Thursday, November 29, 2018

Olympic Village Souvenir

Fifty nine years ago this week, Melbourne - and the world was in the grip of Olympic Games fever. Held 22 November to the 8 December 1956, Melbourne hosted the Olympics for the first time. We were very proud of our purpose built Olympic village built to accommodate and feed elite athletes from all over the world.
Heidelberg Mirror was published locally on the eve of the games on the 15th November. The 26 page special edition included feature articles on the Olympic Village, Heidelberg Library and Montsalvat, Eltham, as well as display and classified advertisements for local businesses in the City of Heidelberg and wider area and business' associated with the construction of the Olympic Village in Heidelberg West. 

Did you know that these were the first Olympic Games where lockers were provided for athletes at the various sporting venues?
Did you know that three and half miles of steel shelving was supplied to the Village by Melbourne firm Brownbuilt? Traditional library shelving suppliers.
This special item from our local history collection has been digitised and can be accessed via Yarra Plenty’s Local History Flickr channel.
What are your memories of the Melbourne Olympic Games?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Book review: Digby & Claude

A recent publication out of the National Library of Australia Digby & Claude is written and illustrated by Emma Allen and Hannah Sommerville as a picture book. It touches on a common theme of constant change within the urban environment.

Digby and Claude feel connected to their neighbourhood and community. This is a story about friendship, about imagination and connection to place, but it is also about change. As the Main Street in their town undergoes development, change is also reflected in their own adventures to build a secret hiding place. “Claude agreed that the best places of all are where you belong”. 

Though set in the past, this story remains relevant today. This book can connect readers young and old to the place where they live and what it means to “belong”.

Mont park to Springthorpe Heritage Project

Patients from Block 10, 16 A.G.H.. Possibly a member of staff standing behind chair, circa 1918] Alice Broadhurst Collection. Yarra Plenty Regional Library
A community driven project has come to fruition recently with the launch in September of the Mont Park to Springthorpe: Springthorpe Heritage Project. The website explores the former Mont Park Hospital and Asylum and its environs, the heritage-listed buildings, horticulturally significant landscape design, social and cultural history, hospital and psychiatric care history, indigenous history, significant historical figures and interviews with people associated with the area in the past.
The site is arranged under the various themes and also includes a timeline and a section on locally significant trees. A gallery of photographs includes photos from Yarra Plenty Regional Library’s Alice Broadhurst Collection from 1918 to 1920 covering the era when the 16th Australian General Hospital was based at Mont Park.
There is an invitation to contribute as research and stories come to light. The project is also supported by a Facebook page.   YPRL have supported this project since 2013.  It is terrific to see an outcome that has produced an online repository of curated historical material, empowered a community with a strengthened sense of 'place' that draws on its connections with past lives and communities.  A group of up-skilled local history enthusiasts have the capacity to 'grow' the Project into the future and sustain its momentum with strengthened collaborative relationships with Project partners including La Trobe University, Darebin City Council and others from the local community.
Congratulations to all the volunteers and historians involved with this project.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Sarka to Westgarthtown: The Wuchatsch Family in Germany and Australia

A new local history book has been added to our collections.  One of which will be preserved in the local history collection at Mill Park Library.  Särka to Westgarthtown by Robert Wuchatsch has been a long time in the making.

This 525-page book tells the story of the Wuchatsch family in Germany and Australia from the early 1700s. Profusely illustrated, it covers in narrative style the lives of Johann, Hanna and Magdalene Wuchatsch; their children; grandchildren; and greatgrandchildren. Subsequent generations are included in family tree form. Parts of the book are in German as well as English so Wuchatsch relatives in each country can read them.
In his Foreword, George R. Nielsen, Ph. D., Professor Emeritus, Concordia University, Chicago wrote:
If by chance this book, in addition to informing you, inspires you to become involved in your own heritage, look not only for the details, but also the excitement of the search. Like Rob, pay attention to your feelings and experiences … Sensing apprehension while crossing the Iron Curtain at Friedrichstrasse or at Checkpoint Charlie may no longer be possible, but imagine the loneliness one feels entering a rural isolated graveyard in the late afternoon with a pen and notebook reading headstones while the raucous kookaburras in the eucalyptus trees surrounding the cemetery find your efforts entertaining. I hope as you read this book you are motivated to go on a quest of your own and see places you never thought you would see or experience … See how Rob did it and plot your strategy.
Westgarthtown is an historic dairy farming settlement established in 1850 by German and Wendish immigrants, located with within the residential suburbs of Thomastown and Lalor in the City of Whittlesea.