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Inverloch Historical Society Inc

January 2005 Newsletter

New Year greetings to all our readers!  We hope you will join us for this first meeting in 2005.  Visitors and friends are welcome!  At 2.15, prior to the meeting, we enjoy a cuppa and chat and view items on display.  We then settle to a brief business meeting which is followed by a talk from our speaker for the day.  On this occasion, Kevin O'Brian will speak on "Telephones".  Kevin is a member of the Australian Historical Telephone Society.

At our November meeting, Janine McBurnie spoke about Anderson Inlet, using aerial photographs taken over several years between 1951 and 1997.  These illustrated changes that occurred on tidal channels affected by wind, tides, erosion, the Tarwin River flood events and sedimentation movements.  A major flood occurred in 1934 and further ones in 1953, 1960, and 1974 and resulted in widening channels.  Janine's studies entitled "Shaping Anderson Inlet", covered how earth moves the landscape in relation to river estuaries.  Estuaries are very changeable and are called dynamic environments as they are never still - fresh water river flow mixing with tidal waters from marine environment and the movement of sediment.  Dredging the Inlet would be a continuous process.  Spartina has had a major impact on the Inlet.  It was first introduced unsuccessfully in 1942.  It was reintroduced successfully in 1962.  Spartina holds mud-flats tightly together; it needs to be under water but can be exposed for short periods; it breaks off and grows.  It was planted for the purpose of land reclamation and to stop erosion as it traps sediment.  It readily spreads and takes over wading water and mud-flats for migratory birds.  There are now spartina meadows at Nolan's Bluff and off Fishermen's Jetty (Venus Bay) and Split Islands.  Spartina has had a great impact on shaping the Inlet over the last 40 years.  Thank you, Janine, for your talk and presentation.

Result of our Christmas Hamper Raffle

lst Prize: John Kent from Inverloch; 2nd Prize Joe Griscti from Venus Bay.  We thank all who supported this project and to all who helped both in organising and purchasing tickets.

Descriptive markers have been placed at sites of the Baths near Bowling Club car park and Abbott Street and at the site of the well and pump near the shelter in The Glade.

We are saddened by the passing of Mrs Mavis Penney (nee Darling).  Mavis, a member of the Society, grew up in Inverloch and later moved to Wonthaggi.  Our sympathy is extended to Jack and their family and her sister Ivy Yann.  Vale Mavis!



Proposed Inverloch Community Centre (undated) from Jim Gibson


Extract from Diary of Thomas Nietal 19/5/1883 from Margaret Hewson


"The Lady of the Swamp" from Evelyn Bonis


Reprint of 1854 "Age" Newspaper from B. Jones and E. Walsh


"Australian Sea Mysteries" by Jack Loney, "Montgomery" by Alan Moorhead (1947) from Nancye Durham


Wooden darner and Brass Pin tin from Mavis Bonis


Aerial photographs and prints from Janine McBurnie-Murphy. 

Thank you to these donors!

Do you remember back in the 1970s when Les Thompson was building his huge catamaran in his garden at Inverloch?  Many watched it grow and went to visit it and take photographs during the 9 years it was under construction and when it was launched at Mahers Landing.  The Society has a number of photographs of it back then.  Mr Thompson was a teacher at Wonthaggi High School at that time.  He has now written a book, "Fire in my Belly", telling the story of his catamaran the "Llinase".  It is available from the Wonthaggi Newsagency.

Would you like to become a member of the Society? We would welcome your support!!

February 2005

This month our speaker will be Ivan Fell who will talk about "Fell's Milk Bar" and other memories of Inverloch days. Visitors and friends are welcome to attend! At 2.15 pm, prior to the meeting, we enjoy a cuppa and chat and view items on display.  We then hold a brief business meeting which is followed by a talk by our speaker.


Vale' Bill Grieve

It is with deep sadness we report the passing, after a short illness, of our President Bill Grieve on 2/2/2005.  Bill had served on the Committee and, this year, as our President.  Over the years Bill and Kath Bendle have organised our fundraising projects and have generously given of their time to further the work of the Society.  Bill's sincerity, quiet disposition and caring ways endeared him to many.  We will miss him.  Sympathy was conveyed to his family and Kath Bendle his friend.

Kevin O'Brien spoke on "Telephones" at last month's meeting.  As a boy, Kevin told of growing up in Castlemaine where the family had three small farms.  At school, when he was about 12-13, they learnt about telephones and he got interested in them.  He connected the three farms, getting parts and doing his own lines so they could ring each other.  In 1963, Kevin joined the PMG and completed a Technicians Course and then went on to teach telecommunications.  Alexander Graham Bell developed a workable telephone in 1876 - he was interested in the production of speech and speech therapy.  In 1976, to celebrate the centenary of Bell's telephone, a group researched, compiled and published a book, "100 Years of the Telephone 1876 - 1976".  Following this the Australian Historical Telephone Society was established.  They hold bi-monthly meetings and displays in the Hawthorn Telephone Exchange building.  Many members have collections of telephones; some collect various related parts.  Kevin brought and showed five telephones he has restored.  He has about 120 at home and plans to house and display them and include working models with ringer and dial tones.  Kevin reminded us of those past days when "party lines" operated and people listened-in!!  He spoke of the rapid development in telecommunications over recent years, privatisation and the expansion of other companies in this field.  Thank you, Kevin for your interesting presentation and for donating a copy of the book to our Society.

The photographic display held at the Angling Club Market on 2/1/2005 created much interest and was well attended.  Town walks to historic sites were also held on 2 & 3 January and we thank Eulalie Brewster for giving the commentaries on places we visited.

Preliminary Notices

In March, when we receive advice on tides, we will probably walk to the wreck of the "Magnat", located at Venus Bay beach.  Watch our display board in the Arcade for this.  In May, we plan to hold a bus outing to neighbouring districts, in lieu of our normal meeting.  When arrangements are finalised we will advise of details.

In Search of George Wrigley

The search for George Wrigley continues, albeit slowly!  We reported that Mrs Wrigley and Mrs Laycock were sisters Eliza and Anne Borthistle.  Brian Borthistle of Queensland learned of our search from our website and supplied the following information: Eliza and Anne's family emigrated from Ireland to Melbourne in 1866, i.e. 6 years after the girls.  The family consisted of father, mother, 3 girls and 3 boys and a male cousin.  The youngest boy died on the voyage to Australia.  After 12 months the family moved to Sydney. The information opens up a new line of inquiry as to what may have happened to Eliza Wrigley and her son, George.  We hope that one day we will hear from relatives of Eliza's daughter Lucy McClure who died in Malvern in 1923.  Our last reference was Newsletter No-72.  Contributed by Ken Howsam.

March 2005

The speaker this month will be Les James, a resident of Inverloch for many years and a member of Inverloch's 2nd Progress Association.  Visitors and friends are welcome to attend.  At 2.15 pm, prior to the meeting, we enjoy a cuppa and chat and view items on display. A brief business meeting is held followed by the speaker.

Ivan Fell spoke at last month's meeting.  Born in Nyah West, Ivan's first job was on Saturday mornings when he worked as a baker's boy from 4 am to 4 pm for 2/‑.  Later he was apprenticed as a tool maker to Ruskin Motor Body Works who were tool makers to Rugby, Hudsons and Austin car companies and he served out his apprenticeship on aircraft work.  After WWII finished, his brother, Bob, was discharged from the Army.  Bob was a pastrycook and he opened a cake shop at West Preston and Ivan began helping him.  They opened other shops, including one at Cranbourne - it was here he met and married Faye and they made their first home there.  They moved to Casterton where their two sons were born.  The business was very successful.  Ivan mentioned other towns where, at various times, they had opened cake shops.  Later on Bob decided to retire to Inverloch; he leased motels and did some relieving work at Warragul and Leongatha.  Ivan and Bob decided that they would go into partnership and they opened Fell's Milk Bar in Ramsay Boulevarde.  They employed 12 part-time staff in two shifts, 7am to l pm and 1 to 9 pm, with Linda Connell full-time.  It was a very busy shop!  One previous owner commented that over the summer holidays it could have been open 24 hours a day.  Ian Metherall and the Dicker family had owned this business in previous years.  Ivan, now in retirement, pursues his hobbies of painting and writing, belonging to the Bass Coast Writers Group in Inverloch.  Ivan was asked about the Rotary Club of Inverloch, of which he is a Foundation Member.  This Club received its Charter in 1986 with some twenty members present.  Ivan mentioned some of the work Rotary has done in the town - improvements to the Cemetery which included a roadway with gutters, upgrading the Scout Hall, the town clock, the Rotary barbecue and rotunda on the foreshore.  Ivan has been in Rotary some 43 years and has been made a Paul Harris Fellow.  Well done!  We appreciated your talk and thank you Ivan.

Preliminary Notices

At our meeting on 27 April, John Cocking of Meeniyan, a collector, will speak on postcards.  On 25th May, in lieu of our normal meeting, a bus trip to Mirboo North is planned.  Details will be available next month.


We have had a new listing of our books printed and this will now be displayed at our meetings.  We will also have several books there available for loan.