This blog provides information, stories, links and events relating to and promoting the history of the Wimmera district.
Any additional information, via Comments, is welcomed.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Butter factory spreads

Back in July 1893, the Horsham Town Hall was the venue for a meeting calling for the establishment of a shareholder butter factory in Horsham.
Following the promise of milk from 300 cows, cream from a Natimuk factory, and Burnt Creek and Green Lake district support for the supply of cream, the dream was realised.
On 11th October 1894 the Horsham Butter Factory was officially opened by the Mayor Cr W.F. Osborn. Built for £1,350 a “commodious, sightly and highly convenient building” was erected on the corner of Hillary and Urquhart Streets.
As a butter factory, milk arrived in cans on suppliers’ carts, it was hoisted to the upper storey, weighed, and run into a large receiving tank. The milk was then conveyed to the separator for the cream and buttermilk (the buttermilk was pumped by centrifugal pump to tanks at the rear of the building for sale or return to suppliers). The cream went to a large Cherry churn, where salt was added, then it was washed and pressed into pats. The factory’s power came from a Tangye vertical engine.
The Opening ended with 3 rousing cheers for the Horsham Butter Factory.
Move on many years and diary and butter production has declined across the region, and the factory building becomes the Horsham Italian Social Club. In the post war years the building was a centre for many migrant Italian families. About 120 families were involved with the club at its peak. The building was important for the Italian community who migrated to the Wimmera in the 1970s and 1980s.Members of the Italian community would come together to play cards and socialise, but now many have passed on or moved away. The building was used for weddings, birthday parties and other functions.
Now, the property includes a large building with a formal entrance that leads to a hall. The building has a commercial-grade kitchen, bar and restrooms. And the Club felt that the time had come to sell the building and to donate the money from the property’s sale to charity.
From Wimmera Mail Times: Former Horsham Italian Club treasurer Lorenzo Manserra Photo: Elijah Macchia
On 20th April the building went to auction, and in negotiations afterwards it was revealed that the Horsham Table Tennis Association has found a new home.
After years of searching for a permanent place and playing out of the Maydale Pavilion at the Showgrounds, the Association has purchased the building, for an undisclosed price.
The Association’s president Leon Forrest said the purchase was a big move forward in helping grow the association’s numbers and viability, as it had grown out of the facilities at the Maydale Pavilion.
 “We want the place to be for the community. We cover all age groups, from juniors to seniors, and we want to provide a hub for enjoyment.”
“The place will be used for our tournaments, think seven to eight tables can fit in. The dance studio currently uses the building, but they are looking at other options for what the space could be used for, eg. other community clubs that want to hire or rent it.
The Association are holding a Community Open Day on Sunday 24th from 2pm to 4pm.
So the Butter Factory gets another lease on life.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Teaching at Jung

The library was gifted a number of photographs today, for our 'Wimmera in Photographs' collection.
Yes we are still accepting donations.
A couple were interesting for different reasons:
Firstly one of Jung State School in the early 1900s. It is of great clarity showing the students in the garden they manage, with the school building and attached residence in the background.
And what makes this special is teaming it with the one below from Museums Victoria's "The Biggest Family Album in Australia" collection, to see the changes in the buildings, the children's attire, and the growth of the garden.

Much of the garden's credit would be due to one of the men in the photo below (another of today's donations). The man with the cross, marked above his head - teacher at Jung from 1900 to 1920 - Mr George Page.
Mr Page was in charge of the school when it reached its peak of 80 pupils around 1910. 
A theory has been advanced as to why the men are gathered for the photograph, and we're wondering whether it is due to the ribbons on their lapels, and maybe they are White and Blue Ribboners in the Temperance League (as discussed in a previous post 'The church, the hotel, the society') as there was a branch of the Temperance Movement in Jung.
There are stories behind many of our photographs. If you wish to have some of your photos added to 'Wimmera in Photographs' just contact your local library branch.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Final Fulham

Wimmera Mail Times Picture: Elijah Macchia
The Fulham Station homestead, at Kanagulk, was originally settled in 1840 by Francis Desailly. It was the first homestead to be settled in the Balmoral area.
Today, current owners Greg and Heather Walcott have the refurbished homestead on the station and its 65 acres (26.3hectares) on the market.
Greg & Heather (Wimmera Mail Times Picture: Elijah Macchia)
 The original landlord, Sir John Owen, may have never seen the land. He sold it privately to George Armytage and his family who established the buildings. The buildings date from 1846 and were progressively built after that.
In 1857 Fulham became the home for Charles Armytage and his wife Caroline. Eight of their 10 children were born at Fulham (50 miles from the nearest doctor). Fulham's remoteness encouraged them to purchase Como House in South Yarra as a town house in 1864.
The Armytages finally sold their Fulham and Mt Sturgeon properties in 1948, to the Soldier Settlement Commission, and the Commission developed Fulham Estate into settlement blocks.
Greg Walcott’s father successfully applied for the homestead block, and the homestead has been with the Walcott family ever since. Greg then inherited Fulham from his father and has spent almost his entire life living at the property.
Now they are moving on, and Fulham is looking for a new owner.
Wimmera Mail Times Picture: Elijah Macchia
Fulham Homestead was first listed with the National Trust in July 1965. Most of the heritage-listed buildings at Fulham have been built with ironstone. The stone is from within a kilometre of the homestead which was built on an ironstone shelf. The homestead is made from rubble-coursed ironstone with 2ft-thick walls, and contains two bedrooms, bathroom, living area, office and kitchen.
The Guesthouse
Along with the homestead building, there is a detached guesthouse featuring three bedrooms, two bathrooms, lounge and fully renovated kitchen, as well as a reading room with windows that frame an ancient Moreton Bay fig tree.
The tennis court & gardens (Wimmera Mail Times Picture: Elijah Macchia)
Greg and his wife Heather have developed the site - from the garden with sculptures Greg as created, along with a vegetable patch, a child’s play set under a tree and a lawn tennis court. “The garden was established when the property was built and then it was bulldozed. When (Heather and I) were married it was only a horse paddock, so we gradually re-established the garden in stages...there were a few established trees but very little else so eventually we have developed it right down to the water’s edge,” he said.
The garden slopes down to meet the Glenelg River at a broad bend. The property has its own watering hole finished with a bbq pit, wooden bench & table, an outdoor toilet, and a canoe landing stage.

The station cookhouse
The station cookhouse is one of the 10 heritage listed buildings which the Walcott’s have reinvigorated to a dining room with the original fireplace and stone oven still intact, now utilised as a wood-fired pizza oven.
Greg said moving away from this piece of 'living history' where he had spent almost 65 years of his life, would be a huge change.

Wimmera Mail Times interview video
If you have a spare $1.1 million- $1.2 million, then, Expressions of Interest close on Friday May 25 at 1pm.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Tales from the churchyard

A word about the effort some organisations, trusts have gone to assisting family and history researchers.
Just a couple of examples from afar.

Old St Matthew's Church, Lightcliffe, is a former church in the village of Lightcliffe, West Yorkshire in England.


The original building on the site was a chapel of ease called Eastfield Chapel, which was built in 1529. This was damaged during the Reformation, and repaired in 1536. The chapel was rebuilt as a church in Neoclassical style in 1775. It was then replaced in the late 19th century by a new church a short distance away. 
The old church was then used as a mortuary chapel. It was severely damaged by a storm in the 1960s and its fabric deteriorated and the church suffered from vandalism. Now only the tower remains.
The tower is square in cross-section and constructed in hammer-dressed stone with ashlar dressings. 
On the west face is a round-headed window with a circular window above. At belfry level is inscribed stone taken from an earlier church on the site. At the top of the tower is an octagonal cupola with a ball finial. 
Inside the tower are an inscribed stone dated 1529, benefaction boards, and a monument from 1830 designed by Richard Westmacott.
In its accompanying churchyard there are over 11,000 grave sites.

Lots of centuries old history, but St Matthews has a website, a number of YouTube clips,
and a Friends Facebook page, and its churchyard cemetery has headstone photographs and transcriptions.

While the Prospect Cemetery in Toronto has affiliated with Google Maps to guide people in finding graves. Especially helpful in large cemeteries (148,000 burial records have been indexed for the cemetery), and when the cemetery concerned is halfway across the world.
Prospect Cemetery (part of the Mount Pleasant Group) has been in use since 1890, with a special focus on its 5 acre Veterans' Memorial, Canada's largest First World War memorial.

It has a Cemetery App with options to 'Find a grave', 'Find a tree' in the arboretum search, and a 'Notable person' search.

There's also a little video of where Toronto's original Potters Field cemetery was located in now downtown Toronto. 

This is what just two different cemeteries have been able to achieve by embracing a number of digital initiatives.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Budding authors

You thought that actually writing the manuscript was the difficult part, but had you considered the following aspects?
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique identifier for books. An ISBN is not mandatory, and does not provide copyright on a work. However, ISBNs are the global standard for identifying titles, and are used internationally across the book trade and library sector. Most retailers require ISBNs to track book inventory for ordering, stocktake etc.
An ISBN is unique for a single version of a single book. If you wish to publish multiple versions of the same book eg. hardback, paperback, large print, digital (EPUB, MOBI, PDF), audio (CD, playaway, MP3) etc. each version has a different ISBN, thus identifying which version you have. Even different editions of the same book have different ISBNs.

In Australia the agency for providing an ISBN is Thorpe-Bowker, you can find more information and purchase an ISBN at their Identifier Services.

Legal deposit
A copy of most works published in Victoria must be deposited with State Library Victoria, within 60 days of publication, under Section 49 of the Libraries Act 1988 (Vic). As well, a copy must also be deposited with the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

Legal deposit, which has its origins in the Copyright Act 1869, has helped preserve and maintain a lasting record of Victoria’s publishing history. It has also enabled the State Library to collect Victorian publications not held in other libraries, providing valuable material for researchers.

A work can be written or printed, including books, magazines, newspapers, brochures, catalogues, newsletters, annual reports, maps, and musical scores, or in another format such as audio, video, CD-ROMS, DVDs or microfiche & film

While the legal deposit provisions of the Libraries Act 1988 do not specifically cover digital/electronic publications, the State Library is accepting and actively collecting these publications.

Works produced for companies, organisations, community groups, private individuals or the public must be deposited by the publisher. Even if your work isn't commercially published, you still need to deposit a copy of it.

A word about copyright. Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use, and the right to control certain activities with their works. These activities include copying and re-use, such as publication, performance, adaptation and communicating the work to the public (eg. by making it available online).

Copyright should be a balance between the creator protecting their work, and the work being available for legitimate use.

Generally, in Australia, copyright for photographs lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years. Ownership of a photo varies depending on the circumstances under which it was taken, eg. if it was created under an agreement or by commission, it was taken for the government, if an employee takes a photo as part of their job, copyright rests with the employer, except if the employer is a newspaper or magazine publisher – but excepting freelance photographers, and unless they have made a contrary agreement – yes copyright is a murky area.

Creators of copyright works, including photographers, have “moral rights” separate from copyright. Moral rights impose certain obligations on people who use a copyright work. A photographer has the right to:
• be attributed as creator of the photo
• take action if their work is falsely attributed
• take action if the work is distorted or treated in a way that is prejudicial to their honour or reputation.

It is just common decency to apportion credit, recognise sources, or admit the information came from elsewhere and wasn't your own work. An acknowledgement of where the information, image...was obtained, is the way to go.


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Planes, Trains and Fuel Tanks

The Wimmera Branch of the National Trust is organising a special bus tour as part of the Australian Heritage Festival.
Serviceton Railway Station
Visit and tour the historic Serviceton Railway Station, the Nhill Airfield and Wolseley Fuel Tanks by coach from Horsham.
The Wimmera Branch will host a special coach trip leaving the Horsham Library car park to travel to Nhill, Wolseley, Mundulla and Serviceton. Representatives from each stop-over will meet and greet the visitors.

At the Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre. The Centre has a Avro Anson, Link Trainer and Tiger Moth, and is fundraising for a Wirraway. See the current restoration projects while partaking of a refreshing morning tea.

Water tower, Sericeton
Crossing the border into South Australia, view the Wolseley Fuel Tanks which were camouflaged as farm buildings. In WWII fuel storage depots were erected at various inland sites considered secure from attack by sea-borne aircraft. At Wolseley two standard 120,000 gallon storage tanks and one 40,000 gallon ethyl mixing tank were erected & camouflaged to look like farm buildings with broom bush and straw.

Take in lunch at the historic 1884 Mundulla Hotel for their seasonal menu (at additional cost), or BYO picnic hamper in the park opposite the hotel.

Back in Victoria, tour the once-grand 1887 Serviceton Railway Station. Built on the border between Victoria and South Australia, Serviceton served as both the changeover point for the different railway gauges and Customs Control between states until Federation in 1901.

Serivceton Railway Station Yards, T. Payne
Serviceton, close to the Victoria-South Australia border, was the changeover point for locomotives and crews on the broad-gauge system until through-running was introduced between Melbourne and Adelaide. Thus a variety of motive-power and rolling stock from both state-systems could be expected there at any one time. In more recent years this line has been converted to standard-gauge; most of the facilities seen in this photograph are but a memory and trains no longer stop there.  Taken on 2 December 1967 by Ted Payne (from “Closed station - Lost Locations Victoria part 2” Train Hobby Publications).

This amazing photograph shows the station at a time of transformation - steam is still going strong, but there’s a rail-motor backed up to the water tower which has since been dismantled, and a diesel locomotive. Curious items are the 2 M.A.S.H.-looking ambulances and the caravan parked beside the grain shed. Things that have disappeared are, the water tower on the left, the All Saints Anglican Church and the cattle loading yards, and all the siding track.

Refreshment Room, Serviceton

Enjoy afternoon tea in the Station Refreshment Room before returning home.

This is a rare opportunity to see some special locations and learn from their stories.

Details: The tour is on Sunday 6th May, 2018. Parking available in Library Carpark, where the bus departs from.

Arrive at the Library 8:15 for a 8:30am departure. The toilet-equipped bus will be returning at approximately 6:00pm.

Cost is $75:00 per person. Pre-booking is required, contact or by phoning 03 5382 0681.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Uniquely Horsham cuisine

Was stopped in the street today by a woman with an accent, possibly Canadian, and asked to explain this sign. 
It wasn't the word 'Yabby', it was 'Flories'.
The Florie (sometimes with a double r or y – florry) is a steak topped with a slice of ham and cheese, crumbed and fried then served in a sandwich with salad or coleslaw. Horsham is recognised as the birthplace of this delicacy, which was invented by Pasquale (Pat) Neri. 
Photo from Lost Horsham's Facebook page
Pat & Rosaria Neri migrated to Horsham from Italy (actually an island off Sicily) in 1956, and ran firstly the Niagara Café in Firebrace Street (now the Wimmera Foot Clinic building) and later La Fontana Restaurant (now the Horsham Sports & Community Club) in Baillie Street. Pat died in 2015.
La Fontana advert, with possibly Chef Robert Pitt (Lost Horsham)
So to an actual florie ...
A steak florie

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Find the story, not just the person

Now we no longer have to think what the letters A.I.G.S. stand for. The Australian Institute for Genealogical Studies has changed its name to 'Family History Connections...tracing ancestors in Australia and beyond' and launched a new look website,
 with a great tag-line "Find the story, not just the person"
Their Press release states: "We are still the same organisation with the same objectives and deep commitment to assist members and the wider community in their search for their ancestors in Australia and overseas".
Their extensive library is still located at Unit 1 / 41 Railway Road, Blackburn in Melbourne, where library volunteers can assist members & visitors with their family history research.

Interest Groups (see the list of groups below) have been established to enable members who are researching their families in a particular area, to assist each other with their research and to share their mutual successes and difficulties. 

You can also follow them on their Facebook page which utilises the old logo that everyone is familar with, and details all sorts of news items.
So you can access their website from home, or if in Melbourne check them out in Blackburn, they may have that difficult to find item you've been searching for. 

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

From Dimb to Basalt Knob

A retired railway carriage from Dimboola has ended up in the mountains of the Victorian High Country.
The T 101 icewagon railway carriage hut aka Basalt Knob Hut, was built in 1894 at the Pinder & Kelly Newport workshops for the Victorian Railways and de-registered in 1978. In the early 1980s a Dargo timber mill purchased the rolling stock from the Dimboola line for forestry workers accommodation and trucked them to Dargo. 
The carriage was in a Dargo mill when it was bought by Ken Scott from David Coates, who sold it to David Eddy from Deeandal & Sons logging company. 
A logging road was constructed, and a loggers' camp erected at Basalt Knob in 1982. The T 101 icewagon was carted it up to its location up above Talbotville near Blue Rag. When the logging finished all the other carriages forming the logging camp were removed by the mill, but they never got around to removing the T 101 carriage, so T 101 now ‘The Basalt Knob Hut’ is still there offering emergency shelter in the Victorian High Country, at Basalt Knob near the junction of Brewery Creek Track & Ritchie Rd which can be accessed via the Dargo High Plains Rd.
Story and photos from the Victorian High Country Huts Association Facebook page

  Hauled by steam diesel powered locomotives, the ‘T’ insulated ice van carriages had an ice bunker running along the middle of the ceiling that was filled with ice from hatches in the roof. They were used to transport refrigerated meat carcasses or other goods that required a cool temperature. Their walls were between 4 and 6 inches thick for insulation. The vertical channel at the end was a drain for the ice bunker. All T's in this number group had lever type handbrakes. This series of T vans had a 12 ton capacity. Truly a relic from a bygone age they lasted to the late 70's in "refrigerated" service. (from Victorian Railways Net site) 
An update: a photo of T 101 while still on the rails in 1978, possibly in Dimboola, from rail-fan Geoff Winkler who took photos in the Wimmera in the 70s.