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Friday, 12 November 2021

The Swamp Vanishes - an online exhibition

In this view of Melbourne, looking south west, taken by John Noone in 1869, the West Melbourne Swamp can be seen lurking unhealthily in the background.  By this time the swamp was evil-smelling and thought to be the source of disease.  Before white incursions, however, the swamp enabled large gatherings of First Nations people to gather for ceremonial, social, and law sessions by providing a veritable larder of food. (Royal Historical Society Collection, S-1292.001)

The Swamp Vanishes traces the slow eradication of what was a significant resource for the Kulin Nation for millenia. 

This exhibition, curated by me, was launched at the RHSV in late January 2020, but lockdowns brought a reduced opportunity to view the exhibition.  As a  result, the RHSV has now made the exhibition available online.  

Click here to see The Swamp Vanishes

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Mrs Rule's Lending Library, Essendon

This book turned up recently in the Book Nook, Christ Church Op Shop, North Essendon (corner Marco Polo St), from a former lending library, recalling for us the days of circulating libraries dotted about the suburbs. 

Mrs Rule ran a confectioner's shop (cakes, or possibly a milk bar) with the library as a sideline.  Mrs Rule died in 1950 and the business was thereafter run by her son, Frank Rule.  The business in the 1960s has been recalled as a milk bar, fancy goods and stationery shop.  Does anyone remember it when it also had a lending library? 

You can learn a bit more about Mrs Rule's Lending Library by clicking on the link.

Thursday, 13 May 2021

The Missing

See this tribute to the workers of the Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau and the post-war work of the Australian Graves Detachment and Graves Services men who retrieved the remains of the fallen to bring together into a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.  The Missing.

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

This media item is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). You may share (i.e. copy, distribute, transmit) this item provided that you attribute the content source and copyright holder; do not use the content for commercial purposes; and do not rework (i.e. alter, transform, build upon) the material.

© Copyright of Wind & Sky Productions
© Digital reproduction copyright of Wind & Sky Productions
Director: Jary Nemo. Writers/Producers: Lucinda Horrocks and Jary Nemo.

Documentary film, The Missing, 2019, 11:21 minutes, director Jary Nemo, writer/producers Lucinda Horrocks and Jary Nemo, Australia, Wind & Sky Productions. 

Sunday, 9 May 2021

William F Salmon and the Evolution of a Park


City of Essendon memorial walks and children's playgrounds. H. Y Frew, compiler. 1919.  State Library of Victoria Collection. Accession no: H2013.297/1-24

On 1 September 1918, mere weeks before the Armistice, William Frederick Salmon's only son, Percy Salmon, fell at the Front.  Two months later, Salmon offered to the Essendon Council 8 acres of parkland, planted and nurtured by himself over a period of years, as a memorial to "Essendon's brave soldiers".  The reserve became known as Salmon Reserve.  The Council took over the maintenance of the reserve, though it was a further 14 years before the land was transferred to the Mayor and Councillors of Essendon.  And when the land was transferred, it was four acres, not eight.   

Marilyn Kenny in her usual inimitable style, has had a detailed look at why the transfer took so long, and why the size of the land had shrunk to four acres.  

William Salmon came very close to succumbing to the last major pandemic in Australia - the influenza epidemic - and caused a local sensation by remarrying from what was tantamount to his deathbed.  He married Annie Laing Reid Sutherland, the sister of his doctor, Bertram Sutherland, with Salmon's three daughters and husbands strongly disapproving of this deathbed marriage.  They refused to attend the wedding. If you want to know the outcome of this strange affair, you can find more details on the Time Travellers website.   

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Strathmore Presbyterian Basketball Team

Photo courtesy of Pam Beaumont.

With some help from the "We Grew Up in Strathmore, Essendon ad Nearby Suburbs" Facebook group, this photograph has been identified as showing a Strathmore Presbyterian Basketball team, in 1938.  Third from left is Ruby Kettle, and far right is Annie Jean Cook. The team was associated with the Strathmore Presbyterian Church in Uplands Rd, Strathmore.  The two identified players both attended Flemington Girls School.  You can read more about this team at the Time Travellers website

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Glenthorpe College, Ascot Vale

 The former Glenthorpe College in Maribyrnong Rd, Ascot Vale, 1974, photographed by Sam Merrifield. Courtesy of the Essendon Historical Society. 

Although there is little available in terms of official records for the school, Jill Ridgway has put together a comprehensive picture of the operation of a private school which commenced as a family business and rose on the talent and strength of its principal, Margaret Hester Butler. Trained in the State education system, Margaret Butler created a successful academic school, which in its heyday had 130 pupils, helping many achieve excellent scholastic results.  In the end it was unsustainable, dependent as it was on one personality, and towards the end beleaguered by the changing regulatory environment.  If parents were satisfied by the crowded conditions of this school and others, the Education Department was not.  Jill has also created a list of students known to have attended the College.  Maybe you will find one of your relatives in the list. 

Glenthorpe College was typical of many private schools in this period, so even if you don't have a family member at this school, Jill's story will shed light on other similar schools.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Mrs Harding's Premier Tea Rooms, Mt Alexander Rd, Essendon

This shop was a little hard to identify, but with what appeared to be a saddle in the window of the shop to the right, and the beginning of a word 'SAD' at the bottom of the next door window, I went looking for a saddler's shop next door to a confectionery shop. On the left side of the confectionery shop is a shop advertising Medicated Soap, Weights (possibly scales), and cigarettes. This combination of shops appeared in Mt Alexander Rd, in the 1925 Sands & McDougall Directory:
In the window of the confectionery shop is an indistinct painted sign, saying "The Premier Tea Rooms". The store stocked Wrigley's Spearmint Chewing Sweet, Pascall Sweets, Fry's Chocolate and Cadbury's Chocolate. It must have been a great relief to Wrigleys when someone came up with the idea of replacing "Chewing Sweet" with "Gum". You can learn more about Mrs Harding and her Tea Rooms at the Time Travellers website.