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Mistletoe murder

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Getting into the Christmas spirit and wanting to try a little of an author that I had not read before, led me to The Mistletoe Murder and other stories, by P.D. James.

From the blurb: As the acknowledged 'Queen of Crime', P. D. James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a special short story for Christmas. Four of the best of these have been drawn from the archives and published here. P. D. James's prose illuminates each of these perfectly formed stories, making them ideal reading for the darkest days of the year. While she delights in the secrets that lurk beneath the surface at family gatherings, her Christmas stories also provide tantalizing puzzles to keep the reader guessing.

I love a good mystery, but had not yet made my way to P.D. James work.  The Mistletoe Murder and other stories gave me a 'sampler' - the four short stories were interesting, miniature puzzles within themselves and gave me a taste for the writing and characters of P.D. James.

The stories were short and it was easy to get lost in each one. The situations she came up with were intriguing and the twists she caught you with were delightful.  After this short exposure, I can understand why P.D. James has such a following.

If you are a P.D. James fan, you will love seeing how she engages with the short form.  As short mystery stories, they are hard to surpass in quality.  Or if you like a good challenge, these short stories will have you thinking about who the real culprit is.

Most enjoyable.

~ Michelle

RR's Best Reads of the Year

Reading Rewards - reviews -

It’s December, holiday time, and time for Reading Rewards blog to go into hiatus to hopefully emerge with a sparkling, shiny-bright makeover in 2017.  Our dynamic team has enjoyed bringing you reviews on what we’ve been listening to or reading, some inspiring and memorable, some not quite delivering (but it’s always interesting to hear about those too!); plus news on our library homefront and in the wider writing world.
So, as we pack our library bags and head off for a well-earned break, we are chuffed to once again present our followers’ most favourite post – The RR Team’s Best Reads of the Year.   Without further ado ...
Ali:  All the Light WeCannot See by Anthony Doerr
The storyline of this Pulitzer prize winning novel is very strong and easy to be swept up in. The chapters are structured so that the reader alternates between the two main stories and the chapters are short. The setting of Europe throughout the War added drama and intensity. The writing is beautiful; the imagery is finely observed and thrown into the mix is a diamond mystery. I loved the thread about radio transmitters, sound and communication. All the Light We Cannot See was a hugely enjoyable read and it was great to find a book which was hard to put down. A must read!
Janine:  Journey’s End by Jennifer Scoullar
Great Australian rural fiction!   It's a story of friendship, renewal, racism, war, wild life rescue, rainforest, love and environmental issues. Jennifer Scoullar writes with such knowledge about environmental matters. I was glued to this book and really didn't want it to end.
Leanne:  A Boy Madeof Blocks by Keith Stuart
A Boy Made of Blocks tells the story of a father's struggle to reconnect with his wife and understand his autistic son, Sam. He somewhat reluctantly begins to play the online game “Minecraft” with Sam, and through this begins to understand himself and make the connections with his family that had been missing.  It is a beautiful, well-written debut novel that captures the struggles of family life, and leaves you feeling that it will all work out in the end.
Michelle:  Fool Me Onceby Harlan Coben
Harlan is a master mystery writer, but he surpassed even my highest expectations with this one!  Gripping, scary, twisting and turning and ultimately tragic, it was a ‘can’t put it down’ read.  In a year where I read some great stories, this was the standout best!

Narelle:  Twisted River by Siobhan MacDonald.
I love a good psychological thriller and this book did not disappoint. It was a debut novel for Siobhan MacDonald and the plot was fresh and different. It is a story of two families in crisis who decide that a family holiday will be the answer to their problems. Both families decide on a home-exchange holiday, which does not resolve the family problems they were hoping for, but rather manifests more! Secrets are gradually revealed as MacDonald takes us chapter by chapter through the lives of the four main characters; Kate and Mannix O’Brien and Hazel and Oscar Harvey. It is great the way MacDonald provides us with individual perspectives on each character, building up a story that provides both intrigue and shock for the reader. The end of the story left me speechless and begging for more!
Pru:  Luncheon of theBoating Party by Susan VreelandInstantly recognisable, Auguste Renoir’s masterpiece depicts a gathering of friends enjoying a summer Sunday on a café terrace along the Seine near Paris. What a lovely idea – exploring a beautiful painting and how it came to be painted and in so doing, we glimpse Renoir's struggles to capture the light of the moment so important to the lmpressionist movement. 

The back stories to the varied models are fascinating and Vreeland convincingly weaves them together with conversations over their delectable long Sunday lunches while the languid Seine and its boating activities enliven the backdrop.  A must read for lovers of fine food, art and culture.
Teresa:  True Girt: the unauthorised history ofAustralia, Volume 2 by David Hunt
This is the hilarious follow up to David Hunt’s “Girt”, and covers the period of early Australian European settlement. Brainless explorers who took off totally unprepared for their expeditions; inane Governors who hadn’t a clue how to run a new colony; bushrangers committing acts of robbery and mayhem who somehow became folk heroes; and dispossessed indigenous peoples fast being “assimilated” into white society all feature in Hunt’s acerbic yet uproarious tale of the first hundred years in the “new” colonies. Although mainly one for Australian history buffs, those interested in a modern day twist on the “History wars” will love it too.
Deb:  The Finding of MarthaLost by Caroline Wallace
If you’re looking for something a bit left-field, distinctly quirky, with a touch of the Gaiman-esque about it, do we have the book for you!  The Finding of Martha Lost was such a delight, quite a surprising read really.  The story is set in Liverpool’s Lime Street Station with two main threads holding your attention:  Martha - a baby abandoned in a suitcase on the train from Paris, and a missing suitcase purporting to belong to The Beatles.  (This part is based on a true story to do with the ashes of Liverpool legend Mal Evans, the Beatles' roadie and mate who was shot dead in America. His ashes went missing during the journey home to Liverpool. )
Beautifully written with both the setting and the era (1976) depicted perfectly, the main characters are wonderfully drawn.  It’s not literature and it’s not meant to be.  It’s just a whimsical, entertaining novel that makes you so glad Martha Lost found her way into your world.
***************All our best wishes for the festive season and as always ... Happy Holiday Reading from the RR Team!  Catch up with the new look RR next year!
~ Deb

A Mother's Story

Reading Rewards - reviews -

A Mother’s Story by Rosie Batty

At the start of 2014, Rosie Batty was an ordinary single mum doing everything in her power to give her son, Luke, the very best life she could. But her world changed forever when her troubled ex-partner, Greg Anderson, killed Luke in an horrendous attack at the local cricket ground in February that year. Rosie had suffered years of family violence, and had intervention orders in place in an effort to protect herself and her son. She believes the killing was Greg's final act of power and control over her. But Rosie would not be silenced. 

Since the events of last February, she has become an outspoken crusader against family violence, winning hearts and minds all over Australia with her compassion and her courage. In January 2015, she was named Australian of the Year. 

Rosie Batty has had to endure much in her life and the murder of her son, Luke, was the straw that broke the camels back. She somehow was able to harness the sadness and frustration and through a period when most people would be quietly grieving, she got to work speaking out about domestic violence. This incredible inner strength resulted in her being named Australian of the Year for 2015. This is an honest book about her tragic and triumphant life circumstances.

~ Ali

Vic. Premier's Awards shortlist

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards were inaugurated by the Victorian Government in 1985 to honour literary achievement by Australian writers. The awards are administered by the Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Premier of Victoria.

The winners of the five award categories – fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry and writing for young adults – each receive $25,000 and go on to contest the Victorian Prize for Literature. 

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards include two further awards: the Unpublished Manuscript Award and the biennial Award for Indigenous Writing. The 2016 Unpublished Manuscript Award was won by Melanie Cheng for Australia Day, while Tony Birch's Ghost River won the 2016 Award for Indigenous Writing. For the first time this year, these two additional awards will both join consideration with the other five category winners for the Victorian Prize for Literature.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 31 January 2017.

Making the shortlist are:


Between a Wolf and a Dog by Georgia Blain
The Healing Party by Micheline Lee
Wood Green by Sean Rabin
Waiting by Philip Salom 
The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong
The Love of a Bad Man by Laura Elizabeth Woollett


Songs of a War Boy by Deng Adut with Ben Mckelvey
The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke
The Killing Season Uncut by Sarah Ferguson with Patricia Drum
Offshore: Behind the wire on Manus and Nauru by Madeline Gleeson
Position Doubtful by Kim Mahood
The Fighter by Arnold Zable 

Participate in the awards by voting for your favourite work on the shortlist at http://www.wheelercentre.com/projects/victorian-premier-s-literary-awards-2017
The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be named alongside the general category winners, and will receive $2,000.


Mad Enchantment

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies by Ross King 

Who, more than 100 years after their painting, isn’t aware of Monet’s Water Lilies, their distinctive mauve and green colours, the Japanese bridge, the weeping willows? But fewer know the compelling story behind the passion that drove Monet, in his seventies, to create them.

Monet had already made money, achieved considerable fame and had made his mark on the international art scene as one of the founders of the Impressionist movement. But even so Monet was driven to achieve more, beginning work on what would become some of the most recognisable paintings of the twentieth century, the Water Lilies.

In the midst of the First World War that held such horrors for France, afflicted by personal grief after losing his second wife and his eldest son, and anguished by failing vision – he who was famed for colour perception – Monet became consumed by what Ross King calls his ‘Mad Enchantment'.

Why we love it: Ross King’s latest biography, Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies, is an intriguing insight into the world of the French Impressionist artist Claude Monet and his best-loved works.

~ From The Team at Better Reading

Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour: Servicemen remembered - now online

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

We have spoken about the book Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour: Servicemen remembered before in this blog (click here for the link) and the good news is that this book is now fully available on-line on the Beaconsfield Progress Association's new website - this is the direct link to the on-line version of the book http://beaconsfield.org.au/beaconsfield-avenue-of-honour/

The book covers the lives of  the 65 men who were honoured with trees in the Beaconsfield/Berwick Avenue of Honour which runs along High Street/Princes Highway, from the top of the hill down to the Cardinia Creek.  This on-line version makes this well researched information even more widely available and, like the trees in the Avenue, is another permanent reminder of the sacrifice that the 65 men and their families from the Beaconsfield area made one hundred years ago.

Some of the entries  have photographs of the soldiers - here are three  of them 

Private Alec MaySource: Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour: Servicemen remembered

Signaller James AdamsonSource: Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour: Servicemen remembered

Private Edward DineleySource: Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour: Servicemen remembered

About a Boy

Reading Rewards - reviews -

About a Boy by Nick Hornby

How cool was Will Freeman? 
Too cool! At thirty-six, he's as hip as a teenager. He's single, child-free, goes to the right clubs and knows which trainers to wear. He's also found a great way to score with women: attend single parents' groups full of available (and grateful) mothers, all hoping to meet a Nice Guy.
Which is how Will meets Marcus, the oldest twelve-year-old on the planet. Marcus is a bit strange: he listens to Joni Mitchell and Mozart, looks after his mum and has never owned a pair of trainers. But Marcus latches on to Will - and won't let go. Can Will teach Marcus how to grow up cool? And can Marcus help Will just to grow up? 

Nick Hornby’s stories are always good value. Filled with humour, the characters here are real and relatable. Hornby has an acute observational knack, drawing complete characters, even the more minor ones.  Twelve-year-old Marcus is a bit odd yet endearing. Will is a try-hard looking for his next shag. Will believes that single mums are the go and attends a SPAT (Single Parents Alone Together) meeting which inadvertently leads him to meet Marcus. The two of them together initially bumble their way through major communication blockages to ultimately form an affectionate and honest friendship. 

I listened to the e-audio version which had many laugh-out-loud moments and was wonderfully narrated by Stephen Mangan. Highly recommended. 

~ Ali

Harkaway Lutheran Chuch

Links to our Past - history -

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bell Tower was officially opened on December 28 1935.

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

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

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

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

Where the Trees Were

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Where the Trees Were by Inga Simpson

"All in?" Kieran pulled me up, and the others followed. We gathered around the bigger tree. No one asked Matty - he just reached up and put his right hand on the trunk with ours. Kieran cleared his throat. "We swear, on these trees, to always be friends. To protect each other - and this place."

Finding those carved trees forged a bond between Jay and her four childhood friends and opened their eyes to a wider world. But their attempt to protect the grove ends in disaster, and that one day on the river changes their lives forever. 

Seventeen years later, Jay finally has her chance to make amends. But at what cost? Not every wrong can be put right, but sometimes looking the other way is no longer an option.

Another great read from Inga Simpson – her passion for nature and her wonderful ability to transport the reader to any location she chooses to write about is to be commended. Plus she artfully captures the innocence of childhood perfectly! 

The story is told in dual time zones (childhood 1980’s and current 2000’s) and explores such issues as the conservation/preservation of art and cultural objects/return of significant cultural artefacts to original owners, Indigenous rights, land rights, drugs in sport, the difficulties facing Australian farmers and country towns, Australian foreign affairs and terrorism, illegal fishing …  There is so much in this book!  

The writing is beautiful, and her descriptions of places, people and habitat is a joy to read. This is an exceptional book that can be read on many levels; a coming of age story of the children, the coming of age of Australia. It kept me turning the pages until I finished.  

~ Janine


Reading Rewards - reviews -

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Tom Toolin, who together with his twin Joe were the focus of an acclaimed documentary by production team Mouth to Mouth, has passed away.  Bo, a ruthless director hell-bent to have another success (much to the disgust of her sound director boyfriend Solomon and camera women Rachel) is determined to film the funeral and life of Joe Toolin after his twin's death. What they did not expect to find were clues to a secret that leads them to discover a young woman living alone on the Toolin twin's property.

Strikingly beautiful, Laura has an extraordinary talent for mimicry, like the famous Australian Lyrebird. Bo, determined that this will be her next big project, immediately goes into action and manipulates Laura into doing a documentary. However, Solomon feels more than just a professional interest in Lyrebird, as something deep inside him changes at her smile and he falls deeply under her spell...

Why we love it: The author who had us in tears in P.S. I Love You captivates once again with the magical story of a woman named Lyrebird.

~ from The Team at Better Reading

Rough Diamond

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Rough Diamond by Kathryn Ledson

Funny, romantic, and action-packed, Rough Diamond introduces Australia's own Stephanie Plum - the unforgettable Erica Jewell. The shock ending to Erica Jewell's marriage left a huge hole in her bank balance and a bigger one in her heart. And now her life goals make a very short list: no surprises, no debt and, definitely, no men.

I love reading a good book set in Melbourne; you recognise the suburbs and even some of the streets. Rough Diamond is a fun, fantastic, romantic story. It is hard to believe this was a debut novel and now there are two other books in this series! 

The story is interesting and well paced, balanced between Jack and Erica Jewell's interactions and a background terrorist plot. I laughed out loud more than once as I was reading, from the start when Erica finds a man with a gunshot injury on her front porch to when she ends up being the "accidental sleuth". This story engaged me from the first page and kept me absorbed to the last. Erica's terrace house in Richmond, her boss' Toorak mansion, Jack's upmarket Brighton pad, The Tan jogging track, Moorabbin Airport (about spitting distance from where I lived as a child!), the Sydney Opera House and Blue Mountains, all locations familiar to me so I could picture everything that happens as if I was there.  If you are looking for a light hearted cozy mystery then this is the book for you! 

You can hear all about Kathryn Ledson's writing journey in person when she and three other fabulous Aussie authors - Jennifer Scoullar, Margaret Osborn and Kate Belle - visit Cranbourne Library, 7.00-8.30pm on 16 February 2017 - Drinks, nibbles and door prizes included.  No cost but bookings are essential at www.tinyurl.com/cclcevents.
~ Janine

Luncheon of the Boating Party

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland

From the cover: Instantly recognisable, Auguste Renoir’s masterpiece depicts a gathering of friends enjoying a summer Sunday on a café terrace along the Seine near Paris. They share a moment of la vie moderne, a time when social constraints were loosening and Paris was healing after the Franco-Prussian war. Renoir took on this most challenging project at a time of personal crises in art and love. Written from the views of Renoir and seven of the models, Vreeland paints their lives and loves with a gorgeous palette of vibrant captivating characters in a brilliant portrait of her own.

This is a lovely idea – exploring a beautiful painting and how it came to be painted and in doing so we glimpse Renoir's struggles to capture the light of the moment so important to the lmpressionist movement. 

The back stories to the varied models are fascinating and Vreeland convincingly weaves them together with conversations over their delectable long Sunday lunches while the languid Seine and its boating activities enliven the backdrop.  A must read for lovers of fine food, art and culture.

~ Pru 

Vincent Daly and his connection to Nar Nar Goon

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

This copy of  a post card of Vincent Daly was kindly donated to us from the Traralgon and District Historical Society*   We know from the verso of the card that Vincent was Killed in Action in 1916, that he was a  cousin of Tom Fitzgibbon of Tyers (near Traralgon) and that he had a  connection to the Pakenham district.  Naturally I wanted to know what this connection to the local area was.

I started at the National Archives of Australia to discover the official information from his service record. His Service record (service number 2848) shows that Patrick Vincent Daly enlisted on July 2, 1915 at the age of 19. He was born in Dalyston and his next of kin was his father, also Patrick Daly, of Cloverdale, Dalyston. He had to get permission from his parents to enlist and this means we discovered his mother was Mrs E.C Daly.  Less than one year after he enlisted Vincent (it seems he was known to the family as Vincent rather than Patrick) was Killed in Action in France on May 15, 1916. 

Vincent's obituary from The Advocate of June 10, 1916http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article151747110
So now we know the official information what we need to discover now is his Pakenham District connection.  I looked up the Index to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages (access this here) and found Vincent was born in 1896 to Patrick James Daly and Elizabeth Catherine Dore. Once I found this out I was pretty sure that Elizabeth must have been connected to the pioneering Dore family of Nar Nar Goon, so then I did a search in the on-line newspapers on Trove and found the article reproduced below about the Will of John Dore, which clearly links Elizabeth Daly to John Dore and thus makes young Vincent John Dore's grandson. Lucky for us that there was no privacy issues 100 years ago and newspapers regularly reported the contents of Wills! I also found the lovely obituary of Vincent in The Advocate, (reproduced above) which gives us a fuller picture of him. 
Elizabeth was the daughter of John and Betty (nee O'Connor) Dore of Mt Ararat at Nar Nar Goon. In 1844, John Dore and Michael Hennessey took up the Mount Ararat Run at Nar Nar Goon of 1,900 acres. The partnership existed until 1855 when Hennessey moved to Dandenong. In the 1860s, Dore purchased the 640 acre Mt Ararat pre-emptive right. He later purchased another 387 acres and his son Thomas 300 acres so they held a total of 1,300 acres. The property was later bisected by the railway line when it was built in 1877. You can read more about  the Dore family here.
When John Dore died in 1895, his son-in-law who was also Vincent's father, Patrick Daly was one of the executor's of his will. John Dore's estate was left as a life interest to his son Patrick and his wife Kate and then after their death to his four daughters including Vincent's mother, Elizabeth Daly. Elizabeth was also left a block of land (it was 26 acres) in the Parish of Wonthaggi, where Dalyston is located.

Table Talk May 24, 1895http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145921610

*The post card of Vincent is part of the Eva West collection at the Traralgon & District Historical Society. Eva became the Assistant Shire Secretary at Traralgon in 1924, and the Shire Secretary in 1935 and held this position until 1975.  She was awarded an MBE in 1958. I found a snippet of information on Trove from the Traralgon Record of December 29, 1916 -  At the Accountancy examinations  recently at the Melbourne University, Miss Eva West, of Traralgon, succeeded in passing  the last of the series of examinations necessary to qualify for admission to the Institute of Accountants, this being the first time that any lady in the State has obtained this qualification.....We heartily congratulate Miss West as right throughout the examination she maintained a position amongst the leading candidates. She was a real pioneer in her field.

Peas & Queues

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Peas & Queues: the minefield of modern manners by Sandi Toksvig

How do you get rid of unwanted guests? What do you do if there's a racket in the quiet carriage? Who are you supposed to kiss - and is it one kiss or two? How to behave, like how to punctuate, is an aspect of life that many are no longer taught - and getting it wrong is the stuff of comedy at best and humiliation at worst.

Thankfully, Sandi Toksvig has come to the rescue with her entertaining guide to modern manners, with tips on what to do whether you're talking to a bore, or forgot their name in the first place.

If you're a fan of the tv show QI hosted by Stephen Fry, you will be familiar with the inimitable Sandi Toksvig, the pint size performer with the razor-sharp intelligence and quick wit.  She is one of the rare people who can spontaneously drop quotes from Erasmus to Barak Obama while parlezing double entendres with one arm tied behind her back.  A gifted author of both adult and children's book, prolific traveller with a portmaneau of tales tall and true, radio and tv performer, Peas & Queues is not really what you expect from her.

Liberally sprinkled with Toksvig-isms and peppered with the disappointingly number of witticism, this book is actually hard work. It's not the most rivetting of subjects so I was expecting it to be more humorous, more laugh out loud, but it is actually a real "how to" or rather "don't do this" - yes, from how to set a table (I had never heard of 'fork only has four letters, the same as roll, so a dinner roll is set to the left on the fork side, whereas knife has five letters and so does glass, so a glass is set to the right above the knife position'.)  Wow.  

All in all, perhaps a book to dip into when you need some advice on the lost art of manners, but definitely not one for the long-haul read.  I borrowed the audio version which is narrated by the author - it's just soooo Sandi.  And I like her.  Many don't.  We have this title in print, large print, audio CD and Playaway formats.

~ Deb

Start of the Fountain Gate Shopping Centre

Links to our Past - history -

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

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

Another view looking towards the Civic Centre

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

Similar views as above.

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

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

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

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

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

I feel that this is looking north towards Narre Warren North

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

This is what became Magid Drive looking towards the Princes Highway

Looking west and the one below is looking south west.

Four legendary kingdoms

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly is the latest in the Jack West series.  In reading the usual roller coaster ride that is a Matthew Reilly title however, I discovered that you don't have to have read the others in the series, to understand and enjoy this new adventure.

From the blurb: Jack West Jr and his family are living happily on their remote farm......when Jack is brutally kidnapped and he awakes in an underground cell to find a masked attacker with a knife charging at him. Jack, it seems, has been chosen - along with a dozen other elite soldiers - to compete in a series of deadly challenges designed to fulfill an ancient ritual. With the fate of the Earth at stake, he will have to traverse diabolical mazes, fight cruel assassins and face unimaginable horrors that will test him like he has never been tested before. In the process, he will discover the mysterious and powerful group of individuals behind it all: the four legendary kingdoms. He might also discover that he is not the only hero in this place...

Matthew Reilly began his writing journey as a self-published author and every one of his books takes you on a roller coaster ride of adventure, puzzles, heroes and villains and overcoming evil.  I have read all of his books and have even seen him speak so am always happy to get my hands on a new title by him.

What I discovered with Four Legendary Kingdoms was that I didn't always like the way the story went, or how it was written, but I still could never just put the book down!

Having said that, the story was great, the challenges amazing, the whole scenario both fascinating and disturbing and the whole secret twist....... well enough said.  I don't like roller coasters much in real life, but I love Matthew Reilly's books because he really takes you for an awesome ride - compelling through every dip and peak.

If you love adventure, challenges, puzzles, heroes overcoming villains (in often very imaginary ways), then you'll love Jack West Jr in Four Legendary Kingdoms.  And if you enjoy this, you can go back and read the other Jack West stories and try out Matthew Reilly's other titles, including other compelling heroes.

~ Michelle


Reading Rewards - reviews -

Hello from the RR Team!  It’s  that time of year and our libraries are busting at the seams with the magic of Christmas, great holiday reads and entertainment, some wonderful events to pop in your diary and a look at a couple of brilliant author events heading our way in early 2017.  All these are listed in the column at the left, below our operating hours, just scroll down to catch up on what’s what.  Our Christmas brochure detailing ALL events can be found at www.cclc.vic.gov.au


Forgiving Trees have been established at all our libraries in the lead up to Christmas.  We are encouraging people to contribute items of food or unwrapped gifts for those in need of support. If donors have library fines or lost fees due to Casey Cardinia Libraries, we will waive their fees in acknowledgement of their generosity.

CEO, Chris Buckingham said: “This is the season for giving and we want people across our community to know that if they pay it forward and help out others, we will return the favour.”

The Forgiving Tree is a golden opportunity for library members with overdue items or fines to wipe the slate clean and feel good about it. 

“By waiving fines and encouraging people to visit our libraries we can bring people together and help celebrate the best things about community life in Casey Cardinia”, said Chris.

The Forgiving Tree campaign will run from December 1– 24 and all donated goods will go to local charities. Donated non-perishable food needs to have its packaging intact with best before dates in 2017. Christmas gifts must be new and unwrapped.

The Reading Rewards Team will soon be presenting the most popular post of the year – Our FAVE READS for 2016!!!

~ Deb.

A Chance of Stormy Weather

Reading Rewards - reviews -

A Chance of Stormy Weather by Tricia Stringer

Paula, an independent Sydney girl, has had a rocky past with men.  Then, at a friend's wedding, Paula meets Dan. He is ruggedly handsome with a smile that leaves her weak, but there's just one problem - he's a farmer. Within an month they're engaged, and much to the distress of her parents, have a hasty wedding. Paula moves to South Australia to live on Dan's farm and is looking forward to a fresh start in the country but as 'new blood', she has no idea what she's in for.

It soon becomes very clear to Paula that the life of a farmer's wife will be harder than she thought. Dan's aunt Rowena is a blunt, ruthless woman who leaves Paula feeling unnecessary (especially on the farm), there's a beautiful woman named Katherine who keeps appearing at every turn, Dan is constantly out working late hours, and, to make matters worse, her new home is infested with mice. Paula's days soon run together and the isolation begins to set in - was this what she signed up for?

Why we love it: Tricia Stringer takes us to outback Australia in a page-turning rural romance with characters we invest in wholeheartedly.

~ by The Team at Better Reading

Only Ever You

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Only Ever You by Rebecca Drake

Three-year-old Sophia Lassiter disappears at the playground only to return after 40 frantic minutes but her mother Jill's relief is short lived. Jill is convinced the tiny dots on her daughter's arm are puncture marks. When doctors find no trace of drugs in her system, Jill accepts she won't ever know what happened during her daughter's absence and is simply grateful to have her home safely. Except Sophia isn't safe. 

Three months later, she disappears again. This time from her bed at home, in the night. Working with the police and the community, Jill and her husband David are desperate to bring their little girl home. They remain hopeful until information turns up suggesting their daughter was murdered, causing the police to turn their suspicions on the parents. Facing ugly family secrets and heart-rending evidence, Jill is still convinced her daughter is alive. But when the dragnet begins to close around them, Jill realizes the worst: if the police believe she has killed her daughter, that means they aren't out there looking for the real perpetrator. They aren't hunting for Sophie or the person who still has her.

Jill and David Lassiter face every parent’s worst nightmare, their child disappearing from their home while sleeping one night. It is a calculated and meticulously planned abduction which brings suspicion on the nearest and dearest to the child, the parents. The story is told through the mother, Jill Lassiter; the abductor; and another unknown female, who teases the reader with journal entries that provide some insight into a fragile state of mind. 

This book was a true page-turner. If you want a quick read that you can’t put down, then this is for you! Lisa Unger, best-selling novelist, described this book as “a twisty, compelling, and harrowing thriller that will hook you and leave you breathless”. I definitely agree with her. Just when you think you are on top of the plot and have worked out the characters, there is a twist that changes everything!

Author, Rebecca Drake moves from suspense to thriller fiction with this must-read. It would have to be one of my favourite reads for 2016.


The Ghost Hunters

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring

Welcome to Borley Rectory, the most haunted house in England. It is 1926 and Sarah Grey is personal assistant to Harry Price, London's most infamous ghost hunter. Harry has devoted his life to exposing the truth behind England's many 'false hauntings'. So when Harry and Sarah are invited to Borley Rectory - a house so haunted that objects frequently fly through the air unbidden, and locals avoid the grounds for fear of facing the spectral nun that walks there - they're sure that this case will be just like any other. But when night falls and no artifice can be found, the ghost hunters are forced to confront the possibility that the ghost may be real.

This debut novel is based on the life of the controversial British ghost hunter Harry Price, a psychic investigator from the inter-war years, who made Borley Rectory in Essex briefly famous as "the most haunted house in England". Spring says the book took three years to research and write.  It feels like it takes that long to read, it's so slow and drawn out.

Narrated perfunctorily by Julie Teal and Leighton Pugh, there are some interesting parts in it, but they're few and far between.  For those seeking a good creepy, don't-read-it-at-night-when-you're-alone, goose-bump producing tale, this is not it.  We'd love to hear which book you thought delivers high up on the spook-o'meter!  

~ Deb


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