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Interesting & Notable Locations
In addition to the sites marked by Plaques throughout the City of Monash there are other interesting areas of note.
|Glen Alvie Estate - Mt Waverley||Tuhans Boundary Store - Chadstone|
|Valley Reserve - Mt Waverley||Waverley's Roads|
|Federal Reserve - Mt Waverley||Bellfield Mount St Neighbourhood House|
|Burwood Hospital - Burwood||Waverley: the first Subdivision|
|In 1839 Thomas Napier leased an area on the west bank of Dandenong Creek which was later to be known as the Bushy Park run. In 1853 Eugene Bellairs, under the direction of Robert Hoddle, surveyed the land parish of Mulgrave. This was an area of approximately 25 square miles named in honour of the Earl of Mulgrave, who had been Englands Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1839 to 1841. The Parish boundaries were Highbury Rd to the north, Warrigal Rd to the west, Wellington Rd to the south and Dandenong Creek to the east. The major roads were set out in a 1 mile square grid.|
|THE GLEN ALVIE ESTATE in Mount
Surrounding Mt Waverley Village is an interesting housing area, once designed to become the very epitome of prestigious country estate living - an extravagant idea decades ahead of its time, though more common today.
Gardens, Parks, Games
The estate also had a large nursery of its own, run by one of the investors, and a huge variety of suitable garden plants would be available conveniently to the buyers of land. Canary Island palms and shady plane trees were to be a feature, and many of these are still flourishing today. This was to be Garden City living.
Somehow the local council in 1929, keen to see planned suburban development, allowed itself to be persuaded to borrow a huge sum - 24,000 pounds - to help the subdividers to lay Sunderland roads on the estate and to finance an underpass under the railway which was just being constructed, due to be opened the following year (1930).
The Sunderland method of road building was an innovative technology of the time, expensive but durable. These concrete roads can still be seen surrounding Sherwood Park and other nearby streets today. Council intended to charge an extra rate to residents of the estate to cover this huge loan. In addition, like so many others whose land was near the railway, the would-be buyers would have to pay a levy to support the coming railway. However it was considered that residents would be so happy to have facilities ready before they even built their houses, that the extra expense would not deter the right kind of buyers.
Two Hiccups - Depression & War
But the council still had that huge loan to pay off, and even less residents in the area than before paying rates. Reluctantly they went to the Supreme Court in 1936 and all the Glen Alvie land became theirs. They cleaned it up and tried again to sell at reduced prices, but still buyers were reluctant to commit themselves, this time because war was imminent.
Action at Last!
|THE OLD TUHAN'S BOUNDARY STORE
A well known landmark for Waverley residents of yesteryear was the old produce store on the South East corner of Waverley and Warrigal Roads - Tuhans' Boundary Store. Not only was it a great landmark and "Welcome Home" sign for weary farmers on their way home from the Melbourne markets, it was also a handy source of "fuel" for their transport - the horses!
The store was operated by the Thomas Tuhan family. Tom was born in Ireland (County Armagh) but left the Emerald Isle to work the Wide Brown Land. He met and married Mary Allister of Mulgrave, in 1878. The Allisters had been working the land on the north side of High St Rd near Box Hill Rd (now Huntingdale Rd) where Allister Street now stands.
The solid brick shop had a wooden verandah and a corrugated iron roof. It was built in 1880 on the corner of Warrigal Road (then often called Boundary Road, being the western edge of Mulgrave and the border with Prahran, now Stonnington, and with Boroondara) and Waverley Rd (then Breakneck Rd), and served the community for 60 years. It was built on two levels. Large platform scales in the store weighed out feed. A hand-trolley was used to bring sacks to customers' wagons or to nearby homes. There was an enclosure behind the shop for the Tuhan horse, which helped with deliveries. The Tuhan residence was next door in Waverley Rd and had a neat picket fence and a verandah all around.
The store sold corn, chaff, pollard (ground wheat), bran, straw - all kinds of feed for livestock, and soft drinks and biscuits for their owners. The biscuits came in large tins and were weighed out for customers and sold in brown paper bags. (The Tuhan family still has these scales over a hundred years later, and they look very decorative with a flower arrangement in them, on the hearth of a new Tuhan residence.) Invariably some biscuits would be broken and these would be sold cheaply and made a great treat for children. The nearest "competition" feed stores were in Ashburton and Oakleigh.
Important customers included the Sunbeam Dairy in Atherton Rd, Oakleigh, since all milk was delivered by horse-drawn milk float, and the Metropolitan Golf Club, which used horse-drawn mowing machines during the war. Waverley Riding School, which occupied a large block of land near Jordanville station, and market gardeners all over Waverley, Oakleigh and Malvern also bought feed from Tuhans' store regularly.
Their orders were delivered to the stable door by a large one-ton four-wheeled horse-drawn lorry, and later a spring cart - rain, hail or shine. One day James Tuhan was too sick to be working, but finished his deliveries anyway - driving the lorry lying down! Chaff and other feed was picked up from Oakleigh rail siding. At the shop, all loading and unloading was done from the Waverley Rd entrance, since the gutters on Warrigal Rd were too high to cross. However, it was difficult for the horse to climb up the Waverley Rd hill fully loaded.
Then there was the horse trough, also on the corner, a welcome "watering hole" for the workhorses doing the various rounds. As well as the farmers going to and from market, there were the many deliverers of household needs that used to be brought to people's doors. The butcher, the baker, the milkman, the postman, the Rawleighs man with essences and cleaning products, the Mitchells man with brushes, and many others provided home delivery services, and almost all by horse and cart, and those horses could be watered at Tuhan's corner.
Sixty years of serving the local community had its share of hard work, ups and downs, and laughs. One time the Tuhan family were annoyed to find graffiti on their posters at opening time, several days running. (Some things never change!) Eventually they worked out that the young paper boy was responsible. The Boundary Store was a convenient resting place in the middle of his round when the brisk air had sharpened his sense of humour and his creative juices were flowing. Resting under the wide verandah, he could think of several ways to alter the signs to "improve" them. One morning Aunty Elsie was waiting for him though. Just as he got the pencil poised, he glanced in the window and saw a menacing figure with a tomahawk looking daggers at him. He was gone in an instant and it is said his father wanted to know why he had wet himself that morning!
Other times were less humorous but pretty exciting at the time, like the morning a would-be arsonist attempted to set fire to the shop. An aboriginal tracker called Dick was brought over, but since there had been a light rain at the time of the offence, anyone could have followed the footprints. A farm-hand from a nearby farm was arrested for the offence. (January 1897)
The shop was severely affected by the proposed widening of Warrigal Rd in 1939. Warrigal Rd, always a boundary and a major route for north-south traffic, was by then very heavily trafficked, and the signs were that the trend would grow. The store had been located for the convenience of passing trade - right on the very corner. Widening could not occur while the shop was there.
It was vacated in 1940 in preparation for the roadworks, but because of the war the actual work did not get started for several years. The acquisitioned building was used during the war years as a welding workshop operated by Vigo Nielsen, making hospital furniture. When it was finally demolished, nearly the whole site ended up under asphalt. You could say that it had been "in the road." However the surrounding land was subdivided for housing and the store immortalised by having Tuhan Street so named.
So the wheel turns, new people taking up new challenges, but with the same commitment to furthering the community as was so evident in Tuhan's Boundary Store.
Tucked away a short distance from Mt Waverley Village, not visible from any major roads or the railway, is one of the most significant reserves in the whole of the City of Monash. Valley Reserve, according to a brochure by the Friends of Scotchmans Creek and Valley Reserve, "contains some of the only remaining patches of intact bushland in the area." Thus it is special because it shows us (as far as possible) what the land was like before suburbanisation. Looking back on old aerial photographs at Waverley Historical Society, it is apparent that the land has never been cleared or farmed. Here we can glimpse the deep past more than in any other place in our City.
Going right back as far as records allow, we get confirmation of the natural vegetation of the area. One early observer, "Daniel Bunce, nurseryman, explorer, naturalist, creator of Geelong Botanic Gardens, author and newspaper columnist passed through the district in the late 1840s." His book, published in 1851, records some of the vegetation he noted. A little later in 1870 a wealthy nearby resident, Daniel Van Amstel, proposed creating a lake and importing gondolas to offer cruises around the deep fern gullies and delicate flora of Scotchmans Creek.
The factors that led to this particular piece of land being preserved as remnant vegetation are simple. Its isolation from early suburbanisation (Waverley was still mainly rural until 1960) kept it free from major soil disturbance. Also, when Council began purchasing the land in 1955, it had been owned by just one family since the 1850s. (In fact several branches of that family still live in the close vicinity.) Thus the history of the land was known. For example it was remembered that the steepness of the broken gullies made farming, felling and even grazing difficult. It had been left relatively untouched. Thus this land was "accidentally" preserved through all those years of sales and settlement.
Zooming forward to the present, the latest project of the City of Monash and the Friends of Scotchmans Creek and Valley Reserve is the installation of a number of information signs around the main circuit. You may be surprised to see what lives in the various parts of the Reserve; enthralled by the secrets of the reeds and rushes, and delighted by the variety of birds you can see and identify.
One last point that may be of interest - as you enter at the main drive, there is a pond at your right. By this pond lies an old log, now in-planted with some native grasses. However it was once "one of the city's oldest living residents." It was photographed by the Waverley Gazette in 1963 - still vertical - and later given this place of honour when unfortunately it fell to progress - and the widening of Springvale Rd.
I have always found it delightful, when walking along the various paths of Valley Reserve, how far it seems from suburbia. No sign of "civilisation" can be seen, and hardly any even heard, due to the bushland sounds and the natural surroundings. There are parts where I almost forget that I am still in the middle of Mt Waverley, just a few hundred metres from the shops.
Roads - they are something we take for granted when all is well, and complain about when it isn't - but barely think about most times. They are everywhere, little ones in front of our houses and big ones for travelling distances. We don't have to build them or maintain them so we just assume they are a part of life.
But it was not always so. As recently as 150 years ago there were barely any roads in the eastern suburbs area. Of course the whole Burwood area was in the country then - cattle runs, woodcutting, and little else. The first land sales in the area were not until 1853, when the area was surveyed, Oakleigh township gazetted, and "government roads" laid out. Victoria wasn't even separated from the colony of New South Wales yet.
Many people do not realise, but at that time of the first surveys, Melbourne's (and all of Victoria's) roads were laid out to run (magnetic) North - South and East - West, exactly one mile apart. This was to give easy access from all points to all points, with plenty of room for quiet residential areas and self-contained industrial areas, efficient routes for public transport, etc. It was excellent planning that inspired those mile grids to be established.
Unfortunately not all local councils followed the plan, but a quick check of a street directory will show the North - South grid as Summerhill Rd, Warrigal Rd, Huntingdale Rd, Stephensons Rd, Blackburn Rd, (etc); and the East - Wests as Riversdale Rd, Toorak Rd, High St; and High Street Rd, Waverley Rd and Ferntree Gully Rd. Where there are glitches in the system there are stories to be told about stubborn characters who had to have their own way at the expense of present and future generations - Mr. Elgar, and the Bennett brothers (of Bennetswood) are prime examples. If you want to know more, you may like to find Dr Max Lay's book, "Melbourne Miles" in a library.
But even when the roads were laid out, they were not "made." The Oakleigh and Mulgrave Roads District which heralded the first stage of local government in the area, was created by Act of Parliament in 1857, but it was another three years before the people made up their minds to elect a Roads Board. In 1865, the Gazetteer of Victoria showed that the population of this Roads District was 1250, with the largest concentration at Oakleigh village, which had 110 people. Thus the first reason for all the individual settlers to "get together" and do something en masse was to establish some roads into town. Picture it - way out here in the sticks, where there were few houses and fewer shops, settlers needed access to the Melbourne markets for their produce - firewood for the town houses, a few cattle that could be spared, and later some fruit and vegetables. A trip to town took many hours. The local would rise early and catch and hitch his horses, and begin the breakneck journey around trees and fallen logs, down and up creek beds, over the ruts and holes and burrows. (Waverley Rd was even called Breakneck Rd in those days.) In the wet, it was all mud and bog holes; in the dry it was dust and ruts and corrugations.
If the produce was perishable, the trip would have to be started while it was still dark, increasing the danger. After a four or five hour journey, a full day at the markets was spent, selling the produce. Then it was time to load the cart with manure from the stock area to take home for fertiliser, and start the long weary journey home. Trouble was, just as it was getting dark they would arrive at the unmade roads closer to home, with all the accompanying danger of the horse running into an unseen log, or breaking a leg in a hole.
Enter the Roads Board, to help the battling farmer. Locals could now band together and make sure the roads were levelled a bit and logs cleared to make the journey safer and a little faster. However no-one had the time to do the work voluntarily. All were on subsistence level and needed to work their selection. Who should pay for the roads? The answer was obvious - the user should pay. Tollgates were set up in various places to collect funds for the service of clearing fallen trees and mending holes. A bronze footpath marker outside Safeway (Woolworths) in High Street Rd, Ashwood, marks the place where one of these tollgates was situated.
Of course people did not like tolls any more then than they do now, and every attempt was made to use the improved roads without paying the tolls. (Some things never change.) The toll gates were phased out by an Act of parliament in 1874 (by then we were The Colony of Victoria), but not before the Road Board became the Shire of Oakleigh/Mulgrave, so that local government was established, with the means to extract money for roads by other means. Incidentally, the council only ever met on full moon nights, because there was no street lighting. Travel on other nights was too dangerous.
One of the many dangers on the roads, day or night, was stray animals. When conditions were dry, stock would break out and graze "the long paddock" (the roadside, for those not used to country jargon). In the dark one could easily collide with a cow or horse, and day or night the sudden emergence of stock frightened by the sound of an oncoming cart could make the horse shy and topple the cart. Thus commons were established to give small land holders somewhere extra to graze stock. One was on the corner of Waverley Rd and Forster Rd in Mount Waverley. A footpath marker commemorates the place.
In those days the roads were "good" if they were relatively level. Property close to major roads was valuable, because all other roads were private and likely to be nothing more than routes. In the winter, they were muddy and in summer, dust. People used to walk to stations and bus stops carrying a clean pair of shoes for in the bus and in town. Stations and bus stops would be lined with muddy shoes, which owners would retrieve on the homeward journey. This was the case right up till about 50 years ago, when subdividers were bound to provide some basic services on estates, rather than simply drawing lines on a map.
In the 1960s and 70s freeways were built that cut the journey to Melbourne down from an hour and a quarter (compare that with the 4-5 hour journey of the 1800s!) to about 40 minutes. Now we have roads that can take us into town in 20 minutes or so, if we want to pay the toll. We also enjoy "made' minor roads, footpaths, pedestrian crossings, street lighting, freeway sound walls, and many other comforts of road use.
|FEDERAL RESERVE & Section
57, Shire of Mulgrave
At the first land sales of the Mulgrave District in 1854, Section 57 was purchased by John Holland for £510. This consisted of 112 acres (approximately 45 hectares) on the corner of North Boundary Road (now Highbury Road) and Stephensons Road, in what was then known as Burwood.
It was subsequently purchased on 2 February, 1880 by John Carmody II of South Emerald Hill, (now Sth. Melbourne), who had married Harriett Hodges Hunt from Tipperary in 1874. Two sons, David and Francis were born in South Melbourne, and Ellen, John III and Arthur were born at Burwood.
John Carmody II established the farm, known as Cratloe Wood which was used as a dairy farm and market garden until 1927 when on Harriett's death, it was subdivided into three equal allotments of about 39 acres.
Miss Ellen Carmody inherited the eastern block on the corner of Stephensons Road, and then sold it to Joseph H. Cooke in 1937. He died in 1942, and the next owner was Victor Webber Draeger. This was subdivided after 1947.
The centre allotment was inherited by John Carmody III. It contained the original house, and continued to be known as "Cratloe Wood", after Cratloe, the birthplace of John Carmody I in County Clare, Ireland. John Carmody I died in Adelaide S.A. in 1873 and so never lived here.
John III was a market gardener who specialised in growing cauliflowers and potatoes. He also had a Corriedale sheep stud and then later moved into dairy cows. He had married Dorothy Chambers and four children were born: John D Carmody (the fourth John in Australia), Brenda, Maureen. and Jocelyn Kathleen. The property was subdivided in 1947. Interestingly, the initial subdivision was not all into standard house blocks as some of the lots were up to 1 acre.
Origin of Street Street Names in the second
The first block in the subdivision was sold in 1947 and the last in 1965. The location of the original Cratloe Wood farmhouse was near the south east corner of Cratloe Road and Brenda Avenue and consequently Brenda Avenue required a bend to achieve the subdivision.
The second son, Francis, inherited the third lot, and named it Cratloe Hill. He had a new house built on this block, and moved into it in 1928, with his sister Ellen. This house was located at what is now the north end of Federal Reserve. The house consisted of four main rooms in a square with a kitchen and bathroom along the back, and a separate laundry. The concrete entrance pathway to the house and the path around the house can still be seen in the reserve. Two large trees now mark the entrance.
Francis ran a dairy farm on his block with about 35 dairy cows. The cowshed and dairy were located east of the house on the area that is now the rear of No. 35 Jubilee Street. With high demand for housing in the area Frank subdivided the Cratloe Hill property in about 1952 keeping about 12 acres. Four streets were created and the names were subsequently chosen by Frank and Ellen and show his lifelong interest in royalty, current affairs and politics.
Origin of Street Street Names in the third
After Frank died in 1955, his sister Ellen lived on in the house until she passed away. After her death, the 12 acres were left to the Church of England. In May 1969 the Church submitted a Planning Proposal for the division of the land into residential allotments. and the transfer was finally completed on 28 June 1973. The block fronting Federal Street was transferred to Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works on 6th August 1973, which then transferred it to the Mayor, Councillors and Citizens of the City of Waverley on the 16 October 1980.
The Carmody family also occupied other land nearby in the Waverley district. The fourth child of John II and Harriett; Arthur Daly, purchased a farm on the south west corner of Highbury Road and Huntingdale Road (known then as Bayview Road) in 1922. The Carmody name and that of his wife Stella Florence Stephens are perpetuated in the names of the streets created out of his farm, namely: Carmody, Florence, and Stephens Streets.
In 1975, the proposed establishment of the tennis courts and clubrooms caused some friction in the community. The project was initially supported by the Waverley Council and then rejected in August 1975 because of local resident opposition. The project comprising four courts was then re-supported by Council in April 1976 and finally approved with clubrooms in July 1976. This final approval was against the recommendation by the Ministry of Conservation. The complex was later extended with further courts and floodlighting.
|BELLFIELD MOUNT STREET Neighbourhood House
In 1854 John Ingram, who had for 15 years been the gardener at a property called Bellfield in Ayrshire, Scotland, bought 30 acres of land which included the site of this house. He bought from speculator Ephraim Dunnett, who in that same year had purchased 212 acres from the Crown, divided them into 20 lots and offered them for sale. Ingram bought Lots 16 and 17.
John Ingram walked out to his land, blazing the trees all the way so he could find his way out. He quickly earned a living from it, cutting timber and running stock for the Melbourne markets, noting that journeys to town by horse and cart took 14 hours each way. By 1858 he was already known for his well-established garden of vines and vegetables. He helped pay for a local school (and was on the school board for many years), served on the first Oakleigh and Mulgrave Road District Board, and helped haul local stone to build the original Oakleigh Presbyterian Church in Warrigal Rd. In 1865 he was acclaimed "best vegetable producer" in the Oakleigh district.
The first permanent dwelling here at the antipodean Bellfield was a two-roomed brick building, still standing and in use as the demonstration kitchen. The house faced the Dandenong Ranges and had separate outhouses and sheds. Also there were two other houses on the property, one at the present Glen Road, and the other near the Wilson Rd end of Panoramic Gve. Later, his son William further developed the property, which then included famed orchards.
William served as Shire councillor for six years and worked to change the name of Black Flat into Glen Waverley. He was Shire President at the turn of the century and left his mark on many community projects, such as helping establish Glen Waverley Recreation Reserve, the school, Wheelers Hill Presbyterian Church, and a string of community events and services.
He also bought up more land so that by 1897 the original holding had doubled in size. After William died in 1911, his wife Jane continued for a time but by 1913 had decided to sell out, thus ending over 60 years of the Ingram connection with Glen Waverley. The buyer then was one Carl Winter, an interesting character of German extraction who had no visible income but lived very well. He renamed the house "Ave Viator" (Hail Traveller), and he often had foreigners work for him or visit late at night. Carl often called himself an importer or just a "gentleman." He owned a coconut plantation in PNG but this was confiscated during WW1.
However, life as the country squire did not really suit him after all; possibly he did not know enough about the work involved, and in 1916 he sold most of the farm to Edwin Robbins at a loss, saving 10 acres for his wife. Despite the bargain, Robbins was not able to hold it long either, and in 1918 Michael Lawless purchased this and other land to the south, creating a highly desirable 80 acre farm stretching from Hinkler Rd to Wilson Rd, and from Springvale Rd to The Outlook. He raised his four children there: Ann (Mrs Romeo Ajani), Mick who later married Mary, Mary (Mrs W Grant), and Noreen (Mrs Ray Billing, mother of Colin, Patricia, and Helen) - all familiar names in the area.
In 1927 he added a brick frontage including the present front porch, which changed the old Dandenongs facing frontage into the rear. Eventually, as the Lawless children grew up and married, the farm was rented out, and history repeated itself - a German family was once more living in the house called Bellfield or Ave Viator. The hardworking Kuebler family may have been the last to farm the land here.
As urbanisation reached Glen Waverley, parts of the old farm were subdivided for housing, and in 1952 the Glenvale Estate provided new house blocks for 87 young families. Various other estates sold off parts of the farm, eg. the Tower View Estate in 1959. Mick Lawless named a new street after the Ingram family, but made a mistake naming a street Kalonga Rd, when there was already a Kalonga Crt. south of Waverley Road. This street name was changed to honour Michael Lawless - Burramine St, after the place he had come from, and nearby Helena Drv was renamed Michael Ave after him as well. Waverley Council acquired the property in 1979 and extended it to create to create Mount Street Neighbourhood House.
HOSPITAL Warrigal Rd, Burwood
(As in the Burwood Bulletin November 2011
Everyone passing the northeast corner of Highbury and Warrigal Roads used to turn for another look at the majestic double-storey brick mansion. It was that sort of a building.
Whether surrounded by parklands, out-houses or modern homes, it always invited a second look. "What is that stately place?' was their voiced or unvoiced question. For many years it was Burwood Hospital. At least, that was its colloquial name. Over the years it went through several official name changes. Mostly it had been Dunstaffnage Private Hospital, owned and run by two sisters, the daughters of Senator J. H. McColl, a State and Federal MP for over 30 years. Alice McColl was matron and her sister Jeannie housekeeper from the outset in 1922. Dunstaffnage was where their grandfather, Hugh McColl, also a Victorian MP, had been born in Argyle, Scotland.
The ladies had bought the graceful house from its first owners, Henry and Helen Scott, who had called their home Hawthorn Grove. Their eight older children had been born in Scotland, and the first Presbyterian services in Burwood had been held in that house, before Trinity Church was built on Scott land in Warrigal Rd (now a funeral home). When their only Australian-born child, Tom, made his appearance, they proudly planted a pinetree in the front garden. That had been 1886.
In later years, the sweeping front carriageway would circumnavigate that towering tree. The 1950s saw the tree dominating the whole facade. Coincidentally, Tom Scott spent his last days in Dunstaffnage, in a room just opposite that in which he had been born. Weirder still, "his" pine tree was removed to make room for extensions to the hospital that same year. That was 1953. (Echoes of the song, "My Grandfather's Clock"!)
Tom Scott, by the way, was the young brother-in-law of Joshua Jordan, after whom Jordanville is named. The Jordans lived close by, where Ashwood Secondary College now stands. Both Joshua and his son John were longtime councillors of Mulgrave Shire, as the city of Monash was then known.
But let's return to the magnificent Scott home, turned hospital. In the early 1930s the McColl sisters retired and leased, then sold, the hospital to tiny energetic Sr Emily Forsyth. Sr Forsyth was a country girl, one of twelve children, and remained a country girl at heart. As well as being matron, owner, nurse-trainer, and housekeeper, she had a large vegie plot and chook run out the back to feed her patients the strength-giving food they needed. Despite her Presbyterian background, she worked tirelessly seven days per week (yes, even on Sundays!) and stayed on call in her upstairs room at night too.
In Sr Forsyth's time thousands of babies were born there, many delivered by the inimitable Dr Christina Reid, one of the earliest female graduates of Melbourne University. Her practice was nearby and it has been told me more than once that if Dr Reid delivered a baby, the baby remained "one of hers" even after the child grew up. Dr Reid would keep in contact. Other long-serving doctors included Dr Tom Buxton and Dr Marcus Rosefield, both very well known in the area. Many Burwood Bulletin readers have told me of expert care and a personal touch from these local doctors and the hospital in tandem - and of waived fees too, when a patient was down on his luck. The extraordinary dedication of both will continue to astound us in this 21st century where the mighty dollar controls all.
By 1950 it was time, even for the ever-productive Sr Forsyth, to retire. Dunstaffnage was put on the market but not sold. Local residents pressured the Hospitals and Charities Commission and together they bought the hospital, "as a temporary measure until Box Hill Hospital would open." It was leased as a private hospital for a short time but by 1954 it had "gone public" as the Burwood and District Community Hospital, with Sr Pat Kirwan as matron.
She steered the "ship" though all kinds of challenges like the baby boom, the 1962 fire tragedy, and the constant need for innovative fund raising. In 1956 when television was launched in Melbourne, the hospital bought and raffled a TV set. Forward-thinking ideas like this began to turn the tide for the hospital, though needs were constant.
The opening of Waverley Private and Box Hill hospitals, the outward migration of young families, and the declining birth rate in general all had their effects on small community hospitals, and many others closed. Burwood, however, had a "change of life" of a different nature - it swapped from being a maternity hospital to being a renal unit.
In 1982 the dialysis department of Prince Henry's hospital was looking for somewhere to expand, to have a friendly home-like atmosphere for their kidney patients, and to move them away from the pressing problem of golden staph infection which beset many hospitals including their main campus. Burwood Hospital provided the perfect place. Being completely "clean" (of staph), very personable, and having room available, it was ready for the challenge of learning new procedures.
At Burwood patients learned to do home dialysis so that they could go home and have a higher quality of life than the hospitalisation that had been Common. In 1993 the hospital received an Australian Hospitals Association Merit Award for its innovations - "Rose Cottage" patient training unit (totally non-hospital-like), art therapy, and home follow-up.
Sr Pat Kirwan retired in 1985, having spent over 30 years being on duty or on call almost without a break. Most of that time she lived on site and dedicated her every waking moment to patient care and hospital administration. She did not even have a secretary or assistant to help write receipts and make change, keep up with paperwork, etc. However she said she was glad she had finished her time and did not need to spend hours daily seeking grants, sponsorships and other funding. The Auxiliary cake stalls and fetes, and the making do, were more pleasant to her than the modern need to solicit funding via long complicated application forms.
Next in the line-up of remarkable women to lead the work at Burwood was Mary Archibald. In her time threats of closure became stronger than ever. Burwood had long been the smallest public hospital in Melbourne. Most thought bigger was better. However by 1988 Burwood was also recognised as one of the most cost-efficient, and things looked up. The Burwood and District Community Hospital celebrated its 40th birthday with hope for the future.
Shortly afterwards, Monash Medical Centre decided to treat its own renal patients. The shock of suddenly empty wards at Burwood was severe, but in its typically flexible style, Burwood decided to specialise in a different renal treatment for which it was already equipped. It had successfully made the change from maternity hospital to surgical/general and renal. It would adapt again. But unfortunately this was not to be.
Burwood & District Community Hospital became a campus of Inner Eastern Health Care Network in 1995 - another adjustment, another hope - but then closed its doors on 4 December 1996. The wonderful old Dunstaffnage was demolished in 2000 after 115 years of turning heads, and modern new Highwood Aged Care built on the site. The mothers who gave birth on this iconic corner, the meeting place of three municipalities, can now "retire" there as well. Their babies, like Tom Scott, will be able to be complete the circle of their lives on that one spot. Dunstaffnage is gone, but there is no reason to think that the legacy of the hospital with the "human face" should not live on at Highwood.
In preparing this article I referred to the history of
the hospital, "A Human Face - The Story of
Melbourne's Smallest Public Hospital" by Catherine
Watson, published by the hospital in about 1994. I was
privileged to receive anecdotes, personal memories,
details and perspectives from countless Burwood Bulletin
readers - too many to name. My sincere thanks to ALL who
took time to email or phone me. Some also showed me news
clippings, memorablia, photos and documents, and provided
access to the invaluable book. Because of your
contributions, Burwood Hospital will never be forgotten
in the history of Burwood.
WAVERLEY - The First Subdivision
In 1854, less than 6 months since Eugene Bellairs had surveyed the Mulgrave district, a Dr James Silverman purchased Lot 62 of 160 acres at what is now the SE corner of High Street Rd and Stephensons Rd and created the town of Waverley and the first house lot was sold. Silverman was a Russian emigre who arrived in England aged 21 where he gained his medical qualifications. He then moved to Australia in 1853. We can speculate that Dr Silverman (or surveyor Newson) appears to have been a fan of Sir Walter Scott's Waverley novels and also the court of the Stuart King Charles II of England (1630-1685). Charles II had a number of mistresses and sired at least 14 illegitimate childen. The streets of this first Waverley subdivision incorporate the names/titles of his mistresses and offspring.
Charles St: - After Charles II.
Stewart St: - The Stewart Dynasty
St Albans St: - Charles Beauclerk, the illegitimate son of Charles and Nell Gwynne, became the Duke of St Albans.
Gwynne St; - Nell Gwynne rose from a bawdy theatre entertainer to be a royal mistress.
Portsmouth St: - named after mistress Louise who was to become Duchess of Portsmouth,
Cleveland St: - after mistress Barbara
Villiers, later Countess of Castlemaine and Duchess of
There were three other streets in the
south of the subdivision:
Grafton: - after Henry, the Duke of
Grafton, the second illegitmate son with Barbara
Monmouth: - after James, the Duke of Monmouth, the illegitimate son with Lucy Walter.
With construction of the Glen Waverley railway line in the late 1920s these last three southern streets disappeared.
A polished granite plaque set in the
ground at the SE corner of Portsmouth and Charles Streets
shows the original street layout and marks the creation
of the town of Waverley.