Dight’s Falls to be rebuilt

Update, 18 November: Here’s an article from The Age which suggests that the Channel Deepening Project may see toxic sludge disturbed by the dredging wash back up the 22 km long tidal estuary of the Yarra all the way up to Dight’s Falls, bringing foul smells with it.

Original article: Well, it’s not the most interesting news in the world, but apparently Dight’s Falls is to be rebuilt so that it looks just the same. Apparently they’re going to have a public consulation. They’re going to make an even better fish ladder to help little fishies, and eels to get over the big bump. Did you know that the eels that live in the Yarra can actually get out, walk around the falls, and get back in? That’s what the web says. What I’d like are some stepping stones across the top so you can walk over it safely. Anyone else?

They want to sell the Collingwood Town Hall

It’s true. New airconditiong’s going to cost $1 million, repairs over the next 10 years to cost $12 million.  Looking for a tenant, or a buyer. My other post about the Town Hall is here. I think we should reclaim the slums around abouts, and give it and the park we would build to Princess Mary of Denmark; lure her back to Australia.

Denton Mills business card of James Hobson Turner

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Simon Turner, James Hobson Turner’s great great grandson, has sent me this scan of James’s business card showing what he describes as “the original factory” of Denton Mills. I’m not sure whether what is depicted is in Abbotsford or in Elizabeth St Melbourne. Simon tells me that:

‘It appears James helped establish his son Henry on a property “Deighton”, in Bengworden near Bairnsdale. Henry’s son William carried on the property, then my father Graeme moved to where we still farm today, in Bindi near Omeo.’

If anyone knows anything about James, let me know, and I will pass it on to Simon.

St Phillip’s Vicarage on Hoddle St

According to the Collingwood History Trail notes prepared by the Collingwood Historical Society in 1976 for the Centenary Celebrations of the City of Collingwood,  the church was demolished in 1968 because of lack of finance to repair the deteriorated building, despite a strong request for its preservation by the Natinoal Trust. The Society goes on:

‘The vicarage was built in 1866 in the same style as the church. It is little changed on the exterior, except for the demolition of hte single-storeykitchen wing at the back and the unfortunate addition of a luandry block in the 1950’s. The interior woodwork is intactand so are some of the pressed metal ceilings. It was deesigned to look into a garde which was originally laid out by patients of the Yarra Bend Asylum.’

Collingwood and Northcote Historical Societies; the history of local pubs

The Collingwood Historical Society now has a website. It is fairly minimalist for the time being, but no doubt it will grow. Their main event from the public’s point of view is the annual history walk, which I lamented missing last year.  I discovered that there is an out of print book published by them, “Hotels of Collingwood”, which I must get a copy of: anyone want to lend me one? Though I must confess I still haven’t exactly read cover to cover J.M. Freeland’s The Australian Pub or Larkins and Muir’s Victorian Country Pubs or Griffin’s John Wren; A Life Reconsidered or Dr Kovesi’s book about the Abbotsford Convent’s Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Pitch Your Tents on Distant Shores.

Then I found the Darebin Historical Society’s website, which has a fair bit of stuff on it, including this little pamphlet on the earliest hotels in Darebin. And the pictured book seems to be in print and for sale for a mere $9.90.

The Collingwood Historical Society has put up 6 historical plaques, including this one on the front of what used to be the tobacconist which was the front for John Wren’s Tote in Johnston St.

Catholic Church burns down in Collingwood

146 year old St Joseph’s burnt down yesterday morning. The alarm was raised around 6.30 a.m. when it was observed that the roof was on fire. I actually heard on the radio that the church was alight while I lay in bed. A more dedicated Abbotsford blogger would have leapt out of bed with digital point and shoot in hand and photographed the flames, which were up to 35 feet high. Here instead is David Schwarz’s excellent image from today’s Age. The Church had a large Vietnamese contingent amongst its parishoners. It seems likely that it will have to be demolished. Just before Easter too. Anyone got any stories about the place which deserve to be shared?

Memories of Abbotsford Convent on an Ebay discussion forum

On an Ebay discussion forum, of all places, are to be found a series of uniformly adverse recollections by former residents of the Abbotsford Convent, and some other Catholic institutions. One woman’s story, pieced together by me from multiple posts, with a little editing, is:

‘It was indeed the Convent of the Good Shepherd, the Sacred Heart Class was where we kids worked our butts off to feed the nuns and the orphans (the orphans I don’t mind helping to feed …… ) and St Euphrasia was for schooling. So there were four sections in all. When my father placed me in the convent (I wasn’t in trouble by the way, at least not pregnant…), my father got rid of me as a plaything and the convent was as good as anywhere else.

We girls got up early, went to mass, came back, attended the refectory where we all had breakfast (such as it was) then we went to work. I was only a kid back then and didn’t know better, I just accepted their slavery as normal! Hubbys Bub [another poster on the disucssion board] the stories we could tell, your friend and I except my heart already feels as if it is breaking in two. As for my anger it’s getting like a great big ball. I don’t dare say too much else, as right now im not coping well at all.

This I want to say: breakfast was luke-warm porridge with a slice of STALE bread. Lunch on the other hand was soup, with the morning’s left over porridge added for volume! Please, I just need someone else to back me up as I know it sounds unbelievable! Continue reading “Memories of Abbotsford Convent on an Ebay discussion forum”