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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, 1937

A view looking up Lonsdale Street in 1937, looking towards where it intersects with Scott street, There were a few interesting shops in this section, one remembered more than others by locals who would frequent it for a tasty bite, or one of the lesser mentioned services, Can you name it?

Bellow is an excerpt from Reminiscences of the early days of Dandenong published in the Journal during the 1930s.

From about 1S58 coaches were the main link between Melbourne and
Dandenong, prior to the railway opening, coach was the method
cf travelling. There were many vehicles eventually on the road, in fact
each hotel ran a line at one time in the very early days. One connected with "Dunbar’s” Hotel, another with the “Bridge,” and so on. Dave
Bowden drove one coach, Thomas Dallimore another, and “Old George” drove for Cobb & Co.

There were coaches running from Dandenong to Cranbourne and the Bass; others to Berwick, and so on. These latter ran after the main road was made, as before that time horsemen carried the mail, the driving of a trap being an impossibility. Tom Murray, Tom McMahon, and other drivers, drove coaches, but they did not properly come within the range of the early-day drivers.

In 185S Messrs. Cobb & Co. built stables and offices at the corner of
the main and Pultney streets, and the large underground tank still remained in 1930 as a memento of the old coaching days. When Mr. Peter Evans bought the building, which he converted into a boot-making shop, it was often remarked upon why such a small establishment required such a large tank, but those who inquired were not aware that that large tank was not more than sufficiently large to water a big string of horses required for the coaches.

The coach from Dandenong to Bass ran three times weekly. Its original driver was George Wright ("Old George.”) He was followed by J. Moorehouse, after whom came W. Smiley, and the last driver of that line was Charlie Wilson. In 1S73 Cobb & Co’s coach left the Albion Hotel, Bourke street, for Dandenong, the fare each way being four shillings. Mrs. Dunbar ran a line cf coaches between Melbourne and Brandy Creek, and also between Melbourne and Tooradin, in 1876,

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Aerial shot of Sandown Park, 1945-2010s

The area to the north side of the railway line was owned by William C. Cullen, a Brighton publican who had used the area for horse races from December 1888. He was encouraged by horse racing enthusiasts to lay out a saddling paddock and grandstand enclosure as planting flower beds and trees.

He called it Oakleigh Park. In 1888 tenders were called by Richard Speight for the construction of a wooden grandstand called Springvale Racecourse but this has since been demolished. The total racecourse area was 134 acres with the remaining acreage left for grazing.

In 1891 the course was leased to Samuel Willis, David Boyd and Charles Heape, who ran the Victorian Trotting Club, for the cost of £20,000. This course was to be used as their meeting place after their lease at Elsternwick Park had expired. They renamed it Sandown Park, after the fashionable racecourse adjoining the railway station of Esher, about 15 miles south west of London, in Surrey England. They retained the lease of the course until 1932.

The Sandown course consisted of a racing course of almost 12 furlongs and a steeplechase course of almost two miles. The spectators watched from two stands tiered in ramps; one could hold 500 and the other 2000 people.

In the late 1920s, the Select Committee investigating Victoria’s races and racecourses decided that privately run clubs run for profits should be closed. Sandown Park had been managed by Michael Patrick Considine since 1895 and the children of the late Henry Skinner for a 20% profit. In April 1929, the owners thought they should try to sell the course but it was passed in at £65,000 and they decided to lease the site for grazing. Sandown closed in May 1931.

In 1934 the Springvale and District Coursing Club was encouraged by a few locals to organise some races. Roy Maidmont of the National Coursing Club organised the Sandown Greyhound Racing and Coursing Club, leasing the racecourse for £150 a year. They sought to obtain a licence to organise formal speed coursing but their plans were temporarily delayed when in 1942, the Government took over Sandown Park for army training and all coursing racing was stopped.

In 1944, the Sandown Coursing Club began to race at Sandown but, in 1947, their plans had to be shelved again when they had to seek another meeting venue. The course was advertised for sale but the Coursing Club was unable to raise sufficient funds. The Victorian Trotting and Racing Association in association with the Williamstown Racing Club (with whom they had amalgamated to form the Melbourne Racing Club) bought the course for £41,000.

In 1950 the course was cleared of all trees to make space for a motor racing track. In July 1957 a contract for £154,000 was let for the construction of the new track. In 1959 a total of £400,000 was spent on the construction and grassing of the race track drainage, fencing, water mains, levelling and filling, provision of running rails and on other improvements.

In 1962 the motor racing track was officially opened by Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and Bob Stillwell. In 1963 the Melbourne Racing Club merged with the Victorian Amateur Turf Club (VATC) to facilitate the opening of new horse racing facilities. The racecourse was designed by Mr H. J Wagstaff, a track engineer, it had two straight runs and two turns at each end, 9 furlongs and four chains long. To lengthen this for different races there were legs or ‘chutes’ leading into the oval track. It was also about this time that a new grandstand was required to meet the increasing patronage of the course.

The new grandstand was cantilevered to provide an unrestricted view, bars, totalisator windows, dining rooms and most services undercover. In 1965, an overpass, opened by Cr F. Wachter of the Springvale Council, was constructed to facilitate access to the course. Its use was restricted to days of horse or motor racing. It was financed by the Victorian Amateur Turf Club and built by the Country Roads Board for £90,000. The site was designed to accommodate 12,000 cars with room for expansion and a train station was built on the railway side of the property to cater for rail travellers.

The new VATC Sandown Racecourse was opened by the Victorian Premier, Mr Henry Bolte on 19 June 1965. The Sandown Racecourse has a close association with the Sandown Cup, originally known as the Williamstown Cup, which was first run in 1888 and staged in Williamstown until 1936. Flemington became its host from 1940 to 1950 and Caulfield from 1951 to 1964. In 1965, when the new Sandown
track was opened the race was renamed the Sandown Cup.

In March 1999 the VATC proposed to re-vamp the Sandown Cup, including a name change to Sandown Classic and the introduction of weight-for-age conditions (replacing handicap conditions). In 1997, an Equine Quarantine Centre was used for the first time and, in 1999, the racecourse was renovated and reopened on the 10 October.

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Corner of Mason amd Walker Streets, Dandenong, late 1980s

The Church of Christ was still located in the building on the left (as their first timber building had been on Robinson Street). Nowadays this is the Cornerstone Contact Centre, offering regular meals and a variety of other services to the areas homeless and those in need.

Photos kindly supplied to page by Brad Farrell

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Train Station, Foster Street, Dandenong, 1970s

Looking across some of the old station buildings towards the Southern Aurora hotel, This wonderful colour photo gives an eye catching glimpse into the area. Looking a little run down at this point.

A few new hotels appeared in more modern times. The Southern Hotel-Motel was built in the 1960s,next to the Dandenong Railway station,at an estimated cost of half-a million dollars. Strategically placed to capture the passing trade, it was later remembered for its nightclub atmosphere. In the mid 1990s,just before the new railway station was built, it was demolished, except for the drive-in Foster Street Bottle Shop.

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1934 Floods, Lonsdale Street from Foster Street, Dandenong.

Looking down Lonsdale Street from Foster Street towards Dandenong Park during the 1934 floods, It can be hard to imagine such a wide area of Dandenong being under water.

In Dandenong's early days, the creek was always a problem. It was just a shallow meandering stream that would always flood the southern part of the town. It is hard to believe that from this point all the way down to the Cranbourne turn-off could at times be up to five feet under water.

The original crossing point of the creek was a further 50 to 60 feet towards the town centre, about in-line where the (Former) Dandenong Bowling Club is located. The area south of Walker Street was once very swampy and it took a lot of effort and cost to rectify it. The amount of filling needed on both sides was enormous.

Crossing the creek back in the early 1840's was at first negotiated by foot passengers by means of piles driven well into the ground, topped with a single plank and guarded by a hand rail. A primitive type wooden bridge was soon constructed and only lasted to the end of the decade. A new wooden bridge was built of more grander proportions but this too was destroyed by flooding waters.

A new stone bridge with two single arches was constructed in 1866 and lasted until 1919, also undermined by floods. This bridge was located at today's present bridge site. By this time the Dandenong Creek south of Clow Street had been converted in parts into a more drain like appearance.

This allowed water to flow more freely and quickly through the southern part of the township but it didn't stop the disastrous floods back in December 1934. Today, the Dandenong Creek through this area has been straightened and channeled as an urban stream and flooding is a rare occurrence.

Above text quoted from a Past 2 Present post:

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Town Hall, Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, undated.

There were poets in Dandenong in the very early times, and from an old “Journal” the following writing was taken. The author was at one time likely the licensee of Dunn’s Hotel, as the name fits in with several incidents connected with the friendly intercourse between the police and the publicans, when food, etc., was scarce, and in a neighbourly fashion they borrowed from each other.

"A township sweet and beautiful,
With homes pretty and neat;
Gardens decked with flowers rare,
And clean in every street.

With hills each side where we look,
Close by ranges rising high;
A running brook, so clear, so clear,
Continuously running by.

Where a forest large and wild once stood,
Where the black man lived for years;
Where the kangaroo so oft’ was killed,
With the long and pointed spears.

Where corrobboree so oft’ was held.
Around the blazing pile;
Where, when in battle stealthy crept,
The warriors in single file.

The white man camped long, long ago,
And Dunbar with the natives laid
A consultation with the then great men,
When he taught them good from bad.

Where children were kidnapped from homes,
But now all these have gone;
And reminding us of the days of yore,
Stands the township — Dandenong!"

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Noble Park Railway Station, 1918-1930s

The Oakleigh to Gippsland railway line had stations at Springvale and Dandenong and as land near the Springvale station underwent subdivision into small farm holdings, owners down the line subdivided their land. In 1909 several holdings in the area later to be known as Noble Park were cut up for market gardens. One of the vendors was Allan Buckley, who is chiefly recognised as the founder of Noble Park, as it is named after one of his six children, Noble Buckley.

His other children’s names were given to streets, including Douglas Street where the shopping centre is located. The Buckley family school was opened in 1911, an Anglican church in 1912 and a railway office/stopping place in 1913. A public hall was built in the same year, which under the management of locally elected trustees, has occupied a strong position in the community.

Until the years after World War II Noble Park was mainly a farming community concentrated on market gardens, dairying and poultry. Small amounts of industry were near the railway station, along with housing. The town had six shops in 1923, and the 1933 census recorded 1507 persons.

Until May 1955, Noble Park was in the Dandenong shire. Severance was warmly greeted by Noble Park residents who thought that Dandenong shire had neglected their needs, and the severed shire was named Springvale and Noble Park. When the municipality was made a city in 1961 it became City of Springvale.

The present station was opened in the late 1960s after the original buildings were destroyed by an arsonist. A row of shops now occupies the site of the first station, of which no trace remains today. As part of the EastLink project, minor upgrade works were carried out, including improved shelter, carpark upgrades, and a security upgrade including brighter lighting and better CCTV coverage.

In 2015 the Level Crossing Removal Authority announced the Grade separation of nearby Heatherton Road with construction scheduled to start in 2016. The proposal will see the new station being elevated and moved closer to where the public restrooms presently stand.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Dutch Reformed Church, Cleeland Street, Dandenong, Photo 1971.

The Dutch Reformed Church, Cleeland Street, Dandenong, Photo 1971.
During the 1950s and 1960s the Dutch along with many other nationalities emigrated from their countries to what was then the municipalities of Dandenong and Springvale. They soon made their mark on enriching the area in various ways, some went into the market garden and flower farm industry and others were butchers, bakers etc.
The brick church was built in the 1950s after those that belonged to the Reformed Church had bought a site on Cleeland Street. They were amongst the first of the new emigrants to purpose build their own church. Some Dutch Catholics joined St Mary's Choir, Dandenong during the late 1950s-early 1960s, later forming their own choir, the St Gregorius Choir.
There was great excitement amongst the local Dutch community when a continental shop opened on Lonsdale Street selling a favorite called 'Dropjes' (similar to licorice). A Dutch butcher also moved into Dandenong in the 1960s then in the 1970s the Dutch club started.
The Reformed Church congregation eventually sold their site in Cleeland Street, building a new church and resource centre in Outlook Drive, which then opened in 1983.
Photo kindly shared to page by Anna Veldman. (her fathers' VW Beetle is in the foreground of the photo).

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City of Dandenong Handbook. Circa early 1970's

Image courtesy of Lost Retro Melbourne

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Public Restrooms/Toilets, Corner Lonsdale and Langhorne Streets, Dandenong, undated.

Do you remember when there used to be these unique Public Restrooms/Toilets at the intersection of Langhorne and Lonsdale Streets? With half of the building bellow ground level they were a sight not to be missed, This intersection has seen a few changes over the years.

Dandenong was the junction of the eastern and south-eastern road and railway systems that connected Gippsland with the metropolis 20 miles away. The district around Dandenong became one of the main sources of Melbourne’s milk supply and famous for its herds of pedigree dairy cattle (Argus, 21 December 1921).

Dandenong Market was important as ‘a great clearing centre of surplus stock from one of the most productive closer-settled districts in the state’ (Leader 23 July 1947). Some farmers came to buy store cattle to fatten them up and sell later at a profit. Others came to buy cattle at the
Dandenong market. At that time, most cattle trucks were horse-drawn.

Almost all of the cattle at the Dandenong Market were escorted through Dandenong by whip-cracking horsemen. Sometimes children would wag school to spend time at the market, which was then located on Main Street (now Lonsdale Street) from Clow Street to the rear of the Post Office. Cattle pens ran back from the footpath on the east side and the fresh produce section ran along the wide footpaths.

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Webster Street Level Crossing, Dandenong, 1970s/1980s

An old V-Line passenger train (with the outwards opening doors) crossing the Dandenong Creek, heading towards the station.

The Webster Street level crossing is visible in the right side, looking towards the trees Princes Highway.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Royal Hotel, Corner Lonsdale and Walker Street, Dandenong, undated.

From the moment Mr Dunbar’s first hotel at 231–235 Lonsdale Street was completed in the early 1850’s it acted as the social headquarters for residents and visitors to Dandenong. It served as meeting rooms, held Dandenongs first court sessions, served as the early post office and rested teams of Cobb & Co horses in its stables. By 1877 (after he’d built another hotel next door) Mr Dunbar converted this original hotel into banking premises and a shop

These renovations were demolished nine years later by new owners to make way for the construction of this second hotel (The Royal) that would remain on that site for the next 80 years. The Royal was demolished in the early 1960’s to make way for the four storey AMP building which itself became a first in Lonsdale St, the likes of which had never been seen before.

At the time of demolition two deep wells (made from handmade bricks) were uncovered under 231–235 Lonsdale Street, that was said to provide
Dandenongs first building with its own water supply. The AMP building itself saw demolition as the new Civic Centre and Library was build on this and the former Mayfair site.

In the 1860’s Mr Dunbar was also responsible for the first property to be built at 221–229 Lonsdale Street. A two storey hotel that remained intact until 1922 when the hotel was replaced with an arcade and shops later known as the Mayfair shops. The rear of this property facing Thomas Street was subdivided, becoming the Boomerang Theatre that opened in 1924. In 1950 it became known as the Mayfair Theatre and was demolished in 1968.

Image source: Dandenong & District Historical Society

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