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Maps on Trove


ABC News featured an article last weekend about The National Libraries Trove website; my favourite go to site for old Newspaper articles. Trove are featuring some quirky historical maps which are well worth looking at. For further details visit the ABC News article “But where is the green sheep? Old maps put the art in cartography” By Cristen Tilley 11/3/17

According to the article there are over 6,000 old maps on Trove which show all sorts of historical data including the amount of sheep, cattle, wheat and minerals in Australia. The size of settlements, the rainfall averages, aboriginal tribes, and vegetation are also amongst those featured in the ABC article.

The article can be accessed at:…/old-maps-australia-art-c…/8314730

If you are interested in delving further through the map section of Trove, it can be found here:

Bills Horse Troughs


George Bills and his wife Annis made their fortune in manufacturing wire products such as bird cages, door mats and innerspring mattresses, but it is their legacy; hundreds of water troughs for horses and other animals all over Australia, that they will be remembered for.

Mr and Mrs Bills were childless but great lovers of animals. In1909 the couple donated some water troughs for the benefit of working horses of Melbourne.
When Mr Bills died in December 1927, aged 68, seventeen years after his wife, he dedicated a portion of his estimated £80,000 ($6.23 million) estate, to erect horse troughs "'wherever they may be of opinion that such horse troughs are necessary or desirable for the relief of horses or other dumb animals either in Australasia in the British Islands or in any other part of the world”.

In the next decade between 500 and 700 concrete troughs were built, mostly to a standard design by Rocla Concrete Pipes Ltd in Auburn Road, Hawthorn. All were inscribed “Donated by Annis & George Bills Australia”. They cost £13 (around $1,018 today) to construct before shipping and installation.

Bills troughs could be found on most busy thoroughfares, outside town halls and pubs, and places such as markets where animals would be gathered, throughout Victoria and NSW, with some making it as far as Britain and the United States.

In later years some were relocated for road widening or were preserved in museums, including three in the Berrigan Shire; Mary Lawson Museum Finley, Berrigan Showgrounds and Tocumwal Pony Club. Stanhope amateur historian George Gemmill has dedicated a blog to the troughs, listing more than 300 locations where they can still be found. This blog can be found here:…/locations-for-bi…/

Information sourced from an article by Jamie Duncan, featured in the Herald Sun, February 20, 2017.

The Finley Methodist (Uniting) Church


The earliest services, in Finley, of the Methodist denomination (as they were referred to then), were held in the original Finley School of Arts from around 1894 with Ministers visiting from Deniliquin, Numurkah and Yarrawonga. When the School of Arts burnt down in 1901 the Methodists shared the Presbyterian Fulton Church with all other Protestant religions, with Ministers taking it in turn to conduct the ceremony for all protestant denominations.

By this time Methodist Minister(s) were residing in private residences in Berrigan and would travel a circuit of the area by horse and cart, staying in various homes around the region to perform services, often staying for a few days to conduct Pastoral Care.

When Scot’s Presbyterian Church was opened in 1920 Methodist services and events were held there, with Rev Keeling riding over on the rough roads on his motorbike. When Rev. Keeling left the Ministers returned to Horse and Cart travel until a Model T Ford was purchased for the Parish in 1927.

In 1939 a block of land was purchased by the Methodist parishioners, from Mrs Gus Hamilton. The site being a former dairy. Although the land had been purchased, fundraising and works were delayed by the war, so it wasn’t until 1953 that the church was finally erected and opened. The Finley Methodist Church Hall was then officially opened at the end of 1958.

The Methodist Church, Australia wide, was then changed to Uniting Church mid 1977.

Information and B&W photo sourced from “Looking Back on Finley” by Norman McAllister, Colour photo from Google Street View.

The Finley Presbyterian Church


The earliest services, in Finley, of the Presbyterian denomination were held at Tuppal Station where services were conducted by the Deniliquin Minister. In 1880 a Rev was stationed at Jerilderie who would come down to Finley and service both Anglicans and Presbyterians and in turn the visiting Anglican Minister would provide services for the Presbyterians.

The Berrigan Advocate of 9 June 1893 notes that “It is proposed to disconnect the Berrigan and West Berrigan from the Jerilderie Charge and inaugurate a fresh one” West Berrigan being a small timbered church situated on Atkinson’s “Church” paddock later known as the Thomas Fulton Memorial Church.

In 1894 All protestant denominations moved services to the original Finley School of the Arts but when it burned down the services returned to the Fulton Church.
With the advent of the Tuppal Closer Settlement scheme in 1910 introducing some 117 families to the district, and then a further settlement through the South Coree subdivision, the Presbyterians moved to the new School of Arts building.

The foundation stone of Scots Church Finley was laid on 29 October 1919, with the Church constructed and opened by mid 1920.

After WWII a hall was purchased from the Tocumwal Airfields which was utilised for the next twenty years, though as it was of inferior construction it was demolished.

Information sourced from "Looking Back on Finley" by Norman McAllister.

The Big Cod at the Tocumwal Foreshore.


The Big Cod was commissioned in 1967 to be the first 'Big' thing in Australia and was made of fibreglass mouldings and built by Duralite in Melbourne. As fibreglass was a new medium back then, the Big Banana was completed and erected first. The 'Fish' as it is known locally, was originally located at the old swimming pool in Murray Street in 1968, but was later moved to its present location on the Foreshore.

The plaque at the ‘Big Cod’ reads as follows:
“In 1967 three foresighted women who made up the auxiliary of the local Chamber of Commerce decided that Tocumwal needed “something different” to put the town on the map.
These women were Miss Kathryn (Trixie) Moore, Miss Alice Johnson (later Gibson) and Mrs Lorna Nash. For many months these women gathered support and raised three thousand pounds, the cost of the fish.
The Fish was the second “Big Thing” to go on display in Australia.”

Information sourced from the Discover Murray website:

The old Tocumwal Hospital


The Tocumwal Hospital was first made possible by generous donations from the Lang Family who lived at Pine Lodge from 1892. Mr HW Tuck Snr’s residence was purchased in 1948 and was converted to a hospital and nurses home. At that time the hospital was owned and maintained entirely by the town and had six beds under the supervision of the three trained nurses and four other staff.

On 10 April 1950 a disastrous fire occurred and although some equipment was saved, the hospital was almost a total loss. As soon as the extent of the damage was known, the Committee called a public meeting and it was decided to at once commence raising funds for the erection of a new hospital. After some inevitable delay a surplus building was purchased from Disposals and moved on to the old site, alterations were commenced but eventually rising costs, and lack of finance, forced a discontinuance of the work.

An appeal was made to the Hospital Commission to take over the completion of the building, and after many alterations and extensions to the original rather modest plans, a start was made and the hospital, and nurses home, was completed in January 1956 at a total cost of approximately £38,000. The new hospital was officially opened on 1 February 1956 however the committee continued to extend the facilities with a cool room, auxiliary power plant and extensive theatre equipment.

According to the Presidents Report of the first year’s operations the Hospital had ten beds available for medical and surgical cases, four for maternity, two verandah beds, three cots and five bassinettes. In their first year 462 patients were treated for an average of nine days each, the maximum number of patients at any one time being 23.

Barooga Boy Scouts and Girl Guides


Barooga Boy Scouts was formed in 1958 with D Guthrie as leader and twelve boys as initial members. These were P Quinane, C Seigel, K Mansell, M Keamy, J Frazer, P Johnson, R O’Callaghan, G Slater, J Walker, M Steward and F Brown. In those days they were registered in Victoria under the Murray Valley Scouts Group.

In 1969 the Headquarters of Scouting in both Victoria and NSW agreed the administration of Barooga should be done from Sydney. They were transferred from Victoria and registered as Murray Scouts Group. 1969 was also a big year for Barooga as they got their own hall.

A year earlier in 1968 Barooga Cubs commenced operation under the Leadership of Elaine Evans. Ten years later, in 1978, a Guides and Brownies pack also commenced in Barooga.

Berrigan Public School


The first unofficial record of a school in Berrigan township is believed to have been around 1885, but there is not much information to confirm where or in what capacity this was. The State Government recognises the commencement as 1891 with around 30 students recorded as attending at that time.

The growth of Berrigan around that time identified the inadequacies of this school and the local Progress Association, a forefather of our Berrigan and District Development Association, petitioned for remedial action. By 1896 there were 68 children in attendance with a further twenty or so registered but not attending due to overcrowding in a classroom only capable of holding 40 students.

The school Inspector visited the school and was shocked by the conditions. He immediately wired the Minister to urgently rectify the situation and after some further delays a new school was opened in 1898. The new school commenced with 100 students in attendance with one teacher, Mr Basil Hughes, and his assistant, Miss Ormiston.

The numbers declined in the next century, reducing greatly on the introduction of the High School in Finley, with seventy students travelling by bus to receive their secondary education. By the mid fifties the numbers had again risen and the school housed 156 pupils and had expanded to four rooms, and a fifth teacher being added by the mid sixties.

There have been further extensions in the past fifty years including a library, an administrative wing, a hall and COLA, and memorial gates were also erected at the entrance of the school in honour of Mrs Helen Peterson, who dedicated the greater part of her lifetime as an infants teacher at the school.

Information sourced from ‘Berrigan Today and Yesterday’ by Ian Fuzzard, 1965

Finley Public School


The first public school in Finley, as previously reported, was the School of Arts Hall from 1895, which left the hall unable to be used for the majority of the week. 

 This was only rectified a year later and not to a standard approved by either the school teacher or parents of pupils. Built on the site of the current school, the 17’ x 14’ x 9’ weatherboard building was classified as utterly inadequate as it had neither a verandah nor fireplace, and was described as being “as hot as hell in summer and as cold as a penguins instep in winter”. A further twelve months later the verandah and fireplace were both erected.

The Progress Association took up the matter of the 17’ x 14’ building and the original brick building, of 36’ x 21’ x 14’ was erected just east of the original structure, dwarfing it. At this time there was accommodation for eighty pupils at only eight desks.

Additions to the building were completed in 1925 to accommodate the then enrolled 120 students. Through World War II the number of students remained static but then rose in the years following. By 1950 the school had been upgraded to enable pupils to sit for both Intermediate and Leaving Certificates and the school was designated Finley Intermediate High School.

Finley High School, as previously reported, was finally constructed by 1957 returning the original school to primary status.

Christmas flashback


I found some Christmas Articles via National Library of Australia TROVE website that I thought would be of interest.

There are to short letters to Uncle Jeff from Berrigan residents that are very amusing, one dated 1914 and the other from 1937. From Tocumwal I found a summary of happenings in the township Christmas 1898. There was a fair held in Barooga in 1935 and Finley in 1910 there were reports of trouble in court by the housewives of Finley who didn't have enough work to do in their homes.

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