As Convenor of our monthly ‘Museum Talks’, I am always on the outlook for interesting speakers, who will captivate us with the past, and also draw good audiences. Occasionally our President Jocelyn Grant, will come up with suggestions, which was the case last month on August 27th .
This is a new concept from Jocelyn, and one that draws attention to the interesting content of our own important Museum at Queenscliff . It is also a way of us discovering the fascinating memoirs and stories of historical figures who have lived in this area. It turned into a huge success on the 27th when three of our members, Diana Sawyer, Alistair Hope and Garry Spry played the roles of three such people. These three, dressed superbly and appropriately, gave a spell binding portrayal of three early interesting locals, who had each written stories of their lives in this area. As a result, these stories have become part of our local heritage and we have them on record for posterity in our Museum. This is something that I’m hoping, following Joan Hunt’s ‘talk’ on October 22nd, we will all seriously think about doing ourselves, not only for the sake of posterity but also for our own descendants.
This interesting experiment for our Museum Talk last month was so successful that I’ve decided to make it an annual event. Not only was it entertaining for those fortunate to have been present, but it is a wonderful illustration of just what is hiding away in our Museum, waiting to be discovered! We will do it again next year under the banner of ‘The Way We Were’ and as I said, make it an annual event. I can’t wait for the next one!
For those of you who couldn’t make it to our August Museum Talk, here is a synopsis of the stories of the three characters so superbly portrayed by our members.
Norma Bloomfield[played by Diana Sawyer] was the youngest child of Lt. Commander Bloomfield and his wife, who lived on Swan Island in the 1920s. Norma vividly describes her childhood on the Island, her school days, and also her poor mother who succumbed to what we now know as a Bairnsdale Ulcer! She also talks about being transported by a horse drawn trolley on rails; shells being regularly fired on Mud Island, and a rendezvous with a destroyer, and much more!
Mr. R Armstrong Crouch Esq. [portrayed by Garry Spry] was born in Ballarat in 1868, studied law, joined the army in South Africa and served in Gallipoli in WW1, where he commanded the 22nd battalion of infantry. He became the Member for Corio in the first Federal Parliament and was re-elected before retiring to Point Lonsdale where he is now buried; and much more.
Ebenezer Cuzens[portrayed by Alistair Hope] was one of Queenscliffe’s pioneers. He was born in Worcestershire, England in 1839 and migrated to Australia with his family when he was ten. He settled in Queenscliff in 1856 and later purchased the grocery/general store on the corner opposite the Vue Grand Hotel. He was a borough Councillor for 36 years and Mayor for 7.
He died in Queenscliff in 1923. Alistair did a wonderful job with this character and wore the most beautiful Mayoral robe which is also in the Queenscliffe Museum’s collection.
These three fascinating characters, all most appropriately dressed for the occasion, each spoke for 20 minutes about their full lives in this part of the world in ‘the old days’, and I’m sure they have wetted the appetites of those present as to what else remains tucked away in our Museum awaiting discovery. Do investigate for yourselves the fascinating memoirs of early interesting members of our community. They are waiting to be discovered!
Please also remember to watch out for ‘The Way We Were’ next August. Hopefully it will become an ongoing search of discovery for us all. And remember that, ‘A town without a Museum is like a man without a memory’; we are very lucky in Queenscliff!