Friday, January 13, 2012

#fp2012 Coloured bricks fp52.2.3

Coloured bricks fp52.2.3 by Boroondara Libraries
Coloured bricks fp52.2.3, a photo by Boroondara Libraries on Flickr.

One of the fascinating things about walking about Hawthorn is the beautiful brickwork that can be seen on buildings and in the case above on a fence in Oxley Road, Hawthorn. Hawthorn had a number of busy brickworks in the nineteenth century, some of which were still functioning well into the twentieth century. This is a whole separate topic of fascination. This post is really about the theme of colour as we have submitted the above photo into the Flickr Friday Photos 2012 theme for this week: Colours.

There are many examples of colourful brickwork to be seen in domestic architecture in Hawthorn but two buildings absolutely stand out on the horizon and they are both churches. The Hawthorn Presbyterian Church in Glenferrie Road Hawthorn is shown above. This photo was taken on a very dull wintery day in summer but even so you can see how the building's colours stand out against the sky. It is even more stunning against a bright blue summer sky.

The first Presbyterian Church was built in Hawthorn in 1865 on this site and this building was opened in 1891. Like many of Hawthorn's churches, the Presbyterian Church relied heavily on local patronage. In the case of the Presbyterian Church members included Dugald McDougall, a partner in Sands & McDougall's stationers who were the publishers of the Sands & McDougall Directories, Andrew Murray, former editor of the Argus, Thomas Everist, surveyor and owner of "Spring Hill", James Fergusson, later MLA, and David Swan of Rathmines Road, father of Hawthorn Councillor James Swan.

The other, and perhaps more obvious building on the horizon as it can be seen for miles around is the Oxley Road Uniting Church, formerly the Oxley Road Methodist Church. This building is part of a complex which comprises of church, Sunday school, parsonage, and caretaker's cottage and was constructed between 1888 and 1890 from the designs of Alfred Dunn.

This church is of significance as the best example of Lombardic Romanesque church design in Australia, for the major complex amongst the Wesleyan establishments in Australia and for the major work of architect Dunn. It is also significant as a key local landmark in Hawthorn. The photo here of the tower gives a good impression of the colours to be found in the brickwork and the architecture generally. These just stand out for passers by.

Next time you are in Hawthorn get out of your car and walk around for a bit. Look at the brickwork to be found in the houses and wonder at the colours and designs that have been created out of the colours. But above all, stop and look at these two nineteenth century churches which are such great examples of the colours to be found in bricks.

Monday, January 9, 2012

#fp2012 Pink oleander frames Grainger house

Pink oleander frames Grainger house fp52.2.1 by Boroondara Libraries
Pink oleander frames Grainger house fp52.2.1, a photo by Boroondara Libraries on Flickr.

This house at 36 Oxley Road Hawthorn was built in 1881/82 for market gardener and dairyman, John Cam, a member of a family with long associations with Hawthorn and has been submitted by the City of Boroondara Library Services as part of the Friday Photos 2012 on Flickr. However, today the real significance of this house depends on the fact that composer and musician, Percy Grainger, lived in the house between the ages of five and nine.

The house is typical of weatherboard garden villas of the period for this area and has historical significance for John Cam and Percy Grainger, but also for his father, John Grainger. John Grainger, architect, designed the new Princes Bridge in 1879 and from 1897-1905 was Chief Architect in the West Australian Department of Public Works.

Percy Grainger as a child stands before the house, then named Kilallah, in the photograph below:

The house is commemorated in the City of Hawthorn plaque in the pavement in front of the house for John Cam, John Grainger and Percy Grainger.

Next time you are going down Oxley Road, take a moment to stop and look at this house and the plaque in front of it and remember the people who lived there.

Friday, January 6, 2012

#blog12daysxmas Day 12 Epiphany

Today is the 6 January and the Feast of the Epiphany. And it means that this post should have been written yesterday to have been done within the 12 days of Christmas. The Feast of the Epiphany in the Roman Catholic calendar celebrates the visit of the Magi to the new-born Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.

The stained glass window above is to be found in the nave of the Immaculate Conception Church in Burwood Road, Hawthorn - on the eastern side, i.e. on your right as you look towards the altar. The beautiful 19th century glass shines like jewels in the sunlight. In the left hand panel is Mary, seated with the infant on her lap and the approbation of heaven shining down on her. The right hand panel shows the three Magi approaching richly dressed and bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The window is dedicated to parishioner, Michael O'Grady (1824-1876), who was the first Mayor of the municipality of Hawthorn in 1860 when it ceased to be part of the Boroondara Roads Board. He was Mayor again in 1861/62 and 1870/71 and had previously been Chairman of the Boroondara District Roads Board in 1858. Also local member for South Bourke in the Legislative Assembly with a particular interest in Catholic issues such as the Education Act of 1872, he died suddenly on 5 January 1876 at his home Erinagh in Hawthorn. His requiem mass was attended by many priests and lay people, and the shops in Hawthorn closed as a mark of respect as his funeral cortege moved through Hawthorn on its way to the Boroondara Cemetery.

According to the South Bourke Standard, a meeting was held in the parish in August 1870 to decide on which windows would be allocated to those who had subscribed to their creation. Curiously Michael O'Grady was allocated the Visit of the Magi. The date of his death on the eve of the feast of the Epiphany made the subject matter of the window dedicated to him uncannily appropriate.

Next time you are going past, stop for a while and visit Immaculate Conception. The stained glass windows have so much to tell us about the history of the area.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

#blog12daysxmas Day 11 Hawthorn Town Hall Beginnings #fp2012

Another topic that came to mind for the #fp2012 theme of Beginnings was the first town hall in Hawthorn. Most people, familiar with the 1888 Beswicke designed building, don't ponder where the Council offices were before. The municipality of Hawthorn came into existence in 1860 when a petition of residents successfully called for separation from the Boroondara Roads Board.

The Boroondara Roads Board met in a room attached to a shop on the north side of Burwood Road just east of Power Street, Hawthorn. And it was there on 26 July 1860 that the first public library opened in the area. The Boroondara Roads Board continued to meet there until 1861 but the new municipality wanted a permanent building which reflected its status. After much debate about the most desirable location for this edifice, eventually a block of land in the current Burwood Road next to Fletcher's Hotel was sold to the fledgling Council for offices which would incorporate municipal and police buildings as well as the courthouse.

The photograph at the head of the post shows the 1862 Hawthorn Town Hall built on the current location in Burwood Road and officially opened in February of that year. The extension to the east including the library and the tower were completed later in the year. The library then moved east to this location. The 1862 Town Hall was demolished in 1888 to make way for a new town hall more worthy of the municipality of Hawthorn which was declared a Town in 1887. The photo below shows the predominantly male gathering at the laying of the foundation stone for the new Town Hall on 7 August 1888. In this photo the partially demolished 1862 town hall can be seen.

#blog12daysxmas Day 10 Wurundjeri Beginnings #fp2012

One of the challenges we at the City of Boroondara Library Service have set ourselves for 2012 is participation in the Friday Photo 2012 (#fp2012) Flickr challenge. Each week of 2012 we will be given a topic to photograph and in that week we must submit up to three photographs on the Friday Photo 2012 Flickr group. We will be blogging about these photographs on this blog and our reading blog, Bookends, during 2012.

The first theme is Beginnings and we had lots of ideas of what we could do for that. We settled on two for Telling Tales and one for Bookends. And what more obvious topic could there be for beginnings of the Boroondara area than an acknowledgment of the Wurundjeri people as the traditional owners of this land? It is impossible these days to get a real sense of how many people lived in what became the Colony of Victoria and estimates vary between 15,000 and 100,000.

We do know that there were thirty-eight tribal groups and around the Port Phillip region five main tribes formed what was later termed the Kulin nation. These five including the Wurundjeri all shared the Woiwurring language which used the word "Kulin" for man. The Wurundjeri-baluk area extended out to the source of the Yarra and also included what became known as Gardiner's Creek.

Within Boroondara, along the Yarra scarred river red gums which were used for making shields and canoes provide one of the few tangible pieces of evidence of these inhabitants today. However, two projects both initiated by the former City of Hawthorn attempt to redress this imbalance. One is a creative work and the other is a physical space.

When you visit Hawthorn Library be sure to take a look at the stained glass window at the east of the building in the local history area. This work, Settlement of Hawthorn, shown above and one of our #fp2012 photographs, was created by artist Gerry Cummins with bicentennial funding in 1988/89 and shows Hawthorn as it would have been before the arrival of John Gardiner and his cattle in 1836. You can see a representation of John Gardiner's arrival midway down the right of the window. And you can see how small he and his herd appear in the landscape. Are they interlopers to an Eden? Yes, that is in itself a very non-indigenous concept but it is what Cummins appears to be representing.

The Wurundjeri Garden on the banks of the Yarra near the Wallen Road Bridge in Hawthorn is a successful effort to recreate something of the landscape as it may have been before the impact of Europeans. The project, initiated in 1990, was the brainchild of Dorothy Sutherland from the Hawthorn Historical Society, and was a joint venture between the Hawthorn Historical Society and the former City of Hawthorn. The Garden which continues to be managed by the Society and the City of Boroondara celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010 and provides a great educative resource about Wurundjeri plants.

As part of Boroondara's celebrations for 150 years of local government in 2004, we held a Spring Planting at the Wurundjeri Garden and installed a commemorative seat as an acknowledgment of the traditional owners of the land. Pictured above at the planting are Wurundjeri Ian Hunter who provided the traditional welcome, Dorothy Sutherland and the Mayor of Boroondara, Councillor Judith Voce.

If you go down and visit the garden, you will be delighted by it. Sit on the commemorative seat and ponder the history of the Yarra and people who have touched it. Celebrate Dorothy Sutherland's vision that has led to the garden being there. You will also discover lots of information there on the display signage but, if you want something to keep, pop into Hawthorn Library and get your free copies of the Wurundjeri Garden Guide for Visitors and the Wurundjeri Garden Plant list.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

#blog12daysxmas Day 9 Swimming training at Hawthorn Baths

With the current building works going on at the Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre, it is quite timely to have a look at this 1951 footage of Swinburne students doing swimming training. It is also very suitable for a steamy January day when the Hawthorn Baths would have been packed. Please note that the film has no sound.

We are familiar with Swinburne University today dominating the Hawthorn landscape but it is true to say that Swinburne (and its predecessor the Eastern Suburbs Technical College) played a significant role in the Hawthorn community from early in the twentieth century, and in fact its establishment dates back to a similar time to that at which the Hawthorn Baths were opened. This footage dates to 1951, almost half a century after both were opened.

#blog12daysxmas Day 8 Trove

Did you know that if you are searching for information about families or places in Boroondara that Trove is a great place to start online? Well, that is after you have checked the City of Boroondara Library Service catalogue, course! Trove is a portal developed by the National Library of Australia and provides access to a wide range of photographs, maps, digitized newspapers and magazines, books, archives and more.

Boroondara's local history photographic collection is available through Trove and in addition you will find material from other collections around Australia that relate to places in Boroondara or to people you are interested in. Trove also harvests from a group on Flickr called Picture Australia: People, Places and Events that many people on Flickr contribute to. So this is another source for material that may be relevant to your researches.

One of the most exciting things about Trove is its access to an ever increasing number of digitized newspapers. The OCR doesn't do a perfect job on these so searching can be a bit hit and miss but compared to scrolling through rolls and rolls of microfilm the digitized newspapers on Trove are sheer luxury. They say newspapers are covered from 1803 to 1954. The home page for the newspapers is here. Initially the papers being digitized were daily newspapers from the capital cities and for Melbourne that is the Argus which was published from 1848 to 1954. These entries are being added gradually so keep on checking back in case what you want isn't there.

More recently as a result of a joint project between Victorian public libraries and the State Library of Victoria a number of local Victorian newspapers have been added. At the moment the only Boroondara one available is the South Bourke Standard for the years 1861-1873. It is fabulous to have this available as it was Boroondara's first newspaper. It was edited by Apollos Slatterie who was the second Town Clerk of the municipality of Hawthorn and later in charge of Hawthorn's library. The earliest surviving issue is from May 31 1861. You can see an advertisement for Apollos Slatterie's printing office in the middle of page 1 where the Burwood Road address is given as "Main Road, Hawthorn, near Fletcher's Hotel". You can see Fletcher's Hotel in the centre of this photo looking west down Burwood Road.

The great thing about digitized records is that apart from scanning them, you can search. So if you search for Slatterie, you can find quite a bit of information about our Apollos including the deaths of his mother and father in England whose notices provide a bit of information about his background before coming to Australia. And other references make it known that before his arrival in Melbourne he was in Sydney in the 1840s in the bankruptcy court.

If you haven't tried Trove yet, do try it particularly for the photos and the newspapers. There is a wealth of stuff waiting to be found there.
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