EMHS August 2001 by abstraks



W       e are aware that many members
        of the East Melbourne
community have not yet discovered
the existence of the East Melbourne
                                           Malcolm Howell
Historical Society, or if they have, do
                                           Phone:                      9419 4636
not know how to make contact with
us. So to let everyone know about us       Vice President:
we have decided to distribute this issue   Nina Stanton
of our newsletter throughout the East      Phone:                      9654 0539
Melbourne and Jolimont area.               Hon. Secretary:
    New members are always welcome,        Sylvia Black
as are donations of archival material      Phone:                      9417 2037
suitable for our growing collection.       Treasurer:
    We run a varied programme of           Alan Basham
informative and entertaining lectures      Phone:                      9421 3252
and tours throughout the year, ending      Committee:
with our annual Christmas function
                                           Elizabeth Cam
which this year will be held at
                                           Phone:                      9416 2187
Bishopscourt on Wednesday, 3
December.                                  Faye Humphris
                                           Phone:                      9419 1640
                                           Liz Rushen
 Aims                                      Phone:                      9419 3811

A     full Statement of Purposes
     appears in our Documents of
Incorporation but briefly the aims of
                                           Jennifer Stanisich
                                           Margaret Wood
                                                                       9417 6110

the Society are as follows:                Phone:                      9415 1159
• To foster an interest in the history
   of East Melbourne.
• To build an archive of material
   relevant to the history of East         Membership of the East Melbourne
   Melbourne.                              Historical Society is open to all who
• To promote interchange of informa-       are interested in the history of East
   tion through lectures and tours.        Melbourne.
• To promote heritage preservation.        Enquiries Jennifer Stanisich: 9417 6110

                                           Annual subscription:            $25.00
       The EMHS
                                           Guests are welcome
                                           at individual meetings           $5.00
    financial support
 from Melbourne City                                   Affiliated with
        Council.                           The Royal Historical Society of Victoria

 President’s Column                               Christmas Function

O       ur Society enters 2003 with a
        committee that is a blend of
experience and new ideas. Membership
                                                O      ur Christmas meeting last year
                                                       was held at Chrysalis, 179 Gipps
                                                Street. We had the opportunity to
continues to be 100, and attendances at         view an exhibition of fine prints as well
our meetings fluctuate between 30 and           as the sketches of local residences
60.                                             done by Bill Walls. Delwyn Freestone,
    We will continue to have good
                                                the director of the gallery, gave us a
speakers, and continue to visit the
historical sites of East Melbourne so that      most interesting and informed talk on
we can learn more about our history.            the history of her house and its past
We hope to finalise our lanes project this      occupants. Chrysalis was a most
year, which involves preparation of a           delightful venue for what was a very
booklet setting out the history of the          enjoyable night and we do appreciate
lanes of East Melbourne. Our oral               it being made available to us.
history project is ongoing, and our
Reminiscences meeting on 16 April is
part of that project. (For details on the         Saint Patrick’s
last see later in the newsletter.)
    The Society will have its own display
room in the new East Melbourne library,
and has formulated a collections policy.
                                                O      ur February meeting was a tour
                                                       of St. Patrick’s Cathedral led by
                                                Richard Falkinger, the architect
You might consider either donating              responsible for its restoration. Richard
historical material to the Society for          has worked on the building on and off
display, or making historical material          over thirty years and knows the
available for reproduction or the taking
                                                building better than anyone. He spoke
of photographs.
    If you have carried out research work       to us not only with knowledge but also
relevant to East Melbourne, I ask that          with infectious enthusiam and humour,
you consider either addressing the              and the only pity was that there was
Society or preparing a short summary of         not time to hear more. We learnt of
your research for publication in the            the history of the building since its
Society newsletter or lodgment in the           earliest days, its restoration brought
Society’s collection.                           about by the demands of a changing
    Please telephone me on 9419 4636 if         liturgy, stories of the master craftsman
you want more information.                      who worked on the project, and a
With best wishes for 2003, Malcolm Howell       myriad of fascinating details.
 Wednesday   16   April        Residents’ Reminiscences
 Wednesday   18   June         Tour of German Lutheran Church
 Wednesday   20   August       Speaker                                            EAST
 Wednesday   15   October      AGM and Speaker                                 MELBOURNE
 Wednesday    3   December     Christmas function at Bishopscourt              NEWSLETTER

 The Search for a Home for Ola
By Helen Cohn                              Next she found accommodation for
                                           herself. It was a loft over the mews,

W        hen Ola Cohn returned from
         studying in London, she
immediately lased a studio at 9 Collins
                                           behind a large old house in George
                                           Street. The carriers were ordered for
                                           the following week.
Street, Melbourne, where she could             During the period when Ola was
live, work and exhibit. There, with the    packing and setting up her new
help of her sister Franziska, her          premises, she was offered a number of
mother’s odd job man and occasionally      commissions, the most important
artist friends, she set about cleaning,    being the two figures for the portico of
white washing walls and unpacking          the new Royal Hobart Hospital. The
works completed in England. The            studio was so small that Ola had the
sturdy crates used for freighting          stones cut, so that she could carve the
sculptures such as Mother Earth,           eight portions, which later would be
Comedy and Heard of a Virgin were          joined on the hospital building.
carefully pulled apart and the nails           Ola saw that if she were to take on
removed. From this sturdy material the     commissions for large statues, she
odd job man set about making               would just have to buy larger premises
pedestals, benches and other studio        or find suitable land on which to build.
furniture.                                 Ola walked East Melbourne searching
    For the first two years Ola signed     for land, but the only vacant land
an annual lease for her studio home.       belonged to the Victorian Railways
She felt secure and continued to pay       and that was only available on a 99
the rent in advance after the term of      year lease.
the second year of the lease elapsed.          One day, Ola had noticed an old
Shortly, she was given notice to quit, a   livery stables hung with notices
major calamity as she had such heavy       announcing ‘Cars for Hire’. Seeing no-
and awkward stuff to move.                 one about, she walked past the
    Ola hunted Melbourne for a             accumulated rubbish and tangle of
suitable place to live and work,           weeds in the “paddock” to view the
extending the search to Brighton,          cobbled courtyard and shabby brick
Toorak and Glenferrie, but to no avail.    building.
She had previously inspected a very            Returning to her work in the studio
agreeable studio at 46 George Street,      Ola put aside ideas of a move until one
East Melbourne, but had rejected it as     day her friend, artist Madge Freeman,
the building was not large enough in       rushed into the studio announcing that
which to both live and work. Being so      she had found just the place to buy.
perilously close to the end of her         Bubbling with excitement Madge
tenure, Ola paid the rent in advance.      described her find. Ola soon realised
                      The author and her brother at Ola’s Home c. 1942.
                        Photo: ©Beatrice H. Cohn. Bruinier Collection

that Madge had discovered the old               purchase. Ola continued to inspect
livery stables. Not wishing to dampen           properties which were offered, none of
Madge’s enthusiasm, Ola put down her            which was suitable.
tools and went to inspect the property.             Six weeks after she had decided not
    The two boldly walked into the              to buy the livery stables and to be
courtyard. Madge tugged at the cord             content with her current arrangements,
which operated a bell high on the wall.         Ola had an allegorical dream, very
A man stepped out onto the landing.             clear and vivid, like a double parable.
Ola enquired whether he wanted to               Interpreting her remarkable dream,
sell the property, but he stated that he        Ola saw quite clearly that she should
was just a tenant and provided the              again enter into negotiations. She felt
landlady’s address.                             that through the endeavours of her
    Ola was very busy at that time, so          grandfather and his brothers, that she
let the matter rest, until a man posing         would be able to supply security and
as an agent, offered to help her, she           allow her ship to come home. She felt
found the man unreliable, making her            she was “guided by the guardian of her
position complicated and upsetting, so          soul”.
she dropped all thought of the                                            Continued on page six
    Ola decided to deal directly with      whole area stank of urine and it was
the owner. She made an appointment         pretty plain that the area had been
to inspect the property the next           used as a lavatory, as well as a
morning. Arriving early, she was first     residence.
shown the upstairs of the “L” shaped           At first Ola thought the purchase
building. The South wing consisted of      would be unwise, but she conquered
living quarters, and the East wing was a   her feelings as she realized the great
large loft, which had been crudely         possibilities of the premises. She soon
divided into bedrooms. It was very         became its owner.
untidy and smelt very stale.                   Ola named her property “Ola’s
    Stepping out onto the dilapidated      Home”, modeling two terra-cotta name
landing, Ola had a birds’ eye view of      panels, one inserted in the brickwork
the courtyard packed with cars, each       at the entry to the courtyard and one
dripping grease onto the cobblestones.     over the carriage doorway facing the
The partly roofed area was hung with       back street, now Ola Cohn Place.
sacks in an endeavour to catch the             With the help of her friend Norman
drips of recent rain.                      Davies, Ola purchased second-hand
    The stable doors were battered and     venetian blinds which they found a
broken and inside the mess was             nightmare to paint. Blinds ready, they
appalling. The accumulated rubbish of      proceeded to upholster the furniture in
years was thrown on the floors, in         the old loft, ready for moving day.
mangers and over the stalls’ partitions.       Unfortunately Ola told her
The adjoining coach-house was              landlord that she had purchased a
enclosed by two heavy doors big            property. Before she was ready, the
enough to allow a coach to be driven       studio had been re-let and the pressure
from the street at the rear, through to    was on her to move and for the builder
the courtyard. These doors grated          to make her home habitable.
sadly when moved. The doors allowed            Ola was ready when at 6.30 am. On
a small beam of light on the wood-         April 19th, 1937 the carrier arrived to
blocked floor. Everything was covered      collect her goods, There was no
by dust. Swallows had built a nest on      difficulty, because the furniture all
the wall near the light. The activity of   fitted into one van, but it took four
the birds in that dingy place, as they     vans to shift the contents of her studio.
flew in and out to feed their hungry       Moving the sections of the Hobart
brood, caused Ola to smile.                Hospital figures was the most critical,
    Stepping through a door at the dim     as the corners should not be damaged.
end of the carriage house, Ola was         Instead of watching and directing, Ola
confronted by a disgusting sight. In       worked with the removalists. At 4.30
one old stall stood a decrepit bed with    when they left, she was exhausted.
filthy bedding. Ragged clothing was
draped over the stall partition and
broken troughs. In the remaining stall,
even more rubbish was stacked. The                   To be continued in next issue.
                                                   It is well known that the creek
 Coming Events                                through the Treasury Gardens was used
                                              as a rubbish dump, and eventually was
Wednesday, 16 April, 8.00pm at
                                              filled in. However, does any member
Clarendon Terrace – Reminiscences.
                                              have more information about this part of
In the lead up to the 50th anniversary of     our history? If so, please contact
the formation of the East Melbourne           Malcolm Howell on 9419 4636.
Group the focus of this night will be East
Melbourne as it was approximately fifty       William Henry Odgers of Manaton,
years ago. We have invited six residents      Jolimont
of long standing to share their memories      Shirley Westaway seeks information or
with us. It will be an informal night,        pictures of Manaton, the home of
along the lines of a television chat show.    William Henry Odgers. Odgers was
Later in the evening the audience will be
invited to ask questions, or indeed add       under-secretary from 1869 until his death
their own memories and anecdotes. A           at Manaton in 1881. There is confusion
light supper will be served. The night        about whether the house was in Jolimont
should be great fun and a treasure trove      Terrace or Jolimont Square. If anyone
of oral history.                              can help please contact Sylvia Black on
Wednesday, 18 June, 7.30 pm. at Trinity       9417 2037, or Shirley directly by e-mail:
German Lutheran Church                        westaway@dcsi.net.au
We are organising this night in
conjunction with the German Lutheran
                                               Photo and
Church as part of its sesquicentenary
celebrations. We will visit Trinity
                                               Memorabilia Drive
Church, 22 Parliament Place, East             This year the East Melbourne Group will
Melbourne, where historian and author,        celebrate its 50th anniversary. As part of
Dr. Walter Phillips, will talk to us on its   the celebrations the East Melbourne
history and that of its congregation.         Historical Society will collaborate with
Supper will be served afterwards in the       the EMG in putting on a display of
church hall.                                  photos and memorabilia focusing on East
                                              Melbourne over the last fifty years.
 Research Queries                             Themes will include demolished or
The rubbish tip in the Fitzroy Gardens        significantly altered buildings, people
The Society received a letter from postal     and events; along with items relating to
historian Brian Fuller, who is trying to      the EMG’s own history.
find out more information about an early          To make this exhibition as diverse
postcard. The postcard shows a creek          and rich as possible we need your help. If
entering the northern bank of the Yarra       anyone has any items that would be
near the Morell Bridge. Brian’s research      suitable and that they would be prepared
has shown that the creek probably             to lend to us, or allow us to reproduce,
drained the Oxbow swamp that is now           would they please contact either Sylvia
the Jolimont Railway Yards, and that the      Black on 9417 2037 or Nerida Samson
swamp may have been fed by the creek          on 9417 5436.
that formerly ran through the Treasury
                                             development of the wine industry has
 What’s on at the RHSV                       affected our culture.
                                             10 April at 9.45. Excursion to South
17 March – 21 March
                                             Melbourne and St. Kilda town halls
Monster Book Sale.
                                             with local history librarian, Kay
18 March at 5.45pm
Lecture. Prof. Tim Murray will explore
                                             11 April 10.00am – 12.00 noon.
the archaeology of a vanished
                                             Seminar. Digitisation: purposes &
Melbourne community at ‘Little Lon’.
                                             outcomes. $15/$18.
18 March
                                             13 May 1.00pm – 2.00pm. Seminar.
Seniors week. 10.00am. – Tour of
                                             Understanding the indexes to the
RHSV collection. 11.30am. Tour of
                                             RHSV collections. $15/$18.
Flagstaff Gardens precinct.
                                             Enquiries: 9326 9288
21 March 10.00am – 11.00am
Seminar. Using the RHSV library for
family history. $15/$18.
                                               Congratulations to EMHS member
4 April – 27 June
                                               Cynthia Turner and her husband Arthur,
The Melting Pot. An exhibition
                                               on being awarded a special plaque by
celebrating our cultural and culinary          the Melbourne City Council in
diversity. Speakers in association with        acknowledgement of their contribution
the event will be:                             to the East Melbourne community over
8 April – Dean Stewart on Bush Tucker;         almost 35 years. The presentation took
9 April – Dur-é Dara on the influence          place amid celebrations at Holy Trinity
of immigration on the way we eat;              Hall in September last year.
10 April – David Dunstan on how the

 Membership to the East Melbourne Historical Society Inc. is open to all interested in
 the history of East Melbourne.
 Complete the details below and return with your payment of $25 to:
 Membership Secretary, PO Box 355, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002.
 Receipts will be issued only on request. All members are issued with an annual
 membership card.
 Enclosed is my cheque/cash for the amount of $25.
 TITLE: [Mr/Mrs/Ms/Prof/Dr etc]

 PHONE NO:                                                                  MELBOURNE
 EMAIL ADDRESS:                                                              SOCIETY


To top