Links to our Past - history

Duck pond at Fountain Gate Shopping Centre at Narre Warren

As many of you are aware, the City of Casey is building Bunjil Place at the Fountain Gate Shopping Centre at Narre Warren. This is a 125 million dollar project and will house the Council Offices, the Library, an Exhibition space, 800 seat theatre and an Art Gallery and amongst other community facilities. You can read about Bunjil Place here http://bunjilplace.com.au/project
Many people have asked about the duck pond which was a feature on the corner of Magid Drive and the Princes Highway. Sadly, the duck pond has now gone, the new Complex will be built over it, but I sure that the ducks have all safely moved on to other ponds in the area.There has also been some discussion about how long the duck pond has been in existence. 

This is  a 1979 photograph of Magid Drive and the Princes Highway and there is no duck pond. I also have a similiarily dated aerial which confirms this. The photos below were taken in 1993 and 1994 and the pond looks well established, so the best date I can come up with at the moment for the establishment of the duck pond is 1980s.
So, here is  a nostalgic look at the dear, late departed duck pond, play ground and Rotary Club BBQ shelter.

Duck pond, December 30 1993

A majestic pelican with his duck friends. May 17, 1994.

The ducks on  October 28, 1994

The Rotary Club BBQ shelter, October 28 1994, looking across to the Civic Centre.

Here are two photos of the playground - taken December 1993 (above) and undated but around the same time, below.

That haven under the hills: memoirs of Yallock Village 1928-1940 by Freda Thomas


The Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society has a small booklet written by Freda Thomas about her time spent living in Yallock. The Thomas family - father Wallace, mother Louise and daughter Freda, had been living on a farm in Caldermeade when, due to the Depression, the landlord had to sell the farm so the family had to move and they began searching for a property. What follows are some of Freda’s memories. This has been transcribed it in the same manner that it was written. 
‘There’s a fifty acre farm for lease at Yallock Village’, said Uncle Tony Pellissier, who then lived near the Yallock Creek on the Koo-wee-Rup Swamp.

The said property was situated on O’Briens Road, near the Yallock Hall, advised Mr Albert Woodman, Land Agent in Koo-Wee-Rup township.

We motored out to inspect the farm and assess the possibilities in August 1928.

Yes, there it was, almost square in survey with surface fall to the back - creek direction to roadside frontage - a 5 roomed weatherboard house with a high 'snow thrown’ corrugated iron roof and surrounded by an orchard of ‘mixed’ fruit trees. Further to explore big hay and milking sheds.

Acreage expanse also boasted 4 ironbark gum trees and 2 small conifers for shade and a boxthorn hedge for a windbreak. Mid farm an antique windmill delivered waterstream from a bore. Pasture was poor - weeds mostly as the land had been ploughed in an attempt to grow root crops (potatoes)

Strangely, at a distance of half a kilometre the soil changes to a famous ‘swamp peat strip’, where many greatly productive potato crops were later grown. This was heavy clay soil and proved to be unsuitable for cultivation but with appropriate drainage and planned attention to topsoil would be ideal for growth of rye grass and clovers. As my parents intended to pursue dairy farming this would be suitable ground cover.

After much parental discussion and deliberation -  ‘this farm is exactly what we need’ said my father - the one who made decisions - and he proved to be so right.

We moved into ‘Avalon Park’ on 6th October 1928. It was a beautiful spring day and as we gazed at the distant blue hills forming a half loop around the area, we were positive that we found our ‘Haven under the hills’.

I, Freda May, soon settled in at the local school, about 30 pupils.

One schoolroom for all grades and one teacher, at that time Mr Harry Stride. He and his wife lived in the adjacent schoolhouse. The land block was about 2 acres in area and included playing area with tennis courts (2) shelter shed and a  pony paddock (as many scholars travelled to school on horseback)  Later teachers were Mr William Wilson and Thomas Dunne - temporary teacher was F.H Duffy.


Yallock State School, 1933Photograph: Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society collection

Local social areas also included a Large Public Hall with Soldiers Memorial Hall (1914-1918)  attached (big hall later removed to Bayles), the Anglican Church (St Saviours) a Methodist Church and the Yallock Village Post Office was housed in a room at the home of Mr Richard Games.  ‘Post Office’ was identified by a large red Posting Box at the gate - but in my memory always housed a hive of very active bees!!

School, Hall, Churches and Post Office were all situated some distances apart - School on School Road, Hall on Hall Road, Anglican Church on Games Lane and Methodist Church on Hall Road, half a mile from the Hall.

As a child I never could see the reason for this spread of buildings except to believe early settlers had expected a great city to develop in the years ahead. Later it was revealed that the donations of land by various settlers had dictated the building sites.

My parents soon went about their plans and endeavour to improve our farm buildings and pasture and establish a profitable way of life, erstwhile wresting with attendant economic problems of the times which were many and extreme

We soon began to meet and know our neighbours and local community. As it was a farming area we had all in common with shared problems. Very few people had cars, a few Fords and Chevrolets (4 cylinder jobs - indestructible engines) soft tops (£190 to purchase; petrol  29c per gallon.)

Horse drawn jinkers, bicycles or even walking was the general rule for visiting or business trips.

Meeting grounds socially were at Church or local hall. The latter being venue of bi-monthly Euchre Party (cards) and Dance (old -time!) or Christmas tree annual celebration. These occasions were organised by the ladies of the Church Guild or School Mothers Club and caused great excitement. Everyone attended; all ages came to enjoy the time spent together.

People visited from Catani, Bayles, Yannathan and Koo-Wee-Rup but it was evident that a definite Yallock Community existed. Those included came from an easily defined areas of about 50 farms.



 Yallock State School. It closed in the 1970s or 1980s and I believe the building has been demolished.
Photograph: Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society collection

General Motors Holden - aerial photographs

Here are aerial photographs of the General Motors Holden (GMH) plant in Dandenong.  The factory opened in 1956, I don't have an exact date, even though I like to know these things. The factory was in the old Shire of Berwick and along with the neighbouring International Harvester plant and Heinz factory had an immediate impact on the area.  The factories required workers and even though a Railway Station was built for GMH and opened in the October or November of 1956, it was good if there was a pool of workers living close by, thus Doveton was established  as a suburb in 1954 by the Victorian Housing Commission. The factory also accelerated development in Hallam, Hampton Park and Cranbourne from where people could drive to work and park in the 1,000 space car park.

Aerial view of International Harvester, Heinz and General Motors Holden. Photographer: Charles Daniel Pratt. State Library has it dated as pre-1960. State Library of Victoria Image H2008.41/43. 


GMH, December 27, 1963.

General Motors Holden, 1964.  Photographer: Wolfgang Sievers. State Library of Victoria Image H2004.49/6  

General Motors Holden, taken January 13, 1965. State Library of Victoria Image H2014.1008/11. 


This was taken in 1970 and shows the Princes Highway, Kays Avenue and the factory on the right, with the Railway behind it.

Another 1970 aerial, showing  Kays Avenue and Doveton Avenue with the Princes Highway and the GMH factory.

This aerial, dated January 23, 1974, shows The GMH factory, backing onto the Railway line. The road on the right is the yet to be constructed South Gippsland Freeway (I believe that this is what the Eumemmerring by-pass continuation was called)

This is also January 23, 1974 and shows the factory to the left of the South Gippsland Freeway.


January 1978. In the four years on from the previous aerial, there has been more housing development and the South Gippsland Freeway has been constructed.

 GMH, taken January 20, 1981. GMH is shown between the Princes Highway and the Railway line. The South Gippsland Highway is at the bottom left.

May 4, 1994. GMH is at the bottom to the left. Industrial development has taken place to the right of the South Gippsland Highway.

This was taken the same day, as above (May 4, 1994) GMH is centre top. Hampton Park is on the right. The industrial Dandenong South is on the left.

This is from 1996, GMH is in the centre.

The Lions of Berwick

There are two lions near the War Memorial in the centre of High Street in Berwick, In 2009 Jim Mynard wrote an article in the Pakenham Gazette about the lions. He had been in contact with Mrs Janice Digby-Beste from Queensland. Mrs Digby-Beste said her husband's great grandmother, Ellen Trestrail, paid 5000 pounds to have them made in New Zealand in the 1880s. They were then shipped to Melbourne and placed outside their house at 181 Beaconsfield Parade in Middle Park.


Berwick War Memorial, High Street, June 1986. You can see one of the lions to the left of the Memorial.
The lions were a yellowish colour and were thought to be oamaru. They were in Middle Park until the family home was sold in 1961. The lions were sold for 100 pounds by Ellen Trestail's then elderly daughter-in-law to what sounds like  a smooth talking stranger, so they went out of the family and the family had no idea where they went. The  statues were painted white when they were in Berwick.

Brentwood gates, Clyde Road, BerwickPhotographer: John T. Collins. Photo date June 22, 1968. State Library of Victoria Image H90.100/1962   
The lions were placed at the front gate of Brentwood farm on Clyde Road in Berwick by the owner, Henry Wells Rowden, who possibly purchased them from man who purchased them from the Trestrails.  Rowden purchased Brentwood in 1962. In the late 1970s  the Brentwood Housing Estate on the Rowden land was started and  the lions were moved to High Street from Brentwood  around 1985.


This is an aerial of the Brentwood area taken January 9, 1978. You can see the Brentwood farm  property at bottom left, sadly we can't see the lions, and the start of Bermasyde Drive. Click on image to enlarge.

Here's a later aerial dated May 4, 1994. Bermasyde Drive is almost around to Brentwood farm. There has been a lot of development in the 16 years, and it was about this time that the lions were re-located to High Street.

Victorian Municipal Directory 1974 - City of Berwick

In the last post we looked at the entry from the 1974 Victorian Municipal Directory for the Shire of Cranbourne. In this post we will look at the entry for the newly created City of Berwick. The City came into being on October 1, 1973 when the Shire of Berwick was split in two (essentially with the Cardinia Creek being the boundary) The Shire of Pakenham was created with the other half. 




This shows the list of Councillors - the first Councillors for the newly created City of Berwick. Due to the propensity of Councillors naming features after themselves, many of these names may be familiar to you  - Barry Simon Reserve in Endeavour Hills, Bill Hudson Reserve in Berwick, Keith Wishart Reserve in Doveton, Sydney Pargeter Recreation Area  in Endeavour Hills, James Alexander Reserve in Endeavour Hills, Joan Phillips Reserve in Endeavour Hills, Jack Thomas Reserve in Narre Warren North, John Byron Reserve in Narre Warren.
Two of the Council Officers listed are remembered  by having features named for them - Patrick Northeast Drive at Narre Warren and Max Pawsey Reserve at Narre Warren. Notice that the Council Offices were in Kays Avenue Hallam as the Shire of Berwick Offices were in Pakenham, so went with the Shire of Pakenham. 


Berwick described as a picturesque residential centre of dairying and grazing. It also has 'electric light and water' and only one State School listed - there are five now.

 Hallam is lasted as a dairying district, so still pretty rural; however as a pointer of things to come Narre Warren is listed as having 'large subdivisions'.
To see the entry for the Shire of Cranbourne from the 1974 Municipal Directory, click here.

Victorian Municipal Directory 1974 - Cranbourne Shire

Back in the olden days, well the late 1970s, when I did Librarianship at RMIT, we had to study various reference books so we knew where to look for information (this was long before the wonders of the Internet). One of these books was the Victorian Municipal Directory. The Directory lists each municipality and has a short paragraph on each town within the municipality. In 1974, there were over 130 Shires and around 60 Cities; many of these were amalgamated in the 1990s during the time of Local Government  reform (or Local Government destruction as some still view it).  Here are the pages from the 1974 Victorian Municipal Directory for the Cranbourne Shire.



A few things have changed - population of the entire Shire was only 18,000 and there were 5,440 dwellings. Cranbourne Shire is now divided between the City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire - the population combined (2011 Census) of Casey and Cardinia is around 350,000, so the geographic area of the old Shire of Cranbourne would currently have a population of around 200,000 - well above the 18,000 of 40 years ago! Click here for a Local Government timeline of the area. 

This list of staff is interesting as it was probably the entire 'indoor' staff  of the Cranboure Shire. Of the nearly 50 staff listed, 13 were the typists. The 'indoor' staff were the Office staff and the 'outdoor' staff worked in Parks and Gardens and at the Depot (road maintenance etc) 

You will notice in the list of towns that Clyde, Tooradin, Dalmore, Koo-Wee-Rup, Monomeith, Caldermead and Lang Lang still had  an operating Railway Station, part of the Great Southern Line. You will also notice that most of the towns still had  a Primary School - now Caldermeade, Catani, Dalmore, Heath Hill, Lyndhurst, Monomeith, Yallock and Yannathan have all lost their schools.


Casey Cardinia Heritage Festival May 17, 2015

The Casey Cardinia Heritage Festival Sunday, May 17 2015.
The Casey Cardinia region has a rich heritage with many treasures waiting to be discovered. Delve into the history of the area through the displays and artefacts provided by local heritage and historical groups and find answers to your local family history or town questions. 
Who will be there?   Beaconsfield History Group, Berwick Mechanics' Institute, Berwick Pakenham Historical society, Casey Cardinia Branch of the National Trust, Casey Cardinia Library Corporation, Cranbourne Shire Historical Society, Dandenong High School History Group, Edrington History Research Group, Narre Warren Mechanics' Institute, The Narre Warren & District Family History Group will also be there to help to locate information on local World War 1 service personnel.
Free, Activities for all  the family. This Festival is part of the National Trust Heritage Festival, for more activities visit their website www.nationaltrustfestival.org.au

Coastal guide to nature and history 2: Mornington Peninsula's ocean shore, Western Port, Phillip Island & French Island

Graham Patterson has recently published his second Coastal Guide Book and this one covers Western Port, Phillip Island, French Island and Mornington's Peninsula ocean shore. Graham has walked the entire 320 kilometre shoreline from Port Phillip Heads to San Remo then Phillip Island and French Island and this naturally includes parts of the City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire. The local section starts at Quail Island, covers the coastal towns of Cannons Creek, Warneet, Blind Bight, Tooradin then around the Bay to Lang Lang and Jam Jerrup.

Graham covers local history, coastal fauna and flora and land forms. You don't need to actually walk the 320 kilometres to get the most of this book - there are maps to get to places of interest. It's a great book - lots of illustrations, maps and information and well worth reading if you have an interest in the local and natural history of the Western Port region.

It's called Coastal guide to nature and history 2 : Mornington Peninsula's ocean shore, Western Port, Phillip Island & French Island and is a companion volume to Coastal guide to nature and history : Port Phillip Bay ,

This is Graham's website, www.coastalguidebooks.net.au if you want to purchase a copy. other wise click on the titles above and it will take you to our catalogue. Graham is an electrical engineer and has taught science at a secondary school level and is a keen bush walker.

Pakenham Telephone Directory from 1973

In the last post I put up some pages for Cranbourne from an Interim Telephone Directory, produced when the new automatic exchanges were installed.  Click here to read this post. I have since been provided with some images from the Pakenham Gazette of June 20, 1973 showing the last days of the Pakenham Manual Exchange. The staff at the manual exchange consisted of fifteen 'girls' and the Officer-in-charge. Three of the staff were to be re-deployed and the rest retrenched. 

Last day of the manual telephone exchange at Pakenham, from the Pakenham Gazette of  June 20, 1973.  Featured in the photo are - Post Master Ray Wallis, Monitor Mrs S. Mitchell and some of the'girls' on the old exchange Mrs C. Nicholls, Mrs D. Stone, Mrs S. Cameron, Miss P. Methven and Mrs M. Lowe.  Image courtesy of  Andrew Trotter. 

Sunday is National STD day - that was Sunday June 24, 1973. This was the day telephone subscribers from Bayles, Beaconsfield Upper, Koo-Wee-Rup, Lang Lang, Nar Nar Goon, Nar Nar Goon North, Officer, Pakenham, Pakenham South, Pakenham Upper, The Gurdies and Yannathan South would be able to 'dial their own calls to many Victorian and Interstate centres just as easily as they dial local calls'.  Image courtesy of Andrew Trotter, from the Pakenham Gazette of June 20, 1973.


Here are the Pakenham pages from the Interim Telephone Directory produced in 1973 - about 1,000 subscribers in all. Click to enlarge images.





If you want to look at the pages from the Interim Telephone Directory for Cranbourne, click here

Cranbourne Telephone Directory from the early 1970s.

I came across an 'Interim Telephone Directory' for the local area. I'd say it was from the early 1970s and covers part of the 59 area - Lang Lang  to Cranbourne, Officer to Nar Nar Goon.  It was produced when the new automatic telephone exchanges and STD (Subscriber Truck Dialling) came in. Here are the pages from Cranbourne - it's just over 3 pages long - about 800 subscribers. I wonder how many telephones there are in Cranbourne now?


Click on each image to enlarge them.








Here are the instructions, so you know how to make STD calls!

Railways - some interesting resources

I have written about railways quite a few times in this blog  - my interest doesn't lie in  rolling stock, signalling or railway memorabilia,  I am interested in the social history of railways,  the influence of railways in the development of settlement patterns (you can read about the influence of the railways in the Casey Cardinia area here) and the Victorian Railways (VR) as a government department or institution.

This paragraph, taken from the Victorian Museum website tells you the extent of the railways in Victoria - The construction of Victoria's railway system has required one of the State's largest and most sustained investments in public infrastructure. Flushed with the tremendous wealth generated by the goldfields, the Victorian government invested £9 million over the first decade of railway development between 1854 and 1864 to build just 254 miles (409 km) of railway, while private railway companies invested another £1.8 million. Over the next sixty years the railway system continued to expand rapidly reaching 2,900 route miles (4,670 km) by 1891 and 4,700 miles (7,565 km) in 1931, representing a total investment of almost £50 million. By this time, every town in Victoria with a population of over 500 boasted its own railway station.  



The number of people that were employed by the Railways was huge - and it is no wonder that they built such a grand headquarters in Spencer Street  in 1893 (shown in the photograph* left) and later, in 1909, the equally wonderful Flinders Street Station.  However, Railway Station staff and other rail workers were employed all throughout Victoria and these people played a real role in the life of the towns that they were appointed to.

If you haven't read Patsy Adam Smith's book Hear the train blow then you should borrow it from your local library! Her mother was the Station Mistress and Post Mistress at various stations, including Monomeith where they lived in the station house, and her father was a fettler. There are no signs of the railway buildings at Monomeith anymore, but Patsy makes the small town and the other towns she lived in, come alive.

I have done some research on the 29 men listed on the Narre Warren War Memorial and six of them had lived in Narre Warren as their fathers were railway employees, but none of the six were living in the area when they enlisted as their dads had been appointed to other towns and yet they were all remembered fondly enough by the Narre Warren Community that they were honoured by having their name on the War Memorial.

Interesting Railway websites
One of the interesting Railway websites is Victorian Railway Resources website - www.vrhistory.com  It has a history of some Railway Stations (the only two from this area are Pakenham and Nar Nar Goon) and it has a great section on Victorian Railway maps from 1860 to 2000 - there is a map every decade showing the extent of railways in Victoria. It's  a great resource

This is part of the 1930 map - showing the railway lines and stations in this area and further on to Gippsland and The Dandenongs.Source: Victorian Railway resources website www.vrhistory.com
Another interesting railway website is vicsig.net  www.vicsig.net. This has lots of current railway information and it also includes a very short history of Railway Stations (Under Infrastructure, then locations) So if we look up Pakenham we find that it opened on October 8, 1877, the line was electrified on July 21, 1954 and duplicated on February 25, 1955; there is also information about signals.

This is the Pakenham Railway Station in 1912Photograph: North of the line: a pictorial record

The Victorian Museum website also has a section on railways. It looks at the tracks, the stations, staff,  rolling stock and disasters. It also has photographs.     http://museumvictoria.com.au/railways/ 

Photograph sources
As well as the Victoria Museum website (mentioned above) another good source of railway photographs is the Public Records Office of Victoria -  Photographic Collection of Railway Negatives. It is available on the Public Records Office of Victoria website www.prov.vic.gov.au. Click here to search this collection. You can see some of local photographs here.
The State Library of Victoria www.slv.vic.gov.au also has an extensive photograph collection  and has many railway related photographs.

I must tell you that apart from travelling on trains, my only personal connection to the Victorian Railways was that my grandma had the same initials, VR and she was always thrilled, as a girl, that every train and carriage had her initials on the side!

*  The Photograph of the Spencer Street Railway building is from the State Library of Victoria, www.slv.vic.gov.au   Image H29753/71. 

Thompsons Road and Patrick Thompson

Thompsons Road runs from Patterson Lakes, through Carrum Downs, Cranbourne and Clyde nearly to the Cardinia Creek, so essentially all the way east to west across the old Shire of Cranbourne. It was named for Patrick Thompson, early land owner and member of the Cranbourne Road Board.  
According to the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books, Patrick Thompson owned 308 acres, Lots 19 and 22 in the Parish of Lyndhurst – the land was on either side of what is now Thompson’s Road. The land was originally owned by members of the Wedge Brothers. Various of the Wedge Brothers, John, Charles, Richard and Henry Wedge held the Banyan Waterholes Run (based around the Carrum Swamp) from 1839 to 1852 and the Corhanwarrabul Run near Dandenong from 1845, plus they had obviously purchased land after the Government land sales of the early 1850s as you can see from the Lyndhurst Parish Plan, below.

Part of the Parish Plan of Lyndhurst. The Thompson Property, Lots 19 & 22, is outlined in red. On the map it was still owned by C & R Wedge. Click on image to enlarge it.
I don't know very much about Patrick, I know nothing about his personal life at all and this is what I have found out about his public life.

In 1856, Thompson was listed in the State Government  Gazette as being appointed a Trustee of  the land set aside for the Presbyterian Church. 



Thompson was also appointed as a Trustee of the Cranbourne Cemetery on December 11, 1857. This was also listed in the State Government Gazette.



From 1860 to 1863,  Thompson was a member of the Cranbourne Road Board. Gunson in The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire book says that his property was called Oaklands.

Thompson left the area in 1863 according to this advertisement (below) which appeared in The Argus of April 8, 1863. I have no information as to where he went to.



The Argus April 8, 1863http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6484785

Another advertisement appeared in The Argus of May 22, 1863, leasing Oaklands.
The Argus  May 22, 1863http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6485933
1863 is the first  year we have of the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books and James Sloan is listed as leasing Lots 19 and 22 from Patrick Thompson. This is the only mention of Thompson in the Rate Books, though James Sloan is listed until 1867. From 1864 to 1866 there is no owner listed – so we can’t tell if Sloan actually is leasing the farm or owns it. In 1867, Sloan is still listed as the Rate payer, however the owner is listed as Atkinson. There is an advertisement in The Argus of April 18, 1868 advising that Sloan is selling all his dairy stock and farm produce.  
Also in 1868, William Cameron is listed as the Rate Payer of Lots 19 and 22 and the owner is still listed as Atkinson. There is an advertisement in The Argus of October 5, 1868 from William Cameron of Oaklands in Lyndhurst requesting that some horses be removed from his paddock, so this confirms again that Lots 19 and 22 were the same property as Thompson's Oaklands.
Incidentally, also in The Argus of April 18, 1868 directly underneath the Sloan advertisement is another, advertising the sale of a Mr Thompson’s property Mt Tabor at Lyndhurst. Is this the same Mr Thompson? If so it doesn’t tally with the information in the 1863 advertisement that he had left the district. It may be a completely different person.
 I cannot tell exactly where his house was – his block bordered Evans Road as well as being either side of Thompson Road, so it would be interesting to know which road he was on. He had a ‘whole of the household of furniture’ which he sold at the sale advertised in The Argus of April 8, 1863 – so you would have to assume it was more than just a one room shack. 

If you are related to Patrick Thompson, then I would love to hear from you.

Berwick Nostalgia: a pictorial history of Berwick

One of my main sources of photographs for Berwick is the book Berwick Nostalgia: a pictorial history of Berwick. It was published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society in 2001, It really is a great book and is the first place to go for historical photographs of Berwick.

The book is a companion volume to North of the Line and Oak Trees and Hedges: a pictorial history of Narre Warren, Narre Warren North and Harkaway.

It is available from the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society and the National Trust Shop in Pioneer Park.  Here are three of my favourite photographs from Berwick Nostalgia.


Hay stacks at The Springs, Greaves Road, Berwick.

Original members of the Berwick Red Cross Unit, 1914.

Richardson's Abattoirs - boiling down works

Cardinia Shire and the City of Casey turn 20 - Local Government Timeline

Congratulations to the Cardinia Shire and the City of  Casey - they both turned 20 on December 15, 2014 at 4.00pm!

Here is a time line of local government in this area -

1842 -  The Town of Melbourne created - the first local government body in Victoria.

1860 - Cranbourne Road Board proclaimed June 19.  The first members of the Cranbourne Road Board were Dr James Smith Adams, Chairman, who owned Balla Balla Estate ; James Bruce, owner of Sherwood Park ; Richard Burgh Chomley, owner of Tongola at Lyndhurst ; James Lecky, Cranbourne land-owner who also owned the Cardinia Creek property ; Edward Malloy, owner of Mayune property ; Alexander Patterson, owner of St Germains Estate ; Christopher Bond Peed, owner of Springmount ; Patrick Thompson, owner of Oaklands and John Wedge, owner of Johnswood at Lyndhurst. Populaton of the Road Board area was 857. The Road Board met at the Mornington Hotel.

1861 - The town of Berwick and the town of Cranbourne proclaimed on February 25.

1862 - Berwick Road Board proclaimed September 29.  The first members of the Berwick Road Board were John Brisbane (Chairman), early Berwick landowner ; Robert Bain, the owner of the Border Hotel (Berwick Inn) in Berwick ; Francis Barr, a Berwick land owner ; Michael Bourke, owner of the La Trobe Inn, later known as Bourke’s Hotel, at Pakenham; James Buchanan, owner of Ardblair, who later went on to be a Member of the Legislative Council ; David Connor, licensee of the New Bunyip Hotel on the Bunyip River ; John Pitman, Pakenham landowner ; John Startup of Mount Ararat Station ; John Troup, land owner at Narre Warren North and Gotlieb Wanke, a land owner at Harkaway. The Road Board met at the Border Hotel (Berwick Inn)

1865 - Shire of Berwick Council chambers built in High Street.

1868 - Shire of Cranbourne proclaimed  February 24

1868 - Shire of Berwick proclaimed, May 5

1875 - Cranbourne Shire Offices opened March 6

1889 - The Scoresby Ward of the Shire of Berwick, including Scoresby, Fern Tree Gully,  Clematis, parts of Emerald and Avonsleigh was severed from Berwick and became the Shire of Fern Tree Gully on May 23.

1893 - Yannathan and Lang Lang East annexed from the Shire of Buln Buln  to the Shire of Cranbourne on January  23.

1902 - Shire of Berwick Offices move to Pakenham Mechanics’ Institute.

1912 - Shire of Berwick Offices open in Main Street Pakenham, corner of John Street.

1963 - Shire of Fern Tree Gully split and the Shire of Knox was formed on  November 16 (it became a City on July 4, 1969)  The remains of the Shire of Fern Tree Gully were renamed Shire of Sherbrooke on December 23, 1964.

1973 - The City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakenham were formed on October 1,  when the Shire of Berwick split. The Shire of Pakenham continued to use the Main Street Offices and the City of Berwick used temporary buildings in Kays Avenue, Hallam until the Civic Centre opened in 1978.

1978 - Cranbourne Shire Offices officially opened in Sladen Street, April 22

1978 - Civic Centre at Narre Warren opened December 8

1979 - Cr Jeune Matthews first female Shire President of the Shire of Pakenham.

1980 - Cr Jan Bateman, City of Berwick’s first female Mayor of the City of Berwick

1983 - Shire of Pakenham Offices opened July 28 in Henty Way

1988 - Cr Judy Elso, first female Shire President of the Shire of Cranbourne

1994 - City of Cranbourne created on April 22

1994 - The City of Casey and the Cardinia Shire officially came into being on the December 15 at 4.00pm.

The City of Casey was created from the western section of the short-lived City of Cranbourne (Cranbourne, Tooradin, Pearcedale, Devon Meadows, Hampton Park etc) and the entire City of Berwick.

The Cardinia Shire was created from the Shire of Pakenham, the eastern end of the City of Cranbourne (Koo-Wee-Rup, Lang Lang, Yannathan, Bayles, Catani etc) plus Emerald, Clematis and Avonsleigh which were annexed from the Shire of Sherbrooke.  Langwarrin and Carrum Downs went to the City of Frankston from the City of Cranbourne.

The City of Cranbourne, Shire of Pakenham and City of Berwick ceased to exist on December 15.

2014 - Cardinia Shire Offices opened on November 17 in Officer.

2014 - Cardinia and Casey  both turn 20 on December 15.

Papers Past

Many families have  a New Zealand connection - it was not uncommon in the 1800s for family members to migrate from England to New Zealand, then Australia or vice versa or for one family member to come to Australia, one to New Zealand or Canada or some other corner of the British Empire. Papers Past http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/ is a great source of New Zealand history  - it's similar to the digitised newspaper collection on Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper, which I use all the time.

According to their website,  Papers Past contains more than three million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection covers the years 1839 to 1945 and includes 92 publications from all regions of New Zealand.

I have selected three articles with  a local Casey Cardinia connection,  to show you the range of information you can discover on Papers Past and of course, if you come from New Zealand then it would be an especially valuable resource for family and local history.


The Press  November 18, 1905
This is a report of the marriage in Christchurch, of  George Hobbs and Muriel Simcox, and there is a double Casey Cardinia connection as George had  a connection to Berwick and Muriel to Officer. George is the son of John and Alice Hobbs, of Berwick, who both lived to the grand age of 90, John dying in 1940 and Alice in 1945, they are buried at Berwick Cemetery. Muriel died in Christchurch in 1948, aged 64 and she is buried in the same grave as her father, Samuel James Simcox who died in 1916 and I believe that George died in 1912, aged 32. I haven't found out the Simcox/Officer connection but will keep trying.

Mataura Ensign February 10, 1908
The Kerr family had large land holdings in Tynong; in 1903  five years before Edmund's death, they had around 1000 acres - north of the Highway around Fogarty Road; south of the railway line where Kerrs Road is, land closer toward Garfield plus some Tynong Township allotments.  I found another interesting reference to Edmund Kerr, I assume he is the same Edmund Kerr as above, in Table Talk newspaper on Trove which says that John Kerr of Tynong discovered the Kimberley mines in South Africa and they then fell into the hands of Cecil Rhodes, who went onto establish Rhodesia.  The Kerr family is thus a perfect example of the reach and influence of the British Empire in the Victorian era. 

Table Talk February 8, 1900http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145933313


New Zealand Herald  September 23, 1933
This is an interesting article for two reasons, Mr C.D Lloyd  is Charles Duplan Lloyd (1863-1937) who purchased the Holly Green property (where Fountain Gate Shopping centre is) in 1924, from the Webb Family, and moved his Glen Iris jersey cattle stud from Glen Iris to Holly Green. The other reason it is interesting is that it shows how important rural industry was at the time, in both Australia and New Zealand, that farming matters were reported in the daily papers. 

Officer - aerial photographs

The Cardinia Shire has recently moved their offices and Council Chambers from Pakenham to Officer, November 17 2014 was the first official day of business. The Shire had been in their 'old' building since it was opened  on  July 28, 1983 and you can read about that building here. As well as the new Council buildings, Officer has recently seen a lot of development with  housing estates so I thought it was time to see how the area has changed in the past 20 years. These are some aerials from 1994 and 1996, not really that long ago, but they show Officer when it was still a country town.


This is Officer  May 4, 1994, starting from the far right is the Recreation Reserve on the corner of the Princes Highway and Starling Road. The next intersection is Officer South Road and Tivendale Road. The small patch of remnant bush is in the vicinity of the new Council Offices. The intersection on the left is the Highway with Brunt Road and Whiteside Road.

The same view as above but shows Beaconsfield in the distance. The photograph is undated but I believe it is October 1996.

This is a continuation of the photograph above, it is dated October 31, 1996. The intersection at the bottom is that of the Princes Highway and Brunt Road and Whiteside Road.

Railways and their contribution to the developement of the Casey Cardinia region

I have written about railways before in this blog, as I have an interest in railways, because of the influence they had on the growth of towns and settlement patterns. When I was at High School at Koo-Wee-Rup in the 1970s the school bus used to run out to Bayles and followed the path of the old railway line and if I could go back in time I would love to have seen the trains chuffing along this line to Bayles, Catani and beyond.  I wrote this article for the book Pages from the past: snapshot histories of people, places and public life in Casey and Cardinia.

The photographs are from the Public Transport Corporation: Photographic Collection of Railway Negatives available on the Public Records Office of Victoria website www.prov.vic.gov.au. Click here to search this collection.

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


Pakenham Up End Level crossing and Signal Bridge VPRS 12800/P5, item S 1376
The Railways effected settlement patterns in the region. Early towns, such as Cranbourne, Berwick or Pakenham, were established on roads or coach routes. Other towns, such as Gembrook or Emerald, developed around the nucleus of people who stayed in the area after the mining activities ceased. Some towns, such as Iona and Yallock, were part of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Village Settlement Scheme. When the Railways came they sometimes passed through the existing towns but often by-passed the town so new settlements developed around the Railway Station or Siding. For example, Pakenham East developed around the Railway Station, initially in opposition to the ‘old’ town of Pakenham which had developed around the La Trobe Inn (also known as Bourke’s Hotel) on the Gippsland Road, near the Toomuc Creek. Lang Lang grew around the Railway Station and superceded the original town of Tobin Yallock, on the South Gippsland Highway, to such an extent that by 1894 most of the businesses and public buildings had transferred to the new Lang Lang near the Railway Station. Finally, the Village Settlement of Yallock declined after the establishment of the Railway Station about a kilometre away. The Station was called Bayles and gave its name to the new settlement.


Cranbourne, South Gippsland Highway level CrossingVPRS 12800/P1, item H 5224

Cranbourne, South Gippsland Highway level crossing, R class steam locomotive departing left side including derm and trailerVPRS 12800/P1, item H 5222A
The Railways also opened up the area to industry. The Sale Line opened up the timber industry from Berwick to Bunyip. Officer’s Wood Siding opened in 1881 to enable firewood to be sent to Melbourne from William Officer’s property. The Cannibal Creek Siding was created in 1885 to accommodate Cannibal Creek Saw Mill Company. The townships which developed around these Sidings became Officer and Garfield. From the 1890s orchards were planted in the hills from Narre Warren North to Garfield and this produce was railed to Melbourne to be exported interstate and overseas.  Milk, livestock, and potatoes grown on the newly drained Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp were sent to market on trains from Catani, Bayles and Koo-Wee-Rup on the Strzelecki line and Garfield, Tynong and Nar Nar Goon on the Gippsland Line.  Timber products and potatoes were loaded at the Gembrook Station on the Puffing Billy line. Carl Nobelius, the founder of the Gembrook Nurseries at Emerald sent his trees sixteen miles to the Narre Warren Station by dray but when the Puffing Billy line was established he had his own Siding erected. At is peak, before the start of World War One; Nobelius had over three millions trees in various stages of cultivation for sale.



Berwick Station, Platform and Goods ShedVPRS 12903/P1, item Box 027/08
We tend to think of this area as only producing agricultural and horticultural products but the rail had a key role in the expansion of the Wilson Quarry at Berwick as the Quarry supplied the ballast for the Sale line. The trains transported bricks to Melbourne in the 1880s from the five brick works at Officer and Jefferson’s brick works at Garfield. Later on, sand from Sidings near Bayles was also transported by rail in the 1920s and 1930s and in Cranbourne, two spur lines were built to the sand mines around the town.

The third influence of the Railways had on this region was on the Tourist Industry.  An 1899 Guide Book to Upper Beaconsfield tells its readers of 'the reviving and restoring virtues of the Ranges' and talks about the scenic Gullies and Drives.  There is also railway timetable information for trains to the Beaconsfield Railway Station and a note that trains are met daily by coach to transport holiday makers to the Hills.

Tooradin was known as a “Sportsman’s Paradise” in the 1880s due to the fishing, quail shooting on Quail Island, deer shooting and other typical pursuits of the time. Sadly, for Tooradin, the Tooradin Station was built some kilometres out of the town which was on the South Gippsland Highway. But visitors were once again met by a coach at the Station to take them to their “Sportsman’s Paradise” at Tooradin.

Finally, the most obvious connection that Railways had to the Tourist Industry is the Puffing Billy train. The train was popular with the locals from the start and also opened up the area to holiday makers and week-enders. Due to declining revenue the line was recommended for closure in 1936 however a public outcry kept the line open for goods. A landslide near Menzies Creek, in August 1953, blocked the line and it was announced that it would close permanently in mid 1954, but once again the public rallied. The Puffing Billy Preservation Society (P.B.P.S) was formed in 1955 and operated Puffing Billy trains between Upper Ferntree Gully and Belgrave until this part of the line was electrified. Work began to re-open the line beyond Belgrave by by-passing the land slide and laying new track and the Puffing Billy tourist line was officially opened to Menzies Creek in July 1962. Three years later in July 1965 Puffing Billy returned to Emerald, ten years later in 1975 to Lakeside and finally in October 1998 it returned to Gembrook. Puffing Billy has carried 8 million passengers since it re-opened in 1962 and is now a tourist destination in its own right.



Train narrow gauge, to excursion, Paradise , GembrookVPRS 12800/P1, item H 3075
The Casey Cardinia region would have developed without the Railways but settlement patterns would have been different, the region may not have been a leading producer of apples or dairy product or potatoes due to the problems in the early days of transporting these goods to market and even tourists would have found it more difficult to visit our natural features such as the hills and the coast without the Railway.

Mobile Library towns - back in time

Casey Cardinia Library Corporation (CCLC)  has a Mobile Library which services various towns throughout the Cardinia Shire.   If you aren't  a regular Mobile Library user but happen to be meandering around the country side then you should pop in and take a look if you see it stopped and open for business. The Mobile has a good collection of  items - books, DVDs, CDs, magazines etc - you just use your regular CCLC membership card.  Click here to access the timetable.

I thought it would be interesting to take a look back in time, at the towns where the Mobile Library stops.

On Monday, it stops at Bunyip, Garfield and Tynong.


Bunyip - Main Street,  1908.Photograph: Call of the Bunyip by Denise Nest.

Garfield - Looking down Main Street, 1910.Photograph: North of the line: a pictorial record

Tynong - Looking westPhotograph: North of the line: a pictorial record
On Tuesday, it stops at Beaconsfield Upper and Gembrook.


Beaconsfield Upper - Wilson's storePhotograph: Upper Beaconsfield: an early history by Charles Wilson


Gembrook - Walker's StorePhotograph: North of the line:  a pictorial record
On Wednesday,  it stops at Beaconsfield.


Beaconsfield - Woods StreetPhotograph: Beaconsfield History Group
On Thursday, it stops at Maryknoll and Cockatoo.


Maryknoll - Post Office and General Store, 1969.Photograph: Maryknoll: history of a Catholic Rural Settlement by Gael White (2002)

Cockatoo - Fairbridge's storePhotograph: North of the line:  a pictorial record
On Friday, it stops at Lang Lang and Koo-Wee-Rup. 

Lang Lang - Main StreetPhotograph: Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society collection

Koo-Wee-Rup - Rossiter Road, 1923Photograph: Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society collection.
On Saturday, it's back to Bunyip.

Bunyip - Pearson and Company store, c. 1905.Photograph: Call of the Bunyip by Denise Nest
If this has inspired you to visit the Mobile Library then click here for the link to the time table. 

Trove Digistised Newspapers and the Bailey family, Orchardists, of Narre Warren North.

It's been some time since I have written about Trove Digitised newspapers and, as it is one of my favourite historical resources, I thought it was time to look at it again. Trove Digitised Newspapers, found at https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper, currently have over 14 million pages of Australia newspapers digitised from 1803 to recent times, depending on the newspaper.  The 14 million pages can all be searched using the one search box and you can then print off the articles, save the articles, just browse the entire newspaper or even create your own reference list on any topic you may be interested in.

The reference list facility is wonderful. You just need to sign in and create an account, It's free, you don't need to pay any money. You sign in and log in, using the buttons on the top right hand corner, see below.



This is a copy of the front page of Trove Digitised Newspapers -  you sign up for an account and you log into the account on the top right hand corner.
Once you have created an account you can then create lists of articles - this mean that you can do a search, save the article to whatever list you want, and then you can go back and review all the articles without trying to find then again (which is what I used to do before I discovered this facility!) You can make the lists public which means that anyone can access them or you can keep them private, so only you can access them.

As an example, I have created a list of articles on the Berwick Boys Grammar School, which operated from 1882 to 1928. Click here to access the list.  I  also have  a list on the Emerald County Club, click here.

Trove is adding content all the time. Just recently they have added 47 new titles from all over Victoria from 1914 to 1918 as part of the State Library / PLVN Digitising World War 1 Victorian Newspapers project.  They have also uploaded 25 other titles from various States covering various years.

Trove truly is a treasure trove of  information, covering local history, sporting history, world news, family history - if it was in the papers at the time you can find it. Don't just restrict your search to Victorian papers or to papers from your own area, you might find a mention of your town or family in a wide variety of newspapers. As an example,  I have created  a list about the Bailey family of Narre Warren, who were early orchardists in the area.  I have found articles from five states and at least ten different newspapers. You can see the list here.



This is James Bailey and his son, Sidney James Bailey, taken c. 1918 in their Narre Warren North orchard.

William & Fanny Bailey settled in Narre Warren North in 1894 and established the first orchard in the area on Bayview Farm at the eastern end of Bailey Road.   The Baileys had nine children. Their eldest son, George (1875-1960), had a General store in Narre Warren, operated by family members until the 1970s. George and his wife Florence built Brentwood (later called Clarinda Park) in 1904. In 1993, the address was 271-299 Narre Warren North Road, I don't think it still exists.  Another son James (1877-1962) married Lucy Agnes Webb, the daugher of Sidney and Anne Webb. He was also a fruit grower. They built Araluen in 1903 and their daughter, Lucy,  lived there until she died  in 1999/2000 and the land was sub-divided. Araleun bunt down in mysterious circumstances a few years ago.

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