May 25, 2013

Thursday Talks

In June the Genealogical Society of Victoria will be offering the following lunch time talks.
June 6th
Discovering Richmond's history
David Langton
June 13th
Researching in England
Joan Hunt
June 20th
Red Cross records pertaining to WWI soldiers
Lorraine Phelan
June 27th
Do you have a Tailoress in your family?
Lenore Frost
GSV members free, non-members $8.00
Time 12.30 - 1.30pm
Level B1, 257 Collins St,
PH 9662 4455

May 14, 2013

From our Archives

 In May, Niddrie, Avondale Heights and Sam Merrifield Libraries will hold displays of building plans and blueprints from the Coutts Family Collection held in the archive at Sam Merrifield Library.

The Coutts family were prominent builders in the  Moonee Valley area in the first half of the twentieth century. Many of the homes that they built still stand today and include examples of unique and unusual design.
The history of the Coutts family of builders starts with John and Esther Coutts and their son William Earnest (W.E) Coutts who was born in 1887.  The family moved to Morphett St, Ascot Vale in 1891.  John Coutts established himself as a builder in the local area.  Advertisements from The Essendon Gazette in 1914 show that houses were built on deposit and rent purchase terms.

John Coutts died in 1926 and Esther remained in Ascot Vale till her death in 1946.
William Coutts followed in his father’s footsteps, building over 30 houses in the Moonee Valley area between 1918 and 1938. 
In 1921 William married Ivy Victoria Hicks, the daughter of Daniel Hicks who had established the Riverview Tea Gardens on the Maribyrnong River in Avondale Heights in 1911.  The couple lived in  Ascot Vale, before  moving out of the area to Caulfield.
William plied his trade as builder and carpenter till his death in 1977 at the age of 90.  His wife died in 1981.

Information regarding the Coutts Family was supplied by Alex Bragiola and the Essendon Historical Society. The Essendon Historical Society holds a number of house plans for buildings by W.E. Coutts from 1909- 1948.

Moonee Valley Libraries archive holds a number of ledgers, casebooks, letters, illustrations and house plans from William Coutts. The collection provides an important insight into the building styles, practices and prices common to the local area in the first half of the twentieth century.

May 1, 2013

Emerald Street Community Centre

Anyone traveling along Hoffmans Road in Essendon cannot have failed to notice the unique triangular shaped building that sits proudly on stilts in the Emerald Street Park. The Emerald Street Community Centre was  erected in 1963 as an infant welfare centre, and was designed by Garnet Price, the Shire Engineer and Building Surveyor to the Shire (later City) of Keilor. The visually striking steel substructure was designed to provide adequate and stable foundations on land that had originally been a creek bed.

The building was used for its original purpose as an infant welfare centre until the mid 1980's when the birth rate in the area dropped. The building was subsequently converted into a community centre for meetings, education and other community functions. It is a striking example of modern architecture,  visible and interesting from all angles.

If you would like further information on this historically significant site, Victorian Heritage Database provides an interesting overview.