Greater Shepparton City Council, in association with the Greater Shepparton Heritage Advisory Committee, presented the Biennial Greater Shepparton Cultural Heritage Awards in the Classic Room at Goulburn Valley Hotel on Saturday, 1st May.
In addition, Wayne and Rachel Backway won the award for “Maintenance of a Heritage Place” for their former home, “Ravenscraig”, in Stevenson Street, Murchison.
Murchison and District Historical Society were the proud recipients of two of the Awards presented by Mayor Cr Kim O’Keeffe, the first being the “Community, Multicultural and Indigenous Event and Tourism” Award for the Rock on Murchison event held in September 2019, and the second being the “Other Contribution” Award for the Murchison and District Historical Society Website.
The awards recognise outstanding contributions to cultural heritage conservation, research, education, promotion, interpretation, training and awareness-raising within the Municipality.
Parks Victoria also won an Award for restoration works undertaken at Day’s Mill, Murchison South.
Every second year, these Awards are presented to groups and individuals who have contributed to the preservation and promotion of our local Heritage. Sponsored by City of Greater Shepparton, the Awards acknowledge the efforts of those who are passionate about the history of our local region by staging events, writing books, installing interpretive panels, restoration and maintenance of heritage buildings, youth projects and contributions that raise awareness of local heritage in other ways.
All are welcome to attend the Biennial Greater Shepparton Cultural Heritage Awards 2021 to be held at 2pm on Saturday, 1 May 2021 at the Classic Room of the GV Hotel at 223 High Street, Shepparton. If you wish to attend the event, you are encouraged to RSVP before Thursday, 29 April: firstname.lastname@example.org or ‘phone (03) 5832 9730
Guest Speaker will be Geoff Allemand from Lost Shepparton who has a wealth of knowledge of things historical! Geoff has initiated many programs that have resulted in successful outcomes.
Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society
Anyone undertaking family history, or for that matter any research will know the value of using TROVE – the “digitised newspapers are a great way to search for information about your family. They contain notices for births, deaths and marriages, mission and reserve activities, as well as occasional articles and photos” available via any search engine from the comfort of your own computer. Major newspapers produced in larger towns are available but unfortunately our local newspapers – Murchison Advertiser & Rushworth Chronicle only have copies 1914 – 1918 on the TROVE system. These were made available in recognition of people researching the first World War years.
There will be plenty of opportunity to pop into the Heritage Centre over Easter as we will be expanding our opening hours. We will be closed Good Friday but open from 10am to 4pm Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
We are featuring a new display entitled The Four Lives of Dhurringile Estate in the temporary exhibit area. Dhurringile Mansion and surrounding farm land has seen very different uses over the past 145 years, each phase of great contrast to the next.
Murchison’s history is uniquely diverse and of importance not only locally but at state level, nationally and internationally. Some very significant events happened here. So, call in over Easter and our members will be pleased to show you around. We have lots of local history books available too.
Entry is a gold coin donation and no charge for school children.
The 36th Annual General Meeting was held on 9th March and we had a good roll up probably attracted by our Guest Speaker and he didn’t disappoint!
Our business meeting was processed smartly with Helen Newton conducting the election of office bearers. We warmly welcomed new member Rob Jones to our Committee and the rest of the Executive Committee for the coming year stands as it was last year: President – Kay Ball, Vice President – Warwick Gregory, Secretary – Marg Lock, Treasurer – Bec Hutchinson-White, Committee – Janet Clarke, John Ball and Rob Cornelious.
The Annual Report described a very different year, with activities cancelled, and Heritage Centre closed – an enormous contrast to 2019 with all the busy-ness of celebrating MM50, the 50th anniversary of the fall of the Murchison meteorite. How fortunate that the meteorite fell in 1969 and not 1970 which would have meant cancellation in 2020 and huge disappointment after years of planning.
The Society received a Commendation from the 2020 Community History Awards for the successful MM50. We were able to provide both information from our archives and local knowledge in regard to the successful listing of the Ossario on the Victorian Heritage Register – a significant achievement. Contacts about family research were dealt with via ‘phone and emails, interestingly this was a few more than last year as many people said they had the time to get back to working on the family history and cleaning out cupboards and sheds due to the Pandemic! So not all bad news! Website contacts were consistent averaging about 12 a day, and since the site was setup in 2011, we are approaching 44,000 contacts – an important tool for promotion of our local history. We welcomed several new members in recent months and we look forward to them joining in the promotion of our amazing history.
This year we lost one of our long-term members and wonderful contributors, Donald Polkinghorne. Don died in October 2020. He was a mine of information and such a great resource to call on when visitors came asking questions. We miss him and his friendly face and are so thankful for the huge assistance he gave over many years.
Despite the restrictions placed on the Society due to the Pandemic work continued behind the scenes. We managed to keep afloat financially over 2020 thanks to support from Greater Shepparton City Council and faithful members. We have several projects in the pipeline and look forward to continuing the pleasure of sharing our local history story.
Our Guest Speaker was Greg James, the first Indigenous Councillor to be elected to Greater Shepparton City Council.
Greg entertained us with his story of travelling to the UK in 1988 with the Commemorative Indigenous Cricket Team. What an amazing experience he described!
A heavy cloud burst just as proceedings got underway, could not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd or the organisers of the Australia Day ceremony at the Murchison Swimming Pool this year. The Organising Committee quickly stepped up to arrange cover for the guests and an umbrella for Bec Hance as she entertained with true Aussie melodies and then a stirring rendition of the National Anthem.
Natasha Puts lead the reading of Affirmation statement with the crowd joining in.
Councillor Seema Abdullah represented the city of Greater Shepparton and spoke from the heart of the importance of community and working together to succeed and rise above any challenges we face.
Our Guest speaker was Donna Maslin, who grew up in Murchison and has now retired here after an amazing career in the Australian Federal Police that has taken her and husband Paul, also in the AFP, across the globe and to all parts of Australia, working to ensure our safety from major crime. Listening to this summary of the breadth of service in their working life, one couldn’t help but be impressed by the contribution made to the welfare of Australians by this couple. An excellent address Donna!
It was great to have two Junior speakers, Georgia Lamb and Christopher Brown.
Bruce Smith was announced Citizen of the Year and as our MC, was totally surprised by the award. Bruce is a thoroughly deserving winner with his calm, selfless attitude and capable ability in so many situations. He has helped nearly every organisation in the town in some way and many individual people in the community with such willingness and ability to see what needs to be done.
Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to Bree McLarty for her clever and creative initiative of “Spoonville” introducing much fun and diversion across the state during lockdown.
Winner of the Photography Competition was Alan Rosser and the Christmas Lights prize went to the Appleton family.
The images entered in the Photography Competition were all a delight to see and the essay writing and colouring competitions by the school children were very well done. The annual duck race had to be cancelled due to Corona virus restrictions but the usual free breakfast including fresh local fruit and orange juice was well received. A special treat this year was the presence of a coffee cart providing cappuccino and other styles of coffee.
As usual, the organising Australia Day Committee did a great job providing an occasion when we can all celebrate being an Australian in this great county.
Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society.
Alan McLean has produced 5 books about our region based on the early newspapers that date from 1869. His latest book is titled A Colourful Chronicle of Challenges, from gold rush to land rush in Waranga Shire, 1870 – 1880.
As Murchison was part of Waranga Shire at this time, many notable people and events transcribed from these papers relate to our local district. Alan has grouped together topics of the same theme, and the colourful language as written in the papers of the day is often very punchy and amusing, and at times, quite blunt. These newspaper accounts describe the behaviour of the people living here (often unruly!), and paint a clear picture of circumstances and situations that challenged our early settlers.
The book has 258 pages and includes images, many in colour, to support the stories. Copies can be obtained at Murchison Heritage Centre (now open Saturday mornings from 10am – 12.30pm) for $25.
If wishing for a copy to be mailed, simply order by telephoning: 0475 018 74 (leave a message) or email: murchison-historical-society@hotmaildotcom (change dot to .) Postage cost will depend on destination. A copy is available in the Murchison Historical Society library for members, compliments of Alan McLean.
Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society
Filed away in the Heritage Centre are many documents, photographs and items of historical interest and one little treasure is the minute book of the Dhurringile Rural Training Farm Auxiliary Murchison.
Dhurringile Mansion, a substantial and imposing building of 68 rooms built in 1877 by the Winter family, is located half-way between Murchison and Tatura. The property is currently a low-security Prison but its earlier history was that of a Rural Training Farm. Young boys, mostly orphans, were brought from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland after the second world war under a scheme administered by the Presbyterian Church and accommodated in the mansion. The concept of the project was to train boys in agricultural skills on the land surrounding the mansion, and for them to eventually settle in the local farming district. Officially opened in 1951, approximately 100 boys participated in the scheme until it closed at the end of 1964 due to lack of interested candidates.
The ladies of the Murchison Presbyterian Church formed an Auxiliary to support the boys and over the years the Rural Training Farm operated, worked tirelessly fundraising to buy shoes and clothing, furnishings for their rooms, and to provide presents for the boy’s birthdays and at Christmas time. All this and entertainment in the form of concerts and parties was provided in the effort to make life in an institutional setting more homely.
Hand-written in neat script inside a simple school exercise book, the minutes of the meetings are recorded without any flourish or fanfare, and provide an insight into the loving care and concern they had for the young boys. The initiatives of these ladies were very generous and varied, and must have required much time and effort on top of helping to run family farms, businesses and raise their own families. Some of the projects undertaken required reasonably large sums of money, such as purchasing football boots and running shoes for all the boys. The final report written in the minute book conveys genuine attachment by the women to these boys and a real desire for them to do well and find a meaningful pathway in their life’s journey. Some of the ladies remained part of the group for all the 13 years it was functioning.
The picture painted by the words in this little book is truly heart-warming.
The efforts of these Murchison women were appreciated by many of the young boys and some kept in touch for years after they had moved on to employment situations, were married and raising their own family both locally and in Melbourne.
Kay Ball, President, Murchison & District Historical Society Inc.