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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thomas Street, Dandenong, from Walker Street intersection, about 1989

Thomas Street, Dandenong, from Walker Street intersection, about 1989
Photo supplied by Brad Farrell

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Corner Walker and Lonsdale Streets, Dandenong, 1980s.

Corner Walker and Lonsdale Streets before the Cenotaph was moved to the Pillars of Freedom at the Market end of Palm Plaza (formerly McCrae Street). McEwans in the background still standing strong with store size reduction.
This image is undated, but the cars should help.
Looks to be sometime in the 1980's

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Dandenong Light Horse Brigade, undated.

The ghosts of Lighthorsemen past ride on at Dandenong High School, their memory preserved in the school’s official colours – dark blue, light blue and red. The colours – representing loyalty, faith and courage – pay homage to the school’s founding principal Percy Langford, a member of the 4th Light Horse Regiment and a veteran of the horrors of the battle for Gallipoli.

Percival Langford was a 30-year-old teacher at University High School when he enlisted for war on 18 August 1914 joining the A Squadron of the 4th Light Horse as a private. The regiment sailed from Melbourne on 19 October 1914 disembarking in Egypt on 10 December.

According the Australian War Memorial the Light Horse was considered unsuitable for the initial operations at Gallipoli, but was subsequently deployed without their horses to reinforce the infantry. The regiment landed in May and its squadrons were scattered to reinforce the infantry battalions already fighting the Turks.

The regiment was not reunited until 11 June. Much of the regiment’s time at Gallipoli was spent defending the precarious Anzac position, most frequently around Ryrie’s Post. In a letter written home to his University High School students Private Langford writes that he could hear the boom of guns as his boat approached the Gallipoli shore.

“The flash of the guns followed by the heavy boom gave out the impressions of continuous thunderstorm,“ he wrote. “That night we dug in, but before we had done it three of our men were hit, one of them fatally. “Three of us dug a hole about two feet deep and sufficiently long to enable us to lie down.

“However, it was only wide enough to allow us to lie on our sides. Before morning we were very stiff. “We dug four separate ’dug-outs’ during the day and were heartily sick of the task before night. “We were nicely and finally settled for the night, having returned with blistered hands and very tired bodies, we got work to prepare for the support trenches.

“We moved into trenches themselves about 8am and relieved troops who had been in them for a considerable time. “One trench in front of us was completely filled with their dead bodies, but I do not wish to give you harrowing details of the state of affairs. “You will be able to form some idea of the number of dead lying in front when I tell you that we collected 185 rifles from dead men on half the ground between us and the Turks.

“It was estimated that 7000 Turks lay dead in front of our trenches.“ On 24 May and by now a Lance Corporal Langford witnessed the truce brokered between the warring sides to allow the dead to be buried. “Midway between the trenches… men of either side stood with, on one side, the Red Cross flag and on the Turks the Red Crescent. They formed the dividing line between the two forces.

“Burial operations occupied the Turks until late in the afternoon. As soon as it was over a perfect hail of bullets of was fired by the enemy. “During my stay in the trenches… I did not shave, washed once in half a cup of water, observed and slept. “The first swim in the sea after coming out, was, as the girls would say ’heavenly’. “I wallowed, regardless of shrapnel, which was bursting at the other end of the beach. Never have I had such a swim before.“

The 4th Light Horse didn’t leave the peninsula until 11 December. For Percy Langford active service was over. He was discharged as medically unfit and returned to Australia on 29 January 1916. He saw out the rest of the war at the Melbourne Recruiting Centre, where he was promoted to Lieutenant. After the armistice was declared, Percy returned to the education department and was given the task of setting up a new high school at Dandenong.

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Dandenong Contingent of 1915

Nurses were often the unsung heroes of the Gallipoli campaign. Behind the front lines they patched up wounded soldiers and comforted men who were destined to die of their wounds and never to return to loved ones in Australia. More than 3000 Australian civilian nurses volunteered for active service during World War I. One was Milicent Miller.

In July 1915 the Journal reported on a letter Miss Miller sent to friends in Dandenong from the Australian military hospital at Heliopolis, Cairo. The grand Heliopolis Palace Hotel, built in 1910, was used to treat evacuated soliders. Famous pictures of it show a sea of hospital tents erected in the grounds of the hotel.

According to Miss Miller, the hospital had space for 1000 beds which made it a huge medical facility for its time. “Our brave Australian lads are conveyed to hospital after having acquitted themselves in such a glorious manner at Gallipoli in upholding the prestige of the British Empire,“ stated the Journal.

“Fighting against the best soldiers in the world and beating them too.
“Their deeds of heroism and dash in attack must make Australians feel proud of their countrymen in arms at war."

From Nurse Miller’s letter an idea can be formed of the magnitude of the task so cheerfully carried out by the surgeons, nurses, stretcher bearers and all engaged in attending to the wounded men who have been in the firing line. “It is good to read also of the brave manner in which the Australian soldier conducts himself when sticken with his battle wounds.“

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Corner of Lonsdale and Scott Streets, Dandenong, undated.

This main stay of Dandenong had many names over the years and saw a lot of changes to Dandenong, Can you place the building, its original occupant or it's original name?

The original hotel to grace this corner was the Shamrock Hotel, Later replaced by The Club Hotel and the Pub, The later was demolished to make way for the NAB building, now occupied by Chisholm.

Image provided by Russell Stredwick

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Aerial Shot, Gladstone Road, Dandenong, 1950s.

This 1950s aerial shot shows Gladstone road, with Princes highway running up the centre-right. Westminster carpet is visible on the corner of Gladstone road and Princes highway, David street running up the top of Westminster from the highway is still a dirt road past James street.

The Dandenong High School can be seen in the top centre-right of the image. Duplication of the highway had still no happened at this time, with a lot of vacant land still visible in the area. Westminster would last for a few more decades before being struct by fire.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

1st Scout Hall, 61 Princes Highway, Dandenong, undated.

The 1st Dandenong Scout Group (Armytage’s Own) was formed in March, 1928 by Mr Ted Swords, the first scout master. Apparently a prior group existed for some time in 1917, before their scout master was sent off to serve in the A. I. F. The scout troop called themselves Armytage’s Own, as a tribute to Miss Ada Armytage of Holm Park, 
country house) and Como House, South Yarra.

She was the benefactress of the troop. The Armytage sisters were strong supporters of the scouting movement, providing the Dandenong troop with a permanent camping ground on their Beaconsfield property and financial support. This association was formed when Lord Baden-Powell stayed with the Armytage sisters when he came for the World Jamboree at Frankston.

In 1933, the crenellated scout hall on the present site was built at the extravagant cost of £3000. The hall was paid for by Ada Armytage by a direct donation of £2000 and a loan of £1400. Ivan Dimant was the architect. It contained three patrol rooms, an office for the scout master, club room, Rover’s den, kitchenette, and troop assembly hall.

It had an overall floor space of 40,000 square feet. 93 It is still considered to be one of the finest and most distinctive of Melbourne’s early scout halls. A comparable contemporary example is at Footscray but it is far less imposing externally: that hall is on the Victorian Heritage Register. A broader comparison would be with the former Moondah gate house (1888) at Mt Eliza and the forestry school at Creswick.

The building is erected on the eastern corner of what was once known as Anzac Park (now Hemmings park) bequeathed by the late John Hemmings. The Hemmings family was well known in Dandenong as the owner of the brickworks which utilized Dandenong’s excellent clays and timber resources. The Brickyards on the Melbourne Road (now Princes Highway) functioned until the 1930s when the vacant land was taken
over by the Dandenong Shire Council.

In 1933 the Boy Scouts Association shared the 8 acre site with the Council and built their hall fronting the Highway. 94 Once the brickworks closed in 1929, the Council began to use the land as a rubbish dump; students from the High School can remember there being huge rats in the area. The scout hall would have initially been in a very insalubrious environment.

During the war the scout hall and the park, which must have been partially cleared, was used by the American Armed Forces as a hospital base, associated with their encampment at Rowville. The hall was partitioned and servicemen were treated in the hall and five other huts erected around it.

After the War the High School utilised the hospital huts as classrooms, gymnasium and for school social functions. All but one of the huts were later moved across the road to the school grounds. The wider community also made good use of the hall for meetings, dances, exhibitions and community events.

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