Historical information

Beryl Knox speaking about early life in Melton.

Page 1

1949 – 64 years ago. We began our married life at Melton Sth. The house on the corner of the Exford Rd and Staughton St-- dusty gravel roads, box thorns and noxious weeds everywhere and a sprinkling of houses and vacant land.

It was a friendly community consisting of old family names. McDonalds, Blacks, Dodemaide, Cahill, Coopers, Minns, Tinklers, Nesbitts, Cochranes, Wickhams, Exells. Mavis Butler.

The home owned by Mr. Robinson and Miss Robinson had been shifted in two parts transported from Diggers Rest and it is still standing 2013.

Bruce’s father purchased the house and two adjoining blocks, the Conways built on one and the Rawlinson family on the other block. Eileen still resides there, she was only a baby in a pram and the family had not long arrived from England.

The railway line was close to the house and the contents would rattle when heavy steams trains went through, and on a clear frosty night the 1am paper train would echo roar through very loudly when labouring towards the Exford Bridge.

Then the two carriage motor train was introduced, this was great for the workers and schoolies who travelled to Melbourne. The train pulled up at the crossing or riding to pick up or drop off. Melva Gillespie (nee Hirt)

Bill Cahill delivered the milk by the billy and then in bottles.

Len Kennedy (Paul Kennedy’s father, Norma Murrays son) delivered Jongebloeds bread, he always had a sweep going for the Melbourne Cup and raffles for the footy club. Mr. Woodgate owned an old bus and pick up point was the Post Office when there was a Saturday film on a Melton.

There were no doctors or dentists in the district. If we need a Doctor we had to travel to Bacchus Marsh or discuss problems over the phone. In later years a Bacchus Marsh Doctor rented the Bluestone building in McKenzie St a couple of days a week. If we needed the Dentist we had to travel to West Footscray or Footscray.

We did our banking at “State Savings” then the Miss Minns had the agency and then Bardsleys Store. We travelled to Bacchus Marsh to the National and Commercial banks.

Station Rd to Western Highway, now (High Street) was a narrow stretch of bitumen and gravel farmland either side and a couple of farm houses and large gum trees on the properties.

Page 2

North of the Railway line Mrs Bessie Jones, mother of Chas and Betty Jones managed the Post Office, next door to her Chas and Betty had the Shell Centre, and later moved the business to Melton.

Hughie Nesbitt and mother owned the grocery and hardware store, and I bought my first set of saucepans there.

On the opposite side of Station road Mr Coombe owned the fruit shop, and also provided soft drinks and lollies for children.

The Chaff Mill was on the corner of Station Rd and Brooklyn Rd. Mr Lumsden was manager and later years Bernie Trethowan and Jack Butler were partners. It finally burnt down and is a Service Station now. Along Brooklyn Rd there were a few houses and Victoria Hall, not a very big hall, but catered for lots of functions, Balls, Fancy Dress, Bazaars, Square Dancing and meetings. The Bacchus Marsh Baptists held Sunday School in the hall.

A group of shops were built south of the railway line Molly and Len Skinner managed the Post Office and handled a few essential groceries. Tom McDonald and Ron Lunsberg were the butchers.

Mary and Syd Cooper lived next door to us and often in turn would run out of something when we had a baking spree we would borrow or exchange, sugar flour etc over the fence.

Mavis and Jack Butler lived there before the Coopers. Bernie and Iris Trethowan lived two doors up. Neighbours were invited into their home to view the first black and white television in Melton Sth.

Bill Exell was one of the first Melton Sth farmers to sell his land to developers, the land was idle for years before housing developed.

I joined the Melton Valley Golf Club in 1960. The Gun Club as our Club House, an old tin shed consisting a water tank, trestle table and forms and dirt floor. It was a 9 hole course with sand scraps and landscape putting before greens.

The Common or parkland was part of the Golf Course. It was open for every ones recreation. Roy Norton an old identity trained his trotters on the Common and wouldn’t clear the track for the golfers. The golfers had to avoid him to continue to play. We had to keep clear when the young youths came in their paddock cars and motorbikes. Over the years the Toolern Creek flooded its banks, water and debri covered the course on one year our first Club house was flooded out. It took several working bees to clean it up.

We lived at Melton Sth for 15 years and moved to Melton on the farm “Croxton Park.” The Nixon family farm “Mowbray” adjoined the farm. Bruce worked the land cropping the farm when Mrs Nixon died.

Page 3 (page 4 on the handwritten script)

Bruce had the first offer to buy, in those days it wasn’t easy to get good bank loans. Part of the land is the Golf Course now and Mr O’Shea purchased the bulk. Moving to Melton was totally different – I became involved with Committees, Scouts, Guides, Mothers Clubs, CWA, Church Op shop (8 years). Melton Amateurs players produced and tutored by Mabel Rogers exerts from Pyjama Game, South Pacific, Carousel - later years a group of ladies did gentle water exercise at Essendon and Station Road swimming pool. I was 20 or so years in Probus. The local followed the football, there was always a Gymkhana on the long weekend in June.

The tennis always created a lot of interest during the finals. It didn’t matter which team played the supporters were treated to a cup of tea and leftovers from their afternoon tea.

In 1978 were the first residents to move into the Jennings Estate Kurunjang and lived there 31 years and retired 4 years ago into Unit. The amazing changes I have experienced. Merrimu supplied our water, after depending on tanks.

The landscape changed completely when developers came in, no more dusty plains
typed web Sept 2013

Physical description

McFarlane, Mrs Knox and Beryl Gillespie at the First Hundred Years Celebration of Melton State School 430. The event was held at Mechanics Hall, Melton.