Thursday, February 22, 2018

Wayside House Dance Palais – share your story

Ballroom dancing at the Swanpool Debutantes' Ball] State Library Victoria

The City of Whittlesea are calling for memories and stories of the Wayside House Dance Palais located in Wollert.   A rich part of the dance history of the City, Council is keen to hear from anyone who has danced at the Wayside House Dance Palais, played music for the social dances, been dragged along as a child, or have memories of this or other dance venues in the area. Your stories and memories of this and other local dance facilities may form part of the choreography for the Inaugural Annual Dance Affair to be held in August at Plenty Ranges Arts & Convention Centre. For more information contact the Council 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What a journey..

The integral philosophy of any bookmobile library service, now more commonly known as mobile libraries is to provide a library service to remote communities who otherwise cannot always access our traditional library buildings. Like our branch libraries (nine across our three council areas in addition to our Outreach Van), the service is subject to budgets, grant funding, keeping up with community needs in terms of collection, technology, working with our colleagues at Councils and more.

Yarra Plenty Regional Library has always been proud of our mobile library service and it is an integral part of who we are and what we do. The very first bookmobile in Victoria began operating in May 1954 by the City of Heidelberg. Back then it was known as the travelling free library. In 1956, the stops included West Ivanhoe, Fairfield, Rosanna Fire Station and East Ivanhoe.
Victoria's First mobile library
The Shire of Eltham and the Shire of Whittlesea soon followed with their own local versions and when the Shire of Whittlesea joined Heidelberg Library Service in 1976, part of that agreement was the contribution of their bookmobile.

Shire of Whittlesea mobile Library 1970s
In October 1985 the Heidelberg Regional Library Service became Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service after the four member councils, namely Diamond Valley, Eltham, Heidelberg and Whittlesea felt it was time to adopt a name reflecting the wide area we serve.  As our communities grow and change it is interesting to look at the “stops” or local communities the mobile library has served.  In 1977 stops included Eltham North, the YMCA at McLeod, West Heidelberg, Plenty, Yan Yean Road and Montmorency.
The Whittlesea bookmobile servicing the Shire of Whittlesea at that time stopped at Blamey Avenue Mill Park, Kingsway Drive Lalor, Bundoora Shopping Centre and Plenty Road, Bundoora as well as outside the craft shop at Kinglake.  By 1986 the bookmobiles serviced 57 sites on a weekly basis from Kal Kallo to Kinglake to West Heidelberg.  In 1987 a new state of the art bookmobile complete with semi-trailer replaced the two old vehicles
A snapshot from the 1991 / 92 annual report reported that on a weekly basis the bookmobile visited 20 communities and towns in the region working a 6 day week providing 43.5 hours of service to the community.  It is believed that the bookmobile provides the most extensive service of its kind in the state.  Heavily used stops at this time were Mill Park, Diamond Creek, Bundoora Shopping Centre, Epping, Kinglake and Hurstbridge.  In 1993 the bookmobile was repainted a bright yellow and green.
In February 2006 a brand new custom built mobile library was launched.  The nineteen metre vehicle held more than 6000 items, three computers with free internet access via a satellite dish on the roof and wheelchair access.  It had nearly 5000 members and loaned 107,000 items every year.
In April 2009 the bookmobile played its small role in returning a sense of normality to fire-affected areas following Black Saturday with stops at St Andrews and Arthurs Creek Primary School. In December 2011 re-branding took place with new d├ęcor communicating the many benefits of the library to the community.
Over the years the Mobile library has been spotted at local festivals including the City of Banyule Arty Farty Festival and the Whittlesea Community Festival . Preschoolers and Primary School students alike have enjoyed story times. In 2011 a second facelift of the outside decor took place featuring faces from our community.
YPRL Mobile Library 2012
In December 2017 came the announcement that two long term staff members were retiring. With over a combined 64 years’ experience working with YPRL, both Paul Ross and Alan Hatty have always been highly regarded by library patrons far and wide and will be greatly missed. 
Alan and Paul in 2012 and Nillumbik Cr. Lewis Brock with Alan and Ian Hamilton aboard the mobile library 2011. Source: Leader Newspapers

Across December and January YPRL’s mobile library underwent much-needed repairs and refurbishment. The outer shell of the mobile library has also undergone a transformation, and it is now sporting a fresh new look to make sure it stands out on the roads. As you can see, it certainly is eye-catching!  
Everyone is welcome to visit the state of the art mobile library to borrow any of the 10,500 items in stock, including a wide range of books for all ages, DVDs, magazines, talking books and large print publications or access a computer with free internet and access the library’s electronic resources.
February 2018

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Poems from Strathewen Bushfire

Source: Matt Dickinson Collection, Yarra Plenty Regional Library

The Black Saturday bushfires of Satruday 7 February 2009 impacted our local area, in particular the City of Whittlesea and Shire of Nillumbik.  In the aftermath, a local photographer took some photographs which were donated to Yarra Plenty Regional Library last year.  They have since been added to our YPRL Local History Flickr account.  Poems from the Strathewen bushfire were posted to blackened trees during these days.

In the Oct 2014 Google Street View image, a number of poems are still visible pinned to this tree.
Source: Matt Dickinson Collection, Yarra Plenty Regional Library

There’s a summer bush requim
So silent it chills
It’s drifting on ashes
Through Strathewen Hills
There’s no song at “Singing Waters”
Just an ashen lament
And trees that stood straight
Are now blackened and bent
Strathewen history
Is clouding the air
With soft powdery ash
And a wail of despair
There are spaces without traces
Of neighbours and friends
We are missing their faces
Coming around the road bends
We’re sooty and smudged
And waiting for rain
As homeward we trudge
We’re nursing our pain
Our life’s black and white
No colour between
Just some sepia tree tops
To colour the scene
We’re drawn back to the place
We want to remain
We’re holding our friends
We’re sharing the strain
  • Barbara Joyce
In the Valley of the Ewen
We are happy and free
With Sugarloaf Mountain
You and Me
There’s no place
I’d rather be
Than Strathewen
  • Bill Scott
Harder are the tears
Sadder is the pain
Inner is the heartbreak
Loving is our gain
Tomorrow is for memories
Yesterday is all gone
But somewhere in these ashes
We can together write our song
  • Anon
It’s not so much what we do in life
But more important, what we became
While we are doing it
Strengthened we will become great
My thoughts are with you all
Love Marion Oakley
People are like stained glass windows
They sparkle when the sun comes out
But when the darkness sets in
There true beauty is revealed
Only if there is light from within
Strathewen is constantly in my thoughts
  • Marion Oakley
Towards home I look to see something familiar
Searching every horizon Blackened and burnt
I look again, seeing only the burnt backdrop
Our Mountain, Our Statue
Then some how
I feel protected again
In her blackened arms
  • Rosemary Zinni Yung

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Tour of Main Road Eltham 1968

Eltham District Historical Society welcome members and visitors to the first meeting of the year on Wednesday, 14th February 2018 at 8:00 pm at the Eltham Senior Citizen’s Centre.  The meeting will introduce Historypin.
50 years ago, in February 1968. Big changes to the Eltham township were afoot with the pending duplication of Main Road. A series of approximately 50 photos were taken in February 1968 by an unknown person of the section of Main Road planned for duplication, commencing at Pitt Street and travelling towards Research through the shopping centre, finishing at Elsa Court.
These images now form a showcase collections on Historypin, an online tool which combines with Google Street View to transition between views from ‘Then’ to ‘Now’.  A number of key images will be viewed with the opportunity to provide comments and personal recollections.