Formation of Springvale & District Historical Society

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

History of Sandown Park Primary School

A Community with a Vision

The First Government Primary School with a Canteen

The Springvale Rise Primary School, formerly, Springvale Heights and originally Sandown Park had a unique beginning.

The boundaries of its catchment area were Springvale Road, Princes Highway, Sandown Racecourse and the Mile Creek.  The whole area was owned by the Victorian Amateur Turf Club (VATC) who, in the late 1950s, sold off 800 house blocks to pay for the development of the racecourse.  The planned development included land reserved for a maternal and child welfare centre, a kindergarten and a school.

Interestingly Melbourne’s first group of display homes was built in Wareham Street.

By 1964 the school had not been built.  The children were attending Springvale North Primary School which was on the other side of Princes Highway.  An accident involving one of the children who was crossing the highway galvanised the community into action.  Submissions were written, meetings were organised and regular personal contact was made with relevant people within the Education Department in Melbourne and the District Inspector in Dandenong, Mr.Croft Stocks.

Mr Norm Billing, the State member at the time, arranged a meeting in the Old Treasury Buildings for a group of parents to meet relevant Education Department staff.  Those attending included Max Floyd, Jacques Rosenberg, Joan Scriven, Joan Borrow and Merle Mitchell.  They were told the Department didn’t build schools to solve traffic problems!

The Minister, John Rossiter, was invited to visit the site.  Most of the roads at this time were unmade.  He came in the winter when there had been a lot of rain.  His driver refused to drive on the unmade road.  One of the parents, Joan Scriven, offered to drive him in her 1955 Ford Customline.  She took him down Amiel Street where the car slid on the muddy wet surface but there was plenty of time then to convince the Minister of the need for the school!

Eventually a decision was made to build the school.  The need to raise funds for equipment quickly became apparent.  A committee was formed and numerous fund raising activities were planned.  But this was a group with vision.  They wanted a canteen to be built with the school.  But this had not been allowed for in the Department’s budget.  A library was to be included in the plan but there was nothing in the budget for books.

So the group decided it had better get a loan to build the canteen and equip the library.  But it had no collateral.  So it approached three people – a Springvale councillor, a relative of one of the parents and a parent.  These three agreed to go guarantors for a $5,000.  The loan was to be paid off by funds raised through the canteen sales and other money raising efforts.

There was enormous support.  There were no waste collection services in those days so every month a bottle and newspaper drive was organised.  Every house in the area was doorknocked.  Some parents did the doorknocking, others minded the children.  The bottles and papers collected were all stored at the Reinhold’s house in Garnsworthy Street.  Huge amounts of money were raised.

Regular street stalls were held.  Women who could sew made dozens of sets of pyjamas and other children’s clothing.  The material was always supplied, bought at Ball’s store in Richmond.  Cracked eggs were bought cheaply from the egg farms and made into cakes.  The record was 19 sponges made in one day by the one woman!

On 19th June, 1965 Sandown Park Racecourse was officially opened.  They hosted a luncheon to raise funds.  Informal lunches were held in some parents homes.

The school opened on 1st June, 1967.  It was the first government primary school in Victoria to open with a canteen and a fully stocked library.  This from a community of young families on quite low incomes – but families prepared to work collectively for the benefit of their children.

And then came another first

Schools at this time had a School Council, who made all the decisions, and a Mother’s Club, which raised all the money but had no say in how it would be spent.  This structure caused a lot of tensions in some schools.  At Sandown Park the Sandown Park Parents Association was formed to fulfil both roles.

Just prior to the opening the District Inspector, Croft Stocks, said, ‘This school has the potential to be the most outstanding Primary School in Victoria.’

And the loan?  It was paid off twelve months after the school opened but the group continued – there was much more to be done – including the financing of an arts centre.

Merle Mitchell AM

November 2011

Sandown Park State School, Grade 2, 1968
Sandown Park Primary School, Grade Prep C, 1971

Keysborough

I have called for a greater focus on development of services within the growing area of Keysborough, and in particular the south part of Keysborough, unofficially known as “Keysborough South”.

One view that council could take is that these people chose to live in Keysborough, and have paid less to rent or own in Keysborough due to its relatively little infrastructure. This view could be that as these people have chosen to live in Keysborough, they will be content with things as they are.

However, a more responsible and proactive view should be taken by council. Council has begun planning for a Keysborough South community hub, however we need to make sure that funds are prioritised in future budgets.

If these infrastructure needs are not met, residents of Keysborough will be largely dependent on cars to access some services, which adds to traffic and parking congestion.

Council should acknowledge that having the new developments in Keysborough offsets the need for greater development, with the associated traffic and parking issues, in our existing activity centres of Dandenong, Springvale and Noble Park.

Call for rate hike
Keysborough South Action Group