Leongatha History

Read the Pioneering of South Gippsland

We pulled up at Mrs Harris's old ...

News October 2014

October 7th, 2014

Currently the Society is preparing a display on World War 1 to coincide with the centenary of the start of what was called The Great War. The display will contain artefacts that belonged to local soldiers and photographs from our collection of those who served and the community as it was in 1914.

Members are currently researching the men and women from our district who served in World War 1 and it is hoped to have this information available in 2015. A grant has been received from the Federal Government which will help us prepare a collection of photographs relating to men from the local area in World War 1.

The Red Cross will be celebrating its centenary this and we have set up an exhibition of Leongatha Red Cross memorabilia to celebrate this event.

Kevin Slater has taken on the task of finding photographs, film and documents relating to the history of St Laurence’s School Leongatha. This school celebrated 100 years in March 2014.  The School was first called St josephs and is officially the School of St Laurence O’Toole.  Please contact us if you can help.

Recently we received a grant from the PROV to have 10 plaques placed on historic buildings and sites.

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The Gippsland History awards

August 19th, 2014

On Saturday May 17th Gippsland Historians Dr Meredith Fletcher and Lyn Skillern were presented with awards for their outstanding contribution to the recording and publishing of the history of Gippsland.  Marion Holding of Lakes Entrance was also given a well-deserved award for her work in preserving and promoting the history of the Lakes Entrance area. Meredith Fletcher was the coordinator of the Centre for Gippsland Studies for many years and has written a number of books and articles on a variety of subjects including a biography of noted Gippsland botanist and gardener Jean Galbraith. Lyn Skillern is our secretary and the secretary of the South Gippsland Historical Network. She has written extensively about the history of secondary education, the impact of war on the local area and the pioneering days of South Gippsland.


The Avenue of Honour Leongatha

August 19th, 2014

The Society has been assisting the RSL and Shire Council representatives with an application for a grant to acknowledge and develop the Leongatha Avenue of Honour.

Read the rest of this entry »

News from the Leongatha Historical Society

August 19th, 2014

Currently the Society is preparing a display on World War 1 to coincide with the centenary of the start of what was called The Great War. The display will contain artefacts that belonged to local soldiers and photographs from our collection of those who served and the community as it was in 1914.

Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating our Pioneers

December 22nd, 2013

The exhibition opening on Australia Day will continue the theme of highlighting the districts pioneers. Archivist Pat Spinks has been reading a diary written by Emily Funnell in the 1880s. The Funnells were pioneers of the Wooreen area and Emily lived with her brother George from 1886 until she married in 1888.  In the diary a number of other pioneer neighbours are mentioned. The exhibition will centre on the Funnell family and also include the other families referred to by Emily. Some of these families are  Phelan, Stafford, Lugsdin, Borrow, Kneale, Moss, Morter, Boyle, Hulls and Farmer.  The Society has information on these families. The names we are seeking information on are McMahon, J Coyle, Hanley, Gunn, Murray, Moorhouse and Willis.

It is interesting to note that at the time this diary was being written Leongatha did not yet exist. Yarragon (Waterloo), Trafalgar and Mirboo North are towns mentioned. The settlers came to Wooreen via those settlements.  The railway to Gippsland was opened in the late 1870s and pioneers came from Melbourne via the railway and then travelled by horse.

This new exhibition will open on Australia Day, January 26th 2014.

The centenary of the Great War

December 22nd, 2013

August 2014 marks 100 years since the outbreak of World War One (The Great War). This war changed the world incredibly and impacted on the lives of every Australian family. Members of the Society are researching the stories of the men from Leongatha and District who lost their lives in this war or as a result of this war. A list of these men will be added to the website in the near future. Further information on the men and even photographs of them would be most welcome.

The Society gains a South Gippsland Shire Grant

December 22nd, 2013

It was very pleasing to receive a grant from the South Gippsland Shire for placing ceiling fans in our home the Leongatha Mechanics’ Institute. This year gas heating was installed and fans will work to circulate the heat and also keep us cooler in summer.

The Year of the Pioneer

June 18th, 2013

The exhibition highlighting pioneer families will continue for the remainder of 2013.  During the Daffodil Festival special attention will be these pioneers and the lives they lead.

The VicRoads Centenary Exhibition

June 18th, 2013

2013 marks 100 years since the forming of the Country Roads Board (CRB). This was the Government authority responsible for the maintenance and construction of Victoria’s arterial road network. The first Chairman was William Calder who remained in that position until his death in 1928. The Calder Highway was named in his honour.

The Leongatha Historical Society has been selected as one of two venues in Gippsland to host the VicRoads centenary exhibition.  The other venue is Bairnsdale. The title of the exhibition is VicRoads-Connecting Victorians for 100 Years and will feature photographs and documents related to the history of major roads in this State. One feature will be a portrait of William Calder. There will also be activities for children. Leongatha Historical Society will have on display also photographs of main roads over time from its own collection. In edition to this other local historical societies have contributed some photographs of their respective areas.

The exhibition will open on June 6th at the Leongatha Mechanics’ Institute (next to the Memorial Hall) and run until July 27th. More information will be in future editions of the local press


That is the Bass Highway at Leongatha South  c 1900

The Bass Highway at Leongatha South c 1900


Leongatha Railway crossing in the late 1890s

Leongatha Railway crossing in the late 1890s


Thirty Years in the Mechanics’

June 18th, 2013

The Society will celebrate 30 years at the Mechanics’ Institute on August 14th. The evening will begin with a finger food meal at 6.30 pm, followed by the annual meeting. Those present will be invited to tell stories of their memories of the Mechanics’ Institute and our association with it. We hope to collect many good stories on the night.


Andrew in the Billiard Room display 1984

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