Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Fountain Gate Housing Estate Estate

The Fountain Gate housing estate, in Narre Warren, was developed by Isador Magid in the mid 1960s. He employed Robin Boyd to create the Estate on Radburn principles, which involved separating pedestrians and vehicles by providing short cul-de-sac entries and internal spines of open space. Prominent architects were also employed to design Protoype houses. The Fountain Estate is bounded by Tinks Road, Sweet Gum Avenue, Prospect Hill Road and Dawn Avenue and is listed in the City of Casey Heritage Scheme as being of local significance and possibly State significance and an innovative and imaginative housing development. Some individual houses also have Heritage listing. 

Fountain Gate Estate 1972

Fountain Gate Estate 1978. The Fountain Gate Shopping Centre wasn't opened until March 1980. The City of Berwick Civic Centre was opened in December 1978.

A copy of the original Estate plane which came with the contract of sale.

This is not very legible but it is a letter dated November 14, 1966 from Alexander Magit & Associates to the Shire of Berwick  advising us of the  approval of your Council for the erection of the motif in the form of  a fountain in accordance with the designs prepared by Mr Robin Boyd, Architect.

According to a long serving City of Casey/City of Berwick employee, this Robin Boyd fountain at the entrance to the Estate  was only turned on once when the estate was opened ( early 1970’s ) and the water went onto the highway which caused traffic problems, this may have been because the prevailing wind at the time. As you can imagine because of it’s proximity to the highway this would be a problem, which became worse when the highway was widened, it was never turned on again.

There was some discussion in the early 1990s about the Fountain Gate name and whether it should become the name of  a suburb. The Fountain Gate Shopping Centre tended to dominate the area and people began to use Fountain Gate to describe the area, rather than the correct name of Narre Warren. In the end it was never adopted as a suburb name and both the Fountain Gate Housing Estate and the Shopping Centre are in Narre Warren.

This article from the Sunday Age of  February 16, 1992 mentions the controversy of the use of the name Fountain Gate as opposed to Narre Warren.  Also of interest is the price of a house $106,000. 

However, the fact that Fountain Gate was never officially adopted as a place name didn't prevent developers using the name in a proposed future housing estate, south of the Highway. This brochure isn't dated but I presume it is from the 1980s.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Casey-Cardinia: Commemorating the Great War: 1914 - 1918 blog

We have  a new blog - Casey-Cardinia: Commemorating the Great War: 1914 - 1918. You can find it here and there are also links to the blog from our home page

The aim of this blog  is to be a  forum for commemorating and recording the impact of World War One on the people in the region now covered by the City of Casey and Shire of Cardinia - it will cover life on the home front, information about local soldiers and other personnel such as nurses and the development of local groups such as the Red Cross and Patriotic Groups. It will also look at the aftermath of the War and how communities commemorated their losses and service by the creation of Avenues of Honour and other memorials.

The blog will not be a  chronological work - it will be an eclectic look at the Great War and it's impact on our area. There is also a list of interesting and useful websites relating to the War.

We welcome input - if you have any ideas or stories to share about local soldiers or nurses or stories about how your family lived through the war then I would love to hear from you. Contact me on or ring me at the Narre Warren Library 9704 7696.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Lysterfield - a short history

The first European settlement in the Lysterfield area took place in 1838 when James Dobie and J. S Kerr took up the Monbulk Run. This run was  eight square miles (about 2,000 hectares) and was based around the Monbulk creek. This run takes in modern day Lysterfield, Belgrave South and Belgrave Heights.
Dobie and Kerr operated this run until 1850 when Ambrose Eyles, took over for a short time and then Thomas Dargon. Dargon and his wife Margaret took up the Monbulk pre-emptive right in 1856, the year they were married.  Margaret, remained on the property after his death in 1862 and she retained the Monbulk lease until 1872, where she ran it with her second husband Robert Nixon, whom she married in 1867. The Dargon Homestead site is now within the Lysterfield and Churchill State Park. Nixon was a Berwick Shire Councillor when this area was part of Shire of Berwick (the Scoresby ward went over to the newly created Shire of Fern Tree Gully in 1889)

Margaret Dargon (nee Cahill 1827-1897)
Source: Story of the Dandenongs by Helen Coulson

Other early land owners included Edward Barry who took up 440 acres in 1856.  The Barry property was named Mountain Gap (a descriptive name as it was located in a gap in the hills).   His son William Barry and his wife Elizabeth  also owned land at Lysterfield around the intersection of Wellington and Kellett Roads. Barry was also a Berwick Shire Council. Their daughter Ada married George Powell who was notable for supplying  the British Army with horses;  he also sent 6,000 horses to South Africa during the Boer War. George and Ada’s daughter, Violet Lambert, was the first woman in Victoria to be elected a Shire Councillor, when she stood for the Shire of Fern Tree Gully in 1931. The Barry family gave their name to the Barry Ranges sometimes called the Lysterfield Hills.

A great photograph of Mrs Elizabeth Barry (nee Beck 1845-1921)  and three of her four daughters.
Source: Story of the Dandenongs by Helen Coulson

Another early settler was George Battersby who selected 195 acres in 1862. His son John built Cloverdale Cottage in Hallam Road, which still remains today.

Abraham Strettle settled in 1865 on land called Sweet Hills due to the lush pasture. Streetle  established a cannery to can produce from his extensive orchard however the trees were destroyed by bush fires before they matured. Sweet Hills later became the site of an Church of England Boys Training farm and it was later acquired as part of the Lysterfield Reservoir. The Training Farm was established in 1937. It was first managed by The Rev. R.G. Nichols, and in 1942 was taken over by the Church of England Boys' Society. In 1945, the Farm moved to Yering and it closed in 1950. The Farm had its own school – Lysterfield Boys Home No. 4601. It operated from June 1942 until 1950. It was also called the Yering Boys Home School, so I presume that the School moved from Lysterfield to Yering with the training farm. There are still reminders left of this Boys farm in the Lysterfield and Churchill State Park the most obvious of which is Boys Farm Track and Heritage walk. Click here for the Parks Visitor's Guide.

Wellington Road was originally known as Narre Warren Road and was the main route used by people travelling to Emerald. Wellington Road was named for the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), whose military career is usually associated with the Napoleonic Wars and the 1815 Battle of Waterloo; however the people of the old Fern Tree Gully Shire were non partisan as they called an adjacent road after Napoleon (1769-1821).

William Saurin Lyster (1828-1880)
Portrait by George Frederick Folingsby. 
State Library of Victoria Image H5237

Land for a school was donated by William Saurin Lyster and to acknowledge this gift the locals decided to name the area Lysterfield. The area had been known locally as The Flats.  Lyster had selected his land, which he called Narre Worran Grange in 1867 and as the land was swampy and he drained the property and ran a dairy farm and produced his own cheese.  Lyster also claimed to have introduced grand opera to Australia; his opera company opened its first season in Melbourne in 1869.  Lyster is written up in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, click here, to read about his life. The aforementioned George Powell purchased part of the land originally owned by Lyster in 1928 and called his property Netherlea. The State Library of Victoria has a series of photographs of Powells house, which was originally Lyster's Narre Warron Grange  and three are reproduced below.

Netherlea, Lysterfield. Photographer: John T. Collins
State Library of Victoria Image H97.250/2689

Netherlea, Lysterfield. Photographer: John T. Collins
State Library of Victoria Image H97.250/2691

Netherlea, Lysterfield. Photographer: John T. Collins
State Library of Victoria Image H97.250/2712

According to Vision and Realisation: a centenary history of State Education in Victoria the Lysterfield school was opened on April 9 1877 as Narre Warren North School, No. 1866 on the south side of Wellington Road. The name was changed to Lysterfield in September 1879. Around 1883 the School was closed due to declining number and the building was used for church services and a Post Office. In 1886, Edward Warriner, the head master was told that he must operated Lysterfield half time with Menzies Creek School, No. 2457,  in spite of the three hours of travel  between the two on horse back. Edward was saved from this arduous travel by the Education Department opening the school full time towards the end of 1877.
The school closed again in 1893 and re-opened in September 1908 on a new more central site, in a leased building on Mr Sealey’s farm, as School No. 3573.  The first teacher was Marion Hale and she was succeeded by May Fairbairn. Enrolment numbers were never high and in 1911 it operated part time with Scoresby State School, No. 1028. Lysterfield, No. 3573, was destroyed by fire in 1912 and the Lysterfield locals were once again without a school even though at the time of the fire the School had an enrolment of only four pupils. Then in 1918 classes began in the Anglican Church in Wellington Road.  In 1920 a new building began construction on the original site and it opened in September 1921 with 15 pupils. The school re-located in 1997 to Bellfield Drive and it currently has about 460 pupils.

Lysterfield Post Office 1920s
Photographer Charlie Hammond
State Library of Victoria Image H90.72/68

State Government Gazette  November 8, 1877

The Post Office was established in 1877 and the opening was announced in the State Government Gazette of  November 8, 1877. Notice is reproduced above.

A quarry was opened around 1903 with granite for road making being the major product and various quarries have operated since in the region. An Anglican Church was established in 1906, but closed in 1924 and was moved to Upper Fern Tree Gully to become St Thomas’. In 1928 the Progress Association was established and the Progress Hall was built and opened in June 1931 on the corner of Wellington and Kelletts Road.  It was well used by the community until the 1960s when it fell into disuse and disrepair. In the late 1960s it had a short revival of fortune when it was taken over by The Hut theatre group however, sadly, the hall burnt down down on June 2 1972.

Lysterfield is probably most well known today for its lake, which is the old Lysterfield Reservoir. Work on this Reservoir began in 1929 and due to delays caused by the Depression it was completed seven years later in 1936. Lysterfield was part of a overall plan to provide water to the Mornington Peninsula and Frankston and thus the Flinders Naval Base. The first stage was the construction of the Beaconsfield Reservoir (capacity 200 million gallons) between 1916 and 1920. This Reservoir was supplied with water from the Bunyip Main Race and, then from Beaconsfield, water went by pipe line to various reservoirs on the Mornington Peninsula and later on also supplied water to Dandenong, Hallam, Beaconsfield and Berwick. When Lysterfield (capacity 924 million gallons) was finished this meant that other towns further down the Peninsula would also have a water supply. After the Second World War additional water was required and this was supplied from the Tarago River to the Bunyip River and then to Lysterfield. Lysterfield and Beaconsfield were decommissioned with the opening of the Cardinia Reservoir in 1974. Lysterfield Lake as it is now called is part of the Lysterfield and Churchill State Park.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Doveton North Technical School / Endeavour Hills Technical School

Doveton North Technical School opened in 1969, in Power Road, with five teachers and 45 students.   From 1974 it was  called Endeavour Hills Technical School, then from 1990 Endeavour Hills Secondary College. It changed its name again in 1993 to Eumemmerring College Endeavour Hills campus, then in 2008 the name changed back to Endeavour Hills Secondary College.   The School closed in December 2012.

The school site in 1968, above and below.

Construction of the School in 1968, above and the two photos below. 

The first staff - but there are no names attached to the photograph, but I believe they are - 
Standing: N. Chapple,  Harry Dengrove (English and Social Studies);  Don Banks (Maths and Science);  R.Rhodes (Sheet Metal)
Seated: Kevin McDonald (Headmaster); Marilyn Wallace (Secretary); Ron  Gamble (Principal)
A list of staff in a newspaper article (reproduced below) also has a Hugh Foster listed as an Arts Teacher. 
Mr Gamble was only 38 at the time of his appointment and was one of the youngest principals in the Education Department.

The School in 1969, the year it opened.

This article about the opening of the school appeared in the Dandenong Journal on January 14, 1969.

The Mothers Club was formed in March 1969, according to this article from the Dandenong Journal. I wonder what memories Dorothy Hall, Sylvia Rowe, Anne Nalty, Carol Kenyon and Gloria Robinson have about the first meeting?

This is page one from the Register of Corporal Punishment. I have obscured the names for privacy reasons. The register starts in July 1969 and finishes in July 1981.

Monday, 24 February 2014


Nyora is on the very edge of the Cardinia Shire in the bottom south east corner, east of Lang Lang. The actual township of Nyora is not in Cardinia, but some of the surrounding farms are, so  I thought we would have a look at the history of Nyora.

Photograph by Albert Arnell, taken between 1922 and 1929.
State Library of Victoria Image H2013.48/27

The area was originally known as Lang Lang East until the Great Southern Railway line went through from Dandenong to Port Albert, and the railway station built in the area was called Nyora.  Nyora is from the Aboriginal word for “wild cherry tree”. This line was opened as far as Lang Lang in February 1890 and it was opened to Nyora and Loch in November 1890.  However the actual township site had been proclaimed on December 23, 1886 and it was surveyed in 1887 by John Lardner an assistant survey on the Lands Department. He is the Lardner after whom Lardner's Tracks is named. The first land sales in the township were held on September 6, 1887.  Shops were built, including a general store and post office, bakers and coffee palace.  The telephone  was put on at the Railway station in November 1891.  The hotel opened in a small wooden building in 1891, burnt down  in November 1913 and the existing brick building was erected in 1914.  To cater to spiritual needs, the Methodist Church at Nyora started in 1922 in a building that was originally the Jeetho West State School and St Marks Anglican church was opened in October 1930. The Anglicans had previously held services in the hall.

As is the pattern for most county towns  the Government set aside land for community purposes -  land for sale yards was gazetted  March 11, 1890; for the   cemetery in September 8, 1890, and a racecourse  in February 1896. The town of Nyora had  a boost when the railway line to the Wonthaggi coal fields (or the Powlett coal field as it was originally called) was opened on May 9, 1910 and Nyora became  a railway junction.

Nyora Railway Station
Public Records Office of Victoria photograph VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5416

Nyora Railway Station
Public Records Office of Victoria photograph VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5414

Nyora Railway Station
Public Records Office of Victoria photograph VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5413

The first school in the area was State School No. 2523, originally called Little Lang Lang. It opened on July 1, 1883 in a building 22ft by 13ft.; it was replaced by a larger building in 1889 and changed its name to Lang Lang East in 1890. It closed October 1903, reopened November 1904 and closed again in June 1907 (or 1908 according to one source). This school was north of the township, on a corner of Allotment 61 on the Lang Lang East Parish Plan. I can’t work out where it is on a modern map as none of the maps seem to have a road  marked anywhere close to where the school was!  The building was removed in 1914.  There was agitation as early as 1890 for a school closer to the town, and from 1894 until 1901 many parents sent their children on the train from Nyora to the Lang Lang School. For a while the School was conducted in the Public Hall but finally on May 1, 1903 Nyora School, No. 3401 was opened.

This is from the Parish Plan of Lang Lang East - the township of Nyora can be seen bottom left. The original school on Lot 61on Charles Humphries land, is circled in red. It was no wonder that the people on Nyora wanted a new school built in the town, it was a long way away.

The Nyora Hall commenced construction in 1891 and was completed by the April of the next year. This hall is thought to have burnt down in the 1898 bush fires and the new Hall was opened in March 1900, on a new site (which is the site of the existing hall).  This Hall was extended over the years to include a Library and other rooms. Sadly this well used hall was destroyed by fire on January 20, 1968. The Community worked hard to raise funds for the new hall which was opened on December 6, 1974.

Source: Nyora: its yesterdays and today by Joseph White (Nyora and District Centenary Year Celebrations, 1978)

Monday, 10 February 2014

Cranbourne Primary school, No. 2068

On June 1, 1856 the Presbyterian Denominational  School at Cranbourne was opened, although another source says the opening date was May 21, 1856.  The teacher, James Henry, had twenty two pupils, eleven boys and eleven girls. The School, which was erected at a cost of 205 pounds,  was located on Sladen Street, where the Presbyterian Church is today. The second teacher was Mr Walker, who was followed by Archibald Thompson, who was at the school from 1858 until around 1886.

Cranbourne School, 1890s

In 1862, the Common School Act was passed and all  schools were then managed by the Board of Education and the Presbyterian Denominational School became the Cranbourne Common School, No. 144. In 1873, it became the Cranbourne State School, No. 144 and by 1876 had an enrolment of 100 pupils, with an average attendance of 70. A new school was needed and it was built on the South Gippsland Highway, just south of the Police Station. Not only was there a new location, but the  school had  a new number, No. 2068. School No. 2068 opened on May 1, 1878 and the old School No. 144 officially ceased to exist on May 31 the same year.

Cranbourne School, around 1900

The School gradually acquired some 'mod cons' - town water in 1924, electricity in 1947, the telephone in 1953 and septic tanks in 1959. In 1933 the school population was 118 and by 1959 it was 150 and once again the school was running out of room, so classes were held in the Anglican Church Hall. Numbers declined with the opening of Cranbourne North Primary School, No.4887,  in February 1962 (this school is now called Cranbourne Park).  However, there was still a need for a newer, bigger school and this was built on the current location in Russell Street and it opened on February 5, 1969. The school on the South Gippsland Highway was later demolished and is now the site of the Senior Citizens.

Cranbourne School, 1947

Cranbourne School - it looks fairly deserted, so I assume it was taken around 1969, after the school moved to the Russell Street location. The photo, below, appears to be from the same time.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Hallam School, No. 224.

It's back to school week, so I thought we would look at some school photographs. Our Archive gets many donations and these photographs of  Hallam School, No.244, were donated by Mr Jim Alexander. Mr Alexander was an inaugural Councillor for the City of Berwick from 1973 until 1982. James Alexander Reserve in Endeavour Hills is named in his honour.

Hallam School was established in 1858 as the Eumemmerring Denominational School. There were 44 students and the Head Teacher was Daniel Cusack. It is probable that this school was located on the corner of Heatherton and Hallam roads. In 1862, the School became the Eumemmerring Common School, No.244.  I n 1873, it was renamed Eumemmerring State School. At this time it was located on the Princes Highway, opposite the end of Olive Road, where the General Motors Holden factory is. Daniel Ahern was the Head Teacher from 1870 until 1890.

In 1894, it became an adjunct to Dandenong State School, No.1403 and only the infant School remained on the site. It wasn't until 1902 that the Education Department recommended that the School be separated from Dandenong. A new school building was erected and opened in November 1904, on the Princes Highway, just west of the Hallam Hotel. In 1906, the school changed its name to Hallam’s Road School. The School was enlarged in 1921 with the addition of a second class room. In 1923 it was renamed Hallam State School.

Opening of the second class room at Hallam's Road School in February 1921.

The Hallam's Road School Committee, 1921. Standing at back - left to right - Mr Wallace, Mr Service, Mr Kirkham, Mr Butcher. Front row - possibly Mrs Burton, Mr Carter.

I looked in the Electoral Rolls on Ancestry database to see if I could find out more about these people and this is what I found - Jeremiah Wallace, address - Main Road Hallam, occupation - farmer, wife - Augusta Emma Wallace; John Service, Berwick Road Dandenong, dairy farmer, wife Elizabeth Duncan Service;   Francis Edward Kirkham, Hallam's Road, farmer, wife Margaret Beatrice Kirkham; Alfred Butcher, Hallam, dairy farmer, wife Amy Louise Butcher; Elizabeth Burton, Hallam, home duties, husband  John Frederick Burton, farmer; I can't find Mr Carter in the Electoral roll.

The Hallam's Road School Mothers Club, 1921. Standing at back - left to right - Mrs Boles, Mrs Crean, Mrs Gatter (nee Wallace), Mrs J. Meehan, Mrs Rout, Miss T. Morgan (teacher) and Mrs Blackley (nee Wallace). Seated at front - Mrs Opperman, Mrs Butcher, Mrs Wallace, Mrs Service.

According to the Electoral - Mrs Boles - I can't find Mrs Boles in the Electoral roll; Annie Florence Crean, Hallam, home duties, husband Andrew, a farmer; Mrs Gatter - I can't find Mrs Gatter in the Electoral roll; Ruth Rebecca Meehan, Hallam's Road Hallam, home duties, husband James Joseph, farmer; Ellen Rout, Hallam, home duties, husband Charles Rout dairyman;  Miss Morgan - I can't find Miss Morgan in the Electoral Roll but she may not have been 21 years old; Mrs Blackley - I can't find Mrs Blackley in the Electoral roll; Bertha Opperman, Berwick Road Dandenong, home duties, wife of Adolphus Samuel Opperman, water carter; Amy Louise Butcher, wife of Alfred Butcher listed above; Augusta Emma Wallace, wife of Jeremiah Wallace, listed above; Elizabeth Duncan Service, wife of John  Service listed above.

The school population grew in the late 1950s, partly due to the growth of the area after the International Harvester, H.J. Heinz and General Motors Holden factories were established in Doveton. By 1958, the School had to use the Hallam Public Hall, on the other side of the Highway, for extra class rooms. Unfortunately this involved children crossing the Princes Highway and a tragic accident resulted in a student losing his life in a car accident in October 1962. Community agitation saw the construction of a new school on its existing site in Harmers Road and this opened in November 1963.

Hallam School in 1924.

Back row - Mr Webb (teacher), W. Hawksley, L.Vines, ? Hansen, unknown, A. Hyde, H. Knight, L.Dight, A. Kanes.
Second back row - B. Kirkham, R. Butcher, E. Wallace, W. Harmer, I. Hawksley, M. Hansen, O. Harmer, N. Douglas. 
Second row from front - G. Hawksley, C. Dight, I.Haines, E. Graham, I. Crean, G. Barnes, A. Vines, A. Kane, O. Grahame, M. Vines.
Front row - J. Kirkham, J. Rust, H. Kirkham, T. Kirkham, R. Sorenson.

Francis Edward Kirkham and Margaret Beatrice Kirkham (nee Moran) were the parents of the famous Kirkham Brothers - the show jumping team. They married in 1904 and had Honora  Margaret (born 1905), Alice Helen (1907), Francis Henry (1909), Charles (b and d 1910),  Margaret (b and d 1911), Bessie (1912), John Moran (1915), Edward William (1915),  Henry Alexander (1917),  Malcolm Frederick (1919). All the children were born in Dandenong, Berwick or Cranbourne.  John, also known as Jack, Kirkham was a City of Berwick Councillor from 1974 until 1980, when he retired due to ill health. Jack Kirkham  Reserve in High Street Berwick is named in his honour.

This photo of the Kirkham Brothers is from Oak Trees and Hedges:  a pictorial history of Narre Warren, Narre Warren North and Harkaway, published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society.