A visit to Balnarring – Thoughts about the peninsula’s future

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AWAY in the bygone past, when the pioneering stalwarts battled grimly with Nature and misfortune to make the Mornington Peninsula a fit place for the orchardist, the pastoralist, and the agriculturist, some doughty old settlers smiled meaningly at the hardships of the pioneering life.

They worked day and night, from sunrise to sunset, and late into the night.

They smiled in those days of woe, simply because they were peering into the microscope of the future, and there they detected visionary glimpses of those more successful days which ultimately became realities.

Much the same today, we are peering into the future, as have done the forefathers of many residents here today.

On Saturday last “The Standard’s” representative had the pleasure of visiting Balnarring with representative Frankston sports.

Despite the chilly extremity of the breezes, it was a very pleasing outing.

It gave to me a glimpse of the country between Frankston and Balnarring. And, in turn, that glimpse gave rise to these thoughts, which I here subscribe, as I passed.

But, first, I must say something about what caught my eye.

One of these sightly things was the adorable, flowering wattles those soft, downy, little petals resonant of Nature’s love which moved the heart of Adam Lindsay Gordon, and made that joyous singer of sweet verse, the late Miss Jennings Carmichael, glory in its ecstasies.

Really, the wattles at the Bittern railway station were lovely. It is one of Nature’s whimsicalities to please the eye, and the wattles at Bittern have surely had that happy result many times.

The homes en route are another pleasing sight. There are, indeed, some very fine homes to be seen.

In front, are “the smiles of the rose,” the purity of the lily, and the various exquisite beauties of floriculture; at the side, mostly shrubberies, but sometimes the useful cabbage and carrot.

These homes indicate the general nature of the country. In a desolate country, remarkable for its un-productivity, one does not see fine homes like these.

In the distance one’s eye detected the silvery waters of Westernport Bay, but almost everywhere, through the horticultural districts, we were rushing swiftly past young, but vigorous crops, past sheep and cattle grazing in the fields, past wealth giving orchards.

There were vistas of rural scenery unfolded one to the minute.

As we sped past urban scenes, through sylvan groves, one could not help thinking of mystical lore.

Here, surely, the mystic Pan would have delighted to make music on his mystic pipes; here, amongst the noble avenues of gums, and the ti-tree thickets, one might, like the visionaries, see the hiding planes of fearful dryads.

We did not have the chance to visualise the Baxter district, but appearances suggested that Tyabb, Hastings, and Somerville enjoy that spirit and atmosphere that serves to denote general prosperity and the demean of rural hospitality.

In short time, these places will thrive.

They are fostering the co-operative spirit, uniting the producers into a compact body with a unity of purpose and the desire to improve the district as a whole.

Bittern and Balnarring, both handy to the Naval Base, are more strictly devoted to agricultural and pastoral industries.

Balnarring is on the maps alright, but it is difficult for one so prosaic as the average journalist to say precisely whether its a township, a village, or just merely a place.

Take away Stone’s Store, the Church of England, and the Mechanics’ Hall, and Balnarring has gone.

All the residences are farm-houses, and are very scattered.

But there’s money in Balnarring the rich pastures, the grassy solitudes, and the cultivated fields alike prove that.

Unlike many other places to my knowledge, Balnarring does not forget those who paved the way in the early days.

In its public hall, it has some of their photos, including one of the Hon. Alfred Downward, M.L.A. who for the past 25 years has represented the Mornington Peninsula in the State Legislature.

The photo of Mr. Peter Nowlan, who, from 1868 to 1897, as Shire Secretary of the Flinders Shire Council, is there; likewise those of Messrs John Davies, Robert Stanley, and David Mars, three old pioneers, who took an active part in municipal life for more than 20 years.

Men like Messrs William Davies, Robert Johnson, George Cole, John Campbell Downward, William Hurley, John Buckley, John Oswin, Paul Van Suylen, Edward Downward, Edward Stanley, and Captain Bryant Tonkin are all honoured in the same style.

Some have crossed the Great Divide, some are here yet, but Balnarring pays tribute in the truly thankful spirit.

***

A NOTE of simplicity is shown in the smart bathing costume worn by Viola Dana in “Some Bride” at the Frankston Pictures Saturday night.

***

WIDOWS, orphans, widowed mothers and other immediate dependents of deceased soldiers, and also the more seriously disabled soldiers, are entitled to claim from the A.I.F Canteen Funds Trust.

Particulars may be obtained from Mr E. Barrett, secretary of the Frankston Repatriation Committee, Frankston.

***

FOR Children’s Hacking Cough, Woods’ Great Peppermint Cure.

***

AT the monthly meeting of the Frankston Mechanics’ Committee held on Monday evening there were present – Cr. W. P. .Mason (president), Cr Oates, Messrs W. W. Young, P. Wheeler, W. Crawford Young and the secretary, C. Dalman.

An offer from the Sale library to exchange books periodically was considered.

It was thought that the idea could be better worked between towns closer together.

Miss P. Twining, secretary of the Welcome Home Committee, wrote asking permission to place an Honor Board in the main hall.

The request was readily granted.

Mr H. Vicars was elected to fill a vacancy on the committee.

A vote of thanks was passed to Mr James Lambie, of “Karinza”, Mornington Road, for his gift of two framed photographs of Murray district views.

Accounts amounting to £23 17s 3d were passed for payment.

***

THE 12.26 p.m. train for Melbourne now leaves Frankston at 12.36, and running express from Mordialloc to Glenhuntley, arrives at Flinders Street at the same time as formerly.

***

THE annual statement and balance sheet in connection with the Frankston branch of the Protestant Federation has been prepared and duly audited, and will be presented at the annual meeting of members to be held during the current month.

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NEXT Monday night Mrs Wheeler, the gifted elocutionist will appear in the Frankston Mechanics’ Institute under the auspices of the W.C.T.U. and the Rechabite Lodge.

The recital will be illustrated by lantern views, and the Frankston Brass band will assist.

***

FROM the pages of the Mornington Standard, 9 July 1920

First published in the Frankston Times – 14 July 2020

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