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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tharle Butchers, Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, undated

The Tharle family and the Journal have been intertwined throughout their time in Dandenong. Both arrived 150 years ago and Dandenong and District Historical Society member Rodney Edwin Tharle remains a regular reader today. His great grandfather, Barton Barnaby Tharle and his wife Louisa Jane Bradley migrated to Australia shortly after they wed on the Isle of White in 1863.

They settled on land on Dandenong-Frankston Road, Dandenong, in early 1864 and later moved to McCrae Street. They had nine children, including Barton Barnaby junior, who became a farmer and auctioneer. He in turn had seven children with wife Emily Jane Hunt and ran slaughter yards in Power Road, Doveton, and a butcher’s business in Dandenong.

In 1919 they brought their home in Macpherson Street from Jeffrey Macpherson. It had housed the private Dandenong Grammar School, which Mr Macpherson ran. Their eldest child, Barton, known as Bart, married Alva Sayers who played with the Dandenong Croquet Club for 40 years.

Bart started in the meat trade at the age of 14 and with brothers Frank and Victor (Vic), ran a butchery business in Foster Street after their father and uncles sold their butcher’s business in Lonsdale Street. When Frank and Vic decided to leave the business, Bart carried on and at one stage operated four shops.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, 1954/1955

Taken from the the Clock tower of the former Town Hall, looking up Lonsdale Street towards the Clow Street intersection. Many of these buildings are no longer part of the scenery in Dandenong's CBD.

Well before the streets of Dandenong became synonymous with the sounds of bellowing cattle, cracking whips and barking dogs, the district was alive with an enviable mixture of natural resources. Red gums and She oaks, flowing water, rich soil for agriculture and the great potential for dairy farming. This together with its proximity to Melbourne, helped define the tiny township’s support role in serving to build booming Melbourne.

Although first settled in the 1840’s, it wasn’t until the 1850’s that the signs of organized industry began to emerge as dray load after dray load of felled red gums made their way to Melbourne, with much needed timber to establish wharves, timber street pavers and railway lines.

Supporting this industry was a small labour force who, along with a handful of bold settlers, they laid the foundations of the bustling town that continues 158 years later to draw people, business and industry into it boarders.

Dandenong’s proximity to Gippsland also meant that it soon became known as “The Gateway to Gippsland” as it was perfectly placed with road, and later, railway links to Gippslands' own network of, once considered, inexhaustible natural resources.

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Aerial, part of Dandenong South, May 4th 1994

Down in the lower centre-right can be seen the original alignment of the South Gippsland Highway heading straight towards the Freeway, as new alignment turns south. The origonal aligment obviously serves as an access road to a dwelling, present at time of shot. 

The last section of South Gippsland Freeway, now occupying the old Highway path until, they converge just outside of this aerials' scope. Back in the early days of the Highway, the section between Dandenong and Cranbourne was known as Cranbourne road, a simpe dirt track plagued by errosion and flooding conveyed those few between the two towns.
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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Merlin House, Corner Langhorne and Wilson streets, Dandenong, undated

Merlin was built for Miss Matilda Louisa Shaw in 1884 as a residence and private school. Born in Derbyshire, Shaw was 16 when she arrived at Port Phillip in June 1857 with her father John Frederick Shaw, mother Jane 35 and her brothers and sisters. It is believed that Matilda was employed as a governess to the Keys family at Keysborough before she ventured into the business of setting up her own school in 1869.

Shaw rented the newly constructed building at 51 Langhorne Street known as Laurel Lodge, the house was named by either Miss Shaw or its builder and owner, Robert Huckson. Miss Shaw’s curriculum aimed to cultivate young ladies accomplished in the ‘gentle arts’ of English, French, German, music, singing, drawing, painting, and needlework. The small school was one of many such private establishments to flourish in the colony during this period.

The Dandenong township began to grow and the little school thrived. In 1880, Miss Shaw purchased a property on the corner of Langhorne and Wilson Streets, from W. H. Jones who had owned the block since 1856. Some time during her rental of Laurel Lodge, ownership of the building transferred to James Lecky, who died in 1884.This event seems to have triggered some changes for Shaw, as that same year she had a new house built further down the street on her land on the corner of Wilson Street.

Upon its completion she transferred her school there, naming the house Merlin. In November of that year she placed an advertisement for ‘a good plain cook and laundress able to milk, wages 12/-’, indicating that she must have kept at least one cow on the property. Matilda conducted her school until 1889, when she was about 50 years old.

That year she married Mr James Facey, they resided at Merlin until Matilda died at the age of 72, on 4 October 1912. She is buried in the Dandenong Cemetery, in the same grave as an unknown identity, Susan Adams, who was interred there 30 years previously at the age of 75. Nearby lies her brother, Henry Sanders Shaw, who died in 1923.

One of her pupils was the celebrated actor, Mr Oscar Asche. In the early 1870’s as Miss Matilda Shaw kept the Ladies Seminar, ‘Laurel Lodge’, next to the Church of England, and was in charge of some 20 lady boarders. Later Miss Shaw gave up the school and sold the property (she did not own the property), An ardent supporter of St James Church of England and Sunday School.

A son from James Facey’s previous marriage came to look after him, when, blindness in his latter years confined him to the top floor of Merlin. He died in 1914. A blacksmith by trade, he had initially come to the district in the mid-1860s, buying the Springhurst property at Cranbourne.

By 1917, Merlin was a private hospital operating under the supervision of Sister (Miss) M. A. Ahern. The Ahern family were district pioneers, with Daniel Ahern farming land on the fringe of the Dandenong township. Sister Ahern, of Merlin Private Hospital died in May 1944, and her grave can be found in the Catholic section of the Dandenong Cemetery.

The house ceased functioning as a hospital in the 1940s and was subsequently converted into apartments. Undergoing renovations in 1970s, and in the early 1990s, then in 1998 it was sold. "The Age" 7th March 1998, Real Estate section advertised it for sale as Merlin House, built in 1884, covering 42 squares, with 4 bedrooms and ‘lovingly restored’ in 1991.

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Woolworths, McCrae Street, Dandenong, Late 1970s/Early 1980s.

Woolworths association with Dandenong started on 8th February 1940, When they opened their original store in Lonsdale street to the jubilance of the local community. With the advent of Supermarket sized stores, Woolworths built this store opposite the Market on the corner of McCrae and Clow streets in the late 1960s.

Originally opened with a Cafe/Diner, which was still operating in the early 1970s, (unsure of when it was removed), sadly by closure the Cafe/Diner had almost been lost even to memory. Mr A.R. fondly remembers it being on the left hand side of the pictured store.

With the acquisition of Safeway by Woolworths, the old Safeway store, up on the corner of Foster and McCrae streets, was demolished. A new Safeway store was incorporated into the new Capital Centre in 1989 on the same site. The Capital Centre was transformed into the Dandenong Plaza with the extension to Myers in 1995. Around 1990 the pictured Woolworths store was demolished, and remains a Council owned carpark.

On November 2nd 1974 Myers opened their new store in Dandenong, ushering in a new age of retail investment in Dandenong and moving the focus from Lonsdale Street. Myers was joined to the Capital Centre on the opposite side of Walker street in 1995, creating the Dandenong Plaza. In the 1980s the small area in front of the Myers carpark was developed into the Dandenong Mall, which was then demolished with the Plaza development.

The original Londsdale street location of Woolworths closed in the mid 1980's and was divided into two shops. The Neighbouring Coles store lasted into the early 1990's before it too saw closure. Chemist Warehouse now occupies this site, with some original flooring and roofing still visible, the rear entry ramp passing what was the Coles Cafe still remains in use by Chemist Warehouse.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, around 1952/1953

In February 1852 the township of Dandenong was proclaimed and this was followed up by survey and land sale, with land sales being announced in 1852 also. The 1854 census reported the population of the township of Dandenong as 48. In the 1857 census the population was 59, this included 37 males and 22 females.

On 6 February 1857 the Dandenong Road District was proclaimed and the Government approved funds to construct a road from Melbourne to Sale in 1858. On 13 February 1858, the first Court of Petty Sessions met in the newly-opened Bridge Hotel .

According to the 1861 census, the population of Dandenong was 193 and there were 40 houses. By 1865, the Victorian Gazetteer was reporting the population of the town as 250 and the number of dwellings as 50. It is worth noting that by that time Dandenong was being described as a ‘town’. It had a police station, courthouse and two hotels.

In 1871, the population of the Dandenong Road District was reported to be 864 persons - 447 males and 417 females. Within this district, the township of Dandenong was the only major centre of population with 57 dwellings and 311 people 164 males and 147 females.

Springvale was a tiny settlement of six dwellings, just beyond the then municipal boundary, with a population of 27 people - 12 males and 15 females. However, there were more residents dispersed around the surrounding area. There were enough children in both Dandenong and Springvale for at least two government-supported schools to be operating .

On 16 May 1873, the Shire of Dandenong was proclaimed, with a territory of 59 square miles and 273 ratepayers. As with the Road District Board, its responsibilities included constructing and maintaining roads. Within its jurisdiction were three toll gates, on the main roads, which brought in some revenue. It was also responsible for issuing licences to hotel-keepers.

The council met monthly, in a room within the Dandenong Mechanics Institute, on the Walker Street and Lonsdale Street corner, as it had no shire hall or council chamber of its own. Its shire secretary over many years was John Keys. The shire council took on numerous additional responsibilities.

In 1873, it accepted responsibility for the Dandenong Market, previously administered by commissioners appointed in 1866. Also in the 1870s it became involved in the drainage schemes for the Carrum Swamp, this being a heavy load on its finances. Both the Dandenong and Springvale centres benefited from the coming of the railway..

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Dandenong House Hotel, 50 Foster Street, Dandenong, 1911/1912

One notable historical inclusion to Dandenongs history came in 1911 when the Dandenong House, a majestic 40 room guest house with dining room, ground floor tea rooms and an underground kitchen, first opened on Foster Street near the station. The growing need for over night accommodation became obvious with the population swell brought on by market day.

James Fenton Andrews built on this site, incorrectly believing that the new cattle market would be directly across Foster Street, a large section on the corner of Foster, Thomas & Mason Streets, was earmarked as a Cattle yard reserve and this was incorrectly tipped to be the site of the new cattle market. It often housed livestock overnight, that arrived by rail, on its way to market the following morning. This section also remained relatively undeveloped along with the portion up to Walker St that together, became the site of the earliest Dandenong Agricultural Show grounds from 1872.

Unfortunately the building was destroyed by a fire in 1977. A portion of the land, now part of the station car park, at the rear of this property was sold in 1907 to enable the railways to dig a large trench and create a turn pike for railway engines to be turned around to point back toward Melbourne, They also included sheds to store the engines overnight. The turntable would later be replaced by the Southern Aurora hotel which would be replaced by the station carpark.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lonsdale Street, Dandenong in 1915

In this view towards the west side of the street a few of the businesses, some now lost even to memories, still grace the country town which Dandenong was at the time, with around 2000 residents, the community was close knit.

In this view can been seen Caffin & Caffin, the old Cash Store, the traditional tobacconist, one of the earliest newsagents and the now forgotten grain store.

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London Stores, Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, 6th October 1960.

Before the introduction of the Shopping Centre concept shopping strips were filled with Department Stores, London Stores was one of these, selling an assortment of menswear and apparel. Further along stood the future location of Coles in Lonsdale street. 

Visible on the left side is Crooks self servuce store, before the arrival of Coles and Woolworths, stores like Crooks filled the needs of those looking for convenience, having the option to select your own items, sadly Crooks failed to modernize enough, resulting in it's failure to gain new customers.

London Stores was later taken over by Roger David. With London Stores locations being re-branded for a short oeriod as London Stores - Roger David, before being re-branded again as Roger Davids stores. In the 1980s Speed Shoes occupied the building, which still remains today, having had it's wooden floor replaced with cement recently.

On the left was Pattersons, with access from Lonsdale to Thomas streets. This building has also survived with relatively little change, presently occupied by a local Butcher forgotten by most.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Peace Memorial Bridge, Princes Hwy, Dandenong, in 1925.

The old stone bridge was replaced in 1919 by this simple bridge, with concrete deck, known as the ‘Peace Memorial Bridge’. Once described as ‘one of the best bridges in Victoria. With the park facing wall removed, the bridge still carries a portion of the Princes Highway over the Dandenong Creek on the railway side. 

Over the years ‘the rapids of Dandenong’, so described once by the poet Adam Lindsay Gordon, have swept away more than one bridge in the area. The first bridge over Dandenong Creek was constructed in 1840. A flood swept this away ten years later and it was replaced.

The stone bridge, built in 1866, probably by Robert Huckson, lasted 52 years. Part of it was granite, quarried locally from the vicinity of Wedge and Power Streets. The integrity was undermined by repeated floods, rendering the bridge unsafe for use.

Some of the stones that can be seen in this picture are actually remnants from it's predecessor, as they had scattered a lot of them along the creek to build it up after the erosion damage that had been caused by previous flooding.

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Dandenong West Primary (State) School, Early 1930's

To relieve the congestion at State School 1403, due to the rapid expansion of the town, it was decided to urge upon the Education Department the necessity for the erection of a new school in the western portion of the town. The movement was taken up by the local Improvement Association (President, Cr. E.C. Butler; Secretary, Mr. A.Branston), and as a result, in 1924 and 1925 an area of 3 acres 27 perches was purchased at a cost of £1105.

On this block in 1925, a very commodious and up-to-date brick building, consisting of eight classrooms, a teachers’ room and an office, was erected. The official opening, on August 26th 1925, was performed by the then Minister of Education, Sir Alexander Peacock, and the foundation stone was laid by the Hon. F.Groves, M.L.A.

The first head teacher was Mr. James. Hillard, who had been promoted from Head Teacher at Noble Park and who still held the position in the 1930s. At the opening of the school the attendance was 220. By the early 1930s the attendance rate was nearly 400, this was nearly double the students that the school had at the time of opening.

Near the end of 1954, Mr. Ron Macdonald was appointed Head Master. He came to a school which had 569 students in 12 classrooms, despite the transfer of 71 students in 1956, school numbers continued to rise. By 1957 there was 609 students, with classes being run in the local St Luke's Hall and within the corridors. Attendance continued to rise, with a peak of 771 in 1968 and a total of 23 classrooms.

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, April 1978

Looking North-West up Lonsdale Street from near the Walker street intersection. Woolworths and Coles still occupied their original stores. Both stores still remain though with modifications. The former woolworths building having seen the most changes.

Coles combined their old store (left half of what is now Chemist Warehouse) with the former London Stores building (right half of Chemist Warehouse) forming the the store seen here, some of the former roofing/lighting and flooring is still in public view offerinh a reminder of the past.

On the right side of this photo, at the intersection of Scott and Lonsdale streets, the former Pub Pub (formerly Club Hotel) stands proudly facing the former Australasian Bank, having been built in March 1933, the building was later demolished for the present single story replacement.

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