This is a summary of some of the articles taken from the newsletters and other correspondence sent to the Secretary from SEHA Groups and Societies, February 2022. Compiled by Heather Arnold.
Balnarring & District Historical Society
• The November 2022 Snippets has an article by Richard Day on George Gunning. George was born in 1904 and in 1927 arrived in Merricks and commenced work an 1800 acre property owned by Elsie Cole, and her daughters Phyllis and Lorraine. He had his own shack on the property, never drove a car or tractor, but could do all his work with a team of draught horses or from the back of a stock horse. George lived on the property until his death in 1985.
• There is also an article by Marlene Weston on the Beach store at Merricks Beach. Her father-in-law, Alf Weston purchased land in the area in 1926 and in the 1940s built a store at the beach to cater to holiday makers; the Westons also operated the Merricks General Store. Marlene and her husband John operated the Beach store in the 1960s and early 1970s.
• Wes Wade has written about the Balnarring Halls, the first hall opened 1896 and it was replaced by the new hall in 1969.
Bass Valley Historical Society
• The guest speaker at the Bass Valley Historical Society meeting held on December 4, 2022 was Maureen Matthews who spoke on Euphemia Henderson (1822-1907), botanical illustrator, at one time engaged to Baron von Mueller, Director of the Botanic Gardens. You can read more about Euphemia here https://pidhs.org.au/essay/131
Berwick-Pakenham Historical Society https://bphs.com.au/
• Long term Secretary of the Society, Audrey Dodson, was named Cardinia Shire’s 2023 Senior Citizen of the Year. The Society now has a Facebook page.
Brighton Cemetorians http://www.brightoncemetorians.org.au/
• The Cemetorian has many interesting articles on the people buried at the Brighton Cemetery. The December 2022 Cemetorian has a story by Patsy Crotty on Sister Louisa Curtain (1879-1962). Louisa was one of twelve children, one brother served in the Boer War; during the First World War, two brothers enlisted and Louisa and three of her sisters served as Army Nurses. After the War she worked at the Caulfield Military Hospital and from the 1930s operated a nursing home at Upwey. Sister Curtain left Upwey in 1960, where she was actively involved in the community and well respected, and moved to St Kilda House, the rest home for retired Army Nurses and ex-servicewomen.
• Others profiled include John Stewart Dethridge (1865-1926), State Rivers & Water Supply Commission engineer and the inventor of the Dethridge Irrigation wheel; Elvis ‘Ricky’ Thurgood (1958-2021) a jockey, who died 41 years after a catastrophic fall at Caulfield Racecourse in 1980 and John Walter Stokes (1887-1947) a fishmonger.
Chelsea and District Historical Society
• The November 2022 newsletter reported on the successful exhibition of historical photographs held at the newly renovated Chelsea Court House, in November – [it] was a great success. Held over 6 days, we had over 260 visitors, lots of book sales and welcomed new members. Whilst many of our visitors were local, we also had visitors who had grown up in the area and moved away or had a connection to one of the early families.
• There is also a short history of the Chelsea Tip, established in 1959 and closed in the 1980s.The tip was redeveloped as a 1988 Bicentennial Project and is now a well-used park with facilities for people of all ages. Tips are one of the least glamourous, but one of the most essential parts of our life and their history is rarely recorded.
Frankston Historical Society http://www.frankstonhs.org.au/
• The February/March newsletter is the first one since before the start of Covid. Over the past few years, the Frankston City Council has undertaken a massive amount of work at Ballam Park Homestead including a complete electrical rewiring, refurbishing the verandah, installing a new security system including CCTV, repairs to the out buildings, new kitchen and repainting the building. After being closed for a long time, Ballam Park re-opening to the public of February 5, 2023 at 1.00pm.
Friends of Cheltenham & Regional Cemeteries https://www.focrc.org/
• Raves from the Graves December 2022 – the feature article is by Toni Grinberg on Thomas Sidney Smith, the manufacturer of Tom Smith’s Superior Tomato Sauce. His factory was in Bay Road, Moorabbin, next to the Highett Railway Station. Thomas Smith died on June 8, 1934 at the age of 74 and is buried in the Cheltenham Pioneer Cemetery. There is also a short history of the Marlo Cemetery, by Rosemary Reddick. The first recorded burial took place in 1908.
• Some of the FOCRC committee members attended a morning tea at Box Cottage, organised by the City of Moorabbin Historical Society. Also in attendance were members from Mordialloc & District Historical Society, the Mentone Friends group, and Chelsea Historical Society, as well as the recently retired Kingston historian Graham Whitehead. It was great opportunity to meet the other groups and discuss their shared heritage.
Hastings Western Port Historical Society https://www.hwphs.org.au/
• The December 2022 newsletter has an article by Linda Tredwell on the 1914 Christmas Truce of World War One. At the October Morning Coffee meeting Di Moloney and John Woolley displayed photographs of Hastings and invited the audience to identify buildings and who lived/worked in them, as well as identifying owners of cars, boats etc. The new information was recorded. They plan to repeat this once a year. It’s a great idea and an excellent way for people to share their memories and for a Society to add to their historical information.
Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society
• The November 2022 newsletter has an article, by Heather Arnold, on the five Sate schools which carried the Koo Wee Rup name – Yallock State School, later called Koo Wee Rup; Koo Wee Rup South, later called Koo Wee Rup North (or Five Mile); Koo Wee Rup North, later called Bunyip South then Iona; Koo Wee Rup Central, later called Cora Lynn and Koo Wee Rup East, later called Modella. The December newsletter has accounts of close encounters with snakes on the Koo Wee Rup Swamp and the February 2023 newsletter looks back 100 at what happened in Koo Wee Rup in 1923.
Mordialloc College Alumni Association (MCAA) http://mordialloccollegealumni.org/
• The October 2022 Ventured looks at the passing of the Queen and the participation of past students in Royal events such as singing God Save the Queen at Assembly. Past student, Tony Edwards, has written an account of his time in London in the early 1970s when he was working as an Architectural Draftsman. The firm he worked with was involved in various renovation projects at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Palace and it was his role to draw up the plans which gave him an opportunity to see behind the scenes at both Palaces.
• The issue also looks at the lives of various past students and teachers including Norma Ellis (later Mrs Nethersole) who taught Physical Education at the school 1952-53, as well as at Frankston High. Norma was a talented tennis player, played at a State level and in 1955, reached the quarter-finals in Singles at the Australian Open and the semi-finals in the Doubles. A past student featured is Heather Scott who was at the school from 1962-1964. Heather is now on the Committee of the Chelsea & District Historical Society (and their delegate at our SEHA meetings) and with her long connection to the area would be a font of local knowledge.
Mornington & District Historical Society https://morningtondistricthistory.org.au/
• The November 2022 newsletter reports of the re-opening of the Museum on October 28. The building has been repainted, has new carpet, new lighting and new display panels. The interpretive panels were purchased through a grant from the Public Records Office of Victoria and the building renovations were carried out by the Mornington Peninsula Shire.
Mornington Peninsula Family History Society https://www.mpfhs.org/
• The November 2022 Peninsula Past Times has an article, by Janice McCarthy, on Annie Moriah Sage (1895-1969). Born in Somerville, she trained as a nurse and midwife at the Royal Melbourne and the Women’s Hospital and was later the Matron of the Victorian Baby Health Centres Association Training School. Matron Sage joined the Australian Army Nursing Service in 1940 and served in the Middle East. On her return to Australia, she was appointed Matron-in-Chief of the Australian Military Forces and promoted to the rank of Colonel. After the War, Colonel Sage was appointed Matron of the Women’s Hospital; she was founding President of the College of Nursing and was Honorary Colonel of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps from 1957 to 1962. An extraordinary career.
• Ric Norman has written on why death certificates may not always be reliable, even though they are the ‘official’ source of information for family historians.
Narre Warren & District Family History Group http://nwfhg.org.au/
• The November 2022 Spreading Branches reports that the Casey Cardinia Combined Index now has over 200,000 records. The members of the group have been busy since 2004 indexing local history books and adding the names of people, places, organisations and businesses to the on-line index. It’s a great resource of you have family who once lived in the old Shires of Berwick and Cranbourne (which is essentially the Casey Cardinia area).
• There is also a sad but interesting article by Laurence Stephenson on George Ritchie, whose grandfather was the Pastor of the Church of Christ in Pakenham. Born I906, he joined the Navy and was murdered in April 1924 on the H.M.A.S. Brisbane. The Inquest found that it was most likely George Brown, a cook on the ship, who was the perpetrator, and he was found to have hung himself the same day. Because George did not die on Active Service, he wasn’t entitled to a free Military headstone, but finally in 2022, after intensive lobbying by Mark Fleming of the founder of the Naval Graves Project, a headstone was erected. The newsletter also reported on the very successful walk around the Berwick Cemetery, held in October, with more than 80 people attending.
• The February 2023 Spreading Branches has a feature on Kel Anderson, by Eileen Durdin. Kel (1912-1985) of Bunyip was the District Inspector of State Schools for the Pakenham area and later a Councillor for the Shire of Berwick, then Shire of Pakenham. Inspector Anderson, as we called him, used to visit Pakenham Consolidated School when I was a student there in 1960s. The issue also takes a look at the Biographical Database of Australia bda-online.org.au
Phillip Island & District Genealogical Society http://piadgs.org.au
• Reflections November 2022 has an article by Pamela Rothfield – The day the 1875 Melbourne Cup came to Phillip Island. Woolamai, owned by John Cleeland was the winner of the race that year. The Cleeland family have a long-term connection to Phillip Island. At the AGM, Malcolm Swaine, Secretary of the Society, was awarded Life Membership.
Phillip Island & District Historical Society https://pidhs.org.au/
• The November newsletter has an article on Charles Grayden, by Pamela Rothfield. Charles, a fisherman, arrived on Phillip Island in 1867 with his wife Margaret. They had nine children and many descendants still live in the area. The December newsletter reports on the successful Christmas dinner and looks at the life of Kitty Miller (1853-1917), the namesake of Kitty Miller Bay. In the January 2023 newsletter, Pamela, takes a look at the history of rabbits on Phillip Island, introduced by John and William McHaffie, who held the pastoral lease on the Island from 1842 until the first land sales in 1868.
Somerville Tyabb & District Historical Society http://home.vicnet.net.au/~stdhs/
• The December 2022 newsletter looks at the history of the Copsey Cup, awarded to the winning team at a Somerville sports meeting. Local teams competed in cricket, running races, tug-of-war and other events. The Cup was donated by the licensees of the Somerville Hotel, Charles and Alice Copsey, who had the business from 1919 to 1925 and then 1927 to the late 1930s. There is also a sub-division plan of the Tyabb Small Farms Estate, developed in the early 1890s.
Wonthaggi and District Historical Society http://www.wonthaggihistoricalsociety.org.au/
• The November Plod essay is entitled Enemy Aliens, published to highlight the complexity of the Italian experience in Australia and to demonstrate their resilience and commitment to this country and the Italian contribution to Wonthaggi.
• The Society once again presented their successful series of talks in January – 15 Minutes of History – a short talk held daily on various aspects of the history of Wonthaggi and surrounds.