News from the Newsletters – May 2024

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 2024 Snippets has an article on the Balnarring Beach Ladies’ Mid-week Tennis Group written by Robyn Agg and Betty Patching. It was established in 1974. There is a short history of the Fenton Hall and a tribute to Lorraine Cole, daughter of Thomas and Elsie Cole, of Larnoo, Merricks. Lorraine and her sister, Phyllis, worked on the family farm and after her parents died she took over the management of the farm of 1800 acres, plus another 200 acres at Shoreham and conducted Southdown and Corriedale Sheep studs. Lorraine was also a member of the Red Hills Show Committee. Lorraine died in 1987, aged 69.

Bass Valley Historical Society
• Jenny Wolswinkel, author of Eucalypts of the Ranges and Surrounding Areas: Mornington Peninsula, Wilson’s Promontory, Gippsland Plains and Lakes, was the guest speaker at the meeting held on March 3, 2024.

Brighton Cemetorians
• The Cemetorian has many interesting articles on the people buried at the Brighton Cemetery. The March 2024 edition includes profiles of John Crowther (1857-1922), Superintendent of the Melbourne Orphan Asylum; Arthur Ringwood (1874-1966), the owner of Ringwood Shoes and President of the Boot and Shoe Retailers’ Association; William Monteath (1860-1921), the maker of the Monteath Cast Iron Urinal, seen on the streets of Melbourne; John Smerdon (1854-1914), publican and the first husband of Margaret Kerr-Paterson, inaugural member of the Victorian Country Women’s Association.

Chelsea and District Historical Society
• The March 2024 newsletter has a reprint of a 1987 article written by Frank McGuire on the Chelsea Palais Theatre, which was situated on the corner of The Strand and Bath Street and opened in 1927. There is also a history of the Chelsea Court House.
• The April newsletter has a report of the recent AGM and an article Memories Written on Butchers’ Paper, written in 2012 by Leslie C. Williams O.A.M., J.P., recalling life in Edithvale during and after the Second World War. Heather Scott (nee James) has also written “Mick and Bluey” about Leslie (Mick) Coleman James of Station Street Aspendale, with his mate, Ron (Bluey) Kohn, who enlisted for service in World War Two, they said they were 18, they were actually only 17. The lads both survived the War and remained friends throughout their life. The last article in this newsletter looks at the unveiling of the Carrum War Memorial in November 1922.

City of Greater Dandenong
Heritage programs at Benga
• Trees – Sustaining their Cultural Significance on May 22
• Valuing our Trees: an Important Community Resource on June 19

Dandenong and District Historical Society
• Annual Lunch at the Dandenong Club, Saturday, July 20, 2024 at 12.30pm. Guest Speaker: Christine Ware – “The Netball Complex at Greaves Reserve is named after Gloria Pyke. Who was she?” More details to come.

Frankston Historical Society
• The May-June 2024 newsletter notes that Ballam Park is open every Sunday from 12 noon to 4.00pm. There is a short history of the windmill at Ballam Park, which provided water from an underground source from 1929, when the property was owned by Dr Charles Dennis.

Friends of Cheltenham and Regional Cemeteries
• The April 2024 Raves from the Graves has an article, by Heather Arnold, on the Follett Family, a name synonymous with Heatherton and Cheltenham, as one newspaper article noted. Four children of Joseph and Harriet Follett, who arrived in Victoria in 1852, are buried at the Cheltenham Pioneer Cemetery and 24 of their grand-children are buried at the Pioneer Cemetery or the Cheltenham Memorial Park. The Recollections of Mr. W. Bruton continues in this issue. William Henry Bruton, when aged 75 and blind, dictated his memories of Cheltenham and district to his daughter Eva during the late 1920s. They were published in 1930 as Local History: Carrum to Cheltenham.

Hastings – Western Port Historical Society
• The March 2024 newsletter has an article by Shirley Davies on the history of the Orange Lodge. A Disaster Preparedness Workshop was held on February 9, 2024, at the Museum and was very useful.
• Amongst the Vales was this one for Diane Mentiplay who passed away November 30, 2023. Diane was born a few months before World War Two, lived with her family in Hampton and went to a local school, St. Mary’s, followed by Holy Redeemer Secondary School. Diane trained as a nurse at the Mt. Eliza Orthopaedic Centre (part of the Royal Children’s Hospital in those days). She met husband, Doug, whilst she was nursing, they married in October 1966, and soon afterwards moved into their new house in McCallum Street, Hastings. Diane did voluntary work at the local hospital in Hastings as a Pink Lady as well as working for the Hastings Catholic Church. She and Doug were members of the Hastings Fire Brigade, Hastings Seniors, the 1066 Club and the Hastings Junior Football Club. She and husband, Doug, have been long time, valued, members of our Society. Diane was buried at the Tyabb Cemetery, Hastings. She is greatly missed by her family and the community.

Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society
• The March 2024 newsletter essay is entitled Some random Population figures of the Koo Wee Rup Swamp for people and livestock. The April essay is on World War One soldiers connected to Cora Lynn. The War Memorial at Cora Lynn was unveiled February 22, 1922. The May newsletter has a short history of the town of Koo Wee Rup and the obituaries of John Colvin (1863-1941) and his daughter, Margaret O’Riordan (1895-1955). John Colvin built Mallow House, now the headquarters of the Historical Society, for his daughter Margaret when she married Les O’Riordan in 1918.

Mordialloc & District Historical Society
• The March 2024 newsletter has a report of the Mordialloc College Centenary celebrations held in February 2024 and a history of the school. There are also interesting photos of the tower of Kilbreda College in Mentone (the former Mentone Coffee Palace built in 1887) being removed for some necessary repairs. Congratulations to Paula McCarthy, who has represented both the Historical Society and the Mordialloc College Alumni at the SEHA. Paula has been appointed Historian Librarian at City of Kingston Libraries, a role she shares with Tania Richter.

Mornington & District Historical Society
• The February 2024 newsletter has a history of The Briars and St Peter’s Church of England taken from the book Between the Bays by Leslie Moorhead and Joan Bognuda, published in 1979.

Mornington Peninsula Family History Society
Peninsula Past Times May 2024 – Lynne Emblin writes – In the August 2023 Past Times, I shared with you my research on John Sanders Ross that I had undertaken for the Society’s publication “Naming Mornington Streets”. At the time I thought he was a strong contender behind the naming of Ross Street, however my research raised doubts. So now I will share with you my second contender – Captain Ross. Perhaps he is the right one? Captain Ross was not the right person and to find out who Ross Street was named for, you will need to read the book.
• The newsletter also has the continuation of Jen Baker’s story about the life of her grandmother, Winifred Neomie Brooks (nee Takle, 1893-1932) who was tragically murdered.

Phillip Island & District Historical Society
• The February 2024 newsletter has an article on Peter and Eliza, who along with Jimmy Dunbar were the last of the full-blood Western Port Bunurong people. Peter and Eliza had been employed by John McHaffie on his Phillip Island property. Peter died in 1874 and Eliza and Jimmy in 1877. The March newsletter has a brief history of Cowes State School, No. 1282, established 150 years ago in 1874. The Society had a display at the school of historic photos.
• The April newsletter reported on their first meeting for 2024 where Lyn Skillern, O.A.M., spoke about her book Forgotten for too long: the Gippslanders in Lark Force 1941-42. Pamela Rothfield has written an article on William Alexander Watt (1871-1946) – The Boy from Ventnor who was served as the Victorian Premier and acting Prime Minister of Australia.

Somerville, Tyabb & District Heritage Society
• The March 2024 newsletter reports – The Mechanic’s Hall closed on 13 March and will reopen 31 May. Thanks to the Minor Renewal Program, this $150,000 project will include roof and stormwater upgrades, façade repairs, and more. It was a huge effort to pack up the gallery and workroom, but we were lucky to have lots of help from the boys in the Machinery Shed and the Shire. There is also an interesting article – The Gomm and Graf families and their many street names. Henry and Margaret Gomm were early settlers in Somerville and in 1909 their daughter, Beatrice, married David Graf. Seven streets in Somerville are connected to the family, including Gomms Road and Graf Road.

Wonthaggi and District Historical Society
• The March 2024 Plod essay is by Frank Angarane and is a history of the Hospital Garden Party, which started in 1953 to raise funds for the hospital. The article also covers the other fund-raising activities held by the community from 1910 to establish and support the hospital. The April Plod essay looks at recent acquisitions at the Museum – a Morse Telegraph Key; a Tenor Horn & Mouthpiece and an Industrial Lampshade from Cyclone Forgings, a local Wonthaggi business.
• The May Plod essay is a history of the Powlett Express newspaper by C.R. Landon. To quote the first paragraph – Malachy Gannon, who had established the Korumburra Advocate in 1899, had one daughter (Frances) and three sons (Vincent, Ignatius and Thomas) all of whom were destined to become newspaper proprietors to fulfil their father’s ambition of a family dynasty. As the offspring came of age, their father set up family properties and thus newspapers in Warragul and Wonthaggi, which, along with the Advocate in Korumburra, would become their destiny. Vincent took over the Express in Warragul. Their sister became proprietor of the Advocate. Ignatius, the older of the two remaining brothers, was put in charge of the new Powlett Express in Wonthaggi and Thomas, who was still learning the printing trade, would become his brother’s partner. Thus, in 1909, when many Wonthaggians were still living in tents, The Powlett Express & Victorian State Coalfields Advertiser, established itself as the first newspaper in town with editions coming out like clockwork every Tuesday and Friday morning, due to Thomas’ newly acquired expertise. Upon the untimely death of his brother, young Thomas was left to become the owner and publisher of the Wonthaggi paper at a young age.

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