Jun 27, 2013

Victorian Municipal Directory

The local history room at Sam Merrifield Library holds copies of The Victorian Municipal Directory and Gazetteer from 1882 to 1978. These compact little volumes hold a wonderful amount of useful and interesting information for anyone interested in family or local history. There is information about Victorian Boroughs and Shires including mayors and councillors along with the names of various officers including Town Clerks and Treasurers, Surveyors, Auditors, Valuers, Bankers,  Health Officers and the intriguingly named Inspector Nuisances.
The Directory for 1882 describes Essendon as "a village five miles north of Melbourne" where " fine views meet the eye in all directions and the neighbourhood is a remarkably healthy one induced in great measure by good draining and other natural advantages"

The back of the volumes contain an Almanac. Along with a detailed calendar,  weather details and observations, the almanac provides advice on a number of diverse subjects, including making a will, health care and law.
These great little volumes are well worth exploring.

Jun 17, 2013

Public Records Office Victoria

The Public Records Office Victoria holds a range of free tours and information sessions. The one hour guided tours offer participants the opportunity to venture into the repository and see some of the 90 kilometres of records.

Bookings are essential.
Visit PROV
or phone on 9348 5609 Monday to Friday 10am-4.30pm

Jun 13, 2013

From our Archives

On the 9th  May 1901, Melbourne played host to the opening of the first Australian Commonwealth Parliament by the Duke of Cornwall and York, later to be King George V.
The ceremony took place at the Exhibition Building and was witnessed by 12000 invited guests.
A week of celebrations and festivities in Melbourne accompanied the opening of Parliament and included firework displays, sporting events and dinners. Federation arches were built in city streets and key buildings such as the Exhibition Building, were illuminated at night.
The library has an original program detailing the events surrounding the opening along with invitations to various events celebrating the occasion.
These items are held in the archive collection and can be viewed by arrangement with library staff.

Jun 6, 2013

From the Essendon Gazette

IN June  1932 the Essendon Gazette had an interesting article on the history of the Travancore estate up to that date.
In the 1840’s the land on which Travancore mansion once stood was part of the sheep run owned by James Watson, one of Victoria’s early squatters. In 1852 an area of this land was sold to Hugh Glass, who transformed the property with extensive landscaping and the construction of an elaborate mansion. The gardens contained a number of glasshouses, hothouses, arbours and aviaries.  A number of Australian trees and shrubs were planted together with imported varieties.  Glass experimented with a number of experimental garden plots, growing amongst other things, tea, coffee, sugarcane, bananas and rice. The grounds were also home to a variety of animals including kangaroos, ostriches, goats, llamas and camels. Camels from the estate were used in the relief expedition for Burke and Wills.

In 1865, Hugh Glass was forced to economise after a number of financial losses.  After the death of Glass in 1870, trustees eventually sold the mansion to Henry Madden. Madden subdivided some of the land, but retained ownership of the mansion until 1922.
In 1926 the mansion was purchased by the Victorian Government and the 1932 article notes that it was soon to be used as a training school.

From the Essendon Gazette, Thursday 16th June, 1932
You can read the full article on microfilm in the Sam Merrifield Library.