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A blog about the history of the former Melbourne municipality of Collingwood.

20 April 2008

CARA Open Houses

Today was the CARA (Collingwood and Abbotsford Residents Association) Open Houses day. Some members of the Collingwood Historical Society enjoyed visiting five very different houses. The highlight for me was being able to visit one which was a former hotel and is being researched for our updated publication and website on hotels of Collingwood.

The Village Belle in Abbotsford Street, Abbotford, started out life in about 1875 with publican and grocer Jonathan Falkingham in charge and was delicensed in 1918. It had several women publicans, including Margaret Price and Nellie Hayes. However, it is likely that it was trading as a hotel before this time. In 1868 it is listed on the ratebooks as a wood hotel of six rooms, and between 1869 and 1872, though listed as a shop, it probably operated as a hotel as the occupants were publicans according to Andrew Ward and Associates.

The photograph shows the Abbotsford Street frontage of the property which is significant for retaining its original window and timber-posted verandah, a fairly unique circumstance in Collingwood but also in other municipalities where verandahs were demolished to make parking easier for the horseless carriage.

If anyone reading this blog has any memories of the Village Belle, we would love to hear from you. Please send us your comments here.

13 April 2008

Lovely, Joy, Good, Shovelbottom?

What do the words Lovely, Joy, Good and Shovelbottom conjure up for you? What do these words, in fact these names, have in common? These names are all the names of people who between 1856 and 1919 conducted private schools in the area of Collingwood, namely Collingwood, Abbotsford and Clifton Hill. During that period over 100 private schools were conducted in houses in the area. These schools varied dramatically in size, from a small number of students in a house to schools which started in a small way and went on to prepare students for matriculation.

Karen Cummings from the Collingwood Historical Society is writing a comprehensive history of schools and education in Collingwood which will be published by the Society later this year. If you have any questions about the schools or reminiscences about your experiences here is the place to share them!

The picture above shows a group of Collingwood children outside a house which provided their schooling in the 1880s. The specific location is unknown but one of the girls was resident in Turner Street, Collingwood, so the school was probably fairly close to this location. Was this a typical number of students for a private school? Is the teacher typical for the time? Watch out for the CHS publication where you can follow up all of these questions and more!

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