Saturday, December 31, 2011

#blog12daysxmas Day 7 New challenge for 2012

2012 is just around the corner and from the first week in January for the coming year the City of Boroondara Library Service will be taking part in a Flickr group challenge called Friday Photos 2012. Each Saturday we will be given a theme for the following week and can post up to three photographs on that theme in the Flickr group by the following Friday.

We will then be using the opportunity to write about those photographs in two of the library blogs, this one Telling Tales and our reading blog, Bookends. The theme for the first week has just been announced and it is, perhaps not unsurprisingly, "Beginnings". There are all sorts of possibilities with that theme for local and family history, so watch out for what we come up with!

In the mean time you might not be aware that the City of Boroondara Library Service has a Flickr account where you can look at photographs relating to the libraries currently. Check in here and see what you can find. Remember our historical photographs can be found on the web via the library catalogue, via Picture Australia or via Trove.

Friday, December 30, 2011

#blog12daysxmas Day 6 Radical Melbourne

It's not long now to January 6 when the voting for the National Year of Reading "Our Story" closes! For details of all the books to vote on and where to do your voting see the Telling Tales post on Bearbrass a couple of days ago or check out our Bookends blogpost today.

Another of the books on the list that people who are interested in local and family history might like to read is Radical Melbourne by Jeff and Jill Sparrow. Originally this book started as a walking tour that covered sites in inner Melbourne that had some link to political struggle and to Leftist history. 50 inner city locations are looked at and the events and incidents the book focuses on are from the beginnings of the city to the 1940s.

Maybe this is a book which typifies Melbourne for you?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

#blog12daysxmas Day 5 Mimovich plaque

Mimovich plaque by Hecuba's Story
Mimovich plaque, a photo by Hecuba's Story on Flickr.

As a followup to the post yesterday about Alexandra Gardens in Kew here is a photograph of the actual plaque in the gardens commemorating the gifting of the Mimovich sculptures to the City of Kew.

It's a lovely day today so I hope some of you find time to visit and spend some time in Alexandra Gardens.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

#blog12daysxmas Day 4 Visconti House

Visconti House is not strictly speaking a local history book or really anything to do with Boroondara. It is a young adult mystery novel written by Melbourne author, Elsbeth Edgar. It is a story about Laura (and her family) who have moved from Melbourne to live in a Victorian country town in a tumbling down mansion from another era.

Laura, whilst happy at home with her parents in the house, hates school where she feels different. Enter Leon, another person who is different. Leon and Laura gradually build up a friendship by tracing the history of Laura's mansion, the Visconti House of the title, and of Carlo Visconti, the man who built it. This is a great story about how to use local history sources: it is local history at work. There are plans and photographs and newspapers and the local public library and a cemetery as well as oral history gathered from older residents and relatives. There is even a bit of digging - of sorts.

I really enjoyed the book and read it from start to finish in one sitting. It is certainly a theme that is dear to my heart. I liked the way all the sources were covered and that there were frustrations and waiting times as there inevitably are when you are really tracing the history of a house or family. That being said, it did all come together rather neatly. But it is a work of fiction. It is a great book to use if you are wanting to encourage an interest in family or local history in younger people.

#blog12daysxmas Day 3 Alexandra Gardens

One of the most beautiful places in the City of Boroondara is undoubtedly the Alexandra Gardens in Kew. This oasis of calm and green is situated in Cotham Road between the Kew Library and Gellibrand Street. Visitors to the library can enjoy sitting looking from the western part of the building to these gardens and can wander through them on the way to the junction.

Alexandra Gardens are of historical significance and a "substantially intact park of the Edwardian period and for being one of the few formally landscaped parks in Kew" according to the City of Kew Urban Conservation Study completed in 1988.

Though a band rotunda had been erected locally in 1863 as a memorial of the establishment of the Borough of Kew, the Alexandra Gardens were an Edwardian creation and officially opened to the public on 8 April 1908 by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Reginald Talbot.

The bandstand was erected and opened on 14 December 1910 to mark the Jubilee of the Municipality of Kew and the establishment of the Town of Kew and provided a place for the Kew Band to play a series of moonlight concerts that summer.

The Queen Victoria Jubilee Fountain, formerly situated adjacent to the Kew Post Office in the junction was removed from its original site in 1924 to make way for the war memorial and relocated in the north-west corner of Alexandra Gardens.

Another pleasant feature of the gardens is the installation of sculptures by local artist Leopoldine Mimovich. The ten sculptures were given to the people of Kew "for their enjoyment" by the sculptor and were officially accepted by the Mayor of Kew, Councillor Michael Montalto, on 11 February 1990. Another of her sculptures celebrates the reopening of the Kew Library in its current location.

#blog12daysxmas Day 2 Bearbrass

In Australia in 2012 we are having a year long celebration of reading: the National Year of Reading 2012. One of the first activities is to get readers' views on what are the books that reflect what our sense of place and identity. So there is the Our Story competition going on across all states and territories to identify the one book people identify with most in their place. Shortlists have been compiled and circulated and the closing date is 6 January 2012. You can vote at your local public library, bookshop or online at the ABC website. You can get more information about the Our Story competition and the shortlisted books for all states and territories on the National Year of Reading site.

Among the six books shortlisted for Victoria is Robyn Annear's Bearbrass which was first published in 1995. It was awarded the A.A. Phillips prize for Australian Studies in the 1995 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, and was shortlisted for the 1995 NSW Premier's Literary Awards and the Age Book of the Year. Bearbrass was republished in a new edition in 2005.

Based on one of the early local names for Melbourne, Bearbrass reconstructs the early village as it might from been from 1835 when white settlers first appeared until the village was changed forever by the gold rushes of the 1850s and the resultant population influx. Annear overlays the nineteenth century village with her impressions and experiences of the modern city making an entertaining read that touches the reader on many levels.

Will you be voting for Bearbrass in the Our story competition?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

#blog12daysxmas Day 1 Hugh Trumble

It seems appropriate at this time of the year to blog about one of Boroondara's cricket greats, particularly since one of our library borrowers sitting in the Hugh Trumble members' bar at the G did not know of his Boroondara connections.

Hugh Trumble (1867-1938) was born at the Collingwood Stockade on 19 May 1867, the third of four boys. His father, William was Head Warder at the Collingwood Stockade which was on the site of the current Lee Street Primary School in Carlton.The Stockade, opened in 1953, had by 1866 become an asylum. While young Hugh moved to Ararat where his father, William, was employed as a warden in the psychiatric hospital. William transferred back to Melbourne with his family after the Kew Asylum (Willsmere) opened in 1872, and Hugh attended school at nearby Hawthorn Grammar School while living at the Kew Asylum.

Hugh had a career with the National Bank of Australasia which he joined in 1887 and this included a stint as manager of the Kew branch from 1908 to 1911. He resigned this post in November 1911 to become secretary of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC).

He first played for Victoria in 1887/8 and made five tours of England. It was during the 1899 tour that he was described as "the best bowler Australia has sent us". Secretary of the MCC until his death in 1938, he oversaw the building of two new grandstands at the MCG and was well known as a raconteur. Trumble whose connections with Boroondara lasted until his death died at his Hawthorn Grove, Hawthorn, home on 14 August 1938.

Photo credits:
Hugh Trumble, photographer J. Bolland (in various collections including State Library of Victoria & Melbourne Cricket Club)
Metroplitan Lunatic Asylum Kew, c. 1880 (National Gallery of Victoria source: Wikimedia Commons)
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