This document is has been compiled by Wendy Barrie daughter of Ernest (Bon) and Edna Barrie and granddaughter of Charles E and Jessie M Barrie.
Ernie Barrie operated a travelling Chaff Cutter in the St Arnaud area where his parents William and Mary Ann had taken up land at Coonooer West in 1873. Ernie commenced his working life with a team of bullocks and a chaff cutter. The earliest connection he had with Melton was in 1887. By the beginning of the 20th century Ernie and his father William and brothers, William, Samuel, James Edwin,[Ted] Robert, Arthur and Albert have been associated with farming and milling in the Melton district.
In the early 1900’s Ernie and his brother Ted were in partnership in a Chaff cutting and Hay processing Mill on the corner of Station and Brooklyn road Melton South. The mill was managed by William for a time. By 1906 Charles Ernest and James Edwin were in partnership in the Station Road mill when a connecting rail line across Brooklyn Road for a siding was constructed to the Melton Railway Station. In 1911 the Mill’s letterhead shows C.E. BARRIE Hay Pressing and Chaff Cutting Mills. Melton Railway Station. Telephone No 1 Melton. This Mill as sold to H S K Ward in 1916 and stood until 1977 when it burnt down in a spectacular fire.
Ernie built a house at Melton South beside the Chaff Mill at Station Road in 1906 and married Jessie May Lang in August at the Methodist Church. Jessie’s father was Thomas Lang. He came to Melton in 1896 and was the Head Teacher at Melton State School No 430 until he retired in 1917.
They had 9 children with 8 surviving to adulthood.
Jessie and Ernie had 6 sons and 3 daughters. All the children lived at Darlingsford.
In April 1910 the family left Melton for a brief period and moved to a farm in Trundle in NSW. They returned to Melton and purchased Darlingsford in May 1911. For a time during WW1 they lived at Moonee Ponds near the Lang grandparents at Ascot Vale. Mary and Bon attended Bank St State School. The children developed diphtheria in 1916 and their youngest boy, Cecil died of complications. Mary and Bon were taken to Fairfield Hospital and both recovered. At the end of the war influenza broke out the family returned to Darlingsford and shared the home for a short while with the Pearcey family who had been working the farm. By 1922 the family had and grown and Edgar, Tom, Horace, Jessie, Joyce and Jim were living a Darlingsford.
Ernie continued during the 1920’s working the farm and attend his many civic and community commitments. Two 8 clydesdale horse teams were used to work the land which meant early rising for the horses to be fed and harnessed to commence the days work. In 1916 Ernie also became involved in a Chaff Mill on the corner of Sunshine and Geelong Road West Footscray, which at the time was being run by John Ralph Schutt. It was known an Schutt Barrie. A flour mill was added at a later stage. Other Schutt and Barrie mills were situated at Parwan and Diggers Rest. Another mill was situated beside the railway line at Rockbank. The Footscray mill ceased operation in 1968
Ernie spent a lot of time and energy at the Parwan Mill and travelling around Parwan and Balliang farms, where he came to know many of the families in the district.
Ernies commitment to the civic development to the Melton and district was extensive, he was involved with a number of large events during the 1920’s such as the Melton Exhibitions and the 1929 Back to Melton Celebrations. He was a member of the Australian Natives Association at the turn of the century. He was Chairman of the School Committee at Melton State School 430 and the Melton South State School in thw1920s. He donated the land for a Hall for Melton South in 1909, known as Exford Hall and later in 1919 renamed Victoria Hall. The Hall was demolished in 1992.
He was a Councillor, JP, and Vice President and President of the Melton Mechanics Institute Hall Committee in 1915- 1916. He was a member of the Methodist Church and later the Scots Presbyterian Church. He was Superintendent of the Sunday School of the Methodist Church to 1910 and later Scots Presbyterian Church until 1931. This is reflected in the theme of children in the stained glass window which was dedicated in his memory by his wife Jessie as a gift to the Scots Church. Charles Ernest Barrie made many generous donations to many charities who supported young people and children. In 1918 Jessie and Ernie made the first donation to a very prominent Victorian charity whose work still continues. Yooralla.
In July 1931 Ernie’s untimely death was a major blow to the family and the Melton community. To this day people still vividly recall the day they lined the streets for his funeral. The day of the funeral is recalled as the day Melton stood as two of their prominent citizens who tragically died on the same day
Photograph of Charles Ernest Barrie taken from Scenes at Melton and Old Residents