Cranbourne Ruins, Frankston Road, taken March 22 1969.Photographer: John T. CollinsState Library of Victoria Image H94.200/1237
This is Willowdale in Cranbourne. We have the following information about Willowdale in our Archive. The information was supplied by Val Bourke (nee Glen) to our previous Local History Officer, Claire Sandell, in 2004.
The Glen family bought the Close property from William Close in 1938. There were around 260 acres and another 160 acres with a two storey brick house. This is where the Amstel Gold Course is located on Cranbourne Frankston Road. Part of this acreage, without the house, was over the road on the side where St Peters School is today.
The Close Property, called Willowdale was a double story brick home, still there in the late 1960s. It is believed that the same builder had constructed Willowdale, Balla Balla and Harewood; all local homes and Willowdale is the only one not here today. It was a rectangle Georgian design in cream brick with a slate roof. The bricks are believed to have been made on the property. Its front door was surrounded in lead light glass - described as being a 'lovely blue' There was a main hallway and stairs to the second level. On the first level, the drawing room was on the right hand side and the two bedrooms on the left hand side. The hallway went through at the back to a meals and kitchen area. There was one chimney, which went through the downstairs bedrooms and then to upstairs.
There was a picket fence at the front of the house, later replaced by wire. Two Norfolk pines stood on the left hand side of the house.
Mrs Bourke's sister, Phyllis Kirkham, also supplied some information on the Glen family. The family, Edward and Philomena (nee Field) Glen and children, moved from Woodside to Lyndhurst onto a property on the corner of Dandenong-Hastings Road and Thompsons Road on the Dandenong side closest to Cranbourne, in 1925. They then took up a farm opposite the Hallam Hotel on the Highway. They then moved back to Lyndhurst and finally to Willowdale. Their mother died when Phyllis was serving in the Air Force as an eighteen year old during the Second World War. All the children had to help on the farm at Willowdale and they worked very hard. The name was changed to Willowglen and then Willowlodge by the Glen family.
At Willowglen the Glens farmed Australian Illawarra Shorthorn cattle and showed them under the name Willowlodge.
Phyllis and her late husband, Jack Kirkham, met at Hallam Primary School when they were children. You can read about the Hallam School and the Kirkham family, here.
Who were the Close family? In 1863 (the first year of the Shire of Cranbourne Rate books that we have) John Close is listed as owning 391 acres in the Parish of Lyndhurst. Later in the 1860s a Mary Close had 316 acres and James Close 75 acres (391 acres in total). John Close died in Cranbourne in 1866 and he left land to his brothers James and Thomas and some assets to his wife Mary. The boys were the sons of Thomas Close and Margaret Gordon. James (who died in 1908) was married to Louisa Hall and amongst their children was a William and I presume that it was this William from whom the Glen family purchased Willowdale.