News from the Newsletters – February 2022

News from the Newsletters February 2022

This is a summary of some of the articles taken from the newsletters sent to the Secretary from SEHA Groups and Societies, February 2022. Compiled by Heather Arnold.

Balnarring & District Historical Society

The November 2021 Snippets has an article on Harry Cavenagh, Ranger at the Balnarring Beach Camping ground from c. 1952 to 1963 – this is a great description of Mr Cav, as he was known, up – Mr Cav was always dressed in a brown suit – which we would now call a business suit – with a flannel, three-button shirt beneath his scruffy brown suit coat. In more recent days this style of shirt would be called a ‘grandpa shirt’. Two layers, at least, of very much-worn, wool clothing. Note book and pencil were stored in the top suit pocket and would be taken out, pages ruffled through, pencil given a good lick and any necessary notes therein stored away. We liked his company and he seemed to warm to our family also. He always had the news of the entire campground at his fingertips and usually had a small, slender, hand-rolled cigarette in the corner of his mouth. There is also an article on the Somers Camp Vampire jet and shark fishing off Balnarring Beach.

Brighton Cemetorians

The Cemetorian has many interesting articles on the people buried at the Brighton Cemetery. The December 2021 issue includes William Seabrook (1881-1914), Captain in the Victorian Scottish Regiment who drowned off Point Lonsdale on January 3, 1914; Olga Hopgood (1883-1965), who was blind for 40 years due to her ‘nerves collapsing’ and then she miraculously regained sight in her right eye in 1960 so she could see her four children, 12 grandchildren and some of her 14 great Grandchildren; and Rowland ‘Rowley’ Ambrose Banks (1885-1928) professional golfer. His brother Dick Banks was also a professional golfer.

The March 2022 Cemetorian has a feature on the Highett Rail Disaster of March 23, 1925 when 8 people were killed including four member s of the McDonnell family – Michael J. McDonnell, aged 59, market gardener, Clarence McDonnell, 32, electrician, of Park Street, South Melbourne (son of J. McDonnell), Pearl McDonnell, 30, wife of Clarence McDonnell, Raymond McDonnell, aged 4 months, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence McDonnell. Walter Guy (1894-1932) who died at the Caulfield Military Hospital. He had enlisted in the AIF on September 9, 1914.

Chelsea and District Historical Society

The November-December newsletter reported that In July 1926 – Mr. Frederick Frewin, of Chelsea, Victoria, who recently arrived in England, presented on behalf of the Chelsea State School, Victoria, an Australian flag to the Chelsea Central School, London… Mr. Frewin, in handing over the flag, which was contained in a casket of Victorian timbers with wattle blossoms and leaves calved on the cover, conveyed to the children of old Chelsea  greetings from the boys and girls of the Chelsea under the Southern Cross. The January 2022 newsletter has an article on Henry Robert Woodward who moved to Chelsea in 1904 and established a piggery and later opened butcher shops in Edithvale, Chelsea and Rosebud.

Friends of Cheltenham & Regional Cemeteries

Raves from the Graves December 2021 has an article by Rosemary Reddick on golfing professional, Richard (Dick) Shaw Banks (1876-1930) the brother of Rowley Banks. There were nine children in the family including Margaret (Madge) Hilda Banks, who become an entertainer – One of her earliest appearances on stage was at the age of six, and her brother, Will, was part of the Ettie Williams Troupe at this same performance. Soon after this performance Madge joined Pollards Lilliputian Opera Company and headed off on a world tour at the age of six!  Another brother, William was also an entertainer, under the name of Curly Banks and sometimes Billy Williams. Great article. The newsletter also includes some memories of by Mr W Bruton from his booklet – Carrum to Cheltenham. The foreword of this fascinating collection of memories reads as follows: “Recollections of places, and of those long ago passed away, and of incidents by-gone of Carrum, Mordialloc, Mentone, Spring-grove and Cheltenham, from the early fifties [1850s] to this century, by Mr. W. Bruton, whose life of 75 years has been spent in the district (practically blind during the last six of them) and whose relatives were first comers to the district. This will be a regular feature. Another article by Rosemary Reddick is on the Circus and the Perry family.

Hastings Western Port Historical Society

The December 2021 newsletter has an obituary of Harry Cole – Harry passed away on 23 September aged 94 years.  He was a Life Member of our Society – as is his wife, Valda, OAM.  They were very happily married for 68 years and had three sons – Peter (dec.), David and Andrew and seven grandchildren.  Harry was a highly respected local citizen – a descendant of a pioneering Western Port family who were involved in nurseries in Melbourne and then our area.  Harry worked diligently in this industry until it slowed when Britain entered the European Common Market.  He then worked just as hard raising poultry.  At high school he joined the Air Training Corps and at 18, in 1945, he joined the RAAF.  When Air Crew Training was cancelled Harry transferred to the RAN and was engaged in doing dangerous work disposing of old, unstable ammunition.  One of Harry’s interests was flying and he gained his pilot’s licence after the War and was a member of the Royal Victorian Flying Club.  Harry was involved with the formation of the Tyabb Fire Brigade and was a radio communicator for the Service.  He was also highly involved with the Anglican Church in Tyabb and Hastings.  Harry was a much loved family man and will be greatly missed by all of them and the community We offer our condolences to Valda, as well as the family and friends of Harry.

Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society

The February newsletter has a look back 100 years – ‘What happened in Koo Wee Rup in 1922’ by Heather Arnold. This is my favourite – From Koo Wee Rup Sun of April 27, 1922 – We are pleased to be able to state that Mr. A.W. Giles is now restored to health and is back at his home, Mank’s road, Koo Wee Rup. His homecoming caused a surprise to his family, as they were not acquainted that he was returning. It appears that a bed was required for a patient, and Mr Giles said he was well enough to leave. He took the train to Pakenham, and from there walked home. The distance is about 15kms.

Mordialloc College Alumni Association (MCAA)

The December 2021 Ventured has a report of a reunion of 1940s students and a story on past student Colonel John Wertheimer, AM RFD who was at the school from 1950-1953 and then completed his schooling at Melbourne High. He served with postings in Vietnam, Malaysia, North Borneo, New Guinea, Papua and in Australia and retired with the rank of Colonel. He served as the Queen’s Representative Colonel Commandant for the Royal Australian Engineers. Ventured also looks at Donald Meckiff, who passed away last year, who was at the School 1944-1948, and was the Head Prefect.

Mornington & District Historical Society

The December 2021 newsletter has a history of Beleura Private Hospital, which opened in 1969 and was owned by Irene Richardson who was also the Matron. The original hospital had 25 bed and the patients shared 1 bath, 2 showers and 4 toilets!  The February 2022 newsletter has part 2 of Edna Lowe’s reminisce of Life in the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. Edna’s father was a Groomsman for the Royal Household.

Mornington Peninsula Family History Society

The November 2021 Past Times has a report on Rob Hamilton who talked about Freemason records at their meeting last year. I have heard him speak and he is very good, full of lots of useful information. There is also an article by Peter Beckett on the ‘In from the Cold’ project – ‘In from the Cold’ is run by Terry Denham in England. This project’s aim is to find as many casualties of the First and Second World Wars who have been missed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. To date the IFTC project has processed over five thousand cases of men and women whose sacrifice has been forgotten or overlooked. If you are interested in the project and its many volunteers see:

The February 2022 newsletter has an article by Merrin Perry on Victorian Cemetery Records and a report of a recent guest speaker, Leonie Marshall, on ‘Lies, Outrageous Lies and Ancestors.’ Leonie’s talk was reported as very entertaining and interesting and most of the members attending could relate to lies, exaggerated stories and untruths within their own family research.

Narre Warren & District Family History Group

The November 2021 Spreading Branches has an article by Barbara Sharp on Georg Caspar von Ruti, born in Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany in 1863. She had come across his grave on a walk through Harkaway cemetery during lock-down. George had arrived in Victoria in 1886 and died of typhoid in 1893. Barbara writes – He died intestate. At the time of his death he was the manager of the Northcote Dairy Company.  Immanuel Wanke who lived in Harkaway, sent his milk to this dairy and says in the administration files that he had known Georg since he had arrived in Australia and Georg had frequently told him of his mother in Rastatt, and a married sister living in Kalsruhe .  I wonder who paid for his headstone? I didn’t know when I started the story that my great grandfather, Immanuel Wanke, would have small part in Georg von Rüti’s life. Maybe the Lutheran Church was involved or his family in Germany sent money over. There is also a story, by Marianne Rocke, on the Cormore tea-rooms in Upper Beaconsfield, started around 1919 by Harry Burton and later taken over by the Funnell family.

The February 2022 Spreading Branches has an article by Eileen Durdin on Reg and Leila Kurll. Reg was the Secretary of the 1st Narre Warren North Scout Group was formed in 1932 and the Kurlls donated six acres of their land to the Narre Warren North Scouts for a campsite, which was named the ‘Kurll’s Own Campsite.’ Eileen writes – Kurll Park was gifted to the Shire of Berwick by the Kurlls in 1970. Reg and Leila had moved to Mornington by this stage but Reg had concerns that quarrying in the Narre Warren North area would be given permission to expand and destroy the beautiful country side. Reg had expressed the wish to gift the land to the Trustee for the purposes of being set aside in perpetuity for the benefit of the public as a park and recreation area. The land was transferred to the Shire of Berwick on 6 April 1972.

Phillip Island & District Genealogical Society

From Reflections November 2021– there is an interesting article by Lynne Sanders – A tale of two families – she starts with in 1960 my older sister Anne Hudson married Alan Mickle. It seems the Hudson and Mickle families were destined to be linked throughout history. In the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s, there have been marriages that have kept the two families entwined.  Lynne then talks about the history of the Mickle and Hudson families – of great interest to me as the Mickles played a large role in history of Koo Wee Rup and the Swamp and Dave Mickle, the local historian was instrumental in establishing the Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society and has written about the history of the area in his Mickle Memories books.

Phillip Island & District Historical Society

The November 2021 newsletter announces that they are in a temporary new home at 56 Chapel Street Cowes, with the Philip Island & District Genealogical Society. As part of their collection they have a certificate presented to Arnie Brown, a local fisherman, from James Douglas and Robert Anderson. They had taken out a boat for some fishing, it over-turned and they clung onto it for hours. When Arnie realised they had not returned he “Taking in the situation with sailor-like promptitude, he let go his mooring lines, hoisted his sail, and, opening out his engines, sped to the rescue, accompanied by his brother in-law, Arthur Leeson, a returned soldier, of Cowes. To find an upturned boat on a dull, grey evening, in a huge expanse of water like Westernport Bay, was an undertaking requiring an intimate knowledge of local tidal conditions, as well as seamanship of a high order. But Mr Brown was equal to the occasion, and, after steaming for about a mile, Leeson descried objects in the water, toward which the rescuing boat was steered. This proved to be the crew of the over-turned craft. Their heads were just above the water, and they were standing on the submerged boat “like shags on a buoy,” as Mr. Brown afterwards described it.”

The January 2022 newsletter has an obituary, by Pam Rothfield, of Gay Cleeland (1949 – 2021). Gay attended many SEHA for Phillip Island meetings and was interesting, friendly, interested and she is a great loss to her friends and family, the Historical society and the local history community. Gay was such a lovely person. The February 2022 newsletter has an article by Pam Rothfield on James Morrison of the Waterman’s Arms Hotel, San Remo, later called the San Remo Hotel.

Rye Historical Society

Whitecliffs January -March 2022 has a substantial article by Noel and Ann Erbs on the history of the name Tootgarook and of the township. It looks at references to the town in the newspapers up to 1860; the number of people whose birth and death was registered at Tootgarook from 1836-1913; local Birth and Death Registrars and much more.

Somerville Tyabb & District Historical Society

The December 2021 newsletter has a short history of the Pikes family, who gave their name to Pikes Road, newspaper reports from Trove on the local history and an obituary of Harry Cole, who was born at the Somerville Hospital.

Wonthaggi and District Historical Society

The essay in The Plod of November 2021 is part 2 of Hotels and Licensing in Wonthaggi and District. The Plod essay for February 2022 is 137 Years of Agricultural Show History from Bass to Wonthaggi.  

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