Links to our Past - history

Fountain Gate Housing Estate Estate

The Fountain Gate housing estate, in Narre Warren, was developed by Isador Magid in the mid 1960s. He employed Robin Boyd to create the Estate on Radburn principles, which involved separating pedestrians and vehicles by providing short cul-de-sac entries and internal spines of open space. Prominent architects were also employed to design Protoype houses. The Fountain Estate is bounded by Tinks Road, Sweet Gum Avenue, Prospect Hill Road and Dawn Avenue and is listed in the City of Casey Heritage Scheme as being of local significance and possibly State significance and an innovative and imaginative housing development. Some individual houses also have Heritage listing. 

Fountain Gate Estate 1972

Fountain Gate Estate 1978. The Fountain Gate Shopping Centre wasn't opened until March 1980. The City of Berwick Civic Centre was opened in December 1978.

A copy of the original Estate plane which came with the contract of sale.

This is not very legible but it is a letter dated November 14, 1966 from Alexander Magit & Associates to the Shire of Berwick  advising us of the  approval of your Council for the erection of the motif in the form of  a fountain in accordance with the designs prepared by Mr Robin Boyd, Architect.
According to a long serving City of Casey/City of Berwick employee, this Robin Boyd fountain at the entrance to the Estate  was only turned on once when the estate was opened ( early 1970’s ) and the water went onto the highway which caused traffic problems, this may have been because the prevailing wind at the time. As you can imagine because of it’s proximity to the highway this would be a problem, which became worse when the highway was widened, it was never turned on again.
There was some discussion in the early 1990s about the Fountain Gate name and whether it should become the name of  a suburb. The Fountain Gate Shopping Centre tended to dominate the area and people began to use Fountain Gate to describe the area, rather than the correct name of Narre Warren. In the end it was never adopted as a suburb name and both the Fountain Gate Housing Estate and the Shopping Centre are in Narre Warren.

This article from the Sunday Age of  February 16, 1992 mentions the controversy of the use of the name Fountain Gate as opposed to Narre Warren.  Also of interest is the price of a house $106,000. 
However, the fact that Fountain Gate was never officially adopted as a place name didn't prevent developers using the name in a proposed future housing estate, south of the Highway. This brochure isn't dated but I presume it is from the 1980s.

Casey-Cardinia: Commemorating the Great War: 1914 - 1918 blog

We have  a new blog - Casey-Cardinia: Commemorating the Great War: 1914 - 1918. You can find it here and there are also links to the blog from our home page

The aim of this blog  is to be a  forum for commemorating and recording the impact of World War One on the people in the region now covered by the City of Casey and Shire of Cardinia - it will cover life on the home front, information about local soldiers and other personnel such as nurses and the development of local groups such as the Red Cross and Patriotic Groups. It will also look at the aftermath of the War and how communities commemorated their losses and service by the creation of Avenues of Honour and other memorials.

The blog will not be a  chronological work - it will be an eclectic look at the Great War and it's impact on our area. There is also a list of interesting and useful websites relating to the War.

We welcome input - if you have any ideas or stories to share about local soldiers or nurses or stories about how your family lived through the war then I would love to hear from you. Contact me on or ring me at the Narre Warren Library 9704 7696.

Lysterfield - a short history

The first European settlement in the Lysterfield area took place in 1838 when James Dobie and J. S Kerr took up the Monbulk Run. This run was  eight square miles (about 2,000 hectares) and was based around the Monbulk creek. This run takes in modern day Lysterfield, Belgrave South and Belgrave Heights.
Dobie and Kerr operated this run until 1850 when Ambrose Eyles, took over for a short time and then Thomas Dargon. Dargon and his wife Margaret took up the Monbulk pre-emptive right in 1856, the year they were married.  Margaret, remained on the property after his death in 1862 and she retained the Monbulk lease until 1872, where she ran it with her second husband Robert Nixon, whom she married in 1867. The Dargon Homestead site is now within the Lysterfield and Churchill State Park. Nixon was a Berwick Shire Councillor when this area was part of Shire of Berwick (the Scoresby ward went over to the newly created Shire of Fern Tree Gully in 1889)

Margaret Dargon (nee Cahill 1827-1897)
Source: Story of the Dandenongs by Helen Coulson
Other early land owners included Edward Barry who took up 440 acres in 1856.  The Barry property was named Mountain Gap (a descriptive name as it was located in a gap in the hills).   His son William Barry and his wife Elizabeth  also owned land at Lysterfield around the intersection of Wellington and Kellett Roads. Barry was also a Berwick Shire Council. Their daughter Ada married George Powell who was notable for supplying  the British Army with horses;  he also sent 6,000 horses to South Africa during the Boer War. George and Ada’s daughter, Violet Lambert, was the first woman in Victoria to be elected a Shire Councillor, when she stood for the Shire of Fern Tree Gully in 1931. The Barry family gave their name to the Barry Ranges sometimes called the Lysterfield Hills.

A great photograph of Mrs Elizabeth Barry (nee Beck 1845-1921)  and three of her four daughters.Source: Story of the Dandenongs by Helen Coulson
Another early settler was George Battersby who selected 195 acres in 1862. His son John built Cloverdale Cottage in Hallam Road, which still remains today.

Abraham Strettle settled in 1865 on land called Sweet Hills due to the lush pasture. Streetle  established a cannery to can produce from his extensive orchard however the trees were destroyed by bush fires before they matured. Sweet Hills later became the site of an Church of England Boys Training farm and it was later acquired as part of the Lysterfield Reservoir. The Training Farm was established in 1937. It was first managed by The Rev. R.G. Nichols, and in 1942 was taken over by the Church of England Boys' Society. In 1945, the Farm moved to Yering and it closed in 1950. The Farm had its own school – Lysterfield Boys Home No. 4601. It operated from June 1942 until 1950. It was also called the Yering Boys Home School, so I presume that the School moved from Lysterfield to Yering with the training farm. There are still reminders left of this Boys farm in the Lysterfield and Churchill State Park the most obvious of which is Boys Farm Track and Heritage walk. Click here for the Parks Visitor's Guide.

Wellington Road was originally known as Narre Warren Road and was the main route used by people travelling to Emerald. Wellington Road was named for the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), whose military career is usually associated with the Napoleonic Wars and the 1815 Battle of Waterloo; however the people of the old Fern Tree Gully Shire were non partisan as they called an adjacent road after Napoleon (1769-1821).

William Saurin Lyster (1828-1880)Portrait by George Frederick Folingsby. State Library of Victoria Image H5237
Land for a school was donated by William Saurin Lyster and to acknowledge this gift the locals decided to name the area Lysterfield. The area had been known locally as The Flats.  Lyster had selected his land, which he called Narre Worran Grange in 1867 and as the land was swampy and he drained the property and ran a dairy farm and produced his own cheese.  Lyster also claimed to have introduced grand opera to Australia; his opera company opened its first season in Melbourne in 1869.  Lyster is written up in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, click here, to read about his life. The aforementioned George Powell purchased part of the land originally owned by Lyster in 1928 and called his property Netherlea. The State Library of Victoria has a series of photographs of Powells house, which was originally Lyster's Narre Warron Grange  and three are reproduced below.

Netherlea, Lysterfield. Photographer: John T. CollinsState Library of Victoria Image H97.250/2689
Netherlea, Lysterfield. Photographer: John T. CollinsState Library of Victoria Image H97.250/2691
Netherlea, Lysterfield. Photographer: John T. CollinsState Library of Victoria Image H97.250/2712
The school was opened on April 9 1877 as Narre Warren North School, No. 1866 on the south side of Wellington Road. The name was changed to Lysterfield in September1879. Around 1883 the School was closed due to declining number and the building was used for church services and a Post Office. In 1886, Edward Warriner, the head master was told that he must operated Lysterfield half time with Menzies Creek School, No. 2457,  in spite of the three hours of travel  between the two on horse back. Edward was saved from this arduous travel by the Education Department opening the school full time towards the end of 1877.
The school closed again in 1893 and re-opened in September 1908 on a new more central site, in a leased building on Mr Sealey’s farm, as School No. 3573.  The first teacher was Marion Hale and she was succeeded by May Fairbairn. Enrolment numbers were never high and in 1911 it operated part time with Scoresby State School, No. 1028. Lysterfield, No. 3573, was destroyed by fire in 1912 and the Lysterfield locals were once again without a school even though at the time of the fire the School had an enrolment of only four pupils. Then in 1918 classes began in the Anglican Church in Wellington Road.  In 1920 a new building began construction on the original site and it opened in September 1921 with 15 pupils. The school re-located in 1997 to Bellfield Drive and it currently has about 460 pupils.

Lysterfield Post Office 1920sPhotographer Charlie HammondState Library of Victoria Image H90.72/68
The Post Office was established in 1877. A quarry was opened around 1903 with granite for road making being the major product and various quarries have operated since in the region. An Anglican Church was established in 1906, but closed in 1924 and was moved to Upper Fern Tree Gully to become St Thomas’. In 1928 the Progress Association was established and the Progress Hall was built and opened in June 1931 on the corner of Wellington and Kelletts Road.  It was well used by the community until the 1960s when it fell into disuse and disrepair. In the late 1960s it had a short revival of fortune when it was taken over by The Hut theatre group however, sadly, the hall burnt down down on June 2 1972.

Lysterfield is probably most well known today for its lake, which is the old Lysterfield Reservoir. Work on this Reservoir began in 1929 and due to delays caused by the Depression it was completed seven years later in 1936. Lysterfield was part of a overall plan to provide water to the Mornington Peninsula and Frankston and thus the Flinders Naval Base. The first stage was the construction of the Beaconsfield Reservoir (capacity 200 million gallons) between 1916 and 1920. This Reservoir was supplied with water from the Bunyip Main Race and, then from Beaconsfield, water went by pipe line to various reservoirs on the Mornington Peninsula and later on also supplied water to Dandenong, Hallam, Beaconsfield and Berwick. When Lysterfield (capacity 924 million gallons) was finished this meant that other towns further down the Peninsula would also have a water supply. After the Second World War additional water was required and this was supplied from the Tarago River to the Bunyip River and then to Lysterfield. Lysterfield and Beaconsfield were decommissioned with the opening of the Cardinia Reservoir in 1974. Lysterfield Lake as it is now called is part of the Lysterfield and Churchill State Park.

Doveton North Technical School / Endeavour Hills Technical School

Doveton North Technical School opened in 1969, in Power Road, with five teachers and 45 students.   From 1974 it was  called Endeavour Hills Technical School, then from 1990 Endeavour Hills Secondary College. It changed its name again in 1993 to Eumemmerring College Endeavour Hills campus, then in 2008 the name changed back to Endeavour Hills Secondary College.   The School closed in December 2012.

The school site in 1968, above and below.

Construction of the School in 1968, above and the two photos below. 

The first staff - but there are no names attached to the photograph, but I believe they are - Standing: N. Chapple,  Harry Dengrove (English and Social Studies);  Don Banks (Maths and Science);  R.Rhodes (Sheet Metal)Seated: Kevin McDonald (Headmaster); Marilyn Wallace (Secretary); Ron  Gamble (Principal)A list of staff in a newspaper article (reproduced below) also has a Hugh Foster listed as an Arts Teacher. Mr Gamble was only 38 at the time of his appointment and was one of the youngest principals in the Education Department.

The School in 1969, the year it opened.

This article about the opening of the school appeared in the Dandenong Journal on January 14, 1969.

The Mothers Club was formed in March 1969, according to this article from the Dandenong Journal. I wonder what memories Dorothy Hall, Sylvia Rowe, Anne Nalty, Carol Kenyon and Gloria Robinson have about the first meeting?

This is page one from the Register of Corporal Punishment. I have obscured the names for privacy reasons. The register starts in July 1969 and finishes in July 1981.


Nyora is on the very edge of the Cardinia Shire in the bottom south east corner, east of Lang Lang. The actual township of Nyora is not in Cardinia, but some of the surrounding farms are, so  I thought we would have a look at the history of Nyora.

Nyora. Photograph by Albert Arnell, taken between 1922 and 1929.State Library of Victoria Image H2013.48/27
The area was originally known as Lang Lang East until the Great Southern Railway line went through from Dandenong to Port Albert, and the railway station built in the area was called Nyora.  Nyora is from the Aboriginal word for “wild cherry tree”. This line was opened as far as Lang Lang in February 1890 and it was opened to Nyora and Loch in November 1890.  However the actual township site had been proclaimed on December 23, 1886 and it was surveyed in 1887 by John Lardner an assistant survey on the Lands Department. He is the Lardner after whom Lardner's Tracks is named. The first land sales in the township were held on September 6, 1887.  Shops were built, including a general store and post office, bakers and coffee palace.  The telephone  was put on at the Railway station in November 1891.  The hotel opened in a small wooden building in 1891, burnt down  in November 1913 and the existing brick building was erected in 1914.  To cater to spiritual needs, the Methodist Church at Nyora started in 1922 in a building that was originally the Jeetho West State School and St Marks Anglican church was opened in October 1930. The Anglicans had previously held services in the hall.

As is the pattern for most county towns  the Government set aside land for community purposes -  land for sale yards was gazetted  March 11, 1890; for the   cemetery in September 8, 1890, and a racecourse  in February 1896. The town of Nyora had  a boost when the railway line to the Wonthaggi coal fields (or the Powlett coal field as it was originally called) was opened on May 9, 1910 and Nyora became  a railway junction.

Nyora Railway StationPublic Records Office of Victoria photograph VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5416

Nyora Railway StationPublic Records Office of Victoria photograph VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5414

Nyora Railway StationPublic Records Office of Victoria photograph VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5413
The first school in the area was State School No. 2523, originally called Little Lang Lang. It opened on July 1, 1883 in a building 22ft by 13ft.; it was replaced by a larger building in 1889 and changed its name to Lang Lang East in 1890. It closed October 1903, reopened November 1904 and closed again in June 1907 (or 1908 according to one source). This school was north of the township, on a corner of Allotment 61 on the Lang Lang East Parish Plan. I can’t work out where it is on a modern map as none of the maps seem to have a road  marked anywhere close to where the school was!  The building was removed in 1914.  There was agitation as early as 1890 for a school closer to the town, and from 1894 until 1901 many parents sent their children on the train from Nyora to the Lang Lang School. For a while the School was conducted in the Public Hall but finally on May 1, 1903 Nyora School, No. 3401 was opened.

This is from the Parish Plan of Lang Lang East - the township of Nyora can be seen bottom left. The original school on Lot 61on Charles Humphries land, is circled in red. It was no wonder that the people on Nyora wanted a new school built in the town, it was a long way away.

The Nyora Hall commenced construction in 1891 and was completed by the April of the next year. This hall is thought to have burnt down in the 1898 bush fires and the new Hall was opened in March 1900, on a new site (which is the site of the existing hall).  This Hall was extended over the years to include a Library and other rooms. Sadly this well used hall was destroyed by fire on January 20, 1968. The Community worked hard to raise funds for the new hall which was opened on December 6, 1974.

Source: Nyora: its yesterdays and today by Joseph White (Nyora and District Centenary Year Celebrations, 1978)

Cranbourne Primary school, No. 2068

On June 1, 1856 the Presbyterian Denominational  School at Cranbourne was opened, although another source says the opening date was May 21, 1856.  The teacher, James Henry, had twenty two pupils, eleven boys and eleven girls. The School, which was erected at a cost of 205 pounds,  was located on Sladen Street, where the Presbyterian Church is today. The second teacher was Mr Walker, who was followed by Archibald Thompson, who was at the school from 1858 until around 1886.

Cranbourne School, 1890s
In 1862, the Common School Act was passed and all  schools were then managed by the Board of Education and the Presbyterian Denominational School became the Cranbourne Common School, No. 144. In 1873, it became the Cranbourne State School, No. 144 and by 1876 had an enrolment of 100 pupils, with an average attendance of 70. A new school was needed and it was built on the South Gippsland Highway, just south of the Police Station. Not only was there a new location, but the  school had  a new number, No. 2068. School No. 2068 opened on May 1, 1878 and the old School No. 144 officially ceased to exist on May 31 the same year.

Cranbourne School, around 1900
The School gradually acquired some 'mod cons' - town water in 1924, electricity in 1947, the telephone in 1953 and septic tanks in 1959. In 1933 the school population was 118 and by 1959 it was 150 and once again the school was running out of room, so classes were held in the Anglican Church Hall. Numbers declined with the opening of Cranbourne North Primary School, No.4887,  in February 1962 (this school is now called Cranbourne Park).  However, there was still a need for a newer, bigger school and this was built on the current location in Russell Street and it opened on February 5, 1969. The school on the South Gippsland Highway was later demolished and is now the site of the Senior Citizens.

Cranbourne School, 1947

Cranbourne School - it looks fairly deserted, so I assume it was taken around 1969, after the school moved to the Russell Street location. The photo, below, appears to be from the same time.

Hallam School, No. 224.

It's back to school week, so I thought we would look at some school photographs. Our Archive gets many donations and these photographs of  Hallam School, No.244, were donated by Mr Jim Alexander. Mr Alexander was an inaugural Councillor for the City of Berwick from 1973 until 1982. James Alexander Reserve in Endeavour Hills is named in his honour.

Hallam School was established in 1858 as the Eumemmerring Denominational School. There were 44 students and the Head Teacher was Daniel Cusack. It is probable that this school was located on the corner of Heatherton and Hallam roads. In 1862, the School became the Eumemmerring Common School, No.244.  I n 1873, it was renamed Eumemmerring State School. At this time it was located on the Princes Highway, opposite the end of Olive Road, where the General Motors Holden factory is. Daniel Ahern was the Head Teacher from 1870 until 1890.

In 1894, it became an adjunct to Dandenong State School, No.1403 and only the infant School remained on the site. It wasn't until 1902 that the Education Department recommended that the School be separated from Dandenong. A new school building was erected and opened in November 1904, on the Princes Highway, just west of the Hallam Hotel. In 1906, the school changed its name to Hallam’s Road School. The School was enlarged in 1921 with the addition of a second class room. In 1923 it was renamed Hallam State School.

Opening of the second class room at Hallam's Road School in February 1921.

The Hallam's Road School Committee, 1921. Standing at back - left to right - Mr Wallace, Mr Service, Mr Kirkham, Mr Butcher. Front row - possibly Mrs Burton, Mr Carter.

I looked in the Electoral Rolls on Ancestry database to see if I could find out more about these people and this is what I found - Jeremiah Wallace, address - Main Road Hallam, occupation - farmer, wife - Augusta Emma Wallace; John Service, Berwick Road Dandenong, dairy farmer, wife Elizabeth Duncan Service;   Francis Edward Kirkham, Hallam's Road, farmer, wife Margaret Beatrice Kirkham; Alfred Butcher, Hallam, dairy farmer, wife Amy Louise Butcher; Elizabeth Burton, Hallam, home duties, husband  John Frederick Burton, farmer; I can't find Mr Carter in the Electoral roll.

The Hallam's Road School Mothers Club, 1921. Standing at back - left to right - Mrs Boles, Mrs Crean, Mrs Gatter (nee Wallace), Mrs J. Meehan, Mrs Rout, Miss T. Morgan (teacher) and Mrs Blackley (nee Wallace). Seated at front - Mrs Opperman, Mrs Butcher, Mrs Wallace, Mrs Service.

According to the Electoral - Mrs Boles - I can't find Mrs Boles in the Electoral roll; Annie Florence Crean, Hallam, home duties, husband Andrew, a farmer; Mrs Gatter - I can't find Mrs Gatter in the Electoral roll; Ruth Rebecca Meehan, Hallam's Road Hallam, home duties, husband James Joseph, farmer; Ellen Rout, Hallam, home duties, husband Charles Rout dairyman;  Miss Morgan - I can't find Miss Morgan in the Electoral Roll but she may not have been 21 years old; Mrs Blackley - I can't find Mrs Blackley in the Electoral roll; Bertha Opperman, Berwick Road Dandenong, home duties, wife of Adolphus Samuel Opperman, water carter; Amy Louise Butcher, wife of Alfred Butcher listed above; Augusta Emma Wallace, wife of Jeremiah Wallace, listed above; Elizabeth Duncan Service, wife of John  Service listed above.

The school population grew in the late 1950s, partly due to the growth of the area after the International Harvester, H.J. Heinz and General Motors Holden factories were established in Doveton. By 1958, the School had to use the Hallam Public Hall, on the other side of the Highway, for extra class rooms. Unfortunately this involved children crossing the Princes Highway and a tragic accident resulted in a student losing his life in a car accident in October 1962. Community agitation saw the construction of a new school on its existing site in Harmers Road and this opened in November 1963.

Hallam School in 1924.
Back row - Mr Webb (teacher), W. Hawksley, L.Vines, ? Hansen, unknown, A. Hyde, H. Knight, L.Dight, A. Kanes.Second back row - B. Kirkham, R. Butcher, E. Wallace, W. Harmer, I. Hawksley, M. Hansen, O. Harmer, N. Douglas. Second row from front - G. Hawksley, C. Dight, I.Haines, E. Graham, I. Crean, G. Barnes, A. Vines, A. Kane, O. Grahame, M. Vines.Front row - J. Kirkhan, J. Rust, H. Kirkham, T. Kirkham, R. Sorenson.

Postcards of Tooradin

These are a series of postcards from the 1940s or 1950s of Tooradin. Tooradin, has always had  a reputation as a 'Sportsman's Paradise' and by that they meant there was plenty of good fishing and hunting (ducks, quail and swans seemed to be the target). There is a first hand account of this sport in Around Tooradin : the Sportsman's Paradise by Hawkeye. It was published, in serial form, in late 1888 and early 1889 to promote the sale of land around Tooradin. Hawkeye described the journey to Tooradin by train, the fishing, local hospitality. Hawkeye's observations have been re-published in Tooradin: 125 years of Coastal History.

Tooradin township was first sub-divided in 1869 and cottages were built along Sawtell's Inlet. The Cranbourne Shire Historical Society manages one of the few remaining Cottages as a Museum. This Cottage was built circa 1873 and you can see it in the 1870s photograph, below. As you can also see, sailing and promenading were also popular past-times.

Sawtell's Inlet, Tooradin - 1870s

The Foreshore, Tooradin.

Moored boats on the Foreshore - the c.1873 cottage, referred to above, can be seen just to the right of the yacht's mast.

Jetty and Anchorage, Tooradin.

Another view of Sawtell's Inlet. Sawtell's Inlet was named after Melbourne merchant Edwin Sawtell in 1840.

Camping Ground, Tooradin.
Causeway from Children's Pool, Tooradin
The Children's pool was near the old State School, on the inlet, opposite the Tooradin Public  Hall.
The Causeway, Tooradin. 
The photograph is looking towards the garage that was on the corner of the South Gippsland Highway and the Foreshore. the garage was built in 1920 by John Colvin. Behind the garage is Cova Cottage cafe. The original bridge over Sawtell's Inlet was built possibly 1858, as the State Government Gazette lists a contract being accepted for erecting three bridges over the Tooradin inlets at Western Port in the edition published April 23, 1858 (see below). The contract was let to Arbut Brown and the cost was two thousand, four hundred and twenty pounds.
State Government Gazette April 23, 1858

The Shire of Cranbourne advertised for tenders to repair the bridge, in The Argus of December 27, 1872.

The Flood Gates, Tooradin

The Flood Gates over Sawtell's Inlet were constructed in 1904 with Turnbull Brothers being the Contractors. In an article in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of October 26, 1904 (see below) it appears that the cost for the 'extensive work' would amount to 1000 pounds, double the contracted price. The purpose of the flood gates was to control the flow of water during the many floods on the surrounding Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp, however they have been unpopular with farmers who feel that they impede the flow of flood waters from their properties and a report in a newspaper from 1917 complains that the restricted flow of water has caused the inlet to be silted up. 
South Bourke and Mornington Journal of October 26, 1904

This is the cover of the post card collection.

Small family farms

This is our 200th blog post - the first one was on November 5, 2007 - six years ago! How time flies and I still love this blog, it is the best thing I have ever done in my working life and thank you to everyone out there who reads it!  As it is our 200th post I'm going to tell you about small family farms, which were the main stay of the rural economy of this area from around the 1880s to the 1970s and also part of my heritage. The first settlers in the area were the squatters and large (often absentee)  landowners such as the Ruffy Brothers at Cranbourne, The Reverend Hussey Burgh Macartney at Eumemmerring and Sir William Clarke of Berwick. But from the 1850s the big squatting runs were broken up, Government land sales took place and other farmers moved in. Later on these farms were subdivided again (basically 1880s onwards)  and this gave small farmers the opportunity to purchase land - this would be the pattern of settlement for the areas around Cranbourne, Berwick, Hallam and Pakenham.

These are the cows on the Rouse farm at Cora Lynn; typical of the many small dairy farms that once proliferated in the Casey Cardinia region. Photograph taken in the 1930s. 
Government land schemes to break up the large farms such as the Closer Settlement Board and Soldier Settlement subdivisons were also undertaken. Local examples of these were the  Soldier Settlement at Narre Warren North and on the Clarke land at Berwick.  The other big Government land scheme in this region was the draining of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp, which began in 1889, with the main works finished in 1893 although various drainage works continued until the 1960s. This land was sub-divided into farms as small as 20 acres (8 hectares). And this is where my family steps into the picture - in 1903 my great grandfather James Rouse, selected 55 acres (22 hectares) on  Murray Road at Cora Lynn. He worked this land with his son, my grandfather, Joseph Rouse. Joe was nine in 1903 when they arrived and I'm not sure if he ever went to school after they arrived, if he did it would only have been for  a few years until he left and worked on the farm. Later on, in 1922,  Joe married my grandmother, Eva Weatherhead. Eva's father Horatio Weatherhead and her brothers had arrived in Tynong North in 1909 and operated saw mills - so they are representative of the many timber workers who operated mills in the hills from the 1880 onwards, but that's another story.  Joe and Eve raised their six children on the farm. Small family farms all relied on the generally unpaid labour of all the family members - my dad and my aunties and uncle all worked on the family farm - feeding the hens, weeding the vegetable garden, feeding the calves, milking the cows, collecting the eggs, ploughing the paddocks, planting crops, fixing machinery - there was a never ending lists of tasks  - often this work was done before they went to school and after they came home.

All small family farms would have had chooks - this is my grandmother, Eva Rouse, and her eldest daughter, Nancy, photograph taken about 1930. It's one of my favourite family photographs.
The growth of the family farm was encouraged by the establishment of railways in the area as they provided a means to send off produce to market and also provided the families with a means of transport when it was too far to go by bike or horse. In its turn, the growth of the small family farms lead to the establishment of butter and milk factories such as those at Bayles, Lang Lang and Cora Lynn; it encouarged the establishment of schools and the  growth of the towns which serviced the local farming communities. In turn, this meant that there more off-farm employment opportunities for members of family farmers and brought new people into the area.

Most small family farms also had pigs - this is my great aunt, Lucy Rouse, and my aunty Dorothy, taken around 1930.
There are very few small family farms remaining - the small soldier settler allotments at Narre Warren North, which were about 16 to 25  acres (6 to 10 hectares) are now covered in houses, the Andrews farm at Hallam is long gone replaced by houses and factories. In the 1970s when I was at High School, you would go past operating dairies on nearly every farm; in the same area (Cora Lynn) now,  I could count the dairy farms on one hand. Farms have grown bigger everywhere and  the time has past when a small family farm is viable. Changes in society have also contributed to this - children have more opportunities in employment and education and perhaps aren't as willing to work for nothing on the family farm. However, in this 200th blog post, I am paying tribute to the small family farm that sustained the economy of the Casey Cardinia region from the 1880s to the 1970s.

Finally, even though this may have seemed like fun to my Dad, Frank (aged about 3) and his brother Jim (about 5) by the time they were in their early teens they were ploughing the paddock with horses on their own. That'a my grandfather, Joe Rouse, behind the horse. Photograph taken about 1936.

Emerald Lake and Swimming Pool

To celebrate summer I'd thought we would have a look at some great photographs of the Emerald Lake and pool, a popular swimming location for locals since the 1930s. Click here for an engaging history of the lake by Graeme Legge. These photographs are all from the State Library of Victoria collection and are all part of the Rose Series of Postcards. There are no specific dates on the photographs but I presume they are from the 1930s to 1950s.

The Kiosk across the Lake, EmeraldState Library of Victoria Image H32492/2550

Springboard and Raft, Swimming Pool EmeraldState Library of Victoria Image H32492/148

The Drive, Swimming Pool, EmeraldState Library of Victoria Image H32492/1531

 Swimming Pool, Country Club, EmeraldState Library of Victoria Image H32492/639

A Magnificent view of the Lake, EmeraldState Library of Victoria Image H32492/2970

Spring board and water slide, Swimming Pool, EmeraldState Library of Image H32492/733

The kiosk at lakeside swimming pool, EmeraldState Library of Victoria Image H32492/3772

Kiosk and parking area, the Lake, EmeraldState Library of Victoria Image H32492/881

William A. Smith lace factory in Doveton

Lace Street in Eumemmerring is the only  reminder of the William A. Smith lace factory which operated there from 1949 to the 1980s.  When the factory was built it was in Power Road, however Power Road was later diverted around the Eumemmerring Creek and the small section of it, south of the Creek, was renamed Lace Street (see aerial photograph below). The factory was in an area which has gone through many changes of name - initially Eumemmerring, then Dandenong, from 1954 called Doveton and from 1981 called Eumemmerring (again)

This article was  in, of all papers, the Kalgoorlie Times of March 30 1948 and is about the establishment of the lace factory. It also appeared word for word in the Burnie Advocate.
Maria Harding, in her book, Doveton: a brief history says that the factory was built in 1949 and started operations that year. Two managers houses were also built at this time.  Mrs Harding writes that this factory made handkerchiefs, napery and veils, no doubt using the products imported from the English factory. In 1953, another factory was built alongside the original one and this factory manufactured lace. A third managers residence was also built and eighty four people were employed. The factory operated until the 1980s when it closed as it could no longer compete with cheaper imports. The factory, which was on the west side of Lace Street was sold and has been demolished as have the three houses.
The employees of the lace factory in 1951.
There was an article in the Women's Weekly of April 22, 1959 entitled Dandenong: a symbol of industrial strength. This article looked at various factories in the Dandenong,  including the lace factory. They interviewed William Smith and he claims that his factory was the first in Dandenong. It goes on to say that at his 300 year old walnut desk, brought from England, Mr Smith sighed ' for the old days at Dandenong (1947) when not a light could be seen for miles at night'.  "Look at the bustle now', he said. A heavy stream of traffic packed the four-lane highway in from of the factory.
Women's Weekly of April 22, 1959 picture accompanied the article about Dandenong and shows some of the lace factory employees.

This is a 1963 aerial of Doveton / Eumemmerring. Click on photo to enlarge it. That's the tree-lined  Eumemmerring Creek, snaking through from top right to bottom left and just to the right of the Creek, at the bottom, you can see Lace Street and the two factories on the western side, along with the three Manager's houses. Further north, the two ovals are Robinson Reserve and L.S. Reid oval. The intersection middle top is that of Frawley Road/Paperbark Street with Power Road. Follow Power Road to the bottom of the photo and it intersects with the Highway.  Power Road was diverted at this end as it would have been too expensive to build a bridge to take heavy trucks*. 
 *William Smith in an interview with Maria Harding

Harkaway - Max Thomson photograph collection at the State Library of Victoria

Historian, Mr Max Thomson, has donated his collection of historic photographs to the State Library of Victoria. Amongst the photographs are these ones of the Harkaway Hall - all taken by Michael J. Drew (1873-1943). They were all on glass negatives. Mr Thomson is the author of Little Hills, a history of Narre Warren North, published in 1977 to celebrate the centenary of the Narre Warren North State School, No.1901.

State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/462
The Hall looks finished on the outside, so perhaps these workmen were finishing off the interior. 
State Library of Victoria  Image H2012.171/464
The Hall, completed and sign written, above.  The Hall was officially opened on June 9, 1909 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Thomas Gibson Carmichael.  The only report of the opening which I can find  is from the Bendigo Advertiser of June 10 (see below) - I was a bit surprised that I couldn't find a local report. However, there is an account of the opening of the hall in the book Early Days of Berwick.   Mr James Curran, who wrote the chapter on Harkaway, reported that the Governor was escorted by a squadron of Australian Light Horse, the Narre Warren Troop, under the command of the late Lieutenant Alan Henry. The Troop also served as a Guard of Honour. 

Bendigo Advertiser, June 10 1909Trove
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/460
The photograph, above, was taken at the opening of the hall on June 9, 1909. Mr Curran also wrote that the people associated with the establishment of the Hall were Mr G.O.Lyon, Mr W. Warby, Mr Drew, Cr W. G. A'Beckett, Cr Kerr, Cr Barr and Mesdames R. Kelly, W.H. Jarrett, E. Wanke, Miss Mackie and Miss Troupe. Perhaps some of these people are in this photograph.
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/498
This shows the interior of the Hall, it may be the opening day, however I can't identify any of these people in the photograph, above, and the ladies look as though they are more dressed for a summer's day rather than a June day. The man in the white suit also looks as if he is dressed for a summers day as well.  There is plenty of food, all labelled, so I believe that this is more likely to be a fete or a exhibition.
I thought I would see what I could find out about the photographer - Michael J. Drew. There is a Michael Forestall Drew born in 1873, who died in 1943 and so I believe that he is actually the photographer. According to the Electoral Roll he lived in Harkaway in 1909, his occupation was 'Independent means'. He is listed in Harkaway and Berwick in the Electoral Rolls until 1942.  His other photographs at the  State Library of Victoria include a lot of nature scenes of unidentified locations and unidentified family groups. 

Roads, Rates and Rubbish - 1980s

Traditionally, Councils had their main focus on the three Rs - Roads, Rates and Rubbish. I have spoken before about the Shire of Pakenham slides which I have scanned - so here a representative lot showing the three Rs in the 1980s!

 The Pakenham Shire and the City of Berwick were formed on October 1st, 1973 when the Shire of Berwick split, with the Cardinia Creek being the boundary. The Pakenham Shire became the  Cardinia Shire officially on the December 15, 1994 at 4.00pm. The Cardinia Shire consists on the old Pakenham Shire, the rural eastern parts of the Cranbourne Shire and Emerald and surrounds, which came from the Sherbrooke Shire.

I believe this was taken in 1993. The population of Pakenham was 25,648 at the 2011 Census.

Amongst the slides were these two, above and below, obviously done for a presentation, explaining the Rates notice and how the Shire spends its money - in 1981 when the slides were created  the Council budget was just over $5 million and 38% was spent on roads, streets and bridges. The Council budget is now about $93 million.

Rubbish - being collected in the old fashioned manner, where 'garbos' physically picked the bins. For Health and Safety reasons this has now been stopped.  Truck owned P.H & E.P Young, Ballarto Road, Cardinia.

Roads - Shire of Pakenham digger. 

Finally - just to prove that rate payers received other services for their rates - here is the Pakenham Library, taken in June 1981.  The Council obviously wasted no rate payer money on aesthetically  pleasing features when they built this building, utilitarian is perhaps the kindest description we could use.  The Library was opened in 1979, in John Street when it was a dead end, before Safeways and the Target shops were built.  There is an aerial photograph of the building here.  This Library was replaced by the second John Street Library in 1991.

Touring in the 1930s.

I have just been given this fabulous set of Shell maps. Judging by the wonderful Art Deco style cover I presume that they are from the 1930s. 

The maps also include parts of the Motor Car Act. Click on the image to enlarge it. My favourite part of this Act covers the Wind Screen Wiper. It says that Every vehicle fitted with a wind screen must have attached thereto an efficient wiper. The Act also warns us not to use a Public Highway for racing or  a trial speed and also not to sound the horn when passing Churches. And another interesting part of the Act says The law now requires drivers to signal when about to stop, turn right or when the driver requires other vehicles to pass him on his right.

However, because this is a blog about the history of the Casey Cardinia, then you may be interested in this map. If we travel along the Princes Highway from Dandenong, we get to Narre Warren. Narre Warren North is described as 'Old Narre Warren', which is what it was, I just haven't seen it described like that on a map.  Modern day Narre Warren was established when the railway station opened in 1882. If we head up to the hills, going east from Belgrave, the town of  Aura is of interest. Menzies Creek was known as Aura from 1917-1923. 
Further east we have Gembrook North and Gembrook West, names no longer in use. Also of interest, right down the bottom we have Sherwood Junction, also a name no longer used, on the corner of the South Gippsland Highway and Tooradin-Baxter Road and further east they still use the name Yallock, even though with the opening of the Bayles station in 1922, the town and the name began to fall into decline.

Endeavour Hills Library - 1980s

The Endeavour Hills Library was officially opened on May 31, 1987 by the Mayor of the City of Berwick, Cr Eddie Barron. Here are some photographs of the Library and the Library site from around this time.

This is the site of the Library, next to the Community Centre. The Community Centre opened October 17, 1982. The shopping centre had opened in 1979.

This is the Library site, before construction started.

The day of the opening. All participants received a commemorative bookmark, below.

Above and below, are two early photographs of the Library from 1987/1988. 

The Library was renovated and extended in 2007.


These are more slides from the Shire of Pakenham collection which  I have been scanning.  They were taken in 1993, which isn't that long ago, in some ways, but considering the massive change in this area in the past twenty years they document the changes in Beaconsfield from the country town that it was to the suburb that it is becoming today. 

The old township signs that were erected by the Shire of Pakenham.

Princes Highway, Beaconsfield. The town of Beaconsfield was by-passed with the opening of the Berwick by-pass in December 1983.

The Beaconsfield Railway Station July 1993. The railway station was opened on December 1, 1879.

This building was used as an Antiques store in 1993, but as you can see below, was originally Adamson's hardware store. It is located in Woods Street.

Oral Histories collection launched today!

We officially launched our Digitised Oral History collection today! The interviews were recorded on cassette tape by Dr Debbie Stephan, the City of Berwick and later City of Casey Historical Officer and by students from Berwick Secondary College  in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These tapes  have been sitting in our Archive since then. Over that time, no-one had an opportunity to listen to them or even knew what a great resource we had, so we thought it was time to digitise the tapes and make them available to the general public.  There are over 50 tapes already digitised with another 30 to go. We haven't edited them at all, just improved the sound quality. They are now available on our website - click on this link and it will take you straight there.
These oral histories cover a wide range of subjects and time periods. Dr Stephan had interviewed people associated with the formation of the City of Berwick  such as Mr Neil Lucas, the CEO; Mr Ross Currie, City Engineer; Mr Jeff Marjoram, Director of Community Services and Mr Ron Chidgey, Technical Services. We were fortunate that Neil Lucas, Ross Currie and Ron Chidgey could attend the launch - in fact Neil did us the honour of officially launching the collection today. We listened to some of Neil's interview and he talked about the very first City of Berwick Council meeting which was held at 10.00am at the Berwick Inn on October 1, 1973. It was held at the Berwick Inn as that is where the first Berwick Road Board meeting was held.

This photograph was taken after the first meeting of the City of Berwick 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. Our oral history collection also includes interviews with David Lee, Barry Simon and Jan Bateman
The oral histories are not just related to municipal affairs - other people interviewed include - Mr Vivian Campbell, the manager of the Piney Ridge farm which was located where the suburb of Endeavour Hills is today; Mr Ted Allen of Cranbourne who talks about his service in World War Two; Dr Noel Stephenson who talks about the changes to the Berwick Bush Nursing Hospital; Miss Lucy Bailey, of Araluen, whose grand parents came to Narre Warren North in the 1890s and established the first orchard in the area; Mr Doug Smith who talked about Cranbourne when it was a country town and Mrs Queenie Brundrett who talked about Narre Warren North in  the depression.
This is just a snap shot of the broad range of stories, memories and information that you will find in our oral history collection. Many of the people interviewed have now passed on, but a part of them will live on in these oral histories.
You can access the Oral histories from our web page and there are links in the Local History section or just click here


In a previous post I posted some mystery photographs, that turned out to be of Dewhurst, a small town in the Cardinia  Shire between Beaconsfield Upper and Emerald. The original township is now under the Cardinia Reservoir. The mystery photographs were identified by Mrs Dorothy Burgess (nee Bishop) who grew up in Dewhurst. Mrs Burgess also gave us copies of some of her own photographs and has allowed us to post them on our blog. These photographs, along with the ones shown in the previous post, provide a fairly comprehensive record of life in the original township of Dewhurst from the 1930s to the 1950s. I am grateful to Mrs Burgess for allowing us to share her photographs.

This is the wedding of Dorothy Bishop and Alex Burgess in March 1957 at the Dewhurst Methodist Church.

This is the Dewhurst Methodist Church congregation, taken April 29, 1956. The Methodist Church was located down hill from Elephant Rock (opposite Bimbimbie Drive).   Left to right are Andrew Haldane, Jill Haldane, Mrs Hamilton, Ethel Lewis, Stan Hamilton (at back in doorway) George Lewis, Margaret Bishop, Frances Bishop, Hilda Haldane with baby Ruth, Edwin Hamilton, Val Hamilton (Bramley), Graeme Horsfal (the lay preacher), Dorothy Bishop, Irene Horsfal and Rodney Horsfal.

This was the last service at the Methodist Church and was held in December 1972.
Dewhurst School, No. 4522,  with the large shelter shed at the back.

Then School was later extended.

The Dewhurst School Mothers Club. Back row - Mrs Moore, Mrs Wilson, Dorothy Bishop and Ruby Pratt. Front row - Di Ladd, Elaine Bruce and baby, Frances Bishop and Ethel Peart. Elaine  Bruce was married to the son of Mary Grant Bruce, the author and journalist.

This is Dewhurst Primary School in 1935. Back row - Hilda Hamilton, Grace Black, Mary Mumford, May Black. Second from back - Mary Bishop, Beverly Downey, Ethel Hamilton, Barbara Renfree. Second from front - Pater Downey, Ernie Rainey, Edwin Hamilton, Don Wilson. Front row - Ron Shanks, Norm Wilson, Ray Wilson.

Dewhurst School - perhaps late 1930s. Back row - Don Wilson, Edwin Hamilton, Miss Crow (teacher) Hilda Hamilton, Peter Downie, Ray Wilson. Middle row - Barbara Renfree, Betty Hamilton, Beverley Downie, Mary Bishop. Seated at front - Ron Shanks, Norman Wilson. 

Dewhurst School - c. 1940. Back row - Ettie Hamilton, Barbara Renfree, Marjorie Wilson (checked top), Hilda Hamilton, Edwin Hamilton, Peter Downie, Don Wilson (wearing cap), Ray Wilson (wearing tie). Front row - unknown girl, Beverley Downie, Mary Bishop, Dorothy Bishop, Mary Hamilton, Stan Hamilton (hands over face) Ron Shanks, Maurice Downie, Norman Wilson and John Downie. Dorothy was too young to have started school but used to go to the school to play with her siblings.

Dewhurst School students - mid 1940s.  Back row - John Nash, Adolf Champion, David Halley, Stan Hamilton. Middle row - Margaret Halley, Winston Champion, Margaret Bishop, Janice Peart. Front row - George Bishop and Robert Wilson.

Dewhurst School students, mid 1940s. - Back row - Stan Hamilton, David Halley, Brian Richardson, Dorothy Bishop, Mary Hamilton. Front row - Janice Peart, Robert Wilson, Helen Miller, Margaret Halley, George Bishop, Margaret Bishop. We have  a great photograph of Mary Hamilton's wedding in 1954, here.

Dewhurst School - mid 1940s. Back row - David Halley, Stan Hamilton, Dorothy Bishop, Mary Hamilton, Brian Richardson. Front row - unknown girl, Winston Champion, Margaret Halley, Margaret Bishop, George Bishop, Janice Peart. 

Dewhurst School 1950. Back row - Winston Champion (hidden), David Halley, Mr Waugh (teacher), Adolf Champion, Stan Hamilton. Front row - Janice Peart, Robert Wilson, Margaret Halley, Ken Peart, George Bishop, Margaret Bishop.
For more Dewhurst photographs, click here.

Hampton Park Jan 28 1970

These aerials of Hampton Park were taken on January 28, 1970, back in the days when it was just a county town. It was before the Eumemmerring By-pass was built, which was started in 1969 and completed in 1972. To see more photographs of this area, click here.

This shows the South Gippsland Highway, going from bottom right to top left of the photograph. The first road from the bottom of the picture, on the left of the Highway is Abbotts Road - it bisects the railway line. Around the middle, on the right of the Highway, is Somerville Road and above that is Pound Road.

This shows Somerville Road. The five roads on the south side are View Street, The Fairway, Parkland Avenue, Ora Street and Wren Street. On the north of Somerville Road is Bride Street, running beside the oval. On the right of the photograph is Hallam Road and it intersects with Pound Road, where the trees surrounding the four small paddocks look a bit like a swastika.  You can see the Hallam Main Drain at the top of the picture.

This photographs also shows the intersection of Hallam Road and Pound Road. It also shows the intersection where Pound Road diverts at at 45 degree angle at the Shrives Road ineresection.

Gembrook Union Church

Theses are photographs taken in the 1980s of the Gembrook Union Church and the Gembrook Catholic Church, Sacred Heart. The Union Churches have always interested me - they seemed to have been built in small communities, with a eucumenical spirit. There was one built at Yannathan in 1890, which was used by the Anglicans, the Presbyterians and the Methodists.It was used until 2011, when it closed down and was sold. There is also a Union Church at Officer. This was built in 1929 after 500 pounds was raised from members of the public. Previous to this, church services took place in the public hall.

The Gembrook Union Church, taken in the 1980s.
According to Bill Parker in his book Forest to Farming, the Gembrook Union Church was opened on April 6, 1879. The land, on the corner of Ure Road and Mountain Road,  was donated by the Reverend John Bromby  on the condition that the building could be used by all denominations. The property was 'owned' by the Pastoral Aid Society, a union between the Church of England and the Presbyterian Church.  The first services were Anglican and they were conducted by the Minister at Berwick. Later services were Presbyterian. The church is now the Gembrook Uniting Church. In 1905, an Anglican Church was built in Gembrook, St Silas.  St Silas was closed around 1994 and is now privately owned, though it does still seem to be used for some services.

Another view of the rather austere Gembrook Union Church, taken in the 1980s.

The third church built in Gembrook was Sacred Heart Catholic Church, built in 1921. Bill Parker writes that it was built by a Mr Twyford, 'a skilled carpenter and devout Anglican'. It is in Main Street in Gembrook and still operates today. It is pictured above, in a photograph taken in the 1980s.