Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Updated Dunolly G&S Festival info

Dunolly Gilbert & Sullivan Festival
13 & 14 October 2012

Welcome to Dunolly’s first Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. Dunolly is a gem
of Victoria’s gold towns from the 1850s with a long and strong history of
music and theatre. The town’s historic halls, court house and churches
will host performances and the aptly named “Savoy Gardens” is the
outdoor venue for two major productions.
The weekend begins with “Queen Victoria” herself opening
proceedings at the Grand Parade and concludes with the Savoy
Opera Company of Melbourne’s production of “Iolanthe” in the Savoy


Saturday 13th October

10am Grand Opening – Broadway, outside the Dunolly Town Hall
“Queen Victoria” launches the Festival
“The Thought of Royal Dignity Elates Me”
The Town Crier calls, the ribbon is cut and the fun begins.

10.30am The Grand Parade - Broadway
With floats, the St Arnaud Pipe Band and Maryborough Brass Band, throngs of
school children in costume, Gilbert and Sullivan characters line Broadway to join in the fun before heading to the Fair.

10am – 2.00pm Gordon Gardens Market & Barkly Streets
English country fair on the Village Green ……..”Modified rapture”
Free, traditional and organised games for children of all ages

12noon “Merrily Ring the Luncheon Bell”
Picnic in Gordon Gardens or buy lunch from one of the food stalls.
Local bakery and cafes open for lunch.
“That’s so Like a Band”
Free luncheon entertainment in the Gordon Gardens
From the Rotunda, the Maryborough Brass Band entertains with a medley of
music by Sullivan.

1pm St John’s Church Hall Barkly Street
“Here’s a man of Jollity”
Traditional puppet show for children in the exquisite Anglican church hall that
was Dunolly’s first school in the 1850s.
Gold coin admission

3pm “The People’s Pirates” – The Savoy Gardens
[cnr Gooseberry Hill & Dunolly-Maryborough Roads]
Led by a cast of local chorus and principals, everyone is invited to sing-a-long
for a relaxed romp through The Pirates of Penzance. With orchestra!
Bring your family and rug or chairs for seating.
Taste of Gold wines for sale, snacks and drinks.
The Dunolly Community Bus will shuttle people from the Town Hall on
Broadway to the Savoy Gardens from 2 -3pm and return between 5.30pm
and 6pm.
Parking is available on site [enter from Gooseberry Hill Road].
The Savoy Gardens are also an easy 1km walk from the Town Hall.
Tickets: $10 adult/$5 concession – pay at the gate.

6pm Dinner “Now to the Banquet we press... “
Local hotel and cafes are open for evening meals during the Festival.

8pm “The Gilbert & Sullivan Story” Dunolly Town Hall
Award winning narrator, Richard Burman, supported by the Gilbert & Sullivan
Concert Party of Melbourne, tells the story of the Gilbert & Sullivan musical
partnership through songs from their operas.
This is a two-hour show with a brief interval and supper after the show.
Tickets: $15 adult/$10 concession
Seating is limited, so pre-purchase your tickets from the Dunolly Rural
Transaction Centre [109 Broadway Dunolly: 03 5468 1205]

There is also an exhibition of miniature Gilbert & Sullivan theatre sets in the
Town Hall front chamber. Prepared by local artist, Ken Matthews.

Sunday 14th October

8am -2pm The Dunolly Main Street Market - Broadway
“Here’s a Howdy-Do”
Wander along Broadway, lined with stalls of fine local produce, plants and
bric a brac, buskers, cake stalls and the CFA BBQ.
Shops and cafes are open and the Museum and Town Hall are open for

11.30am “Trial by Jury” Court House Market Street
A reprise performance by The Dunolly Festival All Stars following their recent
success at the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Dunolly Court House.
A delightful 40 minute opera about a breach of promise of marriage.
With orchestra.
Tickets: $5
Seating is limited, so pre-purchase your tickets from the Dunolly Rural
Transaction Centre [109 Broadway Dunolly: 03 5468 1205]

1.00pm The People’s Concert Uniting Church Barkly
“I have a song to sing-Oh"
This is an opportunity for local people to perform their favourite G & S song
and to sing-a-long with the great chorus works of G&S. Piano
The Dunolly Festival Children’s Choir will also perform three songs.
Tickets: $5 – pay at the door. Concert will finish by 2.00pm

2pm “That’s so Like a Band” The Savoy Gardens
[cnr Gooseberry Hill & Dunolly-Maryborough Roads]
Orchestra plays a medley of music by Sullivan.
To be followed by …..

3pm “Iolanthe”
The Savoy Opera Company of Melbourne presents a full production of the
fairy operetta on the Savoy Gardens open-air stage. With Orchestra.
Tickets: $15 adult/$10 concession are for both shows
Pay at the gate
Taste of Gold wines plus BBQ, snacks and drinks for sale from 2pm.
The Dunolly Community Bus will shuttle people from the Town Hall on
Broadway to the Savoy Gardens from 2 -3pm and return between 5.30pm
and 6pm.
Parking is available on site [enter from Gooseberry Hill Road].
The Savoy Gardens are also an easy 1km walk from the Town Hall.
“Fickle moment, Prithee Stay”
Finish at 6pm

Bendigo Bank: Maldon & District Community Bank Branch
Central Goldfield Shire Council
Dunolly Traders’ Association
Taste of Gold: Central Victoria food and wine trails www.tasteofgold.com
Festival Director: Rachel Buckley
Supported by the Dunolly and district community through contributions of
time, money and expertise
The Dunolly Gilbert & Sullivan Festival is part of Central Goldfields Spring Fling
for 2012. Further information www.visitmaryborough.com.au

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fabulous family fun in Dunolly!

Dunolly Gilbert & Sullivan Festival - 2012
October 13th and 14th

Souvenir Programmes
On sale. $4.

Saturday 12th    -  

The Thought of Royal Dignity Elates Me
 Grand Opening   Town
Crier calls the people.

Locals in costume. Queen Victoria

The Queen’s speech
God save our Gracious Queen,

 10.30 am.
The Grand Parade
Queen Victoria cuts ribbon to open.

G & S characters –  local
children in costume. Pipe Band etc.
Audience to line the street along Broadway.

“Merrily Ring the Luncheon Bell”
Local venues open
 Gordon Gardens  10am – 2pm
 Savoy Gardens   1pm

Modified Rapture”
English country fair on the Village Green.
 Carnival atmosphere in the
Food stalls
Wooden skittles. 
Egg and spoon race
Organised games for children.

12 noon. Saturday
 “That’s so Like a Band
  Luncheon entertainment in the
Gordon Gardens.
  Brass bands play a medley of
music by Sullivan.

Revellers can picnic in the gardens or patronise venues in

1pm  Saturday
 “Here’s a man of Jollity” 
The Puppet show.
  St John’s Church Hall.

Gold coin donation

Saturday 13th October
3pm  - 6pm
“The People’s Pirates
At the Savoy Gardens.  
 Family fun. (good for

Taste of Gold, coffee stalls.
  $10 adult $5 children.

6pm  Dinner
  Now to the Banquet we press...

Food and vendors to be organised by local food sellers.  

8pm.  “The
Gilbert & Sullivan Story”
Town Hall.
The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Society present a “Cook’s tour “of Gilbert &
Admission charge $15.00 adult. $10 child.

A two hour show with short interval.
 Telling the story of Gilbert
& Sullivan with background information about the operas and songs to
Finish at 10pm.
Supper in Town Hall after the show

SUNDAY  14th October 2012

8am -2pm
Here’s a Howdy-Do”

Fine produce by local farmers and producers.
The famous Dunolly Traders Market
 in Broadway.

Trial by Jury
Court house.
 Performed by talented local thespians.

$5 ticket.

1pm.  Sunday 14th
 “I have a song to
 The People’s concert.
 Uniting Church.

The people’s sing-a-long.
One hour  Gold coin admission
 The Dunolly Festival Children’s Choir
and locals performers.
Calling all bathroom singers. 

2pm.  “That’s so Like a Band
  In the Savoy Gardens.

Orchestra play medley of music by Sullivan.
Taste of Gold.     
Food and wine.
SES, fire brigade etc.
Coffee van

3pm Sunday    
At the Savoy Gardens
Savoy Opera Company of Melbourne present the full production of the
fairy operetta.

“Fickle moment, Prithee Stay”
 goodbye to all.
$15.00 adult. $5.00 children
  finish at 6pm

Monday, July 25, 2011

Louisville...not the baseball slugger sort but the Gippsland variety

Louisville, Gippsland.
Apparently 100 kms north-west of Bairnsdale in the Gippsland area, on the Dargo in the valley below Sugarloaf and Mount Pyke.
Not heard of it?

Well, let me tell you about Jean-Louis Hubert Hanckar.
Or Louis Hanckar as he was regularly known.
Or possibly plain old Lou.
He first turned up on the Victorian goldfields (aged 31) with his good lady wife, Madame Hanckar, (a mere slip of a thing aged 25) from New York, in 1856.
The fact he was born in Maastricht, Netherlands, right on the border of Belguim (which probably explains the differing birthplaces that are attributed to him) means he'd been exploring the world before he hit our shores.

After working flat out like a lizard drinking Louis founded a gold mine at his self-named township, Louisville, what sprang up with 1500 miners overnight and gradually spawned shops and dwellings galore all along the Dargo River in 1863, which later settled into a calmer 300 bods.
The population was enough to support a polling booth at election time in 1867 when Louis played Little Red Riding Hood Deputy Returning Officer, despite the 'apathetic' turn out of voters.
No sausage sizzle.
After 15 years in The Fair Isle of Oz Louis applied for and was granted naturalisation as an Englishman in what I calculate to be 1871.

By the following year, on March 16, 1872, Louis applied for a new mining lease under the auspicious title of the Louisa Quartz Mining Company for a mere 30 acres.
Noice one, Louis!
But....something or someone whispered sweet nothings in Louis' lughole for that same year he upped stumps and began opening up the nickle mines in New Caledonia.

From reports in the papers old Louis had made his fortune on the Louisville gold field and the nickle mines were another venture that he turned to...gold
By 1873 he was back in England before trotting back to New Caledonia where he was the consul for Italy.
He and a business partner, Higginson, displayed their New Caledonian nickle wares at an exhibition at Noumea on March 16 and 17, 1876, for which they won special gold medals.
Our Louis was blinged out even more when he was decorated with many foreign awards including being knighted with the French Legion of Honor in 1880.

Also in 1880 Louis became business partners with Higginson and Garnier, creating the company Société Le Nickel (SLN) which received backing from Baron de Rothschild (and stayed under Rothschild control until 1970s).
Louis was sailing back and forth to The Fair Isle of Oz to which his wife finally said goodbye and sailed off into the sunset with her beloved Louis in 1881.

The last rumoured word is that Louis died as a happy and wealthy bloke in London.
Sometimes the nice guys do finish first.


HomeBush, Homebush, Lower HomeBush, HomeBush Lower and another Homebush or 3

NB Those pretty colours are links to photos and websites....go explore them, there will be an *exam on this later.

Homebush? you say.
Have you gone mad? (Rhetorical question, of course I'm mad).
Everyone knows Homebush is in NSW.
Ahhh....but is it?

Once upon a time a bajillion years ago I parked my carcass in a little area outside Bendigo (Vic) known as Junortoun.
Which, until just 20 years earlier, had been called.....Homebush.
It had hosted a Homebush gold rush....a Homebush Hotel which provided background scenery to a murder most foul..... the Homebush Steeplechase and Homebush Welter (horse races)...
It was changed as so many people had their mail accidentally re-directed to Homebush in NSW.
Which isn't in Victoria, obviously.
They were so lax in using postcodes.
Tsk, tsk.

Although the Homebush in Queensland is still in existance.
Do we assume they use carrier pigeon...?

And not to forget HomeBush and Lower HomeBush.
Or HomeBush Lower.
Also in Victoria.
Not at the same time as the Junortoun one.
That would just be too silly.
Imagine, using the same town name over and over
Yes, the two would have been alive and thriving at the same time.

HomeBush and Lower HomeBush/HomeBush Lower (near Avoca)  popped up during a flush of gold fever, as towns were want to do, in 1853.
It did stick around long enough to get well established to the point it had a HomeBush railway station (squeezed in between Avoca and Bung Bong on the line to Maryborough), pubs, mines, schools, shops, a boarding house, churches, the whole catastrophe.

And....it still exists.
HomeBush in Victoria may have a 0   apparently has a population of at least 3, according to the irate correspondence I received (January 2018) but it is still marked on maps....hasn't changed its moniker... go on, go check it out on Google Maps , sadly no Street View as Google hasn't trundled down the unpopulated streets/roads/lanes.
You can still go back to HomeBush.....

*No, no exam, just playing with your mind.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Federal Hotel (Coffee Palace) Melbourne

Andrew just posted about the glorious but sadly lost Federal Hotel (former coffee palace) and it niggled at my grey matter....so I trotted over the collection of books I've amassed on Australian pubs (yes, a fair few for someone who rarely darkens their doorstep *snort* I live vicariously through my tomes)  and dug out a book where I found a couple of little extra tidbits about this beautiful building.

The design of this flight of fancy was decided by an architectural competition ; the owners hankered after the exterior drafted by the firm W.H Ellerker and E.G Kilburn (first prize) but second prize went to W. Pitt, who had a bit of nouse about how a hotel actually functioned, for his interior designs and the two different firms worked together.

The dirty digging and foundation - performed with elan and flair by N.Kingston of Richmond and which signalled the start of  the Grand Prix construction in 1886 - alone cost close to £10,000 while the finished product - furnished to the gunwales by decorator T.Cawthorne and slapped together by builder T.Cockram & Co - lightened the owners hip pockets by £154,000.

It was originally meant to lodge up to 600 bodies in beds but the small issue of an economic depression kinda kicked that detail to the kerb, leaving just 400 beds and rooms for the poor people to lounge, write (that thing we did with our fingers before computers, kids), read, relax, smoke  and play billards while the ice plant in the basement cooled the delicious foodstuffs and drinkie-poos lolly water (remember, it was a temperence-influenced coffee palace at this stage, no alcohol allowed) in hot weather as the residents whipped up and down with gay abandon to their bedrooms in the 6 Waygood and Sons 'accident proof' lifts.

Fire regs were starting to bite so stone stairs at each corner and in the centre were thrown in for good measure while fire hoses - with their own water supply from tanks on the roof - stood ready at every landing, oil lamps were kept lit just in case the gas lighting gave up in an emergency and a couple of porters trotted about the hallways each night, all night keeping a beady eye out as an early warning system along with those 'new fangled electric bells'.

Source: The Australian Pub by J.M Freeland

I won't post a photo of it here as there are many availble in the following links showing what a gorgeous creation once graced our skyline.

Further details and photos on this lost architectural beauty available in the following links -
Marvellous Melbourne; Federal Coffee Palace.
Walking Melbourne ; Federal Hotel and Coffee Palace.
Walking Melbourne; Melbourne's Lost Hotels.
Australian Postal History; Federal Palace Hotel to Battle Creek.
eMelbourne; Federal Coffee Palace.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Melbourne's Homeopathic Hospital...or Prince Henry's Hospital, take your pick.

 This post is due to a niggling curiosity of mine and a question or 3 from Andrew.

Yes, for a whole 66 years Marvellous Melbourne was blessed with a Homeopathic Hospital, from the moment a free Melbourne Homeopathic Dispensary opened in 1869 until the hospital itself was closed in 1934.
Quackery, did I hear you say?
Nay, good reader, twas none of the sort!
The Homeopathic Hospital was created and run by many dedicated professionals, as the Colony of Port Phillip had a great many Homeopathic doctors as residents since the gold rushes of the 1850's.

Many homeopathic doctors settled in Victoria and soon had large, successful practices, the majority choosing Collins St (Melbourne's equivalent of London's Harley St) to hang their shingle.
The 1861 census showed that out of 592 medical practitioners only 61 were medical doctors with the rest being midwives and homeopaths.
Logic dictates there wouldn't be so many if it was a load of old cow pats.

In 1855 the first Homeopathic Dispensary was established at 85 Collins Street and, after several changes of ownership, it moved to 90 Collins Street - obviously staying in the medical precinct where all the homeopaths had their rooms.
A group of homeopaths got together and had a meeting on October 30th, 1869 where they decided to establish a dispensary to treat people for free (goodness, imagine that!); they didn't muck about as they had rented a house at 153 Collins St for the Melbourne Homeopathic Dispensary and opened it's doors by November 22.

The year 1874 saw that the Homeopathic Committee was filled by 15 very influential Melbourne women who agitated for a homeopathic hospital; never underestimate the power of women for they not only got the Melbourne Homeopathic Dispensary on their side but the good ladies got themselves a Govt grant of land in St Kilda Road.
These ladies were making history; while the permanent hospital was being built, a temporary one was run from a 3 storey house at 17 Spring St which consisted of 14 beds and an Outpatients Dept with it being the very first homeopathic hospital in the Southern Hemisphere. (See above for not underestimating the power of women).

The foundation stone of the hospital was laid by the Gov of Victoria in 1882 and opened later that year.
Want to see what an architectural beauty, in style, grace and form, that once welcomed the sick through its doors?
Click HERE...or HERE...or HERE.
Yes, it was gorgeous. *sigh*

In 1889 yet another typhoid epidemic swept Melbourne (or Smellbourne as it came to be known before a decent sewerage system was built) with almost all of the hosiptals within Melbourne swamped with ill patients.
The Melbourne Hospital (a "traditional" medical hospital) treated 351 patients with a mortality rate of 22%, while the Homeopathic Hospital treated 408 with a mortality rate less than half of the Melbourne Hosptial's, being 10%
But by then the Homeopathic Hospital was having difficulty attracting new doctors. Many came from England - and their 5 year degree was automatically recognised throughout Oz - but those from America - with their 4 year degree - were not allowed to register and soon upped sticks and left.
Although the Medical Board disregarded this archiac rule, and generously allowed a whole 1 homeopath per year to be registered if they came from Boston or New York, the word had got out internationally and very few American homeopathic doctors came to Oz.
The Victorian Medical Board drove another nail in the Homeopathic Hospital's coffin by writing up a "code of ethics" in 1906 which banned outright any medical doctor from working with a homeopathic collegue.

Making history again, Dr Janet Cooper became the first female doctor at the Homeopathic Hospital in 1917. She later went on to become the first female Mayor of South Melbourne and was awarded an OBE for her extensive welfare work.

1924 saw the death knell tolling as allopathic doctors - traditional medical doctors - allowed to practice at the Homeopathic Hospital due to a drastic shortage of those who had homeopathic training.
As the Homeopathic Hospital had previously had no use for labs or equipment such as X-ray machines, the medical doctors kicked up a fuss and the Homeopathic Hospital was no more.
By Royal decree from King George V himself it became titled as Prince Henry's Hospital, a traditional medical hospital.

It was, originally, to have been named Prince George's Hospital but the Prince George of the time got himself shackled in engagement so his brother Prince Henry (Duke of Gloucester) popped along to Melbourne in his place, opened the Shrine of Remembrance and his papa decreed that the hospital be named after him.

That beautiful ediface of the Homeopathic Hospital was *gag* demolished to make room for THIS.
While it was not as pretty as its predecessor, I've been told by many a nurse who worked there that the atmosphere at Prince Henry's was friendly, supportive and a great place to work.

Sadly, it lasted only 60 years, just 6 years shy of the Homeopathic Hospital lifetime, being torn down for more damn roadways in 1994.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Donkeywoman's Gully - go on, find it, I dare you!

Yep, go on; hop onto Google Maps and see if you can find Donkeywoman's Gully in Victoria (or any where else for that matter!).
Give up, yet?
*tapping foot, looking at watch*
Oh, alright, it was properly known as Lamplough.
Yes, you will find it on Google Maps.
No, you won't find a seething metropolis there.

Lamplough was another town born from the galloping blucher boots of miners thirsting after gold, and into Donkeywoman's Gully they trotted in November 1859 when a couple of Welsh brothers stumbled over the glittery stuff.
In it's early debut stages as a mining field Lamplough went by the moniker Clare Castle Diggings, named after the solitary pub in the area (which was near local miners tents - good marketing!).

When the word went out about the gold find they came running from all directions literally, swelling the population of the tents around the pub from 4 miners to 500 overnight, to 3,000 the next day and then 10,000 in the following two days.
Within a month the National Bank had a branch opened there, the streets were covered in gravel to control the dust,a post office was built, the police had a camp, the streets had been surveyed, they even had their own newspaper being published.
Soon it had the usual baubles any self-respecting town decorated itself with ; general stores, pubs, billard halls, churches, schools, theatres, a police court with the usual array of barristers, brewery, bowling green, and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all.

But just as quickly as it had sprung up, Lamplough began disappearing; with new gold strikes found further afield barely 1 year after it had become established overnight Lamplough was pulled apart at the seams with stores, churches, schools and all buildings torn down to be erected on the next big paying gold diggings.

16,000 people populated a town that has left barely a sign it ever existed.
There's a few houses scattered willy-nilly along the Sunraysia Hwy but Lamplough and its Commercial Street, that stretched for a mile with pubs, pubs, grog shantys, general stores, more pubs and every kind of business, has long since departed.
The bush has reclaimed Donkeywoman's Gully.

Cockle Steam Train...but no Molly Malone.

Molly Malone might have been trundling a barrow through streets broad and narrow but the Cockle Steam Train can beat that any day.
All the poppets in South Oz who lived near Victor Harbour would hop on board a horse-drawn train to Goolwa and trip lightly down to the beach to collect those yummy cockles (but not mussles) from near the mouth of the Murray River.

In 1854 The Powers That Be listened to those with commonsense (they used to do that more frequently back then) and built what was the first public railway with steel tracks in Oz to service not just those seafood junkies but to connect the trade on the Murray River with Port Elliot and Victor Harbour.
Steam engines took over the job from the gee-gees in 1884 and have been doing the work ever since.

You can click HERE for more info on times, tickets and trivia.
But there'll be no fishmongers nor links to Dublin's fair city.

Rottnest Island Horse-drawn Tram

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away there was an island that was full of rats.
No, seriously the native quokkas were mistaken for rats (easy error, made the boo-boo myself a few times as they were rooting around in my wardrobe) and the Dutch called it Rottnest Island.

The hoi polloi were attracted to sea travel, the bracing sea air and watching the queer rats quokkas gambol and romp about the lump of sand just off the Westralia coast.
Now, despite it being a prison, tourists were popping over to Rottnest Island at an alarming rate in private boats from the early 1900's until some clever clogs worked out how to make it pay for them and thus began the ferry services in 1902.

Shortly after this tram tracks were gracefully plonked in the sand with a horse-drawn tram collecting the tourists and transporting them to other parts of the isle.
You can see a picture HERE of the horse-tram to prove I'm not making this up, or had wild dreams from eating gherkins after 10pm.

Sadly the motor vehicle invention replaced the sedate horse-trams in 1925, with most of the original track being recycled at the Perth Zoo.
But they did leave a few little sections which you can hunt out next time you pop over to watch the rats quokkas playing by the seaside.

Victor Harbour Horse-drawn Tram still going since 1894.

But I'm sure they've changed the dobbins a few times since they began.

A lovely old style of transport still working it's magic on tourists to Granite Island from Victor Harbour in South Oz.
Once upon a time Victor Harbour thought it was in the running to become the capital of the South Oz colony, so it built the causeway to Granite Island on which the neddies still clip-clop today.
If you're up on your geography you'll know that Adelaide, not Victor Harbour, got to wear the capital crown of the colony but it's good to know the movers and shakers of the losing town didn't just throw everything out and kept the horse-drawn tram that entices thousands to the region every day.
You can feast your eyes on pictures and info HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

Codrington - where bushranging is honoured in a town that never was.

If you're tootling down the Princes Hwy to Portland you'll pass through an area called Codrington.
There are a few houses there, set well back from the road, but no bustling, busy service town.
Nothing but paddocks, trees, grass, cows, paddocks, more cows, and a few more trees.
After Port Fairy and Yambuk but before Portland.
Yes, that's the long stretch of countryside I mean!

Back in 1850 a chappie by the very high-falutin' sounding name of Codrington Revingstone took to bushranging.
It was a smart career choice as he was rather talented in this field and he also had the bottle for deering-do.
Codrington robbed the mail coach on June 29, 1850, but was quickly arrested.
(Don't fret, he was the one who got away).
While he was in police custody on board the ship "Cecelia" in Warrnambool Bay waiting to sail to Melbourne, a court trial and, inevitable, gaol, on August 10 Codrington did a successful bunk.
The policeman, Constable Hogan, did try to get some shots off at the departing bushranger but his powder was damp (I can't stand it when my powder gets damp) and Codrington made it to shore safely.
Barely 2 days later Codrington was up to his old tricks and robbed the mail coach again just near the scene of his first robbery. The bushranger was feeling quite chipper as he informed the mailman that all the constabulary were "a set of applewomen".
Not too sure what this means but I don't think it was meant to be complimentary.
Anyway, Codrington kept his head down and didn't get up to any mischief (or none that was attributable to him) unti his 3rd and final mail coach robbery in November.
Same area - which had gained the local name of Codrington's Forest by this time - same coach, same bushranger, same outcome.
And that's where Codrington Revingstone vanishes out of the history books.

Now, gallop forward 20 years and we find ourselves in the 1870's when a township was surveyed on the site of Codrington's Forest, and a proposed new road was to travel closer to the coast on it's way to Portland.
Liking the sound of the local name for the area it was officially adopted without checking it's origins.
Fortunately for the surveyors in the hot seat the road was built further inland and the township idea never took off, leaving Codrington the town that never was, named after the bushranger who vanished.

Home Rule in NSW ...is not a political demand.

Home Rule was once a thriving, bustling township on the Mudhut Creek Road in NSW.
Just north of Mudgee and slightly south-east of Gulgong, it was the rich pickin's at Canadian Lead that drew the bodies and souls like flies to honey, with eventual gold discoveries a little further east at Home Rule.

Thriving and bustling indeed; with 20,000 inhabitants from May 1872 busting a gut to gouge the gold from the ground and the many and varied businesses that seem to spring up, like fungus on a damp log, around human habitation sites.
There were at least 10 pubs, several boarding houses, a couple of general stores, butchers, bakers and tent makers, a butter and corn store, saddlers, chemists and at least 3 doctors, a saleyards, a bootmaker and a restaurant.
(One wonders if the restaurant necessitated the need for the doctors; it couldn't possibly have been the hotels, surely!)
There was a school for the, inevitable, arrival of rug-rats, a greengrocers store and a *gasp* billard parlor!

As several of these establishments were owned by Chinese people, one may assume there were many Chinese miners also grunting and groaning their way through the hard soil for the elusive glittering gold.

But, of course, nothing lasts forever and the gold reefs in and around Home Rule obeyed the laws of averages exactly.
Once the gold began disappearing so did the miners and along with a vanishing mob of customers so the various businesses followed.
Trek over to Home Rule via Google Maps (ooo I so love that gadget!) and say g'day to the very few scattered houses that mark the spot of the once large town site.

Darwin Town...but not the one in the Top End.

Did you know that Darwin was once a mining town?
Or that it gets snow?
And that it's a tad difficult to drive into Darwin at any time of the year?

Well, if you'd read the title of this post correctly you'd know I wasn't waffling on about Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory.
I am, in fact, burbling on about Darwin Town in Tassie.
It was a short-lived mining town, named after the mountain on which it was perched, Mt Darwin.
This peak is parked in the West Coast Range (on the West Coast of Tassie, of course) with it's sister Mt Jukes with both having had many a digging site pock-marking their sides that are known as the Jukes-Darwin fields.

But back to Darwin Town.
Well, there's not a lot to say as there's sweet bugger-all available online about this long-forgotten place and I'm too cheap and lazy to hunt out The Peaks of Lyell history book by Prof. Geoffrey Blainey (I'll let you have the honour of doing that).
Enough souls called it home for the North Mt Lyell Railway to chug into, and beyond, the town from 1900.
The Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company recognised a decent option and took the railway over in 1903, running it until it closed for good in 1929.

Darwin was plopped on the eastern side of Mt Darwin, no doubt enjoying a hefty snowfall in Winter and lovely breezes in Summer.
But we won't know that for certain as you really can't get to it these days along the old railway due to over-grown tracks, undergrowth and distance.
Oh, and flooded valleys, too.
So, wave in the general direction of the meandering Mt Darwin Track in Google Maps, coz there's nothing else marked to lead you to the lost town that lasted barely 30 yrs.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Let's get lost at Cocoroc !

OK, how about let's not get lost at Cocoroc.
(For those wondering, it's Aboriginal for "frog" ).
Might make for awkward explanations as to why we're all wandering around in a ghost town only 44kms from Melbourne.
Yes, Cocoroc is merely a name on the old Google map these days, although street view will give you a great close up of all that is no longer of the town.

Waaaay back in the dim dark past of 1892, when The Powers That Be realised that Marvellous Melbourne (or Smelbourne as it was fast becoming known) was seriously on the nose, a sewerage filtration plant was built.
Now, logic dictates that any treatment system needs to be far from the delicate nostrils of the upper echelon but it still required people to work it; so Cocoroc came into being.
A town built to house, educate and grow into a community to over 500 people with 4 primary schools, their own town hall and post office.
They fielded their own footy team, which trained on it's own home footy ground, swam in their own swimming pool in Summer, lobbed a few tennis balls over the net at their tennis courts and on Sundays they attended the Cocoroc church.
Cocoroc came to an end slowly; although the rent was cheap with 2 milking cows thrown in, with no gas or electricity the residents had to use kero lamps and candles, and pumping water for the house was a daily chore, as was boiling up the copper for wash day.
And then the houses were needing more and more maintenance.....
The houses and buildings were carted away when the Metropolitan Board of Works called it quits, with one of the 4 schools being demoted to becoming the Werribee Scout Hall.
So jump onto Google maps and have a gander at Cocoroc, have a wander along the main road in Street View but try not to get lost there coz no bugger will be around to lead you home.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Murrells of Mentone


I came across this a few weeks back and it intrigued me.
Who were they? Why did they inspire such a dedication?
Newspaper files of the time show stable fires - with horse and human deaths - weren't uncommon, so what made this couple special?

Turns out William and Violet Murrell were the Brad and Angelina, the Nicole and Keith, the Mary and Fred of the racing world in their day.

Violet was the daughter of racehorse trainer Harry Farmer; she was on horses almost before she could walk, developing a deep love and affinity with these animals.
Violet rode many of her father's, and other trainers', horses in both flat gallops and hurdles races.
At the time female jockeys weren't allowed to compete in the metropolitan races, which frustrated her no end, but Violet won many country races in Victoria and NSW, beating the same jockeys who were undefeated in the metropolitan races.
One mini-biography states she was also the first female jockey to race at Randwick, NSW.

Violet also competed in numerous point-to-points, riding to hounds with hunts clubs, schooling some of her father's future champion race horses over the fences and ditches, to win several seasons.
Many newspaper reports state that at least one champion racehorse, Agricolo, had been greatly improved by her riding him to hounds.

William Murrell was no slouch in the racing department himself, having grown up on horses at his birthplace of Corryong; he was the Australian Cross Country champion several times, one of those times being on the champion hurdles racehorse Mosstrooper. He'd also won the Commonwealth Steeplechase,the Grand National Steeplechase, the Australian Steeplechase and Australian Hurdles amongst many other races, riding Mosstrooper, Roisel and other great jumps horses to victory.
William rode interstate and overseas, racing for 2 years in India, returning in 1923 to resume his winning career in Melbourne.

William and Violet married in 1927, he handsome and fresh faced while she was quite beautiful, the stunning couple clad in their racing colours in the studio portraits shine out clearly even after all these years.
Violet was given her champion hack Garryowen in 1931.

Violet and Garryowen quickly developed a deep affection for one another, with the pair winning more than 200 championships in both the Royal Melbourne and Sydney Shows.
When she talked to the horse, he'd nod or shake his head in appropriate reply. He was a beautiful bay colour with a lovely nature; completely reliable they photographed him trotting in the driveway of their home in Mentone with no rider or bridle, such was his calm temperament.
Violet often referred to him as her pet and good friend.

William and Violet had stables with 6 stalls at the back of their Latrobe St, Mentone home which was not far from the popular Mentone Race Course.
In early 1933 William decided to retire from racing as a jockey and became both a racehorse trainer and Violet's coach. The continued wins for both prove the great combination they made.

March 24, 1934 at 2am both William and Violet were suddenly woken by a horse's screams and a neighbour banging on their door - the stables, only 50 yards from their house, were aflame.
Violet ran into the burning stables, in just her flimsy nightdress, in a vain attempt to rescue Garryowen.
William's racehorse, Piquant, and the family dog, Billy, were also caught in the inferno.
Although he was momentarily knocked out by a falling timber, William ran into the burning building to rescue Violet; finding her collapsed in front of Garryowen's stall and unable to free the animals, William carried Violet out of the stables only to collapse outside himself.
Neighbours did their best for them, one of them a doctor, while the Cheltenham and Mentone fire brigades were hard pressed to contain the fire just to the stables.
Faulty wiring was later found to have been the cause.

Both Murrells were taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where Violet was immediately operated on and given a blood transfusion but she died in the early hours of March 25, aged 28.
William was also fighting for his life, with extensive burns to his face and hands, but he was not told of his wife's death.

The whole of Mentone and the racing fraternity were in shock at the death of Violet Murrell.
The large number of floral tributes and visitors, in the midst of the Great Depression, shows how deeply respected she was by many people. 2 cars were needed to carry the many wreaths while the funeral cortege stretched for more than half a mile.
Hundreds of people lined the funeral route to the Cheltenham cemetery while past champion jockey's acted as pall bearers.

William Murrell passed away in the early hours of April 4, 1934, aged 42, never having known his beloved Violet had died.
His death again shocked and deeply saddened the Mentone and racing communities.
His funeral was equally as large as his wife's had been ; many jockeys, trainers, racehorse owners and hundreds of local residents came to pay tribute to a successful man they'd known as a friend and neighbour.

Such was the depth of sadness at this couple's sudden death that the Purple Cross dedicated the horse trough to the couple for the people of Mentone while the Royal Melbourne Show Committee established the Garryowen Trophy Event later that same year, in 1934, to commemorate the respect and love Violet held for both Garryowen and all horses.
*With thanks to Jahteh and Andrew for their assistence in research.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Laura and Charles Ferguson Museum in Mentone

I was going tell you about this brilliant little museum tucked away in Old Bakery Lane, behind Mentone Parade, in Mentone.
I was also going to tell you that it has some fantastic items on display, is rich in resources and is quite an eye-opener of what our urban beaches once looked like.
Another thing I was going to share with you was that the volunteer staff are helpful, friendly, cheerful and waiting to answer any query people might have for them.
But Feral Beast has beaten me to the punch and blogged about the museum HERE.
But you can still pop along and visit this wonderful museum every Sunday 2-5pm for the miserly sum of $2 entry and get a great look, and feel, for many a lost yesteryear around Mentone, Parkdale, Beaumaris, Mordialloc and districts.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ballarat Trams

December 1887 saw the birth of the horse-drawn tramway in Ballarat, a new form of public transport that was to garner many a fan from the public throughout it's existence until 1902, owned and operated by the Ballarat Tramways Company Ltd .

The horse trams were double-decker models that could park 44 bums on seats with 150 horses to haul the favoured conveyance around the Ballarat streets.

By 1902 ownership of the tram company, like that of the Bendigo Tramway Company, passed into the hands of the Electric Supply Company of Victoria.
Again like the Bendigo steam trams, the Electric Supply Company electrified the Ballarat tram lines and extended the track network.

When the SEC took over the network it was in poor condition and many pennies were spent on upgrading a worn-out system with a minor extension of the Lydiard Street North route.

For some reason there were only 2 years of profit from the Ballarat tramways under 37 years of ownership by the SEC which, again like the sister tramway in Bendigo, petitioned several times to close the lines until the Victorian Govt voted in it's favour in 1970.

The last day had large crowds of people, a brass band and the local radio station witness the end of an era. The very last tram carried over 200 passengers to Sturt St where they exchanged their seats for tramway men who travelled, for the last time, to the depot.

The Ballarat Tramway Museum came into being shortly before the closure of the tram lines, like it's Bendigo counterpart, to preserve some of the stock and track, and to keep some of the trams working as a tourist tramway.

Map courtesy of Google and research courtesy of Andrew.

Bendigo Trams

Beginning way back in the dark ages of 1890 Bendigo streets were graced with chugging battery powered trams for a whole 4 miles of track.
Unfortunately, while the batteries in the trams might have been simply grand on the flat, the up hill and down dale terrain of Bendigo proved too tough (even with a tail wind), leaving the trams (and passengers) stranded at the Eaglehawk end of the track where the driver would grab any horse ambling past and turn it into a horse-drawn tram for the return trip.

After a very short 13 months the Sandhurst and Eaglehawk Tramway Company found their finances as flat as the tram batteries and were bought out by the Bendigo Tramway Company.

This new business saw the writing on the wall for the batteries and, instead, made it over into a steam- engine driven tramway which proved a winner with everyone.

Sadly the fire went out of the steam tram business with the depression and, once more, the business was up for sale when it was gobbled up by the Electric Supply Company of Victoria in 1897.

Now, an electric company isn't going to see a steam-driven tramway as good advertising for it's own product so, of course, the trams were electrified.
With plans to scurry their trams all over the place, more land was bought for routes, generation plant, tram depot, etc.
The electric trams were a huge success.

There were no specific route destinations, the trams carried their passengers either north-south or east-west, with Charing Cross in the heart of Bendigo being X marks the spot where all the routes met, shook hands and continued on their way.

When the govt-owned SEC came into being it took over the Electric Supply Company's assets, including the Bendigo Trams. A shedload of dosh was needed to be spent on upgrading the equipment and spend it the SEC did, albeit reluctantly.

With the increase in popularity of that nasty, foul smelling motorised thing, the motor car, profit from passengers started to fall off prompting the SEC, several times, to try to close down the tramways, finally getting permission from the oh-so-forward thinking Victorian Govt (nice to know some things never change!).
A massive crowd turned out to farewell the trams on April 16, 1972, with massed pipe bands leading the last trams from Quarry Hill and massed brass bands leading the last trams from Eaglehawk, while a solo piper played Will Ye No Come Back Again as they disappeared from view.

Bendigo only has the Talking Tourist Trams today due to the Bendigo Trust listening to very vocal public opinion (something the State Govt seems to be forever deaf towards) and proposed to retain the whole kit and kaboodle, which was approved by the Govt (hooray for small mercies) the same year that the line was closed, 1972.

Map courtesy of Google and fantastic research courtesy of that splendiferous lad, Andrew.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sorrento Steam Tram

Actor, politician and entrepreneur George Coppin - who gave Melbournians Cremorne Gardens and The Iron Pot Theatre - started making Sorrento The Place To Be.

May 18, 1889 he launched the Sorrento Tramway Company, and by 1890 the 2 steam engines, which had been used by the Loch Valley Timber Company near Noojee, were hauling up to 20,000 tourists each season.

No timetable was set; the tram would meet the paddle steamers that plied the bay (also owned by Coppin) and would then chug the mere 2 kms from Sorrento Pier to the back beach. A toot on the whistle in the afternoon would warn tourists to hurry back to the tram to begin their journey home again.

As time stands still for no man, neither does progress and, with increasing car ownership and usage, both the steam tram and paddle steamers became obsolete. The tram ceased services in 1921 and the paddle steamers were cut from 8 down to only 2 bobbing about on the waves by 1940.

For more great photos and info, click HERE, HERE and HERE.

Map courtesy of Andrew.

Horse Drawn Trams #7 Beaumaris

February 8, 1889 saw the beginning of the Beaumaris Tramway Company horses clip-clopping their way from Sandringham railway station following the seafront of Beach Rd until Tramway Parade was found.

Turning left into the parade, the tram tracks faithfully copied the wiggles of the road into the straight stretch where Tramway Pde met Balcombe Rd.

Reining the horses to the right the tram would travel the short way to Charman Rd where the tracks, and Dobbin, would swing the passengers in their seats to the left, conveying them to the Cheltenham Railway station.

Due to the lack of that nasty thing, money, being spent on the upkeep of the tram tracks, it was deemed too expensive to repair, too expensive to electrify and too expensive to replicate so the Beaumaris Tramway Company began closing services in 1915.

For further details, information and pictures (including a map of the route) click HERE.

Photo from Clang,Clang,Clang; A Study of Melbourne's Tramways by Marc Fiddian.


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