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Inverloch Historical Society Inc

April 2005 Newsletter

John Cocking, from Meeniyan, is a postcard collector and will speak at this month's meeting.  John has indicated that he is willing to value and perhaps purchase other card collections so you are invited to bring these along to the meeting.  All are invited to attend.

Les James was the speaker at our last meeting - Les came, with his family, to live in Inverloch when he was 5 years old and has lived here for many years.  He attended the Inverloch School and remembers the children arriving on horseback, some riding two or three to a horse's back and Miss Ethel Ruttle, a teacher, drove a horse and jinker to school.  Her brother, Bertie, had Ruttle's Quarry and some of the last stone from it was brought down by dray and dropped in front of the school where they had a steamroller fired up and ready to roll it and the driver blew the whistle - the children loved it!!  School started at the end of January and in the warm weather all children had swimming lessons.  A school picnic was held over at Point Smythe.  Bill Young took everyone across in his motor boat.  There was a track to the left which led to a picnic ground and in the morning running races were held for the children.  After lunch they walked along the track to the beach and some swimming.  After a person drowned there, they decided to use the Picnic Reserve at Inverloch.  Combined Schools Sports were held with Kongwak, Leongatha South, Pound Creek, Tarwin Lower and Inverloch competing.  Les won the 100 yards race and the high jump by one inch.  He played football - the Football Ground had a dam in one corner and the losers often finished up in the dam.  Les remembered the rocks being carried up from the beach by the children to make the cairn in front of the school as a memorial to Inverloch Volunteers of WWI.  Les told of the unemployed men who were on "sustenance" benefits (we call these "Dole" benefits now) and they worked three days/week to earn it.  They built the first footpath on the south side of a'Beckett Street and, later, the sea walls - using sea sand and sea water - the walls are still there today.  Les's mother had worked at the old wooden Esplanade Hotel as a waitress for 25 shillings/week and often a 3d tip.  When this hotel burnt down, it affected the town's employment and things were tough.  Les was about 9 or 10 then and Bill Young would take him out on the boat, often over the bar, and show him how to set craypots and pull the crays out; how to climb the mast to lookout for barracuda and how to unhook them when caught.  Bill would clean them and Les would take the tiller, keeping in line with the markers to come in.  There would be thirty or forty people waiting for the boat to come in and Bill would sell the 'cuda for 6d each.  Things were tough!!  Les learnt how to deal with the passenger boat when they went across the Inlet to the Point Smythe pier - mooring and putting down the ramps for the passengers.  One day when they had delivered supplies over there at low tide they noticed an enormous fish between the sand banks.  It was a dead sun fish and they struggled to get it to the pier.  Someone notified "The Herald" and the reporter told how it was thrashing around and the boat almost capsized. 

Les mentioned a number of other interesting snippets in his talk on Inverloch. 

We thank you, Les, for the information you shared about our town.  An audio tape of this talk is available from our Library.

Future Meetings

May Meeting

On 25 May, in lieu of our normal meeting, a bus trip to Mirboo North area will be held.  Bus will leave the V-Line bus stop at 8.45 am and return approximately 2.15 pm.  Cost, including a light lunch at the Mirboo North Museum, is $13.00.  Bookings are essential and may be made at April meeting or with Ruth Tipping on 5674 3319 (no refunds). 

We invite you to join in this outing. 

June Meeting

At the 22 June meeting Norman Deacon will talk about his interest in "Openers"!



"Port Phillip Pilots & Defences" by Captain J. Noble from Nancye Durham


"The Inverloch Jazz Fest - The First Ten Years 1994 - 2003" by Sylvia Trott from Jazz Fest Committee


"Let the Feathers Fly" Jazz Fest badges (8) from Jazz Fest Committee and (2) from Ruth Glare


"100 years of Education in Inverloch" from Hazel Hayes

Thank you to these donors.

The Inverloch Probus Club advises that a large projector screen has been donated, for use jointly by their Club and our Society, from John Russell in memory of Bill Grieve.  Our thanks John.

The Jazz Fest Committee launched their book on the history of their first 10 years, at the recent Jazz Fest.  The book was compiled by Sylvia Trott and is available from their Committee (Tel. 0409220864), cost $10.  The book was published for the Inverloch Historical Society by Norm Deacon, our Secretary, who has expertise in this line of work.  Congratulations to all involved!


We continue to have a listing of our library books available at our meetings and several books available there for loan - others may be requested from the listing.

Of Gimmicks & Gizmos

Research requires an idea (gimmick) and a machine (gizmo) to implement it.  The idea may be simple or it may be complex and the machine also may be simple and/or complex.  Some weeks ago Ken Howsam received a letter from Debra Smith of Queensland asking if his mother was Lydia Fleming and if so could he supply information about Lydia's mother and aunts whose maiden name was Bunnett.  Debra's gimmick was to find an unusual name (Howsam) in the family history and her gizmo was to search telephone directories and contact entries of this name.  With Ken she hit the jackpot first up.  Not only was Lydia Fleming his mother but he had researched the Bunnett's and published his results in his book "My Ancestors" and could supply an 1897 photograph of the family.  In return Debra provided information about her limb of the family tree, Jane Varley nee Bunnett.  Family history research requires ingenuity to devise a suitable gimmick and gizmo, perseverance to surmount obstacles and a slice of luck. 

By K. Howsam.