Maffra and District Historical Society

M&DHS operates the Maffra Sugar Beet Museum, part of the Local History Collection at the Maffra Library, and a Dairy Museum at the Robotic Dairy at Winnindoo.

Location: Victoria, Australia

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Callander and Forer

We are currently working our way through a collection of photographs of Maffra and surrounds from the late Ted Clark, and are stumped by this one. We do not know of a Callander and Forer store locally, and checking on Trove shows them at Dookie and Wangaratta.

We have really worked hard on it, but cannot read any words on the other shops.

This looks more like Wangaratta to us, but can anyone confirm it?

Late Note: Thanks to Jackie on the Rootsweb AUS-VIC-NORTHEAST mailing list - This is in Mary Street Dookie in 1906. The two men in suits with the boy to the left are Callander and Forer.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Burgoyne Family

The Society has received an enquiry about the Burgoyne family at Maffra, with two later branches marrying into the McMichael family at Licola (so Linda knows them pretty well).

The photograph above is of the Burgoyne home on the Macalister River below Burgoynes Gap on the Licola Road. The site has since been re-roofed and had a verandah erected.

The family consists of Thomas Burgoyne (1833-1893, died Maffra) and Mary Ann Moore (1834-1924, died Maffra). Associated family names known for the next generation are McMichael, Teychenne and Graham.

We know Thomas was connected with the first Maffra Cheese Factory in the 1870s, which was somewhere on Finchley (we think).

If anyone is connected with the family, and wishes to be put in contact with the enquirer, who is descended from a sister of  Mary Ann Moore, please contact the Society. Any further information would also be appreciated.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Robert Curwen at Mewburn Park

Does anyone out there know anything about Robert Curwen, who was a soldier settler at Bushy Park after World War I?

Sgt Curwen appears to have been there about 1920. He was actually the first to have his sugarbeet into the factory one year, but was gone by 1925.

You can read a little about his exploits in the war, when he was in the first group to embark (and that is another whole story!), on Lenore Frost's blog The Empire Called.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bulletin 133 available

Bulletin 133 is now available. Its contents include:

A detailed description of the c.1945 photograph on the cover

Histories of the Saleyards, Scout Hall and Clark Bros, in the first three blocks under study in Johnson Street. This Bulletin is the last of our research for these blocks - the book is coming soon, and we will then move to to the block from Dalgetys' Corner to the Post Office. Any further information on these blocks/buildings would be appreciated.

Story of the grave of William Saffon at Blanket Hill, north of Glenmaggie, and his family's life in Maffra. Includes details of the actual location of the grave, and construction of the current memorial by the Maffra Shire in the 1930s.

Presbyterian Baptisms by the Rev Roberts in the former Maffra Shire, 1876-1877

News and notes

Copies have been mailed to subscribers - single copies are available from the Society at $4.00 posted - please add 60cents postage.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Factory Aerials from 1940s

We have a set of  24 aerial photographs of the Maffra factory area, taken about 1945-1946 by the RAAF Base at East Sale. These came out of a good camera, and while we cannot quite read the registration numbers on the trucks (!), they are pretty special.

And so is our secretary/treasurer, Spencer, who started work at the Maffra Co-op in 1946, and was there for fifty years. His knowledge of the area is invaluable.

In this one, above, cropped from a larger photo, the Maffra Co-op is in the foreground, with Nestles on the other side of the railway line. 

On the left of Bundalaguah Road, which passes the two factories, are two houses in the foreground. The first was the Merlo family, the second a man whose name Spencer cannot recall – but he remembers he milked a cow in the back yard. 

Passing Nestles, in the small triangle of land is a factory built in 1891 as the first dairy factory in the town – the Melbourne Fresh Food and Frozen Storage Company. It closed in 1896, and later became the cordial factory. 

Behind it is the Nestles hostel, with the single men's huts. 

On the other side of Bundalaguah Road, going towards the town, the large building is the old Nestles stables, from the time they collected milk cans with a horse and cart. The next shed is probably part of that complex too, next to the where Kris Bodenstaaf lived as the Nestles foreman. 

Next is the station master’s house, with its ornate garden, and across Railway Place, the railway gate-keeper’s house. Mr Hill, who had lost both his legs, was one gate-keeper. 

On the other side of the railway line is the turntable, where locomotives were turned around to face the opposite direction. 

Finally, across Station Street was a house where we are still looking for names for the occupants. Can anyone help? 

Out of the picture, on the right, are the railway station, the wine saloon, Willsmere, the sugarbeet factory and the dehydration factory (now The Shed). We have them in other photographs in the set.

So, how did we do the identifications?

We sat around the big table in the Library, and projected the photographs up on a small screen, and everyone had a go at them. Library staff put up a sign at the desk inviting people to join in, and a few did. They are good like that, our Library people. All in all - a good afternoon's work.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Maffra Buildings in 1939

One of the gems in our collection that we are currently digitising is a set of two maps prepared in 1939 when Maffra was sewered. These show the outline of all buildings, including sheds and outhouses, and their construction materials - usually W for weatherboard or B for brick. GI stood for galvanised iron, B&FC was brick and fibro-cement.

However, in the example above, between Kent and Alfred Streets, the bottom house is concrete, with a weatherboard kitchen. This was the home of, and probably designed by shire engineer and surveyor G.T. Jones. It was demolished many years ago, and the site is now occupied by six houses and a much larger hospital.

At the top is a detailed outline of the hospital, with its extensive verandahs. The house between the two even shows the outline of a "fish pond".

So far we have only copied the buildings either side of Johnson Street, but once completed these detailed views will be a valuable resource for historians and genealogists.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Early Labor Party records

Sometimes, something unexpected comes along. We are working away cataloguing, and have just found that what we previously thought was a set of farm records from 1944 to about 1956, was actually written in a much earlier book, which held the records of membership payments by the Maffra Branch of the Political Labor Council. 

Digging around, we found this had actually become the Australian Labor Party in 1908 - although this book, with the above stamp, was used for the records for 1913 to 1915. [Late note - see comments - it obviously operated under this name well after 1908]

There are a few women in there - not many, but a few. It will be interesting to be able to pass on to families who enquire, details of their ancestors' political affiliations - not something we usually know.