Mildura Weekly : Friday March 28 2014 Vol 8 No 21
Mildura Weekly – 28/03/14 9 www.milduraphonebook.com.au and an excellent idea • From previous page With its heritage listing placing stringent constraints on any future use, it became the perfect candidate as a home for both Mildura’s his- torical and genealogical soci- eties. And in 1998 that’s what happened. “It was a Godsend,” Glenn said. Now, with a home base, historical society members could “get down to the seri- ous business” of cataloguing and preserving the plethora of material and items it pos- sesses, encapsulating Mildu- ra’s colourful historical past, he said. And that’s what they have been doing ever since. The Carnegie Centre, as it is now known, boasts a num- ber of interesting historical displays and opens its doors to the public on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 11am to 4pm as the city’s historical reference hub. The physical amount of material the society has col- lected during the past 50-plus years is staggering, more than 17,000 items and collections. Two major collections Glenn points to as examples are those showcasing the history of the Mildura Base Hospital, and another encom- passing the former Mildura City and Mildura Shire Coun- cils. But the society’s ‘jewel in the crown’ is the Oswald Col- lection. Ernest Edgar Oswald was a young professional photogra- pher who came from London to the then Mildura Irrigation Colony sometime before late May, 1890, when an advertise- ment for his services appeared in the Mildura Cultivator. It read: “Mildura Views. Mr E. Oswald desires to call atten- tion to his constantly increas- ing series of photographs of the settlement which are now on sale by F. Davis and Strat- ford & Billington, Langtree Avenue.” Oswald was the fledgling settlement’s first resident pho- tographer. His photographs, num- bering about 100 and housed in an old, battered, water- affected album are a treasure trove of early Mildura images. “They give us an unri- valled view of early life here,” Glenn says. And he acknowledges there are probably few other towns or cities that could boast a comparable photo- graphic record of its earliest days. The photos cover the gamut of early settlement. From our first vineyards to significant buildings; from the Pysche Bend Pumps that supplied the water that was the lifeblood of the irrigation settlement to iconic trading riverboats. “Despite the unfortunate deterioration the original album has suffered, a brief glance through is sufficient for one to realise that Ernest Edgar Oswald was a master of this craft and an artist in com- position.” So wrote the society’s for- mer research secretary Freda Antcliff in the forward to the book the society has pub- lished showcasing Oswald’s photographs. Her sentiments were echoed by Glenn. He describes the photos as “a treasure beyond value.” Oswald’s other claim to fame was that he was the first patient of Mildura’s Cottage Hospital. On March 27, 1892, a hot Sunday afternoon, a fire start- ed at the ‘Full and Plenty’ Res- taurant and Boarding House premises of Mr and Mrs Back- coller in Langtree Ave, near Eighth Street (on the T & G Building side). All the occupants emerged safely from the blazing build- ing, but the Backcoller family bible remained inside. A large crowd had, by this time, gath- ered outside, including Os- wald, whose business prem- ises were close by. He dashed into the in- ferno to try to retrieve the bible. He emerged with all his clothes burnt off, and in extreme agony. He was placed on a canvas and transported on a dray to the newly com- pleted, but unfurnished, Cot- tage Hospital. The crowd was aghast at the horrific tragedy and a collection was taken up on the spot to purchase a bed and bedding for the injured man. • Continued Page 12 • JEWEL IN THE CROWN: This unassuming book, BELOW, is the Oswald photo album that is the historical society’s greatest treasure. It contains page after page of invaluable photographs of early Mildura, ABOVE, and is a firm collection favourite with society stalwart and walking Mildura history encyclopedia Barb Cornell, LEFT. DON’T PUT RECYCLING IN PLASTIC BAGS Did yo u know if yo u put yo ur recycling in plastic bags it will end up in landfill? Put yo ur items in the recycling bin loose, so they can be sorted and recycled. To find out more visit www.getitrightbinnight.vic.gov.au or contact council.
Friday March 21 2014 Vol 8 No 20
Friday April 4 2014 Vol 8 No 22