Lilydale & District Historical Society

Annual General Meeting Reports 2019-2020

President’s Report

The 2019/2020 year has been one of great contrasts – normal and not normal, free and not free, open to all closed to all.
The year has thrown everyone, not just our society, a massive challenge which I’m proud to say our members and the committee have taken in their stride. We’ve had to be creative and innovative to continue our work for the community and keep the money coming in so we can continue to pay the bills to stay in the Old Lilydale Court House.

The second half of last year the members put a lot of time into researching our new exhibition: Writing for the Future launched by Bridget Vallance in February. Little did we know we would be closed the next month for the rest of the year. Several members have said they want to see the display so we will keep it up into the first half of next year.

Despite being in lockdown we have continued to deal with all the many research requests from people doing their family history or curious about something in the district. These are very time consuming but an important part of our work and our income.

The value of digitization of documents, images and objects became very apparent and is something we as a society and community need to do a lot more of in the future. Members were able to access files from home safely and easily.

Several members have spent hours tirelessly working on our collection. Thanks to Phil Burton, Florence Shaw, Maree Phelan, Brian and Jacquie Duviosin we have now caught up on a lot of our cataloguing and indexing which opens up the depth of our collection to the community.
Robin Childs who is in charge of our archive files has been indexing them throughout the lockdown and has been able supported by Christine Armstrong.

Marg Tull and Kristyn Jackson have helped prepare our updated content for our website which will be launched early next year.

Our presence in the digital age has been wonderful led by John Brown whose Facebook and Instagram postings have drawn a lot of support and comment from the wider community. We have all kept in touch.

Our secretary Joy Gothe, despite her ill health has done a great job as our secretary and her list of research inquiries shows just what we have all been doing when locked down.

Looking to the future

We hope to open the Old Lilydale Court House doors at the beginning of February but we have to operate in a totally different way due to Covid. We will also launch our new exhibition later in the year and our members will continue to play an active part in the community.
Lorraine Smith has been quietly working on our next exhibition which will celebrate our 50th year serving the district. I’m not sure if the Yarra Ranges Council knows but it will also shortly reach a special milestone as 2022 will be its 150th year of municipal government as the Shire of Lillydale was formed on February 11, 1872.

Lilydale is now undergoing massive changes with the Kinley Estate’s transformation of Cave Hill Quarry while in Main Street, the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRP)will build a new station and railway line across the road.
Several of your members have been putting in many hours of time to be involved in these projects. We are a member of the Stakeholders group for the LXRP and have fought doggedly with other community members to link the past with the present through various features and also ensure Lilydale does not lose its wonderful country town like feel.

We have also been involved in finalizing the Lilydale Place Plan and are now working with the council on the Lilydale Structure Plan which will shape our town over the next 20 years.

In all these projects we have sought the recognition and inclusion of our past – indigenous and European history – in each project as it is our history which gives us our present sense place be it in bricks and mortar, community well being and economic development on which we can lay the foundations for our town’s future.

In conclusion we have to put 2020 behind us, learn the lessons from it, but more forward into the bight new year of 2021. On behalf of the committee I wish each and everyone of you a safe and relaxing Christmas break and trust the new year will be a great success.

Sue Thompson
December 5, 2020

Treasurer’s Report for July1, 2019 to June 30, 2020

Phillip Burton

Memberships $1,309.10
Books & Merchandise $770.54
Interest $96.52
Christmas Lunch $206.36
Donations $2,266.10
Grants $6,989.00
Postage $20.59
Raffles $31.87
Research $1,855.44
Tours & Talks $195.46
Sponsorship $1,709.11
Photocopying $86.38
Photographs $1,190.01
Total Income $16,726.48
Cost of Sales $396.63
Gross Profit $16,329.85
Bank charges $35.00
Tea & Coffee etc. $55.32
Postage $223.96
Telephone/Internet $861.07
Web Expenses $3,356.74
TROVE $7,735.00
Miscellaneous $243.01
Printing & Stationery $713.25
Displays $365.40
Archive stationery $84.40
Memberships $252.27
Court running Costs $652.96
Total Expenses $15,578.38
Nett Profit $751.47
Bank Account $2,882.79
Term Deposit $5,625.73
Petty Cash $3.30
GST – ATO owes us $927.45
Total Equity
(includes stock & equipment)

LDHS Annual Court House Report for 1st July 2019 – 30th June 2020.

The total number of hours for the 9 months the Court House was open in the year 2019 – 2020 were 3149.5 hours, of these 1795 hours, were done at the Court House.
Duties at the Court House totalled 466, done by 137 Duty volunteers over the year.
During the year there were 212 Visitors to the Court House.
The average Attendance at the 8 General Meetings was 20 for the Year.

48 Society Members worked outside the Court House doing a total of 1259.5 hours in those 9 months.

Here are the areas our volunteers work on while doing their duty at the Court House and work outside. These are the facts and figures that make up the Statistics for these totals for the year.

Activity Hours
Meetings, Committee, General Monthly, with others 103 hours
Administration, Newsletter, Computer Backup 343.5
Research, Inquires, Projects 748.5
Indexing Files 751
Filing & Sorting 278.5
Cataloging 323
Collection 220
Papers, Library Indexing 79.5
Scanning Photos 68.5
Multi Media, Radio 26.5
Cleaning & Maintenance 26.5

Heritage Network, meeting held at the Court House had 13 people attend. Our Christmas Lunch had 25 Members attend and at Volunteers Lunch in January 15 members attended.

A big Thank You to all our Volunteers for their valuable contribution, their reliability and dedication, rising to the challenges that are part of the Statistics for the 2019- 2020 year.

Walks and Talks, at and outside the Court House for the Year

For the year there were 2 talks, and of the 1 Walk in Seniors Month, 20 attended, and for the 1 Cemetery Tour, in Seniors Month, 12 people attended.

Guest Speakers at Meetings were:
October (Seniors Month): Fred Bramich and Alec Risk, talking on living and working in Lilydale.

February was the launch of the new display boards, titled “Writing For The Future”, by Bridget Vallance, and included family and friends of those on the boards.

March was Author, Roy Hay, who wrote recently released, “Aboriginal People and Australian Football in the Nineteenth Century, They Did Not Come From Nowhere”. This documented the growth of football and cricket at Coranderrk in the 1880s.

July: Philip Burton spoke to Lilydale Rotary.

September: the Sheds at the rear of the Court House were forcibly broken into, with a Silver Service taken.

October,(Seniors Month): A Lilydale Cemetery Tour was led by Philip Burton, he also led a Behind the Bar Walk of Lilydale Township, accompanied by Robin Childs.

November: 14 LDHS members were taken on a tour of David Mitchell’s Lime Quarry workings from KInley’s Sales office, with a digital presentation afterwards.

Sue Thompson presented ‘The Value of History’ statement, to the council meeting, suggesting it be inserted in the councils ‘Vision Statement’, and all Council Projects refer to local Heritage Groups for input. Yarra Ranges Council could be the first in Australia to implement it.

Lorraine Smith and Marg Tull attended a workshop. ‘Becoming a Child Safe Community Group/Organisation’, through the YRHN Community Heritage Officer Gabby.

February: Relatives of Jack Lundy – Clarke, visited the Court House after seeing the write up on the Display Boards launch in the local paper. The patron of LDHS, Saffron and Lord Vesty, with Daniel from Coombe Cottage, visited the Court House.

March: at the end of the Month, Lockdown commenced because of the Coronavirus and the Court House was closed for the rest of 2020.

Multimedia Report August 2019 to June 2020
John Brown

During the past 12 months we have put up 75 posts onto our Facebook page and 39 on Instagram.
Total followers as of 1 August 2019 were 1,292 on Facebook.
Total followers as of 1 June 2020 were 1,360 on Facebook.
Total followers as of 1 August 2019 were 323 on Instagram.
Total followers as of 1 June 2020 were 440 on Instagram.

Most Popular Posts of the Year

14 August 2019
Here’s a little bit of history of Coldstream, Parks Hotel Coldstream.
Likes 69. Reach 956. Comments 5. Shares 7. Instagram 44 Likes.

11 September 2019
Main Street Lilydale 1864 photograph by Charles Walter who arrived in Australia 1855 from Germany.
Likes 89. Reach 1,444. Comments 12. Shares 13. Instagram 31 Likes.

30 October 2019
The Lilydale Post Office opened on 12 September, 1861.
Likes 106. Reach 572. Comments 1. Instagram 40 Likes.

12 November 2019
101 years ago there was a Peace March in Lilydale.
Likes 79. Reach 1,118. Comments 3. Shares 7. Instagram 33 Likes.

13 December 2019
We had our last meeting for the year plus Christmas Lunch.
Likes 32. Reach 597. Comments 7. Shares 3. Instagram 30 Likes.

23 January 2020
The Society’s New Display – Writing for the Future.
Likes 28. Reach 534. Shares 4. Instagram 40 Likes.

19 February 2020
We are very excited to see the restoration of the David Mitchell Memorial gates.
Likes 134. Reach 2,749. Comments 9. Shares 15. Instagram 55 Likes.

18 March 2020
Rationing during World War 2 in Australia was a fact of life for all citizens.
Likes 70. Reach 5,373. Comments 24. Shares 28. Instagram 41 Likes.

8 April 2020
Happy Easter to our followers from LDHS, Olinda Bullock drivers 1909.
Likes 67. Reach 1,033. Comments 8. Shares 7. Instagram 37 Likes.

15 May 2020
Here is Main Street Lilydale looking across to Castella Street in 1888. Hand Drawing.
Likes 84. Reach 1,138. Comments 11. Shares 12. Instagram 40 Likes.

23 June 2020
Celebrating 123 yrs since Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Planting Main Street.
Likes 90. Reach 1,476. Shares 8. Instagram 43 Likes.

Library Report 1/7/2019 to 30/6/2020
Kristyn Jackson
During this year, of the covid virus pandemic, there was limited time to work on our library so there were only 35 new items added to the library.

The following items may be of interest to our members:
The most notable would be the Val Sheehan newspaper clippings and scrap books relating to the Yering Mothers Club and the Skate family, ranging from 1972 until 1994. These books, hold a plethora of names of the local people and families, have now been indexed and entered into the Master Index.

Just a reminder, that the Master Index could be your first port of call when researching your family history in the Lilydale district. The index is in alphabetical order of names, places and events and it is easy to use yourself or with the help of one of our volunteers.

Another book added to our library this year is the beautifully published “The Johnston Collection” by Anthony Knight. William Johnston settled in Lilydale in 1879 and operated his business from 335 Main Street, Lilydale. William Johnston’s grandson, named William Robert Johnston, was an antique and fine arts collector whose collection is now on display at his East Melbourne home Fairhaven, which is now The Johnston Collection Museum.
William Johnston and grandson William Robert Johnston together with other family members are buried at Lilydale Lawn Cemetery.

There have been seven editions of the Lilydale High School Magazine added to the library from 1950 to 1977, maybe you will find your class photo in one of these magazines?

During the year we had a guest speaker by the name of Roy Hay and his book “Aboriginal People & Australian Football in the Nineteenth Century” has been added to the library. Roy’s presentation was very interesting and his book may be of interest to the football fans amongst us.

Inquiries from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020
Joy Gothe Secretary

There were 50 queries received and answered by the society to the year ended June 30, 2020.

July 2019

  • John Hobby wanted information on Cliff Mitchell and relationship to Mitchell family of Barwite Road Mansfield, not far from Dueran Station, querying if he was Nellie Melba`s first cousin.
  • Nola Shoring is researching the family of Andrew Paul who came to Australia from Calcutta and settled in Lilydale looking for photos of “Cambus” the family homestead.?
  • Leo Duggan wanted information about Margaret Jones who at the time of her death in October 1943 was living at Cave Hill Road. Particularly interested to know how long Margaret lived in Lilydale, he requested some rate book research to be done.
  • Caroline Zelazo wanting information on the Kinley Grounds. Particularly any history of the Cave Hill Cricket Club that used the original oval? The year that it was constructed etc. and photos.
  • CMDR Robert Curtis found his grandfather, Henry Robert Collins under our ‘They answered the Call’. Website. He was Dame Nellie Melba`s personal chauffeur from 1909 until he enlisted in 1916. He had in his possession a hand-written letter to his grandfather in 1916 by Dame Nellie praising him for going off to war and to “fight for King and Country” which he kindly sent us a copy.
  • David Weatherill looking for John Gerleeck who died in 1865 at Dandenong Creek. And also a mystery cemetery or burial place named either: Thornconalee, or Thornconake, or ??. Was wondering if it might be a lone grave.

August 2019

  • Geoff Hunter is trying to verify the birth place of William Goodall born on 11 Feb 1859, parents were William and Mary Goodall.
  • Shaun Kirby is a Manager of a team commissioned by Yarra Ranges Council to create an historical trail through the town of Coldstream looking for stories of old buildings and photos.
  • Shelley O’Reilly-Hirschfeld was looking for Birth information on her sister who was born at Lilydale Bush Nursing hospital in 1953.
  • Greg Freeman, Secretary of the Gruyere Hall & Grounds Management Committee. Were looking to create an Honour Board acknowledging the voluntary work of Gruyere folk since opening in 1965. Wanted to know if we knew what happened to the Gruyere Progress Association original board.
  • Matt Garnham, a Graduate Engineer, is working on the Level Crossing Removal Project. Wanted to know what Special Interest Groups used the Lilydale Station Refreshment Rooms and the Goods Sheds.
  • George Macfarlane is an Assistant Producer of a Virtual Reality Studio researching the life and times of Dame Nellie Melba as part of a creative project. There are keen to create a VR experience around Melba’s life and want to discuss with us.
  • Tim Fitzgerald who is the Trails Support Officer YRC. Requesting some input from us regarding a project on interpretive signs for the first stage of the Yarra Valley Trail (between Lilydale and Yarra Glen).

September 2019

  • Brad May contacted us looking for a photograph of the Lilydale Bush Nursing Hospital in 1963.
  • Barbara Munnecke from Intrapac wanted Sue to proof check some Cave Hill Historical facts before they used them on social media.
  • Peter Davis referred from the Ringwood Historical Society look for land ownership and rate books for Premier Sir Thomas Bent who was a rate payer/ land owner in Ringwood East in 1890/91.
  • Meg Surmon from Stonedevils, is a heritage stonemason and is looking for information on the memorial stone gates at Melba Park.
  • Marie Fels was after information on the Battle of Yarra Flats in 1840.
  • Meg Surmon stonemason from Stonedevils again, looking for more information on Black’s Stone Quarry.

October 2019

  • Amber Wright – Collections Officer YRRM – Amber was trying to track down some information regarding the house system at Kilsyth East Primary School.
  • Mark Sacristani wanted to research Cricket scores for Croydon North Cricket Club from 1925 in the Lilydale Express newspapers.

November 2019

  • David Gordon was after information on a watercolour painting by Lennox Browne, painted in August 1893, with a pencil inscription on mount: – to Mme Melba, from Lennox Browne.

December 2019

  • Jen Reynoldson wanted accurate accreditation for a Melba image of her as Rosina in the Barber of Seville.

January 2020

  • Richard Tapps wanted to know if there are any documents or photos of the Lilydale Rifle Club available?

February 2020

  • Jake Philipsen has an old chair possibly made from mountain ash or a similar hardwood asked if we could identify it as an old School Chair.
  • Chris Andonopoulos (Facilities Project Manager, YR Council) wanted research and a report on contamination at the old Lilydale Gas Works Site (which is now he site for the Lilydale Youth Club.
  • Taylah Eastwell (Mail News Group) wanted to know about the recent demolition of one of the last old buildings in Mount Evelyn at 19 York Road, next to the Police Station.
  • Andy Jaeger has purchased property at 155 Warburton Highway, he believes that the older part of the house was an original farmhouse on a property that was sub-divided into 3 ha lots back in 1983. Was interested in pursuing further history of property.
  • Cheryl Gigliotti was researching her Great Grandparents, James Wookey and Mary Ann Arundel and also local Shanks family history.

March 2020

  • Margaret Hill wanted information on a neighbours house at 534 Maroondah Highway Lilydale.
  • Elizabeth from Healesville Historical Society wanted to know where they could purchase our February speaker Roy Hay’s Book.
  • Noela Bajjali from Lilydale Memorial Park looking for old photographs of the old Winery building in the Park. Was site of Cooring Yering Winery.
  • Alan Bell had a photo of the Yarra Glen Hunt Club and was trying to identify the location. He is writing about the Bells of Gulf Station.
  • Ruth McLean & Edward Willoughby from the Museum wanted clarification on identifying photographs they have of old bridges from the Lilydale to Healesville line.

April 2020

  • Peter Hammet is documenting the history of a Veteran Car he has purchased (1914 De Dion Bouton), was owned by a Dorothy Holt and he is looking for her family.
  • Kirsty Mines from WA looking for a Leader Newspaper Article from 2007-2009.
  • Catherine Arnall looking for any information about her grandparents, the Strachan and the Woulfe families.
  • Nicole Hartley, President of Wandin Yallock Primary School Council, looking for old photographs of School Jubilee Gates.
  • Kaye Ball, President of Murchison & District Historical Society, looking for an Auction Sale Catalogue from the Mitchell Estate .to verify a Pianola’s provenance.

May 2020

  • Val Sparnaay, researching Herbert John Hooper and the Hooper Family Tree, referred to Mount Dandenong Historical Society.
  • Geoffrey Stevenson from USA looking for Thomas Warters or Waters buried at Lilydale Cemetery around 1879.
  • Jan Biekens from Belgium, researching his Grandfather who supposedly founded the Hollandia Shoe Company in Lilydale, looking for photographs.
  • Ben Champion, Strategic Planner from YR Council, wanted to know who designed the residential subdivision for Coldstream.
  • Michael Vanderkelen, researching a family photo, trying to determine the date and location of an image captioned “Melba”. His great grandfather Francois Vanderkelenwas in the image was instrumental in sending Melba to Europe in 1886 to study under Marchesi. Later he and his wife Alice had a friendship with Melba, of which there are various references in Alice’s diaries.
  • John Hingston trying to find out when Pinemont in Ringwood was constructed Round 1910. The house is on the Victorian Heritage Database.
  • Paul Smith, wanted to know what was the original purpose of a cream brick tower or silo with an iron roof located on a market garden property off Coldstream West Road.
  • David Hemphill, Treasurer of the Lions Club, wanted information on the building of the Lions Park located along the Olinda Creek.
  • Robyn Hunter, is researching the Stewart family, and one of her Grandfathers brothers was a chauffeur for Nellie Melba. Looking for confirmation and historical records to prove this.

June 2020

  • Karen, looking for old photographs and history on her house in Deschamps Street built in 1913 or a Mr Jones.
  • Bec Rosel, of The Running Company Lilydale, requesting a letter of Support from us for the “Celebrate Lilydale Street Festival’ which will be held as part of the recovery Plan for Lilydale Township. Proposed event for Friday 18th December (subject to COVID restrictions)

2019-2020 AGM Documents

2018-2019 AGM Minutes

Agenda for the 2019-2020 AGM

Copy of the above 2019-2020 Annual Reports

Lilydale & District Historical Society Inc.

Sue Thompson (President) 0475 219 884
Joy Gothe 0405 128 964
Marg Tull (Court House Manager) 0417 522 712
Email: [email protected]

Our home is the Old Lilydale Court House at 61 Castella Street, Lilydale 3140
Hours of opening:
By appointment only:
Fridays 1 to 4pm and Saturdays to Mondays 11am to 4pm.
Sundays are preferred.
Closed Public Holidays

Share Your Information with the Society!

Email us your info (and images) to:
[email protected]

Lilydale & District Historical Society Inc.

Sue Thompson (President) 0475 219 884
Joy Gothe 0405 128 964
Marg Tull (Court House Manager) 0417 522 712
Email: [email protected]

Share Your Information with the Society!

Email us your info (and images) to:
[email protected]

Our home is the Old Lilydale Court House @
61 Castella Street, Lilydale 3140
Hours of opening:
By appointment only:
Fridays 1 to 4pm and Saturdays to Mondays 11am to 4pm.
Sundays are preferred.
Closed Public Holidays