Stratford Historical Society and Museum

News from the Stratford Historical Society and Museum, in Stratford, Gippsland, Victoria. We are open Tuesdays from 10am to 3pm, and the fourth Sunday of the month from 2pm to 4pm. Our postal address is P.O. Box 145, Stratford, 3862.

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Location: Victoria, Australia

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

World War I display

We are hard at work putting the finishing touches to our World War I display. It takes up one entire side of the Museum, and has really brought home to us the number of significant items we have in the collection. So we might be posting about them for a while.

We have also been delighted to receive a number of items on loan - the largest being this model of a soldier in Lighthorse uniform. Thank You, to Rick Cove for the Light Horseman.


We have also taken the opportunity to re-display Alice Mitchell's sewing machine - this time with a younger photograph of Alice, and those of her three brothers who were killed in action - two in the same battle. As her world crashed around her, Alice just kept sewing for the troops, making a set number of items each week, many on this machine, for the entire war.

One of our other items on display for the first time, is Archie's Quilt. 

Archibald James Bower enlisted in World War I in November 1915, and was killed in action in France in August 1916. 

Before he left Australia, he drew designs on cotton for his mother, Harriet Bower nee Harper, to embroider a quilt - mainly flowers, butterflies and moths. Mrs Bower finished the quilt in white candlewicking. It was then for many years on the bed of her grandson, Archibald William Luxford. He went to sleep every night, knowing the designs were drawn by the uncle he had never known, after whom he had been named.

We look forward to telling you more about items in our exhibition - feel free to drop in 10am to 3pm on Tuesdays.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

They Gave Their Utmost

We have just finished binding They Gave Their Utmost: World War I for Louie Riggall, Alice Mitchell and Annie Whitelaw. This is a joint effort between Stratford and District Historical Society and Maffra and District Historical Society.

One of the most exciting things is that, while preparing this book, we were fortunate that a member of Miss Mitchell's family was able to give us a copy of a photograph of her when she was young.

This is Miss Alice Mitchell of Stratford, aged 22. It was at this time that she said goodbye to three brothers and young man who she was "very fond of" - we are now told there was no formal engagement. All four were killed in action. We did not until now know the name of Miss Mitchell's friend - it was Herb Peters.

The book will be available on Tuesdays at the Museum. The assistance of Miss Mitchell's family in piecing this together has been very much appreciated.

Louie Riggall was a Red Cross volunteer from Tinamba, who died on service in France in 1918. Annie Whitelaw, from Briagolong, sent six sons to war, three were killed in action and one died a short time after his return. Her headstone in the Briagolong cemetery records her loss.

Monday, August 04, 2014

WWI Declared

Today, as we recognise the centenary of the declaration of WWI, we remember all the men from Stratford and the surrounding area who served.

The first man from Stratford to be lost in the war was Pvt William Mitchell, who enlisted on 18 September 1914, and was killed in action at the battle for The Nek on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 7 August 1915.

William then lost two more brothers, Alfred and Sidney, at the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916.

The Society is currently working with Maffra and District Historical Society to publish a small book that recognises the work of their sister, Alice Mitchell, for the Red Cross.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Estoppey book published

Congratulations to Daniel Parker-Estoppey, who today joined the madness of the binding team at the Maffra Sugarbeet Museum (no waiting until next Tuesday), and has started binding copies of The Strength of Us: The History of Ferdinand and Isabella Estoppey, "Culloden", Freestone Creek, Briagolong. It is 28 pages, comb-bound, and will retail at $10.

Copies were walking out the door as fast as he could bind them. They are now available from Daniel, or from the Society at the Museum from next Tuesday.

Congratulations Daniel!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Estoppey Family Book Coming Soon

Coming Soon

Daniel Parker-Estoppey's history of the Estoppeys of Culloden 
(just below the Blue Pool, Briagolong), 
will be available from the Museum soon.

It just needs to get printed.

Excellent work Daniel - Congratulations!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Can anyone help with names?

Can anyone out there name any of the students in Grades 5, 6 and 7, at Stratford State School, probably in 1954. We know that is Darryl Mildenhall back right, but have no other names as yet. Next time he is in the museum we will try to pin him down and see what he can do, but in the meantime, if anyone can help, it would be much appreciated.

They are a good looking mob, aren't they?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thank You, Esso Australia

The Society is delighted to announce that it has again received funding from one of our strongest supporters, Exxon Mobil, who operate in Australia as Esso Australia and Mobil Oil Australia.

We have been advised that we have been granted $1,000 under the 2014 Exxon Mobil Australia Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP) Grant. This program supports employees, in our case member Tony Malady, who volunteer in the community by supporting their efforts with a $1,000 donation to assist the work of their community organisation.

In our case it is especially appropriate, as it will materially assist with the outfitting of the extension to George's Shed, which has now reached lock-up stage. George was an Esso employee, and this was the project on which he was working at the time of his death.

Thank You, Esso.

The new extension on George's Shed, on the left of the building.