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Vale Bryce Courtenay

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Popular author Bryce Courtenay passed away at his Canberra home last night, November 22, 2012, aged 79.

The author had been suffering from stomach cancer and he left behind an emotional video message on YouTube to fans in which he said he had a "wonderful life". 
[photo left by:  Graham McCarter]

 Born in Johannesburg, Courtenay spent most of his early years in a small village in the Lebombo Mountains in South Africa's Limpopo province.

In 1955, while studying journalism in London, Courtenay met his future wife, Benita, and eventually emigrated to Australia. They married in 1959 and had three sons – Brett, Adam, and Damon.

Courtenay entered the advertising industry and, over a career spanning 34 years, was the Creative Director of McCann Erickson, J. Walter Thompson and George Patterson Advertising. His award-winning campaigns included Louie the Fly, the original Milky Bar Kid commercial and the ALP's 1972 election campaign, It's Time.

Courtenay divorced Benita in 2000 and later lived in Canberra with his second wife, Christine Gee.

His novels are primarily set in Australia, his adopted country, or South Africa, the country of his birth. His first book, The Power of One, was published in 1989 and, despite Courtenay's fears that it would never sell, quickly became one of Australia's best-selling books by any living author with more than 8 million copies sold around the world. The story was made into a film, as well as being re-released in an edition for children.

Courtenay was one of Australia's most commercially successful authors. His best-known book, The Power of One, was published in 1989.  His published titles are:

The African books:
The Power of One (1989)
The Power of One: Young Readers Edition (1999)
Tandia (1992)
The Night Country (1998)
Whitethorn (2005)

The Australian Trilogy:

The Potato Factory (1995)
Tommo & Hawk (1997)
Solomon's Song (1999)

The Nick Duncan Saga:
The Persimmon Tree (2007)
Fishing for Stars (2008)

Other fiction:
A Recipe for Dreaming (1994)
The Family Frying Pan (1997)
Jessica (1998)
Smoky Joe's Cafe (2001)
Four Fires (2001)
Matthew Flinders' Cat (2002)
Brother Fish (2004)
Sylvia (2006)
The Story of Danny Dunn (2009)
Fortune Cookie (2010)
Jack of Diamonds (2012)

April Fool's Day (1993)

Vale Bryce Courtenay.

RIP - Bryce Courtenay

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It is with sadness Penguin Books Australia wish to advise that Bryce Courtenay AM passed away peacefully at 11:30pm on Thursday 22 November in Canberra with his wife Christine, his family and his beloved pets by his side. He was 79.

More details on this popular author will be posted soon.

50 shades of grey matter

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Saw the title - 50 shades of great matter - and couldn't resist, both a humorous play on a best-selling title and an exploration into the human brain. Cool! Add to that, the author is our own Dr Karl and who could resist.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Doctor Karl: where oddities are embraced, facts reign supreme, curiosity is king and brightly coloured shirts are compulsory! In his brand new book, our much beloved and National Living Treasure Doctor Karl Kruszelnicki applies his trademark straight-talkin'-no-high-falutin' scientific sense to a brand new range of Big Questions that you never knew you even wanted to ask, but now desperately need to know the answers to. Have you ever walked into a room and immediately forgotten the reason you're there? A solid thought convinced your legs to move, but by the time you reach your destination, you realise the thought has abandoned you en route. No, it's not dementia. It's the doorway. Impress your friends (and potential dates) by being able to answer such questions as: Why the sky is blue? Why is it dark at night? Why does lunacy erupt under a full moon? What's the truth about Spinach and Popeye?

50 shades of great matter was as intriguing as I thought it would be and more. Although there are only 41 chapters (with some chapters covering multiple items), they were short and easy to consume. And fascinating too!  Did you know an Australian astronomer has discovered over 35 comets and over 400 asteroids? That eyes can make the difference between lies and truth and that your microwave can affect your WiFi?

The science behind all these dilemmas and more is easily accessible in this great read, in bite-sized pieces. Even if you are not very scientific, this one is easy to digest and entertaining whilst you do so.  Highly recommend it as part of your lifelong learning journey.

~ Michelle

PS. Check out this ABC Radio interview with Dr Karl, for more interesting information.

Into That Forest

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Stunning and unforgettable, 'Into That Forest' is an impressive teen fiction debut for playwright Louis Nowra.

The story is told through the eyes of Hannah O'Brien, a seventy-six year old woman who recalls her early life. She apologises for her poor language. In her words, 'me language is bad cos I lost it and had to learn it again.'

The novel takes us back to early colonial Tasmania - a harsh and foreboding land that is slowly being tamed by white settlers.

Hannah and her parents live in a house by the river, hours from their nearest neighbour. Indeed, Hannah was born in this same house.

One day Hannah, her parents, and her childhood friend Becky take a boat trip that turns into tragedy during a storm. Both Hannah's parents die and Hannah and Becky are left to find their own way home.
Cold and lost, the two girls follow a pair of Tasmanian tigers to their den and find a degree of safety. Initially the girls are caught between two worlds. In order to survive, they start to hunt and live with the animals. They begin to communicate in barks and coughs. Their senses become heightened. They become excited by the thrill of the hunt. Their clothes become rags and they discard them, stroking mud on their bodies as a layer against the cold.

But what happens when they are discovered?

This is an amazing novel, measured and believable, containing an exquisite tone.

Highly recommended.


Code Name Verity

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“I am no longer afraid of getting old.  Indeed I can't believe I ever said anything so stupid.  So childish. So offensive and arrogant.
But mainly, so very, very stupid. 
I desperately want to grow old.”                                                       
I love a good historical fiction novel, and particularily enjoyed Code Name Verity as it follows the life of two young women during World War 2. I can't tell you much about the storyline as it will give it away, but I can say the story is not what it seems!

The characters are belivable and the story is full of plot twists. You will laugh out loud and cry your eyes out.

Check out author of Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater's great review at:


Heaven: Alexandra Adornetto

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In Halo Bethany and Xavier fell in love
In Hades they went to Hell to be together
Now they must face the ultimate test…Heaven.
Can love overcome Heaven and Hell?
Halo Trilogy: Halo, Hades & Heaven   One would think making it back from Hell and the grasp of the devil would be the ultimate test of any love but not for Bethany and Xavier. Their love is still forbidden and when they make the ultimate commitment to one another they will bring upon themselves the wrath of both Heaven and Hell, battling with not only the devil himself but also rogue heavenly soldiers who will do anything to return their missing angel to Heaven. Truth, love and loyalty will push Bethany and Xavier to the limit; will they be able to make the ultimate sacrifice for their love? Or is this where their love story ends?

Of the Halo trilogy I have to say Heaven is my favourite, not only is there more to the plot than the previous novels but there are far more twists and turns that are both unexpected and satisfying. Adornetto places her characters in some unfamiliar situations that make for some interesting character development. New characters introduce themselves, including the appearance of Xavier’s old flame Emily, and surprising secrets are revealed that change the dynamics of Bethany and Xavier’s relationship. While the ending is rather predictable the journey there is anything but; it is a rollercoaster adventure ride combining the lightness of love and friendship with the darkness of hatred and enmity. A fine end to a compelling trilogy, watch this space to see what this exciting Australian author comes up with next.
Courtney J


Reading Rewards - reviews -

If you have not heard about, not learned at school, nor yet read the numerous accounts of the expeditions of Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Mawson, this book will prove a stellar introduction. 

From the cover of Mawson: and the Ice Men of the Heroic Age - Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen by Peter FitzSimons

Douglas Mawson, born in 1882 and knighted in 1914, was Australia’s greatest Antarctic explorer. On 2 December 1911, he led an expedition from Hobart to explore the virgin frozen coastline below, 2000 miles of which had never felt the tread of a human foot. After setting up Main Base at Cape Denison and Western Base on Queen Mary Land, he headed east on an extraordinary sledging trek with his companions, Belgrave Ninnis and Dr Xavier Mertz. After tragedy struck, Mawson found himself all alone, 160 miles from safety, with next to no food. Peter FitzSimons tells the staggering tale of Mawson’s survival, despite all the odds, arriving back just in time to see his rescue ship disappearing over the horizon. He masterfully interweaves the stories of the other giants from the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration - Scott of the Antarctic, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amundsen - to bring the jaw-dropping events of this bygone era dazzlingly back to life. 

I downloaded the e-Audio version from Bolinda through our catalogue and became immediately absorbed in this story that is so much a part of Australia's history. 
FitzSimons mentions that he sets out to "breathe life and colour" into tales that have been long forgotten. In my opinion he did this brilliantly in Batavia, and once again steps up to the plate with his hefty research bat swinging and making a powerful home run. Initially I was quite surprised to be hearing about Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen as I didn't notice the subtitle under the Mawson name - "and the ice men of the heroic age", so don't be surprised if Mawson's story doesn't seem to be on the agenda for quite a while. The author does say Mawson's story really could not stand alone as Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen's paths crossed continually in the short but intense 'glory age' of Antarctic expedition. 
This was a wonderful book, so absorbing, and one I highly recommend. 

Digitised World War One newspapers

Links to our Past - history -

The State Library of Victoria has undertaken a project to digitise a number of World War One newspapers and these papers are now available on Trove - http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper  With the centenary of the commencement of the War coming up in 2014 it is expected that there will be a huge amount of interest in how our ancestors and our community lived during this time and the  local newspapers will  provide a wonderful resource to both local and family historians. The newspapers were selected to provide as  broad a coverage of Victoria as possible and the paper selected for the Casey Cardinia region was the Pakenham Gazette and its forerunner the Berwick Shire News which  have now been digitised from 1914 until 1918. The South Bourke and Mornington Journal has been digitised previously and also covers much of our region, as does the West Gippsland Gazette.

Berwick Shire News and Pakenham and Cranbourne Gazette  8 September 8,  1915, pg 3National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92095834
The papers recorded sad news such as the death of local soldiers including Private Frank Leigh A'Beckett, who was the son of the grandly named Edward Fitzhayley A'Beckett and his wife, Jane Deodata A'Beckett (nee Bourke). 

Pakenham Gazette and Berwick Shire News   June 15,  1917, page 2http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92153530
The women also played their role in the War effort, some of course served as nurses overseas, but for the women who remained at home they worked on the family farms, fund raised for patriotic causes, joined the Red Cross, or as we can see from this report, knitted sock for the soldiers.

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2

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It was amazing!
That is what I heard all around me as I walked out of the cinemas at 2:30am this morning. Yep, I was at a session in VMAX at 12:01 and even though I'm a bit sleepy today it was worth it.
A little bit different from the book but overall it has captured the finality of the series beautifully. The opening music gives you the sense that everything has changed now that Bella is now a Vampire. The flow of images in nature to red hues in the opening credits gives you a thrilling anticipation of what is to come.
I'm happy to say there was still a sense of humour with the characters, although I would've liked to have seen more of Charlie (played by Billy Burke). The most memorable moment was when he is chopping wood and Jacob informs him that the world he lives in is not what he thinks it is..... You'll know what I mean when you see it and oh boy! you should've heard the cheers and clapping at THAT moment.
Bella was beautiful and powerful and not at all clumsy, but whatever you do, DO NOT threaten her family! You don't want that red eyed stare looking through you....
Great sense of tension throughout the movie as the Volturi assert their authority. Aro is definitely a nasty piece of work and you REALLY want him to get his comeupance, but don't worry, Alice gives him a glimpse of the future which was more than enough to spook him.....
Interesting new characters too. If you're a fan of the series on Facebook you'll have seen the "New Face Friday" updates. It's good to see a different perspective of the Vampire Community.
The most interesting character of all was Renesmee (played by Mackenzie Foy). She was fantastic but her skin was too smooth which made her appearance look a little unrealistic at times, but overall it was a nice touch and enhanced her innocence and vulnerability (especially in the fight scenes).

If you haven't seen it then you dont want to miss out. I already want to see it again and even though the end credits was a definite goodbye, there is so much possibility left for a new story. So use your imagination and that will keep you going.


Melbourne Prize for Literature

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The 3rd Melbourne Prize for Literature was awarded last night, together with the Best Writing Award.  The $60,000 Literature Prize considers a Victorian writer's entire output and is not limited to fiction.  After being shortlisted in the previous two years, the award went to Alex Miller. 

The Best Writer's award is $30,000 and for a single work, together with a residency at the University of Melbourne. Craig Sherborne was the recipient for The Amateur Science of Love.  

The finalists' exhibition is now open at the Atrium, Federation Square, from 5-19 November for people to vote for the $5,000 Civic Choice Award 2012 - to be announced on 23 November.  Voters will go into a draw to win a luxury stay at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins. Voting slips are available from the Atrium or you can vote online at http://melbourneprize.org/#finalists

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

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I picked up Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan after reading the blurb and was quickly enthralled by the mix of technology, middle-age mysticism and old fashioned human foibles.

'Clay Jannon, twenty-six and unemployed, reads books about vampire policemen and teenage wizards. Familiar, predictable books. Books that fit neatly into a section at the bookstore. But he is about to encounter a new species of book entirely: secret, strange, and frantically sought-after. These books will introduce him to the strangest, smartest girl he's ever met. They will lead him across the country, through the shadowed spaces where old words hide. They will set him on a quest to unlock a secret held tight since the time of Gutenberg—a secret that touches us all.But before that, these books will get him a job. Welcome to Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.'

Part Da Vinci code, with a smidge of Harry Potter and elements of near-future science-fiction thrown in, as the search for the secret of eternal life is brought into the 21st century.

There are twists and turns, some I enjoyed, others I didn't, but at all times they were plausible and written in a way that kept me engaged and intrigued.

This is a very different book to much I have read before and I have read quite widely. Even if you aren't very tech savvy, its entertaining, but if you know a bit about technology, you can appreciate it more.

Its well worth the time to step back into the past, with the tools of the future, to discover something that we should have known all along.

- Michelle

Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D

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The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier   From the cover:  Summer vacation on Great Rock Island was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a sudden accident.  But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth’s journals, they reveal a woman far different from the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew. The new portrait of Elizabeth – her troubled upbringing and her route to marriage and motherhood – makes Kate question not just their friendship but also her deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a period of uncertainty in her own marriage.  The more Kate reads, the more she learns the complicated truth of who Elizabeth really was and rethinks her own choices as a wife, mother, and professional in the wary time period post 9/11. 
This is not my usual fare – a gentle “women’s novel” where there’s much navel gazing and philosophising but strangely enough, I enjoyed it.  The characters are strong and the issues real enough – as a working mother those battles of being the all-round Wonderwoman sure hit a nerve, the balancing acts of ‘so many hats, so little time, is what I’m doing good enough’.  Resonating throughout the story is the thought of seeing, truly seeing and knowing, the essence of your best friend.  How deeply do you really know your own best friend? This, and many other personal questions, wafted around in my mind for quite some time after finishing the book – it’s just that kind of thought-provoking story.  Very well written and flowing easily, Nichole Bernier has managed to mix in a little bit of mystery with the poignancy and intimacy of a love story – a love for husbands, children, best friends, and of course, self. 

The Australian Inland Mission and the Pakenham connection

Links to our Past - history -

It is the centenary of the Presbyterian Inland Mission this year. It was established in 1912 as the Australian Inland Mission  by the Presbyterian Church with the Reverend  John  Flynn as the first Superintendent. Flynn’s  idea was to provide spiritual  support to those in the outback and this later developed to providing  medical facilities  as well.  Thus from  1917 he founded nursing services in remote areas and in 1928 he formed the AIM Aerial medical services. This service changed its name to the Royal Flying Doctor Service in 1954 and is still providing medical services  or the mantle of safety  as Flynn described it,  in the outback today. The Presbyterian Inland Mission has an interesting website www.pim.org.au.

There are two local links to the Australian Inland  Mission.  Firstly, John Flynn  was a Home Missionary at the Pakenham Presbyterian  Church in 1908-1909. I believe  a Home Missionary was sent to smaller churches, usually in country areas, who couldn't support an ordained  Minister.  John Flynn was was born in 1880 in  Moliagul Victoria to Thomas  and Rosetta (nee Lester ) Flynn . He was a ‘pupil teacher’ with the Education Department from 1898 to 1902. He began study as a ‘student lay pastor’ in 1903 and  did further study at the Presbyterian Theological Hall and was ordained in 1911. He died in 1951.

I have found two references to the Reverend  Flynn and his time at Pakenham  in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal available on Trove.  The first was from  February 3 1909  and is a  report of the St James Church of England Sunday School  picnic where  amongst the visitors was  Mr Flynn, the Presbyterian Minister and many of our Romans Catholic and other denominational friends. Pakenham was obviously a very ecumenical town. The second report from May 12 1909 (reproduced below)   was of  a very  pleasing and instructive evening held at the Pakenham Mechanics Institute when Mr J. Flynn delivered his lecture  Along the Snowy River.

South Bourke and Mornington Journal, May 12 1909, page 2 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66200050
There is another Pakenham connection to the AIM. The Reverend Victor Murrell was the Presbyterian minister there from 1963 until his death in May 1969. The Murrell family was in Beltana, South Australia as part of the Australian Inland Mission from 1949 until 1957. There is a memorial to the Reverend Murrell outside the Uniting Church in Main Street Pakenham. The memorial has been photographed and transcribed as part of the Casey Cardinia Remembers project www.caseycardiniaremembers.org.au, a project of the Narre Warren and District Family History Group. http://nwfhg.org.au

The memorial to the Reverend Victor Murrell outside the  Uniting Church at Pakenham. These photographs are from the Casey Cardinia Remembers website and are used with permission.

According to  a report in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of February 13, 1907 the Presbyterian Church in Pakenham was officially opened on Sunday, January 27 1907, so when John Flynn arrived sometime in 1908 it would have been a very new building. The Presbyterians had  previously met at the Mechanics' Institute.  The Church was was built by Alex Miller of Berwick and painted and varnished by C. and J. Warne also of Berwick. It was a weatherboard building and could seat one hundred people. The building cost £125 and  initially the congregation had to supply £35 and the Home Mission Committee £100 which would cost £10 in interest over ten years, however  £80 was raised by the congregation so they could start their worship in their church really free from any anxiety as to ways and means.  A new brick church was opened in October 1960 and the original church was moved back on the block and used as a Sunday School and it was demolished around 1987 to accommodate extensions to the Church.

Middle Earth Lovers

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Here's a great clip for all lovers of Middle Earth. Air New Zealand has made a new in flight safety video featuring hobbits, orcs, elves and a host of characters from Middle Earth.

Look out for some favourites including Gollum and Gandalf and a special appearance from director Peter Jackson.

The video also includes appearances by Mike and Royd Tolkien, great-grandsons of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien.

Inky Awards - we won too!

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The Inky Awards 2012 were presented recently, for the most popular teen literature, as voted by the audience of Australian teen lit site Inside a Dog. The big event, held Tuesday 23 October, saw the presentation of the awards to the winning authors.

And the winners are:

  • Shift by Em Bailey (2012 Gold Inky for an Australian title) 
Why not choose your next read from these winners or from the list of nominees.

Not only did the most popular books win, so did we!  Rachel and Celia from Narre Warren Library attended the Awards ceremony to be presented with a collection of the Inky Award winning books, for best Inky's library display, which was created by Rachel and Emma.

Well done!


In Hindsight

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There are many things to like about 'Hunting Grounds'; a band made up of six talented male musicians.

The band originally began as 'Howl', winning the prestigious Triple J High competition in 2009 with the song 'Blackout'.
However, complications and confusion arose with other bands who also bore the same name, thus the name change.

The band first started when the teens were students together at Ballarat High School.
Their music has been described as 'post-punk' or 'dream pop' with an aggressive backbone of drums and bass.
Their main influences include Radiohead, Stowdive and Stone Roses.

Band members are multi-skilled; three band members are involved in song writing and various members sing.
Daniel Mari is the drummer, Galen Strachan-keyboards, Michael Belsat-vocals and guitar, Jon Crawford-bass, Tim Street-guitar and Lachlan Morish-guitar and vocals.
Their sound is spacey and mesmerizing. Lyrics are sharp and intelligent. Who can forget lyrics such as 'swimming in a riptide, there's no elegance in suicide?'

The debut album of 'Hunting Grounds' (In Hindsight) has just been released, and has had much favourable response.
'Hunting Grounds' will be performing at the Big Day Out events right across Australia in January 2013 so if you would like to see them don't miss out.

I predict a bright future for these amazing performers.


Nine Days

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Nine days by Toni Jordan is a novel concerning three generations of the Westaway family and the communities they live in. 

It is set in Richmond and begins on the eve of World War 11.  Each chapter relates a day in the lives of the nine main characters.  The concept was inspired by a photograph held in the State Library war photographs collection (pictured on the cover) of a girl being lifted up to kiss her soldier boyfriend as his train departs.  

Although we only get brief snippets from the characters’ lives, an intense and colourful story is told.  We follow each generation as they face poverty, grief, life changing events, and hardship.  We also share their loves and dreams.  We are strongly reminded how although times are not as hard now some decisions are still just as difficult to make.  This is particularly poignant in how two women face the dilemma of unplanned pregnancy.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It is a wonderful social history of Melbourne and the characters are carefully and realistically portrayed.  I have not read the author's other two books but discovered this title listed in the” 50 books you can’t put down” booklet for 2012. 

If you enjoyed Shadowboxing  by Tony Birch you will appreciate Nine Days.


Eumemmerring Run

Links to our Past - history -

Doveton, Hallam, Endeavour Hills and the modern day suburb of Eumemmerring  were originally part of the  Eumemmerring Run. This run was 14 square miles (10,240 acres or 4,100 hectares) and was taken up by Dr Farquhar McCrae (1807-1850) in 1839.  It was described as good sheep country. Dr McCrae was the brother-in-law of Georgiana McCrae (1804-1890) who was married to his brother Andrew. Georgiana kept a journal, later published as Georgiana's Journal.  Later the same year it was taken over by Leslie Foster (1818-1900) or to give him his full name -  John Vesey Fitzgerald Leslie Foster, apparently known as 'alphabetical Foster’. Foster is pictured left.  Foster was, amongst other things, a first cousin of Sir William Foster Stawell (1815-1889) who was appointed Victorian Attorney General in 1851 and became Chief Justice of Victoria in 1857. Stawell Street in Cranbourne was named after him, as well as the town of Stawell. Foster also, in 1843, challenged Dr McCrae to a pistol duel over a land sale, when McCrae refused Foster whipped him and his horse with a horse whip. He was later fined £10 and had to pay £250 in damages. He went on to help draft Victoria’s constitution, acted as the administrator of the Colony between the departure of Governor La Trobe and the arrival of Governor Hotham.

Foster held the run until 1842 when it was taken up by Edward Wilson and James Stewart Johnson until 1846 when Thomas Herbert Power (1801-1873)  took it on.  The property then went from around the Dandenong Creek/Power Road all the way to Berwick. Power was a member of the Legislative Council from 1856 until 1864 and had land in other areas including Hawthorn, and is the source of the name Power Road. When he died in 1873 the value of his Estate was over £40,000. He still owned, according to his Probate papers 1,848 acres (747 hectares) in the Parish of Eumemmerring  when he died. Part of his Probate papers are reproduced below. You can see some of alloments  in the Eumemmerring Parish Plan, further below.

Part of  Thomas Herber Power's Probate papers. listing his Eumemmerring land, valued at £6006.  Wills and Probates up to 1925 are digitised and available on the Public Records Office of Victoria website. www.prov.vic.gov.au
  Eumemmerring Parish Plan (partial) showing some of the land owned by Thomas Herbert Power.   It was apparently Power (pictured right) who called his property Grassmere and the Doveton  area was known as Grassmere or Eumemmerring until it was named Doveton in September 1954. On October 30 1888 Munro & Baillieu Estate Agents offered for sale  the Grassmere property of 3,000 acres (1214 hectares) subdivided into lots of between 1 acre and 20 acres (up to 8 hectares), some of which  was land from the Power Estate. It was described as having  extensive views of both mountains and sea and only a few minutes walk from this happily situated and pretty township, so fast becoming a favourite residential estate. The pretty township was Dandenong, pretty it may have been but even Usain Bolt wouldn't have made it from Dandenong to Grassmere in a few minutes. 

This is the plan of Grassmere which appeared in The Argus of October 30, 1888.  Marked on the map is the proposed railway line to Fern Tree Gully, which never eventuated.
It is highly unlikely McCrae, Foster or Power ever lived in the area, however in  the 1850s there were other land sales, especially around the Eumemmerring Creek, of smaller sub-divided blocks and farmers arrived and created a community - the  Eumemmerring, Denominational School started in 1858 and two Inns and  a race course were established and of course, a bit further east was the Hallam Hotel which began as a general store run by William and Mary Hallam, in the 1860s. These settlers didn't (generally) have roads named after them nor are remembered in any other way but Jean Uhl has listed them, on page 97,  in her book, Call back Yesterday: Eumemmering Parish (published by Lowden Press, 1972)  and they deserve to be recognised here.

Sources: Call back yesterday: Eumemmering Parish by Jean Uhl (Lowden Press, 1972). The photographs of Foster and Power are from the Parliament of Victoria website www.parliament .vic.gov.au. The Probate record of Thomas Power is from the Wills and Probate Papers digitised by the  Public Records Office of Victoria www.prov.vic.gov.au. The Grassmere plan comes from The Argus, available on Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper.The information on Leslie Foster comes from the Australian Dictionary of Biography on-line at http://adb.anu.edu.au/ The original article was written by Betty Malone.

Street names of Cranbourne

Links to our Past - history -

This is a map of the original Cranbourne township allotments which includes the original owners. The streets names represent two different sources of names - some are named after local land owners and some are named after Government officials. I have made an ‘educated guess’ as to the source of the street names which I believe are derived from Government officials but as the first Cranbourne township lots were surveyed in 1856 and the first land sales took place in March 1857 and this period coincides with the time that these officials were influential then I believe that they are the most likely source for the names.

Bakewell Street and Lyall Street
John Bakewell and William Lyall were part of the influential partnership of Mickle, Bakewell and Lyall who arrived in the area in 1851. John Mickle (1814-1885) and John Bakewell (1807-1888) were business partners in Melbourne from 1847 and they were soon joined by William Lyall (1821-1888) who had married Mickle’s sister, Margaret. In 1851 they acquired the Yallock Run (based on the Yallock Creek, south of Koo-Wee-Rup). In 1852 they acquired the Tooradin run and in 1854 they acquired the Great Swamp run and at one stage they occupied nearly all the land from Cranbourne to Lang Lang.

After Government land sales in 1856 the trio subdivided their jointly owned land. Bakewell’s portion included Tooradin, Tobin Yallock, the Bluff and Warrook on the Yallock Creek. Mickle received the Upper Yallock blocks which he renamed Monomeith. Lyall received the Yallock pre-emptive right and the remaining land. William and Annabella Lyall built Harewood house in the 1850s and the property remained in the Lyall family until 1967. John Bakewell died in England in 1888.

Barkly Street
Sir Henry Barkly (1815-1898) was Governor of Victoria from 1856 to 1863. The western end of Barkly Street is now called Brunt Street and the eastern end is Lecky Street. It is separated by the Cranbourne Secondary College site.

Brunt Street
Brunt is named for the Brunt family. William Brunt and his wife, Mary Jane (nee Espie), lived at Spring Villa, where the Settlement Hotel is now located. William was a Cranbourne Shire Councillor from 1904 to 1923.

Cameron Street
In March 1851, Alexander Cameron (1815-1881) took up the lease of the Mayune Run and a few years later at the Government land sales he purchased 592 acres, the Mayfield Pre-emptive Right, on the corner of what is now Cameron Street and the South Gippsland Highway (where the Life style retirement Village is now located). The Cranbourne Road Board was proclaimed in June 1860 and Cameron was elected in 1863 and served until 1867. He was married to Margaret (nee Donaldson, 1822-1895) and they had seven children.

Childers Street
Hugh Culling Eardley Childers (1827-1896) and his wife, Emily (nee Walker) arrived in Australia in1850. His first Government appointment was an Inspector of Denominational Schools in 1851. He was a member of the Legislative Council and appointed Auditor General. He was the first vice chancellor of the University of Melbourne and helped found the Melbourne Public Library (both established in 1856). He returned to England a few years later where he became a member of the House of Commons and was also a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society.

Clarendon Street
George William Frederick Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon (1800-1870) was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1847 to 1852 and the British Foreign Secretary on three occasions from 1853 to 1870. He negotiated a favourable outcome for Britain at the end of the Crimean War in 1856 at the Congress of Paris Peace talks. The Crimean War, which was a war between Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia against Russia took place largely on the Crimean Peninsula in Russia. The war was commemorated in many towns in Australia by street names such as Alma, Inkerman and Balaclava which were places of battle etc during the war.

Codrington Street
Sir William John Codrington (1804-1884) was Commander in Chief of the British Forces in the Crimean War from 1853 to 1856. Alternatively, but I feel less likely, Codrington Street could be named for the British Admiral, Sir Edward Codrington (1770-1851) who was Captain of the HMS Orion at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) and also served in other Wars.

Lecky Street
Lecky Street is named after local land owner, James Lecky (1802-1884). He purchased Gin Gin Bean on the Cardinia Creek in 1846. Lecky was a Cranbourne Road Board and Shire Council Member from 1860-1881 and Shire President on many occasions. He and his wife Elizabeth (nee Woods, 1803-1891) and their six children arrived in Victoria in 1841.

Lyons Street
Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons (1790-1858), Ist Baronet Lyons, commanded the Black Sea fleet during the Crimean War.

Russell Street
Lord John Russell (1792-1878) was Home Secretary under Lord Melbourne when he was the British Prime Minister on various occasions between 1834 and 1841. Russell was also the British Prime Minister from 1846 to 1852 and from 1865 to 1866. Lord Melbourne is the source of the name Melbourne and Russell Street in the city is also named after Lord Russell.

Sladen Street
Sir Charles Sladen (1816-1884) was a member of the Legislative Council and Treasurer of Victoria and Premier for 67 days in 1868.

Stawell Street
Sir William Foster Stawell (1815-1889) was appointed Victorian Attorney General in 1851 and became Chief Justice of Victoria in 1857.


Reading Rewards - reviews -

"As someone who was superficially but nonetheless touched by Ash Wednesday in 1983 – my parents were evacuated from Anglesea – I wasn’t expecting how powerfully this book would affect me."

Kinglake-350 by Adrian Hyland 
From the cover: On 7 February 2009 Sergeant Roger Wood found himself at the epicentre of the worst bushfire disaster in Australia's history... Black Saturday. Wood, who's a country cop with twenty years experience was the only officer on duty in the small community of Kinglake. As the firestorm approached he was called out to numerous incidents including multi-fatality car accidents. He led a group of fifty people from a store west of Kinglake four kilometres to safety through burning bush just minutes before it was completely destroyed. Then, as the fire raged around him, he phoned his family ten kilometres away to warn them what was coming. When his wife answered, she screamed that the fire had already hit their property. Then the line went dead. Black Saturday was a many-headed monster in whose wake stories of grief, heroism and desolation erupted all over the state of Victoria. This book is about the monster—and the heroism of those who confronted it. 

As someone who was superficially but nonetheless touched by Ash Wednesday in 1983 – my parents were evacuated from Anglesea – I wasn’t expecting how powerfully this book would affect me. I recall taking a photo of our outdoor table where I had written in the dust with a wet finger – “hottest day ever” (see pic right) [48oC] and looking at the blood-orange sun and smoke-filled sky before heading inside for another cool drink, complaining that our one fan was doing bugger all to keep us and our disabled son cool. Then it started, the media hype of Black Saturday, the dead count, the shock of hearing about Brian Naylor, Sam the koala, all the mudslinging to lay blame, the endless repetitive TV clips that were replayed for days … But it was all ‘distant’, to the point where you’d turn the channel over because you’d seen it all before. This one book does more to bring home the heart-wrenching reality of it all than actually watching the vision as it unfolded at the time. It’s quite a shock to find tears in your eyes, even though you tell yourself you already know all about it. 

Although non-fiction, Hyland writes this in a novel style from country cop Rodger Wood’s point of view.  The language, flow and narrative are spot on in portraying the ‘Australian-ness’ of the disaster [ignore the few F-bombs].   It’s also well paced, with the personal stories punctuated with some factual reading about weather and how a fire of such intensity occurred; alarming facts about arson; the psychology of human behaviour in crises; our environment and how little we’ve learned from past mistakes; plus of course, systems and procedures that worked on that day, and those that didn’t. 

Hyland himself doesn’t appear in the story, but this is his own community he’s writing about as he lived, still lives, in Kinglake’s neighbour, St. Andrews. He and Roger Wood are good friends, and after driving their daughters to school daily through a blackened, post-apocalyptic landscape, the two men would talk. They had lost a lot of friends, went to about ten funerals, and Hyland said he first started writing just to try and understand how such a nightmare came to be. 

Kinglake-350 is powerful, informative, and deeply disturbing. It also engenders pride, one that makes you want to shake the hand of each and every person who put their lives on the line to help those in distress. This book should be compulsory reading for every Australian, regardless of postcode. 



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