Graham J Whitehead

Contributions

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Facebook has become an important vehicle for communication between people. Many of these sites focus on local history and authors share their knowledge and seek greater understanding of events and connections between people. Sometimes the answers are misinformed or contain unsubstantiated judgements.
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James Coffey who was born in Melbourne on 15 June 1842, joined the Victorian Railways at 35 years of age in 1877 and served as a railwayman in several locations in Victoria. Prior to joining the railways, he worked at several mining locations surrounding Ballarat and beyond. His final appointment in the railways was to Mentone where he served for nine years.
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Local football finals were important events and a win was an historic occasion to be remembered and records in word and picture. Here an unnamed bush poet puts down his thoughts in Who Will be Premiers?
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About 7960 acres of land in Mordialloc was declared a Farmers’ Common entitling farmers adjacent to the common to use it for grazing on payment of a fee. Three managers were appointed to jointly manage the common, but farmers were unhappy with their performance.
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The work of Mrs Mason in helping the unemployed of Chelsea in the 1930s was recognised in a certificate signed by many Chelsea residents. A list of signatures is provided, although the spelling of some names was hard to decode.
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World War II
Frederick Hackwell of Mordialloc was taken prisoner by the Japanese in the Java, Dutch East Indies campaign in 1942.  He remained a prisoner for three and a half years.  During that time, he ached for news from home just as his family wanted to know he was alive and safe.  This story tells of his messages home and the Australian Army’s comments and news of his release in 1945.
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Cheltenham Railway Station
This story focusses on the future of the Cheltenham historic railway buildings. Removed to allow the creation of a train free cross over what was to happen to them. Where would they be placed and how might they be used? What were the views of the Kingston and Bayside councils?
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A single railway line between Caulfield and Mordialloc was completed in 1881 but local business men argued that the line needed to be duplicated. Some land speculators were part of a very active group advocating this cause. By 1889 the duplication was completed but agitation continue for other improvements.
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The Moorabbin Football Club, a foundation member of the Federal League and a winning premiership club, joins the Victorian Football Association with continuing success. But trouble emerges when the Moorabbin Council is successful in its desire to attract a Victorian Football League team to the municipality. St Kilda Football Club takes over the Linton Street Ground and Moorabbin Club fails to find an alternative ground.
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The Bicentennial Park began as a tip where the refuse of Chelsea residents was deposited. The stench from decaying waste was the subject of complaints from close neighbours and from firemen who were called to fight fires powered by escaping gas. Today the site is an award winning, professionally designed community asset.
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In 1971, the Chelsea Council decided to join the Mordialloc Council in providing a library service to residents. As part of this agreement was the implementation of a mobile library to reach ‘outlying settlements’. A special vehicle was designed and staffed with a route including stops at Aspendale, Edithvale, Chelsea, Bon Beach and Carrum. The communities in North Mordialloc, East Beaumaris, and East Parkdale were also to benefit.
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Borough of Mentone and Mordialloc
Latrobe Street
Shire of Moorabbin
Latrobe Street, Mentone, was named over one hundred and fifty years ago when it was little more than a track. Much later it became the border of two municipalities, Moorabbin and Mordialloc/Mentone. When the time came to construct the road in the 1950s, local residents argued it was a government or public road therefore they did not have to pay the cost. Ultimately the councils disagreed, and the residents lost the debate.
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Chelsea Branch Regional Library
Chelsea Library
Cr Nola Barber
It took twenty-five years and the determination of people like Cr Nola Barber to gain a library for the municipality of Chelsea. Several of her colleagues had other priorities for the expenditure of council funds. Many residents were concerned with the expense and likely rate rises they faced with the planned connection to the sewerage scheme. They asked, ‘where would they find the extra money for a library?’ Persistence of the pro-library group paid off and Chelsea joined with Mordialloc municipality to provide a regional library service, building a library in Bath Street, Chelsea.
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Reports claims and counter claims about the Mordialloc City Council's proposal to build a marina at the base of the Beach Road cliffs. The plan was to spend one million dollars. The plan involved the construction of a 15 foot wide seawall, filled to nine feet above the low water mark and varying in distance from 21 feet to 15 feet from the cliff face. Those opposing the plan pointed to the natural beauty of the site and argued that the proposal was for the benefit of a few. Stormy meetings took place at council but finally, after the passing of several years, the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron agreed the revised proposal to develop a ‘safe harbor’ would not proceed.
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Aspendale Technical School
The Establishment of Aspendale Technical School is a story that recalls the efforts of several local communities to gain the option of a technical education for their children. Opened in 1959 the school suffered a serious blow when fire in 1971 destroyed science, social studies and art rooms, as well as general classrooms. The principal also lost his office. A significant development occurred seven years later when the school was declared a co-educational facility.
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Mordialloc Creek
People know of the existence and location of the Mordialloc Bridge Hotel, but not all are familiar with the man who first built a two roomed pub on the site. William Coleman arrived in Melbourne in 1841 as a twenty one year old and initially resided in Collingwood where he became a councillor, married, and commenced his family. Moving to Mordialloc, he gained a beer licence in 1868 and built a more substantial hotel in 1870. He was also committed to investing in land throughout Melbourne and subsequently died a very rich man.
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The Stookes, with family history records going back to the time of Oliver Cromwell, came to Melbourne in the late 1840s and early 1850s seeking new opportunities.
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The small rural school, originally called the Mordialloc Settlement School, was built in 1915 in response to local families demands that such a facility be provided for their children. They deemed it unsatisfactory that their children should have to wade through water to attend Mordialloc Primary School and sit in class with wet feet. Named Braeside State School in 1925, it was closed in 1976 due to lack of pupils.
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An example where local residents protested at actions being undertaken in their community. Deceased patients from the new Heatherton Sanatorium were being buried at the Cheltenham Pioneer Cemetery against a promise by the Board of Health that this would not occur. Residents were concerned about the possible spread of the disease, particularly with the school next door to the cemetery.
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Formed in 1900 by a keen group of local men, it became a club that fostered recruitments in the First World War. Morris tubes were used to modify normal government issued rifles, allowing the use of miniature ranges and cheaper cartridges in practice. They had shooting ranges set up in Cheltenham Park and Charman Road, Cheltenham at different times.
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This article concludes the story previously posted of Claude Nuttall, a Cheltenham boy. He joined the Australian Army as a twenty year old and served in France, where he was awarded the Military Medal and later wounded. Claude met an English girl while in hospital and married her in a small village church. He later returned to France, where he was killed. For some time he wrote a diary in which he described some of the actions on the Western Front. Read how this diary was returned to the family in Australia.
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Nathaniel Levi's dream was to drain the Carrum Swamp, plant sugar beet, manufacture gin, and employ 1500 individuals. Nathaniel Levi’s dream was not realised, but for a time local residents and people trying to earn a living on the swamp were enthusiastic about the proposal.
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A very long title which still did not cover all the events that took place at the show. Check out some of the people who attended, the winners, and where the show was held from 1897 to the 1920s.
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An Experimental Farm at Cheltenham was established as a result of the urging of local members of the Promotion of Rural Industries Committee as part of their ploy to encourage rural industries. The farm was created on four acres of Joseph Wedd’s eleven acres property on the corner of Centre Dandenong Road and Point Nepean Road (today Nepean Highway). There experiments were conducted into the use of various fertilizers, and the growing of particular plants. They tested a colourfully named set of potatoes including Carmen, Sutton’s Abundance, Black Prince and Windsor Castle Of the various fertilizers available, stable manure and super phosphate gave the best results but ploughed-in pea plants (green fertilizer) was also found to be beneficial.
In 1906 the Railway Commissioners were concerned about the confusion caused by several stations on separate lines sharing the name Brighton. Alternative names were suggested, each having its supporters. Ultimately South Brighton became Moorabbin.
To acknowledge the contribution of men who enlisted in the World War, Council gave approval for the erection of a memorial on the corner of Point Nepean Road and Beach Road Mordialloc. A drinking fountain was proposed but other residents suggested a memorial hall as being a worthier object. It was the former that was built.
Intoxicated and indulging in obscene language young men were causing trouble. Some were arrested by police and later appeared in the Cheltenham Court.
In 1869, the government opened part of the Carrum Swamp to Selection. Forty-nine men took-up the opportunity to gain land, but conditions applied. They had to pay rent for three years, fence the selection, make improvements, and permanently reside on their selection. It was not a pleasant place to live. Acres of the selections were under water in winter, cows were up to knees in water, and crops were ruined. Major floods occurred in 1934 and 1952.
George Whitehead moved with his family on to his selection on the Carrum Swamp of 300 acres and 14 perches in 1871. To gain the land, he had to appear before a local Lands Board, agree to rent the land for two shillings per acres for three years, and meet other conditions. Finally, he purchased the land and soon after sold it to Mark Young on 2 December 1877 making a ‘profit’ of one hundred and fifty pounds on the transaction. While living on the selection, one child was born and two died. Things were tough on the swamp!
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World War II
With the outbreak of the Second World War , Ron Lister of Parkdale enlisted with several friends in the Australian Army and saw service in the Middle East and Greece.
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Captain William Kenney was engaged in building the baths in Brighton Beach in 1872. The baths were in the news in 1855 when indecent conduct was reported to the police. Maintenance of this facility was an ongoing problem for which councils were reluctant to take responsibility. By the 1970s, the attendance at the baths had declined and they were finally demolished in 1979.
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The "Demise of Avenue of Honour at Cheltenham" concerns the lopping and lack of care of trees planted in recognition of many local young men who served in Australian military forces in World War One. The Cheltenham Progressive Association and the local Returned Soldiers’ Branch pressed the council to take action as they believed the condition of the trees reflected badly on the council and local residents. They requested eight specific improvements be made to the avenue of trees planted along Point Nepean Road.
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Joyce was a significant figure in this celebration which commenced in April 1959 and continued for over 40 years. She believed children should be encouraged to join a club where the idea of co-operation was instilled. “Dreams of youth”, she said, “should be made a reality and their energy harnessed for good outcomes.”
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This story traces the early history of the Cheltenham State Savings Bank and its incorporation into the Commonwealth Bank. There will be some Kingston residents who can remember the money boxes issued by the bank and taking ‘bank money’ to school on ‘Bank Day’ to have the amount recorded in their pink covered pass-book.
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The story, "Edwin Thomas Penny: Councillor, Orchardist and Pioneer", traces his life from his birth at Marylebone, London, to his arrival in Cheltenham and subsequent burial in the Pioneer Cemetery. Penny was a man strongly engaged in his local community, his shire council, his church and a host of local organisations.
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Friendly societies were fraternal organisations established to assist members and their families cope with unemployment, sickness and death. The Sons of Temperance was one such society. A division was formed in Cheltenham in 1868. Strict rules with strong penalties for infringement were instituted. Intoxicating drink was prohibited and attendance at meetings was compulsory. Behaviour was monitored both at meetings and in community. The society had a significant impact on health and welfare for many people living in Cheltenham and beyond.
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The Mordialloc Creek was an essential element in the natural drainage of the Carrum Swamp. The mouth of the creek became silted and a drain for surrounding districts. Boats were sitting on mud. Septic run off and industrial waste were the main pollutants. Various solutions to the problems were proposed by individuals and governments but it took fifty years for successful actions to be initiated.
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Many Melbourne hotels had an SP bookmaker with whom patrons could place a bet on races. At the time this was an illegal activity and actively prosecuted by police. The Mordialloc Bridge Hotel was not an exception. Thomas Page, probably the biggest bookmaker in Mordialloc, had ‘five blokes’ working for him taking bets. Page was charged by police, but the court dismissed the case because of ‘lack of evidence of procuring’.
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The article recounts some tragic and criminal events that occurred at the Mentone Railway Station that was established in 1881. Men reported purses and wallets being stolen when visiting the station. Gunpowder was used to blow open the station safe. It was believed the old ramshackle building was a factor in attracting burglars. Mentone station was also the site of some serious accidents. A porter and gatekeeper were killed when struck by trains.
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Born in Bairnsdale, Clyde John Hoffman joined the Australian Military Forces, served at Gallipoli and later qualified as a second lieutenant. Married in Scotland, the couple returned to Australia where Clyde became a founding member of the Cheltenham Progress Association. Elected to Moorabbin Council in 1938 he became mayor and resigning in 1946. During this time, he was very active in community organisations.
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The first bridge across Point Nepean Road at Mordialloc was completed in the late 1890s. Thirty seven years later it was labelled a hazard and bottle neck. By 1963 the Minister of Transport announced the ‘Death Trap’ was to go. Construction began in January 1965 and the first Melbourne Frankston train crossed the new bridge on 18 December 1965.
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Bridget Smith and her eighteen months old son were strangled at Cheltenham. George Pinkerton a nineteen-year-old man was accused of their murder. After a coronial enquiry he faced a criminal trial where he was found guilty. He was hanged. This was despite the possibility he was of unsound mind.
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Created in 1878 the Patterson River was cut through a sand ridge to allow excess water trapped on the Carrum Swamp to escape into Port Phillip Bay. Flood waters in 1880 and 1891 caused significant damage. Complaints about the silting of its mouth were common. Plans for dredging were put into operation in 1982 but the problem continues.
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In September 1920 Mrs Winifred Harrison wrote to the Parkdale Progress Association advocating the building of a hall. In 1921 the annual meeting for the Association took place in the new hall in Eveline Avenue overlooking Parkers Road. Plans to enlarge the hall caused dissention amongst the members.
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The first bridge across the Mordialloc Creek was of a wooden construction built in 1854. It soon failed to meet community expectations believing Mordialloc deserved something more substantial. Debate on length and width of a new bridge took place. A new bridge was opened in 1919 to face criticism within ten years. II was too narrow. In 2008 a four-lane bridge was opened and subsequently the name Pompei Bridge.
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A cutting through the sand ridge bordering Port Phillip Bay was completed in 1879 and later named the Patterson River. The aim was to relieve the pressure of excess swamp water. The outlet did not save the district from massive flooding in 1934. Flooding again occurred in 1952.
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Despite of the view that baby health centre was unnecessary because residents were healthy a centre a built in Parkdale in 1929. Dr Vera Scantlebury said, ‘the presence of such a centre was a mother’s right and not a charity’. The Chelsea Baby Health Centre opened in 1953 followed by others in Aspendale and Carrum.
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Friendly Societies were established as fraternal organisations to assist members and families meet financial and social consequences of illness. These societies set up their own dispensaries. The Cheltenham dispensary was founded in 1918 to service the needs of members. By 1946 affiliated societies were ANA Cheltenham; AOF Bentleigh; PAFS Cheltenham, Mordialloc and Ladies Cheltenham; IOR Cheltenham and Moorabbin; MUIOOF Moorabbin Mordialloc, Mentone and Cheltenham; IOOF Mentone; HACBS Mentone; OST Cheltenham; UAOD Mordialloc and GUOOF Bentleigh. In 1947 the name of the dispensary was changed to the Cheltenham District United Friendly Societies; Dispensary.
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Mr Shearman plan to build shops on his property on Nepean Highway Mentone was challenged by Mr Barry. The proposal was debated by councillor and at its conclusion the plan was accepted. The official opening occurred just before Christmas 1958. In 2008 the centre was demolished and replaced with a more modern structure incorporating thirty sores and a large Woolworths costing $35 million in total.
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Sixteen months after the construction of the Patterson River Bridge it was destroyed beyond repair. Engineers recommended two separate bridges, one for railway and one for road traffic. In March 1882 a contract was published for the erection of a timber bridge. A week before Christmas 1894 the bridge collapsed. By 1901 a more substantial bridge had been constructed but in 1910 the condition of the bridge was the focus of controversy. Improvements were made in 1937. A major reconstruction took place in 1995.
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In 1922 Council purchased land in Parkdale covered in scrub to be set aside as a reserve. Additional land was purchased from R Marriott. The new reserve was opened in 1925 with the assistance of an overdraft of £300. A Gymkhana & Sports Day was organised in 1930 to raise money. More than £30 was raised. The councillors of Mordialloc recognised the contribution of Cr Gerry Green in various community organisations and named the reserve in his honour.
World War I
This article concerns correspondence between two soldier who became mates in WWI. John Allnutt had his ankle shattered and was repatriated home. George Groat wrote to John expressing his frustrations with the war and conditions at the front. The letter is presented in full.
Malcolm and Archibald Corstorphan had been warned not to go near Treeby’s waterhole but ignored this advice. Archie drowned, and his younger brother fabricated a story to explain the tragedy. He did this to avoid a thrashing from his father. Mr Candler, investigating the circumstances f the death ruled it as accidental.
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The Parkdale Reserve Committee organised a gymkhana in 1930 to raise money to liquidate the money owed on the purchase of the land. There were some ‘games of chance’ as part of the day’s activities. Several of the volunteers were arrested by police for conducing illegal games, faced court and were fined. large sums of money.
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The citizens of Mentone and Mordialloc gained their separation from the Shire of Moorabbin. An initial task of the new council was to establish a municipal headquarters. The problem was gaining a unanimous decision on the location. By February 1922 a temporary building in Mentone was occupied. New chambers were constructed in 1934 and remained the centre of municipal administration until the creation of the City of Kingston in 1994.
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Under the Small Improvement Holdings Act the government in 1906 purchased 453 acres between Lower Dandenong and Governor roads. The land was sub divided into 38 allotments as part of the government’s plan to settle more people on the land. By 1918 it was claimed the scheme was a failure. Gradually the occupiers sold their property and today the and is used by industrial enterprises.
World War II
Three boys from Cheltenham School were waiting at the railway crossing for a train to pass on the up line. They then proceeded to cross initially unaware that a special race train was approaching on the down line. Two boys reached the other side safely, but nine year old Harrie Long Mewett was struck by the steam engine. With horrific head injuries he died instantly. His body was buried in the Cheltenham Pioneer Cemetery. As a result of the tragedy, the Moorabbin Council petitioned the Railway Commissioner for a subway to allow individuals to move safely under the railway line. Because of disagreements regarding cost and its allocation between the two parties the request was dropped.
In September 1878 a public meeting in Rennison’s Hotel elected trustees to gain a government grant of land to erect a Mechanics’ Institute at Mordialloc. Once the building was completed some significant community meetings took place there. The Premier of the State, Thomas Bent, spoke to a crowd of about 100 about including religious education in public schools in 1904 and twenty year later the Mordialloc and Carrum District High School commenced there. In 1963 the Institute’s building was demolished to be replaced by a new court house and the Allan McLean Hall.

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City of Kingston acknowledges the Kulin Nation as the custodians of the land on which the municipality is a part and pays respect to their Elders, past and present. Council is a member of the Inter Council Aboriginal Consultative Committee (ICACC).