In 1982 a public meeting was called by the mayor, Councillor IGN Warner JP, with assistance of the Town Clerk Holman Lindsay Williams. As a result of the public meeting Cr Warner was elected temporary President and Deputy Town Clerk Kevin Moody was appointed temporary secretary. A number of interested members of the community were elected to the interim committee. Several meetings were held, a constitution was established and the interim committee was replaced with a fully established committee. With a great deal of enthusiasm and with the backing of the council, the Springvale and District Historical Society proceeded to hold over the years many exhibitions and functions. One was the six day exhibition of a “Stroll Through Time” at the Springvale Town Hall which was attended by over six thousand and the “Last Chance Debutante Set” which was attended by over two hundred. In the meantime, the society was endeavouring to find an appropriate meeting place and obtained temporarily the use of the nursing home attached to the Springvale and District Hospital (now the Monash Community Centre) in Buckingham Avenue, Springvale. We then transferred to a room in the front of the former old weatherboard home of Mrs Wills which had been the home of the Springvale Community Aid and Advice Bureau. During this time the Society had been giving talks to Rotary Clubs and other organisations in the City of Springvale and had in fact obtained a grant and purchased a trailer and display panels as part of the lecturing routine. In the meantime both the Town Clerk and Cr Warner made application to the Bi-Centennial Committee and eventually received a grant of $82,000 towards a Historical Society Building.
The home of John Stollery in Heather Grove had been purchased by Council for $350,000 and had been the temporary home of Council’s Child Care Management.
They then moved out and Council with the assistance of the Community Arts Officer Jonathan McNaughton set to and partly demolished the building and replaced it with a purpose built building consisting of a Workshop, Meeting Room, Gallery, Kitchen, a room for film processing, substantial size compactus. The cost of this purpose built building was $387,000 including the Bicentennial Grant of $82,000. The meeting room was fitted out with tables and chairs. The workshop had suitable work tables. The Gallery has superb overhead rail track lighting suitable for lighting up and spotlighting various exhibits with a major control panel in an adjacent room. Because of insufficient funds a Theatrette was not able to be added to the northern end of the building adjacent to the Gallery. The Building was officially opened by the Mayor Councillor Noelle Trembath on February 25th 1990 . The Society continued giving Exhibitions involving various diverse community groups including Vietnamese and the Springvale Necropolis. The cataloguing of artefacts and photographs has been an ongoing process for many years and the current President Colin Robinson has done a sterling job in maintaining exhibitions, tours and lecturing at schools. It should also be remembered that the Deakin University Graduate Diploma of Applied Science (Museum Studies) has had a number of placements at our society since the Society’s establishment.
The number of artefacts (approx. 5,000) and photographs (again approximately 6,000) have been catalogued under the direction of the former Ministry of the Arts and the Museum of Victoria.
Written by Bill Warner OAM