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. Compiled by Heather Arnold.
Balnarring & District Historical Society
• The November 2023 Snippets has a history of the house Konda, built in 1905, located at the corner of Sandy Point and Balnarring Beach Roads for William (Lad) Mairs and his wife, Eugenie (Ninette), neé Symone. As the article notes – Lad was one of the sons of settler, David Mairs, who during his lifetime built up an extensive grazing property covering over 2,000 acres. David Mairs Snr. died in 1902, leaving the land to his three surviving sons…. Originally the name was Karonda, given as a tribute to the home in Germany where Ninette’s parents’ family had come from. Lad and Ninette had two children, Ninette and Tom. When he was small, Tom could not get his tongue around the name Karonda and called it Konda, and the name stuck.
• Bruce Bennett has written an account of an emergency landing of the Golden West at Balnarring aerodrome in 1935. This air strip was used in occasions as an emergency landing site, due mainly to bad weather, for the mail planes flying to and from Tasmania. There is also a history of the Coolart property written by Ilma Hackett
Berwick Pakenham Historical Society https://bphs.com.au/
• The Society is hosting a series of Family History talks on the third Thursday of the month at 11.00am, presented by Jane Rivett-Carnac, President of the Narre Warren & District Family History Group and Heather Arnold, President of the Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society. Details are here https://seha.org.au/event/getting-to-know-your-family-history-beginning-family-history
Brighton Cemetorians http://www.brightoncemetorians.org.au/
• The Cemetorian has many interesting articles on the people buried at the Brighton Cemetery. The December 2023 edition includes profiles of George Davidson (1870-1921) a Newsagent; Henry Deane (1847-1924) Civil Engineer and Botanist; Edward Asling (1813-1897) source of the name Asling Street in Brighton and William Weston (1882-1948) – Bill and his brother Charlie were champion axemen, who competed in wood chops all throughout Australia.
Chelsea and District Historical Society
• The December 2023 newsletter had a report on their 60th Anniversary Celebrations. An exhibition celebrating six decades of Chelsea history was held at the Old Court House in November. A fabulous birthday cake was made for the anniversary and President Shirley Simpson had the honour of cutting the cake. At the same function held on November 23, Secretary Leonie Taylor, a member since 1990, made a speech on the history of the Society.
• The newsletter also publishes Ivy Deakin’s “Memories of Carrum”. Her parents and their four young children arrived in Carrum in 1901
Frankston Historical Society http://www.frankstonhs.org.au/
• The February-March 2024 newsletter reports the sad news that our long standing Treasurer, Marilyn Foster had passed away. Marilyn had been a volunteer for 37 years and Treasurer for 29 years, life member, and vice president for 25 years. What an amazing and valuable contribution Marilyn made to the Society and to the preservation of the history of Ballam Park and Frankston.
Friends of Cheltenham and Regional Cemeteries https://www.focrc.org/
• The December Raves from the Graves has an article, by Rosemary Reddick, on Sir George Jones (1896-1992). He served at Gallipoli, then transferred to the Australian Flying Corps, where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1921 he joined the Australian Air Force. During WW2 George was promoted to Vice Air Marshall, and amongst his other duties he represented the RAAF at the Japanese Surrender on board the USS Missouri in September 1945. One of George’s greatest achievements during his time in the RAAF was organising and expanding the Air Force in the South West Pacific, as he had committed forces to the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) and the Korean War (1950-1953). Sir George Jones died on 24 August 1992 at Mentone and was buried with full military honours at the Cheltenham Memorial Park. His first wife Muriel and their two sons, and his second wife Gwendoline all predeceased him. There is a memorial bust at Rushworth to Sir George; he attended primary school in the town.
Hastings – Western Port Historical Society https://www.hwphs.org.au/
• The December 2023 newsletter has an article by Peter McCullough and Sandra Beckett on the centenary of the Hastings Methodist (now Uniting) Church. As the article notes – On 24 September 1871 the new Wesleyan church was officially opened. It was a ‘neat brick building in the Gothic style and capable of seating comfortably about 150 persons’. Unfortunately this church was subject to flooding and eventually it was decided to demolish and rebuild on higher ground. Accordingly this relocation took place and the ‘new’ church was opened in October 1923 by the President of the Conference, Rev. Thomas S. Woodfull. The bluestone foundation stone simply records “Methodist Church. Erected 1871, Re-erected 1923”.
• Amongst the obituaries is this one of Carl Bryant – Carl passed away on 12 November, 2023, aged 95 years. He was a member of our Society for many years and had led an interesting life. He was born on 22 September, 1928, one of 10 children and brought up in Victoria Street, Hastings – the family suffering during the Depression when Carl was young. His working life was varied, commencing at Stony Point Train Station. He then went on to work on the “Julie Burgess” fishing boat, later becoming a fitter and turner, a Melbourne wharfie (in the days when the work was arduous) and a brick factory worker. He also worked for the PMG as a linesman. He then elevated himself by becoming a PMG Cable Jointer. Carl designed his own fishing boat, built by his brother Fred. He fished for shark all around Tasmania and Bass Strait – all very dangerous waters. The boat was named “Jean Bryant” after his beloved wife. Jean had been a nurse at Hastings Hospital. Carl and Jean bought a poultry farm in Stumpy Gully Road, Bittern and, after his working life, this is where Carl spent his retirement. He loved hunting and was good at target shooting. His father was born at Coode Island, Melbourne, but Carl’s ancestors were fishermen from the Orkney Isles, Scotland.
Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society
• The December 2023 newsletter has Acrostic history of Koo Wee Rup, where the first letter of each theme spells out Merry Christmas (M is for Mickle family, E is for Education etc). The February 2024 newsletter has a look back at what happened in Koo Wee Rup and surrounds 100 years ago in 1924; the highlights are a flood, a case of bigamy and this from June – On Thursday morning last Mrs. J. Macain, of Kooweerup, while attending to domestic duties, had the misfortune to run a darning needle into her right hand. She was conveyed to Dandenong, where under X-rays, the needle was discovered deeply imbedded in the flesh. She had to undergo an operation to have it extracted, and it is pleasing to record she is making satisfactory progress. Only the previous week Mrs. G. Follett, of Kooweerup, met with a similar accident, and had to go to Dandenong. She is also making rapid recovery. Both articles written by Heather Arnold.
Lang Lang & District Historical Society
• The Society had a stand at the Lang Lang Show held in January. The Society recently presented Life Memberships to Lyn and Warren Wealands. Congratulations to them both.
Mordialloc College Alumni Association (MCAA) http://mordialloccollegealumni.org/
• The Summer 22024 Ventured was very much abridged compared to the normal issues as the production team are concentrating on the School Centenary on February 16 and 17, 2024
Mordialloc & District Historical Society
• The December 2023 newsletter notes that Life Memberships for 2023 were awarded to Dorothy Booth and Graham Whitehead. Congratulations to Dorothy and Graham. There is a lovely article by Leo Gamble which begins – It was 1950 and at sixteen I had my first job. For two weeks I was to be a mail sorter at the local post office for the pre-Christmas rush. The Society turned 60 in 2023 and Graham Whitehead has written about the establishment of the Society and the important role played by Laura Ferguson in this. Graham has also written a history of the Parkdale Life Saving and Swimming Club.
Mornington & District Historical Society https://morningtondistricthistory.org.au/
• The November 2023 newsletter features an article The Mornington Telephonists of the ‘Call Girls’ – the memories of women who worked at the telephone exchange. The article is based on a 2012 interview with the women by Joe Paris Lees.
Mornington Peninsula Family History Society https://www.mpfhs.org/
• Peninsula Past Times November 2023 has an article, by Leonie Marshall, on the history of Canning Street in Frankston. In 1999 Frank Purcell wrote an article on given names commemorating battles or soldiers from World War One and it has been republished. Babies were named Anzac, Gallipoli, Kitchener, Mena etc. Frank’s survey was done using the Digger Great War Index CD, where you could search by given name only. It can’t be repeated on the on-line index as you need to add a surname to each search.
• Peninsula Past Times February 2024 has an important article by Barry Wilson Writing Your Own History. Historians are always recording how others lived their life, but often neglect their own stories. Jen Baker writes about the life of her grandmother, Winifred Neomie Brooks (nee Takle, 1893-1932) who was tragically murdered.
Narre Warren and District Family History Group http://nwfhg.org.au/
• The February 2024 Spreading Branches lead article is by Jane Rivett-Carnac – Seventy years at the Melbourne General Cemetery: The Clowes Family. The family had arrived in Melbourne in the 1840s. The issue also looks back at activities from 2023. The Group turns 35 this year and will be celebrating on May 18, 2024.
Phillip Island & District Genealogical Society https://www.piadgs.org.au/
• Reflections November 2023 has an article by Pamela Rothfield on Lorna Collins (nee McFee) and her memories of the devastating 1934 storm which claimed 35 lives. Mrs Collins was a school girl at Rhyll at the time. The same storm resulted in the sinking of the Coramba, off Phillip Island on November 30, 1934, with the loss of all seventeen crew. In the years following the shipwreck, items from the Coramba washed up on Phillip Island’s beaches. Lorna’s older brother, Jack, found a sturdy wooden bench seat from the crew’s mess on Smiths Beach.
• There is also a report of Heather Arnold’s talk to the Society on Trove and how valuable it is for family history. Heather is the President of the Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society,
Phillip Island & District Historical Society https://phillipislandhistory.org.au/
• From the December 2023 newsletter – John Jansson was presented with life membership for his outstanding contributions to the island’s history, particularly his invaluable maritime expertise. John’s wealth of knowledge has greatly enriched our Society. Congratulations, John.
• The editor Pamela Rothfield also reported – During December, I received an urgent call from the producers of the Channel 10 television series What’s Up Down Under, who were in the region requesting a guided tour through our museum. So it was action stations – in the midst of the ‘silly season’, taking them through our wonderful displays – where they spent a couple of hours filming all sorts of exhibits. The episode will air in the new year – let’s hope our part does not end up on the cutting room floor!
Rye Historical Society https://ryehistoricalsociety.au/
• White Cliffs newsletter January-March 2024 reports on the activities from 2023, including a visit they made to the Dromana Historical Society in October. At their first meeting for 2024 the members will be shown some unlabelled/mystery photographs from the collection, with the hope that someone might be able to identify the people or places. That’s a great idea for a meeting activity.
Somerville, Tyabb & District Heritage Society https://home.vicnet.net.au/~stdhs/
• The December 2023 newsletter reported that the Somerville Soldiers’ Memorial turned 100 on November 4, 2023 and a ceremony was held to commemorate the event.
• There is an article on John Watson, born in Coleraine in Ireland; he had a Hotel in Melbourne before he took up land in Somerville in 1857 and by 1865 owned close to 900 acres in the area. He had ten children, one from his first wife Rachel and nine with his second wife Annette. He died in 1884. Watson Ward, part of the Mornington Peninsula Shire, is named after him.
Wonthaggi and District Historical Society http://www.wonthaggihistoricalsociety.org.au/
• The February 2024 Plod essay is by Bruce Phillips on his memories of his time at Wonthaggi Technical School.
• The ’15 Minutes of History’ talks held daily from 6th to 20th January were hugely successful. They had 751 attend in total averaging 50 persons per day. President, Fay Quilford noted – Whilst incredibly time consuming and requiring lots of background preparation the results are most rewarding.
• Aspects of Wonthaggi’s History Through Street Names written by Sam Gatto will be launched on Saturday 10th March at 2.00 pm at the Baptist Church.