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Top 20 Vintage Classics

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Ah, you’ve gotta love a good list!  Random House has just released the Top 20 bestselling Vintage Classics of 2012.  It incorporates both Vintage Classics and Vintage Classic Children’s Collection.  Drum roll please …

20.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
19.  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
18.  The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier 17.  Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie 
16.  The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
15.  A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
14.  Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
13.  All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
12.  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
11.  Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
10.  Catch 22: 50th anniversary edition by Joseph Heller
  9.  The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
  8.  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  7.  The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway 
  6.  The Complete Fairy Tales by Grimm Brothers

  5.  Catch 22 by Joseph Heller   4.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald   3.  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  2.  The Quiet American by Graham Greene   1.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

Click on the titles above to reserve yourself some classic reads! 


Links to our Past - history -

Gembrook derived its name from the property owned by early European settler, Albert Le Souef who was the first official settler in the area when he purchased 129 hectares (320 acres) of land in July 1873. He called this property Gembrook Park.  The original Gembrook settlement was south of today’s town and the community that grew around the Ure familys Silver Wells property was to the north of today's town. However, the commercial focus of the town shifted to around the Gembrook Railway Station when it opened as part of the Puffing Billy railway line. The Fern Tree Gully to Gembrook Railway, as it was officially known, was a narrow gauge railway of 2 feet, six inches and opened December 19, 1900.
                           Gembrook Railway Station, taken between 1920 and 1954.State Library of Victoria Image H32492/2159
Dorfmans Ranges Hotel Gembrook. Wolf Dorfman was licensee between 1935 and 1946.State Library of Victoria Image H32492/4109 
The Argus Wednesday 27 November 1901 page 11  http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper
One of the earliest buildings in Gembrook is the Ranges Hotel.The Berwick Shire Rate books list Jessey and Isabella Sykes as having a Hotel at Crown Allotment A11 in Gembrook from 1894, however in The Argus of November 27, 1901 (reproduced above)  there was an application from Jane McMahon to obtain a licence for the premises'about to be erected'. It seems likely therefore that a hotel was on the site from 1894 and that after the Railway line came through a new and bigger hotel was erected. From around 1907, the hotel was operated by brothers,  Fred and Howard Pitt. In 1921 it was taken over by John and Catherine Beacham who transferred the licence to Wolf Dorfman in February 1935. Dorfman transferred the licence to Daphne and Alfred McGregor in 1946. The Ranges Hotel is currently closed.
 Another view of the Hotel, most likely taken in the 1940s or 1950s.State Library of Victoria Image H32492/267 
                              Panorama of GembrookState Library of Victoria Image H32492/4110
Other community buildings followed the Hotel -  an Anglican Church opened  in 1905, a Catholic Church in around 1922 and various shops. The Memorial Hall was opened in December 1921 and later a Library and a Meeting Room was built under the Hall, as it was on a sloping block. The Memorial Hall was demolished in 1981 and replaced by a ‘community centre’. 
There was an earlier privately owned hall which, from 1906 until 1915, was used for State School No.2506, which had previously been located in Gembrook North. This School began in 1879 as the part time school No.2110, sharing the same number as Emerald State School,  and became full-time in 1889. Classes took place in the Union Church from 1884 until it moved to the Main Street in 1906. In 1915, a new building was built and the School moved to its current location.  There were four other Gembrook Schools -  Pakenham Upper School, No.2155, was called Gembrook South from 1879 until 1916, when it was renamed Pakenham Upper. It became part of Pakenham Consolidated School in 1951.  Gembrook West, No.3211, operated for just over a year from August 1894 until October 1895. The second Gembrook West School, No.4073, operated from 1921 until 1923. Finally Gembrook South East, No. 3468, opened half time with Nar Nar Goon North in March 1904 and closed in December 1908.
Finally, Gembrook is the home of the Gilwell Scout Camp, established in 1926 and visited by Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the Scots movement,  in 1931 and 1935. 

Echo: Alyson Noel

Quicksand -

A new home, a new love, a new life
Daire Santos is finally finding out who she is
But is she bound by love or evil?
It’s time for Daire to claim her destiny…
Series: Fated, Echo...
Saving her grandmothers soul has come at a great cost to Daire and the entire community of Enchantment; the balance between good and evil has been tipped in favour of the latter. The Richters now cause chaos to reign in both lower-world, where spirit animals are dying and the middle-world where people are going missing. On top of trying to repair what her actions have wrought Daire must also face the challenging training for her soul seeker destiny, her blossoming yet complicated relationship with Dace, the good Richter, and a surprise visit from mum. Travelling the path between who she thought she was and who she is destined to be was never going to be easy for Daire but to restore the balance in both worlds will require and unthinkable and ultimate sacrifice; just who will make the sacrifice to save Enchantment?

Unlike its predecessor, Fated which established the characters, the storyline and the setting, Echo the second in this four part series takes off with a bang. From the very first to the very last the pages of Echo are filled with mystery, romance and the supernatural to keep any reader hooked. Halfway through this novel I did become concerned that Noel was taking this series down the familiar ‘woe is me I can’t be with the one I love’ trail but I was surprised to find she veered off into an unexpected plot. What is appealing however is the kick-ass female protagonist Daire, the writing style of Noel, the narration swaps between Daire and Dace which helps deepened the story and answer some lingering mysteries from Fated and of course the romance between Daire and Dace, as complicated as it is, is so endearing. A mystical, action packed and romantic supernatural tale with some shocking surprises in store. Be warned than Echo ends of a very dramatic cliff-hanger; the next book Mystic isn’t set for release until July 2013

  Courtney :)

The Summer Read

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Only a couple of weeks left to get your entry into The Summer Read prize draw!
Simply name a book you've read from this year's Summer Read list, and recommend any another book you've enjoyed.
The Summer Read list and all the details, including an entry form to download, can be found at:
http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/summer-read   Competition closes 3 March.  Good luck and happy reading!

Jepp, who defied the stars

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To what degree do we control our destiny, or does our destiny control us?

That is a question that grapples many of the main characters in Jepp, who defied the stars, by Katherine Marsh.
The central character in this gripping novel is a dwarf named Jepp. The setting is sixteenth century Netherlands.

Jepp's mother runs an inn, and Jepp is much loved by those around him. However, Jepp has an enquiring and intelligent mind, and as a result of listening and conversing with travellers at the inn, Jepp is keen for adventure.
So when a stranger arrives at the inn and offers to take Jepp to a royal court, Jepp agrees to go.

Jepp's excitement soon turns to horror as he becomes imprisoned at court with several others. Their chief role is to provide entertainment for the court inhabitants and visitors.
For Jepp, this involves the habitual and degrading leaping out of a pie.
Jepp falls in love with Lia, and when she begs him to help her escape, he assists her.

Tragedy unfolds and Jepp is both punished and banished. With much trepidation and after a gruelling trip across land and sea in a cage, Jepp arrives at yet another court - that of the astronomer, Tycho Brahe.
It seems that this court will be every bit as unpleasant as the last, but gradually Jepp's situation improves.

Is it luck? Is it fate? Does Jepp have any control over his life? Jepp looks to the stars for answers.



Reading Rewards - reviews -

Robert Crais is a favourite author of mine, I really enjoy reading the stories he creates around his "Elvis Cole" and "Joe Pike" characters.  In "Suspect" he introduces us to new characters, totally unrelated to this, but as richly created and intriguing.

Scott James is a LAPD copy who was seriously injured in a late-night shooting, in which his partner is killed. He should have been retired, but opts instead to try the K-9 unit. Here he chooses to partner with Maggie, a German Shepherd and another survivor - this one from injuries sustained in Afghanistan, where she lost her handler to an IED.

Together, they are each other's last chance, one that is taken and pushed to its extreme.

Its not easy, they are both damaged and Scott is determined to solve who and why his partner was murdered. He has to fight against the system and to determined individuals, both within and outside the department, who want to see him and his partner retired. Permanently would be the preference for some.

Scott is a tortured man, both physically and mentally, but one who is determined to find justice for his partner and maybe some peace for himself. As he investigates the case and builds his relationship with his new partner Maggie, he finds more and more of what he needs to see it through.

Crais brings most of the story from Scott's point of view, but breaks it up with smaller sections from Maggie's eyes.  Its interesting to see what a dog is getting up to and thinking when we are not aware. Perspectives are brought in from other characters as well to fill any gaps. These varying perspectives contribute well to the story and are clearly marked so as to avoid confusion.

I really enjoyed Suspect. Crais writes wonderful characters and I really felt for both Scott and Maggie with all that they went through and wanted them to succeed as a partnership - saving each other. The way the story unfolds is well-placed and very well done. With the fresh perspectives that come from partnering with Maggie, Scott is able to find new directions for the investigation and everything is brought to a successful conclusion - both for the solving of the crime and for the relationships between the differing characters.

You don't have to be a dog lover to enjoy this book. If you like mysteries, well-crafted characters, believable stories, intrigue and satisfying conclusions, then you will be well satisfied with Suspect.

The Raven Boys

Quicksand -

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a sprit of St Mark’s Eve.
Either you’re his true love…
Or you killed him”
And so begin the next fantastical series by number 1 best selling author
Maggie Stiefvater
  There are three things about Blue Sargeant that you absolutely must know:
  1. Blue’s mother and friends all possess the gift of second sight, Blue herself does not.
  2. For as long as she can remember it has been foretold that Blue will be the catalyst that kills her true love
  3. She absolutely stays away from Raven Boys, they are nothing but trouble.
This year things for Blue will change; her mother’s sister returns with ulterior motives, Blue will encounter her first supernatural experience and become intertwined with the lives of four Raven Boys in their hunt for Glendower; an ancient Welsh king who is said to be hidden along a powerful ley line in Blue's town of Henrietta-- and can be re-awakened by whoever finds him. The journey will take Blue to places and though experiences she never thought possible. Blue will begin to question everything she ever thought she knew. Is there such a thing as true love? And will Blue ultimately kill hers?
A deeply complex and intricate story The Raven Boys with its 400+ pages is not a light read but very enjoyable indeed. Stiefvater manages to take the supernatural genre in a whole new direction. The mystery and suspense is compelling enough to keep the pages turning while the characters themselves intrigue: Blue and Gansey in particular. What particularly appealed about Raven Boys was despite the pre-determination that Gansey and Blue are the star crossed lovers of this tale there is absolutely no chemistry between the pair, unlike other YA titles where it is love at first sight in this case its hate at first sight (for Blue at least, Gansey appears indifferent), which means that the audience will get to watch the pair fall in love…perhaps??? I found this to be utterly refreshing and am looking forward to see where Steifvater takes these characters and the journey for which they will travel to get there. The only deterrent to this novel is that it is a fairly long establishment story; Stiefvater is setting up the characters and the scene for the story to primarily play out in subsequent novels. This means not a lot happens in Raven boys, there are some terrific surprises however, and the complexity of the storyline requires the reader’s full attention, but if Steifvater’s reputation is anything to go by giving Raven Boys a go will be well worth the effort. It is simply a unique and compelling twist on the supernatural genre.
Courtney :)

Urn Burial: Phryne Fisher

Reading Rewards - reviews -

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Urn Burial  by Kerry Greenwood
Book 8 in the series sees the redoubtable Phryne Fisher holidaying at Cave House, a Gothic mansion in the heart of the Victorian mountain country. But the peaceful country surroundings mask danger. Her host is receiving death threats, lethal traps are set without explanation and the parlourmaid is found strangled to death.
What with the reappearance of mysterious funerary urns, a pair of young lovers, an extremely eccentric swagman, an angry outcast heir, and the luscious Lin Chung, Phryne's attention has definitely been caught. Phryne's search for answers takes her deep into the dungeons of the house and of the limestone Buchan caves. But what will she find this time? 

With an old country house trapping guests by rising river water, a bullying army major, an old lady that crochets, a butler and maids, a spiffing tennis court, rose gardens, ground staff, stables and a bridle path, you could be easily excused thinking Kerry Greenwood is channelling Agatha Christie!  The plot is as equally convoluted as the Dame’s, however, in typical Phryne style, there’s a lot more sex than Agatha would consider proper [too many lovers in the boathouse for my taste as well!].  But, stone the crows, it’s as Aussie as all get out – we’ve got cups of tea around the clock, a swaggie - Dingo Harry, roads cut by floodwaters and the ‘you beaut’ Buchan Caves:  all “very entertaining indeed” said in my best Stephanie Daniel pronunciation.  
I listened to this book via a Bolinda e-audiobook and it struck me how the wonderful Essie Davis in the TV series sounds very similar to Stephanie Daniel who narrates all the audiobooks in Greenwood’s popular series.  This is a delight for those who have read Phryne’s escapades and have the character firmly painted in their minds; that kind of continuity seamlessly cements the two images together so it’s been no great upheaval to engage with the screen character. 
Overall, it’s a wonderful series (only two out of the 10 or so I have read [18 to date in the series] have caused gritting of my teeth) so if you haven’t yet dipped a metaphoric toe into the delectable world of 1920s Melbourne Private Investigator, the Hon. Phryne Fisher, then jump aboard soon for a delicious ride.

The Grange, Harkaway

Links to our Past - history -

The Grange was built  for the Honourable William A'Beckett, M.L.C., J.P. (1833-1901) in 1862 or 1866 (depending on sources). It was designed by local architect George Washington Robinson. The house had views over Port Phillip Bay and was off A'Beckett Road, even though the original entrance was from Halleur Road as A'Beckett Road was made after The Grange was built.  A'Beckett married Emma Mills in 1855 and one of their daughters, Emma Minnie (1858-1936), who was an artist married fellow artist, Arthur Merric Boyd (1862-1940).  In 1948, The Grange  was purchased by Arthur and Minnie's son, the author, Martin A'Beckett Boyd (1893-1972) and his nephew, Arthur Boyd (1920-1999) painted murals in the house. Sadly, this grand house was sold in 1955 and then re-sold in 1963 to a Quarry.
On November 26, 1967  photographer, Peter Dunbar, took some photographs of The Grange and the murals and his widow, Margaret has kindly allowed us to reproduce them here. This is a rare opportunity to see the murals, in situ

Peter Freeman, the author of Brick Homes of Berwick* saw The Grange before it was demolished and wrote (possibly circa 1963)  It is now owned by the quarry - which owns the whole property, and it is slowly being surrounded by overburden, cracked by heavy blasting work and is bound to be demolished in the near future. It is  a tragic end to a beautiful and historic house. I do not the exact date The Grange was demolished, but as it was standing in November 1967, then 1968 would be  a likely date

Along with the photographs was this, undated, newspaper article from The Age, written by Geoff Maslin,  about the murals.  In the article, Melbourne Art dealer, Joseph Brown, says that when they removed the murals steel frames had to be made to fit around each section of the four walls and a mobile crane and a semi-trailer were needed to cart them away. At the time the article was written (circa 1990) the murals were being stored at a Canberra warehouse by the National Gallery.

*Brick homes of Berwick by Peter Freeman. We have a photocopy of this typed manuscript in the Archive, it is undated, but written possibly circa 1963.  Mr Freeman looks at The Grange and other early brick homes of Berwick, Harkaway and Narre Warren North.

New Teen Book Group

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Hey everyone!

I am super excited to tell you about our new book group for teenagers. It's called tbg4teens (the book group for teens), and will be held at Narre Warren Library. It's a book groups for teens who love books and love talking about books.

Our first book is going to be The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It's the story of an outsider, a boy called Charlie, who has trouble connecting with people and making friends because of some serious personal problems. All this changes when he meets Sam and Patrick at school, and starts living life to the full. It was recently turned into a movie starring the lovely Emma Watson. It was quite a good movie, but the book is better!

If you are interested in joining the club, pop over to Eventbrite and book yourself in. You will be emailed a ticket. Bring the ticket into Narre Warren Library after February 11th and swap it for a copy of the book. Read it and turn up to Narre Warren Library on Thursday 14th March at 4.30pm ready to discuss it! There will be snacks. If you have your own copy of the book there is no need to book yourself in. You can just turn up to discuss it.
I look forward to meeting you!
- Celia

Riggs Crossing

Quicksand -

'Riggs Crossing' was recommended to the audience at a recent youth publishing event I attended, where publishers showcased outstanding examples of teenage fiction for 2013.
'Riggs Crossing' does not disappoint, either.

Written by Michelle Renee Heeter, who grew up in the American mid-west before moving to Japan, then Sydney, the strength and authenticity of the voice of the main character within this book is extraordinary.
The book begins with a mystery - a teenage girl has been found with serious injuries as a result of a car crash. Who is she? Her identity is unclear - and if she knows she is not telling.

'Len' as she is called is now living in a youth refuge. Staying with her are other young people who have varying degrees of trauma from mostly horrendous upbringings. The minutiae of interpersonal relationships between Len and other housemates, youth workers and teachers makes for compelling though not always comfortable reading.

Len herself is an interesting personality - a person who looks to her favourite TV personality lawyer 'Clarissa Hobbs' as a mentor, then begins to write episodes in which she, Len, is really Clarissa's long lost daughter!
Len is a likeable enough personality, though within the context of her home life Len can be as much of a bully as those around her.
Who can forget the couch fight scene where the new girl sits on the couch Len has designated as her own?
'Get off my couch and don't ever go near it again' Len orders.

Len has flashbacks to her previous life before the accident and the reader becomes aware that she was in a dangerous family situation where drug taking and illegal activities were the norm.
As the story unfolds the past begins to catch up with Len.

Excellent reading



Consider the Fork

Reading Rewards - reviews -

From the birth of the fork in Italy as it discovered pasta, to culture wars over spoons in Restoration England, and tests for how to choose the perfect pan, Consider the Fork opens our eyes to the incredible creations that have shaped how and what we cook.  Encompassing inventors, scientists, cooks and chefs, this is the previously unsung history of our kitchens.
You don’t have to be a foodie to enjoy Consider the Fork: a history of invention in the kitchen by Bee Wilson.  It’s a pick up/put down kind of read, which is great as it doesn’t soak up hours of your time when perhaps you should be making dinner!  It’s chock-a-block full of fascinating facts, histories, and things you never think of.  Take for example the wooden spoon. “Is yours oval or round?  Slotted or solid?  Does it have an extra-long handle to give your hand a place of greater safety from a hot skillet?  Or a pointy bit at one side to get the bits in the corner of the pan?”
From the first tools 10,000 years ago, like the mortar and pestle, to sous-vide machines, centrifuges, foam canisters, dehydrators and the like used at techno-restaurants today, everything in between has a history – and as it says in this book “in many ways, the history of food is the history of technology”.   From fire onwards, there is a technology behind everything we eat whether we recognise it or not.  
Interestingly kitchen tools do not emerge in isolation, but in clusters.  Take for instance the microwave which gave rise to microwave-proof dishes and microwaveable clingfilm.  Freezers – ice cube trays, ice picks and tongs and dishes that don’t crack under the low temperatures.  Non-stick pans need non-scratch spatulas etc.  But it did make me laugh to read after the first canning factory opened in London in 1813, it was some 50 years before someone invented the can opener!  
And don’t we all know someone who has that one drawer or cupboard in the kitchen that is chokkers with fiddly gadgets that are nonsensical to use, or hard to clean, or just more trouble than they are worth!  
I could waffle on [pun intended] and quote all sorts of juicy little snippets from this book, but better you reserve a copy for yourself and get lost in the amazing stories of how things came to be in your kitchen.  It’s fascinating!

German settlers at Harkaway

Links to our Past - history -

Many of Harkaway’s first European settlers were German Lutherans and in this post we look at some of these families. As we will discover many of these families were connected not only by their faith but by inter- marriage. Most of this information comes from Early Days of Berwick (henceforth referred to as Early Days)  and Early Settlers of the Casey Cardinia District. According to  Early Days the first of these settlers was Johann Gottlieb Scholz (1807-1884) and his wife Eleanor (nee Fellenberg 1807-1887). The couple and their eight children had arrived in South Australia in 1838, where their last child was born. They settled in Harkaway in 1844. The next year, John Martin Friedrich Fritzlaff came to the area, left to try his fortune on the gold fields and was apparently successful as he retuned, with his wife Johanna (nee Reiger 1825-1917) and purchased land with Wilhelm Wiese, a carpenter and builder, in 1855.  Fritzlaff established the first Post Office and store in Harkaway.

State Library of Victoria image Image H36420/11. Labelled 'The 1st house in Harkaway' Photographer E.J Frazer. 
Also around 1855 Gustav Koenig (1817-1887) arrived and ran a dairy farm. Koenig gave his name to Koenig Road, which was anglicised to King Road around the First World War, due to anti-German sentiment. His first wife, Charlotte (nee Weidenberg) died on the voyage out to Australia and his second wife Henrietta (nee Finger) died in 1863, aged 37, having given birth to nine children in the thirteen years of their marriage. Joseph Walsdorf (1803-1881) was another early settler. He and his wife Agnes Schmitt (1810-1889) lived ‘on the gully at the back of Harkaway’, according to Early Days. Their daughter, Christina married Henry Edebohl (1826-1904). He was a road contractor, bridge builder and a farmer and the source of the name Edebohls Road.

Henry Bruhn (1816-1908) brought 120 acres in Harkaway in 1856.which he farmed with his wife Caroline (nee Hubner 1833-1917) Also in the same year Carl Metzenthein (1815-1901)  bought land on the bank of the Cardinia Creek at Harkaway. Carl had seven children from his first wife, Auguste Schultz (or Scholts) and another four by his second wife Johannes Weniger. Reinhold (1846-1909) the son of the first marriage was a boot maker in Berwick and according to the story in Early Days, in 1869 evangelist, Mr A.J Hamill, called in to have his boot repaired as he was walking back to Prahran after preaching in Pakenham. Mr Hamill began to preach the gospel and at a later visit he baptised Reinhold and his wife Elisabeth (nee Meyer) in the Cardinia Creek and they congregation grew and became the Church of Christ.

State Library of Victoria Image H36420/9. Labelled 'Post Office Harkaway. 
Photographer E.J Frazer.
J.F Wilhelm Aurisch (1826-1911) was married to Caroline Tschirner (1835-1871) the daughter of Harkaway pioneers Gottfried and Rosina Tschirner who built the original farmhouse at Rowallan Farm in Harkaway.  Wilhelm’s brother Johann Gottlob Aurisch (1817-1898) also arrived  in 1854 and they each purchased part of the original 640 acres purchased by Dr Wanke in 1853 (more of the Wanke family later). Johann was married to Dorothea Scholz, the daughter of original settlers Johann and Eleanor Scholz. Another Aurisch brother, Carl (1818-1901) also came to Harkaway, with his wife Christine (nee Wolfe). They had four children.

John Jacob Meyer (1808-1882) arrived in Australia in 1852 with his second wife Sabine (nee Schwarz) who sadly died the next year. His son Benjamin, from his first marriage, had attended the Academy of Hofyl in Switzerland, an experimental school established by Gottlieb Fellenberg, the father of Eleanor Scholz. Benjamin was a builder who built many local houses and in 1868 married Auguste Metzenthin, the daughter of Carl and Auguste and the sister of Reinhold. Reinhold in the same year married Elisabeth Meyer, the half sister of Benjamin.

Ernst Gottlob Wanke (1823-1897) was a medical student who had nearly finished his degree when he came to Australia as a ships doctor. Like many others, he deserted from the ship in Melbourne and went to the gold fields, before buying land in Harkaway in 1853.He was known as Dr Wanke and according to Early Days, his medical knowledge was of great value to the Harkaway settlers. Dr Wanke also donated land for a school and chapel and served on the Cemetery Trust. Ernst Wanke Road is named after him. His first wife and child had died in Germany and he came out with his second wife, Pauline (nee Schurmann 1822-1904). They had one son, Immanuel (1856-1934) who married Bertha Aurisch, the daughter of Wilhelm and Caroline Aurisch.

State Library of Victoria Image H36420/13. Labelled 'Wanke's dairy farm, Harkaway'Photographer E.J Frazer. 
Dr Wanke’s brother, Johann Gottlieb Wanke (1814-1889) also came to Harkaway.  He was married to Helena Muller and they had five children. Their daughter, Caroline married another local settler, Peter Erdmann (1827-1872) who arrived in 1853 and had land in A’Beckett Road in Narre Warren North and was one of the original trustees for the Harkaway Lutheran Church. Ida Erdmann, a daughter of Peter and Caroline, married Charles Weist (1859-1941) who had  a block of land near the Harkaway cemetery.

Halleur Road is named after Rudolf Halleur (1826-1912, or von Halleur as Early Days calls him.) He arrived in Australia in 1852, deserted his ship and went to the gold fields, then settled in Harkaway in 1858.  He married Johanna Scholz (1838-1932) another daughter of Johann and Eleanor. He was a sail maker by trade and turned this skill into making harnesses and boots. Rudolf and Johanna had nine children.

Johann Hillbrich (or Hillbrick, 1814-1899) purchased land in Hessel Road in 1855, where the family operated a dairy farm. This property was then passed onto son, Ernst (1842-1914) and then to his son Stanley, who farmed the land until 1959 when it was sold out of the family. It is now part of Timbarra Estate. Johann was married to Maria Wagner (1821-1888) and they had ten children.

Hessel Road was named for Jacob Hessel (1833-1904) the inaugural teacher at the Harkaway State School when the Harkaway Lutheran School was taken over by the Education Department in 1876. The Lutheran School had started in 1856 with Traugott Friedrich Warmbrunn (1803-1885) as the original teacher, though it is believed that Eleanor Scholtz taught local children before that. Warmbrunn was very active in the Lutheran community, but his teaching career was hampered by his lack of English, so he had to resign, however he remained in Harkaway. The next teacher was Carl Hubner, who took over in 1857. Once again, his poor English meant he had to resign, which he did in 1861. Jacob Hessel started at the school in 1862 and was there until 1883.

State Library of Victoria  Image H36420/10. Labelled 'State School Harkaway'. Photographer E.J Frazer. 

Other German Harkaway settlers included Gustav Warmbrunn (1836-1912), the son of the teacher, who lived near the School in the 1860s according to Early Days. He was married to Wilhelmina Scholz, another daughter of the original pioneers, Johann and Eleanor. Wilhelmina (1840-1928) gave birth to eleven children. Lotha Schmidt had a vine yard and winery in Harkaway. August  Dubberke (known as Martin, 1843-1926) settled in Victoria in 1864 and farmed at Harkaway. He was married to Augusta, daughter of Johann and Helena Wanke.  Carl Fleer (1832-1904) was a baker and also had a small farm at Harkaway. He was married to Emma Metzenthin (1841-1927) another daughter of Carl and Auguste. Peter Rumph (1820-1895) and his wife Catherine (nee Chenmel 1831-1879) purchased their land in 1854. He was a builder and helped build the Berwick Inn.


Reading Rewards - reviews -

From the cover:  In 1854, Victorian miners fought a deadly battle under the flag of the Southern Cross at the Eureka Stockade. Though brief and doomed to fail, the battle is legend in both our history and in the Australian mind. Henry Lawson wrote poems about it, its symbolic flag is still raised, and even the nineteenth-century visitor Mark Twain called it: "a strike for liberty".  Was this rebellion a fledgling nation’s first attempt to assert its independence under colonial rule? Or was it merely rabble-rousing by unruly miners determined not to pay their taxes?

After recent listening forays with Mr FitzSimons’ Mawson [fascinating] and Batavia [an incredible story], Eureka: the unfinished revolution came as no surprise.  The author has a distinct style – as mentioned in previous reviews he ‘breathes life into tales that have either been long forgotten, or told and retold a hundred times’.
In the case of Eureka, this falls into the ‘long forgotten’ category.  Aside from learning about the Eureka Stockade in school, I would imagine not many people would have since revisited this watershed tale in Australian history.  Although suffering from detail overload at times, this was an absorbing story, particularly the epilogue where we find out how the heroes and scoundrels lived out their lives after the whole sorry episode faded into the history books.
I listened to this book as a downloadable e-Audiobook, and very well done it was too, but we have many formats in which you can enjoy the book - simply click the title [above] to reserve a copy.   

The Women in Black

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Who remembers buying a black nylon nightie, size SSW?

The Women in Black by Madeleine St. John. 
From the cover:  Sydney in the late 1950s.  At F.G. Goode’s department store, the women in black are run off their feet, what with the Christmas rush and the summer sales that follow. On the second floor of the famous department store, in Ladies' Cocktail Frocks, Lisa is the new Sales Assistant (Temporary). Across the floor and beyond the arch, she is about to meet the glamorous Continental refugee, Magda, guardian of the rose-pink cave of Model Gowns. But there’s still just enough time left on a hot and frantic day to dream and scheme …

I listened to this book in Playaway format but if you click on the link here, you can also borrow it in hard copy, Large Print, CD and MP3 formats as well.  The audio book was narrated beautifully by Deidre Rubinstein who brings much colour to the extroverted Magda and some perfect Aussie strine to Patty, Joy, Dawn, Faye, Lisa/Lesley, Mrs. Crown and their cohorts.

Some say this book should be an Australian classic but I think that’s going a bit over the top. However, it does capture, quite succinctly, that distinct and now long-lost era when ‘frocks’ and ‘gowns’ were de rigeur, when girls were encouraged to leave school to marry and become homemakers (‘Doing the Leaving Certificate is enough. University? What on earth for?”), and post-WW II migrants were something to avoid while turning your nose up at their ‘weird’ habits and food.  It’s a light, frothy read, but still a delightful trip down memory lane to those days of the ‘ 6 o’clock swill’, having ‘a nice lamb chop’ for tea “as soon as your father comes in”, and buying a black nylon nightie, size SSW.

Frog Hollow Reserve, Endeavour Hills

Links to our Past - history -

Frog Hollow Reserve in Endeavour Hills has a number of sporting fields and is also an established wetlands  and  provides  a significant environmental and landscape corridor along the southern fringe of Endeavour Hills. The land has always been a bit swampy, low lying and  flood prone, due to its proximity to the Eumemmerring Creek, as well as a frog habitat and thus the name Frog Hollow was suggested by Cr Keith Wishart for the Reserve* which was established around 1993. These photographs were all taken by the City of Berwick.

These two photographs, above and below, were taken in May 1993, before replanting.

 There has been substantial planting of indigenous species since the establishment of the Reserve - the photograph above was taken in  August 1993. This planting has been continued by the Friends of Frog Hollow, which was established in 2002. The Friends have planted over 60,000 native trees.

September 1994. 

Pavillion at Frog Hollow, taken September 1994.

This photograph is labelled ' Eumemmerring creek works opposite Frog Hollow' and was taken in September 1994. The friends of Frog Hollow are currently advocating for a walking/cycling track from Frog Hollow to Lysterfield Lake; this link should also improve wildlife habitat. There is an interview with Stephen Hallett, the President of the Frog Hollow Friends Group, which is part of the 52 stories in 52 weeks project, initiated by the Federal Member for Holt, Anthony Byrne. Click here for the link to the interview.
If the link doesn't work, you can find the interview, plus some other interesting interviews with local people who volunteer their time to make a difference to the Community at http://anthonybyrnemp.com and then click on Media.

*Place names of Berwick by Debbie Stephan (City of Casey Historical pamphlet 3, November 1994)


Quicksand -

One of my all-time favourite books is 'Seedfolks' by Paul Fleischman.

'Seedfolks' is a slim (less than seventy pages) simply told, beautiful and inspirational story.

The first chapter begins with Kim, a girl of Vietnamese origin. Her father is dead-Kim never met him-and the whole family is mourning his loss. As a reminder of her father, who had been a farmer, Kim grabs a handful of lima beans, a spoon and a thermos. She walks to a vacant lot and begins to plant the beans in the ground.
As she plants the beans she is watched by a lady in a neighbouring flat.
Kim's actions set in motion a whole sequence of events and before long many people from differing ages, cultures and backgrounds participate in a community garden.

We learn of the backgrounds of the gardeners; of Polish concentration camps; of immigrants moving to a new country suffering cultural shock; of a woman who is afraid of people since being the victim of a robbery.
We read of an entrepeneurial taxi driver who appoints himself four times the garden space of anyone else, and then proceeds to fill the space with lettuces, without realising he is planting them in the wrong season.

The garden works in magical ways to briing people together. Friendships are formed over discussions regarding eggplants and pumpkins, tomatoes and peppers.

After reading this book, I am reminded of the song 'From little things big things grow'.
Small deeds can lead to big changes in individuals and can change communities.

Highly recommended.


Art of racing in the rain

Reading Rewards - reviews -

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It's very to come across a book where the story is told from the perspective of the family dog. After listening to this book, I will have to go hunting out some more! 

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs, he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals. 

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. 

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life...as only a dog could tell it. I listened to this book on CD and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves animal stories or just wants a good summer read. 

~ Janine

Local shopping strips

Links to our Past - history -

These are  photographs of local strip shopping centres, taken mainly in 1990s, by the City of Berwick. This is how we all used to shop before the arrival of the large shopping centres - if you grew up in Victoria, then you would know that Chadstone was the first of these big centres, it opened in 1960 and it is apparently so big now that I wouldn't be surprised if you can see it from the moon.  Locally,  the Centro Shopping Centre in Cranbourne  and the Endeavour Hills Shopping Centre both opened in 1979 and Fountain Gate Shopping Centre in 1980.

This is Autumn Place in Doveton, 1992.

 This is Spring Square in Hallam in 1992.To see another photograph of Spring Square, click here.

Webb Street in Narre Warren, taken 1992.

Webb Street in Narre Warren. I am not sure of the exact date of this picture, but it is around the early 1990s. You can see the old Railway signal box in the background.

High Street in Berwick, 1992. To see more photographs of High Street click here.

This is an earlier shot of High Street, taken in 1975.
If you want to see  photographs of the local shopping strip at Pakenham, then click here,  or in Cranbourne, then click here


Quicksand -

BZRK by Michael Grant

On the back cover of Michael Grant’s novel BZRK there is a warning. “Warning! Contains scenes of cruelty and violence”. This book, with its black matt cover broken only by a close up of an eye and embossed copper caps, is not for the faint of heart.

Michael Grant has already shown us that he can do suspenseful, action packed stories with engaging characters in his incredibly popular Gone series. He appears to be a writer who loves to play with the ‘what if?’ concept. In Gone Grant asks what would happen if every human over the age of 15 disappeared one day. In BZRK it is the more likely and therefore in my mind scarier question of what might happen if nanotechnology was weaponised that dominates the book.

In this future vision of our world, some have the power to create personalised nanobots that can crawl inside the very skin (or “down in the meat” as Grant writes) of another human and attack the brain. The aim of the baddies in this book is widespread mind control, and only a small group of mostly teens have the power and technology to stop them.

The chase scenes inside the human body are quite frankly, thrilling. We are introduced to a strange but also sort of familiar world in which blood cells fly by like Frisbees, and hair is like tree trunks, all navigated by nano creatures of Grant’s not so far-fetched imagination.

The thing that really attracts me to Grant’s writing, however, is not just the action but the heart of the story. Grant creates real characters that relate to each other and themselves in a believable and engaging way. While the story covers many points of view, the protagonist, Sadie is especially appealing, with a tough as nails exterior coming to grips with a world she never really understood. It is in this way that Grant stands out from other writers who specialise in the ‘edge of your seat’ experience, engaging readers on an emotional level as well – which only adds to the urgency of the plot.

This book is just the first in the series, so don’t expect a neat ending. Enough is resolved, however, that you don’t feel cheated. And while you wait for the next in the series there is plenty to keep you occupied on the BZRK website - http://gobzrk.com. There are comics explaining the back story of different characters, a community ready and waiting to sign you up and even a free app so you can play at being your own nanobot type creature.

I recommend this book to anyone without a sensitive stomach. After all, that warning is there for a reason!

- Celia


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