1994 which is when the two Councils officially came into being, but I was unsure of the exact date. However, through the wonders of a Google search,   I came across a reference to it in the Village Bell, Issue 117 from August 1997. The Village Bell is a community newsletter, run by volunteers from the Upper Beaconsfield Association. This newsletter has been produced continuously since July 1978, a remarkable achievement. Not only that, but you can access them all on-line through the Upper Beaconsfield Association website  https://upperbeaconsfield.org.au/
The article by Jo Carter from the August 1997 Village Bell had this to say about the Bunyip Byways project:  You will have noticed the signs Bunyip Byways which have appeared throughout the Shire, signposting the Bunyip Byways Trail. In an endeavour to attract tourists to the area, the Casey Cardinia Tourism Association has drawn up a trail which promotes the many interesting features and places of natural beauty within our communities. The name 'Bunyip' (Buneep) is derived from a local WOONGI (aboriginal) legend of a mystical water-based creature TOO ROO DUN who lived in the great Koo-Wee-Rup swamp. The cost of the Trail has been met by grants from the Federal Department of Tourism, and Casey and Cardinia Councils. The Trail forms a circular route through Berwick, Harkaway, Cardinia Resevoir, Emerald, Cockatoo, Gembrook, Tynong, Bunyip, Garfield, Cora Lynn, Bayles, KooWee-Rup, Tooradin and Cranbourne. There is a Bunyip Byways tourism map available which will assist travellers to find both well known and lesser known places of interest to explore. The Beaconhills Golf Club and the local restaurant Japonica Jelly are noted on the map. And of course we have many walks in Upper Beaconsfield which are not mentioned in the Bunyip Byways Trails. "This area does have significant attractions and natural features," says Ian Hall of the Tourism Centre. "We want visitors to view the wildlife on the edge of the City, walk in the nature reserves and bushland, as well as try the wine, buy the antiques, visit the nurseries, eat the natural produce and relax in the many restaurants and pubs." The article finishes off with some contact details, which I wont list here, as the holders of  the phone numbers may well have changed in the past 20 years.
This edition also had an interesting article about Tasmanian Tigers in Upper Beaconsfield, hence the masthead of the newsletter.   

There is still a Bunyip Byways sign near the Cardinia Reservoir, on Wellington Road, but that's the only one I know, I should take  a photo of it one day to record it for posterity. And congratulations to the Village Bell team at the Upper Beaconsfield Association who have taken the time to not only produce a newsletter for nearly 40 years but to make the interesting local information available to everyone by digitising the editions and putting them on their website.

"Settlers and Sawmills" and Bellbrakes, bullocks and bushmen" - the local timber industry

In this post we will look at two great local histories, both written by Mike McCarthy and published by the Light Railway Research Society of Australia  Settlers and Sawmills: a history of West Gippsland Tramways and the industries they served and Bellbrakes, bullocks and bushmen: a sawmilling and tramway history of Gembrook, 1885 - 1985.

I can't believe that I haven't spoken about these two books before because they are both fantastic local histories - meticulously  researched, great information, great photos, great maps and and they cover one of the very early primary industries in this region - the timber industry. Settlers and Sawmills looks at mills and tramlines at Beaconsfield, Officer, Pakenham, Nar Nar Goon, Tynong, Garfield and Bunyip and then continues down the road to Longwarry, Drouin, Warragul to Trafalgar. Bellbrakes, Bullocks and Bushmen covers Gembrook, Gembrook South and Beenak.

As I said before, apart from farming the timber industry was one of  first industries in this area and it was spurred on by the establishment of the Gippsland Railway line that was opened from Oakleigh to Bunyip in October 1877 and fully opened from Melbourne to Sale by 1879. This provided easy transport access to the Melbourne market which needed timber for houses, fences, fuel etc  Early mills that opened in the Gembrook area originally used this line until the Puffing Billy line or Gembrook line was officially opened on December 18, 1900.

Both Officer and Garfield began as railway sidings for the transport of locally harvested timber and then a settlement grew up around the sidings and the towns developed.

I do have a personal interest in this area of our history because my great grandfather, Horatio Weatherhead, and some of my great uncles, Fred, George, Arthur, Frank and Alf Weatherhead are mentioned in this book. Horatio was granted a 2000 acre (just over 800 hectares) sawmilling area at North Tynong in 1908 and the family moved their timber operations from the Wombat forest at Lyonville in 1909. His sons also operated their own mills and Arthur's sons Roy, Max and Cyril also operated a mill, which was worked solely by Roy until 1979.

The books extensively cover the tramways and the mills but also looks at some family history, railway history and the history of some of the local towns.
You can still buy these books from the  Light Railway Research Society of Australia  or you can borrow them from the library - click on the titles for availability  Settlers and Sawmills: a history of West Gippsland Tramways and the industries they served and Bellbrakes, bullocks and bushmen: a sawmilling and tramway history of Gembrook, 1885 - 1985. 

Mount Burnett or Gembrook West - the early days

Mount Burnett is a small town, north of Pakenham Upper and south of Cockatoo and Gembrook. It is known for its Observatory, which was opened by Monash University in the 1970s. When Monash University closed the observatory it was taken over by a small group of  astronomers and it is now a community astronomical observatory. You can read more about it on their website   http://mtburnettobservatory.org/

What else do we know about Mt Burnett?  According to the book From Bullock Tracks to Bitumen: a brief history of the Shire of Berwick (Published by the Berwick Shire Historical Society in 1962) The original Gembrook (which by the way is the only settlement of that name in the world) was thus named on account of the precious gems to be found in the local streams and was mostly  settled from Berwick.....This original settlement is the area to the south and is what was later called West Gembrook and is now known as Mt Burnett.

The present town of Gembrook evolved around the Railway Station when the Puffing Billy or Fern Tree Gully to Gembrook Railway, as it was officially known, opened December 19, 1900. So we know that Mt Burnett was the original town of Gembrook, even though it seems that Upper Gembrook or Gembrook North  developed contemporaneously with West Gembrook. Having said that the term Gembrook West has been used in  newspapers from around 1884, so if it was the original town then it wasn't known as Gembrook for long, as clearly by 1884 it was already 'west' of what they considered to be Gembrook - which may have been around the intersection of Mountain Road and Ure Road as this was where the Gembrook Union Church was opened in 1879. The original Gembrook Post Office opened October 5, 1877.

 The following information about the local schools comes from Vision and Realisation:  a centenary history of State Education in Victoria      The first application for a school at Gembrook West was in 1879, and as you can see by the letter below from The Age, the  parents applied many times for  a school, but State School  No. 3211 did not open until August 9, 1894, with Joseph Morgan as the Head Teacher. The School worked half time with Gembrook South  No. 2155, until it closed just over  a year after it opened on October 31, 1895. This probably indicates that there wasn't much of  a population in the area. Gembrook North State School No. 2506 had started in January 1879 and also worked part time with Gembrook South, No 2155, with the school teacher, Alex Gough riding the 12 miles between the schools on alternate days. Gembrook No. 2506 was made full time in 1883 and is still going so obviously had a larger population base that Gembrook West to sustain a full time school.



The Age January 3, 1890http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197023712

Gembrook West had another try at obtaining a school, this time in 1920 when the residents sent a petition to the Minister of Education. Vision and Realisation says that four acres were purchased from J.A and W.F Crichton, and the community built the school which opened on October 6,  1921. Once again there were very low numbers and the school officially closed on October 5, 1923 however kept working until the end of the year. The students could attend Gembrook No. 2506 or Cockatoo No. 3535. The land was retained.

The parents of Gembrook West made another attempt to get a school for their children and on July 2 1932 the Mount Burnett School, No 4506,  opened, it worked part time with Army Road No. 3847 but only had six children enrolled and closed January 1933. The school was housed  in 'a large room in Mrs Creighton's house' Three years later in January 1936, another school opened, also at Mrs Creighton's  house. The average attendance reached 22 and a new school was built on a block of land owned by the Education Department, presumably the site of the old Gembrook West School and this new building opened February 15, 1937. There is a very grainy photo of the school and the pupils in the report below, from the Weekly Times. As was the fate of the previous three schools in the area, enrolments dropped and by 1946 only 11 children attended the school and the school finally closed on October 24, 1949,according to Vision and Realisation, although an article in the Dandenong Journal says it closed in April 1949,  and the children went to Pakenham Consolidated School.



 Opening of the Mt Burnett  School in February 1937 - Weekly Times March 13 1937http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page23948876

Dandenong Journal April 6, 1949http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article222209832
Some of the teachers were Thomas Francis Lee who was there in 1938, when he was listed in an article as the President of the newly formed Affiliated Labour Teachers' Union, Norman Teychenne McMahon who was there from at least November  1943 until he passed away at the age of  51 in November 1946. 
So what else was there at Mt Burnett? There was a Post Office, then called Gembrook West,  which opened in January 1885. A source in Wikipedia says that the name changed to Mt Burnett in 1921 and it closed in 1978. I don't have any other sources that confirm this, however the school that opened in October 1921 wasn't called Mt Burnett and the first reference I can find to the name in the local newspapers on Trove was in 1924

Gembrook West Post OfficeVictorian Government Gazette January 23 1885   http://gazette.slv.vic.gov.au/
There was a Mt Burnett Progress Association. I can find reports in various newspapers about this organization  from 1937 and from 1954. This reflects reportage on other local Progress Associations when there seemed to be very little activity during the War Years as communities were focused less on local matters and more on 'the War effort'.  
There were some reports in the Dandenong Journal from 1940 to 1944  about the activities of the  Mt Burnett sub-branch of the Dandenong Red Cross  - amongst  the reports it was said that Mt Burnett and other sub-branches still continue to do their part well with donations of cash and knitted goods and only have a small group of workers.


The Weekly Times April 4, 1945http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224893139
There was a Young Farmers Club which was established in late 1944 - they were indeed young farmers as you can see from the article above  Geoffrey and Graham McMahon who rotary hoed a paddock at the school were only 10 and 8 years old.
What else was at Mt Burnett? I don't know - I presume there may have been a shop, but I can't find any reference to it and given the size of the school enrolments it was only ever  a small town, so perhaps that was it. I'd love to hear from you if you know of any other establishments in the town. 
I have created a  list of newspaper articles about the early days of Mt Burnett from Trove, click here to access the list.

Melbourne Hunt Club at Cranbourne by Claire Turner Sandall

This account of the history of the Melbourne Hunt Club was written and researched by the Local History Officer, Claire Sandall (nee Turner) for the Cranbourne Hands on History project, Cranbourne: a town with a history published in 2001. You can access the entire history on-line on the City of Casey website, here.

In 1996, the headquarters of the long established Melbourne Hunt Club along Cameron Street [Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road] were demolished*. The end of these charismatic buildings was the end of an era when Cranbourne and its surrounding districts were at the centre of this traditional sport. Today when you travel along Cameron Street, you will see the construction of a new housing estate called The Hunt Club Estate. This is yet another symbol of the passing of time and the rapidly changing land around Cranbourne. Its rural foundations are gradually disappearing and are being replaced by the trademarks of progress. The Hunt Club name survives and with it a fascinating history that saw the intermingling of ‘elite’ Melbourne society with a farming community.

A long-time member who had enjoyed close associations with the Hunt Club since being a teenager in the 1940s, Mr. Derry Francis remarked that: ‘to see the club house, stables and houses removed recently was a very sad loss of a great lot of memories!’

The English tradition of fox hunting on horseback was established in Australia during the 1830s and the Melbourne Hunt Club dates back to the 1840s. By the 1870s, Melbourne’s wealthy families like the Chirnsides and the Clarkes, indulged in the hunt as a prestigious leisure activity for special occasions. Kangaroo hunts, as well as traditional foxhunts, were also popular. The club needed headquarters to stable members’ horses and to breed the hounds. The hounds were pivotal to the club. A club would become well known for the pedigree of its hounds and for how well the chief huntsmen could train them. Well-trained hounds would ensure a good chase of the fox for the hunters on horseback.

Cranbourne was selected as a new site for the Hunt Club when urban development was squeezing them out of their existing site in Oakleigh during the 1920s**   Fox hunting relies on the availability of space and cooperation with neighbouring farms: land was the key to the survival of the club. Oakleigh’s farms were beginning to disappear, signalling a problem for the club. The Cranbourne site, on the corner of Thompsons and Narre Warren Cranbourne Roads was chosen by a special ‘Country Committee’ of the Melbourne Hunt Club in the late 1920s. The committee included Pakenham identity J.J. Ahern, S.A. Greaves and the owner of the ‘Mayfield’ property in Cranbourne, R.G.Hope. These men provided an important link between the Melbourne gentry society and the Cranbourne and Berwick Shire areas. As influential landowners, they could persuade the Club that Cranbourne would sustain the Club’s endeavours, providing them with plenty of space for their activities and township support.



Alec Creswick, George Missen and Rupert Richardson outside the Berwick Inn. The Melbourne Hunt Club used to gather at the Berwick Inn before setting off for the days hunting.Photo: Berwick Nostalgia: a pictorial history of Berwick

When the club moved to Cranbourne, there had already been a long association with the Casey-Cardinia region. The first Master of the hounds was George Watson, from the I.Y.U property in Pakenham. Permission was required from landowners to hunt across their property and the committee had to work very hard to achieve and maintain this. There was eventually a network of properties that would participate in the hunt, making their land available and allowing the club to install special points in their fences where horses could safely jump. Watson became a stoic figure in the club over the years and enjoyed the benefits of his sons owning land in Narre Warren and Hallam during the 1890s. His son Godfrey Watson owned ‘The Pines’ and kennelled the hounds there during the 1897 season. The Greaves family in the Berwick and Cranbourne district also featured in the history of the Hunt Club. Again they were a useful connection because they owned large properties and allowed the hunts to operate there. Greaves family properties included ‘Fernside’ at Cranbourne and ‘Strathard’ at Narre Warren.

The Hunt Club adopted parts of Cranbourne culture as its own. The sustaining industry during the 1920s and 30s in Cranbourne was dairying and the town was an industry leader in providing the first bottled milk. The Hunt Club picked up on the local culture and the following club poem describing local sites highlights this:
The Lyndhurst, Clyde and Cranbourne chaps
There must be easy seven
And other men from Nar Nar Goon, 
We’d make up to eleven, 
The Huntsmen coves, the General said,
 Put sugar in their tea, 
And Cranbourne milk is pretty strong
 You take the tip from me…. 

The 1920s clubhouse at Cranbourne was the scene of many social engagements, especially refreshments after a hunt, and was a notoriously beautiful building. It was located near the railway line on Narre Warren Cranbourne Road, where the Hunt Club housing estate is now being developed. The buildings could not be seen from the road. They were at the end of a long and winding driveway. The clubhouse was on the left, followed by the Bregazzi house. There was an orchard, dog kennels, exercise yards and a room where all the meat was boiled up for dog food. At the end on the right hand side were the enormous stables. A car could be driven through the centre and there was a chute along which the chaff was shovelled.

A curious and compatible relationship developed between the local Cranbourne community and the patrons of hunting who travelled up from Melbourne. They shared a love of the country and of sport. Horse people and other locals from surrounding properties joined in the club activities, rubbing shoulders with prominent politicians, visiting dignitaries and wealthy business people from the city.
One of Cranbourne’s pioneering families, the Bregazzies, had a special association with the Hunt Club. Keith Bregazzi worked for the club between the early 1930s and 1975 when he retired. Keith was highly respected as ‘the backbone of the Melbourne Hunt Club’. He and his wife Phyllis lived in a cottage on the Hunt Club grounds and were well-known personalities, both locally and among the many and varied club members that came to Cranbourne to enjoy the high-quality organization that Keith quietly and efficiently maintained. He was in charge of the training and breeding of the hounds, the welfare of the horses and the overall property. Club member Derry Francis remembers: We became very friendly with Keith and I often went up to help him with the hounds and horses. On my 15th birthday, I was given a pony ‘Bidgee’ then I could go and help work the hounds pre-season, with Keith and Ted McCoy. Late teens I got a hunter and hunted with the hounds for years. In that period there were 4 different Masters – Sir Alex Creswick, Peter Ronald, Owen Moore and Jeff Spencer – great years!!



This is the Hunt Club at Cranbourne - it's part of the Casey Cardinia Library Corporation Archive collection, but I don't know the date or the source of the photo.

The Club was a very established part of Cranbourne’s identity. There are many memories held by locals who had various involvements with the club, either as members of the Hunt, workers at the hunt complex or as children. Children from nearby properties loved to play at the grounds. Pam Ridgway recalls: We spent a lot of time at the Hunt Club visiting the Bregazzi family. We used to play in the stables and around the kennels. During the hunting season the hunting party looked magnificent in their red coats and black hats. There were hurdles along farmers paddock fences so that there were safe places to jump. 

Locals would follow the hunt by road in cars, on horseback and in jinkers, making a real occasion. The Hunt Club was a prestigious part of Cranbourne for many decades. Its headquarters are now located at Pakenham.



A 1980 aerial photograph of the Melbourne Hunt Club at Cranbourne. It was located on the east side of  Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road and the north side Berwick -Cranbourne Road (Sladen Street extension). The railway line bi-sects the photo.

*I  believe that some of the buildings were removed and that two buildings are now in Modella and being used as a private house [Heather Arnold]

** According to Niel Gunson, The Good Country: Cranboure Shire the Hunt club moved from Oakleigh to Cranbourne in 1925, but according to several reports in local newspapers on Trove, it was actually 1929 that they moved.

Accounts presented for payment July 16, 1974 - City of Berwick

 Step back in time to July 1974 and see how much things cost! This is a list of Accounts presented for payment at a City of Berwick Council meeting held July 16, 1974.

As you might expect wages were the largest expense -$69, 177.52. (Cheque number 1598) A puncture repair at Beaurepaire Tyre Service was $3.30 (cheque 1615)   I paid $30.00  about  a month ago for the same thing. Cr Barry Simon's travel expenses were a very modest $9.54 (cheque 1636)


There was obviously a page 4 of these account, which I don't have so I can't tell you the total of the  expenses

Cr Jan Bateman

Jan Bateman, who was the first female Mayor for the City of Berwick passed away on August 26, 2016 at the age of 81. Mrs Bateman  was a Shire of Berwick Councillor from 1971 until 1973 and then recontested in the first City of Berwick Election held in 1973 and won so she was an inaugural City of Berwick Councillor. She was Mayor 1980/81  - as we said, the  first female Mayor for the City of Berwick. She  resigned from the Council in 1984. Mrs Bateman was re-elected to Council in 1992 and stood down when the Council amalgamations took place in 1994. She then took up the role of one of the Commissioners for the newly created City of Maroondah and served as a Commissioner from January 1995 until March 1997. Mrs Bateman was awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) in recognition of her service to the community in June 1985.


This photograph was taken after the first meeting of the City of Berwick, on October 1 1973 at the Berwick Inn. The newly elected Mayor, Barry Simon, is at the front, behind the bar. Left to right are David Lee, Jack Thomas, Keith Wishart, Sid Pargeter, Jan Bateman, Jim Alexander, Joan Phillips, Ron Irwin, George Chudleigh, John Byron and Bill Hudson. 
Janice Gwendoline Bateman (nee Harrop) and her husband John had moved to Doveton in 1957, according to  a report in a local paper when she was elected Mayor in 1980.  Mrs Bateman was the last of  a trio of pioneering female Councillors who all had the distinction of being the first female Mayor for local Councils. Mrs Jeune Matthews, who passed away in 2012, was the first female Shire President (they are now called Mayors) for the Shire of Pakenham in 1979 and Mrs Judy Elso, who passed away in December 2015 was the first female Shire President of the Shire of Cranbourne in 1988. It's hard to believe now, given that Local Government commenced in this area with the formation of the Cranbourne Road Board in 1860 and the Berwick Road Board in 1862, the precursors of Shires of Cranbourne and Berwick, both of which were established in 1868, that it actually took around 120 years for a female to be given the top job.

Cr Bateman was interviewed in 1994 about the early days of the City of Berwick, you can listen to this here.


 Cr Bateman, the photo isn't dated, but presumably taken during her Mayoral year in 1980.
Interestingly, 1980, the year after Cr Jeune Matthews' stint as Shire President, Jan Bateman was Mayor of Berwick and Cr Lenore Gullquist was Shire President of Pakenham, so Pakenham Shire had the distinction of having two females in the top job in a row. Also of note, while we are talking about pioneering women in local government, the Shire of Berwick had a female Shire Secretary from 1951 until 1966, Miss Beatrice (Trixie) Thomas. This was a rare position for a woman to hold. Miss Thomas was the daughter of Albert Thomas, who founded  the Pakenham Gazette in 1909.



Timbarra Housing Estate, Berwick

The Timbarra Housing Estate was established in November 1989. It was an Urban Land Authority development. The brochure (cover reproduced left) said that the chief objective , in planning this large residential sub-division, is to provide a mix of housing styles and prices on lots of varying size. In this way we will be able to make housing more affordable to more people who have  a variety of lifestyle requirements....It is clear that the traditional three bedroom house on a quarter acre block of land is no longer relevant to a significant proportion of households, many of which are just one or two people....A great deal of planning has gone into ensuring that Timbarra offers all the facilities a growing community will need. A complete range of community facilities, meeting places, walkways, parks and school sites will be provided...

One of these facilities, the Timbarra Community Centre opened July 10, 1993.

Timbarra covered an area of 200 hectares of gently undulating pasture, scattered with shelter belts of trees was the brochure's bucolic description of the land.  An estimated 300 homes will be under construction early in 1990 and by 1994 it was estimated that there would be around 3,000 houses.


Location of Timbarra from the 1989 sales brochure.
We have a brochure (see below) from the Urban Land Authority advertising a ballot to buy land in the Timbarra Estate - The Gateway. The ballot took place May 9, 1992. The brochure includes a number of street plans (or Housing Siting Policy Plans) for Gumnut Court, Magdalene Place, Sunnyside Drive,Coowarra Way, Emma Court, Leonard Avenue, Adelaide Court, Oscar Court, Theodore Terrace and some of The Gateway, so if you live in any of these streets then it is likely that your block of land was purchased on May 9, 1992. You can see one of these plans, below.


The Gateway Ballot May 9, 1992 brochure. Timbarra Housing Estate  was originally in Narre Warren, until a boundary change 'moved' it into Berwick, see more about this, below.The Gateway Lot Plan from the May 9, 1992 brochure

The is the House Siting Policy Plan for Sunnyside Drive and Magdalena Place from the May 9, 1992 brochure
The land was originally farm land owned partially by the Sweeney Family. The Sweeney Brothers, John and Daniel, arrived in Narre Warren around 1854. They had extensive land holdings in Narre Warren on both sides of the Princes Highway including where the Timbarra Estate is now. Daniel remained a bachelor and John married Alice Reedy and they had ten children.  The Sweeney’s have played a major role in the development of Narre Warren. Descendants of John and Alice donated land for the old Narre Warren Oval and for Our Ladies Help of Christians Catholic Church and Don Bosco School. Pat Sweeney sold the land where Timbarra is partially located  to the Housing Commission of Victoria in 1971, but it was later developed by the Urban Land Authority as a private estate not a housing commission estate.

Timbarra is an Aboriginal word meaning Grass Tree, the botanical name of which is Xanthorrhoea Australia. 

As you can see on the 1992 brochure, the Timbarra Estate was originally part of Narre Warren but  is now part of Berwick. The Melway Street Directory Edition 21, 1991 to 1992 has the Timbarra Estate in Narre Warren, with the boundary of Berwick and Narre Warren being Hessel Road. The Melway Street Directory Edition 23, 1995 has Timbarra Estate in Berwick, as the boundary has changed to Narre Warren North Road.  An article in the Berwick City News of January 13, 1994 says that the Office of Place Names has officially assigned boundaries to 10 suburbs in the City of Berwick and the Narre Warrren/Berwick boundary is listed as Hessel Road.

So we can establish that in December 1993 the boundary of Berwick/Narre Warren was Hessel Road and that sometime in 1995 it had changed to Narre Warren North Road.  Thus the Timbarra Estate had ‘moved’ from being in Narre Warren to being in Berwick sometime in 1994 or 1995 but I cannot be more specific than that.

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