Monday, 21 July 2014

Garfield North School. No. 3849

Dr Ron Smith has written a history of Garfield North Primary School. The book is called The school on the small plateau: the history of Garfield North State School, No. 3849. The book was officially launched on July 13, 2014 by past student, Alan Forte, whom some of you may know as he operates a veterinary surgery in Pakenham. Alan did all his primary schooling at Garfield North. His father and uncle, Ian and Terence Forte also attended the school as did some of his relatives from the Towt family. Ron Smith taught at the school in 1970 until the end of 1972. Ron then moved on to another local school, Catani.

There was at school at Garfield, the Cannibal Creek State School which had opened in 1886. The School was located on the Princes Highway, west of North Garfield Road. In 1887 the School, the Railway Station and the town changed their name to Garfield. In 1899, the School building was re-located to Garfield Road at the top of the hill, half way between the Princes Highway and the Railway Station. In 1910, the Garfield School No. 2724 moved to a new building on its present site near the Railway Station. The old school building was removed in 1914 to North Garfield where it became State School No.3489.

Mrs Agnes Towt  was very active in getting a school at North Garfield. She was a trained teacher and a mother of three children. A petition to the Education Department from the locals in 1910 came to nothing (the petition had been presented to the local MLA in December 1910, and an Inspector was sent to make  a report in April 1911 and did not recommend a school) so in June 1912 Mrs Towt wrote to the Education Department and another Inspector made a report in June 1912 and this time recommended that a school be provided. In the mean time, Mrs Towt found a suitable site for the school and organised the purchase from a local land owner. The section of this land that the school was situated on, was described by the Public Works Department as a 'small plateau', hence the title of the book.  In October 1913, the Public Works Department recommended that the old Garfield school building  be removed to North Garfield, however  this did not happen until July 1914 and the school finally opened on July 20 1914 with Miss Daisy Body as the first teacher  and 15 children enrolled.

 Due to declining numbers the school closed down on March 6, 1973. In April 1978 it opened as a outdoor Education centre.  The book is well illustrated with many interesting stories and anecdotes; there is a full list of students and teachers. You can borrow  a copy of this book, click here for availability. If you wish to purchase you own copy, then it is available from the Post Office in Garfield.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Langwarrin, Carrum Downs and Skye aerials

Before the Council amalgamations of 1994, the Shire of Cranbourne used to cover Langwarrin, Skye and a part of Carrum Downs. Although they had been with the Shire of Cranbourne (and it's predecessor the Cranbourne Road Board)  since 1860 they did not become a part of  the newly created City of Casey as some other parts of Cranbourne Shire did; these areas went to the City of Frankston.  The original western boundary of Cranbourne Shire with the City of Frankston was basically Dandenong Frankston Road (or Western Port Highway) to Ballarto Road; Ballarto Road to McClelland Drive; McClelland Drive to  Golf Links Road; Golf Links Road  to Baxter-Tooradin Road at the six way intersection where the Baxter Primary school is  -  Baxter-Tooradin Road was the boundary between the Cranbourne Shire and Hastings Shire and this boundary went south of Pearcedale along the aptly named South Boundary Road to Western Port Bay.

This map of the Cranbourne Shire and various boundaries is from 

We have a collection of aerial photographs of this area, which we recently lent to Frankston Library and they have digitised the images and put them up on Flickr - you can access them by clicking on this link.

Here are a few of these aerials, from 1970, when most of these areas were still undeveloped.

Carrum Downs 1970 - starting from the top - is Wedge Road - it goes across to the edge of the aerial - the Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve can be seen on the top left.  The road on the left side of the photo, running at right angles from Wedge, Road is Cadles Road - it has a bit of  a dog leg - this road is Brunnings Road and then Cadles Road continues down to Hall Road. The Road (just right of centre) that intersects Wedge Road and Hall Road and runs north south is McCormicks Road.

Langwarrin 1970 - this is the L-shaped  Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve. This Reserve was originally the Langwarrin Military Reserve. The road to the left of the Reserve is McClelland Drive; the arch on the left is the railway line that runs to Baxter Railway Station which is  a junction station (which is why Baxter Railway Station was originally known as Mornington Junction Railway Station). The Baxter to Hastings line opened in September 1889 and reached Stony Point in December 1889. The other line used to run from Baxter to Mornington with stations at Mooroduc, Mornington Racecourse and Mornington. It also opened September 1889 and it closed June 1981.

Syke, Carrum Downs and Langwarrin 1970. The road running  from left to right (or west to east) at the top is Hall Road. The road running down the centre of the photograph (north to south) is McCormicks Road. It intersects with Ballarto Road, towards the bottom of the photo. The two roads running off Ballarto Road are McClelland Drive on the left and Potts Road on the right.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Carrum Downs

Historically, the township of Carrum Downs was always split between the City of Frankston and the Shire of Cranbourne (Frankston Dandenong Road being the boundary)  - however after the 1994 Council amalgamations all of Carrum Downs was consolidated into the City of Frankston. However, because Carrum Downs has spent 134 years as part of the Shire of Cranbourne and its predecessor the Cranbourne Road Board,  I feel it deserves a place in this blog.

Carrum Downs grew out of  a farming settlement that was sub-divided about 1908 - cattle, oats, onions and potatoes were some of the agricultural products to come out of the area.

Mornington and Dromana Standard August 22,  1908

The first school  in the area opened on March 22, 1909 in a house owned by Mrs Blades. The purpose built school opened on Frankston Dandenong Road on September 11, 1911. The head Teacher, Evelyn McIntire was in charge of  sixty students. Growth in the area was steady until 1960 when the school population rose to 100 and two more rooms were added*

Frankston and Somerville Standard  May 17, 1930

The Carrum Downs Memorial Hall was opened with a ball on Wednesday, May 21 1930 as  this article (above) attests.The School was on the Frankston side the hall was on the Cranbourne side as was the Recreation Reserve in Wedge Road and the Scout Hall. Early on the locals were obviously not happy with either Frankston or Cranbourne as in 1910 there was a movement to secede from both and go to Dandenong!

In the Shire of Cranbourne part of Carrum Downs was the Brotherhood of St Laurence settlement for unemployed people. The founder, Father Gerard Tucker (1885-1974) believed there needed to be an alternative to being unemployed and subsequent slum living conditions in the inner cities. The Carrum Downs settlement was established in 1935 with the object to provide men and their families simple shelter and a place to produce their own food. The settlement had  a community farm and  the country location enabled the children to live  a healthy life away from the bad influences of he inner city.  In 1946 had become  a home for aged people and it still operates in this way.

These photographs of the Brotherhood of St Laurence settlement are form the State Library of Victoria.

Croquet lawn  and Cottages. State Library of Victoria Image H32492/1622

 I suspect that the croquet lawn was developed when the village became a place for elderly residents, rather than the unemployed.

Single cottages. State Library of Victoria Image H32492/1625

Cottage Hospital. State Library of Victoria Image H32492/1619

There is an interesting account of the Brotherhood of St Laurence settlement that was written as a submission for a 2004 "Inquiry into sustainable urban design for new communities on outer suburban areas" - click here

* Vision and Realisation: a centenary history of State Education in Victoria.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Richard Grice 1858-1911

On page 31 of the third edition of the book Early days of Berwick and it's surrounding districts is this short reference to Richard Grice and a tablet which was erected in his honour in Berwick Boulevard (or High Street Berwick as we know it today.)

The plaque is no longer there, it was removed when the public toilet was built in High Street. One of the long term City of Casey officers made  a few enquires for me and found that the plaque was stored safely at a Council depot. They sent me a photograph of it, see below.

Who was Richard Grice? Here's what I have found out about him. Richard Grice was born in 1858 in Collingwood. His parents were Richard Grice (1813-1882) and Ann Lavinia Hibberson (1822-1905).  Richard Grice senior, had arrived in Victoria in 1839, being ‘amply supplied with funds by his family’. He and his business partner, Benjamin Heape, set up in business together. Grice was soon a leading pastoralist and his land holdings included the Mount Alexander run near Castlemaine. In August 1844 he married Ann Lavinia Hibberson and they eventually settled in Melbourne. Heape returned to England and Grice set up partnership with Theodotus Sumner.  Later, Sumner’s daughter Annie married Grice’s son James and the firm became known as Grice, Sumner and Co. As a matter of interest, Alice Sumner, another daughter of Theodotus, married Charles Snodgrass Ryan and they became the parents of Maie Casey (Lady Casey). The firm Grice, Sumner and Co was one of the oldest mercantile houses in Australia and held large tracts of land in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. Grice senior, died in Fitzroy in 1882 and left an estate valued at £320, 000 - a substantial amount of money.

Richard senior and Ann had twelve children, but there were only seven living when he passed away in 1882. One son, John, was given a Knighthood and was Vice Chancellor of Melbourne University and had substantial business interests. Another brother, James, was a foundation member of the Victorian Amateur Turf Club and Chairman on a number of occasions. As you can see, the Grice family was well connected and part of the Establishment.

This brings us to Richard Junior, the man whose name is on the plaque that was previously located in High Street, Berwick.  Richard married Louisa Jane Currie (1858-1908) in 1884. Louisa was the daughter of John Lang Currie. Currie, described as a ‘pioneer squatter’, had arrived in Victoria in 1841 and when he died in 1898 he left an Estate valued at over £517,000. He left his daughter, Louisa Grice, £30,000 of which she had already received £7,000. Given that the average wage in the manufacturing industry at the time was around £130.00 per annum, that’s serious money.

Richard purchased 710 acres in the Shire of Cranbourne in 1884 and in 1887 he purchased 234 acres in the Shire of Berwick. It was on the Cranbourne property that they built the wonderful house, Eyrecourt most likely in 1887 or 1888.   When the house was built the property was known as Eirruc (Currie spelt backwards, perhaps indicating that some of Louisa’s family money paid for the Estate).

Eirruc or Eyrecourt by Charlie Hammond

This is Eirruc, later known as Eyrecourt, built by Richard and Louisa Grice. This illustration is from the Sketchbook of Charlie Hammond, held at the State Library of Victoria. The sketchbook contains both photographs and illustrations of various houses in Victoria. The book has been digitised by the State Library of Victoria and can be seen here. This house is on the City of Casey Heritage Study - to see the full citation click here. They have it listed as Eyre Court, so you will need to type this into the search box.

The Grices sold off parcels of land  from around 1906 and the Eyrecourt homestead (at 211 Grices Road, Clyde North)  in 1908. Grice did retain some Berwick property as he was living there when he died on September 6, 1911. His Probate Record lists all his assets and, amongst other property, Grice had 66 acres in the Shire of Cranbourne; a weatherboard house, Wonalta,  described as  seven rooms, plus kitchen, bathroom, scullery and outbuildings on three acres in Berwick; a block of land on Station Street (Gloucester Avenue) and another block on Elgin Street in Berwick.

Richard was described as a pastoralist or grazier and, like his brother James, had an interest in horse racing. They owned Hova who won the Newmarket Handicap in 1894 and was ‘beaten by a neck’ in the 1895 Melbourne Cup by Acracia. They also owned Crysalite who won the Australian Hurdle Race in 1899. Grice was also a member of the Victorian Racing Club, the Melbourne Hounds and the Mornington Farmers Society. He was a Shire of Cranbourne Councillor from 1894 until 1903 and Shire President 1898-99.

Richard and Jane had three children - John Alan born 1885; Henrietta May born 1889 and Annie Elinor Julia born 1894. This is what I could find out about Richard’s children.
John - The Ancestry database has the New South Wales Electoral Rolls from 1930 and John is listed in 1930 at Corowa, but he is not listed in the Victorian Rolls before 1930, so I assume that he was in New South Wales for most of his life.  I haven’t been able to find out if he was married or had children and there is no wife listed with him in the Electoral Rolls. John died in 1932 in Corowa.

Henrietta May - I found her in the Victorian Electoral Rolls in 1914 at Mount Elephant at Derinallum. Her grandfather, John Lang Currie, owned Larra at the foot of Mount Elephant and when he died in 1898 it was taken over by his son, John Lang Currie junior, so I assume she was living with her Uncle and cousins. According to the social columns of many Australian newspapers, May (as she seemed to be called) married Auburn (sometimes written as Aubyn) Wilson in London in May 1915. There are a few other reports about her staying with her sister in London at this time. She died on February 28, 1922 in England.

Annie Elinor Julia married Lieutenant Percy Robert Murdoch Collins in London in May 1915. Sadly, he was killed in action near Ypres in France on June 25, 1917 and Annie died on December 8, 1918 in London. Percy was the son of Henry and Isabella Collins of Frankston and in October 1925 a stained glass window in St Paul’s Anglican Church in Frankston was dedicated to the memory of Percy and Annie.

Richard and Jane are buried at the Berwick Cemetery. In 1912 the plaque was erected to the memory of Richard Grice in High Street in Berwick. It was erected by the Berwick Town Improvement Association. It was decided at a meeting in June 1912 to erect the plaque (see article from Berwick Shire News dated June 19, 1912 next page)  but I haven’t been able to find the exact date the plaque was placed in High Street.

Berwick Shire News June 19, 1912

Ancestry Family History database. Available at Casey Cardinia Library Corporation.
Australian Dictionary of Biography - on-line at This provided information about Richard Grice senior and John Lang Currie.
Berwick Shire News and Pakenham Gazette
Berwick Shire and Cranbourne Shire Rate Books
Early days of Berwick and its surrounding districts (Berwick Pakenham Historical Society 1979)
The Good Country: Cranbourne Shire by Niel Gunson (Cranbourne Shire, 1968)
Richard Grice’s will and probate papers available on the Public Records Office of Victoria website
Trove Digitised Newspapers  Information about Richard’s brothers and Percy and Annie Collins came from various newspaper reports accessed on Trove.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Motor Garages or Service Stations

Here are a few photographs of service stations in the region. Service Stations or motor garages were established in most areas after the First World War and into the 1920s. 

This is the garage opened by Lawson Poole in December  1919 on the corner of High Street and Sladen Streets in Cranboure - right opposite the Shire Offices. I believe that the garage was built by Lawson's father, William Burdett Poole for his only son. You can read more about Lawson Poole and his wife Laura, and their contribution to the Cranbourne community here.

South Bourke and Mornington Journal 18 December 18,  1919

 Lawson's 21st birthday party was also held in the newly opened garage as this report on the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of December 19, 1919 attests.

Lawson Poole's garage 
Cranbourne Shire Historical Society photograph

Another view of Poole's garage, above, looking west down Sladen Street - the house next to the garage belonged to the Pooles.

Dusting's garage, Koo-Wee-Rup circa 1926
 Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photograph

The building on the right, above, is Dusting's garage in Koo-Wee-Rup It was built around 1926 by Ernie Mills and taken over by Robert Dusting around 1930. As you can see by the picture below at sometime fashionable Spanish Mission style architectural details were added to the building - the bricks were rendered and the terracotta tiles were added to the parapet. The building is still standing in Rossiter Road and is now a vet's surgery.

  Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photograph

The upgrading of Dusting's Garage may have coincided with Mr Dusting securing a Ford dealership - this advertisement was in the Koo-Wee-Rup Sun of September 8, 1932.

 Mills and Davey garage, Koo-Wee-Rup
Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society photograph.

The photograph, above, shows Mills and Davey's garage in Station Street in Koo-Wee-Rup It was built about 1923. They were agents for Dodge motor cars. The building is still standing in Station Street in Koo-Wee-Rup.

This is an advertisement from the Koo-Wee-Rup Sun of January 1924 - for Mills and Davey's 'up to date motor garage' with a 'first-class mechanic, late of Dodge Bros, America'

Friday, 30 May 2014

Emerald Country Club

The Emerald Country Club was established in the 1920s on part of the land originally owned by Carl Axel Nobelius who operated the Gembrook Nurseries from 1886. After Carl died on December 31, 1921 the nursery was sold to a syndicate who developed part of the property as the Emerald Country Club. Two of Carl's sons, Cliff and Arch, operated the nursery business until 1955.

The land was developed into a Country Club with a golf course, tennis courts and swimming pool and  a housing estate (more on that later). Before the Country Club house was built in 1929, Nobelius' house, Carramar, was used for this purpose. Carramar still exists and is now a private home.

The Argus February 22, 1941

Carramar was sold by the Country Club, perhaps in the 1930s when they were alleged to have gone into liquidation. I don't  have  a photograph of Carramar but I have found this advertisement for the sale of the house in The Argus from February 22, 1941. The house is described as containing three reception rooms, a full sized billiard room, five bedrooms, two bathrooms, excellent domestic and staff accommodation as well as a detached gardener's cottage of six rooms. As the land had the finest collection of trees in the State and was just under five hectares, a gardener was no doubt essential.

Emerald Country Club
State Library of Victoria Image Image H32492/3631

The Emerald Country Club house was completed in 1929 and was designed by Architects Cowper, Murphy and Appleford. Amongst other works they designed the interior of the Sun Theatre in Yarraville (opened 1938); St Moritz ice skating rink (1939); the Dendy Theatre in Brighton (1940); they rebuilt the Regent Theatre in Collins Street to the original design after a fire in 1947 and had  also undertaken interior work on the Palace Theatre in Bourke Street in the mid 1950s.

The citation on the National Trust Heritage Register describes the building as  The clubhouse design follows the American Craftsman and English Arts & Crafts Bungalow precedents in its use of the low gabled form, local rubble freestone (inside and out), and other natural finishes such as the Marseilles pattern terracotta roof tiles, stained and lacquered timber linings and joinery (interior).... This conscious use of natural material is also reflected in the construction of the log lake-side pavillion (presumed originally roofed with paling/shingle). 

When the Club first started the membership was limited to those who purchased land in the surrounding estate which was created by the establishment of Elm Crescent, Poplar Crescent, Sycamore Avenue, Oak Avenue, Nobelius Street and Lakeside Drive, which lead into the Club. A number of houses built from the 1920s on this estate still remain. You can find out more information about these houses and some of the significant trees  here on the Australian Heritage Database.

The Country Club, Emerald
State Library of Victoria Image H32492/1154

The Country Club went through various owners - in 1932 club members formed a new Company to purchase the golf course and Club house - the asking price was 14,850 pounds. Five years later another Company was formed and the asking price had halved to 7,000 pounds. In the 1970s the golf course was enlarged to 18 holes and it still in existence today. More of the history of the Club can be found on the Australian Heritage Datebase entry referred to above.

Ist fairway Country Club, Emerald
State Library of Victoria Image H32492/3532

Women's Weekly May 9, 1956  Trove Photographer: John Askew.

This picture is from the Women's Weekly of May 9 1956 and shows Mr Clifford Wright watching an iron shot by Mr Ray Hawkins at the Emerald Country Club. The caption also mentions some of the features of the Club including tennis courts, a natural lake (ideal for swimming and fishing), bowling and putting greens, a scenic golf course with some of its fairways carved out of dense forest.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Narre Warren Railway Station - the early years

The Narre Warren Railway station was opened on March 10 1882. When the Gippsland line was established in stages from 1877 to 1879 the only stations between Dandenong and Bunyip were Berwick and Pakenham.

Narre Warren Railway Station, circa 1900 to 1910.
State Library of Victoria Image H2012.171/340. Max Thomson collection.
Photographer Michael J. Drew

Sidney Webb, of Holly Green, Narre Warren agitated for the establishment of  a railway station near his property and his shops - Holly Green is located  where the Fountain Gate Shopping Centre is now and Webb's shops were on the corner of the Princes Highway and what is now Webb street.

Once the Station was opened Sidney Webb agitated again, this time for a a road to be put through to connect 'the township' with the Station (see excerpt, above, from Early days of Berwick)   In reality the 'township' did, I believe, pretty much consist of shops that Webb had an interest in. According to the Shire of Berwick Rate Books, in 1888 and 1889 a number of businesses were established in Narre Warren -  Albert Raduchel, a blacksmith; Thomas Woodley, a baker; Thomas Stones, a butcher and James Middleton, a storekeeper. They all leased their premises from Sidney Webb. 

Shire of Berwick Minutes from the meeting held April 1, 1882.

As we can see from the Shire of Berwick Minutes, Captain Wauchope, requested that the new road to the station be called Roseneath Road.  The Council did agree at the time. I don't know what happened to Roseneath Road, is it now Webb Street?.

Shire of Berwick Minutes from the meeting held April 29, 1882.

The name Narre Warren originally referred to the township of Narre Warren North. George Rae established a store at Narre Warren North, in the corner of John Troup’s paddock in 1857 and the town was surveyed around  1860. I don't know the exact date when the decision was made to call this new station Narre Warren but it appears that the Shire of Berwick had  role in the naming of the station, as it was mentioned  in the minutes of the April 29, 1882 meeting that the name for the new station had been 'noted'. (see above) Sadly, that's all I can find of this issue, it would be interesting to know if any other names had been suggested.

Shire of Berwick Minutes from the meeting held May 27, 1882.

This entry from the Shire of Berwick Minutes of May 27, 1882 (reproduced above) is the first mention I can find of the Narre Warren Railway station, actually referred to by that name.  It also talks about the formation of the new road and the fact that the Council had accepted a tender of 39 pounds from Rumph Brothers (of Harkaway) for the metalling of the new Roseneath Road. 

This is from the State Government Gazette of  May 11, 1883 where there is a list of works approved by the Governor in Council that the undermentioned services be preformed without tenders being advertised. The works, costing 200 pounds, were  to construct the new road to the Narre Warren Railway Station and Walton's Road. Is this  another road to the Station and not Roseneath road,  which going by the evidence above  was finished a year earlier in 1882?. The State Government Gazette also mentions Walton's Road. I presume that this has a connection to Thomas and Eliza Walton. Thomas & Eliza arrived in Narre Warren  1852 and built Holly Green. They left in 1877 and Sidney Webb purchased Holly Green in 1880. 

The Argus  February 13, 1883, page 10 

An article in The Argus of February 13, 1883 lists a schedule of railway works which have been undertaken and completed or partially completed since July 9, 1881 when Mr Bent took office as Minister for Railways. As you can see it includes the Narre Warren siding and platform.