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Stratford and District Historical Society Stratford, Victoria

Historical Society

Contact Information

location
Stratford Victoria (map)
phone
+61 0418 573 828
Contact

Opening Hours

10am to 3pm Tuesdays, 2pm to 4pm 4th Sunday of the month (excepting June to August)

Entry Fee

Gold Coin Donation

Location

Stratford Victoria

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Objects, photographs, references and documents relating to the area of the former Shire of Avon. It is maintained by the Stratford nd District Historical Society, and the Society?s Archives cover all of the area of the former Shire of Avon, plus Wonnangatta. This includes Stratford, Clydebank, The Heart, Montgomery, part of Bundalaguah, Llowalong, Munro, Meerlieu, Strathfieldsaye, Dargo, Grant, Crooked River and all areas in between.

Significance

The Stratford and District Historical Society collection has high local significance because it illustrates in great depth life in the former Shire of Avon since European settlement. The collection gives insight into the early settlement of the area and particularly of the diversity of residents who actively sought improvements and civilisation in an area that was remote from major cities. The collection clearly demonstrates the rise of Stratford from an outpost to a powerful centre of local government, through to the decline of the town with the advent of improved communication and transport, and its rebirth as a dormitory town that is once again attracting population and services. In this respect the collection remains an exemplar of all Victorian towns that have gone through periods of decline and growth. The collection also demonstrates the diversity of landscape, land use and economic activity that characterised the Shire. Most importantly the collection demonstrates Stratford?s strategic importance in the development of Gippsland and allows wide contexts to be revealed. No other museum holds a collection that has the level and depth of the S&DHS in relation to the Shire of Avon. [Significance Assessment, Jennifer Coates, 2009]

Anna Rosenbaum 10 January 2015 9:26 AM

I am doctoral student at the University of Sydney and the topic of my dissertation is historical connections between Australia and Czechoslovakia. During my research I came across a topic that might be of interest to your society. At the turn of the 19th/20th century, a Czech natural scientist by the name of Josef Kořenský (1847-1938) visited your area and took photographs of a landscape at Stratford on Avon, destroyed by bush fire. Moreover, he also photographed the Ramahyuck mission. Should you be interested in the prints of these photographs, I would be happy to let you have them. Best wishes, Anna

Anna Rosenbaum 10 January 2015 9:26 AM

I am doctoral student at the University of Sydney and the topic of my dissertation is historical connections between Australia and Czechoslovakia. During my research I came across a topic that might be of interest to your society. At the turn of the 19th/20th century, a Czech natural scientist by the name of Josef Kořenský (1847-1938) visited your area and took photographs of a landscape at Stratford on Avon, destroyed by bush fire. Moreover, he also photographed the Ramahyuck mission. Should you be interested in the prints of these photographs, I would be happy to let you have them. Best wishes, Anna

Thomas A Reeves 29 August 2015 9:22 AM

some time ago I made a toilet stop at the public toilets at Stratford .Vic. there were some workers there doing some work on the health centre . They told me that there was a bunker under the health centre ( I assume for wartime safety? I lived in Raymond st Stratford for a couple of years in 1965 and I had never heard of a bunker . Do you have any info at all?

yvonne Curtain 30 April 2016 11:00 AM

We are looking for Information/photos of the Dargo district for our Back to Dargo in October. Is there someone in your Society that could help. Thank you

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23 items

Tramp Art Frame

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

Coloured print George V (1865-1936) and Queen Mary in mosaic frame. Frame has been overlaid with putty, painted gold, with pieces of broken china pressed into putty. Silverpaper has been placed behind degraded areas of paper.

Historical information

5/11/2009 recent edition of "Collectors" on ABC TV identified this genre, where silverpaper was placed behind degraded pictures in "craft" frames, as a form of Tramp Art

Ballot Boxes

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

Four wooden ballot boxes from the former Shire of Avon. All are locakable and have a small slit at the top for insertion of votes. Three are painted green, two are similar and the third is different. One is varnished wood with dove-tailed corners.

Significance

The Ballot Box is an important icon for local government democracy. In most cases it is no longer in use, supplanted by postal voting.

Inscriptions & Markings

"2" painted in black on a green box, over a stamped "Avon Shire Council"

Illuminated Address

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

White wooden frame containing an illuminated address to Mrs S. Swan from the Wesleyan Church at Stratford 2 January 1892. It is press-printed in gold ink on what appears to be a blank, pre-printed poster. It reads: Stratford, 2 January 1892 Mrs S. Swan, Stratford Dear Madam, We, the Minister and Trustees of the Stratford Wesleyan Methodist Church desire to tender you our most sincere thanks for your very generous donation of Fifty Pounds handed to us to-day by Mr George Poole in aid of clearing off the debt on our church. Thanks to your kindness the Ladies of our congregation have been induced to help, and they have raised a considerable sum by means of a Cake and Apron Sale, so that after our Annual Tea meeting to be held at Easter next at our Church. Debt will then be a "Thing of the Past". We trust God will keep you in health and strength, long to live amongst us. We are Yours Very Tuly Rev. H.E. MERRIMAN, Minister Trustees S.CAVANAGH W.LITTLE S.CHINN G.LITTLE Fred J. LITTLE, Secretary

Historical information

Fanny Swan (formerly Wood, nee Poole) came to Gippsland in the 1840s with her first husband, William Wood, where they became proprietors of the Shakespeare Hotel at Stratford. William Wood died in 1855, and in 1856 she married Samuel Swan. Together they acquired considerable property in and around Stratford. Samuel Swan died in 1880 at Stratford, and Fanny Swan died at Stratford in 1895.

Significance

This illuminated address which documents the final payment for the Wesleyan Church building in 1892 has historic significance for Stratford Historical Society as it is located in the actual building. It also has social significance for the township as Mrs Fanny Swan was one of the earliest and best known business leaders in the area running the iconic Shakespeare hotel/boarding house for many years. It has aesthetic significance as an example of a illuminated address produced on a printing press with gold ink, rather than the usual handwritten form.

Telephone Directory - 1972 Telephone Directory Bairsndale, Foster, Korumburra, Mornington, Morwell, Sale, Warragul.

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

1972 Telephone Directory Bairnsdale, Foster, Korumburra, Mornington, Morwell, Sale, Warragul. It is paperback with an image of a fungus on the front cover, with a pink background.

Significance

Important historically as the last year the directory was published in exchange order, with subscribers shown under those exchanges, rather than as an overall alphabetical directory. It is therefore important as a record of those small exchanges, now all closed, as well as a record of residents in small rural areas and the larger towns.

Book - Hotels in the former Avon Shire: A Work in Progress

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

Published book (processed, comb bound) "Hotels in the former Avon Shire: A Work in Progress". 47 pages, illus., A4, Edition May 2012. Includes hotels at Stratford, Nuntin, Delvine, Munro, Stockdale, Cobbanah, Dargo, Grant, Iguana Creek.

Apron

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

Half apron in red and white gingham with chicken scratch embroidery and white rick-rack braid. Backed with white lawn.

Historical information

Located in opportunity shop in Melbourne, where it was purchased for $2. The donor has considerable knowledge of chicken scratch embroidery (surface weaving on cross-stitch on gingham to emphasise colours). She considers this the best example of the art she has seen, with several very rare stitch combinations. It has been posted to experts overseas and in Australia for examination.

Desk

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

A tall, unpainted teacher's wooden desk with a single hinged flap as a lid. A ceramic inkwell is set into the top right-hand side. Names have been inscribed under the lid. It is accompanied by its stool (00802VSFH)

Historical information

A succession of teachers has signed their names under the lid, and the notation "Killed in Action, March 1917" has been added after the 1913 signature of Edward Jones. These were originally at State School 1589 Invermichie, which operated from 1875 to 1917 near Munro. At its closure the furniture was transferred to Munro, and teachers there signed the desk lid after that time.

Inscriptions & Markings

Names that are legible include: R.Costello 1925 [?], 1928 Hector Connaught / Semper Fideles J.A. Cullinan, 96 BW 94 Maude Rack June '91 J.Bux Howqua Dale Barry J. Buxton 19.12.52/son of the above. Edw. H. Jones August 1913. Killed in Action March 1917 Enter Irene Hannan 1st May 1916 Exit 19 Sept 1919 Ella K. Fletcher 31.8.20 Monga [?] Duggan 1922 S.M.Kerr 7/1/27 J.A.Mullin Jan 1930-Sept 34 Robert J ...... Sept 34-Dec34 G.A.Faux Jan 5 to Aug 55 Mrs Mary M.Costello HT Sept 1955 Heather A ..... Assistant Feb 1969-Dec 1970 Emma Dronieika [?] Assistant Feb 1971 - Dec 1971 Pamela Golden (Draffin) Feb 1972-Dec 1972 AnneCargeeg Feb 1973 Scratched on lid is B.W.Butcher born 1912, killed 1959 aged 47 Vision and Realisation gives dates for the school as 1875 to 1917, so names after that time would appear to be for teachers from Munro.

Chest

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

Large wooden box/trunk, painted Mission Brown. Three tin braces support each corner joint. Four hinges, two at the back and two inoperational at the front. Lid corners and edges braced with tin strips and shaped corners. Loop and hasp at front. Metal handles on the side. Pink paint on base.

Historical information

Thought to have been made and used by one of the two Struss brothers who were both carpenters in Scotland before coming to Victoria in 1848 and 1854. They dealt in hardware, living and selling in Walhalla, Woods Point and Matlock. It finally became the property of Elsa Struss of South Yarra, the sister-in-law of the donor. Many tradesmen had chests such as this to carry and store tools.

Photograph, Framed

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

A framed sepia copy photographic print of a head and shoulders portrait of a young man in dress uniform of the Victorian Mounted Rifles, labelled Pte D.Pruden and presumed to be David Hamilton Pruden, who died in Africa during the Boer War. The frame, of crossed wooden bars with decorative metal at each crossing, appears to be commercially produced. Backing support for the frame is a section of an 1893 calender for an unknown insurance firm, agent J.B Kelly at Stratford, which has been detached for separate cataloguing.

Historical information

The photograph that appears in this frame is a copy. The original is catalogued at 01314. Sgt David Hamilton Pruden, 404, enlisted from Newry and was killed at Koster River in the Trasnvaal on 21 July 1900, and was buried at Rustenburg cemetery. He is commemorated in a large tablet in the Stratford Mechanics' Institute. This photograph originally hung in the Stratford Mechanics' Institute.

Theodolite

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

This theodoite consists of a bottom plate, which is damaged and has melted metal. This rises to a ball joint, on which is pivoted another plate on which were housed four screws, of which three remain, to adjust the level. Above this is another plate, with compass markings and melted glass.

Historical information

This theodolite was used by `Mr Dawson' (presumably William Tennant Dawson c.1820-1873) who `surveyed much of the area around and beyond Stratford'. It was damaged by the fire which burnt the original Roseneath home in 1921, when the Macleods were in residence. (Mrs W.T. Dawson was a Macleod). One little boy aged 3 years was given the job of saving everything on the kitchen table when the fire started at breakfast time. The theodolite was possibly in use by Dawson when he laid out St Kilda Road.

Inscriptions & Markings

"Troughton and Simm's/London" in fine engraving on upper plate.

Portrait of Samuel Swan

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

An unsigned portrait, oil on canvas, of Samuel J Swan. He is shown looking left. It is framed in a gold coloured plaster frame, with relatively simple trimming on corners. The frame is chocked at the back with wooden wedges to hold canvas in place, and a framer's label appears at the top.

Historical information

This portrait is said to be in the technique of Alfred Bock, but the frame is dissimilar to the standard type on 80% of the collection in the Sale Museum. Samuel Swan died in 1880. It is unclear where the portrait hung, as Swan died before the Mechanics' Institute was built.

Inscriptions & Markings

'Samuel J Swan / Gippsland Pioneer' on brass plate bottom front. "Telephone 7231 Central / T.S. Glasier & Co Pty Ltd / Gallery of Art / Picture Frame Manufacturers &c / Union House / 284-6 Little Collins Street / No [in pencil] 2344, Melbourne"

Sewing Machine

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

A Singer treadle sewing machine set in a large table with cast iron legs and stand with the words SINGER on it. There are two wooden drawers on either side. The machine is black and ornamented in gold. The head swings down into the stand, forming a table when not in use.

Historical information

Used by Miss Alice Mitchell of Stratford. Purchased in 1909 by Miss Mitchell’s mother, and later used by Miss Mitchell who, for the duration of the war, made two pairs of socks, a flannel singlet / shirt and a pair of pyjamas (the last two on this machine), each week, for the entire war. Miss Mitchell lost three brothers and her fiancée in World War I, and was a member of the Red cross for the two world wars, and served the organisation for over 50 years.

Milking Stool

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

Wooden milking stool with a square top of axe-dressed hardwood and four wooden legs that fit through holes in the seat. One leg is made from a branch of a tree.

Historical information

Used by the Estoppey family, Swiss emigrants, at Briagolong. Three and four-legged milking stools were standard equipment in early dairies, where cows were milked by hand. Similar stools were used in the home for informal seating.

Bedspread

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

A bedspread made principally of three sections of white linen sewn together with panels of crochet, with a deep linen edging and crochet edging. There are moths, butterflies and flowers embroidered on all sections in white cotton, as a form of candlewicking.

Historical information

Archibald James Bower enlisted in World War I in November 1915, and was killed in action in France in August 1916. Before he left Australia, he drew designs on linen for his mother, Harriet Bower nee Harper, to embroider a quilt - mainly flowers, butterflies and moths. Mrs Bower finished the quilt, which was then used for many years by her grandson, Archibald William Luxford. He went to sleep every night, knowing the designs were drawn by the uncle he had never known, after whom he had been named.

Significance

This quilt has historic significance as a memorial to a soldier lost in World War I. It is important as a tangible reminder of loss in war, and an example of how memorials to those lost in war take many forms. It has aestetic significance as an example of needlework that is original in design, with an impressive range of different stitches used to execute the design. It has spiritual significance to the Luxford family and the Munro community (even though Archie Bower was from Sale and the quilt moved later to Munro), as the quilt that Arch Luxford, a prominent member of the community, often spoke about as one his most important possessions. He was born after the death of his uncle, and named in memory of him. He grew up sleeping under the quilt, and knowing the story of his loss in World War I.

Model Steam Engine

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

This small steam engine has two wheels attached to shafts connected to a single piston. It has a horizontal double-acting three inch bore with a four and half inch stroke fitted with Stephensons link reversing gear. It is mounted on a green-coloured wooden box.

Historical information

This working-model steam engine was hand-made c.1893 by Frank Scott of Mewburn Park, and used to drive a pump. The entire engine and base were repaired, cleaned and restored by participants in a LEAP program hosted by Eastern Victorian Group Training, Bairnsdale, in June 1995. This included repairing a broken piston arm.

Signature Cloth

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

A degraded signature cloth from the Stratford Methodist Church Harvest Festival 1918. It contains a central block with 20 surrounding blocks. Each normal block contains twelve signatures.It utilises red cotton and red binding on white calico.

Historical information

Donor located cloth in the house of his cousin, Olive Perkins, os Seaspray, possibly in 1999. Olive Perkins had no known association with Stratford, apart from being friends with some members of the Stratford Methodist church, but the M. Perkins who appears thereon may have been her mother, and Olive Perkins also appears. It appears, as Methodists were opposed to raffles, which they saw as gambling, that a fee may have been paid to have a name included on a block. It is assumed the quilt was then sold.

Photograph, Framed

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

Framed photograph, head and shoulders, of Charles Christie STEWART, dressed in the uniform of a corporal in the Australian army in WWI. It is in an oak frame, with steam-pressed detail, under glass.

Historical information

STEWART enlisted 12 June 1915, aged 22 years. He served at Alexandria and in France, before being killed in action in Belgium, 4 Oct 1917. The Society also holds: 00140 - personal effects for Charles Christie STEWART, returned to family. 00749 - tree plaque for C.C.STEWART

Kewpie Doll, Doll

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

A flesh coloured plastic jointed kewpie doll. It has rigid painted eyes, webbed fingers, head,arms and legs jointed to body so can move them, "cowlick" hair on top of head, above ears and nape of neck, back spine and bottom clearly moulded, smiling painted lips

Historical information

Popular from early twentieth century. Based on comic strip illustration by Rose O'Neill that appeared in Ladies Home Journal in 1909. First produced in Ohrdruf, Germany. Made out of bisque, then celluloid , hard plastic versions from 1949. Name derived from "cupid" the Roman god of beauty. The time capsule at 1939 New York World' Fair contained a Kewpie doll. The term "Kewpie doll" is sometimes mistakenly applied to the troll doll. This particular style of doll was awarded as a carnival prize and often collected. Many other articles were made using their images[ Wikipedia, 2012]. Added to the collection as part of a Toys and Games exhibition. Many visitors commented on having owned one when they were growing up

Commode Chair

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

A wooden commode chair converted from a kitchen chair with four round legs and a hinged seat. Underneath is a hole to hold chamber pot or covered commode. The backrest consists of three turned spindles between squared timber that supports a carved rail across top. It is painted with cream paint that is rather worn.

Historical information

This Commode Chair has been skillfully adapted by a bush carpenter from a kitchen chair - possibly for an invalid at a time when toilets were usually outside and often difficult to reach. The hinged seat is held up by a wire hook (No.8 fencing wire), and the seat can be lifted to remove the commode pot. The cream paint is of the type universally used for kitchen furniture before a more diverse range of paint colours became available.

Snakebone necklace

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

A circular necklace made of spine bones from snakes and red beads, threaded onto copper wire. It contains 20 bones, each with a red bead between it and the next, with five red beads near a rough hook catch. The bones appear painted, possibly with calcomine.

Historical information

Makers of Snakebone Necklaces Two local women who made these necklaces were: Minnie Blucher (nee Wanke) (c.1891-1976) who lived at Briagolong in the 1940s. Highly artistic, she eagerly sought out snakes, killing many around Noble's Bridge. Peter Mills of Briagolong remembers that she would hang them on fences for maggots to eat away the fresh, and painted and dyed the bones. She also used spine bones from cattle for ornaments. Bella Buttsworth (1882-1951) was the daughter of Thomas and Rachel Mills of Briagolong, and the aunt of Ina Worseldine of Maffra. Ina remembers her making these necklaces in the 1920s, and that she placed beads in between the bones. The comment was also made that she often put large bones at the front and smaller ones to the back. Bella obtained the bones by boiling the dead snakes down, and then left the bones out on logs in the sun to bleach.

Photographs, Framed

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

A chip-carved wooden frame with reproduction photographs of Stratford men in uniform similar to Boer War uniform.

Historical information

Original photogaphs have been removed from frame and are catalogued at 1311, 1312. The frame has long been considered to be the work of Vera Mayhew, a well-known exponent of chip carving. The original photographs are catalogued elsewhere as: 01311: An early copy sepia photographic print pasted to cardboard of four men in military uniform, three wearing caps, one bare-headed. They are, standing, Pte Weir, Pte Tweedie, seated Pte Beecher, Pte Cochrane. They known to have been members of the Victorian Mounted Rifles, but the uniform is unusual for that group. They are wearing different leggings, and their belts cross their right shoulder, not the left. They wear a piece of cloth with diagonal stripes across it pinned above their left pocket. In all, it suggests a photograph taken, possibly in South Africa, in their battle dress, and possibly after a team game. William Hamilton Weir was invalided back to Aust, arr. 5 June 1901; James Tweedie 287 Pvt Stratford, prom. to Corporal 20 March 1901, listed in fallen for World War 1; Private J.A. Beecher also had brothers who served (see P00179B). Pte William James Cochrane 309, prom to Lance Corp 10 April 1900, Corp 16 Nov 1900, apparently ret. to Aust, appt. commander No 1 Troop Wangaratta, ret to South Africa in 5th Contingent as Lieutenant, became a member of 6th Batt. Aust Commonwealth Horse, ret. to Aust. 7 Aug 1902. 01312: A first generation sepia photographic print of four men in Boer War Uniform. They are, standing, Pte H. Beecher, Pte A. Beecher, Pte Josh Jones, seated Sgt Pruden. They are all wearing standard Light Horse uniform, with slouch hats. Shoeingsmith Henry Ward Beecher 556 was invalided back to Aust., arr. 9 May 1901; Trooper George Andre Beecher 557; Josh Jones is possibly John Joseph Jones 434 of Stratford. Sgt Pruden was killed in action. These photographs originally hung in the Stratford Mechanics' Institute.

Poison Cart

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

Rabbit poison cart by T.H. Hicks of Sydney. Consists of wooden frame and floor 80cm high, wheels with cast iron hubs. Chain-driven from one wheel, operator's seat at rear, with a lever mechanism to control the trench forming attachment. Horse shafts 2.6 metres long. Serial number is cast in one side of the bait bin, and not on the other.

Historical information

Cart was operated by the Briagolong Rabbit Suppression League. It was purchased by the donor at the clearing sale for Jim Kelly in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Jim was the son of the main organiser of the Briagolong Rabbit Suppression League. Copies of the Minutes and accounts have been obtained, and are catalogued separately. Wood on cart was in much degraded condition, whole cart repaired by George Parker of the Stratford and District Historical Society, 2010.

Inscriptions & Markings

"Ideal" / T.H. Hicks / Patentee / Nth Botany No 5102 / N.S.W.

Overcoat

Stratford and District Historical Society, Stratford

Airforce-blue ladies handmade overcoat, light weight tweed material, three-button front, flared style, collarless, shaped sholders.

Historical information

Handmade by Betty Taylor during the 1940s, while living at Wodonga. Subsequently worn by her daughters. It was made from a blanket during the 2nd World War as other materials were only obtainable with coupons which were scarce. Once made the coat was used by all the female family members at various times (including grand-daughters). She married Neil Clarence Ripper and moved to Airly in 1950.