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Saturday, 19 December 2015

Sign of the times

Photo courtesy of Christine Laskowski.
This sign has recently been uncovered.  Go to the Time Travellers website to see where.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

First Flemington and Kensington Borough Chambers and library


Councillors for the new Borough of Flemington and Kensington met on 10 May 1882. John Rigby, licensee of the Newmarket Hotel, offered the use of his 'second house' as temporary municipal chambers. The Council appears in the Sands and McDougall directories in the above location on Racecourse Road, from 1882-1884, two doors removed from the Newmarket Hotel with a saddler in between.   The Council remained there until removing to the New Hall further south Racecourse Road past the Doutta Galla Hotel.  See Early Libraries in Essendon and Flemington, Part 3 for more and update of the Flemington and Kensington Free Library and Mechanics' Institute.


The Flemington Institute


This new publication, These Walls Speak Volumes:  a history of Mechanics' Institutes in Victoria, by Pam Baragwanath and Ken James is a comprehensive inventory of Institutes throughout Victoria.  It was a monumental undertaking and is the culmination of many years' work.  I was interested to compare my findings with theirs on the local Mechanics' Institutes, and I found that they had identified an early Institute which I had failed to locate, but of which I had some hints. This was the Flemington Institute, which initially met in the first Flemington National School at the southern end of Mt Alexander Rd, though the location of the library is less clear.  Once I had the time frame spelt out in These Walls Speak Volumes, references to the Flemington Institute were readily located in Trove.  I have now been able to prepare an update for my article on the Early Libraries of Essendon and Flemington. Follow the link for the new section - scroll down a little to find it.  This earlier library predated the next attempt by twenty years.

Friday, 4 December 2015

St Brendan's Catholic Primary School, Flemington, 1924

St Brendan's Catholic Primary School Flemington.  Grade 3, 1924.  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection. You can see a list of school photos on the Time Travellers website here.  If you can identify anyone in the photo, please let me know. 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Burke & Wills photos from the National Library

E.W. Searle collection of photographs, National Library of Australia, http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-vn4654382.

David Phoenix of the Burke & Wills Web told me about two other images of the Burke and Wills tree at the National Library of Australia which had been misidentified as being at Royal Park.  I have been in touch with the NLA to suggest they review the description of the two photos.  


The photos are interesting because they show the gas lamp standards in Mt Alexander Rd.  By April 1883 the gas lamps had got as far as Taylor st. The tree was further along Mt Alexander Rd, just past Albert St.  The two images of the tree can be see at the Time Travellers website.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Early Libraries in Essendon and Flemington

A bookplate from the Essendon Public Library which was formed in 1884.  Courtesy of the Moonee Valley Library Service.
What was the very first library in Essendon?  There were many personal libraries in the great homes in the district - George Newsom's personal collection was burnt in a fire in 1849, but few probably  merited the privilege of borrowing from it.

The first known subscription library was formed in 1854 at the St John's Presbyterian Church.  It was another 30 years before the Essendon Public Library was formed.  Early Libraries of Essendon and Flemington explores the nature of the earliest libraries in our district - who started them, what was stocked on the shelves, and how did the library function, are questions that are addressed in this first article about libraries.  To follow will be another article about circulating libraries, but that may have to wait for you to hang your Christmas stockings.  

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Monday, 23 November 2015

Burke and Wills Tree - further details

Having had some very useful comments on the Burke and Wills tree page on the Time Travellers website, and done some further research in Trove, I have reviewed and changed some of the dates of the photos there.  Dave Phoenix of the Burke & Wills Web helpfully put me onto two further images of the tree at the National Library of Australia website (currently waiting for permission to publish them).  These have been mislabelled as being at Royal Park, which is how I came to miss them. The NLA photos have gas lamp standards in them, which had dating implications - not before 1883.

Alex Bragiola pointed out that the houses in the background were built in 1883.  Also that one of the photos was taken looking at Queen's Park, and the picket fence had been replaced by a wire fence in 1915.  The picket fence was built by Council in 1885. It is great to have some help in refining the dates on these photos, so thank you Dave and Alex.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Burke and Wills Tree, Essendon

I was inspired by a recent post in the Moonee Valley Libraries Facebook on 6 November 2015 to put together a timeline of photos of the Burke and Wills tree under which the explorers were said to have camped in 1860.  By the time photographers began to record the tree, it was long dead.  A search through Trove enables us to give the last possible date to the above photo from the State Library of Victoria Collection as 1938.  (see H91.50/569)  The Essendon Historical Society collection includes photos of the dedication of the new memorial in 1938.

You can see the photo timeline on my Time Travellers website.  If you wish to keep up with additions to the website, follow by email. (See above, right).

Monday, 9 November 2015

Strathmore North Primary School, Grade 1D, 1964

Does anyone recognise anyone amongst this cheery group of first graders?  You will find this and a small number of other Strathmore North photos on my blog.  And go to Articles to see more local history.

Kensington State School, before button-up boots went out

This detail shows some real personalities from Kensington State School in 1913, in their button-up boots and sporting Eton collars, sailor collars, and Little Lord Fauntleroy collars.  You can view the larger photo here, and perhaps identify some of the little people if you can.

Essendon State School, Grade 2, 1922

Named on the back of the photo are:

Front row, from left: 1 Geoffrey Hollingsworth, 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 Reg Urquhart, 6 --, 7 --, 8 Ronnie Tame/Same, 9 --, 10 --, 11 -- 
Second row, from left:  1 --, 2 --, 3 Geoffrey Bunch, 4 --, 5 -- Alan Ladd, 6 --, 7 --, 8 --, 9 --, 10 --, 11 --, 12 --, 13 --. 
Third row, from left:  1 --, 2 --, 3 Grace Nicholson, 4 Elsa Tucker, 5 Mavis Narracott, 6 Melba Anderson, 7 Lily White, 8 --, 9 Joyce Wilcox.
Back Row, from left:  1 Ivy Wiles, 2 --, 3 --, 4 Doreen Middleton, 5 --, 6 Gwen Richard, 7 --, 8 --, 9 Myra Bull, 10 Veta Jackson.  

Can you add any more names?

A further four photos from 1915 to 1920 can be seen on the website:

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Flemington Basket Ball Team, 1937

This delightful studio portrait shows the Flemington Basket Ball Team,  Runners Up in the Victorian Women's Basket Ball Association, BZ Grade in 1937.  There is only one known (at this stage) identity - Nancy Crook, aged about 14, standing fourth from the left.  Nancy lived at 18 Byron St, Moonee Ponds, and attended Flemington Girls School.  This may be her connection to a Flemington team.  The portrait was in the studio of Edward A Roberts, Moonee Ponds.  Follow the links to read more about them. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Essendon North State School Photos, 1923-1926

Four class photos of Prep classes from Essendon North, from 1923 to 1926 have been kindly shared  by Ian Reiher.  If you can recognise any of your relatives in these photos, please get  in touch.  Go to the Time Travellers website to see all photos. 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Suburban Bicycle Club

While working on a little project on the photographers who operated in Essendon, Moonee Ponds, Flemington, etc, I came upon this one, taken in the studio of H C Edwards, Kensington. It is from the collection of the State Library of Victoria, item number H2005.34/1181.   They seemed to me to be attired as cyclists, so I went back to the SLV catalogue to see if I could find some other cycling clubs, and located another one identified as the Suburban Bicycle Club, 1892, item number H6265. 

This photo had a number of the faces in the crowd named, though the number of names doesn't match the number of faces, so it is a little unclear what names belong where.  But I did notice a number of names associated with Flemington.  There were three Councillors named, for instance, all of whom served on the Flemington and Kensington Borough Council.  W K Barmby was licensee at the Flemington Hotel for a period in the 1890s.  A race sponsored by Barmby commenced at the Newmarket Railway Bridge, to Keilor and return.

The cap badges in the top photo seem to match some of those in the bottom photo, and I think I can recognise three of the men in the top photo in the second photo.  The three have cloth badges on their sleeves indicating - Secretary, Captain and Sub-Captain.  The man standing behind the back wheel of the right-hand bicycle has a badge on his sleeve, which I think is Captain, and thus is presumably F J Speakman.  (You can download a high resolution image from the State Library to have a closer look).

See the Time Travellers website for the list of names.  If anyone can help with identification of any of the men in the two photos, please get in touch. 

Friday, 9 October 2015

Update to the Essendon & District Local History Book Index

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

There is a minor addition to the Essendon & District Local History Book Index, which is Janet McCalman's book  A hundred years at Bank Street: Ascot Vale State School, 1885-1985.

The index now includes 17 titles. A list of the titles is included with the index.

The Moonee Ponds Post Office

The new Moonee Ponds Post Office a few years after construction in 1906.  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. H89.105/158

In the 1916 Sands & McDougall Directory, Mrs Ethel May  Knowles ran the Confectionary and Tea Room next to the Post Office, and George Oswald Leighton Marrison was the chemist further west. These two business persons were residing in Puckle St next to the post office as early as 1909 in the Electoral Roll.

Marilyn Kenny has tracked down the incredible machinations behind the effort to get a suitable  post office for the district (ie, one that could accommodate more than two people at a time buying stamps).  Despite the will of the people to have the post office in Mount Alexander Road, which was then the main business thoroughfare, other business interests dragged out the proceedings.

Marilyn says

The matter of selecting a site for a Moonee Ponds Post and Telegraph office was in 1890 already an Ancient question having been on the agenda since 1882. However the issue still had another remarkable sixteen years to run, consuming the energy, interest and passion of the community. 
Read the whole story on the Time Travellers website.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Mason's Hygienic Library, Puckle Street, 1960s



Every so often a relic of of a subscription library turns up, in this case a novel from Mason's Hygienic Library, or Mason's Book Club as one of its stamps depicts.  Lorraine Rogers wrote an account of her mother's experiences in the circulating library at 45 The Crescent Ascot Vale which she called "Threepence a Book", which was the going rate in the 1940s.  By the 1960s Mason's was charging eightpence a book, as their schedule shows.


Preparation of the books to go on the shelf would have kept a librarian very busy between borrowers.  The dustjacket was removed and cut down, the front illustration pasted onto the front cover of the book and the blurb, which described the contents, pasted inside the book.  A white pen was used on this book to write C  ROM on the spine, indicating that the books were shelved by the initial letter of the author's surnames in sections - in this case ROM for Romance section. 

Two labels were pasted onto the book, the schedule of fees shown above on the inside cover, and an ownership label on the outside back cover, which declared "All Books Sterilized", and borrowers should "Choose your Author as you would a friend".  

In addition to the two labels were a further four separate stamps, one of which was a large one into which the borrowing dates were stamped with a further date stamp.  When the book was taken out of circulation, a Cancelled stamp was added. 

The Elusive Quest was published in 1965.  The dates stamped to indicate the return date run from 1965 to 1969.  It was most likely taken out of circulation after that, as there was still room for further stamps, perhaps indicating a declining interest.  Considering how poorly constructed a romance it is, it is a wonder it last that long on the shelves. 

You can see the rest of the stamps on the Time Travellers website.