News from the newsletters – March 2021

This is a summary of some of the articles taken from the newsletters sent to the Secretary from SEHA Groups and Societies, March 2021. Compiled by Heather Arnold.

Balnarring & District Historical Society
• The February 2021 Snippets has an article on Torcroft, formerly Westlea, by Tim Patkin. The property is situated in Clarke Street, Balnarring and was originally part of the Coolart run and later a part of smaller subdivisions. The original house was built in the 1910s. From the 1930s it was on around 60 acres and was operated as a sheep farm by Henry George Parker. The land was sub-divided again in the 1960s and 1970s and the original house replaced in the mid-1970s. The newsletter also has an article by Sarah Hale on Clare Major’s Ballet School, which was established in Balnarring in February 1973 and closed in 1988.

Brighton Cemetorians
The Cemetorian has many interesting articles on the people buried at the Brighton Cemetery. The March 2021 issue includes Frank Wisewould (1858-1926), father of Trentham doctor, Dr Gweneth Wisewould, who wrote that interesting book about her experiences in Outpost: a Doctor on the Divide; George Jane Ruse (1876-1963) First War veteran; Thomas Samuel Harrison (1862-1933) who established the Commonwealth note printing branch in 1912 and Mary Fisher (nee Hickling 1871-1934) State President of the Western Australia Country Women’s Association.

Chelsea and District Historical Society
• The Society have been working with a consultant to get their collection onto Victorian Collections.

Friends of Cheltenham & Regional Cemeteries
Raves from the Graves December 2020 includes more memories of Fairlie Taylor and life in Cheltenham and Beaumaris from early times. There is an article on Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown (1889-1946) by Sue Beazley. Dr Scantlebury studied Medicine at Melbourne University, served in a Military Hospital in London during the War and on her return to Melbourne was appointed the Medical Officer of the Baby Health Centres Association. She was a pioneer in the area of infant welfare training and pre and ante natal care. Another article by Sue Beazley looks at the lives of John and Mary Booker, who came out to Victoria to work on Henry Dendy’s property at Brighton in 1842.
• The March 2021 Raves from the Graves has an article by Rosemary Reddick on Harriet Rowell (1852-1902, also called Harriet Elphinstone-Dick). Harriet was a champion swimmer and with her partner, Alice Moon, conducted swimming lessons, a Ladies Gymnasium and a restaurant, the Central Luncheon Tearooms, in Elizabeth Street.

Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands
Glimpses: a history of FESWI. The Friends Group was formed in 1988 to protect and rehabilitate the Edithvale, Chelsea Heights, Carrum, and Seaford wetlands. They form an important part of our eco-system and are home to over 100 species of birds.

Hastings Western Port Historical Society
• The December newsletter has a reminder to all of us that it is Western Port and not Westernport. It was named by George Bass in January 1789. The March newsletter has a history of the Hastings Boy Scouts, written by Lance Hodgins. The troop was established in February 1924.

Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society
• The Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society newsletter from December 2020 has an article looking at fierce storms in the area including a cyclone which hit Bayles in 1928 and lifted the roof of the butter factory and carried it half a mile away. The February 2021 newsletter looks at what happened in Koo Wee Rup in 1921 and the March newsletter has part one of a visit to the Koo Wee Rup region in 1886, an interesting look at the Swamp before drainage works started in 1889.
• The Museum has re-opened on the first and third Sundays from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

Lang Lang & District Historical Society
• The January 2021 newsletter has an article on Thomas Cole (1810-1889) a founding member of the Horticultural Society of Victoria in 1861; family members took up land south of Lang Lang and operated pear orchards. There is also a short look at the history of local branch rail lines.

Mornington & District Historical Society
• The February/March newsletter has a short biography of David Shepherd, who was born in Somerville in 1926 and who is a local orchardist.

Mornington Peninsula Family History Society
• The Peninsula Past Times newsletter of February 2021 has an article by Leonie Marshall on Dr James Bathe (1815-1885) who owned land in the Pakenham area (Garem Gam and Toomah runs) and in 1856 formed the Victorian Jockey club. There is also an account of a tragic boating accident in Western Port, written by Marj Knight. Twelve-year-old Thomas Bell and his father Richard Bell were drowned when their boat overturned in June 1894. They lived on French Island.

Narre Warren & District Family History Group
• The February 2021 Spreading Branches has some highlights from their Casey Cardinia Remembers website and articles written by members of their family history discoveries. Their Research Room at the Cranbourne library has now re-opened. Bookings are essential, see their website for details.

Phillip Island & District Genealogical Society
• The November 2020 Reflections includes the article 7 Family History Activities for when you can’t focus by Amy Johnson Crow. They are – lable photos; scan photos; share with family; interview family members; journal your experience; index records for Family Search and lastly, use the WANDER method – What do you want to find; Analyze what already have; Note what is missing; Discover new records; Evaluate everything and Repeat as Necessary.
• The February 2021 Reflections has a report on their Australia Day BBQ, a good chance for everyone to catch up after a year of lock-down.

Rye Historical Society
• The Whitecliffs newsletter January-March has a comprehensive history of Pier Store or Stringer’s Store at Rye, which was established in the 1890s. The article was written by Ann and Noel Erbs.

Somerville Tyabb & District Historical Society
• The December 2020 newsletter has a newspaper report of the June 1922 marriage of Norman Houfe and Edith Woodhouse at All Saints Church, Tyabb. There is also a lovely photo of the bridal party. Another article looks at the pioneers of Boes Road, Tyabb. As well there are some reprints of historic newspaper reports of local activities and obituaries.

Wonthaggi and District Historical Society
• The December 2020 Bulletin lists the January program of short talks on the history of Wonthaggi. Each talk went for 15 minutes and was held in the local park. The essay in the February 2021 Plod looks at two interesting items in their collection – a wheelchair and steel frame. They were donated by Mary Mabin whose twin uncles were polio victims. The boys, John and William McFarlane, spent two years in hospital. The boys had to sleep upright in the steel frame as it was hoped this would strengthen their legs, however John never recovered the use of his legs and spent his life in a wheelchair. It is a great article by C. L. Landon and a reminder of the impact of those childhood illnesses before vaccinations. The March Plod essay is by Sam Gatto and he talks about his first day in Australia – he arrived in January 1951 with his mother, brother and two sisters. His father had arrived 18 months previously. After spending the day in Melbourne, they took the train to their new home in Wonthaggi. Great story.
• The Society’s annual report lists some achievements including revamping the museum and updating the Inmagic catalogue and due to Covid 19 moving all communication on-line. They recorded 2,348 hours of volunteer time over the year. The 15-minute history sessions were very successful with a satisfactory attendance.
• The Society is hosting the launch of Tony Hughes’ book Two Rivers Run: the story of Gippsland’s first pioneer-settler, Samuel Anderson on May 1st, 2021.

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