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

Friday, November 27, 2009

Stratford Rifle Club Score Book


From the stats on Flickr, where I post the photos for this blog, it looks as if someone is trying to read the Stratford Rifle Club Score Book.

Unfortunately the one posted there isn't big enough, so I have put this one up there. You can see a larger size HERE.

This is for a match between the Rifle Club and the local Light Horse in 1932. Some of the men in the Light Horse can also be recognised as Stratford men, so it might just be the local troop.

Competition would probably have been fairly intense.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Who is Ned?


The photograph, above, is from our archives, and we have never been able to find out who he is. There is a slightly larger version HERE.

On the back, he signs himself "Ned", and refers (incorrectly), to the death of Jack Phelan of Dargo.


The card has been sent in July 1915 from Cairo, to Ruby Cahill, one of the ten children of Thomas Cahill and Alice Kenny, born at Grant and then Dargo. Ruby never married, and died at Traralgon in 1969 aged 79. Her brother, Ernie Cahill, died at Bairnsdale in 1980 aged 94, and a large collection of his photographs came to the museum in Stratford. This is one of the few with identifying information.

John Thomas (Jack) Phelan was a butcher from Freeburg when he enlisted, but after being invalided out in 1916, was living at Dargo. He married Margaret Catherine (Katie) Hurley in 1924, and lived at Dargo until his death in 1963.

So we suspect this is a Dargo man. Can anyone help???

Late edit: Lenore has asked for Dargo onour Rolls. They are HERE.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Unknown Briagolong Wedding

Today a number of us went to the inaugural meeting of the re-formed Wellington Shire Heritage Network. It was wonderful to meet up with others involved in similar activities - both those we have not seen for a while, and those we have not met before.

The meeting was at the wonderful and historic Briagolong Mechanics' Institute. Where this photo was on display, as they were asking for help. When reframing some of their collection of historic photos, this was found as a backing board.

Unknown Briagolong wedding

The largest size is HERE.

We would really appreciate any suggestions as to the date the photograph was taken. We suspect the bride and the attendant on the right are sisters - and possibly of European heritage. Two families from Briagolong who fit that profile are the Wuillimins and the Estoppeys - both from Switzerland.

But it would make it easier if we could date the photo. How does just after World War I fit?

(Did you spot the groom has a top hat, and the the "flower girl" has a kewpie doll? These dolls were produced from 1913 onwards)

Friday, November 20, 2009

School records now accessible

Joan has been working away for some considerable time indexing the Stratford Primary School rolls. They are now on the computer from 1894 (the first available), until well into the 1940s.

The photocopies of the rolls are on open access in the museum, as we are all getting quite excited about the approaching 150th Anniversary of the school next year. The information given is guardian (often not the father), address, how far from the school they lived, the school they transferred from and to (if appropriate). Sometimes you can see whole family groups moving around. Or children coming to stay with grandparents or other relatives for a time.

The indexes are still only available on the computer, but we hope that by the time we reopen next year, that they will be there beside the rolls for people to do their own checking. After that we will work out a process for doing look-ups for those who cannot visit in person on a Tuesday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Accessions

Stratford Rifle Club Score Book

New Accessions for this week include:

04044 Stratford Rifle Club Score Book 1930-1937. The names of competitors are given, and their scores. (Shown above)

04043 Four Minute books for the Stratford Methodist Church Ladies Auxilliary, each an exercise book, plus three page typescript history of the organisation, plus notes.
Years: 1926 to March 1927, 1960 (reformed) to1968, 1968 to 1973, 1973 to 1977 (end)

04047 Minute Books and papers for Stratford Infant Welfare Centre. Minute book 1928 to 1937; Typescript of history of Centre (3 pages), Minutes 1949 to 1964, 1964 to 1971; Building Committee 1953 to 1983 (with 1983 being final meeting); Building Committee Financial Statements 1953 to 1979, 1980 to 1983.

04048 Minute Book of the Stratford Tennis Club, 1953 to 1963.

The Society holds Minute Books for 13 different organisations for the town and surrounding district. There is, for example, the Minute Book of the Llowalong Hall Committee from 1928 to 1940. It is proud to now be able to offer storage for organisations wishing to use it as a central repository for Minute Books - especially for those organisations that are no longer active.

Christmas Closing Hours


Card in the collection.

Christmas is coming. So we are doing all sorts of planning for the break.

The last day Stratford Historical Museum will be open is Tuesday 15 December, 10am to 3pm.

There will be no last Sunday of the month opening for December.

We will reopen Tuesday 5 January, 10am to 3pm.

This blog may well keep going through the break, and we will be extending wishes closer to the time - this is just so we can all plan!

And get a Christmas Card off early.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Sometimes, one of the things we fail to do is document our own progress - we spend so much time documenting that of everyone else.

This week we got a bee in our bonnet, and started to clean up the office. We were really trying to find the last sets of minute books waiting to be catalogued, before the Significance Assessment was finished. (Major finds - they will be in the next post)

We were so proud of the tidy reference shelf (which also has multiple "In Trays") that we took a photo:


We don't usually get to see it this neat!

Then, when it was being filed with the other Collection Management photos (yes, we classify our digital photos too - but don't enter them in the catalogue), we realised we had this pair:

This is our President, Wemyss, in the office in January 2006, when we reopened the museum after the major, major refit.


And this is a similar view, just over two years later:


(I was going to say that Wemyss was in it too, but you just cannot see her. But she isn't).

It really is good when you regularly document your own progress - everyone should go out at the start of each quarter and do a photographic survey - or at the start and finish of daylight saving. Or at some other point that reminds you. Because it really does build up to an interesting history of your own.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Time for some Stats

We haven't had a statistics session for a while. So here are some figures:

There are currently

2808 entries in the Catalogue

1325 are for objects

1472 are for reference materials

1160 of the reference materials are photographs


Recent reference material that has been catalogued includes:

04036 Eight telephone books for Gippsland: 1958, then 1969 to 1974. These include the iconic 1972 phone book. (Remember it? The one above with the pink cover and fungus?) This was the last Gippsland phone book where subscribers were listed by town, not in overall alphabetical order for the whole region. Historians will be eagerly using these in the years to come.

04034 A set of 53 letterheads for various Stratford, Sale and Briagolong businesses, from the 1890s through to the 1960s. Any enquiries against these names will now come up in our catalogue.

00600 Edmund Cahill of Briagolong's Day Book. It commences in 1874 and runs to at least 1897, with records of his payments to workers (he ran a cheese factory) and suppliers. It is an invaluable record for the Briagolong of the time.

While we prefer those wishing to undertake serious research in our Archives to make an appointment (0418 573 828), they can usually be consulted on a Tuesday from 10am to 3pm.

Researching them at other times could prove difficult - it will require payment of an out-of-hours opening fee ($20, and only if staff are available), and at least seven days' notice of the records required, so they can be retrieved on a Tuesday and left available for your visit.

However if you e-mail a list of no more than five surnames to stratfordhs[at], there will be no charge for a short response as to the occurence of those surnames in our catalogue. This is not research - we do not look up the phone books, for example. But we do let you know if there are items such as named photographs, manuscript material on the family etc.

Feel free to drop a note. It is good to know who is reading the blog.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Our Slide Show


Our new screen on the back wall has been in place for a couple of months now - but we haven't had a chance to show it off here.

It was funded by ESSO Australia, through their employee involvement support program, as we have Martin, who works at ESSO, very much a member of the society. He and George installed the screen, which plays photographs (also scanned by Martin) from our collection.

At the minute we are just playing through all that have been scanned in the collection (including all the Wonnangatta ones), but one day we hope to have a range of CDs available, so people can request a slide show of the areas that are of particular interest to them.

Thanks ESSO - we think you are wonderful!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Disability Entry


This happened a month or so ago now.

We were a little perplexed about how to put in disability entry without going through all sorts of planning scheme applications (as we have a Heritage Overlay on the site). Then the Shire Heritage Advisor came for a visit - and suggested this method. The ramp is not attached, so no permit is needed. It is reasonably unobtrusive, and is already weathering away to blend in with the building.

And we love it! Apart from making it easier for wheelchairs, walkers, and the frail visitors - it makes it really easy to wheel things in and out from the shed!

When we get time, we might start to think about just a little bit of planting around the front. We can get away with it while the men are distracted building fences.

Look out - here come the Agapanthuses!

Mending and Making Do II


Speaking of Mending and Making Do, this item was overlooked in the collection for many years. We thought it was very degraded (with silver paper under silverfish damage), but somehow we couldn't throw it out. It was "quaint".

A few months ago they had a spot on Tramp Art on the ABC "Collectors" show. There was a very similar one - silverpaper under silverfish damage, similar frame. Apparently this is a very 1930s thing.

Glad we didn't throw it out. We have it on display at the moment in our Classroom display.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Anthony Hahn's Engines

The Society is delighted that Anthony Hahn has chosen to allow us temporary custody of some of the engines he has been restoring. We currently have two on display in the shed - this is the 1937 Cooper, that spent its life powering a shearing plant.


And THIS is the condition it was in when Anthony first acquired it:


You can read Anthony's full description HERE. And you can see the engine itself (plus one other), any Tuesday from 10am to 3pm, or on the fourth Sunday of the month from 2pm to 4pm.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Welcome to the Maffra blog

Maffra Sugar Beet Museum (and the Historical Society) has a new blog. You can find it HERE.