Major Mitchell Reaches Portland Bay

On 29 August 1836, Major Thomas Mitchell saw Portland Bay for the first time.  Since we last were with Mitchell on his freezing night on the summit of Mount William in July 1836, he and his party had travelled a great distance and being winter, the terrain was mostly muddy. From Mount William, the party had travelled north to and climbed Mount Zero. Then west along the northern Grampians to Mount Arapiles and Mitre Lake.  Scaling Mount Arapiles, which he named, Mitchell was able to see the country to the south and it was in that direction they next travelled.

http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/136946

MOUNT ARAPILES BY NICHOLAS CHEVALIER 1865. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/136946

As they moved out of the Wimmera and into the Western District, Mitchell noted,

Thus suddenly were we at length relieved from all the difficulties of travelling in mud. We had solid granite beneath us; and instead of a level horizon the finely rounded points of ground presented by the sides of a valley thinly wooded and thickly covered with grass. This transition from all that we sought to avoid to all we could desire in the character of the country was so agreeable that I can record that evening as one of the happiest of my life.  (Mitchell, T. L. (Thomas Livingstone) Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia, Chapter 3.9)

They soon met the Glenelg River near Harrow on 31 July, and from there they passed through Pigeon Ponds, Chetwynd, and Wando Vale. On 7 August, the party reached the Wannon valley south of Casterton at the Wannon River’s junction with the Glenelg River and saw a beautiful scene before them.

After fording this stream with ascended a very steep but grassy mountain-side, and on reaching a brow of high land, what a noble prospect appeared, a river winding amongst meadows that were fully a mile broad and green as an emerald. Above them rose swelling hills of fantastic shapes, but all smooth and thickly covered with rich verdure. Behind these were higher hills, all having grass on their sides and trees on their summits, and extending east and west throughout the landscape as far as I could see. I hastened to ascertain the course of the river by riding about two miles along an entirely open grassy ridge, and then found again the Glenelg, flowing eastward towards an apparently much lower country. All our difficulties seemed thus already at an end, for we had here good firm ground, clear of timber, on which we could gallop once more. The river was making for the most promising bay on the coast (for I saw that it turned southward some miles below the hill on which I stood) through a country far surpassing in beauty and richness any part hitherto discovered. (Mitchell, T. L. (Thomas Livingstone) Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia, Chapter 3.10)

http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766481

MERINO DOWNS. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Museum Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/766481

From there, they travelled to near where Dartmoor is today and Mitchell launched a boat on the Glenelg River at Fort O’Hare and with a small party, made his way to the sea.

http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+280/1/14/36

THE GLENELG RIVER. Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/PRG+280/1/14/36

Expecting to come out near Portland Bay, they were further west, reaching the mouth of the river at what is now Nelson.

DSCN1189

AT THE MOUTH OF THE GLENELG RIVER, NELSON

The party turned back up the river and returned to the camp at Fort O’Hare. They then travelled along the Crawford River and with the carts getting bogged down in heavy ground, Mitchell and a small party set out on horseback to Portland Bay.  Their first stop was near Heywood and a large hill Mitchell climbed and named Mount Eckersley.  From there they crossed the Fitzroy and Surry Rivers bringing us back to 29 August 1836 and Major Mitchell’s first sighting of the coast at Portland Bay.

LOOKING TOWARD PORTLAND BAY

LOOKING TOWARD PORTLAND BAY

Major Mitchell walked on to the beach littered with whale carcases, evidence of whalers in the area.  A member of the party, Aboriginal man Tommy Came-last, reported cattle tracks and the footprints of a white man.  Tobacco pipes and a broken bottle were also found, possibly from the whalers but they would not have had cattle.  Looking around the bay, Mitchell saw houses, possibly whalers huts, so they headed toward them.  Mitchell and his party descended high cliffs and could see a ship anchored in the bay.  Approaching the wooden houses they found they discovered they were abandoned whalers’ shacks but just as they were moving on, two shots rang out.  Mitchell ordered one of his men to fire off a shot and to sound the bugle.  They climbed to higher ground and found a cart track which they followed until a man approached them. Mitchell continues,

He informed me in answer to my questions that the vessel at anchor was the “Elizabeth” of Launceston; and that just round the point there was a considerable farming establishment belonging to Messrs. Henty, who were then at the house. It then occurred to me that I might there procure a small additional supply of provisions, especially of flour, as my men were on very reduced rations. I therefore approached the house and was kindly received and entertained by the Messrs. Henty who as I learnt had been established there during upwards of two years. It was very obvious indeed from the magnitude and extent of the buildings and the substantial fencing erected that both time and labour had been expended in their construction. A good garden stocked with abundance of vegetables already smiled on Portland Bay; the soil was very rich on the overhanging cliffs, and the potatoes and turnips produced there surpassed in magnitude and quality any I had ever seen elsewhere. (Mitchell, T. L. (Thomas Livingstone) Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia, Chapter 3.11)

The following day, Mitchell made a trip to Cape Nelson then returned to Portland.

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AT CAPE NELSON LOOKING TOWARD CAPE BRIDGEWATER

Major Mitchell said his goodbyes to the Hentys and continued on his way.

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THE MEETING OF MAJOR MITCHELL AND THE HENTYS AT PORTLAND BAY 29 AUGUST 1836. PHOTO OF A PRINT AT PORTLAND’S HISTORY HOUSE

The party returned to the Surry River then continued back to the base camp. On 31 August, Mitchell’s party reached Mount Clay with Mitchell naming it, and by sunset they were back at the base camp.  We leave Major Mitchell now but will join him again on 11 September when he reaches what is now Hamilton. 

The arrival of Major Mitchell at the doorstep of the Henty’s home at Portland Bay influenced their future.  In glowing terms, Mitchell had told them of the land around the Wannon Valley he described as “Australia Felix”.  On his recommendation, the brothers travelled north to see for themselves. Within twenty-five miles from their settlement at Portland Bay, they noticed the change in the countryside.  Stephen Henty’s reaction was simply, “This is paradise.”  By 3 August 1837,  Henty sheep were on the land at Merino Downs and soon Muntham Station, opening the next chapter in the history of the Henty brothers.

J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/231999

HENTY MONUMENT, MERINO DOWNS. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/231999

 

muntham

MUMTHAM HOMESTEAD. Image courtesy of the J.T. Collins Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/217208

This video of Muntham Station shows the countryside Major Mitchell and the Henty brothers found so attractive.

 

SOURCES

Back to Merino and Henty Centenary Celebrations Committee Historic souvenir of the Back to Merino and Henty centenary celebrations, November 11th to 15th, 1937. Back to Merino and Henty Centenary Celebrations Committee, [Merino? Vic, 1937.

Glenelg Library Historic Treasures – Major Mitchell meets the Hentys

Mitchell, T. L. (Thomas Livingstone) Three expeditions into the interior of eastern Australia, with descriptions of the recently explored region of Australia Felix, and of the present colony of New South Wales. London, T. & W. Boone

 

The Big Flood

Dressed in a gown of steel grey cloth, trimmed with glacé silk and a “borrowed” tulle veil, Lily Buckland married George Sparrow on 9 April 1916 at Mount Eccles. The wedding was at the home of Lily’s sister and George’s brother, Alice and Charles Sparrow.

Lillian Letitia Buckland was born at Briagolong in 1888, the eldest daughter of William Buckland and Hannah Oakley.  The family lived at Toora in Gippsland. George Henry Sparrow was born at Macarthur in 1891, a son of local residents, Abijah Sparrow and Emma Peters.  The first instance of a union between the two families was the marriage of Alice Buckland and Charles Sparrow in 1913.  How one family from Gippsland and another from the Western District came together is unknown.

George and Lily settled at Lake Gorrie near Macarthur and started their family. Letitia Mavis Sparrow was their first child, born at Hamilton in 1917.  Then Charles Robert born in 1918.  In 1920, tragedy struck the family when young Charles, just two years old, fell on a piece of wire in the backyard. The wire went up his nostril and pierced his brain and although taken to Hamilton Hospital, Charles never regained consciousness.  In the same year, Lillian saw another sister, Olive, marry a Macarthur lad, returned serviceman William Louden Harman.  Seven more children were born to Lily and George over the next ten years, six boys and one girl

A year after the beginning of World War 2, two of George and Lily’s boys enlisted.  Allan joined up on 29 June 1940 and served with the 2/23 Australian Infantry Battalion while Roy enlisted on 14 October 1940, serving with the 63rd Australian Infantry Battalion.  Allan was discharged on 15 November 1945, however, Roy a Corporal continued on after the end of the war.

On Friday evening 15 March 1946, rain began to fall on the roof of the Sparrow’s home, the likes they had never heard before. At home with George and Lily were three of their children, Mavis, Bruce and Ronald. The rain continued through the night and into Saturday night. On the morning of Sunday 17 March 1946, the Sparrow family woke to the sound of water lapping at their beds. Outside, water was rising rapidly around the property and they decided to evacuate.  Leaving their domestic animals and poultry to find high ground themselves, Lily and the children climbed into their jinker with George leading the horse, guiding it along the already flooded roads.

It was increasingly difficult for George to distinguish the dangers ahead in the floodwaters, and not far from the house, a wheel of the jinker fell into a concealed hole and upturned, tipping the passengers into the water.  George tried desperately to save his family but the water was deep and fast flowing. In his attempt to get help, he became exhausted, collapsed and died.

"SEARCH FOR FLOOD VICTIMS" Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954) 23 March 1946: .

“SEARCH FOR FLOOD VICTIMS” Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954) 23 March 1946: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article68968037&gt;.

A search party was soon looking for Lily and her children. Mavis, Bruce and Ronald’s bodies were found in a hole close to the jinker, the water in the hole was over two metres deep. Lily’s body was found caught in a fence over three kilometres away, such was the force of the water.  Mavis was twenty-five, Bruce twenty-two, and Ronald, fifteen.  Five family members lost in a terrible tragedy. Rumours were flying that were was no need for them to leave, but servicemen who went to the house during the search supported their actions after seeing the high watermark on the walls.  Sadly for the Sparrow family, when one of their surviving sons arrived at the farm the following day, he found the chooks and the household dogs and cats had survived the flood.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 20 March 1946 .

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 20 March 1946 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page1668019&gt;.

On the afternoon of Thursday 21 March 1946, the sun broke through the clouds as hundreds made their way to Macarthur’s Church of England for the funeral of the Sparrow family. Among the many floral tributes was a sheaf of flowers sent by the Governor of Victoria and his wife Sir Winston and Lady Dugan, including a personal message for the remaining members of the family.  Just days before they had passed through the Macarthur district, including the Sparrow property, to witness the devastation.

The Sparrow family were victims of one of Western Victoria’s worst natural disasters.  More used to the ravages of fire, residents were to witness rising rivers and creeks over the weekend of 16 and 17 March that soon turned their part of Victoria into an inland sea.

"FLOODS DEVASTATE WESTERN DISTRICT" The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954) 19 March 1946: 3. Web. 7 Mar 2016 .

“FLOODS DEVASTATE WESTERN DISTRICT” The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954) 19 March 1946: 3. Web. 7 Mar 2016 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73076468&gt;.

The Western District was ravaged by drought from 1939 to 1945 with disastrous bushfires sweeping through the Western District in January 1944.

"TUESDAY, MARCH 19, 1946 AND NOW A FLOOD" The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 19 March 1946 .

“TUESDAY, MARCH 19, 1946 AND NOW A FLOOD” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 19 March 1946 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22235082&gt;.

Early in March 1946, parts of Queensland and New South Wales were under floodwaters due to a tropical cyclone. On March 10, cold, wet and windy weather hit Victoria.  At 9:00 am on Monday 11 March, the previous forty-eight hours had produced 52 mm of rain in Port Fairy, one of the highest rainfall totals in the Western District for the period while 36 mm fell at Hamilton.  A cyclonic depression moved across South Australia in the following days before reaching the Western District on Friday 15 March where it stopped.

The forecast for Victoria published in The Argus of Friday 15 March  was for some rain developing from the west and then showers.  At 9:00 pm on Friday night, the forecast was “cold and unsettled with some showers. Some heavy rain, with hail, on and south of the ranges”.  That heavy rain was of tropical proportions falling from Friday night and through the weekend. By Monday 18 March, The Argus reported the floods covered the Western District from Natimuk in the southern Wimmera to the sea, and to the east to Mortlake. Police headquarters at Russell Street Melbourne said that a stretch of water up to four metres lay from Hamilton to the coast.  The map below shows the extent of the rainfall.

"FAMILY TAKEN OFF ROOF" The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) 19 March 1946 .

“FAMILY TAKEN OFF ROOF” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 19 March 1946 .

There were evacuations from many towns including  Hamilton, Portland, Port Fairy, Warrnambool and Casterton.  Rescuers took to boats trying to save families, many clinging to the roofs of their houses.  Thousands of head of stock were lost, bridges and roads washed away, telephone lines were down and railway lines damaged. There were mass cancellations of trains and buses.  Towns were cut off with little means of communication.

On Tuesday 19 March 1946, The Argus published the rainfall totals from 9:00 am on Saturday 17 March until 3:00 pm on Monday 18 March.

flood24

“TEMPORARILY FINE TODAY New Depression Approaching” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 19 March 1946 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22235127 .

While many communities were flooded, the following were those most severely affected by the big flood of 1946.

MACARTHUR

Parts of the countryside around Macarthur were under three metres of water stranding families on their roofs hoping for rescue.  Around nine kilometres south of Macarthur, on the Port Fairy Road, a bridge washed away. Stock losses in the district were estimated at 5000 sheep and 500 head of cattle.  There was concern among authorities about the possible outbreak of disease, with livestock hanging on fences in the flood waters. Posing a threat to rescuers were hundreds of snakes swimming in the water.

BYADUK/WALLACEDALE/CONDAH/BRANXHOLME

In the Wallacedale/Condah area, ten houses were evacuated and dairy herds were lost.  Some parts were under three metres of water.  Mr & Mrs Edgar Lacey and Miss Grace Tullett took refuge on the roof of the Lacey home. To shelter from the heavy rain and strong winds, they were able to remove a sheet of tin and climb into the ceiling. With them on the roof, also seeking refuge, were several snakes.  A RAAF Catalina Flying boat was flown in to rescue the trio.  On arrival, the pilot could not find them so he returned to Williamstown, NSW.  Next, a flat-bottomed boat tried but failed to retrieve them. An amphibious car from the Army or Army “duck” was the next plan. Finally, after twenty-five hours, they were rescued but it was several days until the water subsided around their house.

"TOWNSHIP ISOLATED" Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 - 1954) 21 March 1946: .

“TOWNSHIP ISOLATED” Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954) 21 March 1946: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92700639&gt;.

Miles of fencing and roads washed away and there were heavy losses to livestock including horses and pigs.  A beekeeper’s hives bobbed in the water with the stranded bees atop of the boxes. Rescuers saw thousands of snakes while delirious rabbits, marooned on high ground, were caught and their skins sold.

Branxholme had 394 mm of rain from the Friday until the Monday edition of The Argus went to print and the town was cut off by road, rail and telephone. At Byaduk, Mr Tyres rescued seven people from a raft. More were evacuated but were able to return home on Tuesday including Mr and Mrs McCready.  Mr J. Scott and Miss Suttie had their homes flooded.  David Kinghorn was rescued from a haystack.

HAMILTON

Hamilton saw the heaviest rainfall since records were first kept.  Up until 3:00 pm on Monday 18 March 219mm had fallen in fifty-fours, the town’s largest recorded total over the same period. The highest previous monthly rainfall total was 311 mm set in December 1930.  The Grange Burn, usually quietly meandering through parts of the town, quickly rose and became a raging river. Around twenty homes near the railway station were evacuated on Saturday 16 March.

Fuel depots near the creek were underwater and hundreds of oil drums from the Shell and the Commonwealth Oil Refinery depots washed down the Grange Burn, accumulating against bridges and fences.  Two other fuel depots were badly damaged. One underground petrol tank pushed its way to the surface. Iron from the fuel depots wrapped around trees and plaster from a nearby factory was spread up to almost 100 metres.  In those days, the Hamilton swimming pool was on the Grange Burn, at the Braeside Weir, close to the fuel depots.

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GRANGE BURN AT FORMER SWIMMING POOL

Sheds beside the swimming pool were swept away and the diving tower was on a lean.  At the Ballarat Road and Portland Road bridges, the Grange Burn was between 180 metres to 400 metres wide. The photo below shows the Grange near the Ballarat Road bridge as it is today

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GRANGE BURN LOOKING TOWARD THE BALLARAT ROAD BRIDGE.

A view of the Grange Burn near the Portland Road bridge is below.

'NO LONGER A CREEK', The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950), 20 March, p. 1. (CITY FINAL), http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78249109

‘NO LONGER A CREEK’, The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), 20 March, p. 1. (CITY FINAL), http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78249

Many bridges and roads around the town were impassable and the drains in Lonsdale Street overflowed. The Hamilton Town Hall became “home” to around seventy evacuees and Mayor Rasmussen called on residents to take those evacuated into their homes.  Water went through twenty-five to thirty homes, reaching a depth of almost a metre in some.  Mr Brimacombe of Martin Street lost all but one of his 250 chooks.

By Monday 18 March, travellers marooned in Hamilton were taken to Portland. Road connections between Warrnambool and Mt Gambier reopened and by Tuesday morning, Ansetts ran a bus from Horsham to Hamilton.  An Army “duck” arrived, using the town as its base.

The photos below, used with permission from Jacinta Hanelt, depict the 1983 floods in Hamilton.  They show the same areas flooded in 1946 and although not has deep as those floods, they give an idea as to the extent of the 1946 floods.  Despite the damage to the fuel depots in 1946, they remained located close to the Grange Burn.

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WARRNAMBOOL

In forty-eight hours at Warrnambool, 228 mm of rain fell accompanied by gale force winds.  There was flooding along the Russell’s Creek, Merri Creek and Hopkins River.

WARRNAMBOOL CEMETERY

HOPKINS RIVER, WARRNAMBOOL

The 3YB radio transmitter was surrounded by three metres of water and sandbags and pumps were called for. At least seven bridges in the shire were damaged. Nearby Dennington was under water but in South Warrnambool, only four homes required evacuation.  Old residents said they hadn’t seen anything like it.

"Flood Pictures From Inundated Western District" The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 19 March 1946: .

“Flood Pictures From Inundated Western District” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 19 March 1946:

During Monday 18 March, the Hopkins River was rising at a rate of thirty centimetres an hour and later that night, the river burst its banks leaving the highway up to 1.2m under water. Meanwhile, Allansford residents were preparing to leave their homes.

WARRNAMBOOL 1946. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/107853

WARRNAMBOOL 1946. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/107853

The water at Mr Cox’s house at Spring Gardens, Warrnambool reached over the window sills (below)

M.COX'S HOUSE SPRING GARDENS WARRNAMBOOL ca 1946. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/107848

M.COX’S HOUSE SPRING GARDENS WARRNAMBOOL ca 1946. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/10784

The following video from Warrnambool Historical Pictures – Alex Wilkins Collection, gives an amazing insight into how the floods impacted Warrnambool and district and includes some dramatic footage.

 

The road from Warrnambool to Mortlake was cut after the flooding of the Ellerslie Bridge (below)

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 20 March 1946: .

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 20 March 1946: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page1668019&gt;.

And the road to Port Fairy was also cut, with the following photo showing the situation about five kilometres west of Warrnambool on the Princes Highway.

"DISASTROUS FLOODS IN VICTORIA." Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 - 1954) 21 March 1946:.

“DISASTROUS FLOODS IN VICTORIA.” Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 – 1954) 21 March 1946:.

WOODFORD

At Woodford, the local school teacher and his family were stranded in the Woodford Police Station and the post office was underwater (below). A herd of thirty dairy cows drowned.

WOODFORD POST OFFICE "DISASTROUS FLOODS IN VICTORIA." Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 - 1954) 21 March 1946: .

WOODFORD POST OFFICE “DISASTROUS FLOODS IN VICTORIA.” Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 – 1954) 21 March 1946: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article62889490&gt;.

KILLARNEY

At Killarney, stranded cows on patches of high ground, helplessly slipped into the floodwaters as exhaustion overcame them.  There were huge losses to potato and onion crops and Killarney resembled a lake.

"WESTERN DISTRICTS OF VICTORIA FLOODED." Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW : 1911 - 1954) 21 March 1946: 1. .

“WESTERN DISTRICTS OF VICTORIA FLOODED.” Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW : 1911 – 1954) 21 March 1946: 1. .

The six-week-old baby of Mr and Mrs Patrick Lenehan was floated out a window of their house, the baby’s pram a substitute boat.

"FLOODS LEAVE TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION" The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 19 March 1946:.

“FLOODS LEAVE TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 19 March 1946:<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206797296&gt;.

Stories began to emerge of the heroics in the district. Widow, Mrs Madden and her eight children were saved by Jim Gleeson in his tractor.  Another farmer saved an elderly woman from her cottage and Mr J. Ryan was taken to Warrnambool Hospital after being lifted through the window of his flooded home.

"FLOODS LEAVE TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION" The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 19 March 1946: .

“FLOODS LEAVE TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 19 March 1946: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206797296&gt;.

Onion crops were wiped out leaving the vegetables bobbing in water or collecting in silt.  Farmers tried to salvage what they could.

"Green pastures and hard work after floods" The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) 6 April 1946: .

“Green pastures and hard work after floods” The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982) 6 April 1946: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47490094

Mrs Madden, rescued with her eight children by Jim Gleeson, returned to her home to begin the clean up.  She is pictured below with her daughter Dorothy cleaning silt from their carpets.

"Green pastures and hard work after floods" The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) 6 April 1946: .

“Green pastures and hard work after floods” The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982) 6 April 1946: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47490094&gt;.

ROSEBROOK

At Rosebrook, the Post Office was surrounded by flood waters (below)

"FLOODS IN VICTORIA" Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) 21 March 1946: 3. .

“FLOODS IN VICTORIA” Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954) 21 March 1946 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140624307

The bridge over the Moyne River at Rosebrook was also flooded and signals were sent across the bridge as a means of communication (below).

"WESTERN DISTRICTS OF VICTORIA FLOODED." Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW : 1911 - 1954) 21 March 1946: 1. .

“WESTERN DISTRICTS OF VICTORIA FLOODED.” Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW : 1911 – 1954) 21 March 1946 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article145004487

PORT FAIRY

The Moyne River rose rapidly at Port Fairy leading to the evacuation of homes in the east of the town.

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MOYNE RIVER , PORT FAIRY LOOKING EAST.

Residents in Regent, William and Bank Streets were also evacuated with the water reaching almost a metre in Bank Street and running through houses.  To the west of the town, water was up to 1.5 metres deep.  Thousands of tonnes of potatos and onions were lost and in Port Fairy North, Steel’s bridge gave way.  Every hour, reports were arriving of stranded families.  Power in the town was interrupted for sixteen hours.

"Flood Waters Receding Around Port Fairy" The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 20 March 1946: 15. Web. 1 Mar 2016 .

“Flood Waters Receding Around Port Fairy” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 20 March 1946: 15. Web. 1 Mar 2016 .

The concrete wharf where fishing boats were moored broke up, threatening to wash boats out to sea. In the end, five boats were lost. Large slabs of concreted from the wharf were swept away and smashed.

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PORT FAIRY WHARF ON THE MOYNE RIVER LOOKING TOWARD THE MOUTH OF THE RIVER.

Although it’s not clear, the following photo gives some indication of the torrents of water to rush Port Fairy.

FLOOD WATERS FROM THE MOYNE RIVER, PORT FAIRY. "FLOOD WAVES LASH HOUSES" Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 - 1954) 24 March 1946: 15 (Sport Section). .

FLOOD WATERS FROM THE MOYNE RIVER, PORT FAIRY. “FLOOD WAVES LASH HOUSES” Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 – 1954) 24 March 1946: 15 (Sport Section). .

By Monday 18 March, the threat has subsided slightly but more water was expected to come down the Moyne River and high tide was a concern.  As a result, the fire brigade put all men in the town on standby. The main bridge over the Moyne was still standing but had taken a “pounding”.  The river reached its peak on Sunday and fisherman stood in waist deep water desperately trying to secure their boats, their livelihoods, with some almost drowning.

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LOOKING EAST TOWARD THE PORT FAIRY WHARF, MOYNE RIVER.

By Tuesday, houses on the outskirts of  Port Fairy East were still half-submerged. Other families were forced to leave their homes, as weakened walls threatened to collapse while the road to Portland was expected to stay closed for some time.  In the north-east of the town, built up flood waters tore through sand dunes. In doing so, the water escaped to the sea preventing more damage to the town.

The Town Clerk of Port Fairy spoke with John Cain Sr, then Premier of Victoria “Send us some tobacco; there is a famine in smokes here”  Bacon, eggs, potatos and other food supplies were also in short supply.  Two Army “ducks” arrived on Tuesday 19 March with butter, eggs, bacon, tinned meat, yeast and tobacco. Another “duck” was soon dispatched.  After rescuing stranded families (below) the “ducks” distributed food to isolated families and fodder for stock.  They also collected stranded stock, taking them to safety.

"FLOODS IN VICTORIA" Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954) 21 March 1946: 3.

“FLOODS IN VICTORIA” Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954) 21 March 1946: 3. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140624307&gt;

There was almost one metre of water in two of Port Fairy’s hotels, including the Caledonian Inn (below).  The publican of the inn waded into his backyard to rescue his poultry, then placed them in the inn’s attic.  The nearby picture theatre was also flooded.

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CALEDONIAN INN, PORT FAIRY

Jack and Teddy Talbot (below) had a lucky escape as a bridge collapsed just as they were approaching.

The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 20 March 1946: 3. Web. 1 Mar 2016 .

The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 20 March 1946: 3. Web. 1 Mar 2016 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206795566&gt;.

"Aftermath Of Floods In Western Victoria" The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) 22 March 1946: .

“Aftermath Of Floods In Western Victoria” The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) 22 March 1946: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48697059&gt;.

The photo below shows Mrs Woodrup on a flying fox where Steel’s bridge once stood on the Princes Highway at Port Fairy North.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 21 March 1946:.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 21 March 1946:<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page1668077&gt;.

Cars replaced boats in the streets.  Frank and Chris Newman, are pictured below taking Mrs B.Bourke home from the shops.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 21 March 1946 .

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 21 March 1946 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page1668077&gt;.

Residents in William Street (below) dried clothes and furniture after the water in their street reached a depth of over a metre.  By Wednesday 20 March, wet mattresses and pillows hung over fences, furniture was in front yards and clothes lines hung between houses.  Dairy farmers unable to get their milk out left cans of milk at each corner and all townspeople were allowed a jug each while the local hotels had a good supply of cream.  The damage bill in Port fairy totalled thousands of pounds.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 21 March 1946 .

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 21 March 1946 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page1668077&gt;.

The Port Fairy Cemetery was underwater and even by the end of March, the water was still one metre deep. Eventually, pumps were used to drain it.

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PORT FAIRY CEMETERY

Today, there is a reminder of the 1946 flood at the Port Fairy Wharf.

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HEYWOOD/PORTLAND

Between Friday night 15 March and Saturday morning 16 March, Portland received 144 mm of rain and low-lying land in the town was flooded.  There was a call to divert the water into the sea to save the electricity and gas supplies, but all electricity and gas were cut.  The sewage works were deluged and the local fire brigade was busy pumping water. The Portland Showgrounds were under 1.5 metres of water.  The town was cut off from Saturday including telegraph and radio communications.

By the morning of Sunday 17 March, the rainfall totalled 203 mm.  Fawthrop Swamp was inundated and parts of Bridgewater Roadwere covered in water. Much of the state’s tomatos were grown in the district with crop losses eventually leading to a shortage.  Local halls and hotels accommodated evacuees.  A “howling southerly breeze” with huge waves hit the breakwater (below).

PORTLAND BREAKWATER c1945. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/97040

PORTLAND BREAKWATER c1945. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/97040

 

At Heywood, until 3:00 pm on 18 March the previous fifty-four hours had produced 335 mm rain leaving many people homeless. Travellers were also stranded as the Portland/Hamilton road was cut including at the Fitzroy River bridge.  The local hotel was crowded with evacuees and emergency accommodation was set up in the Heywood Hall.

DARTMOOR

The Glenelg River rose dramatically at Dartmoor as water flowed into the river from tributaries upstream.  Five hundred yards of a twenty metre high railway bridge (below) was submerged as was the highway after the river’s level rose fifteen metres. Snakes sort refuge on top of the bridge and iron washed into the pylons, acting as a safe haven for insects, spiders and lizards.

DARTMOOR RAILWAY BRIDGE UNDER CONTRUCTION c1915. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/239718

DARTMOOR RAILWAY BRIDGE UNDER CONTRUCTION c1915. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/239718

Old residents agreed it was the worst flood in memory.  The Glenelg River was over 1.5 kilometres wide and only the tops of telegraph poles were visible. While rowing in the floodwaters, Mr Malseed gathered ten rabbits, twenty-four pumpkins and a number of tomatos stuck in trees. Seventy drums that had spilt into the river at Casterton were expected to reach Dartmoor.

NELSON 

Although Nelson only received 30 mm of rain over the weekend, the Glenelg River was rising rapidly as it neared the sea. A boat shed floated down the Glenelg River with two boats still attached. All sheds on the river bank were submerged as was the kiosk. The monument to Major Mitchell on the Isle of Bags was almost submerged.

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ISLE OF BAGS, GLENELG RIVER, NELSON

Rubbish began to collect at the mouth of the river until the water’s force washed the sand bar out to sea. Meanwhile, residents worked hard to save their bridge (below)

NELSON BRIDGE c1907. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/211026

NELSON BRIDGE c1907. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/211026

 

"HOW NELSON SAVED ITS BRIDGE" The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 22 March 1946: 3. .

“HOW NELSON SAVED ITS BRIDGE” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 22 March 1946: 3. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206798952&gt;.

 

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TODAY AT NELSON A HIGH CONCRETE BRIDGE SPANS THE GLENELG RIVER

COLERAINE

Coleraine’s rainfall to Saturday 16 March at 6:00 pm was 122 mm.  A flood warning was issued at 2:00 am Sunday morning in the lower part of the town. Bryant’s Creek rose rapidly flooding shops and houses. Stranded Mrs J. Torney and her baby were rescued from the golf course clubhouse.  Over a metre of water sat in the yard of the Post Office (below) by noon Sunday and reached the eaves of some houses.

COLERAINE POST OFFICE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/304435

COLERAINE POST OFFICE. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/304435

By Monday 18 March, 186 mm or rain had fallen on the town and residents were cleaning silt from their homes. One house, under 1.8m of water in the days before, was left with 50cm of silt. Damage to bridges had blocked the road from Coleraine to Merino and the suspension bridge washed away.  There were also large stock losses and miles of fencing demolished.

CASTERTON/SANDFORD

At Casterton, the Glenelg River swelled quickly reaching a height of 6.45m on the river gauge.  Seventy drums from the local tip rolled into the river and travelled downstream.  By Monday, there were still fears for the safety of three men. Six streets in the town were flooded and Mr Frank Daley and his eighty-three-year-old mother were rescued by police in a boat.

CASTERTON, 18 MARCH 1946. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/151401

CASTERTON, 18 MARCH 1946. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/151401

Thirty metres of pipe serving the town’s water supply was washed away while the Major Mitchell monument, south of the town, was almost submerged.  At nearby Sandford, the McCormack family were stranded.  On Monday 18 March, police and an Army “duck” tried to reach them. They were later reported safe.

CASTERTON, 18 MARCH 1946. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/151401

CASTERTON, 18 MARCH 1946. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/151401

AFTERMATH

Just as the water in rivers and creeks was beginning to ease, the following weekend the rain began to fall again. The totals for the period are below, with towns further east of the original floods affected.

"YEAR'S RAINFALL IN THREE MONTHS" The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 27 March 1946:.

“YEAR’S RAINFALL IN THREE MONTHS” The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) 27 March 1946:<http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22237029&gt;.

On Monday 25 March, Port Fairy was once again isolated and evacuations were considered. Macarthur was expecting flooding worse than experienced a week earlier and the Eumerella River burst its banks after reaching a depth of over three metres. Families were evacuated at Bessibelle. The towns of Koroit, Hawkesdale and Branxholme were all at risk of flood. At Allansford. the Hopkins River reached the height of the week before but continued to rise before dropping 1.2 metres on Wednesday 27 March.

At Casterton, the police were warning residents the Glenelg and Wannon Rivers could burst their banks. Homes at Byaduk evacuated in the week earlier were again vacated.  At Wallacedale and Condah flood waters still remained from the week before.  An Army “duck” was called to Tyrendarra to save a family isolated by the Fitzroy River and Darlot’s Creek.  Portland was also cut off via the Princes Highway due to water over the road.

Flooding was reported at Beech Forest and residents living along the Gellibrand River prepared themselves to evacuate. By 29 March, there was over half a metre of water on the Ocean Road at Lower Gellibrand.  Meanwhile at Cobden, 63 mm fell on Saturday 24 March flooding paddocks and stranding cattle.  At nearby Cowley’s Creek, stud sheep were rescued from the creek. At Camperdown, a total of 104 mm was recorded over the weekend. Port Campbell, reported its heaviest falls in its history and the township was isolated with over a metre of water over the road. Stranded campers were billeted at the Port Campbell Hotel (below).

PORT CAMPBELL HOTEL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/62326

PORT CAMPBELL HOTEL. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/62326

By 27 March, the sun was shining in Warrnambool for the first time in two weeks, but the damage bill and impending recovery left a gloomy forecast for the Western District. Before the flood waters subsided on 20 March 1946, The Age reported the total damage bill could exceed £2,000,000.  On 30 March 1946, the Border Watch reported 150 houses were destroyed and 150 sheds damaged.  There were losses to rye grass seed and potato, tomato, onion and apple crops.  One hundred bridges were destroyed.  The damage bill for bridges and roads alone, published in The Age of 5 April 1946, was estimated at £76,500. Of that, £25, 300 was in the Warrnambool Shire.  By the end of March, the Army “ducks”, vital during the disaster, returned to Melbourne.

On 1 July 1946, twenty-seven men from the flood affected areas received silver and bronze medals from the Royal Humane Society for their rescue work.  They included fisherman and policeman. The men presented with silver medals were:

"AWARDS FOR HEROISM" The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 2 July 1946: 2. .

“AWARDS FOR HEROISM” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 2 July 1946: 2. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206375340&gt;.

The bronze medal recipients were:

"AWARDS FOR HEROISM" The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 2 July 1946: 2. .

“AWARDS FOR HEROISM” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 2 July 1946: 2. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206375340&gt;.

There was a positive to came out of the 1946 floods.  Buckley’s Swamp, a peat swamp burning since the fires of January 1944, was finally extinguished.

"FLOOD'S GOOD DEED." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 1 April 1946: 2 (EVENING). Web. .

“FLOOD’S GOOD DEED.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 1 April 1946: 2 (EVENING). Web. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64407334&gt;.

SOURCES

Flood Victoria

Glenelg Libraries – Historic Treasures – The Floods of Casterton

Trove Digitised Newspapers

The Age

 18 March 1946

 19 March 1946

 20 March 1946

21 March 1946

26 March 1946

 2 July 1946

The Argus

12 March 1946

18 March 1946 

19 March 1946

26 March 1946

27 March 1946

28 March 1946

2 April 1946

Border Watch

19 March 1946

21 March 1946

23 March 1946

28 March 1946

30 March 1946

Camperdown Chronicle

19 March 1946

Horsham Times

15 June 1920

Port Fairy Gazette

20 April 1916

Portland Guardian

 18 March 1946

 21 March 1946

 25 March 1946

28 March 1946

Williamstown Chronicle

22 March 1946

State Emergency Service – Casterton Local Flood Guide

State Emergency Service – Port Fairy Local Flood Guide

State Emergency Service – Southern Grampians Shire

State Emergency Service- Warrnambool Flood Guide

Trove Tuesday – Thomas Hannay’s Photographs

One of my favourite Facebook pages “Glenelg Shire Council Cultural Collection” alerted me to some new treasures at one of my favourite websites, Trove. Those treasures were the Portland photos of Thomas Hannay, taken around 1859 and held by another favourite, the State Library of Victoria.

From the collection, a photo of Claremont, built by Stephen Henty in 1852 and rented to his brother Francis Henty, caught my eye. The house was the subject of a Western District Families post two years ago. Thomas Hannay’s photo is terrific and if the date on the photos of c1859 is correct, Claremont was in its infancy. At the time of the photo, Francis Henty used the house as a summer home when not at his property Merino Downs.

 

CLAREMONT c1859. Photographer Thomas Hanney. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2013.345/5 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/318575

CLAREMONT c1859. Photographer Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2013.345/5 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/318575

 

As I scrolled through the photos, some familiar names appeared.  They were the names of some of the Portland pioneers who have appeared in Passing of the Pioneers posts or other Portland related posts here at Western District Families.

There was Thomas Must’s home Prospect (below). Thomas was a Passing Pioneer in September 2013. The photo I found of Prospect for that post was from the 1960s, but Thomas Hannay’s photo shows Prospect, built in 1855, as a reasonably new home and with the Must family posing in the front yard.

 

"PROSPECT"c1859. Photographer Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2013.345/26 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320200

“PROSPECT”c1859. Photographer Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2013.345/26 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320200

 

There was also a photo of Captain James Fawthrop’s home. James Fawthrop’s grave was part of the Old Portland Cemetery Part 2 post. He was famous as captain of the Portland lifeboat that went to the aid of the steamer the Admella in 1859. The good Captain, his wife Jane Rosevear, and child posed for Thomas Hannay on his trip to Portland.

 

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FAWTHROP RESIDENCE, PORTLAND. c1859. Photographer Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2013.345/16. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/319967

 

George Crouch’s name was familiar to me, as his wife, Marianne Trangmar was one of the pioneer women of Portland featured in the book Portland Pioneer Women’s Book of Remembrance I wrote about in January 2013.  Their family home is below.

 

CROUCH RESIDENCE, PORTLAND c1859. Photographer Thomas Hanney. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2013.345/14 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/318507

CROUCH RESIDENCE, PORTLAND c1859. Photographer Thomas Hannay. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2013.345/14 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/318507

 

Thomas Hannay, not only photographed George Crouch’s home, he also photographed his business Trangmar & Crouch that he started with James Trangmar.  The business was established after James Trangmar, a December 2012 Passing Pioneer, arrived in Portland in 1844. James Trangmar  removed himself from the business in 1856 but the name continued on. The business moved to new premises in 1857 and it is presumably that building that was photographed by Thomas Hannay.

 

H2013.345/20 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320053

TRANGMAR & CROUCH c1859. Photographer Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Image no. H2013.345/20. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320053

 

Stephen Rowan Robertson, a Passing Pioneer from August 2013, married William Corney in 1846 and the house below is their family home in Portland.

 

Image courtesy of the State Libary of Victoria. Image no. H2013.345/9 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/318519

CORNEY FAMILY RESIDENCE, PORTLAND, c1859. Photographer Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Libary of Victoria. Image no. H2013.345/9 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/318519

 

Robertson’s Iron Store (below) was owned by the Robertson brothers, James, John, and William.  James and William are among Western District Families’ Passing Pioneers .

 

ROBERTSON'S IRON STORE, PORTLAND c1859. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2013.345/2 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/318582

ROBERTSON’S IRON STORE, PORTLAND c1859. Photographer Thomas Hannay. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2013.345/2 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/318582

 

But Thomas Hannay’s photos are not limited to Portland. I also found Larra near Camperdown, the home of March 2012 Passing Pioneer, John  Lang Currie.  John Currie purchased Larra Estate in 1844.

 

"LARRA" c1859. Photographer John Lang Currie. Image no. H2013.345/42 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320299

“LARRA” c1859. Photographer Thomas Hannay. Image no. H2013.345/42 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/320299

 

There are over eighty photographs by Thomas Hannay, from towns including Digby, Sandford, Hotspur, and Woolsthorpe and you can find them on the following link – Thomas Hannay’s Photographs

Back at Trove, I searched for Thomas Hannay and found he was from Maldon, but was Thomas Hannay Sr the photographer or Thomas Hannay Jr? The following articles are their obituaries, with father Hannay, passing away in 1883 and his son in 1897.

 

"MALDON." Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 - 1918) 7 Dec 1883: 3. Web. 8 Sep 2015 .

“MALDON.” Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918) 7 Dec 1883: 3. Web. 8 Sep 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88523890&gt;.

 

 

"LOCAL NEWS." The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 24 Sep 1897: 6. Web. 8 Sep 2015 .

“LOCAL NEWS.” The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954) 24 Sep 1897: 6. Web. 8 Sep 2015 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article188142819&gt;.

 

Trove Tuesday – “Don’ts” for Centenary Week

With Portland celebrating its 180th birthday tomorrow (November 19),  my Trove Tuesday post this week is an article published in the Portland Guardian of October 15, 1934 prior to that year’s centenary celebrations.  Superintendent Clugston of the police department offered some timely advice for those attending the week-long celebration.  My favourite “don’ts” are “Don’t hurry or rush about”, “Don’t drive your car or other vehicle in a careless or improper manner and extend courtesy and consideration for all other road users” and “Don’t Guess”.

""DON'TS" FOR CENTENARY WEEK." Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953) 15 Oct 1934: 2 Edition: EVENING.. Web. .

“”DON’TS” FOR CENTENARY WEEK.” Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953) 15 Oct 1934: 2 Edition: EVENING.. Web. <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64287060&gt;.

The Vagabond Tours the Portland District

It’s time to re-join The Vagabond on his tour of Picturesque Victoria.  Last time we caught up with him, he was touring the town of Portland.   In this installment, he ventures out to the countryside surrounding the town and he was not disappointed.  I would have to agree with him that the landscape around the town “is the most picturesque and varied scenery”  seen along the Victorian coastline.

With an old Portland citizen, the Vagabond headed toward Narrawong and Heywood.  Looking out to sea he caught a view of Julia Percy Island and Lawrence Rocks.

vag

LAWRENCE ROCKS & JULIA PERCY ISLAND (background). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. IMP25/12/65/193 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/95486

LAWRENCE ROCKS & JULIA PERCY ISLAND (background). Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. IMP25/12/65/193 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/95486

The Vagabond reflected on the early settlement of the district and likened the countryside around him to an English country lane.

vag1Out of Portland , the Vagabond and the “Ancient Citizen” met the colony’s first road, built by the Hentys.  Although the colony was only within the first 50 years of settlement, change was upon it.  The railways had been costly to the hotels along the roadways as noted by The Vagabond as he passed two empty hotels.

vag5

After a stop in Portland, The Vagabond set off again for the rugged coastline of Nelson Bay.  The secretary of the Portland Jubilee committee accompanied him, one of many gentleman offering endless hospitality to the acclaimed writer, hopeful for a good word about their town.

vagAs they left Portland, heading West, the travelling party passed “Burswood” the former home of Edward Henty and they admired the unique flora along the roadside.

BURSWOOD.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Colin Caldwell Trust collection, Image no. H84.276/6/44A  http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/72455

BURSWOOD. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Colin Caldwell Trust collection, Image no. H84.276/6/44A http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/72455

Before long they had reached Nelson Bay and the wrath of the seas below came a little closer than was comfortable. “Below the waves circle one after another – placid and quiet in the outer rings, increasing in speed and fury until they dash in a foaming surf on the rocks and sands at the base of the cliff”

vag2

098 (800x600)

 

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Ahead The Vagabond could see his destination, the Cape Nelson lighthouse.

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CAPE NELSON LIGHTHOUSE

vag3

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1884, November 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 4. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6061787

 

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LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S RESIDENCE

After climbing the 115 steps to the balcony near the top of the lighthouse, The Vagabond looked out to sea at the passing vessels, while the lighthouse keeper, Mr Fisher,told him lighthouse tales.

vag1

084

From the lighthouse, the horse’s heads turned toward Cape Bridgewater.  The Vagabond quipped that the Banks of Portland would not be offering customers overdrafts on that day because all the managers were travelling with him.

vag6

The Vagabond stopped to marvel at the Bat’s Ridge cave.  He advised visitors to the caves to take their own candles,  magnesium wire and string.

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BATS’ RIDGE CAVE

vag8

A little further on and the group arrived at serene Bridgewater Bay and its small settlement.

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vag2

BRIDGEWATER BAY

BRIDGEWATER BAY

Continuing westward they came to Cape Bridgewater and the Blowholes.

CAPE BRIDGEWATER.  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no. H32492/1662 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64872

CAPE BRIDGEWATER. Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H32492/1662
http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/64872

 

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PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1884, November 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 4. Retrieved December 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6061787

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1884, November 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 4. Retrieved December 12, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6061787

BLOWHOLE, CAPE BRIDGEWATER.  Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no, H32492/1661 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/65004

BLOWHOLE, CAPE BRIDGEWATER. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no, H32492/1661 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/65004

Join The Vagabond on his next installment of Picturesque Victoria, continuing along the south-west coastline.  What did he see that he described as “fearfully sublime” and “grandly weird”?  Find out next time.

Full Article “Picturesque Victoria, Excursions from Portland, No 1”

Trove Tuesday – High Fire Danger

This week’s Trove Tuesday post began as a story about Magic Lanterns, the early version of the film projector, and the problems they were causing in Portland in 1914.  But a reference in the article to “celluloid collars” changed the post slightly to include another unexpected fire risk to mostly men and boys of the early 20th century.

The first article comes from the Portland Guardian of October 14, 1914.  A cheap toy Magic Lantern, or more precisely the lens of the lantern, was the curse of the mother’s of Portland boys.  The lenses, probably removed for the purpose of mischief by the boys, were burning holes in their pockets.  The whistle-blower on the events, warned that if one were placed in a celluloid collar, disaster would prevail.

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1914, October 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63970668

First Issue, August 20, 1842. (1914, October 14). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63970668

That got me thinking, why were celluloid collars such a risk.  While I assumed that being made from the same material as film, they would be flammable (thanks to a recent episode of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries for that realisation), but was the danger really that great?  A Trove search found that yes they were a danger, and sometimes in the most innocent ways.  One  headline I found was “Killed by Collar of Fire” , another “Dangers of Celluloid”.  I’ve read many accounts of the risks to ladies wearing full skirts around open fires and even sparks from buggy wheels catching an overhanging skirt, but celluloid collars, it seems, were the male equivalent.

Some Horsham children were lucky that the celluloid collar they were playing with didn’t cause more damage.

A FIRE AVERTED. (1915, June 22). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved November 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72974894

A FIRE AVERTED. (1915, June 22). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved November 25, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72974894

The photo below is of a Magic Lantern, but not a toy that the Portland boys had.  For the purpose of the demonstration, the photo of the Magic Lantern was taken in daylight, but darkness was necessary to view the projected images.

A Magic Lantern (1909).  Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.  Image no.  H2009.29/120 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/159294

A Magic Lantern (1909). Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria. Image no. H2009.29/120 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/159294

The Vagabond…Out and About in Portland

The first installment of The Vagabond’s Picturesque Victoria in Western Victoria, introduced Portland of 1884 and reflected on the history of the area.   The second installment sees the Vagabond, still in Portland and, on a tour of the town.   He admires the Portland Botanic Gardens, soaks up the atmosphere of the Portland North cemetery and visits the inmates of the Portland Benevolent Asylum.

The first stop was St. Stephens Church, undergoing an extension at the time.  The Vagabond noted the church’s opulence, much of it built from Henty money and a memorial stained glass window giving thanks for their generosity had been installed.

vaga1

St Stephens Church, Portland

ST STEPHENS CHURCH

The Vagabond mentioned the left hand end of the church was boarded up for extensions and the ivy that gave the church an aged  appearance.  The image below would have been how the church looked in 1884, before the extension began and the church today (above)

ST STEPHENS CHURCH, PORTLAND (c1880).  Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia.  Image No.  B 21766/101 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_101.htm

ST STEPHENS CHURCH, PORTLAND (c1880). Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. Image No. B 21766/101 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/22000/B21766_101.htm

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INTERIOR, ST. STEPHENS CHURCH,

Next, the Botanic gardens, the “pride of Portland”.

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS

PORTLAND BOTANICAL GARDENS

Local residents enjoyed strawberries growing at the back of the gardens but anyone trying to scale the garden’s fence faced ferocious dogs chained at intervals around the perimeter.

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PORTLAND BOTANIC GARDENS

PORTLAND BOTANIC GARDENS

The time he spent  imbedded at the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum, must have  deepened The Vagabonds’ compassion for the unfortunates residing in such institutions.  His visit to the Portland Benevolent society gives a most interesting insight into the  life of the residents.

Nineteen men and one woman, residents at the time of the Vagabond’s visit, were eating supper of bread and butter and tea.  Many were early arrivals to the colony and most had worked for the Henty family …”poor old fellows, they are remnants of a much despised class, not by any means all bad, good mates to each other, who bore the heat and burden of the early days of colonial life”

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The Old Portland Cemetery had the same effect on the Vagabond as it did on me, even though we visited almost 130 years apart…”I love the place” he declared.

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OLD PORTLAND CEMETERY

OLD PORTLAND CEMETERY

In 1884, if one was to remove the churches and public buildings from Portland, there would be little left, according to the Vagabond.  There were ploughed paddocks in the city centre and cows grazing in the streets.

vaga12The Vagabond considered Mac’s Hotel (below) one of the finest bluestone buildings outside of Melbourne.

MAC'S HOTEL, PORTLAND

MAC’S HOTEL, PORTLAND

Fishing was the main trade in Portland when he visited, but The Vagabond could foresee a day when Portland would resemble Scarborough, England.  He noted the relaxed feel of the town where ladies could visit and not feel they had to change up to four times a day, they even could wear their “oldest gowns”.

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1884, November 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 6. Retrieved September 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6061545

PICTURESQUE VICTORIA. (1884, November 18). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), p. 6. Retrieved September 16, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6061545

The photo below is of Portland’s beach around the 1940s.  While villas weren’t lining the cliff tops as the Vagabond predicted, I think he would have been happy that his prophecy had eventuated in part.

THE BEACH, PORTLAND (ca1940-ca1950) Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image No. H86.98/429 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/84638

THE BEACH, PORTLAND (ca1940-ca1950) Image Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, Image No. H86.98/429 http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/84638