Aug 19, 2014

The War that Changed Us

If you're interested in how the First World War affected Australia don't miss the ABC's new documentary, The War that Changed Us, tonight. It will be looking at the war experiences of 6 Australians (3 men and 3 women) who had very different experiences of the war.

One of the people they will be focusing on is Lieutenant Colonel Harold Elliott, better known as "Pompey" Elliott, who reached the rank of Brigadier General. This should be fascinating because Elliott had an outstanding but often controversial life and career. Although he was originally from Ballarat, and never lived in Essendon, as commander of the "Essendon Rifles" before the war, and leader of the Battalion that included the Company recruiting from the Essendon area at the start of the war he had very strong ties to this area. Which is why we've also chosen to feature Elliott in our event Essendon 1914: local impact of WWI this Saturday, which will look at how World War I affected the area that is now Moonee Valley.

Pompey Elliott

To book for Essendon 1914, call 8325 1950, or book online: at


Aug 17, 2014

Moonee Valley Libraries' Family History Group is up and running...

The first meeting of our new Family History Group, on Tuesday afternoon, was attended by 30 participants. The group decided on an ongoing meeting time of Tuesdays 1-3pm. These drop-in sessions will be held every week at Sam Merrifield Library, with no need for bookings. Each week the group will focus on a pre-determined topic for the first hour, and the second hour will be open for free discussion, chat and/or research.

The discussion topics for the first 4 weeks are as follows:

    Week 1 (19 Aug): Show and tell: family heirlooms/quick stories
    Week 2 (26 Aug): Library resources for family history
    Week 3 (2 Sep): Dealing with brick walls in your research. What obstacles have you hit in your research? What tips do you have on overcoming “brick walls”?
    Week 4 (11 Sep): Tools for keeping track of your research. What tool/s do you use to record your research? Can be software/online or other methods (files/notebooks/other)? What are your tips, tricks or recommendations?

Aug 15, 2014

Essendon 1914: local impact of WWI

For the last few weeks both Jennie and I have been doing lots of reading and researching about the war and how it impacted on the local community. The stories we've uncovered have been fascinating. Volunteer soldiers from this area were involved in some remarkable, often tragic and harrowing, exploits - and we both feel that these are stories of great local relevance that deserve to be better known by the community. This is why we're holding a special event at Sam Merrifield Library, Essendon 1914: local impact of WWI.

This event is happening on Saturday 23rd August from 2pm until 4pm, and will involve special guests Ross McMullin (author of Pompey Elliott and Farewell Dear People) and local historian and life member of the Essendon Historical Society, Lenore Frost (author of Bandsman Vosti and many other titles). Ross and Lenore will join library staff in a discussion about how local people contributed to the Great War, and how this conflict affected the local area. Each of the panellists will also look at the war experiences of a particular individual with a local connection: Ross McMullin will focus on one of Australia's greatest commanders, Pompey Elliott; Lenore Frost will look at Les Vosti a volunteer from Ascot Vale who served as a stretcher bearer and bandsman on the Western Front; and Jennie will focus on Alfred Shurey a Saddler Seargeant who also served on the Western Front.

A small ensemble from Moonee Valley Brass will also perform songs from the era.

This event is free, but bookings are required. Call 8325 1950 or book online.

Pompey Elliott

Les Vosti

Alfred Shurey


Aug 11, 2014

Family History Afternoon - tomorrow!

Don't forget that tomorrow we have a big afternoon of family history planned at Sam Merrifield Library.

It begins with a presentation on researching Scottish Family History from 2-3pm, and will continue with the launch of our new Family History Group from 3-5pm.

Find out more and book your places by calling us on 8325 1950 or online at:

Hope to see you there,

Aug 4, 2014

5000 Poppies at the Library

Today it is one hundred years since the First World War began. At Moonee Valley Libraries we've become involved in the 5000 poppies project, which is a way that Victorians can commemorate the contributions that Australians have made to not only WWI but also other conflicts by crafting poppies. You can dedicate a poppy to a particular individual if you want. The picture below shows just some of the poppies that have been made so far that are on display at Sam Merrifield Library.

If you want to learn more about the 5000 poppies event come along to one of the special events, at either Sam Merrifield Library (Moonee Ponds) or Niddrie Library, at which one of the founders of the project, Lynn Berry, will talk about the project and demonstrate how to make a poppy. The workshop at Sam Merrifield is this Wednesday, 6 August, from 2pm, and the Niddrie workshop at 11am on Wednesday 13 August. The events are free but it is best to book call 8325 1950 for Sam Merrifield or 8325 1925 for Niddrie, or book online:

We will also be hosting an event all about how the First World War affected our local area. I'll post more detail about that soon... but bookings are open (call 8325 1950 or book online: