Previous Museum Talks
Talks in 2018
Thursday, 27th September
The Girl Who Came to Queenscliff
Henry Handel Richardson, an Australian author, had a short time at 26 Mercer Street Queenscliff between 1877-78 (from the ages 7-8) which marked the end of her family life as she had known it.
How much was this a house of shadows as she infers in her memoir?
How significant was her time here for the development of the future writer? Janey Runci will explore these questions amongst others with reference to HHR’s memoir, her fiction and other sources.
Janey Runci is a fiction writer living in Melbourne and her short fiction has been published widely in literary magazines and anthologies and has won prizes both in Australia and overseas. She has taught Literature and Writing to adults for over 30 years.
Janey first encountered HHR when she read 'The Getting of Wisdom' whilst at boarding school and has been a devoted admirer ever since, and is currently Vice President of the Henry Handel Richardson Society of Australia.
If you would like to learn more about this interesting topic you can listen to a podcast created for our talk.
Thursday, 23rd August
Queenscliff's ANZAC French Connection
August's Museum Talk is a 100 year old story about a quiet and unassuming 26 year old soldier, George Keddell, who wrote to his parents in April 1918: “We are delighted to hear the ANZACSs are soon to be relieved so I hope to be home in Queenscliff for Christmas”.
Maggie Stowers’ talk will take us from the early 1900s in Queenscliff to WW1 in France as she tells the story of George Keddell.
Included is a film made by the children of Villers-Bretonneux School in France. This film was awarded the Sadlier- Stokes prize which was presented by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on ANZAC Day 2018 in Villers-Bretonneux
Listen to a podcast created for our talk.
Watch the French film "Do Not Forget Australia".
Thursday, 26th July
Captain Cole: From Port Phillip Pioneer to Melbourne Patriarch
Hear John Botham (Friends of La Trobe's Cottage) provide a view of early Melbourne life through Captain George Ward Cole, who arrived in Melbourne in 1840 following a career in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, and in the merchant marine.
He was prominent in early Melbourne society, controversially marrying into the McCrae family and building one of the first houses in Brighton, St Ninians. Cole built the first private wharf on the Yarra, known as Cole’s Wharf, and developed shipping facilities in Port Phillip, providing sea transport both locally and to other colonies. He established the town of St Leonards on the Bellarine Peninsula, he was a leader in the development of Melbourne and was a respected politician, serving on the Legislative Council for 20 years.
Although he had seven children, none married and his memory died out with them. This talk provides the opportunity to rediscover this virtually forgotten patriarch of early Melbourne.
If you would like to learn more about this interesting topic you can listen to a podcast created for our talk.
Thursday, 28th June
Strong Women In The History of Queenscliff
For a small seaside town, Queenscliff has nurtured more than its share of strong, purposeful women, prepared to stand up for their own and others’ rights.
Research historian Colin Mockett will reveal the backgrounds to several of these women, including the town’s first postmistress Anna Dod, controversial educationist and swimming advocate May Cox, and the woman considered to be Australia’s first suffragette, Henrietta Dugdale.
Thursday, 24th May
Memories of Queenscliff
Eddie Loughnan was heavily involved in the music of Queenscliff in his younger days as a band leader and musician. He is a great story teller as we discovered during History Week last year and has some terrific slides to illustrate his talk.
Eddie will relate his recollections of growing up in Queenscliff and his observations of what he saw and heard as he shows images from his extensive collection of 35 mm coloured photographic slides of his home town in the 1950’s and beyond.
Thursday, 26th April
My Return to Jordan
Dr. Ann Hone talks about her return to Jordan. This country has had its troubles but compared to its neighbours it can be seen as an oasis of calm. It opens doors to the present and past of the Middle East at a time when elsewhere in the region doors are closing or are already shut. In this illustrated talk Anne looks at the present and, in keeping with her historical interests, focuses on the visible layers of the past.
Anne taught British History at Monash University, Australian History at Melbourne University, and then for over 20 years at the University of Canberra before returning to Melbourne in 1996 where she took up the position of Dean of Studies at Ormond College.In retirement she has continued to pursue her interests and used travel to broaden her knowledge.
Thursday, 22nd March
"The Mystery of the William Salthouse" with David Bayne
The story of a little known wreck.
How the William Salthouse, which sunk off Queenscliff with the largest known collection of
Victorian casks, lay hidden for 140 years invites speculation. Moreover, the research on
water lead to intrigue on land. Most importantly, this research shows how social values have
changed and perhaps we should take care not to measure people’s actions in 1841 by today’s
Thursday, 22nd February
"The Story of Captain William Lonsdale" with John Wilkins
and with assistance from Kevin Lyons. John is the author of the definitive book “The Life and Times of Captain William Lonsdale” and Kevin Lyons chairs a sub-committee working to have a commemorative plaque comprising a bronze ‘bas relief’ image of Captain William Lonsdale together with explanatory text, placed in a prominent position in Point Lonsdale.
Talks in 2017
Thursday, 23rd November
"The Story of the Ill-Fated Burke & Wills Expedition of 1860" with Barry Barton
Barry Barton, a former long time teacher at Melbourne Grammar, took many of his students on the treks of the early explorers. He has studied the explorations of Burke and Wills in depth and followed in their footsteps.
How could an expedition so elaborately fitted out, collapse in chaos? How could the men die of starvation when there was an abundance of bush tucker and when the local Yandruwandha people were only too willing to assist them? Barry, will tell us the story of why, one hundred and fifty-seven years later, we are still talking about this ill-fated expedition.
Sunday 15th October
"50th Anniversary Book Launch" by The Hon. Ted Baillieu
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Queenscliffe Historical Museum a beautiful and historic book of the 50 most significant items in the Museum will be launched by the Honourable Ted Baillieu on Sunday 15th October at 5.15 pm in the Coach House at the Vue Grand, Queenscliff.
The Queenscliffe Historical Museum was established when Darren Baillieu, Ted’s father, contributed his own Collection plus a very generous donation to establish a museum in the Borough. He would be very pleased at what has been achieved by the many dedicated volunteers over the last 50 years and this book represents the culmination of that foresight and effort.
Thursday, 28th September
"Alexander Skene" by Geelong Historian - Jennifer Bantow
Alexander Skene became Surveyor General of Victoria from 1869 to 1886 following 14 years in Geelong where he designed several notable early buildings and carried out town planning throughout the area including Queenscliff. He was born in Aberdeen and educated at Aberdeen University before arriving as a young man in Melbourne in 1839 where he left his mark.
Geelong historian Jennifer Bantow who for many years has been involved with the National Trust as a result of her interest in heritage architecture, has also been greatly interested in Alexander Skene. She will tell us the story behind this influential man and the huge input he played on the Bellarine Peninsula during his time in charge of surveying this part of Victoria.
Thursday, 24th August
"William Buckley" with Jim Wilson
Jim Wilson is a local historian from Barwon Heads and is also something of an expert on William Buckley and will speak about his latest discoveries. Jim is always digging up new information about historic characters of interest and Will certainly fits that category.
We know that in October 1803 Buckley successfully escaped from Sullivan Bay settlement near Sorrento and made his way around to Barwon Heads where he settled in with the Wathaurung people and immersed himself into their culture remaining with them for several years. He later became an interpreter and mediator between European and indigenous people.
Thursday, 27th July
"Our first sea pilot Captain George Tobin-1839" with Pam McGrath
Pam McGrath is a local Geelong historian and descendant [by marriage] of George Tobin and is planning to write a book about this early local Queenscliff pioneer whom she has found fascinating during her research. She will tell us about this courageous ship’s master who, in search of a new career, requested permission from Governor Gipps in Sydney to commence piloting operations for shipping in Port Phillip Bay.
Tobin soon began the first piloting service on the condition that it incurred no expense to the Government! Hence he became Port Phillip’s first licensed sea pilot at Shortland’s Bluff in the year 1839, and the rest as they say…is not only history, but a fascinating story!
Thursday, 22nd June
"Charles Cheney Simpson 1835 - 1892" with Bill Brown
A fascinating character in early Queenscliff and one of Bill's favourites. He came to Queenscliff in 1859 and started a business as a druggist, an interesting term these days. As well as being the local chemist, he was a town Councillor and Mayor, land owner, a Mason , treasurer of St George’s Anglican Church and on some occasions the coroner. His personal life was even more interesting, involved in the Library and the Bowling Club he was also an avid diarist and a keen photographer. As a result he left us with a written and pictorial record of early Queenscliff.
Thursday, 25th May
Point Lonsdale to Queenscliff Beach: How it has changed.
Local historian MARY GRUNDY will talk about the history of the beach from Point Lonsdale around to the cut at Queenscliff. Her extensive knowledge of the area and her childhood memories will make for a fascinating talk on the significant changes that have take place over time.
Thursday, 27th April
50 Most Significant Items in the Queenscliffe Historical Museum
Various speakers will talk about some of the special items included in the New book “Celebrating History: Items from the Queenscliffe Historical Museum Collection.
Thursday, 23rd February
Susan Priestley on The La Trobe Diary Farms
SUSAN PRIESTLY, a practicing historian for more than half a century,
former President of the Royal Historical Society and a committee member of the La Trobe Society since its inception, will be the opening speaker for Museum Talks for 2017. Her fascinating subject is THE LA TROBE DAIRY FARMS – an intriguing fragment of our local history. Don’t miss this!
Thursday, 23rd March
Fort Queenscliff , the inside, the outside and the Future
For our Anzac Museum Talk for 2017 we have invited five guest speakers who are all qualified in their own various ways to talk to us about Fort Queenscliff from both outside, inside and the future. The speakers are:
Major Robert Charles RFD, the Fort Queenscliff Museum Manager;
Mr Jason McGregor, President of Fort Queenscliff Museum Association ;
Alan Hunter Lt. Col. A [Ret'd], President of the QPL RSL Sub Branch;
Cr Tony Francis,The Mayor of the Borough of Queenscliffe;
Jessica Chappell, Executive Officer Community Engagement and Customer Services, BOQ
Talks in 2016
Thursday 24th November
Mr Boyce Pizzey - "Heritage Awareness and its Importance in our Borough of Queenscliffe"
Thursday, 27nd October
Mrs Joan Hunt - "Blood and Guts - Early Coroners' Inquests in Queenscliff - a resource for local and family history research
Thursday 22th September, 2016
"Interesting Times as Police Commissioner in Canberra and Hobart"
John Johnson talks about his many and varied experiences
Born in 1936 in Warrnambool, where he played local football and was a member of the Lifesaving Club, local QHM member John Johnson went on to serve with the Australian Federal Police for 40 years and was highly awarded for his distinguished service.
John rose through the ranks of various Australian States with the AFP to become Deputy Commissioner of Police in the ACT in 1977, and in 1978 became Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police under Sir Colin Woods.
In the 1990s John became Commissioner of Police in Tasmania, retiring in 1996. During his career he led Australian delegations to meetings of the United Nations and Interpol and chaired numerous Boards of Management on National law enforcement, and for five years he was Chairman of the Board of the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence.
In 1979 and again in 1990 he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service in the AFP and in 1997 in the Queens’s Honours List he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia [AO].
On the home front, John is a past Secretary of the QHM and served on the La Trobe Memorial Committee last year. He was for some years Chair of the Queenscliff Carnival of Words, past President of Point Lonsdale/Queenscliff Probus and is still an active member of the Point Lonsdale Bowls Club.
Thursday 25th August, 2016
‘IF ONLY THESE WALLS COULD TALK –
the History of Santa Casa, Queenscliff’
Speaker - Sister Nola Morrissy
Seventy years after the foundation of the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland, Holy Rosary College was opened in Queenscliff. For the next 115 years, this institution, built in only three months, has been a haven for people of all ages. It has offered an atmosphere of peace and rest, both physically and spiritually, from education, to holidays for children to adult spirituality.
Thursday 28th July, 2016
The Significance of Fisherman’s Flat
Speaker: Mrs Carmen Bell, Queenscliff
When the township of Queenscliff was founded, the area now known as Fisherman’s Flat was just a mud flat which extended to the North as a spit. Today this area is historically significant, representing that part of Queenscliff which in the 1850s was specifically allocated for fishermen under the Fisheries Act. Fisherman’s Flat’s subdivision pattern differs from the rest of the township, and the precinct is clearly located as quite separate from the broader township. This demonstrates the physical and social separation that existed in the 19th Century between the fishing community and other local residents. Carmen Bell who lives on Beach Street, has been interested in this significant area since she first visited Queenscliff in the late 1980s.
"History of St. Georges and St. James in the Borough"
Speaker: Dr. Carole Hamilton-Barwick
Dr. Carole Hamilton-Barwick will delve into the history of these two great churches. Anglicans celebrated 150 years of parish life at St. George’s, Queenscliff in 2014, and 100 years at St. James , Point Lonsdale in 2015. A Parish History Project was established to ‘Tell the stories of Anglicans in the Borough’. What they found adds valuable layers to the history of the Borough.
“Ice, Dogs and Men – Antarctic Exploration in the 1960’s”
Speaker: Alistair McArthur
Alistair McArthur will deliver an illustrated presentation about an Antarctic journey which started as a
routine dog sledging expedition conducting a geophysical survey. This trip ended up being a survival
exercise when he found himself with three other men and 27 huskies adrift on an ice floe. He will
discuss personality problems, leadership issues and dealing with fear. He will also comment on
various Antarctic expedition triumphs and disasters over the past 175 years.
Alistair McArthur was a Base Commander for the British Antarctic Survey for two years during 1967
and 1968. He travelled over 2,500 kilometres by dog sledge completing topographical and
For the past 20 years Alistair McArthur has worked in Australia as a Risk Management Consultant in
the Outdoor Education sector. He also worked as a Patrol Officer in New Guinea in the early 1960’s
and was a former Executive Director at the Canadian Outward Bound Wilderness School.
The Socialisation of Central Australia – and Charles Sturt.
Speaker: Mr Barry Barton
Mr Barry Barton, former Melbourne Grammar teacher, and brother-in-law of Diana Sawyer, was a primary school teacher of Barry’s that fired his interest in following the routes of the many 18thC expeditions into Central Australia by explorers such as Captain Charles Sturt, John McDouall Stuart and of course Bourke and Wills. For over 40 years, Barry has followed these routes, driving as close as possible to the original ones taken by the explorers, whilst escorting school groups into ‘treading in the steps that the explorers trod’. A keen photographer, Barry will illustrate his talk with a collection of relevant photos taken at significant camp sites and terrain over which Charles Sturt and his party walked or rode.
Local historian Maggie Stowers will talk about her recent visit to the island of Lemnos and Villiers Bretonneux in France when she ‘walked the footsteps’ of Queenscliffe’s WW1 nurse, Sister Violet Duddy. This presentation will also provide an overview of her collaborative WW1 project between the Queenscliffe Museum and the Borough’s primary schools during the Centenary year of WW1.
In conjunction with the imminent installation of the La Trobe Bust in the Queenscliffe Museum’s forecourt, historian Dr. Dianne Reilly AM
will speak about Governor La Trobe and historic Queenscliff –
Charles Joseph La Trobe, Superintendent of the Port Phillip District of NSW from 1839, and Lieutenant-Governor of the Colony of Victoria after Separation in 1851, visited the Bellarine Peninsular frequently from February 1840 until his departure in 1854.
Dianne will particularly talk about La Trobe’s significant contribution to the
development of Victoria and as the ‘Founding Father’ of Queenscliff.