Boolarra Historical Society News – Dec. 2010

Members were co-opted into hard labour over the winter months when major renovations to the Old School took place. Huge display cabinets, farming memorabilia, giant crosscut saws along with china teacups and a piano were shifted or packed up to make way for the floor polisher, and then unpacked and moved back again. What emerged from the process is a beautiful Australian hardwood floor, some of it in much sought-after Jarrah. With the purchase of heritage furniture, a built-in vacuum system and blinds we now have a very pleasant building to display the history of Boolarra.
One of the past teachers at the Old School returned to tell us what it was like when she arrived as a newly trained graduate of Toorak Teachers’ College in the early 1950s. Betty Fox was brought up in Western Victoria, so being stationed in the depths of Gippsland meant she was not going to be able to go home for weekends. She arrived in July 1953 in the depths of winter. Like all resourceful young women she embraced the town, living at the old hotel till suitable housing could be found. She loved sport so she joined the Tennis Club in summer and started up the Netball Team in winter. As fate would have it she met one of Boolarra’s champion cricketers, Ron Fox, and has remained here ever since. Marriage for female teachers at that time meant the end of a teaching career. What a loss! Betty described vividly her work day, the grades she taught and the books she used. She remembered too the children she taught, some of whom were among her audience. We thank her for her talk.
Patrick Morgan gave us a pre-launch glimpse of his latest book, Foothill Farmers – the Literature of Gippsland, at our last meeting. The book covers the history of imaginative writing about the region and works that have Gippsland as a setting. It includes such famous writers as Mary Grant Bruce, Hal Porter, E J Brady and Eve Langley. Patrick also used photographs of authors and lithographs of particular places to capture the atmosphere of the region. Foothill Farmers is obtainable at bookshops and newsagents throughout Gippsland.
It was Boolarra’s turn to host the recent six-monthly gathering of the Latrobe Combined History Group (LCHG). Member societies share news, ideas, historical material and experiences and the LCHG acts as a heritage lobby group dealing with Local and State Governments. Our visitors were impressed with the transformations and additions to the museum.
The Boolarra Historical Museum is open on the 1st Sunday of each month from 2-4 pm, or by appointment with the Secretary, Mengar Hibbins (5169 6216). The Boolarra and District Historical Society meets at the Boolarra Museum on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm. New members are always welcome. Information on our activities can be obtained from Mengar Hibbins (5169 6216), Judy Webster (51696351) or Beth Price (51696241).