During a moving ANZAC Day Dawn Service in the riverside Gardens a new Memorial was unveiled.
A chilly, damp start to the day did not deter an estimated crowd of between 350 – 400 people attending, including families with young children to elderly residents and visitors from overseas, many who represented descendants of those whose names appear on the Memorial. The Memorial records those who enlisted during the First World War from the local area and features striking red poppies on the black marble supports. It has been installed between the existing war memorials in the gardens and was a centenary project was undertaken by the Murchison RSL.
New memorial unveiled ANZAC Day
Site of new memorial
In the evening of ANZAC Day the RSL arranged a celebratory Ball in the Murchison Community Centre. The Hall was cleverly decorated with First World War memorabilia and by all reports, a very good time was had by all; everything had a rave review, food, music, dancing and atmosphere. Well done to the hard working RSL committee for putting on such a good event.
Hall ready for the Ball
Entrance to Hall
Murchison Primary School held an impressive ANZAC service on Monday 27th April at the Murchison Cemetery where the whole school attended. Grade 5/6 students took an active part including remembering those men and women who enlisted in the First World War during a roll call, reciting of the Ode of Remembrance, playing of the Last Post, laying wreathes and singing the national Anthem. A commemorative plaque was by unveiled by Cemetery Trust Secretary Sue Brown with Ethan and Brodie Knight assisting (descendants of Ernest Gregory who did not return). A highlight was the planting of a Lone Pine tree, a seedling from an original pine cone from Lone Pine Ridge Gallipoli with RSL President Doug Messer assisting Lucy and Gus Ewart (descendants of Matthew Ewart who also lost his life during the War). The whole event was very well organised and the children were attentive and appeared to take in the importance of the occasion.
Primary School ceremony at Cemetery
As part of setting up the refurbished Murchison Heritage Centre an area has been set aside for temporary display providing space where topics of current interest can be featured. An ANZAC display is now on show in this area and visitors are finding lots to absorb them with transcripts of diaries and other memorabilia relating to locals who had ANZAC connections. The heritage centre is open each Saturday morning 10 am – 12.30 pm or other times by arrangement. Groups are very welcome and can be organised by contacting Janet Clarke 5826 2363.
Examples of Trench Art
Murchison community has respectfully remembered those who left our shores to fight in World War 1. Sadly, many of these men and women made the supreme sacrifice and are remembered with honour as part of the ANZAC story.
Bert Kearney was Guest Speaker at the Annual General Meeting of the Historical Society last month and related the amazing adventures he had when touring the International Tennis Circuit. Born in Murchison he played tennis from an early age and rose to compete in Victorian and Queensland Championships, playing at Wimbledon by 1958 and touring extensively that season including playing in the US Open. In 1961 Bert competed in the Australian Open where he was defeated by Roy Emerson. Bert also played in the 1965 and 1968 Australian Open tournaments. Bert still has contact with many of the big names in Australian tennis but relates these connections very humbly.
Although Bert is now in his eighty’s he continues to run the family Stock and Station Agency in Murchison, a business that has been going for over 100 years.
Bert Kearney is a thoroughly enjoyable and humorous speaker.
The Executive Committee elected for the coming year are Kay Ball – President, Margaret Lock – Secretary, Lyndon Gregory – Treasurer, Committee – John Ball, Janet Clarke, Warwick Finlay, and Gloria Polkinghorne.
Kay Ball delivered the Presidents Report that highlighted a very busy time setting up the Heritage Centre again after renovations with a willing team putting in many many hours of time to create a most impressive display in the Gallery and arranging the rest of the building in a way that makes it all most functional. The Society is now able to offer visitors a more meaningful experience. Tribute was also paid to the support from local businesses, community members and from the Lions Club.
The Historical Society is looking towards a rewarding year ahead with visitor numbers already increased since the opening of the re-vamped building.
Regular opening time is Saturday mornings 10am to 12.30pm and visits at other times by arrangement, groups very welcome. For enquiries contact Kay Ball 5826 2518 or Lyndon Gregory 0438 528 542 and for group bookings Janet Clarke 5826 2363.
Bert Kearney as he is often seen – watching the passing parade outside his office in Stevenson Street.
The Murchison Heritage Centre at 4 Stevenson Street re-opened to the public each day over the Labour Day long weekend. A steady flow of visitors came to see the improved building and really enjoyed the new lay-out with fresh displays according to the enthusiastic remarks and comments written in the Visitors Book.
View of Gallery
Historical Society Members are finding they can offer a much better experience to visitors. The new extension blends well with the existing building and is very easy to work in.
Regular opening on Saturday mornings are again in place with a slightly changed time of 10am – 12.30pm. Entry is a gold coin donation, school children are free.
Groups are also welcome to the Heritage Centre which can include a town tour, just call Kay on 0477 674 747 to arrange a time.
Kay Ball, President
Murchison and District Historical Society Inc.
Day’s Mill display
After more than four years of planning, working with Greater Shepparton City Council and applying for grants, the extension to the Murchison Heritage Centre was officially re- opened on Friday 27th February. The Mayor of Greater Shepparton City Council Dennis Patterson and President of Murchison Historical Society Kay Ball, unveiled the plaque in the presence of City Councillors, Municipal Staff, present and past members of the Society and supporters in the Community.
The well wishers then moved to the front entrance where the ribbon was cut by Mayor Dennis Patterson and President Kay Ball. Everyone then viewed the new displays, followed by refreshments superbly catered by Longleat Winery.
The Heritage Centre will be open to the public on the long weekend Saturday 7th, Sunday 8th and Monday 9th March, 11am to 3pm. During Tomato Festa Sunday 15th March the Heritage Centre will be open 11 am – 5pm. Come and enjoy a great presentation of our local history. We are located at 4 Stevenson Street Murchison.
Mayor Dennis Patterson and President Kay Ball unveiling the plaque commemorating the re-opening of the Heritage Centre following completion of the extension.
Members of Murchison Historical Society were delighted when their nomination for an Australia Day award was successful. John Ball, tireless worker for the Society was named Murchison Citizen of the Year for 2015 at the Australia Day celebration held in perfect weather in the grounds of our local swimming pool. Attended by 450 people, the Australia Day Committee again did a marvellous job in providing an excellent event to celebrate and express resident’s appreciation of this wonderful country in which we live. Bruce Smith did a great job as MC and Australia Day Ambassador, Tony Murphy, Director Operations and Chief Fire Officer for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, was an inspiring Guest Speaker.
As well as being on the Executive Committee of the Historical Society John Ball has been the prime mover of the building project to extend the Heritage Centre. John also volunteers many hours for other organisations in the town. He is involved with Wybalena Retirement Village, Murchison Neighbourhood House, Men’s Shed, Murchison Community Care Business Development Committee, DPJones Nursing Home and Christ Church Murchison. Described as a ‘quiet achiever’ John demonstrates the ability to stay focussed, to ‘see the big picture’ and work towards improvement for the township, so a worthy recipient of this award.
To celebrate this achievement, John with family and friends, enjoyed a relaxed lunch at Longleat Winery in Murchison later that day. John is pictured with Historical Society members who over the years have also received an Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award – perhaps being a volunteer in Murchison is contagious?
L- R: Kay Ball, Gloria Polkinghorne, Don Polkinghorne, John Ball and Warwick Finlay – seated front on the left – Liz Ewart, front on the right – Anne Finlay, Maureen Gregory
The extension and improvements to the Heritage Centre in Murchison are now complete and we have officially passed our building inspection. There is some outside asphalting to be attended then the major works will be finished.
Members are now working on creating new displays, re-arranging the layout in the Gallery and generally setting up everything to be ready to function once again as a Resource Centre. The new facilities will mean we will be better able to cater for our visitors.
Furnishing our new meeting room is underway and the Lions Club of Murchison & District have generously supported us by a gift of funds that will cover the purchase of four new tables. The Lion’s Club work consistently fundraising for lots of projects both locally and further afield so it is heart-warming to have this sponsorship when there are other demands on their hard earned income. Lion’s Club President, Peter Elford presented the cheque to Historical Society members, President Kay Ball and Treasurer Lyndon Gregory at a recent meeting.
The Historical Society have obtained some excellent secondhand glass cabinets to assist in displaying artefacts more attractively and again we received great support locally from the Supa Valu store owners, Derek and Glenys Pearson who allowed us the use of their transporter to deliver the cabinets to the Heritage Centre. It was all hands on deck and took almost all day to achieve as the units are quite big, heavy and made of glass so needed some experienced and careful handling. We now look forward to setting them up to show off our historical items!
Hard to say when we will be open to the public again as there is much to do, but we are working towards late January or early February next year. We will advertise when the Grand Opening will be!
Every year on Remembrance Sunday in November, hundreds of relatives and friends gather in Murchison for a special ceremony to remember the 130 Italian Internees and Prisoners of War who died on Australian soil during the Second World War. Their remains are housed in the attractive Mediterranean style stone building known as the Ossario within the Murchison Cemetery.
This photo was taken on the 9th November in 2014 at the picnic gathering after the Commemoration of the Italian War Dead at the Murchison Ossario. These families are all internee descendants and friends who have been telling their stories to Mia Spizzica who is conducting her PhD studies on the Internees. Mia is interested in finding out more about the Internees and also the Ossario.
If you have a story about the Ossario or know of families who helped to build it please contact Kay Ball email: firstname.lastname@example.org at the Murchison Historical Society or Mia Spizzica via mobile: 0400 200 235 or email@example.com.
Among other visitors to the Ossario who laid wreathes, were the Vazzoler family pictured below.