News from the Newsletters – May 2023

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 February 2023 Snippets has a history of Somers Pre-School, taken from a talk by Rod Nuske on its 30th anniversary. The Pre-School was officially opened on May 12, 1957. Other items include some memories of growing up in Balnarring in the 1930s by Jack Cavanagh and Joan Sweeney’s story of enlisting in the Woman’s Australian Auxiliary Air Force (W.A.A.A.F.) when she turned 18 in 1943. Joan was posted to the Initial Training School in Somers.  

Bass Valley Historical Society

  • The guest speaker at the Bass Valley Historical Society meeting held on March 5, 2023 was Heather Arnold, who spoke on the history of postcards and the stories they tell.

Brighton Cemetorians

  • The Cemetorian has many interesting articles on the people buried at the Brighton Cemetery. The March 2023 Cemetorian  has a profile of Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Ahern (1877-1969), a member of the Victorian Socialist Party, a Trade Unionist , Feminist and a ‘socialíst agitator’; Arthur Corfield (1874-1957) World War One veteran and railway employee; Inspector Nicholas Rowe (1884-1940), Officer-in-Charge of the Police Traffic Control branch; and John Howard Grey (1909-1940) who was drowned at Brighton whilst attempting to rescue a young woman companion.

Chelsea and District Historical Society

  • The February newsletter has some recollections of Edithvale written by Mr William Brothwell. There is also a reprint of a prize-winning essay by Miss Frances Gloster, aged 12 years, The Township of Chelsea. It was first published in Sea Side News c.1913.It’s a delightful essay and here is just one paragraph –  Last November, father bought a block of land and built a house on it for us to live in. It was the first block sold on the Henley Estate. The ti-tree is so thick on one side, that if you go 100 yards away from the house, we can hardly find our way back.
  • April newsletter has an obituary of Ron Jacobs (1928-2023), former President of the Historical Society for sixteen years and City of Chelsea Councillor. In the 1960s, Bertha Armstrong, recorded her memories of Chelsea, for A Short History of Chelsea compiled by Frank McGuire and they are reprinted in this newsletter.  

City of Greater Dandenong

Dandenong and District Historical Society

  • The Society celebrates 60 years at their Annual Luncheon to be held on Saturday, July 1, 2023 at the Dandenong Club. More details to follow. At their first meeting for 2023, held on April 23, Dawn Dickson spoke on the history of Noble Park Public Hall.

Friends of Cheltenham and Regional Cemeteries

  • Raves from the Graves April 2023 – the feature article is by Toni Grinberg on Samuel and Ann Clayton. Samuel and his eldest son, Richard, had arrived in Melbourne in November 1852, and established themselves as market gardeners in Moorabbin (or South Brighton as it was then called). In March 1858, Ann and eight of their children (aged from 5 to 17) sailed to Melbourne. The eldest daughter Charlotte, who was 21, remained in England. In1862, Samuel was first Rate Collector for the Moorabbin Roads Board in 1862; he was later appointed the Valuer. He was also a Moorabbin Shire Councillor from 1874 to 1880. The article also looks at the lives of the nine children who came to Australia. Samuel died at the age of 63, in December 1884 and Ann, died in May 1886, aged 71. They are buried at the Cheltenham Pioneer Cemetery.
  • Anne Rigg, an artist, writes about the art that she was inspired to create by her research into the lives of members of the Keir family, buried at the Pioneer Cemetery. Sadly, there are five children listed on the headstone and three un-named infants.  You can see her artwork on her website Rosemary Reddick has written about Private George James Giles, WW1 soldier, who was awarded the Military Medal. George died in 1942 aged 57 and is buried in the Cheltenham Memorial Park.

Hastings Western Port Historical Society

  • The Society is turning 50 and are celebrating on Sunday July 16. The March 2023 newsletter notes the passing of members Dorothy Field, caretaker of the Museum, Committee member and Museum volunteer; Ron Wood, a member of both Hastings and Somerville-Tyabb; and Eunice Matthew, co-founder of the Hastings Community House and Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Citizen of the Year in 2004.

Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society

  • The March 2023 newsletter has a history of the Cemeteries which border the Koo Wee Rup Swamp – Bunyip, Lang Lang, Cranbourne and Pakenham; the April newsletter looks at the life of Kitty Harris Townson and Margaret O’Riordan Hamilton of Koo Wee Rup. Both women worked towards the establishment of the Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital at Koo Wee Rup which opened on May 23, 1923. The May 2023 newsletter has a story on the first Bush Nurses at Koo Wee Rup – Ellen Amelia Homewood and Mary Ellen Walsh. The Bush Nursing Centre opened in the town in July 1918.  All stories written by Heather Arnold.

Lang Lang and District Historical Society

  • The February 2023 newsletter outlined meeting dates for the years and had photos of an old plough, used on a local farm and donated to the Society.

Mordialloc College Alumni Association (MCAA)

  • The Autumn 2023 Ventured looks at the history of the school established in 1924 as the Mordialloc District High School, and later that year the name changed to Mordialloc –Carrum High, and other names followed after that. The school started life in the Mordialloc Mechanics’ Institute, with 148 students. There are also stories of past students including sisters Leslie Colsey and Pam Nisbet. The Fletcher sisters, who attended the school in the late 1940s (Leslie) and early 1950s (Pam), both pursued singing careers after they left school. There are many short profiles of ex-students who have celebrated mile-stone birthdays (those birthdays which end with a zero!)

Mordialloc & District Historical Society

  • The Society has launched a new Bulletin, and the first issue is dated March 2023. The Bulletin reports on Society events including the recent presentation of Life Membership to Dick Fowler, long-term Treasurer and to Veronica Hahn, President for sixteen years. Veronica is also their SEHA delegate. Congratulations to Veronica and Dick. Their Museum is called the Laura and Charles Ferguson Museum and the Bulletin has a profile on the couple, who moved to Mordialloc in 1948 and soon became involved in many community organisations. Laura was also a foundation member of the Historical Society. There is also a short history of Parkdale Railway Station.

Mornington & District Historical Society

  • The February 2023 newsletter prints the memories of Rose Wilmhurst, who held the position of ‘Lady’s Companion’ in the household of Sir James and Lady Grice, of Moondah, in Frankston from 1908 until 1912. Rose’s duties were to look after the clothes and the bedroom of their 20 year-old daughter, Nancy.  Moondah had at least eleven other indoor staff including a housekeeper, laundress, cook, upstairs maid, downstairs maid and a Silver maid.

Mornington Peninsula Family History Society

  • The Society launched their new book – Naming Mornington Streets: the people and their stories on February 18, 2023.
  • The February 2023 Peninsula Past Times has an article by Sylvia Tanti on her search for the location of her grand-parents house on Cranbourne Road, Frankston. After much research, it turns out that the house is still there and is a pathology clinic. There is also an extensive list of new resources which can be found on Ancestry and Find My past.
  • The May 2023 Peninsula Past Times  has an article on the history of the Flinders Hotel, built 1889, burnt down 1926 and rebuilt in 1928. Allison Knight has written an article about finding eight relatives named William Brown in her family tree.

Narre Warren & District Family History Group

  • The May 2023 Spreading Branches reports that the Group is taking part in the Collections and Community Resilience Project, a government funded state-wide initiative from AMaGA (Australian Museums and Galleries Association)  which provides regional communities with the opportunity to digitally preserve their collections and receive onsite training in collections care, preventative conservation and disaster mitigation. Di Christensen reports on happenings in the Ballarat region, including the unveiling of a statue of Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown in Linton; she was Director of Infant Welfare in Victoria from 1925-1946. On a sad note, there is an obituary of their long-term and very active member, John Elliott, who was also a proud Vietnam vet. John was a lovely man and will be sorely missed.

Phillip Island & District Genealogical Society

  • Reflections February 2023 contains news and events of the Society and also has an article by Pamela Rothfield on Thomas Cameron Hull (1851-1904). Thomas only spent nine years on Phillip Island but when he left he was presented with an illuminated address, dated June 27, 1896, acknowledging him as a firm friend and, in a word, a true man in every sense.

Phillip Island & District Historical Society

  • Note the new website address
  • The February-March 2023 newsletter has an article by Pamela Rothfield on Florence Mary ‘Zing’ Oswin (1875-1957). After operating the Grand Coffee Palace in Melbourne, in 1912 she purchased the Broadwater Guest House in Cowes. She married Eustace George Roberts in 1924. Zing had interest in nature conservation and after a bushfire in 1944 destroyed half of Phillip Island’s Koala Reserve she opened a koala hospital at Broadwater Guest House. Zing generously donated 150 acres of remnant bush to the people of Victoria and it is known as the Oswin Roberts Reserve.
  • The April-May newsletter looks at the Strawberry Farm at Rhyll, established by Jack and Sophia Underdown in 1921. Jack had been a chicory famer, but with the increase in tourist numbers to Phillip Island, added to the fact their house had a scenic view over the Rhyll Inlet, they diversified into strawberries and added a cafe, so they not only grew strawberries but served them with cream to the tourists. After Jack and Sophia both died in 1924 (Sophia in January and Jack in November), their son Oswald, known as Ozzie, continued the business until the 1950s. Article was written by Pamela Rothfield.

Rye Historical Society

  • White Cliffs newsletter January-March 2023 has a history of the Rye Community Group  Alliance by Mechelle Cheers. The group was started in 2015 to provide a united voice to address community issues in Rye. This is a great example of recording the recent history of your area, while it is still fresh in the memory. From Our Collection – Robert Rowley’s Nature Study Work Book. Robert attended Rye State School and in 1937 recorded notes about nature – mosquitoes, local grasses, how to propagate dahlias were some of the topics. The book is decorated with his illustrations and pressed flowers and leaves. It’s a treasure.

Somerville Tyabb & District Historical Society

  • The March 2023 newsletter has an obituary of Arthur Devlin who died at “Bungunyah,” Hastings, in 1893, aged 83 years, having been born in Australia in 1811. His father, also named Arthur Devlin, was one of the five ring leaders of the Irish rebellion of 1798, who were exiled to the colony of New South Wales. Arthur was a foundation member of the Athenaeum Club in Melbourne. He married three times and had twelve biological children and two adopted children. He was staying with his daughter, Jessie Watson, when he died.
  • The newsletter marks the passing of Ron Wood (1937-2022), who was their SEHA delegate for many years and a lovely man.

Wonthaggi and District Historical Society

  • The February 2023 Plod essay, written by C.R. Landon, on the No. 5 Brace – No.5 Brace was built in early 1910. It was intended to become the main screening plant for several mines in the area. The mine manager, Mr Broome, a man at the top of his game and highly respected, oversaw the creation of a very large and modern brace, incorporating large coal bunkers and modern coal tipplers to accommodate all the coal coming – at first – from six connected shafts in Central Area all at once.
  • The March Plod essay has the life of Archie Beveridge, one of the thirteen men who died on February 15, 1937 due to a gas explosion in the No. 20 Shaft at the State Coal Mine. He left behind a widow, Rose, and their 14-month old daughter, Rosie. The story was researched by Barbara Moyle, from the memories of Jack Moyle, friends of the Beveridge family.
  • The April Plod essay, also by C.R. Landon, is on Alex Scott (1861-1935) who founded Alex Scott & Co., Stock and Station Agents.

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