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Myrtleford and District Historical Society Myrtleford, Victoria

The aims of the Society are: (1) recording and preservation of the district's oral and written history; (2) the collection and presentation of significant artefacts relevant to local social and economic development; and (3) the research of community events and family history. Founded 1982.

Events: Historical walks; cemetery walks; 'Open House' on March Labour Day Weekend; Anzac Day display on April 25; flea market, every second Saturday from September to May.

Contact Information

location
29 Elgin Street Myrtleford VIC 3737 (map)
phone
+61 03 57521963

Contact

Opening Hours

2.00 to 5.00 pm Sundays, September to May or by appointment

Entry Fee

Adults - $5.00, Concession $3.00 & Children - $1.00

Location

29 Elgin Street Myrtleford Victoria

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39 items

Memorial Plaque - "Dead Man's Penny"

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

A World War 1 memorial plaque issued to next-of-kin of all British and Empire service personnel who died as a result of the war. They were round and cast in bronze, hence their similarity to the much smaller penny coin. The plaque includes an image of Britannia, holding a trident and standing with a lion. Britannia holds an oak leaf above the deceased's name, which is recorded without rank. Two dolphins swim around Britannia, symbolizing sea power, and at the base a second lion is tearing apart the German eagle. Around the picture a legend reads: "He died for freedom and Honour"

Historical information

The "Dead Man's Penny" of Private George Matthews (24/1744) is a district link to the First World War. George enlisted with the Otago Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force as a rifleman. Born in 1891, he was a former pupil of Myrtleford State School 955 and was one of four first cousins killed in action and recorded in a memorial window and honour board at the Uniting (formerly Methodist) Church, the Soldier's Memorial Square and on the State School Honour Board. George's parents, John and Mary Matthews,received the plaque in a pack, together with a letter and commemorative scroll from King George V. George Matthews is buried at the Caterpillar Valley (N.Z.) Memorial, France, having died on October 1, 1916, aged 25.

Significance

The memorial plaque links local family tragedy to world conflict. It represents the impact of such events must have had on small town communities. George Matthews' enlistment in New Zealand is an indicator of the migratory nature of men involved in gold mining after the decline of the industry in Victoria and New South Wales in the late 19th century

Inscriptions & Markings

Name engraved: GEORGE MATTHEWS

Marble Collection

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

School Photograph - Myrtleford State School 955, 1922

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

A monochrome photograph of the whole pupil enrolment at the Myrtleford township school

Historical information

This whole of school photograph depicts the school pupil population in the "prosperous twenties". The pupils have been congregated against the external wall on the SE side of the school outside the Head Master's office and pupil's cloakroom. This is one of several photographs taken in 1922; others feature composite groups of classes.

Significance

The photograph records the post-war school population at its peak in 1922. The following year,St. Mary's Convent School would commence and numbers at Myrtleford State School 955 would decline for the rest of the decade. The coverage of the whole school population provides a snapshot of all families attending the school.

Inscriptions & Markings

School and Photographer name inscribed: "State School Myrtleford, 1922" "J. Check"

Colourized Photograph - "Planting Tobacco N.E. Victoria

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

A colourized photograph of tobacco planting activity in a paddock near Myrtleford.

Historical information

The photograph depicts the 2nd important stage in tobacco growing--transplanting seedlings into open paddocks. It depicts early post-war machinery in use at the time until affordable modern tractors were available. The planting machine has probably been adapted from the horse-drawn era pre-World War 2. The scene is one near Myrtleford in the Ovens Valley.

Significance

The photograph depicts the slow adaptation of modern tobacco farming methods in the immediate post-war period and the type of terain suitable for tobacco growing. The labour intensive nature of tobacco planting is also depicted.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscription: Planting Tobacco N.E. Victoria"

Glass Butter Dish

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

A small, square glass butter mixer. In the base is an early photograph of Myrtleford in the 1930's looking towards Mt Buffalo taken from Reform Hill In the foreground are the homes of early retailers the Robertson's and Glass Families 1870 and 1880 in the middle of the photo is the School Building No 995 and in the distance is an early building of the Butter Factory

Historical information

Photograph taken in the early 1930's Photographer unknown ? taken for tourism purposes

Significance

Photograph shows early buildings of Myrtleford.taken from Reform Hill looking towards Mt Buffalo

Inscriptions & Markings

Photograph in base of glass butter mixer is titled 'Myrtleford'

Portrait of V.C. Soldier - A.D. Lowerson V.C.

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Monochrome portrait of Sergeant Albert David Lowerson, Victoria Cross (1896-1945), standing, in gold frame.

Historical information

The portrait depicts Sgt. A.D. Lowerson V.C. after receipt of his award at Buckingham Palace on March 1, 1919. It links the town and the Lowerson family to events in World War 1.

Significance

A.D. Lowerson was awarded the Victoria Cross as the result of bravery and leadership in the capture of Mont St. Quentin on September 1, 1918, particularly for his bombing of a German strongpoint. He refused to leave his post, despite wounds, for two days. He is the only winner of the V.C. in north east Victoria, beyond Euroa. Lowerson's name has been memorialized in a street name, the local swimming pool and Soldiers Memorial Square and with others on church and state school honour boards.

Gold Crucibles

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Wedding Gown

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Hand-made cream patterned wedding gown, circa1878, long-sleeved and complete with bustle.

Historical information

This gown was worn by Ellen Harvey Cundy (1857--1939) on her marriage to Thomas Davenport Wood on January 23, 1878. It was the first marriage at St. Paul's Church of England, Clyde Street, Myrtleford. The gown was made by the bride's mother, Marrianne Cundy

Significance

This is the first bridal gown to grace the former timber church building. Both the Cundy and Wood families were prominent locally, having settled at Waterloo/Barwidgee Creek/Myrtleford area in the 1860s. Marianne Cundy was a teacher at Myrtleford State School 955 from 1870-76, where the gown is now housed.

Tobacco Advertising Sign - "Wills's Golden Flake"

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Large metal multi-coloured enamel advertising sign, rectangular in shape, depicting cigarettes in a cylindrical package,

Historical information

The sign is one collected by shareholders or officers of the Tobacco Company of Victoria Ltd. (located in Myrtleford), who donated it following closure of the tobacco growing industry in Australia.

Significance

The advertisement acknowledges local grower links with a major tobacco manufacturer who purchased leaf from them over an extended period.

Inscriptions & Markings

Signage includes: Wills's "Golden Flake" Cigarettes--50s. W.D. & H.O. Wills

Weather Station

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

School Photograph - Empire Day Celebrations, 1915

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

A monochrome photograph of a small group of pupils at Myrtleford State School 955 in 1915, celebrating Empire Day. Pupils include from left: Isobel Robertson, Linda Croucher, Rene Johnson, Alice O'Donnell, Agnes Collins, Dorrie Peters, Madge O'Donnell.

Historical information

Early in 20th century, a small group of girls at Myrtleford State School 955 participated in honouring Empire Day each May by "dressing up" to represent Britannia.

Significance

This select group of girls celebrates the might of Britannia in the first full year of World War 1. It reflects the type of celebrations schools were expected to participate in at that time and for some years to come. Alice O,Donnell, the tallest, centre pupil in the group, was to lose her life on the Australian Hospital Ship "Centaur" when it was sunk by a Japanese submarine off the Queensland coast in May, 1943.

Inscriptions & Markings

Photograph is inscribed: "T. Foxcroft, photo"

Gold Mining Sign

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Tin rectangular mining sign embossed with a warning

Historical information

This sign was required to be displayed in the vicinity of gold mining sites. Myrtleford district was known to have had 100 sites within a ten mile radius of the town; the sign was recovered by Charlie McFadyen, a local prospector and fossicker, of some 60 years

Significance

The sign relates to local gold mining activity, a key source of wealth and employment from 1854 to the late 19th century. Such signs continued to be in use during the period between World War 1 and 2,including the period of the Great Depression.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscription: "THIS LAND IS AURIFEROUS AND SUBJECT TO MINING CONDITIONS"

Certificate of Appreciation

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Print of Oil Painting - Menin Gate At Midnight 0r Ghosts of Menin Gate

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Print of oil painting depicting ghosts of Australian soldiers in vicinity of Menin Gate, battlefield in France, World War 1.

Historical information

Across Australia, many government establishments displayed this print, acknowledging the sacrifices made in World War 1. Each state school was presented with a framed copy.

Significance

This print hangs in the old school building in which it was originally presented in 1929. It is exhibited near the doorway of the Museum's room of military artefacts.

Inscriptions & Markings

"Menin Gate at Midnight" by Will Longstaff, 1927 Presented to Myrtleford State School 955, 1929

Pastel Drawing Book

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

A grey-covered rectangular shaped booklet containing pages separated by tissue paper, all pages completed with shaded depictions of fruit, vegetables, geometric shapes, etc.

Historical information

The drawing book was owned by Harold Frederick Allan Trezise (1917-82) of Grade "F" at Myrtleford State ("Central") School in 1929. Allan, as he was known, was one of nine siblings born to Harold and Mary Trezise and aged 12 years when he did his pastel drawings. He was a member of a well-known local family; his father operated a local taxi and motor repairs business and indulged in gold prospecting.

Significance

The pastel drawing book clearly illustrates the capabilities of a young pupil with an artistic-creative bent and reflects on the teaching methodology used in this curriculum area at the local school. A pride of workmanship is conveyed in the well-preserved leaves of the book.

Inscriptions & Markings

Each page is dated the day the drawings were completed.

Untitled

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Metal box with a hinged lid, front panel decorated with silver lettering and green background.

Inscriptions & Markings

Tea No 290. Colchin's Tea Stores PHONE J2565 Direct Importer of Finest Teas, Coffee & Cocoas Always over the Commonwealth Standard of extract ~Blends to suit individual Tastes! 110 BRIDGE ROAD. RICHMOND.. CITY END Your recommendation favoured MELBOURNE

Supper Cloth - Belgian Supper Cloth, 1915

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Framed embroidered white linen cloth depicting a tribute to ANZAC soldiers by the women of Belgium, dated 1915. The tribute takes the form of an ANZAC soldier and words in the English language.

Historical information

The supper cloth was brought to Australia and presented to the Shields family. Mary Ann Stebbing (nee Shields) then handed it on to her daughter Nancy Jean, who married Alfred Marshall in 1937. On Nancy's death, the cloth came into the possession of her daughter, Nolene Menz (nee Marshall).

Significance

This large cloth with its noteworthy hand stitching is an example of the range of textile memorabilia generated during World War 1. It links a local Buffalo River family to the 1914-18 conflict.

Inscriptions & Markings

Accompanying the ANZAC soldier presenting arms are the centred words: "ANZAC 1915" "OUR HERO, WE'RE PROUD OF HIM". Around the border of the cloth it reads: "WE ARE PROUD OF AUSTRALIAN BRAVE SOLDIERS WHO NOBLY DID RESPOND TO THE FIGHT FOR KING AND COUNTRY. HONOUR ON US ALL AND TO AVENGE BRAVE BELGIANS WRONGS. GOD PROTECT THEM."

"The School Papers" 1936

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Butter Churn

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

An upright clear-glass butter churn with screw-on metal cap, handle and gears. The churn mechanism is fully enclosed.

Historical information

The churn was used by Elise Weston (nee Trahair) at Barwidgee Creek and Myrtleford in the immediate post-war period. Prior to this time it was in the possession of the Trahair family on their family farm where a small dairy herd met family requirements.

Significance

The churn represents an aspect of self sufficient living in rural areas outside township boundaries. It assisted households to meet family needs using simple processing technology and more so when surplus butter could be sold on in local markets.

Inscriptions & Markings

"Daisy" brand with "3Qt" inscribed in the glass.

Tobacco bale stencil

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Stencil made of thin sheet metal, rusted .Wording of stencil "A.D.LOWERSON. MYRTLEFORD."

Historical information

Stencil used by Sgt. Albert David Lowerson, VC, a soldier settler on Merriang Estate near Myrtleford. Lowerson acquired one of 19 blocks assigned by the Closer Settlement Board on the 700 acre estate in 1920. The stencil marked bales of cured tobacco leaves prior to shipment to Melbourne. Lowerson was one of the few successful soldier settler farmers in the district, operating a piggery, dairy farming and growing tobacco for almost 20 years on "St. Quentin". (Lowerson was awarded the Victoria Cross at Mont St. Quentin on September 1, 1918.) His success and status enabled him to lead a submission on farm debt and infrastructure problems when the soldier settlement scheme was being reviewed at government level. He was active locally on these issues and supported fund raising for a war memorial, memorial hall and veteran welfare.

Significance

The stencil represents the achievements of A.D.Lowerson, VC as an isolated example of success as a WW1 soldier settler and as a local identity who stridently supported the need for recognition and support of ex-service personnel.

Cigarette Dispenser

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Brown and cream coloured bakelite cigarette dispenser, incorporating shape of a kookabura.

Historical information

Such dispensers were sold in tobacconist and gift shops as everyday household novelty items.

Significance

The dispenser links the role of a Myrtleford tobacconist and hairdresser to the local tobacco industry organization, the Tobacco Company of Victoria Ltd., who housed the item after closure of his business in 1976.

Inscriptions & Markings

Upright shape of a kookabura at one end of the dispenser.

Roll of Honour - Buffalo River South State School

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

School Bell

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Large complete brass school bell with steel tongue.

Historical information

The bell was installed in the late 1880s at Myrtleford State School 955, Elgin Street, Myrtleford and rang there until the school relocated to a new site in early 1939. The bell followed the pupils to O'Donnell Avenue, but was dismantled and placed in storage in the 1950s.

Significance

This bell is tied to the early daily life of state schooling in Elgin Street, from the commencement of the decline of gold mining in the district until immediately before the outbreak of World War 2. It is also related to the daily lives of children who participated in the "consolidation" of state schooling at O'Donnell Avenue and the development of "higher elementary" education.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscription: "C. Wilson & Co., Founders, Glasgow, A.D. 1885"

Tobacco tin - Champion

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Small metal tin, 1 oz., with red and cream lid: Champion Highest Grade Cut Tobacco. Gladiator trademark in centre on top of lid. Manufactured by British Australasian Tobacco Co. Pty.Ltd. Sydney Australia

Historical information

Tobacco industry. Container for 1 oz. loose cut tobacco. Limited no. tins produced. . Early 20th century tobacco manufacture. Donated by Tobacco Company of Victoria Ltd.

Significance

Limited edition tobacco tin which contained blend of Australian and overseas tobaccos.

Inscriptions & Markings

Printed on inside lid: "As the issue of this tin will be limited, smokers of CHAMPION TOBACCO should retain it as a holder for the contents of their 1 oz. packets.

Inclinometer

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Hand held brass pocket inclonometer level, circa 1920. Leather case for safe storage. Semi circular graduated dial with 90 degree vernier scale with a small (20mm) magnifying glass to aid reading the vernier scale. Above the body, mounted at the rear of the graduated dial, is a spirit level tube which is tilted by finger movement to the milled hand wheel. The height to be determined is sighted through the instrument eyepiece and the bubble tube is tilted until the bubble, viewed in the mirror inside the sighting tube, is brought level with the graticule sighted at the top of the subject object. An angle is thus obtained and by measuring the distance on the ground to the object, trigonometry can be applied to determine the height of the object.

Historical information

Provenance not clear. Leather case has 'MMBW' inscribed in black pen, indicating an association with Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works. Item has been in the possession of Terry McCormack since 1972

Inscriptions & Markings

Herga & Co. BRISBANE. Made in England

Tobacco Sales Photograph

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

A monochrome photograph displaying a large tobacco selling floor

Historical information

The photograph depicts the magnitude of the tobacco industry in the late 1960s to 1970s era when many Myrtleford district growers contributed to the annual tobacco harvest. The impact of post-war migration from southern Europe was playing an important role in reaching harvest records.

Significance

The photograph reflects the "golden years" of tobacco growing in the district, which continued into the 1970s, prior to later deregulation in the 1980s and 90s and the ceasing of production altogether in 2006. This sales floor attracted local farming families to observe activities off-season in Melbourne, before the sales were conducted at a complex in Myrtleford.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscription: "VIEW OF THE SHOW FLOOR OF DALGETY-NZL's BROOKLYN WOOL STORE ON 27-6-1966 WHEN 15,940 BALES OF TOBACCO LEAF VALUED AT $3,507,000 WERE DISPLAYED. IT WAS THE BIGGEST DISPLAY OF TOBACCO LEAF EVER SEEN IN AUSTRALIA"

Tobacco advertising sign

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Hairdresser's Singer

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

A green-coloured metal cylinder containing white dropless tapers (candles) which were used to singe freshly-cut hair to prevent "bleeding ends".

Historical information

The hairdresser's singer was used in the local hairdressing and tobacconist shop owned by Hugh Jones from 1947-70, until such treatments were abandoned. Mr. Jones retired in 1976.

Significance

Knowledge of the use of such hairdressing aids assists in the understanding of progress made in modern hair treatments.

Inscriptions & Markings

Black painted signage on the cylinder: "Ship Brand" "Price's White Dropless Tapers" "Manufactured by Price's patent Candle Co. Ltd., London & Liverpool"

Tobacco Cutter

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

A small cast iron and wooden guillotine-style tobacco cutter. The metal cutter is mounted on the wooden base, with a wooden striker plate.

Historical information

This plug tobacco cutter was collected locally and displayed as part of the memorabilia display at the Tobacco Company of Victoria Ltd., Myrtleford. Plug tobacco could be acquired on tobacco farms or purchased at local outlets.

Significance

Tobacco cutters were significant tools for pipe smokers until self-made or manufactured cigarettes began to dominate the tobacco sales market from the 1920s. Such cutters are a link to a previously common means of consuming tobacco.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscription "McMillan" appears on the striker plate.

Portrait of Soldier - James E. Matthews, 60th Battalion, Killed in Action, 19 July, 1916

Myrtleford and District Historical Society, Myrtleford

Framed original sepia photograph, head and shoulders, of World War 1 soldier in full dress uniform.

Historical information

Private James Edward Matthews (3174) was one of four first cousins living in the Myrtleford district killed during World War 1. He was in the 60th Battalion, A.I.F. action at Fromelles, France, and was killed in action, aged 19 years, on July 19,1916. He was the son of Richard and James Matthews of Myrtleford and has no known grave, but is "Remembered with Honour" at V.C. Corner, Australian Cemetery and Memorial, Fromelles. James attended Myrtleford State School 955; his death is recorded on honour boards at the Uniting (formerly Methodist) Church, the school honour board and at the Soldier's memoral Square. A memorial window at the church includes names of the four cousins.

Significance

The portrait reminds viewers of the youth of many A.I.F. volunteers, the outcome of actions such as that at Fromelles in 1916 and the impact on families in small communities. It also relates to the ongoing search for identifiable remains of those personnel without a known resting place.

Inscriptions & Markings

James E. Matthews, 60th Battalion, Killed in Action, 19 July, 1916. Photography: Talma & Co., Melb.