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.



Thursday, 23 March 2017

War Heritage Roadshow

Australia's experience of war, especially in the First and Second World Wars, helped shape our sense of ourselves as a nation and as a community with a distinctive ethos and way of life. To provide opportunities for future generations to understand, investigate and value these experiences, we must ensure that significant material relating to Australia's war heritage is preserved, not just in official national and state institutions, but also in personal, family and community collections.
Department of Premier and Cabinet - Veterans Branch and the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation will deliver a series of free workshops for the public across Victoria. The workshops will bring Australia's leading experts in preservation for a two-day line-up of free workshops and information sessions.
Details are available at the website. 
Bookings are essential.
Further event days may be scheduled, but currently the dates and locations are:
  • PROV/Victorian Archives Centre, 99 Shiel St, North Melbourne on Friday 31st March and Saturday 1st April
  • Art Gallery of Ballarat, 40 Lydiard St North, Ballarat on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th April
  • St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, 8 Myers St, Bendigo on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th April

The first day is dedicated to Consultations from 10am to 4pm, with bookings for free 20 minute individual sessions with one of the experts.
The memorabilia (no weapons or munitions, for advice on these bring a photo only) brought in to these sessions will be photographed, as a documentary record of the workshops. Observer tickets are also available.
The war heritage roadshow team will also deliver information sessions on how to research your family's military history and a series of conservation demonstrations:Metals cleaning, Disaster preparedness and recovery for the home, Archival framing, Dry cleaning of paper memorabilia, Packing & transport of framed works, and Padded supports for textiles.

The second day is Activity Day
Talk: Caring for wartime memorabilia
Demonstration & information sessions: Brush vacuuming & insect checking of textiles/uniforms, Cleaning & care of framed works, Removing photographs from magnetic albums, Archival storage of paper memorabilia, Mould cleaning of paper memorabilia, Cleaning & care of framed works, Packing & transport of framed works, Removing photographs from magnetic albums, Cleaning of metals, and Researching family military history.

All sessions will run for approximately 15 minutes.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

What happened...

Longerenong Homestead, when it was owned by Donna in 2010
"What happened to the camels of the Burke & Wills Expedition?" is the title of an article by Donna Bourke published in the Public Record Office Victoria's 'Provenance' magazine Issue 9.
From the homestead verandah overlooking the gardens, 2010
While she owned Longerenong Homestead, Donna Bourke became intrigued by the story of the camels that survived the expeditions of Burke and Wills, after discovering there was a link to Longerenong and Samuel Wilson.
Copy of Eugene von Guerard sketches of Longerenong c1868
The full article story is available online at the PROV's site and it includes a number of William Strutt's images.

There is more information on the camels during the Expedition at the Burke & Wills research archive

For information on the expedition, check out the State Library of Victoria's Dig page

Cameler Dost Mahomet's grave near Menindee in N.S.W. >>

 Dost was a member of the Expedition's Depot Party, and afterwards stayed at Menindee to care for the sick camels

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The 'School Bus' Tour

As part of the National Trust’s Heritage Festival, a hosted bus tour of some of the rural and town school sites surrounding Horsham will be conducted. The tour will visit a number of marked and unmarked school sites, and some abandoned school buildings. Narrative on the tour will include the history of various schools and stories of the districts. 

The 'School Bus' Tour will be conducted on Sunday 30th April 2017, from 1pm to 5pm.
The cost is $25:00 per person. Numbers are limited to the bus capacity, so bookings are essential. To book either visit the Horsham Library, or phone 5382 5707 or for library members registered with Proscribe – go to proscribe.net./subscriber/login.php.
The meeting place is at the bus in the Mibus Centre Carpark, 26-28 McLachlan Street, Horsham. Free parking available at the Mibus Centre Carpark.
Attendees will encounter some steps and uneven surfaces. Refreshments will be available enroute. More details at the National Trust site.
Other National Trust Heritage Festival events include ‘Sir Samuel Speaks’ a Mother’s Day high-tea at Longerenong Homestead.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

ABC Dooen

This video is from the ABC Western Victoria's Facebook page:
"In honour of our 80th Birthday today we thought we'd share this video that was created for the #Dooen transmitter's 75th birthday"
To add a little more history to the story 
The original transmitting station building for 3WV at Dooen, was erected in 1936. It began broadcasting in February 1937. During World War II a 24-hour V.D.C. guard were posted at the site. 
The original building was demolished and replaced by the current building in 1988-89.
Some little known facts:
  • the soil conductivity in different directions from the transmitter showed widely different values (this influenced the selection of the station site)
  • the 201metre high radiator (a guyed structure surmounted by a horizontal armature, the base of the mast stood on a group of tubular insulators) was installed in 1937. Dooen was the first station in Victoria to operate with an armature radiator
  • the transmitter upgraded in February 1937, the Standard Telephones & Cables 10 kW transmitter consisted of 2 separate units (the oscillator-modulator, and the linear power amplifier) constructed of a metal framework faced with polished slate panels. 
  • In the 50s a 50 kW transmitter was installed unusually the station generated its own power on site for the 10kW transmitter. In the 30s it had a large low speed heavy engine set plant.
The Art Deco style building with portecochere (an entrance or gateway to a building large enough to permit a coach/vehicle to be driven through) was built on a 20 hectare site, it housed the transmitters, an office, lunch and change rooms, store room and workshop. Modern technology has enabled transmitters to be housed in small metal frame buildings with unattended facilities.
All this techo data comes from John Ross' "Radio broadcasting technology" book.
Caretaker George Koschmann & technician Ray Leskie outside the building in 1988
(Photo from "Road Board to restructure")

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Sharing

Sharing...and acknowledging


Nowdays everything is visible on the Net, and distributing, liking, RSS, sharing & copying are part and parcel of this phenomenon.
And unfortunately issues of intellectual property and copyright breaches are also phenomenal.
With regard to posts on this blog, or Pinterest, and the like - yes we allow sharing, in fact we encourage it - but we'd like acknowledgement of where this information was obtained. 
It is just common decency to apportion credit, recognise sources, or admit the information came from elsewhere and wasn't your own work, even before entering into the murky world of what is or is not covered by copyright or intellectual property. 
And yes, permission was requested and provided to use this photograph.
 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Returning to Carpolac

The story that won’t go away...still on the Carpolac line

Kym Phillips commented on the post "Railways - Carpolac line" which mentioned that the Goroke Passenger service ended in 1965.

Kym found the following excerpt in "A centenary of education 1885-1985 : a history of Goroke Consolidated School", which while not saying that the passenger service continued after that date, is interesting to note that conditions for passengers must have continued to be suitable:
"In 1969 the Victorian Governor, Sir Rohan Delacombe visited the Kowree Shire. The Governor's train was stationed at Goroke for several days while the Governor and Lady Delacombe attended various functions in the area - at Edenhope, Goroke and Lake Charlegrark."

So that entailed a number of searches: firstly to see how the 'Mail-Times' covered the event - it had two articles from 22nd December
From the front page
And page 11
As well as, how did vice regal dignitaries travel in the 60s? That was a search of PROVs collection of Public Transport photographs which yielded up a variety of images.
Believe this would be the now derelict ballroom at the Flinders Street Station.
"Railways Ballroom function for Sir Rohan Delacombe"
The Royal Sleeper, don't know if it was limited to royalty or extended to royal representatives. It could be one reason why the Delacombes were based at Goroke (with a railway), and not put up at the pub.
"Sleeping compartment Heritage Carriage, Royal train, 1927"
This was included as it was titled Wimmera Buffet Carriage just to show how railway travel used to be.
"Wimmera Buffet Carriage"
Likewise this one of a rather grand Better Farming train carriage. The Better Farming trains toured the state demonstrating new equipment, and promoting improved methods to farmers.
"Better Farming Train Display. K Class loco No. 109 and various carriages & displays c1930s"
After the cessation of regular passenger services on the various local branch lines, there were still a number of special trains.
From the 'Power to the rails' book, this photo taken by Bob Wilson of an Australian Railway Exploration Association special excursion train returning from Carpolac, crossing the Wimmera River at Quantong, on 18th March 1983.

From the Western Victorian Railfan page is this image from 1985/86 of Loco D3 639 hauling a special steam train at Jeparit, on the Dimboola to Yaapeet line, showing the jumbo grain silo on the left and the station building & verandah that was demolished soon after.
Special train at Jeparit
And still on the Carpolac line - A. Ampt has commented on the much discussed Museum Victoria pic of the wheat stack at Remlaw, or is it Natimuk?
Stack of wheat bags, 1930
He says it IS at Remlaw looking east, towards Horsham. And yes there is a peppercorn in the Remlaw siding yard too!

So another road trip out to Remlaw Station Rd to see if we can line up all the elements. A road that could be the Remlaw Station Rd (or Sission St) is visible entering from the right. And is the peppercorn tree hiding the Remlaw Rd to Horsham?

Okay after a drive by here is a present day photo of Remlaw Siding looking towards Horsham.
Remlaw, the shadow is cast by one of the silos
And the verdict - yes the Museum photo is Remlaw. Even though not taken from the same height, the weigh-bridge is visible on the left, the peppercorn to its right (though strangely it appears to be shorter now & impossible to park a vehicle under), then the tall sugar-gum now with a sparser canopy, then the plantation at the paddock corner. There is a shed at the group of trees on the right which may or may not be faintly visible just above the stack.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

W.O.F. 2017

This year's 'Women on Farms Gathering' is again in the region, and will be held at Harrow in the West Wimmera Shire.
The event will run for 3 days - Friday 24th to Sunday 26th March, with a variety of events, workshops, bus tours, and entertainment.

Details are on the  West Wimmera Women on Farms Gathering 2017 website, with a program list and registration form.

Once again the Library will be conducting three workshops - 
'Place-names of the Wimmera': explore the history of the Wimmera and Southern Mallee region at 'Place-names of the Wimmera', a presentation showing how explorers and surveyors named specific places – localities & towns, parishes & counties, and lakes & streams, hills & mountains across the region. It includes Aboriginal and historic etymology of some of the place names.
'Delve into your Family History : using electronic tools': learn how libraries can assist in researching local & family history using online resources such as TROVE, Find My Past, Ancestry, and PROV.

'Country Schools': a photographic journey around the Wimmera,showcasing the many and varied schools which have existed over the years.These schools also represented centres of communities often serving as churches, halls, polling booths and dance venues. Many of the now vanished schools were small one-teacher rural schools which existed for short periods of time opening, moving and closing as school-age populations waxed and waned with farming fortunes.

The presentations will be held in the Harrow Library at the Harrow Hall.
To book go to the registration page of the WOF website (registrations close on 3rd March). 

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Back to the ABC

The 1868 photograph of Johnny Mullagh, which was lost when the Harrow Hall burned down
Yes everyone will be watching the Harrow episode of the ABC's 'Back Roads' tonight at 8pm.
This week is the final episode of Season 2. Heather Ewart visits Harrow, a creative community that took to heart the mantra "reinvent or perish" and found unique ways to bring new people and fresh ideas into the town.
Stories include the Aboriginal cricketers, the Beaut Blokes weekends, Stretch Penrose's paintings, and Neil Grigg's millinery, to name a few.
And then there is this cute little back-story.
If you miss the episode, the repeat program is on Sunday 5th February at 1:30pm.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Freezing in Donald


On the outskirts of the Donald township, straddling its own railway track, are the rusting remains of the Donald Inland Freezing Company's buildings. 
The layout of the freezing works
The works cover 10 acres of 109 acres of company owned land of resting paddocks. Most of the buildings are abandoned or converted to other uses. Only the portion of the rail-line to the grain silos is utilised.
A grain train loading at the silos
Built at a cost £130,000 by the Donald Inland Freezing Company, it started in 1920 (the foundation stone was laid on August 31 1920 by the Victorian Premier Sir Harry Lawson). 
It was registered as a shareholders company in September 1919, with an opening capital of £100,000. In 1920, the state government gave loans to both the Donald and Murtoa freezing works for extensions. The plant was erected under the Primary Products Advance Act. Preference was to be given to the employment of Returned Servicemen.
The slaughterhouse and toppled chimney
The plant had a killing capacity of 2,500 lambs by a full board of 28 butchers per day, with storage for 60,000 carcasses.
The sheepyards with the ramp to the slaughter house
The skins and offal gravitated down chutes to the ground floor. The dressed carcasses were conveyored by endless iron rail to the scales then to the hanging room, where they cooled for 4 hours then gravitated into an air-lock at the entrance to the 6 freezing chambers (each holding 1,200 carcasses). From 45 degrees Fahrenheit on the first day, the temperature was gradually reduced to 5 degrees on the third day. Carcasses then passed down through trapdoors into the 50,000 carcass storage chamber where they were stacked for transport.
Pieces of one of the engines
The 70 square-foot Engine room supplied power generated by 3 sets of Hornsby 116 horse-power twin-cylinder gas engines, and the freezing was produced by two 60-ton Linde refrigerators powered by a 75 kilowatt electric generator.
Other buildings were the huge skin-drying shed, the tallow building for extraction and refinement of the fat.
The lamb was sold to a firm of London importers.
Ice was produced as a sideline and shipped as far north as Mildura, while the blood, offal and bones were converted into manure for the Mildura citrus growers.
 
The engine rooms
Operations began in October 1921, but by 1922 the company was unable to make its repayments to the government and sought to increase the number of shareholders. In the 1922-23 season it slaughtered 96,000 lambs and sheep for the London markets, it was hampered by a shortage of slaughter-men. The shareholders agreed to joining the formation of Amalgamated Freezing Companies (it later became the Inland Meat Authority) in March 1927. This was followed by a Royal Commission into AFC in August, and the Company was again in arrears to the government in October.
The rail-line & slaughterhouse (the brown ceramic tiles on the walls cover a deep hollow block filled with cork)
The works limped on, re-opening in September 1932 after being closed for several years, and by 1943 had only operated 4 times in the last 15 years, due to insufficient lamb supplies.
The plant closed and re-opened & closed again in 1977-78. The freezing section was turned into a yabby (freshwater crayfish) production plant 'Oz Crays' during the 1980s (now derelict). Oz Crays exported crayfish to France, the building has also been used for cultivating mushrooms.
The sign still advertising Oz Crays
The north-most section is home to 'Kooka's Country Cookies' (established in 1990s). Cooka's nearly closed in 2012, but has since begun exporting to Asia, and can be seen on supermarket shelves and as individually wrapped biscuits in motels.