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Past Events.

Friday 20 April at 10am


Julie Scott speaking about the concrete water troughs of George and Annis Bills

Also David Thomas about the vintage red letter boxes (as at Camperdown P.O.)


We welcomed 9 members of the Lismore Derrinallum & Districts Evening Branch CWA to the History Rooms on Monday evening 19th March. History Group members explained the role of the group within the community & gave a comprehensive tour of our paper based collection as well as significant pieces we have gathered which support our social history. Such as the Johnny Borysenko display, the original Lismore telephone exchange – one of our original telephonists Dorothy Nicol was present, & CWA memorabilia and more. We were absolutely thrilled to be presented with the beautiful CWA Rose Bowl c1954. This will remain a centrepiece for our collection. We were also presented with a box of wonderful early minutes on illustrated cards, and some letters . Thank you to the group for this gesture. Minute books are full of history and we are happy to be custodians or scan them and return the originals. Our next meeting will be held on Friday @ 10am at the Derri History Rooms on April 20th. Our guest speaker Julie Scott has researched the story of George & Annis Bills – their generosity, care and concern for people and also for animals have contributed so much. The concrete troughs were built with the simple geometric shapes of the Art Deco period and were not just for horses, as a few were erected in Central Australia for camels. They also had a little section at the end for dogs to drink from and a fountain above for people to drink from. The troughs were erected in England and many other parts of the world to provide for animals and their drivers. The Lismore trough stands proudly beside the War Memorial in High Street, after several moves, however the Derrinallum trough is missing. We will also welcome a second guest speaker David Thomas. He is researching the Vintage Red Letterboxes. A local example is the red PO Box outside the Camperdown Post Office. Some of these letter boxes have the slot positioned nth/sth to make it easy for people on horseback to post their letters. If this fact intrigues you come along to our meeting on April 20th and hear more!!


  REPORT: Military, Memories & Medals - April 22nd 2012

A crowd of sixty or more people crowded into the Derrinallum Hall to listen to our three speakers & view the displays. What an enthusiastic crowd!

Peter Bakker - our ‘medal ribbons man' had lunch at 4:30pm! Our speakers were very generous with their time and were able to speak to mostpeople who had personal experiences to share.  Some very rare and very old medals were produced by some of our audience and their age/history was revealed to the families. Katrina Hedditch had a very emotional story to tell of nurses and their difficult conditions on Lemnos - her books are available at the Wooltrack Store. A postcard was brought along from an injured soldier on a hospital ship describing the conditions in the bay. While Robin spoke in a most entertaining way regarding the Boer War. Chris Lang brought along some Lang family Boer War memorabilia.

Thankyou to all who came on the day. Our reports are that every one enjoyed themselves..................................... Our thanks to all who helped on the day!


Peter Bakker


Katrina Hedditch


Robin Drooglever


REPORT: Lismore Locomotive Refurbishment Celebration - May 9th 2012

The Lismore Locomotive (1917-1965) Refurbishment Celebration was held at Grimwade Park, 11:30 am -1:30pm. It was well attended & enjoyed by about 80 people including the Lismore Primary School students & staff.

Councillor Geoff Smith spoke of the Shire's involvement in the refurbishment project. Ted Goodacre shared memories of the train & the Lions Club involvement in maintenance over the years.  Mrs Bardie Mercer (nee Grimwade) explained some of the history and the love of trains that her father Mr Grimwade continued to have throughout his life. It was his foresight that instigated the steam locomotive & tender to be transported to Lismore arriving on May 20th 1965, approximately 45 years ago. We were also fortunate to have Debo McNab (nee Grimwade) present as well. A "sausage sizzle" & cuppa was provided after the speakers.

Thankyou to the Grimwade family, Corangamite Shire & Cr Geoff Smith, Lismore Progress Association, DLCA History Group for a wonderful display, Lismore Primary School  students for participating & their artwork and Lismore & District Lions Club for "manning" the BBQ. Lots of volunteer hours!


Debo McNab (nee Grimwade) & Bardie Mercer (nee Grimwade)


"Medals, Memories & More......"

Sunday 22nd April 2012, 11:00am @ Derrinallum Hall

1.  Peter Bakker: TOPIC: "Medals and Medal Ribbons of the British Empire". He will bring an extensive collection of ribbons. He will also provide a brief overview of the history of medal ribbons and the decorum involved in their usage.  .........I will bring an extensive display of British medal ribbons from the Battle of Waterloo to present day, a full display of Australia's current honour system of military ribbons, and numerous other military and civil ribbon bars. I will also bring a selection of medals for display, including a medal belonging to a British soldier of the Middlesex Regiment who was killed in the fighting of the very first day of the first British battle against the Germans in the First World War - at the Battle of Mons on 23rd August, 1914. I am able to provide a brief overview of the history of medal ribbons and the decorum involved in their usage. I will have some books with me and will try to answer questions as to identification, replacements, etc. After my talk  people will be free to view the colourful and informative display items on tables. I have found from experience that the displays are very popular and get people involved - they allow people to mingle, chat and ask questions................................

2.  Katrina Hedditch: TOPIC: "Lemnos 1915- A Nursing Odyssey in Gallipoli" Katrina will speak about her latest book "Lemnos 1915" and the contribution these amazing nurses, many from the Western District, made during WW1.  ................."Here I am at work now, and, by jove, it iswork too. When we landed on Sunday night we had a march from the pier up to this place - about a mile - over rough stony ground...We went "on duty" to a tent with 20 mattresses, blankets, four stools, a couple of teapots and a jug. I think that was all the equipment of my tent...To feed 40 patients with about six cups or feeders is not an enviable job." Sr. Lilian Malster.

Nurses who sailed from western Victoria in 1914 and 1915 watched and lived through the medical debacle at close quarters from hospital ships as well as the base hospitals in Egypt and on Lemnos. Their experiences are a fascinating but forgotten chapter of Australian war history.

3.  Robin Drooglever: TOPIC:"Victoria's contribution to the Boer War". Robin is the author of 2 extensive books on the Boer War, "That Ragged Mob- A Regimental History of the Victorian Bushmen", the story of the Victorian 3rd and 4th Contingents sent to the war in South Africa in 1900. & " Thorneycroft's  Unbuttoned - The Story of Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry in the Boer War, 1899-1902 (Includes the Roll of all Who Served)".

Robin has an extensive knowledge of the Boer War and is such an interesting speaker............if you have an ancestor who was involved please bring details to share.



A very successfull gathering was held on the 1st of April at the Grimwade Rooms, Lismore Health Centre. 40 people attended with 19 ex students present on the day. Memories, photos & escapades of school days were revealed!

Rodger & Jenny Mulligan and Patzy Fort did a marvellous job in organising the day. The DLCA History Group appreciated the invitation to attend and gather information, photos and other local history on the day.


Gnarpurt State School Reunion 1-4-2012


BACK ROW: Wayne McIntyre, Edmund Baker, Ivan Davey, John Wager, Kevin Mathews, Noel Hynes, Francis Baker, John Gibson.

MIDDLE ROW: David Gibson, Anna Affleck (Durham), Elizabeth Gibson, Vivien McDougall (Wager), Neville Johnston, Beverly Austin (Hynes),  Rodger Mulligan.

FRONT ROW: Patzy Fort (Davey), Nina Grose (Dunstan), Irene Meek (Hynes), Patricia Graham (Fleming)



Plaque unveiling- 27th November 2011


Over one hundred people attended the unveiling at the site on the Lismore-Skipton Road. Three families - The Heath. Lloyd & Liston children, who spent their childhood here and went to the Lismore Primary School, enjoyed renewing acquaintances and remembering old times. Apologies were received from the Corlette family. No response was received from Adrian or Alistar Robertson.

 Jim Liston brought down the most amazing selection of old Lismore photos - footy, wedding, cars & farms all without any identification. They were all in the canvas bag his father took to the war. We would love some of the locals to "peruse" these photos at the History Rooms to assist in identifying people.

A former Lismore Primary School teacher, Miss Pat Dunlop also came and caught up with former students from the early 1950's.

Thankyou to the many locals who attended and to the people who assisted us by  moving chairs, the shelter etc. and supplying afternoon tea. Many thanks to Tom Dennis for selecting the beautiful granite rock, Corangamite Shire and their staff, traffic management people and the Dept of Veterans Affairs.




History was revisited on Sunday 4th December 2011 when fifty people attended the unveiling by Councillor Geoff Smith of a commemorative plaque for Geelengla School students, their families and teachers of the school.

The school was built in 1924 to cater for the children of the soldier settlers that settled in the district after the 1914-1918 war. The school was destroyed by grass fires in 1944. The land the soldiers settled on was acquired by the government from Larra Station abd was named after the parish of Geelengla.

Fourteen students attended the unveiling. Three apologies from students unable to attend for various reasons. Many stories were told by students, some told what they wouldn't want their family or grandchildren top hear!

The day ended with more stories and a cup of tea and eats at the home of Laweton French. (Report by Laweton French)

The plaque and event was organised by Laweton French, assisted by the DLCA History Group & Corangamite Shire.



Former school students: Left to right: Colin Brown, Lowell French, Grace Brown, Betty Eccles, L. Drinnan, Laweton French, Max Morris, Cr. Geoff Smith, Don Rogerson, Digger French, R. McPherson.




'Built at the foot of Mt Elephant, this was another of the Western Plains schools opened because of closer settlement after the first World War. It began in 1922, situated on land now owned by D. Grant. Elsie Rogers was the teacher for two or three years. It appears that the last teacher was Miss E. de Vries, in 1942, when the school closed. The building was to have been moved to Darlington, but it was destroyed in the fires of January, 1944.' 

Page 967: VISION & REALISATION: VOLUME 2- A Centenary History of State Education in Victoria- Educ. Dept. of Victoria 1973



We are thrilled to announce that the Department of Veteran's Affairs has agreed to the unveiling of a commemorative plaque to recognise the "Gala" settlers and has provided us with the funds. The event was held on Sunday 27th November 2011 on site on the Skipton Rd.

 The original five families are:

  • Bob & Fran LLOYD,

  • Ian & Audrey ROBERTSON,

  • Bill & Joyce HEATH,

  • Tom & Lilian LISTON

  • Jack & Shirley CORLETTE.


Thankyou to Judith Sarto for sharing her knowledge and Pop-up book collection at the History Rooms last weekend. Judith has collected many books. She began her collection with a Star Wars book in the 70's.  Her collection includes books for adults and children. Pop-up books are usually put together by an author, an illustrator and a paper engineer.


LOCAL HISTORY NEWS:      Sunday 15th May 2011, 2pm, Lwr Darlington Rd. Lismore.    What a terrific afternoon!   
Freezing cold, windswept side of the road, enthusiastic locals, fans from far and wide and some of the Geelong Footy Club's great past players ~all kept warm from the inner glow of the Cat's Friday night triumph over the Pies.                                                                                                         
The unveiling of a set of three plaques to commemorate the site of the former Struan Dam State School no. 3730 and the amazing coincidence, that in 1914, two Geelong Football Club's greatest players, both attended this  school.
Geoff Gallichan had unearthed a school photo from 1914, with a teacher and 19 young students; and standing tall in the back row, is Carji Greeves and in the front row, a dapper young Reg Hickey.   
Who could have imagined that those little boys in their lace-up boots would still to this day, be household names among Geelong supporters?  
The children in the photo are from the White, Gibson, O'Brien, Hickey, Watson and Greeves families.  
The day started with Sandy Gibson reading excerpts from Lyle Gibson's diary of her days at Struan Dam School.  
AFL Statistics & History Consultant Col Hutchinson, told of the beginnings of the Geelong club and of the skills and leadership of Reg and Carji and the many other former players from the Western District.                                             
GFC Board Member Bob Gartland introduced the Hickey and Greeves families; Christine Primus(Hickey), Margaret Wilkie(Hickey), Jenny Maishman(Hickey) and June Ford(Greeves) and their extended families.

Afternoon tea was provided by the Derrinallum & Lismore History Group and the hard working  volunteers - Wendy, Norma and Gwenda, who made sandwiches, served  hot drinks and even did the washing up, Geoff Gallichan for scones, éclairs and slice. A very big thankyou to you all.  History Group members Margaret, Avon, Jan, Tony, Marg,  Pauline, Alisoun and Lachie had researched and arranged a display of information about Reg and Carji. They had also prepared postcards to commemorate the event.
These cards and other lovely local district postcards are available for purchase at the History Rooms.
GFC donated special football books as raffle prizes and the winners were Keith Primus, Ellen Gibson, Wendy O'Brien and David Gibson ~ and they were all related to the children in the 1914 Struan school photograph!
Margaret Nixon is planning a display of the day in the History Room windows and Trish Ringe has taken a collection of great photographs of the event. Do call between 10am - 4pm in on a Friday and see it all.


Struan Dam State School 1914. 

  Carji in back row, 2nd from left. Reg in front row, 2nd from right.   

Does anybody know the others?? 


"The Hello Girls..."

 Lismore & Derrinallum Telephonists, Linesmen, Night (Boys) Staff, Technicians and PostMasters get together held on Sunday 27th March 2011 at the History Rooms at Derrinallum proved to be a great success.

  Over 50 interested people met and chatted and swapped stories over lunch, afternoon tea and beyond..... Some travelled great distances. We were able to record many of their stories and memories.

  The telephone played a major role in the development of the country. The switchboard was the lifeline of the towns. Fires, births, deaths & accidents as well as celebrations all went through the exchange. The manual exchange began possibly in 1906 and ceased operating in Lismore 8pm, March 8th, 1978. The commemorative plaque and stone is in the median strip near the flag pole and "new" sculpture.

  We would like to thank all these people for their contribution to our community. Last Sunday was a tribute to the many who worked on keeping the lines open for business! Thankyou to everyone who made the get together such a success.