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Inverloch Historical Society Inc

2001 Newsletters
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2001 Newsletters

IHS Newsletters were distributed for the following months during 2001; January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November.

January 2001

This month Ross Wise will speak on his experiences at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Ross is well known in the district as he and his wife, Judy operated the Post Office for many years and currently operates a bus service here. All are invited to attend.

Our last meeting took the form of a "Show and Tell" with the theme "Do you know what this is?" Many items were presented -interesting and weird - many identifiable. Thanks to all who participated! At the conclusion, we enjoyed our Christmas break-up. A happy occasion to end the year.

Inverloch Name Day was celebrated on 1 December when we enjoyed a BYO barbecue at the Rotary Barbecue.

A working bee was held on 18 November when twelve members spread three metres of mulch on the far side of the old Sea Wall. A job well done and thanks to all who helped.

Our Christmas hamper raffle again proved very successful.

Prize winners: 1st Mrs Helmi McGibbon. 2nd Mr Norman Deacon. Thanks to Kath Bendle and Bill Grieve for all their work and to all who helped by donating goods and selling tickets.

A fortnightly newsletter, "What's on in Inverloch " has been published by Norm Deacon. It includes general and historical information and current events. Issued from December to April and available from Inverloch Holiday Park (Broadbeach), Roadhouse Bass Highway and the Information Centre.

Australia Day Celebration, 26th January 2001, at the Community Centre from 10 am to 1 pm. Members are invited to attend and see our display. Other organisations will also have displays there. Centenary Awards will also be presented. Entertainment is also planned. All are welcome to attend. Morning tea and a sausage sizzle will be available.

WANTED any "Salt Bush Bill" and "Whitchetty's Tribe" Australiana by Erie Joliffe Tele. Bob Newton 5655 1009.

Recent Acquisitions: - Schoolpaper 1932 - Dorothy Beard. Subdivision of Land - Jim Wyeth.

Oral Histories. Beatrice Ridley (nee Dakers). Lily Mitchell (Nee Bruhn).

We are saddened by the passing of Alice Jacobson (nee Treadwell) on 20th December 2000. Alice had lived in the district many yeas and had been active m many organisations. Alice was a life member of Warrawee. Valé Alice!

Bass Coast Shire Council has opened the Information Centre on the corner of William and Hopetoun Streets. We will be displaying material in their office.



Last month we reported that the "Magnat'' went ashore on Darwin Beach at 2am on 9 May 1900. The crew were not injured and remained on board. In the morning stockmen from Tarwin Meadows found the ship which was broadside to the beach with the bow facing Cape Liptrap. Later in the day when inspected by Constable Theyer of Inverloch the ship was found to be upright and to have settled in the sand. Theyer went aboard the "Magnat" by means of a block and tackle rig and on return dropped into the water when the rig collapsed. He was retrieved safely but suffered from exposure -necessitating bed rest for several days. The following day the "Lady Loch" with the Queenscliff lifeboat in tow arrived on the scene but was unable to approach close enough to secure a tow-line and the life-boat not being required they returned to Melbourne. By the 12th May the ship was 6 feet in the sand; at high tide she was in 3 feet of water and at low tide was high and dry some 20 feet from the water. Here she stayed.

To be continued.

February 2001

This month our meeting will focus on "Schooldays". Some speakers will recall student days, and others will reminisce on teaching days. There will be selected readings and a display will feature school books of bygone days.

At our last meeting we welcomed Gilbert Tippett, aged 90, who in 1940 bought "The Cliffs" property and 4500 acres on the Cape Paterson Road. This house was built by the Town Clerk of Melbourne, E.G. Fitzgibbon, for his son. Gilbert spoke of the family farming at Ballarat and of his service in the Airforce. After his discharge he came to farm at Inverloch. Rabbits were in plague proportions and he outlined several methods he tried to eradicate them - to no avail. He spoke of the work of Dame Jean McNamara in developing and introducing myxomatosis to Australian farms. Gilbert was involved with the RSL as President and also Treasurer for many years. We were also pleased to welcome Eric and Sheila Gwyther to the meeting. In the 1930s, Eric attended the Inverloch Primary School. His father bought a garage in Wonthaggi in 1932 and a property in Hopetoun Street fronting the Inlet. Next door was Gibney's - later became Mr Hitchens. Eric spoke of the beach carnivals with entrance fees and competitions and hundreds of people attending on New Year's Day. Children then either walked or rode a horse to school. Mr Doug Brown was Principal of the School and was a brilliant teacher and respected by the students. Eric remembered Glenda Murray (Howard) with whom he took the Correspondence School course.

Both Gilbert and Eric's talks were taped and are available in full from the audio library (5674 2796). Ross Wise was to be our speaker but was an apology and will be rescheduled later.

In January our photographic displays were evident in the Angling Club Market, Wonthaggi Show, on the walks, Australia Day Celebrations and in the Shire Information Centre. Additional boards were prepared by Ken Howsam, Registrar. Betty and Ken Howsam were on hand with information and to sell our books. The boards were well received. Town walks to historical sites, conducted by Eulalie Brewster, were well attended by interested visitors and members.

"What's on in Inverloch" newsletter, continues to be published by Norm Deacon on our behalf and supported by PBE and Tourism and Traders Assoc. It includes stories from Inverloch's past and other interesting snippets. It will run until April.

Australia Day Celebrations 26/1/2001 afforded an opportunity to display the work of students from the Primary School. The theme was "The First Fleet" and the exhibits were excellent. Other organizations also displayed their work. Congratulations to Eulalie Brewster who received well-deserved recognition for her work in this Society.

Can you help? We seek information on the accommodation used by the Life Saving Club which existed in about 1960? Was it a Nissan Hut or similar to that of the Angling Club??

Museum visit on 22/3/2001 - booked out. We hope to run another later in the year. Remember you need to book early.

An Easter raffle is being organized by Kath Bendle and Bill Grieve as a fund-raiser. Tickets available next meeting.

Inverloch Cemetery Trust: Recently, Norm Deacon and Len Cuttriss were appointed to the Committee of Management of this Trust.



Last month we left the "Magnat" embedded in the sand at Tarwin beach. The crew were fed by Munro, the hotel keeper, and entertained by the local residents. In return a dance was held on the "Magnat". Getting aboard at low tide was easy but getting ashore later was more difficult.

The insurers, after a survey, decided that it might be possible to refloat the "Magnat" and arranged for an attempt to salvage the vessel. In July, after many difficulties, tugs were called and the "Magnat" was refloated but before she was clear the ropes broke and the ship drifted ashore, broadside to the beach but this time with the bow facing toward Cape Paterson. Tradition has it, that afterwards an internal ladder was found to be twisted and a crack was noticed extending through the bulkhead. It was apparent that the keel had broken and the salvage attempt was abandoned.

To be continued.

March 2001

At this meeting Eulalie Brewster will show a series of slides on "Historic Inverloch". You are welcome to attend.

"Schooldays" was the topic at our last meeting. Memorabilia was displayed. Eulalie Brewster and Lorna Burt spoke of their training to be teachers, the subjects they studied and the schools where they taught. We heard about some of the amusing incidents they experienced as teachers. Past students of Inverloch Primary School, Noelle Green (Muldoon), Bob Young, Carol Thorn (Wyeth) and Isabel Wauchope (Newton) then spoke. They recalled their teachers and the other children who attended when they were there & the activities they enjoyed - each spoke on a different aspect. A tape of these accounts is available from our audio library (5674 3947).

Last month four members visited Wilma (Ramsey) and her husband, David Hoppen at Dromana to record the oral history of the Ramsey family. William (Bill) Ramsey ran a general store in Inverloch from 1933 to 1948. He was the local Justice of the Peace and was President, Secretary & Treasurer of the Foreshore Committee until 1968. He was a member of the Cemetery Trust and the Fire Brigade. Three generations of the Ramsey family attended the School here and  both Wilma and David taught at the school. We are pleased to have this tape and photographs added to our town's historical records.

At a recent inspection with the Heritage Adviser, Andrew Ward, we were advised to renew the capping on the old sea wall in an effort to allay deterioration. Renovation is also needed to the Rocket Shed - research is underway to enable this to be done.

Our latest book, "Inverloch & District Identities & Pioneers" has been entered for the Historical Awards for 2001.

"Newton Park", at the end of Marion Court, was dedicated on 17 March 2001 when the Newton family, members of the Society and friends gathered to celebrate this auspicious occasion. The plaque, attached to quarry stone was unveiled by Cr. Bob Newton. Inverloch has been well served by this family!

The Cemetery Trust plans to erect four sections of post & rail fence to divide the old cemetery (1891-1961) from the current one (1980 -). It is proposed to prepare a booklet on the history of the early cemetery.

An Easter raffle for an "Easter Dinner" is being held. Tickets will be available at the next meeting and in the shopping centre on 5, 6 & 12 April. Tickets are $1 each or 3 for $2 - drawn 12 April 2001 at noon.

The Committee is currently investigating the purchase of a computer for the Society. A report will be made at the next meeting.

On 9 March, in 35 degree heat, Ken Howsam and Bob Young led 6 members along the beach at Tarwin Lower to the site of the "Magnat" wreck. It was a long hot walk - but very successful!!



Last month we left the "Magnat" with the salvage attempt abandoned. Following the loss of his ship Captain Ostermann became depressed and was found wandering in the bush suffering from exposure. On 20 August 1900 he died and was buried in the Tarwin Lower Cemetery. The crew returned to Germany.

The ship was stripped of any fittings of value and gradually deteriorated. Relics from the "Magnat" exist in the region. The figurehead was at Tarwin Meadows until 1978 but its current location is not known. At present the remains of the "Magnat" are covered by sand and only the stumps of the masts are visible. More of the hull may be seen when particularly high tides and rough weather scour some of the sand away. The site is not readily accessible.

To be continued.

April 2001

Please note change of venue due to Anzac Day. This month's meeting will be informal and afford an opportunity to view many of our display boards, books etc - browse and discuss the material displayed! Everyone is welcome - come and enjoy a cuppa with us!!

At our last meeting, Mrs Eulalie Brewster, our local historian and Patron, shared her slides of historic Inverloch with us. One often visualizes how Inverloch was when the first settlers came and then its gradual development of homes, shops, hotels, schools, churches, roads and transport, etc - the slides covered most of these aspects and were appreciated by all those present.

An enjoyable visit was held on 22/3/2001 to the Melbourne Museum. As further areas are opened, we hope we might arrange another visit later in the year.

The State Building Office has been contacted for the original plans of the Rocket Shed to enable its deteriorating condition to be dealt with. We have received quotes to renew the capping on the old sea wall and will seek funding from the appropriate body to enable this to be carried out. Members held a working bee to do weeding and to spread mulch to the last section behind the wall.

The Committee has investigated the Society's need to purchase its own computer and recommended to the general meeting that this proceed. The meeting endorsed this action. A review will be made of what type of package to purchase to best suit our needs.

We plan to publish four books this year: Inverloch's Old Cemetery, History of Inverloch's Apex Club, Mary and Jim Wards' "Scrooby Top to Inverloch" and The Dicker Family's Story.

Preliminary notice - our May 23 meeting will take the form of a visit and guided tour to Kongwak and Outtrim, leaving RSL at 10.00 am. Book the date! Further details next Newsletter.

Recent acquisitions: History of the Cuttriss Family, Rainfall totals 1945 to 2000 taken on the South Leongatha farm - Len Cuttriss.

Our WEB SITE address is: www.vicnet.net.au/~invhs - the first week the web site was active we received 16 hits. We appreciate the work John White has given to this task - thanks John!

E mail addresses:

Norman Deacon, Secretary nrdeacon@telstra.easymail.com.au

Kenneth Howsam, Registrar khowsam@ompac.net.au



Continuing the story of the "Magnat". There is an interesting account of the salvage operations given by J. Marjorie Butler in her book "Convict by Choice" published by the Hill of Content in 1974 which differs in a number of respects from the traditional account given in previous issues. This account suggests that the "Magnat" being without a Captain or crew, Friedrich Ostermann having died and the crew having been repatriated to Germany, and the ship being apparently immovable, the insurers offered the ship and its valuable cargo for sale. Richard Butler, an entrepreneurial accountant, purchased the ship and cargo and placed his brother-in-law, Samuel "Bert" King in charge of an attempt to salvage the vessel. A "shore" captain was engaged and hopes were high that the "Magnat" would be refloated on a full tide. "But it seems that bribery and corruption were rife and opportunities to refloat the ship were lost and ultimately high costs sabotaged all hopes of success! A fortune vanished into the sea!!"

To be continued.

We mentioned last month some 8 members walked the Tarwin Lower beach to visit the remains of this ship. Photographs showing what they found are on display in the Arcade. It was a long walk and the site is not readily accessible.

May 2001 

In lieu of our normal meeting this month we are to visit Kongwak and Outtrim. Meet at the RSL Hall at 9.50 am for a 10.00 am start and we will return about 3.30 pm. We will share cars for the trip ($2 per person to go to driver) - cars not needed may be left at the RSL. BYO lunch. At Kongwak and Outtrim we have arranged speakers and visits. Everyone is welcome - come and enjoy an outing with us!!

At last month's informal meeting, we were able to browse through a number of displays on Inverloch's past and have time to discuss them. Ken Howsam indicated that the use of our displays had grown - there are six in the town's Information Centre, three at the school, one in the Arcade and Post Office (some are changed regularly) and those we use at meetings etc. Ken spoke on the growth of our photographic material and the work he does with fragile and framed photographs that are submitted for copying. He demonstrated how he deals with these. A "Book Look" was also part of our meeting. Library lists are available from the Society but we all like to SEE and SELECT difficult when we have no permanent base. We featured books relating to Inverloch & districts, wartime (it was ANZAC Day) and a variety of other related topics. Nancye Durham spoke about the library, its use in acquiring more knowledge of our local history and its application for reference and research.

Our web site www.vicnet.net.au/~invhs is being used! Have you looked at it yet? It has significant holdings on our photographs, books, articles and information on activities of the Society which is reflected in past Newsletters.

Our Easter raffle again proved an excellent fund raiser. Prizewinners were: 1) J. Eldridge and 2) H. Matthews. Many thanks to Kath Bendle and Bill Grieve for organizing it and to our expert tickets sellers!!

Congratulations to the Clock Tower Committee for their permanent display of a replica of the "Ripple" and eight mural mosiac tile panels of Inverloch's history featured in a forecourt of memorial pavers. The Clock Tower is situated on the corner of Reilly and a'Beckett Streets. Artists for the panels were: Janice Orchard, Trudy Barclay, Valda Cooper, Kathy Everitt, Ivan Fell, Jill Hill, John Mutsaers, Sylvia Ritchie and Ted Smythe. WELL DONE!! The Society has offered to produce a book on the Clock Tower.

The South Eastern Historical Society met on 29th April 2001 at Tooradin. Member Associations were invited to display their publications. Norm Deacon and Ken Howsam represented the Society and exhibited our books.



Continuing the story of the "Magnat". King's grand daughter, Elizabeth Duff, is researching his part in the saga of the "Magnat" and she has given us a transcript of King's log book which remains in the possession of his family as are other artefacts which are reminders of a less than successful venture. From the log it may be deduced that there were two attempts to refloat the "Magnat". The first was in July 1900 when the ship was refloated but before she could be towed into deep water, the tow lines snapped and the ship drifted onto the beach again, this time with the bow facing toward Cape Paterson. The second was by Bert King and Captain Bissell from February until June 1901 when the keel broke and the salvage attempt was abandoned. Captain Ostermann may have died from a heart attack but not from a broken heart on finding the "Magnat" with a broken back. The log is a fascinating account of the day to day difficulties in organising the salvage attempt, of the hopes of success and of the disappointment of failure. In subsequest issues we will give some extracts from this log.

To be continued.

June 2001

This month we welcome Mr. Doug Boston as our speaker. Doug will speak on the early settlement of Korumburra. All welcome to attend.

We visited Kongwak last month, in lieu of our normal meeting. Our first stop was at Barbara and Frank Drew's General Store in the Main Street. We were welcomed with morning tea after which Ron told us the history of the Store and Post Office. The first store opened at Moyarra (1890) but in 1902 a small store opened at Kongwak on its present site. The Drew family has operated the store for the past 3 years and there are many items of interest to see - they sell just about everything! We then visited the Kongwak Hall where John Gow spoke on the Rolls of Honour and the wartime service given by families of the district in both World Wars. We heard about the Avenue of Honour in Main Road, which is maintained by a small community group. The original small hall was built on a hill but as the town grew and it was used more, it was moved to its present site and expanded. It has just had a $28,000 kitchen update! It is used for socials, functions and entertainment. Les Chapman has served on the Hall Committee for 61 years. The Uniting Church, nestled well back off the road, was our next call. After lunching in their hall, we moved into the church pews where John Gow spoke of the church's Roll of Honour and the memorial windows. Ken Perret then spoke on the early settlers, the timber cutters, the farms and the development of the town. Betty Grabham told us the history of the Church. The original Church was burnt down and later the Williams family donated the land and it was rebuilt and used by both Presbyterians and Methodists. Ken Howsam then showed a sketch of the land selected by the Halford brothers, photographs of the family and the house built in 1889. We later visited the house but due to rain had to curtail a visit to the quarry. We also visited the old butter factory ruins and Wendy Walker's ceramic studio in Main Road. Many thanks to our speakers and the Drews for making our visit interesting and enjoyable. We all came home wiser about the township of Kongwak!

A reminder - we do have "Kongwak - the Valley of Peace" in our Library should you wish to explore more of the town's past.

Ken Howsam has been re-entering our Accession Register into the In-Magic programme and has completed 25% of the data input.

An oral history was taken from Joyce Colquhoun (nee Newton) recently. Joyce was married to Gordon NEWTON (dec'd). Margaret Wardle also told of her family - her father was Colin NEWTON (dec'd). Colin and Gordon were Clive Newton's brothers.



Continuing the story of the "Magnat". We now give you some extracts from Bert King's log. King's log opens on 15/1/1901 when he received instructions to attempt to refloat the "Magnat". Butler, Densham, Gordon and others formed a syndicate that purchased the "Magnat" from the underwriters with the prospect of salvage. It was hoped that she could be refloated and repaired. Bert King was appointed to supervise the operation on behalf of the syndicate and Captain T. Bissell was appointed shore captain in charge of salvage operations. Samuel Ethelbert King was the brother-in-law of Richard Butler, having married his sister. The first month was spent arranging for the necessary gear to be purchased or rented, recruiting a crew and arranging their transport to the site of the wreck. Much of the equipment was sent by sea to Inverloch on the "Star" but 20 tons of it went to Tarwin Lower with Captain Anderson on the "Ripple". Bullock teams transported heavy goods to the site of the wreck. The crew went by train to Tarwin and from there walked to Tarwin Lower. They were accommodated on the "Magnat" which was stranded on the beach broadside to the shore with the bow pointing towards Cape Paterson.

To be continued.

July 2001

We welcome Mr. Tickell as our speaker this month. Mr. Tickell, a retired Police Officer, was in charge of the search for Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Holt who disappeared at Cheviot Bay.

The Fifth Annual General Meeting of the Society will also be held at this meeting. The Annual Report and Balance Sheet will be presented and the election of Office Bearers and Committee will be held. Members should give consideration to nominating candidates for election, remembering that only financial members can be elected. You are invited to attend, hear our speaker and our progress over the past year and enjoy afternoon tea at the conclusion of the meeting. We ask you to bring a plate to share.

Mr. Doug Boston was our speaker last month. Doug's grandfather arrived in Korumburra in 1893 and started a blacksmith and coach-building business when the coalmines opened. The business remained in the family for 102 years - until 1995. Doug told of the difficulties faced by settlers in Korumburra in 1870. They took up land and eventually developed small plots but were confronted with thick forests and trees 200-300 feet tall with only axes to clear them. One reason why the bush fires of 1898 raged through South Gippsland so badly was that the trees, ring-barked by the settlers10-15 years previously, were hollow and acted as huge chimneys; the wind blew the sparks for miles. Doug told of the story of the Rowe family of Arawata who settled on 320 acres and thought their land had a little undulation in the distant trees. They didn't realize they had 50 foot trees on the top of the hill and 300 foot trees in the gully - they didn't see the bottom of the gully for twelve months! Doug's full story is available from our audio library. Telephone 5674 2796.

Members also displayed photographs and other items, including a Federation invitation to "Ron Haig and Lady" and a commemorative Federation medal.

We are saddened to report the passing of Mrs Isobel TREADWELL (nee NEWTON) on 7 June. Isobel and Albert Treadwell farmed at Treadwells Road Pound Creek and later retired to Inverloch. Isobel had recorded their story for our audio library. Vale Isobel!

Reserve Wednesday 26 SEPTEMBER in your diary now. We are arranging a bus trip to Outtrim and Jumbunna in lieu of our normal meeting. Speakers will join the bus as we travel around the towns and countryside. Details will be available later. Cost $5.

Did you know that in 1950 Wonthaggi had a weekly newspaper called "The Sentinel Wonthaggi and State Town Miner"??

A reminder that ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS are now due ($12). If you haven't yet joined, now is the right time - July! We need your support!



Continuing the story of the "Magnat". The plan for salvage was for the "Star", which had been leased for 4 days, to carry a large anchor and 1˝ miles of wire cable to a point opposite the "Magnat", to drop anchor, and for the wire cable to be carried ashore by a surf boat. Additional anchors and cables were to be placed on either side. At high tide the "Magnat" was to be rocked and turned to face the sea and then with the aid of an off shore breeze and the ship's sails she was to be pulled out to deep water and immediately towed away from the shore by a standby vessel. Some of the salvage crew were to go on the "Star" to drop the anchor and to operate the surf boat but they absconded during the night and were later replaced by residents of Inverloch. The anchor was dropped but the Inverloch men refused to man the surf boat which was operated with difficulty by Captain Bissell and two members of the salvage crew. The "Star" then suddenly departed carrying the Inverloch residents to Melbourne much to the concern of their families until their whereabouts could be established. Although the anchor and sea line were in place, a suitable standby vessel could not be leased and reliance was placed on the "S S Wyrallah", which passed by regularly, to provide towage. This contributed to failure because it limited attempts to refloat the "Magnat" to those occasions when the "Wyrallah" was in the vicinity.

To be continued.

August 2001

This month our speaker, Mr. Danny Drummond, Ranger, will speak on his work in Exmoor and Somerset (England) and nearer to home, on the Bunurong Marine Park. All are welcome to attend!

Last month the Fifth Annual General Meeting of the Society was held. The Financial Statement and Balance Sheet for the year ending the 30 June 2001 was presented by the Treasurer, Janet Allen. The President, Peter Allen, reported on the year's work and activities and thanked the Office-bearers and Committee for their support. The following members were elected:- President:: Peter Allen, Vice-President: Ruth Tipping, Secretary: Norman Deacon, Assistant Secretary: Betty Deacon. Committee members are:- Janet Allen, Kath Bendle, Nancye Durham, Bill Grieve, Helen Jones. Patron is Eulalie Brewster and Registrar Kenneth Howsam. The appointment of Treasurer is yet to be made.

Allan Tickell, a retired police officer and diver, was our speaker last month. Allan spoke about the search for Prime Minister Harold Holt, who disappeared in the surf at Cheviot Bay in 1967. Allan was with the police divers' team and they were joined by divers from Cerberus and the Royal Navy Clearance divers. Four diving teams of four worked all day. Cheviot Bay beach is about 3/4 km in length and is surrounded by a reef with a central gap. Three days of south-westerly gales had blown and seas were still rough within the reef but, outside of it, a raging sea was running when the PM waded into deeper water. Heavy seas were pouring through the gap into the bay and then flowing out through three deep channels where the current was measured at 8 knots. The search was confined to inside the reef on the first day due to the dangerous conditions. As the sea abated the divers went outside the reef. Kelp beds grew on the verge of 8-10 feet deep caverns. HMAS Snipe, other motor vessels and more divers arrived. Harold Holt knew this area very well; he enjoyed diving and it was a favourite spot of his! He under-estimated the horrendous seas that were running that day - no trace of him was ever found! We were pleased to welcome Pat Delacy to our meeting. Pat was secretary to Harold Holt at the time of this tragedy. Allan's talk is available from our audio library (5674 2796).

We are visiting Outtrim and Jumbunna on Wednesday 26 September in lieu of the normal meeting. Speakers will join the bus and talk about the towns as we travel along. Cost is $10 including a light lunch. Book next meeting with Ruth Tipping (5674 3319). The bus will leave outside the Community Centre in a'Beckett Street at 10 am and return at approximately 3.30 pm.

The Acquisition Register has now been transferred to our InMagic programme and photographic scanning has begun. Thanks to Ken Howsam for a great job well done!!

A reminder that ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS are now due ($12). If you haven't yet joined, now is the right time! We need your support!



The spring tides were expected on the 6 March and all was in readiness to refloat the "Magnat". Water was pumped out and ballast (sand) removed. On the 9 March, the ship floated and her head came around about 9 degrees seaward and she shifted about 16 feet ahead. She did not take any water and it was concluded that her bottom was sound. Captain Bissell expected to have the "Magnat" off the beach next morning. However, the wind changed from off shore to south-west and although she was pulled around further to seaward and another 50 feet ahead this attempt to free her was stopped when the winch broke. This is the nearest the crew got to freeing her. Thereafter they were dogged by poor tides, adverse winds and equipment - failure.

To be continued.

September 2001

In lieu of the normal meeting this month, we have arranged a bus trip to two neighbouring towns, Jumbunna & Outtrim. Local speakers will join the bus to talk about the towns as we travel through. The bus leaves from outside the Community Centre, a'Beckett Street at 10.00 am and returns at 3.30 pm. Cost is $10 including a light lunch. Booking - Ruth Tipping (5674 3319). All welcome to join us!

At the meeting last month Danny Drummond, Ranger, spoke and showed slides of his visit to the National Park at Exmoor & Somerset. The Park is approximately the size of Bass Coast Shire and includes properties, farms and public land - there are private land restrictions. It provides about 1200 km of walking, horse riding and bicycle tracks (we have about 50 km). Many of the tracks run along the very edge of the cliffs with sheer drops in excess of 400 feet. Rangers provide boats on coastal trips and give commentaries. Volunteers work to restore historic buildings and the dry stone walling, some 500-600 years old. There is very little vandalism. Signage is discreet and usually in cast metal. After speaking on the Park we heard and had glimpses of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland where Danny also visited. This talk is available from our audio library - but not his slides.

Following the storms last month, a remnant of the wreck of the "ARTISAN" was dislodged and visible on Harmers Haven beach. The "Artisan" was lost on 23/4/1901 when she was blown on shore and then on to rocks. The remaining pole, relic of the Abbott Street Baths, was lost in the recent storms.

Repair work on the old sea wall has been approved and will be done in the next few weeks.

We are delighted to report we have purchased a MAP FILING CABINET for the Society. Our thanks to the Bunurong Environment Shop for this opportunity.

A reminder that our LIBRARY does have books available on the local towns we are visiting. (5674 2796).


THE MAGNAT - PART 11 (Final Episode)

Measures to turn the head to seaward and to pull the "Magnat" seaward continued throughout March, April and May, but a favourable combination of off-shore wind, high tide and heavy seas was and negated by broken cables. Often plugs from leaking rivet holes had to be knocked out and the ship allowed to settle for fear she would be swept ashore or turn turtle. On 6 May it was noted that the ship was making water amidships. By 26 May the ship had been moved 525 feet. On 9 June conditions were again favourable and the "S.S.Wyrallah" was off shore but the donkey engine was not ready and the opportunity was lost. On 10 June, during the night, several large bangs were heard and the next morning it was found that the iron ladder from the 'tween deck to the main deck was bent. By 21 June it was apparent that her back was broken and it was decided to abandon further attempts to pull the "Magnat" off the beach. The sails, spars, masts and fittings were removed and the salvage gear recovered and returned to Melbourne. The crew was paid off on the 12 September. The "Magnat" was left to sink into the sand. So ended a venture that almost succeeded.


Venturoni M., "Wreckings".
"The Magnat", Maritime Archeology Assoc. of Victoria, January 1996. No 161.
Magnat File, Maritime Heritage Unit. No 436.
Photograph - Grave of Capt. Friedrich Ostermann, Tarwin Lower Cemetery, Archives, Inverloch Historical Society.
Loney J., "Wrecks on the Gippsland Coast".
Charles R. & Loney J., "Not Enough Grass to Feed a Single Bullock".
Butler J. M., "Convict by Choice", 1974.
King S. E., "Log Book", Salvage Operations Barque Magnat. January 1901 to 12 September 1901.

The "MAGNAT" episodes were researched and written by Dr. K. Howsam.

Wrecks along our Coast will be continued.

October 2001

Our speaker this month is Jean Melzer, retired Federal Senator and President of U3A Victoria. Jean will speak on "FEDERATION". All are welcome to attend!

Last month, in lieu of the normal meeting, 55 of us visited Outtrim and Jumbunna. Ross Wise, our driver, took us to the Outtrim Recreation Complex, where Doug Close spoke about the Complex and the former town of Outtrim. Doug had prepared a display of memorabilia. Built in 1990, the hall has boards listing sporting teams and their achievements and memorial records to those who served in WWI. We visited the now closed Outtrim Cemetery; the first interment was 3/10/1897 and the last 15/4/1946. As we drove through the area that was once the town, Doug spoke about the coalmine, the railway, the shops, and the school, which had 347 pupils in 1903. He told of a visitor who had postcards of the town and wanted to see it. She followed the signs and thought she had missed it. After driving through the area three times she realised it had vanished! Its decline began with the establishment of the Wonthaggi State Coalmine and it was finally dismembered in about 1951. At Jumbunna we enjoyed a light lunch provided by the Hall Committee. Adrian Kells had arranged a photographic display of early Jumbunna. Adrian joined the bus and recounted the development of the coalmine and town. In 1880, Horsley found a coal seam 4 feet 6 inches in height at Jumbunna. Coal was extracted from the mine and carried to a dump by flying fox (aerial tramway). The railway arrived in 1893. Whilst on one of the gravel roads, near a farmhouse, Ross needed to turn the bus - and we got bogged. The farmer and his tractor came to our rescue and we were soon extricated and on our way home. We thank Doug Close and Adrian Kells for making the day so interesting. Books on Outtrim, Kongwak and other local towns are available from the Society's Library (5674 2796).

The Society has a new Treasurer: Mrs Mavis Parks has been appointed.

Farewell to our member, Frank Helmot, who has recently moved to Baxter. Frank helped with our Newsletter distribution - our thanks and best wishes go to Frank and his wife, Olive.

Leongatha Historical Society will be holding the "Shingler Memorial Lecture" on Sunday, 18th November 2001. At 11.00 am there will be a tour of two local gardens and at 2.00 pm a session on heritage roses. Venue: Leongatha Mechanics Institute, home of the Historical Society. Bring your own lunch.

We will be holding a Christmas hamper raffle. Donations of goods would be appreciated. Please bring them to the meeting or give them to Kath Bendle or Bill Grieve.

Dates to Remember:

1st December 2001 Inverloch's Name Day anniversary (1889) - barbecue.
4th January 2002 Friday Historic Inverloch - Town Walk
7th January 2002 Monday Historic Inverloch - Town Walk
8th February 2002 Inverloch Proclamation Day Anniversary (1886)




Vagaries of tide and weather have recently exposed the remains of the wooden hull of the "Artisan" in Coal Creek at Wreck Beach, Harmers Haven and it would seem appropriate to summarise the story of its wrecking at this time.

The "Artisan" was a wooden barque 189.6 feet long and 37.7 feet wide with three masts and of 1083 tons net. The "Artisan" was built at St. Johns, New Brunswick, Canada in 1881 and was owned by a consortium of shareholders, all from St. Johns. In 1897, two tiers of iron beams were added to strengthen the deck. The crew consisted of Captain Purdy (with his wife as passenger), two officers and 13 seamen. The ship was sailing from Manila to Newcastle in ballast to pick up a load of coal.

On April 21 1901, the "Artisan", on entering Victorian waters was struck by a very severe storm which carried away the sails one by one and the weather was so thick that it was impossible to determine its location. On April 23, the "Artisan" was broadside to huge breakers and driven ashore on to rocks. In the morning it was seen that the "Artisan was upright on a broad platform of rock and at low tide the crew were able to walk ashore. They were met by Mrs Jennings, the wife of Richard Jennings, caretaker for the Victorian Coal Company who was living in a house near Coal Creek at what is now Harmers Haven.

To be continued.

November 2001

Our speaker this month is Ron Drew, proprietor of the Kongwak General Store. Ron's parents ran the "Two Views Guest House" in Sandymount Avenue Inverloch. A Christmas afternoon tea will follow the meeting. Could you please bring a plate of goodies to share - sandwiches and drinks will be supplied. There will be no Newsletter or meeting in December.

At last month's meeting, Jean Melzer spoke on "Federation" and implementing a national seat of government. Australia was different from the old lands of Europe; the Australian Constitution was the first Constitution in the world contributed to and voted on by the people. Not everyone voted - women did not have a vote and only aborigines who had become landholders were able to vote. Once Federation was achieved, the States, each with its own Parliament, police force, courts, army, navy, etc, had to be consolidated into one country. A capital city and seat of government were needed and the search began for a suitable city. Engineers, surveyors and architects met to establish guidelines. Submissions were made by those cities wanting to be considered. Melbourne and Sydney felt they had patronage and wealth - rivalry existed. Other cities included: Adelaide, Port Augusta, Albury, St. Kilda, Mt Gambier, Ballarat Kuringai Chase National Park, Bathurst and even Tasmania. Jean outlined some of the attributes these cities possessed. It was recognised that problems could occur if the host city and the Federal Government operated in the same State and that a territory not just a city was required. After much ado, a report on the Canberra area as a site for the capital city and territory was accepted in 1909. This tape is available from our library (5674 2796).

A grant of $550 from Bass Coast Shire Council has enabled the capping on the old sea wall to be repaired. Working bees have recently been held to weed and clean up the adjacent area. See it when you come to the BYO Barbecue to celebrate Inverloch's Name Day 112th anniversary to be held there on 1 December 2001 at 5 pm. All are welcome to attend.

We have applied for a Community Grant to assist in publishing books. These include "The Apex Story", "Inverloch Cemetery", "From Scrooby Top to Inverloch" and "The Clock Tower History".

Congratulations to Ken Howsam, our Registrar, on receiving a Volunteer Award. He is worthy recipient for the work he has contributed to this Society.

Historic Inverloch Town Walks, led by our historian Eulalie Brewster, will be held in January. Come and walk with us on Friday 4 January 2002 and Monday 7 January 2002, starting at 9 am from the Community Centre, a'Beckett Street.

Inverloch Proclamation Day Anniversary will be on 8 February 2002. Reserve the date and details will be in the January Newsletter.

Christmas Hamper Raffle: Donations of goods would be appreciated - please bring them to the meeting or give to Kath Bendle or Bill Grieve. Tickets will be available at the meeting and in town on the mornings of 30 November 2001 and 15 December 2001, when it will be drawn at midday.



The Rocket Brigade from San Remo set out with its equipment weighing l4 cwt (708 kgms) in three carts to render assistance but could not cross the Powlett River, which was in flood. Learning that the crew were safe, the Brigade returned to San Remo. The back of the "Artisan" was broken and it was not possible to attempt salvage. Fittings and personal items were removed from the ship. Some of the fittings remain in the district, some being used for building, some are at local museums and some furniture is in private possession. Iron beams may be seen on the rocks at Harmers Haven at low tide. Part of the hull was washed into Coal Creek and is only visible when the overlying sand is washed away by tides and storms as has recently occurred.


Chambers Joe & Lyn., "Out to the Wreck"
Jordan D. J., "East Coast Shipwrecks", Maritime Heritage Unit, Heritage Victoria.
Loney J., "Wrecks Along the Gippsland Coast".


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Last modified: April 04, 2003