Mildura Weekly : Friday March 28 2014 Vol 8 No 21
www.milduraweekly.com.au 8 Mildura Weekly – 28/03/14 Young Ted, the Mayor MAYOR Reg Etherington never agreed to anything more than to chair a public meeting. A meeting called to gauge the level of public interest in the formation of a historical society in Mildura. The Mayor may have only intended to chair the meet- ing, but by the end of pro- ceedings he had been elected president of the fledgling Mildura and District Histori- cal Society. The year was 1955, and Reg was to sit in the president’s chair for the next 28 years, overseeing the society’s growth for nearly three decades. “Reg loved his involvement with the so- ciety,” according to current president, Glenn Miller, now a 25-year veteran of the same post. But, Glenn said, the so- ciety owes its existence to another man – Edwin ‘Ted’ Lawton. The celebrated pho- tographer and long-time em- ployee of Merbein’s CSIRO facility was the first person to raise the idea of a historical society for Mildura. “Ted was just 28 when he approached the former Mil- dura City Council, and then Mayor Etherington, with the idea that Mildura needed a group a preserve its history,” Glenn recounts. And, by all accounts the visionary Mayor gave the young man a sympathetic hearing. He could see the merit of such an organisa- tion, and agreed to chair the subsequent public meeting that was to mark its birth. Interestingly, the venue for that meeting was the city’s ‘Children’s Library,’ part of the then Carnegie Library complex in Deakin Avenue. The same building that was to feature prominently in the organisation’s more recent history. The venue was chosen because it was the workplace of enthusiastic historian Al- ice Lapthorne, the author of ‘Mildura Calling.’ The book is arguably the first written his- tory of the Mildura irrigation settlement, with a particular focus on the city’s founding fathers – the Chaffey broth- ers. Alice was to become the society’s first secretary, and would hold the position for the next 25 years. She was to publish the third edition of ‘Mildura Calling’ while secretary of the MDHS. With the society estab- lished, it was quick to look around for things to do. It was not long before it was responsible for the erec- tion of several cairns around the region marking sites of significance including the grave of Mrs Elizabeth Wil- liams, reputedly the first white burial in the district. It also started compiling its collection of historical memorabilia, a collection that was to grow rapidly. Storing this wealth of infor- mation created a real chal- lenge, and for many years the society used a small room be- hind the former powerhouse on Mildura’s riverfront. At the same time, mem- bers were attending meetings at a variety of venues includ- ing the Arts Centre’s Bolte Gallery (Rio Vista home- stead’s former ballroom); the now demolished CWA Hall, and the older Mildura Senior Citizen’s centre. The society was to have no home to call its own for four decades. Meanwhile, one of the highlights of those early decades for members was a number of excursions to other places of historical in- terest. Glenn recalls trips to cen- tres including Broken Hill, Burra and Castlemaine as ex- amples. “They were always inter- esting trips,” he said. Mildura society members often met with the members of historical groups in the places they visited, gathering ideas that they could bring back home to help them in their efforts to preserve Mil- dura’s history, and catalogue their growing historical ar- chive. “We came back with some very good ideas,” Glenn recalls. But the wheels were in motion that would eventu- ally see the society have a real home...at last! With the construction of the Alfred Deakin Centre in the mid-1990s, the heri- tage-listed former Carnegie Library building became va- cant. • Continued next page By Grant Maynard firstname.lastname@example.org A Moment in Time Grant Maynard A Moment in Time ...or how the Mildura and District Historical Society was born... • IN THE BEGINNING: Ted Lawton, RIGHT, as many will remember him, camera in hand, was a much younger bloke when he approached then Mildura Mayor, Cr Reg Etherington, ABOVE LEFT, about forming a Mildura- based historical society. The society they founded now has amountain of historical material including the former Mildura Shire crest, left, with the Mildura City equivalent. INSET: MDHS president, Glenn Miller. PH: 0418 502 207 7 Scott Crescent Mildura loc al MILDURA DISCOUNT BATTERIES FREE BATTERY TESTING *conditions * apply Our premises are currently undergoing Renovations. Entry is through the rear door in Risby Lane Appointments during this time would be appreciated 150 Madden Ave, Mildura P5021 2312 F 5021 2302 Privately owned & operated by the Iamarino Family 49 - 51 Seventh St East Mildura (Between Etiwanda & Benetook Ave) 0408 418 694 email@example.com www.metalonthemurray.com Tuesday to Friday 10am - 5:30pm Saturday 9am - 12pm EASTER STOCK AVAILABLE IN STORE NOW! Wall Art • Indoor/Outdoor Privacy Screens • Garden Art • Planter Boxes • Furniture • Custom Signs Easter Egg Candles - Try Our Low Fat Alternative In yummy colours, these eggs can be enjoyed for hours without adding to your waistline.
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