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, August 26, 2011

Stratford in 1855

Masthead, Stratford 1855 map

The Society recently received a copy of what is believed to be the first map of Stratford, printed by the Surveyor General’s Office in Melbourne on 15 May 1855. It clearly states it was surveyed by William Tennant Dawson in April 1852, which is two years earlier than the date previously given by historian John Wilson.

This map shows the printed names of those who purchased land at the first auction – which was obviously some time before May 1855. Our copy comes from one in the National Library in Canberra, with names added in red ink at what was presumably a second auction after that date.

It also shows those buildings that were already in place when Dawson carried out his survey in 1852. There are some surprises.

The buildings already in place were the Shakespeare Hotel (no surprises there), but also Duncan’s store, S.Reeves (stockyard), a tannery, and buildings for Cliff, Slater and Haslett. A Mr Hobson had a large garden on the flat. And that was what made up Stratford.

Shakespeare Hotel, 1855

Those who bought blocks at the first auction were a mix of settlers and speculators. W.O. Raymond bought the land on which stood the Shakespeare Hotel. The other purchasers were:

Roman Catholic Church, J. Welsh, J. Scott, J. Aitken, I. Buchanan, T. Smith, T. Aitken, S. Reeves, J. King, A. Orr, Wm Raymond (who also bought Duncan’s store), John Jones, J.A. Stratton, J.B. Stone, W.McFarlane, Jas Scott, E. Slade x 3, J. Herbert, L. Mason, R. Thomson x 3, J. Medley, B. Latham, P. Manley, J. Lightfoot, S.Reeves, L.Mason, I. Buchanan, W. Wood, J. Johnson, R. Bennison x 3

At that time, the track from Sale to Bairnsdale came across the river at the Shakespeare, and basically went straight up the middle of the blocks between Raymond and Dawson Streets, so most of the speculative purchasers were in that area. Most of the blocks behind the Catholic Church were taken up, but Tyers street was not at all popular. There was also a small group was away from the main group, in the blocks between McMillan and Macalister Streets. They were

T. Blacker, J. Scott, J. Wheildon, Jas Timmins, J. McCallum Wilson

We know from the Gippsland Guardian newspaper that there was a land sale at Stratford in January 1856, so this may be the one for which the names appear in red. Those who purchased next were:

W.T. Dawson, J. King, R.Haslett, W.O. Raymond x 2, H.C.Orchard x 2, John King, Elizabeth Haslett, C.J. Tyers, D.McColl, T.Blacker, J.LeM Carey x 2, D. Clarke x 3

At the end of this time, about 80% of the blocks between Tyers and Merrick Streets had been taken, but less than 50% of those between Tyers and McFarlane Streets. The town stopped at Dawson Street.

Want to see where people were? Drop into the Museum and have a look at a copy of the map.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Brickwork finished!

Much excitement! The brick repairs are finished at the Museum. If you look at the first photo, you can see the parlous state of the bottom of the buttress at that corner. It was similar right around the building.


George finally went to Melbourne, when he could not source bricks in the local area, and found enough at brickyards. He then called in two very professional bricklayers, who cut new faces on the bricks, removed the old bricks, and inserted the new.

The same corner now - it looks brilliant. Thank you Heritage Victoria for the funding that has made this possible.


Then the crew cleaned down the brickwork.


This is a notoriously difficult building to photograph, but this is a view down the side today, with all repairs on the footings done, but still some final work to be carried out on window sills.

If you would like to see the whole restoration process, you can see it in a set on Flickr. There are a lot more photographs of the brickworks at the end.

Friday, August 12, 2011

An Invitation to All

Stratford & District Historical Society Inc.
Invites you to attend the Presentation of an

Award of Merit


Wemyss Struss

President of Stratford & District Historical Society Inc.

By Dr. Andrew Lemon,
President of Royal Historical Society of Victoria


Saturday 3rd September, 2011


Stratford Mechanics' Hall, Hobson Street, Stratford

Commencing at 2 p.m.

Please join us for Afternoon Tea afterwards.

This is also an opportunity to visit the Museum (opposite the Mechanics Hall in Hobson Street) to see the restoration work that has been completed over recent years and to view the Society’s latest exhibitions. The Museum will be open between 1 – 2 p.m. and after Afternoon Tea.

Please RSVP to Judy Richards Phone: 5145 6836, Email:
or Marion Stothers Phone: 5145 6270 by 28th August, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's a Cold and Wet Job

It's a bit wet and cold of mornings these days. So when most of us get to the Museum on a Tuesday, it is a case of getting inside quick to get the heaters on.

Not George and Martin though.


It really takes a special sort to be out at 9.30am on a cold and wet winter morning, washing down concrete and brickwork.


We don't know how long since it has been done (and our ancestors definitely didn't have pressure washers), but the mould and grime is gone, and the the colour in our sandstone footings is just beautiful.

PS At last reports, they didn't find the foundation stone under the grime, either. But we didn't really expect it then, did we?

August Meeting


Stratford Mechanics' Institute - one building on the database

Next Meeting is Monday 22 August. Linda will be talking about the Society's database on old buildings, and asking members to adopt a building.

So far it holds details of 44 buildings and structures in and around Stratford, and one in Dargo - the pub.

We meet at the Library at 7.30pm, and all are most welcome.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Check out our Bulletin


Some details of our Bulletins are slowly being put online, in a special blog. You can see it HERE.

Martin has been doing a brilliant job with these, and they are building into a very solid set of information. So the idea is that we are putting extracts from the main articles online, to provide some idea of the contents. These blog posts are a direct copy from our cataloguing data, so a little formal.

They do not mention every time a family appears in the
Bulletins, but still may be useful to help people find their links to Stratford. It is amazing what you can find these days searching on the net.

The abstracts are hosted on blogger. If you subscribe there, and then subscribe to the blog (and maybe this one as well), you get to hear all our news, but also when a new Bulletin is published. And what is in it.