Links to our Past - history

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.

Mobile Library at Cockatoo by Marcia Holdsworth

A few years ago, Marcia wrote a short history of  Library Services at Cockatoo, and so they don't get lost from our history I thought we would share them in this blog.

Before 1983, the Dandenong Valley Regional Library Service (DVRLS) Mobile library, a Bedford Bus, used to visit Cockatoo once a fortnight for a few hours. It parked in the car park at the top of McBride Street, above the shops.  The staff used a Telxon device to record loans and the data was then downloaded via the telephone back at the Pakenham library.



The Bedford Bus Mobile Library
After the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983 DVRLS set up a joint-use Community Library in an area of the Cockatoo Primary School library. It opened around May of that year and Marcia Holdsworth was appointed Officer in Charge in the October. The Library initially opened to the general public Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning. The cost effectiveness of the Community Library was re-assessed in 1992 and after negotiations with the School it was decided to phase out the service and re-introduce a Mobile Library Service.

Thus in January 1993 the Mobile timetable was expanded to include a stop at Cockatoo. The mobile had been recently upgraded to a brand new semi-trailer mobile provided by the then Pakenham Shire. It now parked at the Cockatoo Kindergarten/Bowling green car park in McBride Street. The new vehicle visited every Thursday afternoon until 7.30pm and with the extended hours the circulation increased. The Mobile Library still visits Cockatoo every Thursday from 1.30pm until 7.30pm.


This is the only photo we have of the Cockatoo Library, sadly, it's fairly ordinary quality. It was taken by the Shire of Pakenham in the 1980s.

The local Catholic Community from the pages of The Advocate

The Advocate is available on Trove from 1868 until 1954. The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne website provides this great summary of this paper Melbourne’s Advocate was one of Australia’s great Catholic newspapers. It was first published on 1 February 1868 by Samuel Vincent Winter and his brother Joseph to report on events in Australia and overseas from the viewpoint of the Catholic paradigm. Its goal was to “fairly and intelligently represent the Catholic and Irish section of the community, and, while defending their legitimate interests, would aim at promoting the prosperity of the colony, and cultivating a friendly feeling among all classes of the community”. In 1902, The Advocate imported a font of Irish type and became the first newspaper in Australia to be able to print the Gaelic language. In 1919, The Advocate was bought by the Archdiocese of Melbourne and became its official newspaper. The Advocate remained a weekly newspaper up until it ceased publication in 1990. 

 In this post we will take a look at the sorts of local historical information we can find in The Advocate, concentrating on reports of the opening of Catholic Churches in the Casey Cardinia region, but before we do here is a short overview of the Parish structure in the area. As early as the 1840s Priests from Melbourne used to visit the area - Pakenham, Nar Nar Goon and the Western Port region. In 1853  the Brighton Misson was established, a very large area that covered the south east part of Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula, Bass Coast and West Gippsland. In April 1883 the Dandenong Parish or Mission  was established which covered nearly all of the Casey Cardinia region, plus Dandenong, Phillip Island, down to Wonthaggi and the Mornington Peninsula. This Parish was eventually split up with the Iona Parish being created in 1905, Koo-Wee-Rup in 1946, St Mary's North Tynong (or Maryknoll) in 1950 (combined with Iona in 1968), Pakenham in 1954, Berwick (including Cranbourne) in 1956, Doveton in 1962, Cranbourne in 1973, Endeavour Hills in 1980 and Narre Warren in 1982. This information and some of the information in the rest of this post comes from A Parish carved from the bush: the centenary history of the Dandenong Parish, 1883-1983.

Back to The Advocate -  the first Catholic Church in the area was St Agatha's at Cranbourne which was opened on February 6, 1861, so a bit too early to be reported in The Advocate. However, the  second St Agatha's which was opened on January 20, 1929 had a full page report, which you can read here. This church was opened by Archbishop Mannix and the total cost including fit-out was just over 3,100 pounds. The current St Agatha's was built in 1981. This Church was partially funded by a generous bequeath of $492,000 from Mr Eddie Donnelly who passed away in 1979. You can read more of the history on their website   http://www.stagathas.org.au/



The opening of St Agatha's Church at Cranbourne in 1929 with the original weatherboard Church next to it.
The next church to open was St Patrick's in Pakenham which opened in 1871. The existing Church was built in 1976. The original Church is still standing and is now part of the St Patrick's School.


A report on the building of St Patricks in The Advocate July 29, 1871.http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article170154046


An early photo of St Patricks at Pakenham.Source: North of the Line:  a pictorial record published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical society
The first Berwick Catholic Church was officially opened by Archbishop Goold on March 31, 1878. It was originally known as St Joseph's, but later changed to  St Michael's. The Advocate described the Church as a handsome and commodius edifice. You can read the full report here. The second Church at Berwick was opened on January 24 1937 by Archbishop Mannix.  The Advocate had  full report, including photographs, which you can read here.  The old wooden church was removed having been sold to Dan Cunningham of Nar Nar Goon, but burnt down before he could use it. The current St Michael's Church was opened in 1984.
Archbishop Mannix at the opening of St Michael's in Berwick in 1937.The Advocate January 28, 1937.http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article171926375
St Joseph's at Iona was the next Church to be opened, which took place on December 16, 1900. Iona was  known as Bunyip South until 1905. The current St Joseph's Church was opened on April 14 1940. You can read The Advocate report about this  here.


The opening of St Joseph's Iona in December 1900.The Advocate December 22, 1900http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article169870021


Iona Church and Presbytery, c. 1909Photo: 100 years of a faith community: St Joseph’s Iona 1905-2005 by Damian Smith (St Joseph’s Catholic Church, 2005)

The first decade of the twentieth century continued to be  a busy time for the Dandenong Mission with three other Churches  established. Two years after Iona, another Church was opened on the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp, this time at Koo-Wee-Rup. St John the Baptist Church  was opened on August 24, 1902. You can read about this here. The current Church, built in Modernist Design, was opened in 1962. The Nar Nar Goon Catholic Church opened on May 29, 1904 on land donated by James Kelly.  There is a short account in The Advocate here. The current St James was opened on March 13, 1971. On September 14, 1908 the Lang Lang Church was opened, it is called St Marys. The Advocate report can be found here


St John the Baptist Church at Koo-Wee-Rup, 1950s.Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photograph.

The  Tooradin Catholic Church  opened on December 3, 1922 and, as befits a fishing village, it was named St Peters, after the Patron Saint of Fishermen. The report is here. The Church was closed and the building was moved to St Peter's College in Cranbourne in 2003 where it is used as a Chapel.  A few weeks later, on December 31, 1922 Scared Heart Catholic Church at Gembrook opened. Here is the report. The Church was scheduled to be officially opened in July 1922, but the Archbishop couldn't make it due to the bad state of the roads after a lot of rain,  it was rescheduled for October and had to be postponed again for the same reason. Gembrook was in the Fern Tree Gully Parish. 
On September 3, 1950 St Mary's Rural Settlement was opened by Archbishop Mannix at North Tynong. Now called Maryknoll, you can read about the history of the settlement here.  The Holy Family Church was opened in 1963, so we can't read a report on Trove as The Advocate is only digitised until 1954, about it, but this is the link to the report of the opening of the Community from The Advocate of September 6, 1950.
The Advocate September 6 1950http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article219303689

There are other Catholic Churches in Casey Cardinia which were opened after 1954 - The Holy Family Church at Doveton was opened in 1960. In either late 1961 or early 1962 St Kevin's at Hampton Park was opened - this was in a building that had been transported to the site - the old St Leonard's Church from Glen Waverley. You can see  a photo of it on a blog post I have written on the history of Hampton Park here. They appear to have  a newer building now, but I don't have any details on it. Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church was opened in February 1980 at Narre Warren and the St Paul Apostle Catholic Church at Endeavour Hills was opened on August 14, 1983.
If you come from a Catholic Family there is a whole range of local and family information in The Advocate which may be of interest including  obituaries, school activities, debutante balls, advertisements from Catholic businesses, sports results, charity reports, crime reports.

Shire of Berwick - Report to Ratepayers - 1968/1969

This is a copy of the 'Report to Ratepayers' produced by the Shire of Berwick for 1968/1969. The Shire had an estimated population of 30,000 and covered the area from Doveton all the way down the Railway line to Bunyip and the towns north of the Highway - Narre Warren North, Harkaway, Beaconsfield Upper, Cockatoo and Gembrook and south of the Highway - Cora Lynn and Iona. There were 14,450 voters on the roll and 15,500 rateable properties. The Shire of Berwick was split onto the City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakenham in October 1973 - you can read about the chronological development of Local Government in our area here.

This shows the old Berwick Post Office in Gloucester Avenue. The Centenary Celebrations would have commemorated 100 years since the proclamation of the Shire of Berwick in 1868. The Shire Office was located in Pakenham on the corner of Main Street and John Street.

List of Councillors.

Shire statistics and a some instructions on payments of Rates. Rates, of course, was considered one of the key tenets or '3 Rs' of Local Government - the other two being Roads and Rubbish. The photo is of Edrington at Berwick - the home of the then Governor General of Australia - Lord Casey.

List of mainly Road works carried out in 1968 - the major works were carried out in the Doveton Ward, this being the most populated and also the Riding or Ward that brought in the most Rates.

On the left is the continuation of the Plans for 1969 and the right page lists some of the services provided by the Council. 2080 tons of rubbish was collected the previous year, which was burnt at Beaconsfield.

List of Rubbish tips - back when they were called 'Rubbish tips' not 'Waste management centres'. On the right page is  a list of all the Infant Welfare Centres in the Shire.

A list of other Council services and the photo is of the new Gembrook Pre-School Centre.

 A few 'Points to Observe' - the photo is of the Doveton Swimming Centre.

Tulliallan property at Cranbourne

This is a history of the Tulliallan property, which is situated in Clyde Road in Cranbourne, although most of the newspaper articles I have found on the property say it is at Berwick and now the area is technically called Cranbourne North. It is  a property that has had many prominent or socially connected owners and a few name changes. The Tulliallan property is Lots 28,29 and 45 in the Parish of Cranbourne - south of Glasscocks Road (or Pound Road as that section of road was previously known)  and  a portion is either side of Clyde Road.


Here's a bit of a mud map of Tulliallan - the property was Lots 28,29 and 45 in the Parish of Cranbourne. Click on the map to enlarge it.
Tulliallan was part of the Garem Gam Run of 3,200 acres (1300 hectares) taken up by James Bathe and T.J Perry in 1837, although some sources say it was 1840 before they actually settled on the run.  In 1845 it was subdivided and the eastern part was called Ravenhurst  and the other section was Mayune. However by 1850 or 1851 it appears that the property was leased as a whole again by Benjamin Rossiter, Maurice Feehan and Sarah O’Shea. By 1854  Benjamin Rossiter owned Lot 28 (316 acres) and his sons Charles and Thomas own Lot 45 (80 acres) amongst other land. Joseph Henderson owed Lot 29, 316 acres.


This is from The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire by Niel Gunson (Cranbourne Shire, 1968) and you can see the location of Benjamin Rossiter's Station
Benjamin Rossiter (1786 - 1858) and his wife Zillah Baynton (1789 - 1871)  had arrived in the Western Port area in 1842, having come out from Somersetshire in 1841. Benjamin Rossiter called his property Ravenhurst and this is where he died in 1858. His sons, Charles and Thomas, also used the Ravenhurst name for their property and they became the owners of  Lot 28 after their father died.


The Argus January 30, 1858http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7145810
Gunson  says that Charles (1820 to 1895)  lived at Ravenhurst  until 1873 when he moved to Hawksdale at Yallock. However, the Rate Books have Thomas Rossiter owning Lots 28 and 45 until 1875, when the land was sold to William Palmer, so he obviously stayed a bit longer.    Charles married Ellen O’Shea in 1854 - she is from the family that gave the name to O’Sheas Road.  They had eight children.   Charles was an original Committee member of the Mornington Farmers Society from 1856, a  Cranbourne Shire Councillor from 1869 to 1884 and Shire President on four occasions. Charles Rossiter bred draught horses and also agitated for the first school in the Yallock/ Koo-Wee-Rup area and he  is the source of the name Rossiter Road in Koo-Wee-Rup.
The Rossiter family married into other local families - Charles and Thomas’ sister, Mercy Rossiter (1823 - 1903)  married Henry Wedge (of the family that gave Wedge Road its name) Thomas Rossiter (1831-1907)  died in Parkes in New South Wales where he was living at the time. Thomas was also involved in the Mornington Famers Society in the early years. The Society held its first show at Cranbourne in 1857and from 1860 alternated between Cranbourne and Berwick however by the late 1880s the show was held only at Berwick.

The Rossiters sold out to William Palmer in 1875 (according to the Shire of Cranbourne Rate Books) and around 1881/1882 Lots 28 and 45 were purchased by the grandly named Stratford Strettle. By 1885 he also owns Lot 29 so this brings the two parcels of land that eventually make up Tulliallan together. Strettle called the property Gladys Park.  Stratford Abraham  Strettle was an Auctioneer and it was his firm that handled the sale of Palmers land in 1882, so it looks like he purchased it for himself.

The Age July 26, 1882http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198571466
There was a clearing sale at the property in December 1886 due to Stratford Strettle leaving the property and after this the property is leased to various tenants.   This may have been prompted by the death of Stratford’s brother, William, who accidentally shot himself dead at the house in July 1885. You can read an account of the inquest in the Weekly Times here.  Mr Strettle was apparently a generous host and you can read one account of his Christmas Festivities here.   There are reports of a legal case involving money owed by Strettle to a Miss Virginia Block. You can read about it here

In 1904, Mrs James Gibb purchases Gladys Park from Stratford Strettle  and by 1910 the Rate books list James Gibbs as the owner. The Hon James Gibb (1843 - 1919) and his brother Robert were the sons of Alexander Gibb of Campbellfield. James was the M.L.A for Mornington from 1880 to 1886 and also owned Melville Park (now Edrington in Berwick, the former home of Lord and Lady Casey) Gibbs was also a draught horse breeder and described as one of the most enterprising farmers in the State - a champion ploughman, gentleman an politician.   He was a Shire of Berwick Councillor for 30 years and the Federal Member for Flinders from 1903 to 1906.  His obituary in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of March 6, 1919 said that he could claim the credit for tree planting which made Berwick one of the most charming townships in southern Victoria. 

Robert Gibb farmed for his brother, and was also involved with the Mornington Farmers Society and a local Magistrate.  He and his wife moved to Oakleigh in 1914 and he died in 1923.

The next owner of the property was Jessie Halbert. I don't know anything about this person, they held the property for under two years and a  Joseph Halbert had part of the St Germains Estate at Clyde at the same time. Are they Joseph and Jessie Halbert, the parents of Jessie Mary Vasey who was the founder of the War Widows Guild of Australia and was instrumental in getting an increase in the War Widows pension by linking it to the rate of the basic wage?  It's an interesting connection, if this was the case,  and you can read more about Jessie Vasey in the Australian Dictionary of Biography here.

In 1913, Jessie Halbert sells to Lieutenant George A. Mitchell and it  was Mitchell who named the property Tulliallan. The Rate Books list George Mitchell owning  the property form 1913 to 1919. I am fairly certain that George is the son of Captain James Mitchell and Elizabeth (nee Anderson) of Tulliallan, Williamstown and thus when he purchased his farm in 1913 he named it Tulliallan after his family home. Captain James Mitchell was a Master Mariner, joined the Port Phillip Sea Pilots, one of the founders of the Victorian Stevedoring Co. Association and one obituary says that he was on the Committee which chose the design for the Commonwealth flag. He died in 1927 and there are advertisements in the paper for the sale of his house Tulliallan at Williamstown.  As a matter of interest one of the pall bearers at his funeral was Jules Commans who owned 540 hectares on both the north and south side of Heatherton Road in what is now called Endeavour Hills.

There are various mentions in papers on Trove which connect Lieutenant George Mitchell to Captain James Mitchell. The family appear to have been well connected and there are references in the social pages of various Melbourne papers to the engagement and weddings of the children of James and Elizabeth Mitchell.

Lieutenant Mitchell enlisted at the age of 24 on July 15, 1915. He was a 2nd Lieutenant and his next of kin was his wife, Mary Ione Mitchell. He was discharged in October 1916 as he had a ‘Commission in the Imperial Army’ and he later joined the Royal Air Force.  He obviously sold the property on his return after the war, and is listed in the Electoral Roll  as a broker and living in Melbourne. In the 1950s George and Mary were living at Ardleigh in Emerald. George died in 1965.


Advertisement for the sale of Tulliallan from The Age February 15 1919http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article155220952
Lieutenant Mitchell sold 'his most charming country home together with 743 acres of land' to Frederick Charles Curtis. The house was described as a very nice homestead, in splendid order, of 12 rooms with large billiard room, large dining room, large reception room and four large bedrooms. Hot and cold water laid on with a splendid service and the homestead is sewered. The outbuildings consist of detached kitchen, 2 pantries, 2 maids rooms, servants quarters, mens rooms........there is  a nice drive of English trees from the main road to the homestead and it is laid out with  a very nice lawn and summer house and has one of the best  gardens to be found in any country home of its size  near Melbourne. The building is listed on the City of Casey Heritage Study and you can access the citation here.

Frederick Curtis was Cranbourne Shire Councillor from 1925 to 1928.  I don’t know much about him, his wife, whom he married in 1905, was Florence Maud Crabtree and his occupation in the Electoral Rolls  was listed as grazier. Some of the activities of the family were reported in the social columns of the Melbourne papers including, in 1927,  a ‘coming of age  for their only daughter Gwennyth and a 21st celebration of their eldest son Keith’ - the headline was ‘a jolly evening at Berwick.’ Amongst the guests were local names such Greaves, Brunt, Whiteside, Loveridge.  In 1932 it was reported in the Dandenong Journal that Mr Curtis had purchased Oakdene in Langhorne Street, Dandneong. According to the Electoral Roll, Keith stayed at Tulliallan until the property was sold in 1938.


Table Talk March 31 1927http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146470818
In 1938, Faris Addison Palfreyman purchased Tulllian; he was a English Leicester and Romney Marsh sheep breeder. When the property was sold by Palfreyman in November 1946, the purchase price included the entire stock of stud sheep and Aberdeen Angus cattle valued at £8000. Palfreyman then moved to Queensland.  In May 1926, Faris Palfreyman was the best man at the wedding of Beatrice Fischer to Arthur Long - Beatrice was the granddaughter of Jules Commans, who as we found out before, was a colleague and pall bearer at the funeral of Captain James Mitchell, whose son George was a previous owner of Tulliallan. You can read all about this fashionable wedding at St Johns Church in Toorak in the Table Talk newspaper here. Is this a coincidence that Faris later became an owner of the Tulliallan property or was he already familiar with Tulliallan when he purchased the property as it appears he moved in the same social circles as the Mitchells?  Faris deid in 1983 at the age of 80.
In 1946,  James McKenzie  Elder purchased Tulliallan. I don’t have much information on him, however he married Nancy Russell Barrett in 1929 and he was the son of prominent business man, Sir James Alexander Elder and Margaret Blyth Nicoll - you can read about Sir James in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, here. The family also had their social activities reported in the social columns of the Melbourne papers - in March 1953 there was a report of a dance at Tulliallan where ‘guests sat on hay bales at open fires and danced in the sylvan setting at an outdoor party’  Susan Curtis, James’ daughter, hosted the party. Amongst the guests were some visitors from the Western District and some members of the socially prominent Chirnside family. Susan’s marriage to Geoffrey Haggard, son of the late Commander Geoffrey Haggard, R.N was the subject of a report and  a photograph in The Argus in November 1953. In December 1954 a dinner dance was held at Tulliallan for 150 people in honour of Ian Elder, Susan’s brother.

The Argus March 2 1953http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23230891

James and Nancy Elder were still at Tulliallan in 1972, according to the Electoral rolls and James died in 1978 aged 76 and Nancy in 1974, aged 70. We will leave  this history of Tulliallan owners with the Elders, but as you can see it has had many interesting at at times socially prominent and well connected owners.

Limerick Arms Hotel and the O'Brien family, Nar Nar Goon

In 1983 Kathleen Fitzpatrick (1905 to 1990) wrote a book Solid Bluestone foundations:  memories of an Australian childhood. In it she talks about her great grandparents, Daniel and Brigid O'Brien, who lived at Nar Nar Goon. You can read more about Katlheen Fitzpatrick in the Australian Dictionary of Biography  here.
In the 1860s, Daniel and Brigid (nee Walsh) O’Brien built the Limerick Arms Hotel on the corner of Wilson Road and the Gippsland Road (now called the Princes Highway) at Nar Nar Goon. Daniel, Brigid and their daughter one year old daughter Ellen had arrived in Melbourne in September  1841 on the Forth. Also on the same ship were John and Betty Dore  and their children Edward, Thomas, Patrick , Ellen. In 1844, John Dore and Michael Hennessey took up the Mount Ararat Run at Nar Nar Goon of 1,900 acres. The partnership existed until 1855. Hennessey then moved to Dandenong and built the Bridge Hotel and later took over the Eumemmerring Hotel. In the 1860s, Dore purchased the 640 acre Mt Ararat pre-emptive right. He later purchased another 387 acres and his son Thomas 300 acres so they held a total of 1,300 acres. The property was later bisected by the railway line when it was built in 1877.

The Limerick Arms Photo from Solid Bluestone Foundations by Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Penguin 1986)
Back to the O'Briens  - Daniel was a builder and the plan was to work in Victoria for four years save enough money and then return home, as it was they never did return to Ireland. The family first went to Waurn Ponds near Geelong where Daniel worked as a builder. They then  decided to buy some land  - Waurn Ponds being too dry looking they decided to buy in Gippsland and brought a farm called The Swamp at Mt Ararat or Nar Nar Goon, perhaps they were influenced in this decision by the Dores. 

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

Because the children needed an education the O'Briens moved back to town and built a house in North Melbourne so the children could go to school.  Daniel was again working as a builder but  his business partner stole the proceeds of the business and this forced the family to move back to Nar Nar Goon where they opened the Limerick Arms. This was  a success  as the Gippsland Road went as far as Sale and there was lots of traffic; it was also a Cobb and Co Coach stop.   The hotel also had  a reputation for being spotlessly clean and offering good meals. Every six months  a Priest would visit, and conduct a mass and also baptise any babies that needed  that sacrament.  The services were either held at the Limerick Arms or the Dore's House. 
A succession of tutors were employed by the O'Briens until they settled on Daniel Ahern. The O'Briens and the Dores also built a school on Mt Ararat Creek for their own children and the the neighbouring children and Daniel Ahern was the teacher. Mr Ahern later taught at Eumemmerring State School, later called Hallam State School from 1870 to 1890. you can read about this school here. Daniel was the father of James Joseph Ahern, Shire of Berwick Secretary from 1906 until 1948.

Daniel died in 1886 at the age of 82 and Brigid in 1888 at the age of  77. The Limerick Arms was delicensed in 1908 and the building has been demolished. The son of Daniel and Brigid, Michael and his wife Johanna (nee Mulcahy) opened the Nar Nar Goon Horel in 1883.

*The information about the O'Brien children comes from Early Settlers of the Casey Cardinia District by the Narre Warren & District Family History Group.

Casey Cardinia Heritage Festival 2016




The Casey Cardinia region has a rich heritage with many treasures waiting to be discovered. Visit our Heritage Festival and delve into the history of the area through the photographic displays  provided by local heritage and historical groups and find answers to your local history questions. 
Local history books will also be available for purchase.
The Australian Great War Association will be there with a Great War display and  the Narre Warren and District Family History Group can help with genealogy queries.  If the weather is fine, Lord Casey’s Bentley will be on show.
Devonshire Teas available from the Officer Owls CWA (fee applies)
Venue: Officer Public Hall, Tivendale Road, Officer.Free entry.

Yakkerboo Festival turns 40!

The Yakkerboo Festival in Pakenham  is turning 40 - the Festival will be held on Sunday, April 17 and the theme is not suprisingly  - 'Living in the 70s'.  Thanks to Andrew Trotter, who has always been  a big supporter of this blog - we can trace the early days of the Festival. Andrew has spent a lot of time at the State Library of Victoria looking through the Pakenham Gazette newspapers and has supplied the following images connected to the early days of Yakkerboo. You can see  more pictures of other Yakkerboo Festivals here.

Image: Andrew Trotter from the Pakenham Gazette September 3, 1975
In the Pakenham Gazette of September 3, 1975 on page 9 there was this advertisement (above)   from the Shire of Pakenham for  a public meeting to be held on September 17 to elect a Committee to plan a 'Festival of Culture and Art'. 
Image:  Andrew Trotter  from Pakenham Gazette September 24, 1975 page 1
The Festival meeting was well attended by around 40 people representing more than 20 different organisations  including Rotary, Jaycees, Fire Brigade, Western Port Light Opera Society and the  Historical Society. 
Image:  Andrew Trotter  from the Pakenham Gazette October 15, 1975 
The next meeting  elected an executive of nine people - Deputy Shire Secretary, Ray Canobie, was elected Secretary - other committee members were Miss L. Cornwall, Cr Michael Bishop, Cr Keith Ewenson, and P.B Ronald. D.J Bourke, R. Utber., R. Walden and W. Grubb. Five sub-committees were established. According to the Pakenham Gazette report on October 15 the meeting failed to come up with a suitable name for the Festival. However there was general agreement that basically the theme of the activities should be district community involvement encompassing all ages, all towns and all walks of life . District residents were invited to submit  names for the competition and to devise an appropriate symbol.

Image:  Andrew Trotter from the Pakenham Gazette October 29, 1975 page 1
A further meeting was held and Mr Roy Walden was elected as the Chairman and other sub-committees were established. The competition for the name and the logo of the Festival attracted some good entries and the judging was to take place on November 7 1975. A report in the Pakenham Gazette of November 12 said the name Yakkerboo was selected and it was an Aboriginal word meaning 'Where the grass is green' The article did not say who suggested the name and no finality was reached in regard to an emblem.  Planning for the event took place over the next few months


Image: Andrew Trotter from the Pakeham Gazette March 27, 1976.
The emblem which was eventually selected was Mr Yakkerboo, shown above in this promotion for the Festival from the Pakenham Gazette of March 24, 1976.

Image: Andrew Trotter from the Pakeham Gazette March 27, 1976.
This article (above) from the  Pakenham Gazette of March 24, 1976 tells us some of the events that woulfd take place during the Yakkerboo Festival with the Street Parade to take place on Saturday, March 27 1976 at 11.00am. The floats started at the Recreation Reserve in Henry Street, went down John Street to Main Street and then ended up at the Pakenham Racecourse (this was before the Racecourse moved out of town to Tynong)

Image: Andrew Trotter from the  Pakenham Gazette January 21, 1976
This Festival Programme mentions the all important Queen of the Yakkerboo Festival. All the towns in the Pakenham Shire selected a 'Princess' to represent them and she would then be crowned at the Festival Ball held on Friday, March 5. Around 350 people attended the Ball held at the Pakenham High School. There were thirteen 'Princesses' but the winner was sixteen year old Sandra Burns from Officer. She was a Form Six (Year 12) student at Pakenham High and she won a trip to Tasmania and accommodation at the Wrest Point Casino. 

Image: Andrew Trotter from the Pakenham Gazette March 10, 1976
This is Sandra Burns the inaugural Queen of Yakkerboo, with local State politician, Robert Maclellan, M.L.A

Image: Andrew Trotter from the  Pakenham Gazette March 10, 1976
I don't have the names of all the thirteen Princesses - but this photo shows (left to tight) Christine Brown (Pakenham Upper)  Julie Gow (Cora Lynn) Mary Hermans (Nar Nar Goon), Sandra, Helen Hermans (Garfield) and Kim Jones (Bunyip)
Image: Andrew Trotter  from the Pakenham Gazette March 31, 1976.
The Street Parade held on March 27 1976 was a huge success with 60 floats and an estimated 3000 people in attendance. This is the Pakenham Jaycees exhibit - a five man bicycle team - with Ian Davie, Ted Sloan, Robert Noack, Russell Broadbent and Rick Annul. Russell Broadbent is now the Federal member for McMillan.
Image: Andrew Trotter  from the Pakenham Gazette March 31, 1976.
This is the Guides and Brownies float - 'Eight points of Guiding' which won the Best Community Organisation float'
Image: Andrew Trotter  from the Pakenham Gazette March 31, 1976.
Cockatoo Kindergarten float.
Congratulations to the Yakkerboo Festival for 40 successful years and hopefully 40 more to come!

The Dandenong Journal and local Progress Associations

Trove, the National Library of Australia digitised newspaper website, are in the process of adding the Dandenong Journal from 1927 until 1954. You can access Trove at http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/

The Dandenong Journal has coverage of the old Shire of Cranbourne and Shire of Berwick so you can find lots of local content, it’s not all just about Dandenong. This post looks at the activities of local Progress Associations mainly through the correspondence they wrote to the local Councils. Many towns had Progress Associations from the late 1920s to the 1950s - Bayles, Clyde, Dalmore, Garfield, Hallam, Hampton Park, Koo-Wee-Rup, Lang Lang, Lyndhurst South, Pakenham, Pakenham South, Tooradin and Warneet to name some. Like many community organisations which rely on volunteers some formed, then were disbanded and then reformed years later. There was naturally less reporting on the Associations during the Second World War – I guess complaints about road conditions and drainage issues seemed trivial at the time, plus the community was involved with supporting the War effort.

Warneet Progress Association formed in December 1945 and one of their  activities in December 1947 was to fill the vacancies on the Warneet Foreshore Committee and to have  a site set aside for  a Public Hall (the hall still hasn’t been built). In 1953 the Progress Association asked for the construction of two ‘public conveniences’ (one at each jetty)  as even though the town had only five permanent resident families there was a big weekend population, with 40 to 50 car loads of visitors. The town had already received a grant of £1280 from the Tourist Resorts Fund but wanted the Cranbourne Shire Council to put in the remaining 25 per cent and to take responsibility for the buildings. The Council was happy to subsidise one building but felt that the Warneet Foreshore Committee should be responsible for the upkeep.

In another coastal town, the Tooradin Progress Association asked for assistance in 1928 to carry out works on the Tooradin picnic grounds but the Cranbourne Shire said no funds were available. In the same year, they complained about the state of the ‘main coast road’ – the South Gippsland Highway and also complained about the action of the Koo-Wee-Rup Progress Association in diverting traffic from Koo-Wee-Rup along to Pakenham (so thus avoiding Tooradin).


Tooradin Camping Ground, 1940s.
Dalmore Progress Association was established before the War and it re-formed in 1953 with 60 members attending the first meeting. Some of their first activities included holding a Ball, entering a float in the Coronation day procession at Koo-Wee-Rup, forming a badminton Club and notifying Council about the state of local roads and drains. In 1953 the Pakenham South Progress Association complained to the Council about Ballarto Road; they wanted it graded and the drains cleared out.

The Bayles Progress Association in 1928 asked the Cranbourne Shire Council for four lamps that they had promised them for street lighting. The same year they said that ‘approximately 20 services would be required in the sanitary area at Bayles’  -  as this would require the Council  ‘night man’ to empty the toilet pans at these properties, the Council decided that the service would be too costly. A year later they wanted a bridge built to give access to the Recreation Reserve; I am not sure where this Recreation Reserve actually was.  In 1947, they asked the Council to fence off the local bridges to assist farmers and drovers with cattle. They also asked the Council if they could take over some adjoining railway land to extend the park at Bayles, described by one Councillor as ‘a nice little park’ which had been established by the Association.



Looking west towards Harmer Road, Hallam, mid 1950s.
In August 1926 the Hallam Progress Association complained about the destruction of the red gum trees on the Princes Highway due to the construction of a telephone line by the Post Master General’s Department. They also advocated for the establishment of a branch of the Commonwealth Bank at Hallam. In July 1930, the Association was once again concerned about trees, this time, they complained about the type of trees being planted by the Country Roads Board and they felt ‘a more suitable tree should be used as the ones already planted seemed to make very little headway’. In February 1942 the Hallam Progress Association asked the Berwick Shire Council to apply to the Bill’s Trust for a water trough at Hallam. An interesting request as obviously there was still a large number of locals travelling by horse and cart, not motor vehicles, if they required a horse trough. In June 1953, the Progress Association, in conjunction with the Hallam State School ‘screened a colour film’ to mark the Coronation. In November 1954, the Association complained to the Berwick Shire Council about the lack of  a Recreation Reserve at Hallam. This was in response to the Shire purchasing land at Pakenham for a Reserve – the Hallam Progress Association ‘cannot see what development there is in Pakenham compared to Hallam in the future’ and they accused the Council of ‘lacking in foresight’ At the same Council meeting the Progress Association asked 'waht area constituted Hallam proper' -  Kays Avenue to Tinks Road, Heatherton Road to the Shire Boundary with Cranbourne Shire - the eastern section is now called Narre Warren and  the northern section is now called Endeavour Hills



Dandenong Journal November 17, 1954

In January 1944, the Pakenham Progress Association requested that the Berwick Shire widen the Main Street by reducing the size of the footpaths. The spokesperson said ‘that five feet of each footpath served no other useful purpose than to grow grass and there could be some serious accidents as some motorists parked four feet out from the kerb’

The Koo-Wee-Rup Progress Association in 1928 wanted permission from the Cranbourne Shire Council to plant trees in Rossiter Road from Denham’s Road to Henry Street. A year later they were complaining about the state of Moody Street. In June 1944, the Association put in ‘numerous requests’ to the Council - the Dandenong Journal uses this head line on more than one occasion.  ‘No less than seven requests’ were before the Council - amongst the requests they wanted a foot bridge over the Station Street drain for use of the flax mill employees; they wanted a section of Sybella Avenue sealed and they wanted Boundary Road put into a ‘serviceable condition’ The next month they put another long list of requests in including some repeat numbers from the last time, because they regarded the replies to the original list as not being satisfactory. In 1947, the Progress Association agitated for the re-location of the Shire Offices from Cranbourne to Koo-Wee-Rup which was ‘a more central situation’. There was bit of discussion about this issue and a Councillor complained that the Progress Association was always late with their correspondence (thus presumably this could not be read before the meeting) and had to be put into extra correspondence and that the ‘Association was very critical of the Council and what the Council doesn’t do’ and ‘it’s time they woke up to themselves’

Because the Dandenong Journal gave full reports on the Cranbourne Shire and Berwick Shire Council meetings including the names of people who wrote letters to the Council about various issues, and  there is also news about various local families including obituaries so if you have a long time connection to what is now the Casey Cardinia area then you might find some mention of one of your family members.  You can access the Dandenong Journal on Trove at http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/.

Cranbourne Railway Station - electric rail service opening March 25 1995.

 Cranbourne was on the Great Southern Railway line which commenced construction in 1887 and was completed to Korumburra in 1891 and later extended to Port Albert. Passenger services beyond Dandenong ceased in June 1981 but goods services continued to operate. In 1992, the goods trains ceased and this is when the line beyond Leongatha was taken up. The passenger service was reinstated on December 9 1984 and continued to run until July 23 1993. After that every town beyond Dandenong was without  a train service, however trains returned between Dandenong and Cranbourne when the electric train line was established (there are still no trains beyond Cranbourne but that's another story) and these photographs were taken at the official opening of this electric train service to Cranbourne on March 25, 1995.

Two other stations have since been established between Dandenong and Cranbourne - Merinda Park Station opened  in conjunction with the new electrified line and Lynbrook Station opened April 2012.



Naturally at any official event there are a raft of politicians - this is Senator Gareth Evans at the podium, on the right is Robert Macellan who was then the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Pakenham. On the left is Alan Brown, Member for Gippsland West in the Legislative Assembly and Minister for Public Transport.


View of the Railway Station

Waiting for the train


A local band provided some entertainment for the occasion.

I presume this is the first train to arrive - it's nearly there!

It's getting closer!  I put this photo on our Casey Cardinia Heritage Facebook page and some-one commented that 'it was good to see that good to see that they sent down a a nice shiny train for the opening. You can still see where they washed the graffiti off it!'

 It's here!
Interestingly, the line to Pakenham was electrified from Pakenham to Warragul in 1954 and this was extended to Traralgon in 1956, due I believe to the traffic generated by the Yallourn open cut coal mines and power stations. This was  a full 40 years before Cranbourne, even though the line beyond Pakenham has now been de-electrified.

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