Newsletter #203, April 2015

(Note: This is a text excerpt. Refer to the newsletter PDF for the complete newsletter including images)

Permanent venue

A letter was sent last month to our Federal Member of Parliament Russell Broadbent, seeking his assistance in finding a permanent venue for the many items of historical interest collected by the Society. As mentioned many times, we have been trying to find a suitable home for the artefacts, photographs, maps, newspaper cuttings, audiotapes and books over the past 18 years. We have received an encouraging reply from Mr. Broadbent, and recently, our local State member for Bass, Brian Paynter has offered his support and assistance. We look forward to a positive outcome to solving our search for a central location for the Historical Society, as we want to preserve the collection for future generations.

Raffle Result

Congratulations to Claire Lubransky, winner of the hamper. Claire lives in Canberra, and was present on the day to collect her prize. Many thanks to Robyn and Kevin Allen who organised our special fundraiser.

Image: Claire Lubransky

Recalling events of many years ago

Bob Speed showed us a “Death Penny” sent to the parents of his grandfather by the King. When a soldier died in World War One, the “Death Penny”with the name of the service man inscribed on it was sent to the bereaved family. Bob’s grandfather who came from Korumburra was killed in 1918.

Kevin Allen who grew up in Donald, Victoria, said that Donald was known as a railway town. It had a railway depot, 12 drivers and 12 firemen lived in the town as well as other railway workers such as shunters and gangers. Long trains from Mildura stopped at Donald. He also recalled the building of large bonfires being built in readiness for Guy Fawkes Night.

Shirley Burchett was brought up on a cattle and sheep farm at Kardella. She and her sister rode ponies to school at Arawatta. One day on what was known as the“ Narrow Road” they were confronted by a Milk tanker and both girls were thrown off their ponies. Fortunately a cousin who was nearby came along and helped them back on their ponies, and so they continued on to school. There were pony paddocks at schools in those days and the children rode in all weathers. They had no saddles to sit on, just hessian bags. Shirley enjoyed the country life, it was a safe environment, with pleasure from simple things such as coming home from school on a cold day to hot soup and warming cold feet in the oven. Later on, they rode their bikes two kilometres to catch the school bus.

Leo Lubransky, when he was 10 years old, recalls the many times he went fishing with his dad. The family lived at Sandringham and when it was trout season they went up to the Goulburn River. They also went fishing at Inverloch, and duck shooting in season .They were rarely home at weekends

Anne Hebb was10 when she moved from Wyuna to Point Lonsdale. Her father was a school teacher, and Anne’s memories of the new area included that of a lady riding a bike, losing her life at a bad corner in the town, a house which collapsed as it was being shifted and a large tree which was used as a beacon for shipping.

Sylvia Trott was born in Bristol, England, and when she was eight, she and her family migrated to Australia. They left England in 1952, arriving in Perth. The family eventually came to Melbourne and lived at the Holmesglen Migrant Hostel. She was unable to attend the Oakleigh Primary School, instead travelling to the Glen Iris Primary School. Her mother took on a shop in Johnson St. Collingwood.

Ruth Glare recalls playing a game of “sevens.” Ruth grew up in Wonthaggi, and to play the game a brick chimney was needed. A ball was thrown at the bricks seven times, with a number of variations such as through the legs, overhead and so on. When staying at Inverloch, Ruth played on boats such as the “West Wind,” she played on the sand, and was able to run under the original pier. They had lots of fun on the beach.

Pauline Kitson was born in Birmingham, England and she recalled her memories of schools she attended as a small girl. The first one was very old and on one occasion she lost her slippers. At another school, she was in a school concert and her ballet dress was made of tissue paper. She returned to Birmingham, and in her home there she slept in an attic. Pauline attended another very old school which had cellars beneath the building. She moved to another school where she could take a short cut across a paddock to return home. One more school was located beside a ruined castle. In later years Pauline went to a Girls Grammar School to which she travelled by bus, and the school was close to a Cadbury Factory.

Bob Speed a long time supporter of the Footscray football team, (nowadays the Western Bulldogs) used to sell newspapers after the game. A wet day made it unpleasant as he would become very wet. His next task was to deliver the Sporting Globe to the various customers, so by the end of an evening he was looking forward to a hot bath.

Alison Brewster had to walk about one mile from the farm to catch the school bus at its regular stop. Sometimes she would be picked up by a neighbour in their car. She recalled a time when 13 children crammed into a Volkswagon, she wasn’t sure whether her mum knew about the episode. Alison also recalled a time when her eldest sister dressed up as the Easter bunny.

Ian Mc Burnie talked about the great excitement he felt when his Mum and Dad presented him with a Hartley bicycle on his 10th birthday. . He rode it around his home territory of Hawthorn East, he rode it to the shops to collect groceries for the family and eventually rode it to secondary school in Malvern for several years. When living in Surrey hills he rode the bike to his first job. When the family moved to Ringwood in 1955, the bike spent most of the next 47 years under the house. It rusted away, but Ian was able to save the chain, a pedal, headlamp, dynamo and odometer as reminders of the many happy hours spent cycling.

Jack Sandercombe was between the ages of six to 10 as he remembered being in Fairfield Hospital with Diphtheria. He was kept in isolation. He also recalls having his tonsils removed. He didn’t get ice cream, but he did have a roast dinner that night.

Eulalie Brewster travelled from her home in Sandringham to Warburton where the family stayed in a boarding house. The sitting room had a mirror on the wall and above it were the words “Keep Smiling.” George the 6th was crowned that year and Eulalie stayed up and listened to the ceremony on the radio. She recalled too, riding her bicycle up Mt. Dandenong. Going downhill she went very fast, the brakes became very hot, so they were cooled off in a nearby stream.

Vern Burchett grew up in Poowong and he can remember the red glow in the distance as the Baw Baw Ranges burned on Black Friday. At the age of 10 he recalls fishing in the clear waters of the nearby river.

We wish President Vern our very best wishes and congratulations as he celebrates his 80th birthday on May 1st.

Editor: Ian McBurnie