Thursday, 21 December 2017

Australian Jewish Land Settlement Trust at Berwick

There have been two religious based settlements in the Casey Cardinia region.  The best known settlement is Maryknoll which  was established in 1949 by Father Wilfred Pooley (1912-1969)  as a Catholic community based on the principals of faith, family life and co-operative enterprise.

Less well known was the Jewish Land Settlement Trust endeavour which was established at Berwick in 1927. A similar Jewish settlement had been established at Orrvale near Shepparton in 1913. Berwick was selected because it was close to Melbourne and the land could be used for market gardening or poultry which allowed a quick return for effort rather than having to wait for years for orchards to establish like the settlers did at Orrvale. The rationale behind the settlements was to give newly arrived Jewish immigrants an opportunity to become farmers and find employment outside the cities  but with ongoing support from the Land Settlement Trust.

The actual settlement was at the Closer Settlement Board Estate, Hallam Valley, which was technically at Narre Warren rather than Berwick.  This Estate was bordered by Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road on the west, Berwick-Clyde Road to the east, Golf Links Road to the north and  Greaves Road to the south.   The State Rivers and Water Supply Commission had purchased  land in the area in 1924 with 'a view of cutting up the land into blocks of 10 acres to 16 acres for market gardens and intense culture' as a report in The Age of November 8, 1924 said.  The report went on to say A portion of the area is at present subject to flooding by the tributaries of Eumemmerring creek, but steps are being taken to reclaim this portion by means of suitable drainage. The blocks are to be supplied with water pressure by means of a pipe system from the Berwick Dandenong main race. 

Work continued on the reclamation works and The Argus reported on August 18, 1927 that it was now practicable to establish permanent settlement on the land, a large proportion of which formerly carried a dense growth of tee tree scrub covering an undrained swamp. 

It would be interesting to see the slides of Berwick from this 1928 presentation.
Hebrew Standard of Australasia August 24 1928

We have a copy of a paper written by Jeffrey John Turnbull From ghettoes to Gardens*  and he lists the eight initial settlers at Berwick as H. Ash, D. Brown,  I. Eizenberg, A. Hayat Senior, Hayat Junior, M. Meshaloff, G. Rovkin, A. Sneid.

The Shire of Berwick Rate Books list a number of settlers in the 1928/29 year. The Rate books were not always accurate with the spelling of either given or family names, but here's the most likely matches from the Rate Books. You can find the exact location  of the blocks on the section of the Parish of Berwick plan, below.

Ash, Harry - 31 acres, Lots 30 & 31, Section 3 Hallam Valley
Brown, D - can't find him listed in the Rate Books - there is  a B. Braun, which is possibly him. He had 14 acres, Lot 19, Section 4.
Eizenberg, I - Mordeka  Eisenberg - 12.5acres, Lot 20, Section 4
Hayat, Abraham - 20 acres, Lot 32, Scction 4
Hatyat, Jacob - 13 acres , Lot 21, Section 4
Mishaloff, Nathan - 19.5 acres, Lot 10, Section 4
Rovkin, Gregory - 22 acres, Lot 14, Section 4
Sneid, Adolph - 25 acres, Lot 21, Section 3.

Jeffrey Turnbull  wrote that Jewish settlers were able to buy 11 blocks of the first 89 sold by the Closer Settlement Board, and this later increased to 17 blocks. It is hard to work out who the other settlers are as obviously  the religion of rate payers is not listed, so here are some other settlers who acquired land at the same time with non-Anglo, Eastern European sounding names, who may  have been part of this group of Jewish settlers -

Epstein, Boris - 15 acres, Lot 18, Section 3
Haber, Harry  - 20 acres, Lot 22, Section 3
Kapel, Judel - 20 acres Lot 15, Section 4
Rothfield, Jacob - 24 acres, Lot 12, Section 3
Silverstein, Abraham - 16 acres, Lot 3, Section 3
Sneider, Moses - 24.5 acres, Lot 17, Section 4
Sokolow, Abram  (also listed as Sholoff) - 12 acres, Lot 26, Section 3 and 12 acres, Lot 26, Section 3a.

The Hallam Valley Estate, from the  Berwick Parish Plan. You can click on the photo to enlarge it, but once enlarged it might be best to right click and save the image and you make it larger again. The Closer Settlement Board farms were on a lease and the land could eventually be purchased but because most of the Jewish settlers had to walk away from their farms due to economic circumstances (see below) they are not listed on the Parish Plan, it is the farmers who came after them that ended up buying the farms and it is their names that appear on the Plan.  Most of these farmers settled at Hallam Valley from 1934 and about half of these were returned soldiers, who had the land under the Soldier Settlement scheme. To give you some idea of the location of these properties, Lot 9, Section 4 C.M Hatton is the property where the Old Cheese Factory is located.

The settlement started off with high hopes as articles, such as those below, attest.

Newman H. Rosenthal, who was acting honorary Secretary of the Australian Jewish Land Settlement Trust is quoted in the Hebrew Standard of Australasia  August 24, 1928

Mr L. Morris, a member of the Australian Jewish Land Settlement Trust is quoted in the Hebrew Standard of Australasia  August 31, 1928

A meeting was held at the Maccabean Hall in Sydney in January 1929 to discuss the formation of a Land Settlement Trust along the lines  of the Victorian Trust. This meeting was reported in the Hebrew Standard of Australasia and there are two excerpts from the report, below, which talk about Berwick.

Hebrew Standard of Australasia  January 25, 1929

This is an excerpt of  a letter received by Mr Orwell Phillips from his nephew, Mr Archie Michaelis of Melbourne, describing the Berwick settlement. 
Hebrew Standard of Australasia  January 25, 1929

What went wrong? According to Jeffrey Turnbull's paper reports in the Australian Jewish Herald said that the settlement began to fail as early as 1929, due to the Great Depression and that only one settler remained in 1937, although according to the Rate Books most of them had left the area by 1934/1935. Adolph Sneid was listed in the Rate books until 1939/1940.  Clearly the Great Depression was a major factor and some settlers were inexperienced and many would not have had the buffer of finances, resources or family help that farmers who had been born in Australia or been in  Australia for many years would have had to help them through bad times. Another  reason for the failure of some of the Hallam Valley settlers was the incompetence of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission according to Cr MacGregor at a Shire of Berwick meeting in October 1929 - he believed that the land was sold to the settlers at an inflated price and 'the manner in which they were treated constituted a scandal of the gravest nature' (see report below)

Dandenong Journal  October 29, 1929

A sign of things to come was this report (see below) in June 1931 where it appears that thirty per cent of the settlers had not 'made good'.Mr Kanevsky  mentioned in the article was Nisson Leonard-Kanevsky, who was born in Kiev in 1888 and arrived in Melbourne in 1910. He had a successful business in the clothing trade. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Land Settlement Trust. Two other interesting facts -  in 1922, Kanevsky commissioned Walter Burley Griffin  to design a building at 44-46 Swanston Street and they continued their association -  this is one of the many resources on the Internet that talks about their ongoing association   
The second interesting fact about Mr Kanevsky is that he and his wife Vera (nee Douglas) had a farm at Lardner, near Warragul (just outside the Casey Cardinia region!) 

Hebrew Standard of Australasia June 5, 1931

I have created a list of newspaper articles about the Jewish Land Settlement Trust at Hallam Valley on Trove, click here to access the list.

*presented at the Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians in Brisbane in September 1994.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Baby Health Centres in Victoria

It is 100 years since the Baby Health Care movement began in Victoria in June 1917 when Dr Isabella Younger Ross opened a centre in Richmond. Dr Younger Ross had studied medicine at Melbourne University and Glasgow University. She then worked at the Queen's Hospital for Children in London and this encouraged her interest in child welfare. This interest was reinforced by later study in Chicago.  The child health experts emphasised the importance of teaching women hygiene, nutrition etc with the ultimate aim of lowering the child mortality rates.

Dr Younger Ross was helped in her endeavours by Mrs J.J. Hemphill and Mrs W. Ramsay and they then went on to open centres in other areas. The Victorian Baby Health Centres Association was established in 1918 and the numbers of centres increased in the 1920s.  Isabella Younger was born in Warnambool in 1887 and married John Ross in April 1916. She died in July 1956. You can read Dr Younger Ross' biography on the Australian Dictionary of Biography here.

I came across, purely by chance, the digitised reports of the Victorian Baby Health Centres Association from 1918 onwards on the Queen Elizabeth Centre website

This is from the first Annual report and shows the progress made in establishing the centres in the first year. It was written by Ethel M. Hemphill (the Mrs J.J. Hemphill referred to above. Ethel Mary Hemphill, nee Scott, married James Johnson Hemphill in 1907 and died in 1939, aged 64)

From the second report lists of the Centres appear, as well as opening hours, the names of the Nursing Sisters in charge and the names of women on the local committees, so this gives us some indication as to when Centres were opened in each area. The Shire of Berwick and Shire of Canbourne were both relatively late in establishing Centres, later than many areas much further from Melbourne.  The first mention of  local towns I could find in the 1935/36 Annual report when both Garfield and Bunyip are listed. Garfield was open Fridays 10.30am to 12 noon and 12.30pm to 1.30pm; Bunyip was open Fridays 2.00pm to 4.30pm. I presume that there must have been local agitation to have these Centres opened in what were by no means the biggest towns in the Shire.

Office bearers of the Bunyip and Garfield branches from the 1936/37 report

In 1937/38 Annual report the Lang Lang, Emerald and Pakenham have Centres opened. The report has statistics for Pakenham (or Pakenham East as it was called) - 39 individual babies were treated, plus 13 children over 2 with a total visit of 300 babies and 48 children.  

Office bearers at Emerald from the 1937/38 report

It wasn't until the 1938/39 Annual report that the Shire of Cranbourne presented a report - they had Centres at Lang Lang and Pearcedale. The statistics for Lang Lang were 29 individual babies were treated, plus 21 children over 2 with a total visit of 354 babies and 68 children. Tynong Centre was listed in the 1942/43 report.

Tynong Office bearers from the 1943/44 report

In the 1944/45 report the Shire of Berwick could present statistics for seven towns - Berwick, Beaconsfield Upper, Bunyip, Garfield, Nar Nar Goon, Pakenham East and Tynong - as Berwick, Beaconsfield Upper and Nar Nar Goon had not been listed before we can assume that these Centres were established  during that time. The Berwick statistics were 41 individual babies were treated, plus 45 children over 2 with a total visit of 464 babies and 226 children - so there was clearly a need for this type of establishment in the town. Gembrook and Officer in the Shire of Berwick had Centres established in the 1945/46 year and the Shire of Cranbourne established a third Centre in the Shire at Cranbourne. In that year  Cranbourne saw 19 individual babies treated, plus 8 children over 2 with a total visit of 82 babies and 25 children. 

Koo Wee Rup was established in 1946/47 It is interesting to look at the statistics for that year for Cranbourne and Koo Wee Rup - they both had about the same number of individual babies treated (40 for Cranbourne and 42 for Koo Wee Rup) and yet Cranbourne's total baby attendance was 586 and Koo Wee Rup's was 276 - so Cranbourne mothers had an average of 14 visits per baby compared to Koo Wee Rup's 6 per baby - it's hard to know why - were Cranbourne babies more sickly or  did more of the mothers live in the town and not on farms and it was easier to attend or did the Infant Welfare Centre Sister encourage more visits - hard to know.  

Tooradin was established in 1947/48 and there were no other  local Centres established up to 1950, which is where we will finish. These reports are a fabulous resource tracing the history of the Infant Welfare Centres in Victoria and for local and family historians includes lots of names of the local Committee members, mainly women so it may help you discover the role your female relatives played in the town where they lived.  You can find the reports at

Friday, 1 December 2017

Harkaway Quarry - September 1988

These are photos of the Harkaway Quarry, on Noack Road, taken in September 1988. The quarry was a basalt mine (or bluestone mine - apparently Victorians call basalt bluestone) and was operated by Pioneer. Pioneer was taken over by Hanson in 2000 and the business was then rebranded. This area was home to many quarries - the most well known is Wilson Quarry at Berwick. You can see aerial photographs of some of the other quarries here.

As well as basalt other minerals have also been found at Harkaway and the neighbouring Narre Warren quarry. The Australian & New Zealand Micromineral News, Issue 9, June 2014 has an interesting article Minerals from the Narre Warren & Harkaway quarries by John Haupt and he writes - 
The Harkaway quarry was located in Noack road, Harkaway and was noted for the specimens of fluorapophyllite, now known as fluorapophyllite-(K), the only occurrence found in the Victorian basalts. It occurred as a druse of small equant crystals lining cavities up to 15cm across in the basalt. Natrolite, phillipsite and calcite occur with the apophyllite. The apophyllite was found in a small zone in fragmented basalt, 5 metres across and 10 metres high in the quarry and was quickly quarried out (Birch et al 1984). Calcite crystallised later than natrolite, forming attractive micros of calcite ‘teardrops’ on natrolite crystals.

My knowledge of minerals is very  sketchy, so I can't help with an explanation, however you can read Mr Haupt's article in full here.

The Quarry ceased operation at the end of 2009 or January 2010 - I have seen two dates listed. The January 2010 date comes from a blog, called 'Welcome to the house of Murray'  written by Jo Murray, who used to work at the Quarry. You can see some photos and read an account of her last day at work here. The site is currently unused and fenced off. There is a push from some locals to turn the quarry into a park. 

Breaking up the bluestone with a hydraulic hammer

Loading on to a truck

Another view of the loading process

A loaded truck going up, an unloaded truck going down

Unloading into the crusher plant

Another view of the quarry showing, what I presume is, the crushing plant

A view of the quarry. Easy to see why basalt is called bluestone when you look at the stratas at the top left of the photo.

This is the Harkaway Quarry, photo taken April 20, 1978. The A'Beckett Road quarry is top left. 

Dandenong Advertiser of September 23, 1915.    

This report was  received at the Berwick Shire Council meeting held September 18, 1915 and may refer to the opening of the Harkaway Quarry.

Monday, 27 November 2017

City of Berwick celebrates the sesquicentenary of Victoria in 1984

When Victoria commemorated 150 years of European settlement in 1984 many local councils and towns celebrated by holding street parades and other festivities. The City of Berwick had a parade on November 24, 1984 and here are some photographs.

Lady Murray (in the pink hat), the wife of the Governor of Victoria, Rear Admiral Sir Brian Murray with the Hon. Robert Maclellan, M.L.A.,  the Member for Berwick. 

The Mayor of the City of Berwick, Cr Doug Miles, with the Governor of Victoria, Rear Admiral Sir Brian Murray. The man on the left is the City Manager, Patrick Northeast, in his Town Clerk robes.

The official party in front of the Post Office.

City of Berwick, Cheese Factory float.

The Cheese Factory Arts & Crafts project float 

The Brownies

This could be the Scouts

Berwick Show Society float

Home Pride Bakeries carts

Horse riders 

Vintage cars

A line up in a back street of fire engines

Monday, 20 November 2017

The Davy family, Kippenross / Brentwood and the Presbyterian Girls School at Berwick by Elsie Hoare

I  came across this letter the other day from the Pakenham Gazette of May 6, 1998. It was written by Elsie Hoare of Berwick about the Davy family who lived at  Kippenross, later renamed Brentwood , property in Clyde Road and the establishment of the Berwick Presbyterian Girls School in 1920. The letter is about an interesting part of Berwick's history.  It's a bit hard to read so I have transcribed it.

I wonder if you would be interested in the following story.

In recent months it must have been obvious to anyone driving along Clyde Road in Berwick that the land behind the great cypress pine trees at No. 121 is being cut up for development.

Unfortunately the lovely old weatherboard home, built around the turn of the century and known as Brentwood is to be demolished and another little piece of Berwick's history will slip away unnoticed.

Tucked away at the end of its long driveway, Brentwood is not visible from the  road and has largely escaped attention, although the adjacent housing estate has been called  by the same name.

In 1912, however, the property at 121 Clyde Road was called Kippenross - distinct from Kippenross House which is part of St Margaret's complex,  and was occupied by the Davy family  newly arrived  from drought stricken Balranald in New South Wales.

Humphry Davy, a distant relative of Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the miner's lamp, his wife Mercy and their nine children looked forward to the opportunities offered by Berwick's greener pastures and soon settled into their new life here.

While the Davy boys, Humphry junior, Cyril and Arthur began the task of planting the many trees that still line the property and driveway today, Humphry senior set about stocking his paddocks with sheep with the intention of building up a sheep station  like Glen Dee, the station the family had left behind in Baranald and which is still in operation today.  As Berwick had no public hall, Humphry Davy planned to build one and had plans drawn up in readiness.

However the winter that year was one of the wettest on record and within ten short months before Humphry could put his plans info action  he fell victim of pneumonia from which he did not recover.

Left to carry on,  Mercy Davy was naturally anxious to keep her young family about her and while the younger children were still being taught by the governess  who had come down from Balranald with them, Mercy began plans for their secondary education.

With her boys established as borders at Brighton Grammar School it seemed logical for the two youngest girls Myrtle and Cynthia,  to follow their oldest sister (also named Mercy and later to become Mrs Charles Greaves) to board at Presbyterian Ladies College, then in East Melbourne.

However Mrs Davy was reluctant to send any more of her girls away. It was time Berwick had a college for young ladies, and a branch of PLC would be very suitable. With this object in mind Mercy Davy canvassed other mothers in the area to discuss the idea and in due course a founding committee was formed with Mrs Davy one of the six mothers.

As  a result of their efforts, in 1920 the Berwick Branch of the Presbyterian Ladies College, named Presbyterian Girls School,was opened, on the site where St Margaret's now stands.

Presbyterian Girls School,  Berwick c. 1924.
published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society in 2001.

Mrs Myrtle Martyn (nee Davy) second youngest of the Davy girls and now 95 years old, is still living in Berwick and remembers well being one of the first 'day girls' to attend one of Berwick's brand new girls schools.

Although no formal recognition has ever been made of the Davy name, Mrs Martyn is justly proud of her mother's part in the school's beginning.

Mrs Martyn is saddened to know that her childhood home must yield to the demands of progress. In its grander days Kippenross/Brentwood supported servant's quarters and a workmen's dining room as well as the usual quota of stables and out buildings. The interior of the house, with its timber panelling and marble fireplaces with carved overmantles was a fine example of its type and it is ironic to note that while the genuine article is being demolished, the federation style has never been more popular, with copies in various sizes popping up wherever new estates are being established.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Isador Magid and Narre Warren

The City of Berwick Civic Centre was opened in December 1978 on land donated by the developer, Isodor Magid, whose Overland Construction Corporation built the Fountain Gate Shopping Centre, which opened in March 1980  (you can see where Magid Drive and Overland Drive at Fountain Gate got their name.) Mr Magid also developed the innovative Fountain Gate Housing Estate off Tinks Road, in the mid 1960s.  The Civic Centre became the City of Casey Civic Centre and has now become redundant due to the construction of Bunjil Place, which opened in October 2017.

In my mind, there are two people who had a profound influence on the development and direction of the town of Narre Warren - Sidney Webb in the nineteenth century and Isador Magid in the twentieth century. I have written about Sidney Webb before - around 1888, he built the first shops in Narre Warren, he agitated for the Narre Warren Railway Station to be built, which opened 1882 and he donated land for the school and the Mechanics' Institute.  Fast forward 90 or so years and another force  hit Narre Warren when Mr Magid opened the Fountain Gate Shopping Centre, which had a major effect on how we shopped - traditional local shopping strips began to decline as people flocked to Fountain Gate (and still do).  The Shopping Centre also encouraged other development - such as new housing estates, new businesses  and new transport links.  Even though Sidney Webb's Webb Street shopping has declined in importance as a shopping strip in the face of Fountain Gate Shopping Centre, I fully believe that Sidney Webb would approve of  Isador Magid's shopping centre as both men obviously had the same  entrepreneurial flair and vision. 

Before Fountain Gate, Isador Magid developed, amongst other things, the  Princes Domain housing estate in Hallam in the early 1960s and the Mountain Gate Shopping Centre at Ferntree Gully in 1961 (perhaps inspiring the name for Fountain Gate). He donated land for the Alexander Magit Memorial Infant Welfare and Preschool Centre in Harwell Street in Ferntree Gully, which was established in 1967 and has just celebrated it's 50th anniversary. The Centre was named in honour of his father, Alexander Magit (the family surname was later changed to Magid). You can read about the Centre's 50th anniversary on the City of Knox's website here. Another development was the  Brandon Park Shopping Centre at Wheelers Hills which opened in 1970. 

Isador Magid received the Key to the City of Berwick at a ceremony held May 20, 1993. This was the highest award the City could bestow, according to the Mayor, Cr Trevor Smith.
Berwick Journal  May 31, 1993

Apart from his property company Mr Magid was involved in many philanthropic activities however there is an interesting 'twist' to his story and that is, he was responsible along with his business partners George Shannon and Henry Korbritz, for introducing Twisties (that gastronomic delight!) into Australia. According to Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia that is an interesting (but sometimes not always accurate) source of information for popular culture -  In the early 1950s Melbourne businessman Isador Magid imported a rotary head extruder from the United States which initially did not work. After bringing out a technical expert from the USA as well as receiving valuable advice from the CSIRO, Magid started producing Twisties. The product was popular but large scale distribution was difficult so Magid decided to sell the machine and the brand in 1955 to Monty Lea from Darrell Lea for £12,000. Monty and his brother Harris experimented with the machine further using rice and various flavourings. Twisties became popular in Australia - some of its early success is attributed to promotional activity that included advertising the product on Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton's TV show In Melbourne Tonight, making it one of the earliest products advertised on that program. After an unsuccessful attempt to launch Twisties in the UK and competition for shelf space in Australia the Lea brothers agreed to sell the Twisties brand to the Smith's Snackfood Company.

Isador and his wife Ira, had arrived in Australia from Shanghai in 1948. They had four children  of which two pre-deceased them. In the 1986 Queen's Birthday Honours list Isador received an A.M. 'for service to the Community, particularly the Jewish community'.  He died in November 2004 at the age of 91. 

Saturday, 19 August 2017

County of Mornington

Victoria is divided into 37 Counties for land administrative purposes. The Casey Cardinia region is in the County of Mornington (apart from some parts of Emerald and surrounds, more of this later) The County of Mornington, along with 12 other Counties in the Port Phillip District, was gazetted in Port Phillip Gazette of January 10, 1849. You can access this Gazette here.   The County of Mornington was 1800 square miles.

Port Phillip Gazette January 10, 1849

This is a map of the County of Mornington, as you can see, it covers the area around Western Port.
The map is from the State Library of Victoria, if you click on this link you will get a clearer copy of the map

All Counties are divided into Parishes - if you have an old land title then you will see this on your title, it might say Crown Allotment No. 31, Parish of Yallock, County of Mornington.  Mornington has 43 Parishes (I believe I counted the number correctly) including the ones that largely make up Casey Cardinia - Berwick, Narre Worran (covers modern day town of Endeavour Hills), Eumemmerring (covers Hallam) Lyndhurst, Langwarrin, Cranbourne, Sherwood (covers Tooradin), Gembrook, Pakenham, Nar Nar Goon (the town of Pakenham is split between Pakenham Parish and Nar Nar Goon Parish), Bunyip, Tonimbuk, Koo-Wee-Rup, Koo-Wee-Rup East (covers the old Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp), Yallock, Yannathan and Lang Lang.   

Some parts of the town of Emerald and it's neighbouring hill towns such as Clematis and Nangana are part of the County of Evelyn. The County of Evelyn was gazetted at the same time as the County of Mornington.

Port Phillip Gazette January 10, 1849

This is a map of the County of Evelyn. Click on this link to the map on the State Library of Victoria website for a clearer view  As you can see the Parishes of Gembrook and Narre Worran are covered by both Mornington and Evelyn.

Most people these days don't think about the County names - however they have featured in the past history of the area. I know of two hotels called the Mornington Hotel, no doubt after the Parish. In 1855, the Mornington Hotel was established on the corner of Narre Warren North Road and the Gippsland Road by J. Gardiner and later taken over by John Payne. It was dismantled in the 1880s or 1890s. The other hotel was the Mornington Hotel in Cranbourne. This Hotel (on the same site as Kelly’s Hotel) was started around 1860 by Thomas and Elizabeth Gooch. By 1912, the Hotel was known as the Motor Club Hotel and in 1919 it was taken over by the Kelly family. The existing Kelly’s hotel was built around 1926. 

Gooch's Mornington Hotel in Cranbourne, named for the County of Mornington

The other connection to the County of Mornington is the newspaper, the South Bourke and Mornington Journal, which is available on Trove from 1877 to 1920. The newspaper covered, as its name suggest, the south part of the County of Bourke (which includes part of Dandenong, Springvale etc) and the County of Mornington.

This is the mast head of the South Bourke and Mornington Journal. Amongst the towns listed that the paper covers are Dandnong, Berwick, Pakenham, Cranbourne, PhillipIsland, Hastings, Oakleigh, Templestowe, Frankston, Sorrento etc, etc, etc (yes, it does cover so many towns that they did print ect three times!)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Skateboard Park at Doveton

This article (reproduced below) about the City of Berwick skateboard track, was published in a journal in 1979. I don't know which journal,  I only have the article and not the complete issue, but  I presume a local government publication. The article is by Michael Backhouse, who was the City of Berwick Municipal Recreation Officer.  The article says that the City of Berwick has recently constructed the first municipal skateboard facility of its type in Victoria. It was located at Doveton and the cost of the project was $9,000. Mr Backhouse  wrote that the first skateboard track in Australia  built over three years ago at Albany in Western Australia is still being well used and indicates that skateboarding is more than a 'fad' This sorts of project was so rare that at the beginning of the project only limited design information was available and this only concerned the basic layout of tracks in New Zealand and a proposed track for Salisbury in South Australia, as Mr Backhouse wrote.  The design was done by Charles Nichol and Graham Long of the City Engineer's Department and the work supervised by Robert Spark. Local skateboarders had input into the design who felt that the track should be able to be used by inexperienced riders, without being so easy that experienced riders would soon tire of it due to lack of challenge.

The finished track was 28 metres long, beginning with a saucer shaped area 8 metres in diameter  which turns into a 5 metre wide half pipe ending in a bowl 8 metres in diameter and 3 metres deep. It was officially opened June 27, 1979. 

Skateboard track sticker

There is an interesting website produced by Noel Forsyth, on the history of skateboarding in Victoria,  Noel has this to say about Doveton - he has a very different perspective about the skatepark than Michael Backhouse's article.

In mid ’79, Doveton in Melbourne’s far South East was chosen as the site for the first of what proved to be numerous huge concrete skate bowls. ​Generally poorly planned, designed with little in the way of informed skater input , and often hopelessly kinked, these parks sprung up across Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs between 1979 and 1981. 

​Even when finished, Doveton still looked like the concrete top coat was yet to be laid. The surface was as rough as guts.......with the added challenge of a “sag kink” to vert throughout the whole shallow half pipe/keyhole bowl design. Despite the huge disappointment at how it turned out, Doveton immediately became the focal point of Melbourne skating, if only because it was our first purpose built park, and just barely rideable. 
The face wall in the bowl was about 10 feet deep , with maybe 2 feet of wobbly vert. By pushing straight down the guts, momentum could just about overcome gravity and the inbuilt “surface drag” to get you to the top. The opening weekend saw just about everyone trying to be first to wheel it. A virtually unknown Nunawading local , Mark Anderson was the first to do it, beating me out by a couple of runs, which I remember pissed me off, no end. Sponsored by Surf Dive n' Ski, the comp got TV coverage, some of which can be seen in Hardcore’s Tic Tac to Heelflip video. Terry Probin was the clear winner, having mastered the virtually impossible by maintaining a speed line over Doveton’s pizza-textured surface. Another local skater, “Trog” Tregillis came second, and I scraped in third, just ahead of Clinton “Ching” Quan. 

Doveton really was a pain in the arse to ride. But it certainly managed to pull a crowd, a fact not lost on many other councils who quickly initiated concrete park projects of their own. The thinking seemed to make good sense - skate bowls showed that councils were receptive to the needs of local kids, they were used virtually constantly, required no maintenance and could be built on even the least appealing plots of flood plain. 
Unfortunately, many councils apparently assumed the Doveton bowl was “the” skatepark design, and set about building copies of Doveton’s flawed layout.

City of Berwick Skateboard track article by Michael Backhouse. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Captain Cook Statue at Endeavour Hills

A statue of Captain James Cook was unveiled in Endeavour Hills in November 1973 outside the first sales office on the corner of Joseph Banks Crescent and Heatherton Road (the building is now a medical centre).  The statue was created by Marc Clark. The community newsletter, the Endeavour Gazette of March 30, 1974 reported that it was unveiled by Norman Banks, a descendant of Sir Joseph Banks, the Botanist on Cook's ship, the Endeavour.   Mr Banks said that the 'face is modelled after the only two portraits for which Cook sat in person and there has been tremendous attention to detail in the uniform. His [Clark's] wife was the curator of costumes at the National Gallery of Victoria and had provided valuable aid to her husband in this respect'.  Mr Paul Day, the Project Manager of Endeavour Hills said that the statue was the symbol of Endeavour Hills and he hoped that it would help develop a strong sense of local identity.

The statue was used on early sales brochures - this is from 1974

A new sales office opened around July 1979 on the corner of Matthew Flinders Avenue and Monkhouse Drive. The statue was then moved from the original location to the new sales office in Matthew Flinders Avenue. The Endeavour Hills Gazette of July 1979 reported that 'The statue of Captain James Cook has been moved to the new location and has been sited in a commanding position on a large area of undulating ground which has been sown to lawn'.

The statue remained outside the sales office building, even though it ceased being a sales office around 1993 and was leased out to a Radiology group. In March 1996,  the building and the statue went up for auction. The statue is now located in the Fitzroy Gardens, near Cook's Cottage. The Melbourne Encyclopedia says it was donated to the City of Melbourne and installed in July 1997. It would be interesting to know who purchased the sculpture at the auction (if anyone) and who donated it as it was a generous thing to do.

Sales flyer for the statue

Sales flyer for the building, showing the statue in situ

The artist who created the sculpture was Marc Clark. On the back of the sales flyer for the sculpture, there are some biographical details of Mr Clark. He was born in London in 1923, studied at the Canterbury School of Art, served in the 9th Queens's Royal Lancers from 1942 to 1947 and then studied sculpture at the Royal Collage of Arts in London.  After various jobs he arrived in Australia in 1962 and lectured at the Caulfield Institute of Technology, was Drawing and Sculpture Master at the National Gallery Art School and later lectured at the Victorian College of the Arts. Other works he was commissioned for include  a statue of the late Queen of Tonga; a statue of the first Australian  Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton in Canberra; a  statue of Governor Bligh in Sydney and  a statue of Matthew Flinders in Mornington.