Copies of MDHS Newsletter
March 2005 to September 2008

 

Select which Newsletter you wish to see:
#1 (Mar '05) ; #2 (Jun '05) ; #3 (Sep '05); #4 (Feb '06); #5 (Apr '06); #6 (June '06); #7 (Sep '06); #8 (Dec '06); #9 (Feb '07); #10 (July '07); #11 (Oct 07); #12 (Feb 08); #13 (June 08); #14 (Sept 08);

Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter # 14  -   (September 2008)



In this issue:
calendar

Reports:
Tuesday speaker
Art Deco Festival

Updates:
Beet Museum
Victoria Park
Cataloguing

 

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here
 

 Calendar of Activities 2008

     As you may notice, the regular calendar is missing.  For a variety of reasons your executive has been unable to complete the year's calendar of events and activities.
     Unfortunately we have had to cancel the Annual Luncheon. There are so many competing groups in the market for speakers now-a-days that it has just not been possible to find a anyone who is available at this time.  We apologise for any inconvenience and disappointment.
     We may also be forced to curtail some of our other activities.  As is the way with so many other voluntary organisations, we are dependent on only a small group of regularly active members, and we just can't do everything.  As you'll see below, that doesn't mean that we've done nothing.

     There is a workshop and research session held every Monday afternoon from about 1.00pm in the Maffra Library, during which members work on the cataloguing of the archives or on their own researches.  Occasionally arrangements have to be changed at short notice; if you are a regular, or wish to become so, you might like to ask to be put on the emailing list.  Contact Linda at kapana@netspace.net.au
     Visitors are very welcome to come along and either join in or request help in your own research.  This is an opportunity for members of the public to have access to the archives, including the photographic collection.  You can check first by ringing Maffra Library (03) 5147 1052.
    


Reports

Tuesday Talk: 15th July at 1.30 at the Museum (McMahon Drive):  Jim Hood, President of the Traralgon Historical Society and one of two Gippsland regional representatives in the Victorian Support Group within the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, spoke to us about the role of the "Royal".
     A regular newsletter keeps societies informed of each other's activities throughout the state.  Two or three seminars are held each year in various regional locations, on topics such as "archival storage" and "research".  In addition assistance can be given with the use of computers, cataloguing and the mechanics of running a society.

Art Deco 2008 Regional Festival, Sunday 31st August at The Big Shed, Maffra:  to coincide with the Art Deco Exhibition in the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Arts Victoria, the RHSV and Museums Australia have promoted a series of events all over Victoria featuring the Art Deco style.  The Gippsland Vehicle Collection's current impressive exhibition of American cars formed the basis of Maffra's event.  A steady stream of visitors all day also saw valuations of art deco items, woodworking demonstrations using tools of the period, and heard speakers on art deco service stations as well as a community choir singing appropriate travelling songs. 
     The Historical Society was also there showing its film of the beet industry in the 1920s as well as displaying photos of the town between the wars.  Down the road we had the Beet Museum open and it was encouraging that over forty visitors dropped in to see what we have on display.  We're very grateful to the GVC's committee for inviting us to take part.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updates

Beet Museum: the display in the main room is finally completed, despite some concerns that there seem to be too few artifacts.  The simple reason is that there aren't any more, or that what else we have is far too big to fit into the room! 
     We'd now like to get back to regular monthly openings, but that raises the same old problem as before.  To open you need people to assist.  You don't have to be an expert - the displays tell the story - and you won't be left there by yourself.  If you think you could give us even one Sunday afternoon, please either speak to Carol at the Maffra Library or use one of the contacts at the end of this newsletter.  We'd love to hear from you.
     Several weeks ago we received a visit from Barbara Wels from the Victorian branch of Museums Australia.  She met with the executive and spent quite a time looking over the museum and talking with us about our future plans.  As a result we have been invited to apply for a grant which will enable us to concrete the floor of two more bays in our big shed.  That may not sound very exciting, but it will enable us to extend the archive storage area as well as have a space to assess and work on any new donations to the museum.  Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Victoria Park:  Wellington Shire is currently upgrading and landscaping the park, which is opposite the hospital in the northern part of the town.  A carved wooden statue of Allan McLean is to become one of the features and the Society has been consulted regarding the interpretive sign to be placed beside it. 

Cataloguing:  we've been given a set of photographic glass plates produced by Major Hammond early last century.  Some depict scenes around the town or nearby; others show the building of Glenmaggie; others again are of town inhabitants.  The archivists have been very carefully handling them and have encased each in appropriate archival material so that from now on they will be cared for in a professional manner.

 


   The Society's contact is through The Secretary, PO Box 321, Maffra, 3860
or through our web site www.maffra.net.au/heritage

or via our email address heritage@maffra.net.au
 


Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter # 13  -   (June 2008)



In this issue:
calendar

Reports:
Cataloguing

Excursion

Updates:
Tuesday Afternoon
Speakers


2008 Membership

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here
 

 Calendar of Activities 2008
(
items added and/or revised - please disregard previous copy)
 
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Monday 7/07/2008 Committee meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 15/07/2008 Tuesday Speaker 1.30pm Maffra Beet Museum
Monday 4/08/08 Committee meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Monday 1/09/08 Annual Luncheon noon tba

     There is a workshop and research session held every Monday afternoon from about 1.00pm in the Maffra Library, during which members work on the cataloguing of the archives or on their own researches.  Occasionally arrangements have to be changed at short notice; if you are a regular, or wish to become so, you might like to ask to be put on the emailing list.  Contact Linda at kapana@netspace.net.au
     Visitors are very welcome to come along and either join in or request help in your own research.  This is an opportunity for members of the public to have access to the archives, including the photographic collection.  You can check first by ringing Maffra Library (03) 5147 1052.
    


Reports

Cataloguing the Dairy Display at Winnindoo
     The cataloguing team descended upon the Robotic Dairy display centre on Saturday 15th March intent upon recording and cataloguing all our collection out there.  Linda soon had everyone busy with their allotted tasks and after a concentrated day interrupted only by lunch, all our artifacts have been photographed and initially recorded.  Having our records on the new lap-top helped immensely here.  The records are now being progressively fine tuned during the regular Monday sessions.

Autumn Excursion - Walhalla
     Combining with Stratford and Rosedale Historical Societies proved to be an excellent idea; individually, each society would have been pushing to fill even a small bus but collectively we were able to afford one comfortable coach and share costs as well as companionship.
     As it happened we made such good time that we were much too early to catch the first scheduled train from the Thomson River Bridge station.  But as luck would have it, a train was at the station ready to be taken up to Walhalla for the day's first official journey.  After some friendly negotiation we were allowed to board and virtually had the carriages to ourselves.  The winding trip across the narrow Thomson River bridge and then hugging the cliff faces along the equally narrow Stringers Creek valley caused us to marvel at the engineering skills of the original builders and the later restorers.

     Our coach picked us up again at the Walhalla station and we were joined by one of the local storekeepers who gave a running commentary as we progressed along the main street.  Returning to the centre of town, it was time for coffee, lunch, a wander and a museum visit.
     In the afternoon we gathered at the foot of the hill below the cemetery, which looked dauntingly high above us.  Those fit enough walked up the track while others were ferried up by vehicles provided through the Walhalla Cemetery Trust.  Yolanda Reynolds, the Trust's secretary, spoke to us about the cemetery itself, about the difficulties of preserving such a fragile site and about

the difficult decisions to be made when the pine trees, which are a feature, intruded upon and began to destroy the graves.  She also put to rest the rumour that bodies were buried vertically because of the steepness of the hillside.  This was not so; instead graves were built up using available rocks so that they give the impression of a series of terraces curving up and down the gullies.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updates

Tuesday Afternoon speakers
  
  In April we took the opportunity to introduce everyone to the refurbished museum, to gauge their reactions and to listen to constructive suggestions.  One request was that future Tuesday Afternoons be held at the Museum and not the Library.  Other suggestions include provision of a site map to indicate the location of the beet factory in relation to the present town, the marking of steps at the entrance for the safety of people with failing eyesight and the filling in of blank spots high up on the walls with more pictures.  All of these will be attended to.
     It was appropriate that our speaker was Anne Napier, who elaborated on the theme of heritage presentation which she had introduced in her earlier talk.  Various ways of bringing a location's heritage before the general public were discussed and the difficult matters of funding and responsibility were aired.  One Catch-22 situation we face is that although our museum building is quite clearly an historic one, it cannot be listed as a "heritage" building because it is not on its original site.   And consequently we cannot get "heritage" funding to develop it as our means of presenting Maffra's heritage even though, had it stayed where it was, it would have been bulldozed.  The one hope we have is that there's probably a way round the dilemma if you know what words to use.
     Tuesday 15th July at 1.30 at the Museum (McMahon Drive): Our next speaker will be Jim Hood, a long time member and office bearer of the Traralgon Historical Society.  Jim is our Gippsland regional representative on the committee of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.  He will be telling us about the current roles of the RHSV and about the services available to members of affiliated societies (of which we are one).  Just a tip from last meeting - bring a cushion.

Society Membership
 
  
 We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all those people who have supported us again in 2008.  Just a reminder that as an incentive, all paid-up members automatically receive a 10% discount on all Society charges, whether this be for the luncheon, for items purchased (eg. books, photo reproductions) or for excursions.
     If you would care to join for the remainder of 2008 you should write to the address below or, if you are reading this on-line, you could click here.


   The Society's contact is through The Secretary, PO Box 321, Maffra, 3860
or through our web site www.maffra.net.au/heritage

 


Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter # 12  -   (February 2008)



In this issue:

calendar

Updates:
Beet Museum
Cataloguing
Excursion

2008 Membership

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here
 

 Calendar of Activities 2007-2008
(
items added and/or revised - please discard previous copy)
 
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Monday 3/03/2008 AGM 7.30pm Maffra Library
Saturday 15/03/2008 Working bee at Winnindoo 10.00am Robotic Dairy
Winnindoo
Sunday t.b.a. Excursion   Walhalla

     There is a workshop and research session held every Monday afternoon from about 1.00pm in the Maffra Library, during which members work on the cataloguing of the archives or on their own researches.
     Visitors are very welcome to come along and either join in or request help in your own research.  This is an opportunity for members of the public to have access to the archives, including the photographic collection. 
     We have had a reprieve on our use of the Maffra Library for at least a while.


     Due to several personal matters beyond peoples' control, your executive has not yet been able to meet to plan the year.  We should be pretty well OK by the AGM.  In the meantime, here's what's happening in the next couple of months.

Updates

Beet Museum redesign
     Most of the new display panels have been put up; the three dimensional items are being installed also.  The window tinting has been completed, creating a much better environment for the preservation of display material by reducing the UV light.  The next "heavy" project is to install the glass panels in the show cases.
     It would be unrealistic to predict a re-opening time, but April is looking promising.  Of course, that won't be the end.  There's still the AV room and kitchen to update, plus the making of a DVD version of Flo's slide show relating the story of the beet industry.

Cataloguing
     Linda's team is forging ahead.  We are now planning to market a CD containing the indexes to the paper collection and the Bulletin names.

Dairy Display at Winnindoo
     The cataloguing team is to descend upon the Robotic Dairy display centre on Saturday 15th March with the aim of recording and cataloguing all our collection out there.  This is a working day, not an open day for visits to the actual dairy.  If you think you can help or would like to help, please contact Linda for details of what is to be done and how to get there. (0418 573 828 or email)

Autumn Excursion
     Some time ago we promised one of our members that this year's excursion would be a trip to Walhalla.  By an extraordinary coincidence, so had Stratford Historical Society.  So we have agreed to combine for the day.  If we need more than one bus, we'll hire another, so ikt won't be a case of first come gets on.
     The actual date is yet to be finalised - some time in late March or April. Our basic format includes inviting several speakers to tell us about specific parts of the Walhalla area.  We may be able to add a train ride and possibly a mine visit.  To keeps costs down we are suggesting that lunch is to be your responsibility - there are several places to obtain food and several picnic spots too if you wish to BYO.
     As soon as details are finalised members on the mailing list will be notified personally; otherwise keep a look out on the web site.  People wanting to travel on the bus will need to let us know (details later); we can also cope with tag-along cars.

Society Membership
 
  
 We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all those people who supported us again in 2007.  Just a reminder that as an incentive, all paid-up members automatically receive a 10% discount on all Society charges, whether this be for the luncheon, for items purchased (eg. books, photo reproductions) or for excursions.
     If you would care to join/rejoin for 2008 you should write to the address below or, if you are reading this on-line, you could click here.


   The Society's contact is through The Secretary, PO Box 321, Maffra, 3860
or through our web site www.maffra.net.au/heritage

 


Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter # 11  -   (October 2007)



In this issue:

calendar

Updates:
Beet Museum

Reports:
Annual Luncheon

Mafeking Hill & Maffra
   Secondary College

 

Essay:
Green Hills


2008 Membership

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here
 

 Calendar of Activities 2007-2008
(
items added and/or revised - please discard previous copy)
 
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Monday 5/11/07 Business Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Monday 3/12/2007 Business Meeting
(if required)
7.30pm Maffra Library
Monday 4/02/2008 Business Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
         
         

     Unfortunately the speaker for our Tuesday afternoon in October was unavailable and we have not been able to find anyone else at short notice.  We do apologise for any disappointment.    

     There is a workshop and research session held every Monday afternoon from about 1.00pm in the Maffra Library, during which members work on the cataloguing of the archives or on their own researches.
     Visitors are very welcome to come along and either join in or request help in your own research.  This is an opportunity for members of the public to have access to the archives, including the photographic collection. 

     Next year we will have to review our meeting programs; the current venue (the Maffra Library) is no longer being made available to us, though we hope the workshop sessions will continue there.  We'll let you know as soon as we can find an alternative.


Updates

Beet Museum redesign
     We know you've heard this before but, really, there is progress being made - remember, this is the first time in thirty years something of this magnitude has been attempted.  All 25 of the information panels have been completed at last and mounting them has commenced.  We have obtained replacement parts for one of the showcases; as it was made 30 years ago, this involved a bit of running round but the manufacturer was eventually tracked down in Geelong.  Boisdale Glass is being very helpful in making up showcase fronts.  The external windows should be re-tinted in the near future.
     It would be unrealistic to predict a re-opening time, but the early new year is looking promising.  Of course, that won't be the end.  There's still the AV room and kitchen to update, plus the making of a DVD version of Flo's slide show relating the story of the beet industry.

Reports

Annual Luncheon
    
Some forty members and visitors met at our "traditional" venue - Tinamba Pub - on 3rd September.  Our guest speaker was Ann Wilson, whose life-long interest in travelling picture shows and later rural movie theatres has inspired her to make a study of Gippsland's history in this regard.  Her most recent writing may be found in the 2006 edition of the Gippsland Heritage Journal.
     Ann's particular theme for her talk was the way in which children were influenced by the movies pre-WW2.  She began with her own experiences; her father was a travelling picture showman in New Zealand.  On the screen (left) is a photo of him taking the van on a typical river crossing.
     She then reminded many of us of the social importance of the picture theatre in the 1930s, especially to younger people who had very little else in the way of parentally approved public entertainment.  Rules applied, set both by the theatre owners and by the attendees.  For example, a hierarchy existed within the dark hall - as you became older you were accepted into different seats.  Some theatre owners ran special events when particularly well-know and anticipated films were due to be shown.
     A number memories were nudged, resulting in personal reminiscences from the Luncheon audience and we were even allowed to share the Jaffas and Fantales, provided we didn't throw them.

Mafeking Hill & Maffra Secondary College
     Readers with really good memories may recall that in our December 2006 Newsletter we told you that we had been approached by Maffra Secondary College regarding a project involving Mafeking Hill and its association with the Boer War.  In essence, the school had obtained a grant from the Department of Veterans' Affairs to be used to make students aware of how the Boer War impacted on Gippsland citizens.  The original proposal was to erect a name plaque at the base of the hill and to place an interpretive sign and cairn on the top.  For several legitimate reasons the school found itself unable to do this and we were asked to come up with a way of helping them out.
     At the beginning of the year we submitted a written proposal to Wellington Shire which was essentially the same as the school's concept (minus the cairn).  We have received no written response to this. Officially the grant monies were supposed to have been expended by June, so the Department of Veterans' Affairs was contacted.  A very helpful and sympathetic officer agreed straight away to the alternative that we had come up with, and a time extension was granted.
     As you may be aware, your editor taught Local History at Maffra Secondary College for many years and so I was in a good position to be able to help a former colleague, Angie Thomas, prepare a Year 9 History Project.  Our web site becomes one major element in the provision of information (far more accessible that a sign on the hill).  We are creating a set of pages which tell the story of the South African War, tell how Maffra reacted to the "famous" relief of the town of Mafeking, list the names of Gippslanders who participated (noting those who did not return), provide photographs of some of those participants (with great help from Stratford Historical Society here), and provide a list of further references, both in print and on line. 
     The second major source of information we have is our archive held at Maffra Library.  To encourage students to use this we set up a Local History Day during which small student groups selected one from a range of topics.  To satisfy the grant requirements, at least three groups had to work on Mafeking Hill's significance.
     We provided a starting question to go with the topic and gathered together a "showbag" of resources, which depending on the topic might include a web site address, photographs and/or documents from our collection, a copy of a relevant Bulletin, even directions to look at parts of the main street.  During the morning each group spent a period in the Maffra Library undertaking research.  The afternoon was spent in putting together the results of the research into a presentation.  In most instances this took the form of a web page.  I went back to the classroom for the first time in ten years to help.  The only thing that was really different was the enormous increase in computer skills that students now show.
     Our next step is to gather together the results of the students' work so that it may be published on the web.  We also intend to include a set of instructions on how to research the war records of family members.  By a happy coincidence I spoke to Rob Christie last week and he told me that the students at Dargo Primary School have researched the family history of each of the persons mentioned on the school's Honour Roll; he has generously offered this material for inclusion too.

     As you can see from the above, a reporter from The Times turned up during the morning session.  We were of course pleased about that.  Unfortunately the subsequent report illustrates why it is important when using primary documents to check against something else.  The school has been called "Maffra Secondary College" for a good twenty years now.  There was no mention of Mafeking Hill, the catalyst for the whole day.
     But worst of all was the final paragraph.  Our project had nothing whatsoever to do with Liberal Party policies.  In fact local history has, from what I have seen of it, no part in Mr Howard's superficial, seventy-dot-point view of Australian History.  The kind of primary source research undertaken by students the other day is hardly likely to appear either - there just won't be enough time.  If you do the maths, it works out that each topic is likely to be given about three periods (that's in two years!); imagine, just over two hours to study the 40,000+ years of pre-European aboriginal settlement!  And what is really sad is that the best way to enthuse students about history is to start them locally where they can see relevance to themselves, and that to subject them to the rote learning of dates and "facts" (which we rejected in the 1960s) is one of the best ways guaranteed to bore them rigid.

Essay
    
Those receiving a hard copy of this Newsletter also received a copy of an article which appeared some years ago in Bulletin #57: "The Green Hills Native Police Station (Maffra) 1845-1853".  If you are reading this on-line you may access it by clicking here.

Society Membership
 
  
 We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all those people who supported us again in 2007.  Just a reminder that as an incentive, all paid-up members automatically receive a 10% discount on all Society charges, whether this be for the luncheon, for items purchased (eg. books, photo reproductions) or for excursions.
     If you would care to join/rejoin for 2008 you should write to the address below or, if you are reading this on-line, you could click here.


This newsletter has been prepared by Jeremy Hales, Newry;
the responsibility for any political comment is his alone.

   The Society's contact is through The Secretary, PO Box 321, Maffra, 3860
or through our web site www.maffra.net.au/heritage

 


Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter # 10  -   (July 2007)



In this issue:

calendar

Updates:
Beet Museum
Mafeking Hill
Web site

Reports:
Coach Trip
Eliza Amey Memorial
Tuesday Talk
The Big Flood


2007 Membership

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here
 

 Calendar of Activities 2007
(
items added and/or revised - please discard previous copy)
 
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Monday 6/08/07 Business Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Monday 3/09/2007 Annual Luncheon
click here for details
noon Tinamba Hotel
Monday 1/10/2007 Business Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 9/10/2007 Afternoon talk 1.30pm Maffra Library
Monday 5/11/2007 Business Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library

     In addition there is a workshop and research session held every Monday afternoon from about 1.00pm in the Maffra Library, during which members work on the cataloguing of the archives or on their own researches.
     Visitors are very welcome to come along and either join in or request help in your own research.  This is an opportunity for members of the public to have access to the archives, including the photographic collection. 


Updates

Beet Museum temporary closure extended
     The Beet Museum will remain closed but we really are nearer to opening.  The major display panels containing the text of the beet story have been completed; at last we have found a commercial company locally which can produce a high quality product.  We're now working on the slimmer panels which will contain the photos.
     A working bee has removed the old sea-grass matting (and with it 30 years of ingrained dust).  The original wooden floor is now revealed, but as it's not in a good enough state to sand back, something else has to be done with it.  Current thinking is along the lines of filling in all the gaps, then painting with some kind of hard wearing floor paint.  The next job, already started, is to rearrange some of the display cases to create a greater sense of space.
     The State Library photographs have turned up (they are excellent) and we have generously been given permission to use them without paying an additional display fee. 

Mafeking Hill
     We seem to have bogged down in our efforts to have a memorial placed on the hill.  However we have added the Mafeking story to our web site in the town history section.  Since the last newsletter we have also found out the hill was only formally named in the 1960s, at the request of the Shire of Maffra, which seemed to be putting an official seal of approval on what had become accepted local practice.  Thanks to the several people who responded to our request for anecdotes - they helped clarify the hill's significance especially in the 1920s and 1930s.  We would still love a photograph or two of bonfires if such exist.

Web Site - Maffra.net.au
     We have just completed a full financial year's operation of the web site.  We'd like to thank those commercial operators who chose to stay with us.  The January fires and now the June/July floods both contributed to an upsurge of people logging on - our most looked-at page over the past couple of weeks has been the one on Glenmaggie Weir as visitors have sought information to supplement the dramatic coverage on TV and in the papers.  Hard to know whether this is fame or notoriety.
     Ironically over the year we developed a section of the site for Newry, including advertising for local businesses and a town on-line notice board.  Little did we realise what dramatic things we would have to report.
     To give you some idea of the increasing use of the internet, the Historical Society's pages alone attracted over 15,000 separate visitors for the year.  Nearly 3,000 visited the Bulletin Index page, presumably in the main family history researchers.  Our most visited commercial customer was Cambrai Hostel, which had nearly 5,300 visitors.

Reports

Coach Trip - Saturday 21st April
   
 This trip was arranged as an alternative because the bushfires had prevented us from accessing our original destination of Glencairn.  A future venture into that area has now been stymied by floods.  As Linda has said, what's next? meteorites?
     So we loaded ourselves into the smallish bus and headed for Bairnsdale.  First stop was at Alltime Antiques and Museum.  As the name implies the emphasis in on antique clocks, but there is also a very wide range of furniture and household artifacts on display (and for sale, of course).
     If you've ever travelled through Bairnsdale you may have seen the sign pointing to the Egg Craft Gallery.  Next time you do, we urge you to turn off.  This place is a revelation.  Housed in a private home (with just enough parking space outside) the collection of models based on the traditional use of emu eggs is spectacular.  Even if home crafts are not usually your 'thing', you will be deeply impressed by the depth and variety of skills evident here.  All entrance money, by the way, is donated to charity.
     The Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place was also a surprise to those of us who had not been there before.  In a modern building, beautifully constructed, the story of Aboriginal occupation of Gippsland is told in the way we used to expect museums to do it - clear explanations of the things we might want to know, appropriate artifacts displayed with captions you can read without a microscope and a balanced approach to past events.  Well worth a visit - it should be better known.
     Lunch was a bit of a surprise.  We were to have dined at the Coliseum Italian Club, but a huge wedding had taken up the facility, so we had to adjourn to the Bowls Club, which provided a perfectly satisfactory alternative.
     After lunch we were given the run of the Bairnsdale Museum for an hour or so.  Housed in a two-storey mini-mansion, there is plenty of display space and an opportunity has been taken to devote each room to a specific theme.  The photographic collection is enormous and well used by researchers.  Initially we thought this was it, but a Bairnsdale HS member who is also a guide to the Catholic Church generously offered to give us a guided tour before we headed back up the highway.  As with all things artistic, the church interior may not be to everyone's taste but the history behind the lavish decoration and the subtle sub-text in some of the illustrations provided a fascinating insight into the way one migrant managed to survive the 1930s Depression.

Marking Eliza Amey's Grave
     On 22nd April the Bellbird Corner Reserve Management Committee unveiled two memorials at the intersection of the Maffra-Newry Road and the former Bellbird Corner road.  One marked the approximate site of Eliza's grave and the other explained the significance of scars on a large gum tree on the roadside, the surrounds of which were cleared and fenced (see right; photo courtesy of BCRMC).
     Despite the less than pleasant weather a large crowd, including a significant number of relatives, turned up.  Little did they know how much worse it would become a couple of months later!
     If you are looking at this online you can click here for further photos.
Eliza's story has been related in two of our Bulletins (#17 & #82).  Here's a summary:
    
...Nearer to Bellbird Corner (Lot 136), Henry Amey and his family came in the early 1860s. At a later date John Ashton built for them the brick home which still survives. James Scott Amey, one of the three children of the first family, became the mailman for Newry and Upper Maffra. In 1895 he was thrown out of his mail cart and killed near 'Wanrua'; a lad, Willy Bates, was with him. One sister, Polly, became first Mrs Stirling and subsequently married a Mr Sheehan who was a Maffra baker. The other sister, Emma, married Tom Pollock. Their daughter Nell married Tom Weatherley; the present Weatherley 'clan' are their descendants. There were five boys and one girl in the second family. All trudged up the lane to school and to the Primitive Methodist Church. The eldest, George, was the father of Mrs E.J.Pearce.
     Two-year-old Eliza Amey, Henry's child, was drowned on the Newry Road farm in 1875. She apparently fell into a water filled depression or waterhole between the house and the cow shed, where her mother had been milking. Despite all efforts to revive her using warm baths and wrapping in warm blankets, she failed to respond and Dr Norris was only able, upon his arrival, to pronounce her dead. Her coffin was made from bark taken from a tree, which still stands on the edge of the property. The scar is clearly visible.
     The late Harry Roberts maintained that Eliza was buried at the farm, on a rise near Newry Creek. He wrote of Eliza:
"Her father Henry Amey was the first owner of this property from about 1860 and it was held in his estate until 1915, when it was purchased by Mr Alf Rowley, who held it until his death in 1942...I knew this property well, especially from 1926 to 1942. My wife, May, was the fourth in the family of eleven of Alf and Florence Rowley.
     About 1930 Mr Bill Amey, a brother of the little girl, told me she was drowned in the depression near the house and cow shed. She was buried on a rise near Newry Creek, some five yards from the Newry-Bellbird Corner Road and 77 yards from the corner post. The grave was fenced in with morticed post and rails which disappeared about forty years ago."

     Appropriately our most recent Tuesday Afternoon Speaker was Anne Napier, a professional architect who is also the Heritage Advisor to the Wellington Shire.  We had a lively discussion on just what constituted "heritage" and to what extent the general public and its constituted bodies had the right to impose community held values on private individuals who might own things (especially buildings) which they personally might view in rather a different light.  How do you balance the preservation of heritage against the economic imperatives which might be best suited by alteration?
     One thing we did all agree upon - the need to identify and mark lone graves before all memory of them disappears.  Anne pointed out that these sites are different from other heritage locations in that they are usually associated with the internee's family (as with Eliza), place of work (for example, George Bolton Eagle) or tragedy (such as Henry Meyrick).  Often, too, these burial places were in areas which can be remote even today.
     Where a public cemetery is still in use, information about it is being regularly updated and the information adequately stored; information about internees can also be available for genealogists through living relatives.  A lone burial on the other hand is a one-off event, specific to a time, place and social knowledge.  There is no information to up-date.  Thus it is essential to amass as much knowledge as soon as possible, and to record it in an accessible manner, otherwise all will disappear.

The Big Flood - Thursday 28th June
    
There has been so much written, broadcast and telecast about this dramatic event, especially about the devastation in the Newry township, that I don't intend to repeat the story here.  This will be one of the flood events against which subsequent floods will be measured; although no lives were lost, the concentration of destruction and the speed with which it happened mark this as far more dramatic than usual.  The intense media interest too added to that feeling that this was "An Event".
     But now that the initial shock has receded and it is possible to view what happened perhaps a little more dispassionately, it's interesting to reflect on just how people involved in something like this actually perceive it.  This is particularly important to historians because it leads you to ask just what the "truth" about an event is and how it is that we can ever really know what "happened" when there are so many legitimate points of observation.
     I should first explain that we live some 400 metres south of Newry, in among farmland with our own two little acres.  The town itself lies in a hollow beside the Newry Creek (purists may still want to call it Mafra Creek) and from our kitchen window we can just see only one row of  houses and St Ita's Church.
     Apparently the surge of water along the creek which caused most of the damage occurred at about 9.30 in the morning.  We did not become aware of any flood waters until the paddocks around us began filling nearly an hour later, as water poured with a great roar over the adjacent roadway in a kilometre long waterfall.  As you can imagine, our minds became concentrated on barricading the windows and moving important things up off the floor.  Luckily we are bounded on all sides by irrigation channels, and it was these which acted as levee banks and saved us from inundation.  Never-the-less there was an anxious hour or so as our front paddock turned into a lake, the back lawn disappeared and water began to trickle across the verandah.  It was at this point that we fatalistically decided to stop fighting against the inevitable and have some lunch - if we got flooded, then we got flooded.  It was also at this point that the water stopped rising, paused for an hour or so and then gradually receded.  Our perception of the flood then was of a serious fright followed by a near miss.
     As the afternoon wore on we became aware of helicopters with TV channel and Police logos charging all over the skies and of the local fire truck ploughing through water checking on the plight of local residents.  We were still completely unable to move out (I know I shouldn't have sold the 4WD) but were OK so we just waved and it was rightly assumed that we didn't need help.  It was beginning to dawn on us that this was serious, but it was not until we watched the Channel Ten news that evening that we had any idea at all about what had really happened in the town just over the ridge.
     As neighbours talked to neighbours we discovered that this narrowness of perception was typical.  One person who lives at the end of the main street says that she only became aware of the trouble when she looked out to see what the noise was and watched her neighbour being winched up into a helicopter.  Her home is no more than 100 metres away from the creek yet no water entered her yard.  A friend rang that night on the way home, wondering why he had been stopped at the Mechanics Institute corner; he reported seeing no water and was unaware of the mess just beyond the reach of his headlights.
     Over the next few days various media conducted interviews, took pictures, spoke to experts, sought stories.  All perfectly legitimate and each in themselves accurate, but already a skewed version has started to appear because only the seriously dramatic elements are reported on.  The near misses don't make good news and frankly people who survived with little or no damage feel a bit guilty in a way that they're all right.  Then we started to move more towards issues - who was to blame?  why are insurance companies apparently refusing to pay compensation?  what's the Government doing?  Yet again we get a whole range of opinions and perceptions, some informed, some absurd.  In fifty years time will any researcher be able to really tell what it was like on the ground at the time?  Which leads to another thought.  Why is it that people are prepared to slaughter each other in defence of interpretations of events which may or may not have occurred hundreds of years ago when it's not even possible to be sure of what's happening half a kilometre away even as it happens?
     One last point.  We seem to have reached a stage (via TV reality shows?) where actual events tragic for some become entertainment for others.  There were so many sight seekers the next day that rescue operations were seriously hampered and it became necessary to station police cars at each end of the town to deter them.  We even saw a number of drivers arguing strenuously, even angrily, with the young officer parked on our corner about their "right" to enter the town.  To his great credit, he won the argument each time, even with the tall blond in the red sports car who was obviously trying to charm him (and no, I didn't make that up, I just didn't have the camera with me at that moment!).
     - JH
    

Society Membership
 
  
 We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all those people who have chosen to support us again in 2007.  Just a reminder that as an incentive, all paid-up members automatically receive a 10% discount on all Society charges, whether this be for the luncheon, for items purchased (eg. books, photo reproductions) or for excursions.
     If you would care to join/rejoin for 2007 you should write to the address below or, if you are reading this on-line, you could click here.


   The Society's contact is through The Secretary, PO Box 321, Maffra, 3860
or through our web site www.maffra.net.au/heritage

 


Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter # 9  -   (February 2007)



In this issue:

calendar

Updates:
Beet Museum
Maffra Back-to

Coming Activities:
Mafeking Hill
Coach Trip

Reports:
Cataloguing


2007 Membership

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here
 

 Calendar of Activities 2007
(
items added and/or revised - please discard previous copy)
 
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Monday 6/03/2007 AGM 7.30pm Maffra Library
Long weekend 9/03/2007 -
12/03/2007
Back to Maffra
including Mardi Gras
  Maffra township
Monday 2/04/2007 Business Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 3/04/2007 Afternoon talk 1.30pm Maffra Library
Saturday 21/04/2007 Coach trip tba Bairnsdale district
Monday 7/05/2007 Business Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library

     In addition there is a workshop and research session held every Monday afternoon from about 1.00pm in the Maffra Library, during which members work on the cataloguing of the archives or on their own researches.
     Visitors are very welcome to come along and either join in or request help in your own research.  This is an opportunity for members of the public to have access to the archives, including the photographic collection. 


Updates

Beet Museum temporary closure extended
     The Beet Museum will remain closed for some time for a much needed facelift. Unfortunately we won't be ready for the Back-to in early March.  Vandalism just before Christmas forced us to divert time, energy and funds to repairs; we no longer have windows or a door at the rear of the building, so hopefully we'll be less vulnerable to idiocy.  We've since found too that amassing the required photos for the new display is a time consuming business.  The State Library has a number of excellent images we don't have in our collection and getting permission to use them has slowed us down.

Maffra Back-To, 2007
     We keep mentioning this as requested.  As its contribution to the activities the Society is preparing a set of photo albums to be displayed in the Maffra Library depicting the 1975 centenary of Maffra Shire.  We have also been given permission to mount a display of artifacts in the Library's foyer.  For more information on the weekend itself, check out www.dm3ds.com.au/maffranews/ .

Coming Activities

Mafeking Hill
     Research into the naming and use of the Hill continues.  We have received a number of helpful responses since the last newsletter and we've nearly completed putting the text together for a proposed interpretive board to be erected at the top of the hill.  The promise of a bonfire photo and information about fires on the hill have really helped.
     The mystery concerning the naming seems to have been resolved.  Up until the Boer War the area was called "Gravel Hill' because that's where much of the town's road making gravel was sourced.  It seems that once the huge bonfire to celebrate the relief of the South African town of Mafeking in 1900 had implanted itself into popular memory, common usage changed the name to "Mafeking Hill".  According to official records we've just accessed, the area wasn't officially given that name until 1966, when the then Maffra Shire registered it.

Coach Trip - Saturday 21st April
   
 You may remember that we had hoped to head for the hills early this year.  Sadly the December/January bushfires have made this impossible.  The loss of a bridge prevents us from reaching Glencairn.
     As an alternative we have chosen to offer you an itinerary based on activities in Bairnsdale.  Places to be visited are  Alltime Antiques and Museum (antiques, especially a splendid display of clocks),  the Egg Craft Gallery (emus a speciality), the Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place and the Historical Museum (run by East Gippsland H.S.).  Lunch will be at the Coliseum Italian Club, where a choice roast, Parmagiana, steak or quiche will be available.  All up cost (including lunch but not drinks) is $30, with a $27 concession for financial members.
     You will be sent a more specific itinerary, including times, in the near future.
 

Reports

The following report was tabled by the cataloguing group at our last meeting.  It gives a good insight into another, perhaps less publicly acknowledged, aspect of our activities.

Cataloguing and Archives Report – February 2007: presented by convener Linda Barraclough

We are back to full speed after the Christmas holidays, with John, Ruth, Spencer and Marion at the library most Monday afternoons with me.

For at least the last two Mondays most of the time has been taken up with visitors who have come a considerable distance (Lilydale and Sydney) to seek information. Ken, from Lilydale, has donated four Maffra train / railway station photographs to add to some he previously forwarded through Flo.

Ruth, sometimes assisted by Betty, has been working on bringing Betty’s house notes to order, until she started on mounting a magnificent collection of factory and milk truck photographs that she facilitated the donation of from Alan Geary.

John and I are still working on reorganizing the photograph collection, as well as sorting and cataloguing a large number of photographs that Jeremy sorted out for us about a month ago. There are a few months’ work there on them yet.

Jeremy has also lodged three large boxes of documents with us, one on Angus McMillan, and two others on other topics. It has been immensely useful to me that Jeremy made the computer entries for these before lodging them, and this has probably saved me about six months’ work, and means they can be immediately made accessible.

Marion has continued to deal superbly with whatever work is sent her way, and Spencer backs it all up with research on the Maffra Spectator. All in all, there is a lot happening there on a Monday afternoon.

However the biggest news is that we have been offered help from Work for the Dole through Mission Australia. Debbie Bishop has been working for the Stratford Historical Society for six months, and they are delighted to have her back for another six months. However she is needing to find another day a week to work in order to build up her training credits, and the indications are that we may be able to have her at Maffra for Mondays. Stephen Dempsey, as Manager Cultural Services at Wellington Shire has verbally approved her placement in the library, working for the historical society. I would anticipate I would have her working first on a better list of Flo’s files.

[Linda has been appointed by the Society to act as as Debbie’s supervisor - Ed]

 

Society Membership
 
  
 We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all those people who have chosen to support us again in 2006.  Just a reminder that as an incentive, all paid-up members automatically receive a 10% discount on all Society charges, whether this be for the luncheon, for items purchased (eg. books, photo reproductions) or for excursions.
     If you would care to join/rejoin for 2007 you should write to the address below or, if you are reading this on-line, you could click here.


   The Society's contact is through The Secretary, PO Box 321, Maffra, 3860
or through our web site www.maffra.net.au/heritage

 


Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter # 8  -   (December 2006)



In this issue:

calendar

Updates:
Beet Museum
Maffra web site
Maffra Back-to

Coming Activity:
Mafeking Hill memorial

Reports:
October's speakers


2007 Membership

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here


 

 Calendar of Activities 2007
(
items added and/or revised - please discard previous copy)
 
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Monday 5/02/2007 Business Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Monday 6/03/2007 AGM 7.30pm Maffra Library
Saturday 10/03/2007 Beet Museum open tba McMahon Drive
Sunday 11/032007 Beet Museum open tba McMahon Drive
Sunday 12/03/2007 Beet Museum open tba McMahon Drive
Sunday 1/04/2007 Beet Museum open 2.00pm McMahon Drive
Monday 2/04/2007 Business Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 3/04/2007 Afternoon talk 1.30pm Maffra Library
         

     In addition there is a workshop and research session held every Monday afternoon from about 1.00pm in the Maffra Library, during which members work on the cataloguing of the archives or on their own researches.
     Visitors are very welcome to come along and either join in or request help in your own research.  This is an opportunity for members of the public to have access to the archives, including the photographic collection. 


Updates

Beet Museum temporary closure
     The Beet Museum will be closed until March for the start of a much needed facelift.  After thirty odd years the displays in particular are becoming tired, so we have decided to upgrade. The same basic information will be presented, but using far more modern techniques than were available to us then. The aim is to be ready for the Back-to in early March.

Maffra web site
     In the previous newsletter we foreshadowed the Society's take-over of  the "maffra.net.au" web site.  That process is now complete and MDHS is the registered licence holder.  We're pleased to say that all the previous clients on the site have agreed to remain with us and that the Maffra Chamber of Commerce has indicated that it wishes to continue and possibly expand its support also. In response to the Wellington Shire's advice to committees of management to seek "sponsorship", any income remaining from the running of the web site after costs will be directed towards Society projects, including the operation of our museums and archives.

Maffra Back-To, 2007
     We keep mentioning this as requested.  As its contribution to the activities the Society is to prepare a set of photo albums to be displayed in the Maffra Library. For more information, check out www.dm3ds.com.au/maffranews/ .

Coming Activity

     The Society has been approached by a staff member from Maffra Secondary College requesting that we take over a project he had initiated at the school, but which he could no longer manage as he was to be promoted out of the district.  This entailed research into the origin of the naming of Mafeking Hill (which is adjacent to the school) and then erecting some kind of memorial as a record.  This we agreed to do and the school has generously transferred to us a grant which had been received for the purpose.  Our current thinking is to place a cairn with plaque at the base of the hill, simply naming it with the reason and as well to install an illustrated interpretive sign at the top of the hill explaining its significance to the town.  Attached (click here) is the preliminary essay put together for the school by your editor earlier in the year.
     Readers may be able to help us.  We are looking for a photograph of the bonfire celebrations held at the top of the hill at the end of World War II.  We are also having difficulty finding out precisely when the hill's name was changed from Gravel Hill to Mafeking Hill.  It doesn't seem to be the obvious 1900

Reports

Tuesday Speakers: October 3rd at 1.30pm
     An enthusiastic group of members and visitors gathered in anticipation to hear Gwen Coffey (l) and Margaret Adams (r).  Gwen told us how, as a young woman, she decided to use her dressmaking skills as a way to support herself as she journeyed around Australia.  After leaving her home in S.A., on advice she applied for the position of dressmaker at the Dargo Hotel. Despite the initial culture shock, she became so enamoured of the place that the round-Australia journey is still waiting.  Margaret Adams recited a number of poems for us with great energy.  Her repertoire included both favourite Australian poems and a selection of her own writing.

 

 

 

 


 

Society Membership
 
  
 We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all those people who have chosen to support us again this year.  Just a reminder that as an incentive, all paid-up members automatically receive a 10% discount on all Society charges, whether this be for the luncheon, for items purchased (eg. books, photo reproductions) or for excursions.
     The 2006 period is nearly over, but if If you would like to get in early for 2007 you should write to the address below or, if you are reading this on-line, you could click here.


   The Society's contact is through The Secretary, PO Box 321, Maffra, 3860
or through our web site www.maffra.net.au/heritage

 


Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter # 7  -   (September 2006)



In this issue:

calendar

Coming Events:
Museum opening
Tuesday Speaker
Opening of Gippsland
  Vehicle Collection

Reports:
Annual Dinner
Back-To Maffra
Web site


2007 Membership

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here
(on-line only)

 

 

 Calendar of Activities 2006
(
items added and/or revised - please discard previous copy)
 
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Sunday 1/10/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 2/10/03 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 3/10/06 Afternoon Talk 1.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 15/10/06 Gippsland Vehicle Collection
Grand Opening
10am
to
4pm
The Maffra Shed
Sale Road
Maffra
Sunday 5/11/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 6/11/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 3/12/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 4/12/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
  January in recess    

     In addition there is a workshop and research session held every Monday afternoon from about 1.00pm in the Maffra Library, during which members work on the cataloguing of the archives or on their own researches.
     Visitors are very welcome to come along and either join in or request help in your own research.  This is an opportunity for members of the public to have access to the archives, including the photographic collection. 


Coming Events

Beet Museum opening: Sunday 1st October
     Jenny's theme for this Sunday is Agricultural Shows.

Tuesday Speakers: October 3rd at 1.30pm
     A double bill this Tuesday.   When Gwen Coffey was young she intended to travel. After leaving her home in S.A. she took the position of dressmaker at the Dargo Hotel.
Hear Gwen tell her story of the "proper miss" meeting the folk of Dargo and of other adventures along the way.
     Performance poet Margaret Adams will recite a number of her poems for us.  Her topics are selected from everyday life and become hilarious in the telling.

Grand Opening of the Gippsland Vehicle Collection:
Sunday 15th October 10.00am - 4.00pm
    
We have decided to postpone our trip to Glencairn until next year as there are so many things happening in the district in the next few weeks.  Instead we urge you to support this event.  The former dehydrated vegetables building on the outskirts of the town has been gradually transformed into a new museum devoted to vintage and veteran vehicles and is now simply called "The Maffra Shed".  We've done our little bit by putting a beet dray into the displays.  After an enormous amount of effort by lots of enthusiastic volunteers the big day has finally arrived; we think it would be an excellent idea to support others in the town interested in historic things.

Reports

(1) Annual Dinner
     Sadly our original guest speaker was unable to attend due to the funeral of a close family friend on the same day.  Luckily we were able to invite Senior Sergeant Eric Duffy, from Bairnsdale Police, to speak instead to the 40 or so guests. 
     Eric has had a long interest in police history, sparked off when he became aware of letters from the goldfields found in records from a Stratford supermarket.  This led him to look at where records of police activities might be found. 
     The Police Gazette is an invaluable tool for researchers, not just for the police but also for family historians.  In the nineteenth century it was the only way police information could be disseminated through the state and cases were recorded in great detail.  After 1906 photos were also included.
     Local cemeteries could also provide police-related information.  For example, there might be reference to the death of serving officers.  In physical terms however, the evidence is not so good.  Only two "old" police stations still exist: the Maffra station which is now in Old Gippstown and the Omeo log jail (which was still in use as late as the 1980s).

Eric Duffy, members and guests at the luncheon at Tinamba Tavern

 

 

 

 

(2)  Maffra Back-To, 2007
     We mentioned this in the last issue, but we thought we'd remind you again.  There is a direct link on the internet if you have access:
www.dm3ds.com.au/maffranews/

(3)  Maffra web site
     The Society has had an extensive presence on the maffra.net.au web site for a number of years; we're probably now the single biggest user.  So it really only made sense that we should take over the management of the whole site after the Maffra Community Resource Centre closed its doors.  The hand-over is almost complete and we are already dealing with some of the site's other clients.  It is our intention to continue maintaining the current content (which is community, business and tourist oriented) while perhaps in the future extending the opportunity to have a presence on the web to other clubs and organisations.
 

Society Membership
 
  
 We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all those people who have chosen to support us again this year.  Just a reminder that as an incentive, all paid-up members automatically receive a 10% discount on all Society charges, whether this be for the luncheon, for items purchased (eg. books, photo reproductions) or for excursions.
     The 2006 period is nearly over, but if If you would like to get in early for 2007 you should write to the address below or, if you are reading this on-line, you could click here.


   The Society's contact is through The Secretary, PO Box 321, Maffra, 3860
or through our web site www.maffra.net.au/heritage

 


 

Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter # 6  -   (June 2006)



In this issue:

calendar

Coming Events:
Tuesday Speaker
Maffra Back-To 2007

Reports:
Museums
Internet sales
Latest trip



2006 Membership

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here
(on-line only)

 

 

 Calendar of Activities 2006
(
items added and/or revised - please discard previous copy)
 
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Sunday 2/07/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 3/07/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 4/07/06 Afternoon Talk 1.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 6/08/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 7/08/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 3/09/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 4/09/06 ANNUAL LUNCHEON noon Tinamba Hotel
Sunday 1/10/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 2/10/03 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 3/10/06 Afternoon Talk 1.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday October BUS TRIP - Glencairn tba Leave Maffra PO

     In addition there is a workshop and research session held every Monday afternoon from about 1.00pm in the Maffra Library, during which members work on the cataloguing of the archives or on their own researches.
     Visitors are very welcome to come along and either join in or request help in your own research.  This is an opportunity for members of the public to have access to the archives, including the photographic collection. 


Coming Events
Tuesday Speaker: July 4th
    
We're pleased to welcome local identity Jack Dwyer as our July speaker.  He has selected as his topic "The History of Australian Humour".  We run the full gamut (with performances apparently!) from Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson, through C.J.Dennis, John O'Brien, Steele Rudd, Alex Gurney, Jack Davey, Graham Kennedy & Bert Newton, Barry Humphries, Gary McDonald & Ruth Cracknell, to "Kath and Kim".  Remember, Tuesdays are free and afternoon tea is provided.  Why not 'bring-a-friend' and introduce them to Society activities.

Tuesday Speakers: October 3rd
     An advance notice: local raconteur Gwen Coffey and performance poet Margaret Adams will be providing the entertainment.  Make a note in your diary now.

Reports
(1)  Beet Museum & Interpretive Centre (Winnindoo)
     Attendances at the regular Sunday openings at the Beet Museum have been increasing thanks to Jenny's efforts to encourage local visitors.  Unfortunately group visits are well down (as they seem to be everywhere in Gippsland), though we did play host to a jolly bunch of State Rivers retirees not long ago.  Refurbishment of the second display room is taking a while, but we'll get there!
     Out at the Robotic Dairy we managed well over 100 visitors at the recent Open Day; we've found that getting on to ABC radio the week before seems to work wonders.  We even astounded some Kiwi farmers.  The Centre has also played host to a group from Fiji recently, including that country's Minister for Agriculture; there is apparently great interest in diversifying Fiji's farm products.

(2)  Maffra Back-To, 2007
     Along with many other organisations in the town, we have been invited by the Maffra Rotary Club to participate in the activities surrounding next year's Mardi Gras, it being the 50th anniversary.  We have decided to make available to the general public our archival material collected during the Maffra Shire's 150th anniversary in 1975.  We're investigating making up lots of flip books with lashes of photos, which always create interest.  As this newsletter is being written, we are negotiating a venue in which to put these books so that they can be accessible for the duration of the festivities.
     The Rotarians have also asked us to encourage our members to spread the word and contact anyone who might be interested.

(3)  Sales over the Internet
     The index to names in the Society's Bulletins has been posted on our web site for some time now; thanks to the way search engines operate, this has meant that family researchers from literally all over the world have been finding us, making enquiries and requesting copies.  We have now upgraded our banking facilities and have added an on-line ordering facility, which makes it much easier to place direct orders for the Bulletin.  Even though we don't have credit card payment facilities (too costly) something must be working because we've had nearly $100 worth of purchases in the past month.

(4) Trip to Moe and Yallourn
  
  A bus load visited Old Gippstown (sometimes known as the Moe Folk Museum) and the Yallourn North Society's Brown Coal Museum last Sunday (4th June).  For the second trip running, we set off from Maffra in rain, only to arrive at our destination in sunshine.  Of particular interest at Moe were three buildings from our part of the world: a section of Angus McMillan's homestead, a replica of W.O.Fulton's garage and an early Maffra Police Station.  The Yallourn display was most impressive, with one section devoted to the early brown coal mines, one to the former township of Yallourn (not just a space in the open cut) and another to one of the giant turbines used to generate electricity.

       
                 

Next Newsletter will contain details of the Annual Dinner and the proposed trip to Glen Cairn.

Society Membership
 
  
 There has been a really encouraging response to the 2006 membership.  We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all those people who have chosen to support us again this year.  Just a reminder that as an incentive, all paid-up members will automatically receive a 10% discount on all subsequent Society charges, whether this be for the luncheon, for items purchased (eg. books, photo reproductions) or for excursions.
     If you have not yet formally joined and feel that you would like to, you should write to the address below or, if you are reading this on-line, you could click here.


   The Society's contact is through The Secretary, PO Box 321, Maffra, 3860
or through our web site www.maffra.net.au/heritage

 


Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter #5  -   (April 2006)



In this issue:

calendar

Reports:
President's Annual Report 
Tuesday Speakers

Coming Events:
Trips
Museum refurbishment
Robotic Dairy

2006 Membership

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here
(on-line only)

 

 

 Calendar of Activities 2006
(
items added and/or revised - please discard previous copy)
 
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Sunday 5/05/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 6/05/06 Business meeting postponed (venue being renovated)
Sunday 21/05/06 Robotic Dairy
Open Day
10am-3pm Winnindoo
Sunday 4/06/06 Beet Museum open
BUS TRIP - Moe
2.00pm
9.00am
River Street
Leave Maffra PO
Monday 5/06/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 2/07/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 3/07/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 4/07/06 Afternoon Talk 1.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 6/08/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 7/08/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 3/09/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 4/09/06 ANNUAL LUNCHEON noon Tinamba Hotel
Sunday 1/10/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 2/10/03 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 3/10/06 Afternoon Talk 1.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday October BUS TRIP - Glencairn tba Leave Maffra PO

     In addition there is a workshop and research session held every Monday afternoon from 1.00pm in the Maffra Library, during which members work on the cataloguing of the archives or on their own researches.
     Visitors are very welcome to come along and either join in or request help in your own research.  This is an opportunity for members of the public to have access to the archives, including the photographic collection. 


Reports
 (1)  President's Annual Report presented at the AGM in March
   
     It is my privilege to present this year’s annual report of the Maffra and District Historical Society.  Looking back over the year, much has been achieved by few.
     The first Monday of each month is still our regular meeting night when we hear reports from sub-committees and take decisions on future directions. We thank Stephen Dempsey Manager of the Shire’s Cultural Services Unit for allowing the use of Maffra library. Lack of numbers attending evening meetings persuaded the committee not to invite guest speakers to join us, preferring instead to hold a Tuesday afternoon meeting with a guest speaker. These meetings in collaboration with Maffra library were held on the first Tuesday of April, July and October.
     Jeremy Hales spoke at the inaugural Tuesday afternoon meeting about Historical Societies, past, present and future. In July Linda Barraclough gave hints on how to start researching a family history. Whilst in October Ron "Dingo" Reed gave a brief history of Maffra Football Club.  It has been especially pleasing to welcome non members to these popular meetings and we look forward to seeing them again throughout 2006.
     May was a busy month, thirty five of us boarded a coach for a thoroughly enjoyable trip to Dargo. Thanks to Joy Greaves and Jenny Toma for organising the great day, especially as they were both unable to attend. Thanks also to Rob Christie who joined the coach in Dargo and gave a commentary on the history of Dargo's people and places and for allowing us to visit the primary school.  In May too, at the invitation of Kathy and Foster Crooke, we visited Boisdale House; this very generous offer was made before Kathy and Foster vacated the house. It was for me a snapshot in time - a living history - a memory I shall always treasure, thank-you.
     The fifth Annual Luncheon held in September was well attended and we were entertained by the musings of Gerard Callinan, local ABC Station Master and On-air broadcaster.
     The launch in November of the publication "Wellington Landscapes ; History and Heritage of a Gippsland Shire." by Meredith Fletcher and Linda Kennett was made possible with a grant from the Wellington Shire.The MDHS has plans to use the profits from the sale of this publication to publish further historical material. I take this opportunity to thank Sale Historical Society for the use of their rooms at the launch of the book.
     Throughout the year Maffra library has been invaded by a dedicated group of Society members; they have been busy cataloguing, sorting and identifying the Collection of MDHS held in the library. My grateful and heartfelt thanks for all their hard work goes to Linda Barraclough and her team of Marion Hair, Spencer Eakins and John Little, as well as all those other members who "pop" in occasionally.
     My thanks to those members of the society who do the work: Cath Coggan - Secretary; Jeremy Hales - Treasurer, Winnindoo coordinator and Museum Tour Guide, Newsletter Editor extraordinaire; Jenny Toma who opens the Beet Museum on the first Sunday of the month; Spencer Eakins for being a great Vice President and all the members who make my life much easier. THANK-YOU.
     CAROL KITCHENN


(2)  Tuesday Speakers: April 4th
    
An audience of over 60 people attended our first Tuesday afternoon session for the year, stretching the space in the Library to bursting levels and exceeding all our expectations.  It really goes to show what can happen if you have good advance publicity and a topic which appeals.
     Linda and Jeremy re-presented the talks they gave initially last year at the Centre for Gippsland Studies annual conference at Monash Uni in Churchill, where the overall topic concerned Gippslanders and their responses to wars.  They both took as a starting point an artifact which lead to investigations and research; in Linda's case it was the war memorial at Briagolong, in Jeremy's case a set of documents in the Society's collection.
     In 1916 Maffra State School sent Christmas Greeting letters to soldiers from our district who were serving overseas.  Jeremy spoke about one of these letters, to which a Tom Kerr had replied.  Tom's responses were a starting point for investigation into the attitudes of both servicemen and those who remained in Australia.
     Linda then related the affecting story of Annie Whitelaw, a Briagolong resident who lost no fewer than four of her sons in WW1, three in action and one from wounds sustained.  The responses of the people of Briagolong at the time to her tragedy said much about the supportive nature of a close-knit community in the face of national events beyond their control.
     We were really pleased to see so many of Annie Whitelaw's descendents that afternoon.  A number of them indicated to us  afterwards how much more they had learnt about her.  Linda hopes to publish her talk in a forthcoming edition of the Gippsland Heritage Journal.


Coming Events
(1)  Trips
  
  The beginning of this year has been so hectic, both for ourselves and for the general public (The Games??) that we have not as yet finalised our trip program for the year.  Please be assured however that there will be some out-of-town activity.  We're looking at a visit to the Moe Folk Museum plus something else on the way; a possible tour up to Glen Cairn; a possible visit to the Briagolong wetlands project.  We'll keep you informed as well in advance as we can.

(2) Beet Museum clean-up
     The first clean-up in the archive shed went so well that there is inspiration to have another go soon.  The spiders are now well out of the way.  A ring-around should alert potential assistants.
     We are still investigating ways of improving the flooring in the kitchen and A/V areas, but but so far there doesn't seem to be a reasonably cheap way of doing this.  Any suggestions would be welcome.

(3)  Winnindoo Robotic Dairy Interpretive Centre
     The next Open Day at the robotic dairy will be held on Sunday 21st May from 10.00am to 3.00pm.  We hope to have carried out some display up-grade in the Society's section; there is a new automatic system directing the cows into paddocks; for the kids, the calves are now housed beside the Centre so that they can be watched from the observation window.  If you're not sure of how to get there, you can download a map here.

Society Membership
 
  
 There has been a really encouraging response to the 2006 membership.  We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all those people who have chosen to support us again this year.  Just a reminder that as an incentive, all paid-up members will automatically receive a 10% discount on all subsequent Society charges, whether this be for the luncheon, for items purchased (eg. books, photo reproductions) or for excursions.
     If you have not yet formally joined and feel that you would like to, you should write to the address below or, if you are reading this on-line, you could click here.


   The Society's contact is through The Secretary, PO Box 321, Maffra, 3860
or through our web site www.maffra.net.au/heritage

 


Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter #4  -   (February 2006)



In this issue:

Calendar

Reports:
Football Club talk  
New publication
Briagolong Festival

Coming Events:
Tuesday Speaker
Museum working bee

2006 Membership

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here
(on-line only)

 

 

 Calendar of Activities 2006
(
items added and/or revised - please discard previous copy)
 
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Sunday 5/2/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 6/2/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 5/3/06 Working bee
Beet Museum open
9.00am
2.00pm
River Street
Monday 6/3/06 Annual General Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 2/4/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 3/4/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 4/4/06 Guest Speakers
Linda Barraclough
& Jeremy Hales
- Maffra & WWI
1.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 5/5/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 6/5/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library

     In addition there is a workshop and research session held every Monday afternoon from 1.00pm in the Maffra Library, during which members work on the cataloguing of the archives.
     Visitors are very welcome to come along and either join in or request help in your own research.  This is an opportunity for members of the public to have access to the archives, including the photographic collection. 


Reports
(1)  Tuesday Afternoon - October 2005
   
     The Maffra Library was full to the brim as Society members and local team supporters came to hear local identity Ron Reed speak about the Maffra Football Club.  Ron is well qualified to do so as he was a player in the 1960s, a tough players' advocate and a long time supporter.  Together with Bill Traill he is researching the club with an aim to produce a club history.  Bill will be dealing with the early years of the club, while Ron claims he has the difficult part - most of the people he's investigating are still alive!  Never-the-less, anecdotes came from all over the audience, at least some of them printable.

     Ron is shown here with the 1904 Premiership Cup.

      It's good to see that since Ron's talk, use of the Society's microfilm resources in the Library has increased as others have become inspired to look up past events.

  [Times-Spectator photo, 7/10/2006]

 
(2)  Wellington Landscapes: history and heritage in a Gippsland shire
    
    As you see our latest publication has seen the light of day.
     Just to refresh your memories, the Wellington Shire Council requested that our Society undertake the publication on their behalf. 
    A number of years ago a Heritage Survey of the shire was undertaken, for which  Meredith Fletcher wrote an extensive introduction in which she created the contexts into which the details of the survey could be put.  With additional text from Linda Kennett, and with the inclusion of plenty of illustrations, Wellington Landscapes should appeal not just to the specialist historian or the environmental enthusiast, but to the general reader as well.

    We're pleased to be able to report that since the launch, sales have gone very well; although we have slowed down since the Christmas rush, we are already in profit mode.  As the project was able to get off the ground thanks to a Shire grant, it is our intention to keep any profits separate from our other financial activities and to use them to promote further heritage publications relevant to the Wellington Shire.  [report from Times-Spectator  22/11/2005; WSC photo]

(3)  The Briagolong Festival - Sunday 6th November 2005
    On the Sunday a Market was held at the Briagolong School and a Family Day around and in the Mechanics Institute building.  By invitation, our Society put on an historical display, with particular emphasis on local milk, butter and cheese factories.  Several other Societies were also represented; Stratford HS as usual ran its extensive book stall.


Coming Events
(1)  Tuesday Afternoon Meeting - April 4th
  
  Last year The Centre for Gippsland Study's annual conference was devoted to the Gippsland community's association with war.  Speakers generally avoided the "blood and bullets" aspects, concentrating on the effect warfare had on local people, not only on those who went overseas, but also on those who remained.  Two of our members, Linda Barraclough and Jeremy Hales, were invited to be among the speakers; they have offered to re-present their talks at our Tuesday meeting.  Linda will tell us about Annie Whitelaw, a Briagolong women who lost more sons during the First World War than just about anyone; Jeremy will use some articles from the Society's archives to illustrate how local schools communicated with the troops overseas.

(2) Beet Museum clean-up - Sunday 5th March
     Our first effort for the year will concentrate on making the interior of the Beet Museum building more attractive to visitors.  We have a number of regulars now on the first Sunday of each month and we need to create a more welcoming space in which to display items from the collection on a temporary basis.  There will also be a concerted effort to de-spider the archive area; brave people are most welcome!
     We are also investigating ways of improving the flooring and the kitchen area, but this will not be on the Sunday agenda.

Important Notice - Society Membership
 
  
 We have been running the "new look" Society now for twelve months.  During that time we have conducted excursions, run both night and afternoon meetings, promoted our research facilities, run museums, published a book and newsletters, conducted an Annual Luncheon and somehow during that time remained sane.
     It has been our deliberate policy this past year not to insist that persons participating in our activities become paid-up members.  We realise that not everyone can join in personally, certainly not in everything.  So we intend to continue issuing our newsletters free to anyone interested and to make our Tuesday Guest Speaker afternoons open and free to the general public.
     Formal Society membership will still be available, currently at $15 p/a.  Membership is particularly important for people who participate in activities run by the Society as it provides personal insurance cover.  It gives people the right to become formally involved in decision making.  And for those who live further away, it does give the opportunity to help promote the appreciation of heritage in the Maffra area.
     As an added incentive we have decided that all paid-up members will automatically receive a 10% discount on all subsequent Society charges, whether this be for the luncheon, for items purchased (eg. books, photo reproductions) or for excursions.



Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter #3  -   (September 2005)



In this issue:

Calendar
Winnindoo open day 
Tuesday afternoon
Briagolong Festival
Christmas
Museum clean-up
MDHS research
Annual luncheon
New publication
 

Back issues of Newsletter:
click here
(on-line only)

 

 Calendar of Activities 2005/early 2006
(
items added and/or revised - please discard previous copy)
 
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Sunday 2/10/05 Robotic Dairy Open Day
Beet Museum open
10.00am to 3.00pm
2.00pm
Winnindoo

River Street
Monday 3/10/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 4/10/05 Guest Speaker:
Ron "Dingo" Reed
1.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 6/11/05 Briagolong Festival
(MDHS display)
Beet Museum open
10.00am

2.00pm
Briagolong Mechanics Hall

River Street
Monday 7/11/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 4/12/05 Beet Museum open
Christmas break-up
2.00pm
lunch-time
River Street
Macalister Park
Monday 5/12/05 Business meeting 7.30 Maffra Library
JANUARY   RECESS    
Sunday 5/2/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 6/2/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 5/3/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 6/3/06 Annual General Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library

Coming Events
(1)  Winnindoo Dairy Interpretive Centre Visitors' Open Day

    Our joint project with the Warren family at the Robotic Dairy will be open again from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm on Sunday 2nd October.  This is an opportunity for any member of the general public to come along without prior booking or without being part of a tour group.
    There is ample parking beside the Centre; staff will be on hand all day to conduct you through the dairy or answer questions in the Centre; Heyfield Lions Club will be providing BBQ lunches and drinks at very reasonable prices.  Entry is $5 per head, with young people under 12 free (to encourage family groups).
    For further details, including a map, visit our museum web site and follow the appropriate prompts.

(2)  Tuesday Afternoon Meeting
    Our next Tuesday afternoon meeting is to be held in the Maffra Library on 4th October, starting at 1.30 pm.  Our speaker will be Ron Reed.  Ron is probably better known to generations of Maffra High School students and parents as "Dingo", the science teacher and football coach (and eventual Deputy Principal) with a passion for biology and relatively little regard for fashionable clothing. Away from school he was known for his range of sporting enthusiasms (which he continues to pursue long after retirement); with his gift of the gab it was claimed, with what degree of truth it's hard to tell, that any player he represented at the Football Tribunal was guaranteed to get off.
    Ron is currently involved, together with Bill Traill, in writing a history of the Maffra Football Club.  You can be sure of an entertaining afternoon full of amusing anecdotes, whether you're a sports fan or not.

(3)  The Briagolong Festival
    The Festival goes for two days: Saturday 5th November and Sunday 6th November.  On the Sunday there will be a Market held at the Briagolong School and a Family Day around and in the Mechanics Institute building.  There will be a range of activities including a mountain cattlemen's ride-past, whip cracking, music of various kinds, gold panning and lots of food and drink.
    By invitation, our Society will be putting on an historical display, with particular emphasis on local milk, butter and cheese factories.  Come by and make yourself known.

(4)  Christmas
    We decided some years ago to move away from the traditional breakup as so many members seemed to be involved in so many of them.  Instead we instituted the annual luncheon.  Last year a number of members met informally in Macalister Park beside the Beet Museum on the Sunday open day in December.  This proved to be a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon and it has been suggested that we repeat the experience.  So if you'd like to be part of an informal get-together, bring some supplies for a BBQ or lunch of your choice.  The Museum will be open to the public and will also be available for members to boil up a cuppa, etc.

Reports
(1) Beet Museum clean-up
     The Beet Museum looks a bit more presentable now, especially around the big tin shed, since an enthusiastic and efficient working bee cleaned out the gutters and swept down the walls.  We've had a bad year for spiders, with those annoying little webs everywhere, and the winds had blown so much dust and leaves into the gutters that we had grass flourishing there.  At least now we're ready for the rain if it ever comes again!  Thanks to everyone who turned up.

(2) Researching history at Maffra
     Linda Barraclough conducted our second Tuesday afternoon session a couple of months ago in the Maffra Library.  Some fifteen interested members and visitors were shown how the resources of the Society housed in the Library can assist researchers, whether they're interested in their own family history or in other local topics.  Not only do we have a wide range of photographs both of people and of places, but there is also a growing collection of early maps, local history publications and documents which can be used.  And of course, there is the internet. 
    Already as a result of this session the partners of two of the attendees have discovered a totally unsuspected family link and have begun swapping details.  Users of our web site might also be aware that we have created a page for the Kelly family on which they have on display a large number of photos needing identification (have a look at kellyalbum.htm).

(3)  Annual Luncheon
    Over forty people joined us for our Annual Luncheon at the Tinamba pub on 5th September.  The weather made travelling there pleasant; the food was good and varied; the service efficient and friendly; the atmosphere was relaxed.
    Our speaker this year was Gerard Callinan, a rural broadcaster and currently the manager of ABC Regional Radio in Sale.  Having established that he emigrated to Australia from England by bicycle (a complicated story) he explained how he had originally become interested in radio.  He recollected being a Top 40 listener as a young lad (via the pirate radios beaming into England because the BBC at the time refused to play that kind of popular music) and could remember being on a camp when he heard that Elvis had died.  The public response to this event convinced him even then of the power of radio, through the spoken word and not through the sound-bite-plus-image of TV, to evoke and reveal the emotional aspects of an event.
    Since being in Australia, Gerard says he has become aware of the influence radio has on the community.  There is a much wider range of content here and he believes that radio serves as a much more important social link than it does in other countries, possibly because of our vast distances and relatively small population.  What makes the job really worthwhile for him is the fact that one can hear people tell their own stories from their own points of view.
    Gerard acknowledged that there was concern about the direction of the ABC, particularly as money (or its lack) appears to be driving some decisions.  He was aware that amalgamating regional radio centres  would save money but that centralised content is rarely relevant to specific regions.  The good news is that decentralised regional radio currently has Federal Government support (ie. it's funded).  He made the point though that we must use it or we'll lose it and asked that anyone who has any comment at all (+ or -) should make that opinion known so that those providing the money can see the public interest.
    After several immediate responses (also + and -) from the audience to that request, we were entertained by a series of anecdotes about broadcast content, including the perennial one concerning giraffe farming.
 

(4)  Wellington Landscapes: history and heritage in a Gippsland shire
     Somewhat out of the blue, and to our surprise, the Wellington Shire Council has requested that our Society undertake the publication of a new text on their behalf.  The Council has even provided us with a grant to do so.
    A number of years ago a Heritage Survey of the shire was undertaken, for which Dr Meredith Fletcher wrote an extensive introduction in which she created the contexts into which the details of the survey could be put.  Those of us who had the opportunity to read this introduction believed that it was of sufficient general interest to form the basis of a book in its own right and so we were really pleased when the current Shire Council proposed just that.
    At our suggestion a brief history of each of the towns in the shire has been included (a sort of shire-wide extension of Bald Hills to Bundalaguah which older members might remember) to add further to the general interest.  The book thus traces the effects European settlements have had on the Gippsland landscape, beginning with the initial explorations and settlements, the development of primary industry and the exploitation of natural resources.  It then goes on to consider subsequent consequences such as the development of transport and communications, the building of permanent settlements, the management of "public" land and the processes developed to administer all of this.  Finally the emerging cultural institutions and ways of life are considered.
    Care has been taken to describe and use as examples for all of those themes, things which are still observable today.  It is literally possible to use the book as a guide to explain why things you can see around the shire are where they are and what they are doing there.
    There are many illustrations, which have been carefully chosen too.  The places illustrated cover the whole shire and no part  is over-represented.  Importantly there is always a modern connection.  You may find a streetscape from the past which contains buildings still there.  You may find a modern photograph of a place or environment which has changed little.  You might find an illustration of a recognisable place showing an alternative use in the past.

    The formal details of the book are thus:
TitleWellington landscapes; history and heritage in a Gippsland shire
Authors:  Dr Meredith Fletcher and Dr Linda Kennett
Publisher:  Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Format & content:  88 pages + soft cover; approx 190 x 250 mm; endnotes and comprehensive index; 40+ b/w photographs, maps
Price:  RRP $18.00; trade and society discounts available at publisher's discretion
Publication date:  early November 2005

The Society is offering its members and Newsletter readers the opportunity to reserve copies prior to publication.  This could be particularly useful if you have Christmas presents in mind as we will guarantee delivery in time unless stopped by things beyond our control.


  
 


Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter #2  -   2005



In this issue:

Calendar
Robot Dairy
   Open Day
Tuesday Meeting
Jobs for members
Local history
   collection
Dargo Trip report
Boisdale House
 

Back issues of Newsletter:

click here
(on-line only)

 

 Calendar of Activities 2005
(
items added and/or revised - please discard previous copy)
Day Date Activity Time Venue
Sunday 19/06/05 Robotic Dairy Open Day 10.00am to 3.00pm Winnindoo
Sunday 3/7/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 4/7/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 5/7/05 Linda Barraclough:
Family history in Maffra & the world
1.30pm Maffra Library
Monday 1/8/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 7/8/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Sunday 4/9/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 5/9/05 Annual Luncheon noon Tinamba Hotel
Sunday 2/10/05 Robotic Dairy Open Day
Beet Museum open
10.00am to 3.00pm
2.00pm
Winnindoo

River Street
Monday 3/10/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 4/10/05 Guest Speaker 1.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 6/11/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 7/11/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 4/12/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 5/12/05 Business meeting/
Christmas break-up
7.30 To be announced
JANUARY   RECESS    
Sunday 6/2/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 7/2/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 6/3/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 7/3/06 Annual General Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library

Coming Events
(1)  Winnindoo Dairy Interpretive Centre Visitors' Open Day

    Our joint project with the Warren family at the Robotic Dairy will be open from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm on Sunday 19th June.  This is an opportunity for any member of the general public to come along without prior booking or without being part of a tour group.
    There is ample parking beside the Centre; staff will be on hand all day to conduct you through the dairy or answer questions in the Centre; Heyfield Lions Club will be providing BBQ lunches and drinks at very reasonable prices.  Entry is $5 per head, with young people under 12 free (to encourage family groups).
    For further details, including a map, visit our museum web site.

(2)  Tuesday Afternoon Meeting
    Our next Tuesday afternoon meeting is to be held in the Maffra Library on 5th July, starting at 1.30 pm.  Our speaker will be Linda Barraclough, the Society's archivist.  This is how she describes what she will be doing:
    "Looking up Family History in Maffra and around the World.
Come along and see some of the unique features of the Maffra Library Local History Collection, which includes our photographs and our material in the files, details of local selectors and the like. Then, have a sample tasting of the records that you can now look at through the internet, in the comfort of the Maffra Library - births, deaths and marriage, shipping arrivals and military records, to name just a few."
     Please note: computer experience is not necessary - there will be people there to help.

     As a prelude to Linda's session you might be interested in this.  The Lakes Entrance Family History Resource Centre is conducting a History Fair and Book Launch in the Mechanics Hall there over the weekend of June 11th and 12th, starting at 1.00pm on the Saturday.  As well as guest speakers there will be lots of displays, advice and sales.  For further information contact 5156 5662


Reports
(1) Division of labour
     In an attempt to encourage greater involvement in Society activities, various members have taken on leadership roles.  Carol is responsible for the Annual Luncheon; Joy arranges our tours; Jenny co-ordinates the regular opening of the Beet Museum; Linda is in charge of the archives; Jeremy co-ordinates the overall development of the museum complex.  This newsletter contains examples of things happening already.
     If you would like to offer your services to Jenny in helping open the Beet Museum on the first Sunday of each month, please contact her direct (5147 2677) or pass a message on via Carol at Maffra Library.

(2) Maffra's Local History collection
     Linda and Marion are surging on through checking the local collection preparing it for complete cataloguing, and are very excited by their progress. There are many parts to the collection, which is a combined Library and Historical Society collection. It now contains a wide selection of published books, held securely, files bursting with unpublished information (accessible with an index, and based on Flo's notes), the photograph collection, a good (but not complete) collection of parish maps, and lots of other, smaller delights.
     There is a white folder near the local history books that are freely available for loan (unlike the reference ones, which are stored securely). You can go through this folder and it will give you pointers about what else is in the collection (like a full set of our Bulletins, with index), that you can request from staff.
     It is building up to be a wonderful collection, and people are starting to travel from some distance away to use the material.  We are also finding that family researchers outside the district are using our web site as a reference.

(3) Excursion to Dargo : May 2nd







       The day didn't really seem to promise all that well under grey clouds.  As people gathered in knots outside the Maffra Post Office the need for raincoats became obvious as we were met by uncharacteristic drizzle. There was some discussion and apprehension as to whether Dargo would be wetter or drier.
     To everyone's relief, the latter opinion turned out to be correct and, as they say, the day got progressively better as it went on.  There was one unexpected benefit in the morning though - the wispy clouds in the valleys on the journey up really set off the magnificent autumn colours of the willows and walnut groves on the way up.
     First stop was at the Dargo Hall.  Naturally after a ninety minute coach ride there was an equal need for both morning tea and the town's public facilities.  Both proved very satisfactory.
     We met up with our guide for the day, Rob Christie.  Rob has had a long association with the district and is currently Head Teacher at the Primary School in Dargo.
     Rob first took us to the local museum (see pictures) where curator Brian Madigan was waiting for us.  The museum contains a collection of artifacts salvaged from the surrounding gold fields as well as memorabilia relevant to the locality.  There was particular interest in a collection of newspaper items gathered over many years detailing the stories of a number of "identities" who frequented the town and surrounding bush. 
     While we were there we also took the opportunity to hand over an object previously held in our own collection - the Crooked River telephone exchange.  This had been given to us years ago, before there was a collection in Dargo, but we felt that now was the time to take it back closer to where it belonged.
     As there was still a bit of time before lunch and as the sun was now brightly shining, we decided to have our main street talk first. 
     Young Matthew gently persuaded our large coach to turn round at the end of the town, just before the road climbed steeply towards Mt Grant.  Then we crawled back along the main street while Rob pointed out various significant buildings and localities, and regaled us with a series of anecdotes about those various "identities".  It must have been a bit of a surprise for one youngish resident to emerge from his heritage home wearing relatively little, to discover a large vehicle with heavily tinted windows parked outside his front door.
     Lunch had been arranged at the Dargo Winery, where a delicious roast awaited us.  We were then given a bit of free time.  Those who felt energetic wandered back down the main street, some even climbing up to the cemetery.  Others sampled the shop's wares or were tempted to check out the pub.  We all then congregated at the school where, over a final 'cuppa' Rob showed us how a very small rural school copes with isolation through the internet.  A somewhat different (and possibly unplanned) return route brought us all home again safely.
     The two most common comments afterwards were how friendly everyone had been and how pleasant it was to go on an excursion which went at a relaxed pace.  Special thanks go to our coach driver Matthew for his excellent driving, to Rob for his entertaining commentary and most particularly to Joy for thinking up the idea in the first place and then making all the arrangements.

     News of this trip has apparently got out; we've already had an enquiry from Melbourne asking how other groups can do the same thing.

(4)  Afternoon tea at Boisdale House : May 17th
     Those of you who do not live in the Maffra area may not be aware that Boisdale House and its surrounding properties have just been sold.  Cathy and Foster Crooke very generously invited Society members to go out to see the house, its contents and its gardens for one last time, a gesture we really appreciated.


 


Maffra & District Historical Society Inc
Newsletter #1  -  March 2005



In this issue:
President's
   Report

Dargo Trip
Calendar
Robot Dairy
    As we indicated to you last year, we have decided to cease publication of the Bulletin for the various reasons indicated in the last edition.  Since then we have been taking stock.  Where is our Society headed?  This becomes an especially relevant question as now many people formerly interested in general local history have turned their attention to family history and have joined organisations specifically catering for that interest.
    It seems that we will have to concentrate more on our local members, offering activities away from the traditional "meeting" format.  Of course we are still pleased to retain contact with former members in the wider community and our web site (www.maffra.net.au/heritage) caters for these - you'll find this newsletter plus a full index of names from the Bulletin there among other things.
    For those with access to Maffra we are experimenting with a "new-look" society.  The regular meeting nights will remain but will concentrate on "business" matters only, such as hearing reports from sub-groups, dealing with correspondence, administering the museum and archives, planning other activities. 
    We hope also to develop a series of Tuesday afternoon activities which may appeal not only to members but to the general public as well.  There will be no formal business and afternoon tea will be provided.   These are being established in conjunction with the Maffra Library.  More details of these in the next Newsletter. 
    As well there will be more excursions, regular Museum openings plus the Annual Luncheon.  A calendar of currently arranged activities is included here.  You will be notified of any additions or changes.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT  -  MARCH 2005
    It is my privilege to present this year’s annual report of The Maffra and District Historical Society.
    It has been a year of changes. Society members have been active in the newly formed sub-committees for, the Beet Museum; Maffra Street Walk; trips; Winnindoo Interactive Centre.
    The Beet Museum is now open again for visitors on the first Sunday of the month thanks to Joy Greaves, Marion Hair, Gwen Leeson and Jenny Toma, whilst Jeremy Hales and Viv. Lees made themselves available as guides for prearranged bus tours.
    In June a trip to Winnindoo Robotic dairy followed by a visit to the Cowwarr Art Space was interesting, fun and informative, despite the terrible weather. Unfortunately not all the organisers of the trip were able to go and so missed out on reaping the fruits of their efforts.
    Jeremy Hales worked collecting and displaying items in the Interpretive Centre at Winnindoo which is a work in progress.
    The Street Walk - map and information - has been a little slow in coming together due in no small way to many other commitments.
Much has been achieved in the "Pearce Collection" held at Maffra Library, with Linda Barraclough sorting through the accumulation of acquired material.
    The Annual luncheon held in September was a great success and our heartfelt thanks go to Rob Christie who, taking time out from an hectic schedule to be with us, proved to be a witty and informative speaker.
    This year saw the final edition of The Bulletin. In its place a Newsletter will be sent out, hopefully, three times a year.
    It was with sadness we learned of the deaths of two of our treasures, Marion Le Cheminant and Viv Lees. Marion had moved on to New South Wales to be close to her family and we had in some way already said goodbye. Viv was one of our living treasures, his knowledge, sense of humour and gentleness will be remembered by us all.
    My personal thanks go to the members of the Executive, John Little, Jenny Toma, Jeremy Hales, Cath Coggan and Viv Lees for their help and support.
    As always, there will be members and others I have forgotten to mention and for this I apologise.
    Thank you to Stephen Dempsey for allowing us the use of the library as a meeting place.
    We stand at a crossroad, for the Society to continue we must attract new members who will be willing to take an active role, or else we too will be history.

Carol Kitchenn - March 2005


Dargo Excursion
   Book now for the grand tour of Dargo on Sunday 1st May.  The bus will depart from the Maffra Post Office at 8.00am and pick-up at the Stratford Memorial Park at 8.20am.
   The cost of $30 per head ($15 children <14) includes transport, two course meal at the Dargo Valley Winery, Dargo museum entry and on-board commentary.
   Booking is important as we have to notify numbers ahead of the tour date.  Please phone either 5147 1052 or 5147 2137.  If you are reading this newsletter on-line, you can also book electronically.


Calendar of Activities 2005

Day Date Activity Time Venue
Monday 4/4/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 5/4/05 Guest speaker 1.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 1/5/05 Dargo Bus Trip 8.00am
8.20am
Maffra Post office
Stratford Memorial Park
Monday 2/5/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 3/5/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 6/6/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 12/6/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 4/7/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 5/7/05 Guest speaker 1.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 10/7/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 1/8/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 7/8/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 5/9/05 Annual Luncheon 12.00pm Tinamba Hotel
Sunday 11/9/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 3/10/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Tuesday 4/10/05 Guest Speaker 1.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 9/10/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 7/11/05 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 13/11/05 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 5/12/05 Business meeting/
Christmas break-up
7.30 To be announced
JANUARY   RECESS    
Monday 6/2/06 Business meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library
Sunday 13/2/06 Beet Museum open 2.00pm River Street
Monday 6/3/06 Annual General Meeting 7.30pm Maffra Library


Winnindoo Dairy Interpretive Centre

    Our joint project with the Warren family at the Robotic Dairy has now been open for twelve months.  During that time we have been host to over 3000 visitors!  Tourist coaches have come from all over Victoria; public and private school groups have used the place as an extended class-room; several dairy industry conferences have included visits as part of their program; three open days have also been held.
    Some of our members have expressed concern that the general public cannot just turn up at any time and see over the facilities.  We would remind everyone that this project aims to create a major tourist and educational facility on a working farm.  It is not run by volunteers; it is an integral part of the farm.  If we wish to continue to benefit (as we certainly have done so far) we must be prepared to fit in with the farm's overall management. which means access by group booking or during Open Days.

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