The lifestyle maffra

Page 1

a beautiful town

ISSN 1838-8124

STOBIE’S Mensland

STOBIES MENSLAND HAS BEEN A LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED CLOTHING RETAIL OUTLET IN MAFFRA SINCE THE 1950'S. When purchasing a suit, shirt, tie, slacks and shoes for a special occasion people are beginning to understand that they need to see, feel and try on the garments. Men’s suiting, formal footwear and accessories have been a big growth area for Stobies over the past few years. These are the main factors that are driving this. At Stobies we are 100% committed to help make the occasion as painless as possible for you.

Ladies! Send the boys in. You won't be disappointed!





Slim & regular fit suits from a great range of brands.

Guaranteed (Excellent rates when two or more suit packages are acquired for the same wedding party).

People are prepared to travel to find an outlet that meets their needs when it comes to weddings and other formal occasions.

Everything is under the one roof – suits, a massive range of shirting, ties, accessories, footwear etc.

Suit Brands

• New England • Studio Italia • Kenneth Blake • Milano Workshop Maurio• Sax Altman • City Club • Vivaldi plus much more

accomplish everything in the one place and save Time & Money For any enquiries, no matter how big or small, contact the team. 60 Johnson Street Maffra, VIC 3860 Ph (03) 51472333

Mon- Fri: 9am-5.30pm | Sat: 9am-12noon

Find us on Facebook & Instagram

The story behind the Country Road Real Estate brand only started back in 2015, but this family owned business has connections that go back many years in the local area. Owners Kevin and Tanya Read are both locals that have been living and working in the area all their lives. We have a team of experienced locals that create a wealth of knowledge of the area for their clientele.

Our team is passionate about the region we live in whether it is supporting local business and tourism, working within the rural sector or helping our clients reach their financial goals through property investment. The Country Road Real Estate agency services Vendors, Landlords and Buyers in Maffra and surrounding areas. We provide our clients with unsurpassed service, ethics, professionalism and integrity. We provide a complete range of Real Estate services including the sale of Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Land Subdivisions and Rural property plus the Management of Investment properties. Our enthusiastic team has the drive and passion to provide exceptional service and to cater for your individual real estate needs. We understand the importance of buying, selling and leasing. If you are thinking about selling or leasing your property, then come in and see our friendly team at 136 Johnson Street, Maffra or call our office on (03) 5141 1026.

136 Johnson St, Maffra, VIC 3860 03 5141 1026 03 5141 1024


The Beautiful Township of Maffra


By Wendy Morriss

Maffra’s Community Sports Club transformed a former hotel that was built during the late 1800s into an outstanding, modern community venue, equal to anything seen in a large city, whilst maintaining its original country character and historical values. Visiting patrons and members enjoy the grand opulent environment in various ways. The choices include alfresco dining on the elevated verandah, a quiet fireside drink or meal in the member’s room, lunch, dinner or a great night out in Captain Johnson's Bar and Bistro and fine dining or function upstairs in The Top Paddock Restaurant. The venue also has TAB, KENO and numerous viewing screens bringing Fox Sport to those who don’t want to miss a game. Kevin Lanigan, who has been the club’s treasurer for many years, said the monumental community achievement began with a dream more than 20 years ago and a need to keep people in the town. “At the time there wasn’t a licence in Maffra for gaming machines and people were going out of the town to Sale where there were six gaming venues.”

In an effort to curb the outflow, three Maffra sporting clubs and the Chamber of Commerce tried individually to establish a gaming venue but were rejected by Tabaret. They then decided to come together representing the sporting and business community with the hope of achieving it as a group.

Eventually, the Maffra Bowling Club, Maffra Football Club and the Chamber of Commerce headed by Geoff Stobie, who was chairman and a local business owner, formed the Maffra Community Sports Club. They started researching and meeting with representatives from the Shire, the State Government as well as representatives from Tabaret and Tattersalls. Time was then spent searching for a venue, which concluded with talking to the proprietors of the Maffra Hotel. The newly formed group leased the hotel with an option to buy. They then did a low-cost renovation and gained a gaming licence.

To raise the money they needed for the project, they borrowed from local sporting group members and business owners through an unsecured debenture scheme. “They were promised about eight per cent interest, which at the time was above bank interest rates,” Kevin said. “It could have fallen over but the Maffra community wanted it to happen.” During the second year, the club were able to pay back the debenture holders and borrow money from the bank to purchase the freehold. Kevin said the club successfully continued on from there. “It’s a non-profit incorporated association with all its members owning the freehold and the profits are distributed to sporting clubs and individuals for sporting endeavours.” The club opened in 1997 and to date has given direct donations to local sporting clubs in excess of 1.7 million dollars. Over the years, there have been a few renovations and then the major renovation last year that took 12 months to complete. It was funded by a mortgage taken out with the Maffra and District Community (Bendigo) Bank.

The Beautiful Township of Maffra



From the renovation, a modern venue was created while maintaining the character of the original hotel by keeping a lot of the old brickwork, the steel beams and some of the old Baltic pine flooring. The first task in the project was re-building the verandah, which was taken off the front of the building during the late 1980s.

The club presently employs between 30 and 40 part-time, full-time and casual staff and provides training opportunities for young people. Only local people are employed and the club pays an annual salary of around 1.2 million dollars, which then goes around the town. The club also sources all the fresh produce used in their menus from local producers.

Photographs supplied courtesy of The Maffra Community Sports Club

Staff members Wendy Sweeney and Amy Coleman


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

One member said the project overall was a bit daunting for everyone but they couldn’t be more pleased with the result. They have been blessed since the day they re-opened with a terrific crowd from very minimal advertising. “It’s great that people have taken to it like they have.”

the beautiful township of MAFFRA Maffra is an appealing and welcoming rural town in Central Gippsland inside the Shire of Wellington and about 200 kilometres east of Melbourne. The town is situated on the Macalister River and is within an hour’s drive of both the mountains and Lake Glenmaggie to the north, the City of Sale 20 minutes to the south and a short distance east to the sea – Loch Sport, Ninety Mile Beach and the beautiful Gippsland Lakes. Maffra is vibrant and possibly one of the most attractive towns in Gippsland. Its pretty tree-lined streets feature beautifully kept nineteenth century buildings that house a variety of specialty shops, restaurants and cafes.

index | maffra


STOBIES MENSLAND Men’s and Ladies Clothing COUNTRY ROAD REAL ESTATE MAFFRA SPORTS CLUB – Incorporated Gem in a Country Town MY HOME TOWN – MAFFRA TANGLED IN FOOD Always Fresh MACALISTER HOTEL Affordable Accommodation Meals GIPPSLAND REAL ESTATE MAFFRA Historical, picturesque & much more BENDIGO BANK Community Bank CAFÉ LATTITUDE Café Style Cuisine DONALDA MOTORS Ninety Years of Business DONALDA MOTORS MF7700 tractor Series AVON RIDGE WINERY Boutique Wine & Food MAFFRA MOTOR INN Located in Maffra’s town centre GIPPSLAND PLAINS RAIL TRAIL SALON E’LAN Hair Studio KIDZ BIZ On Johnson MAFFRA’S ANNUAL CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL MAFFRA BUSINESS & TOURISM ASSOCIATION BROWN WIGG Serving the Local Rural & Business Community PUND & ASSOCIATES Accountants & Business Advisors AUSURE Insurance Brokers Gippsland CENTRELINE Irrigation Services MEWBURN PARK – A New Era DESIGNER CABINETRY Well designed cabinetry FOSTER PLACE Café & Contract Gardening Service MAFFRA GYMNASTIC Community Club C&M BUSLINES Maffra MAFFRA PRIMARY SCHOOL 150 Years of Memories DUART HOMESTEAD WILMOUR MOTORS Little dealer Big Heart WILMOUR MOTORS New Cars & Used Vehicles MAFFRA AGRICULTURAL SHOW DAY FOSTER PLACE Supported Employment MAFFRA’S GOLF CLUB Has Everything MAFFRA GOLF CLUB MERUNGLE ALPACA STUD

2 3 4-6 8-13 14 14 15 16-18 18 19 20 21 22-24 25 26-28 29 29 30-31 32-33 34 35 35 35 36-39 40-41 42-43 44 45 46-47 47 48 49 50-51 52-53 54 55 55

Each year, due to an enormous amount of community spirit and support from local residents and groups, Maffra successfully hosts several spectacular events - The Maffra Mardi Gras in March, the Maffra Agricultural Show in October, an Easter tennis tournament in April and the Maffra Christmas Festival in December. A Farmers’ Market is held in the main street (Johnson Street) on the first Sunday of each month. Dedicated to the memories of Ian & Jan Kennedy and John Vardy









55 55 56-57 58-59 60-62 63 63 63 64-66 67 68-71 72 73 73 74-76 77 78-80 81 82-84 85 85 86-88 89 90-91 92-96 97 97 97 98-101 102-103 104-105 106-107 108-110 111 112-113 114-115 116

Writers Wendy Morriss, Chris West, Lisa Maatsoo, Lyn Skillern, Olivia Skillern, Ali Fullard, Kellie Willis, Ken Roberts, Lester Merlo, Ben Schofield, Geoff Watt, & Rebecca Twite Photographers Doug Pell, Wendy Morriss, Lisa Maatsoo, Chris West, Ken Roberts, & Wildwood Photography Advertising Douglas Pell Editor Maree Bradshaw Creative Alex Smirnakos Printers Graphic Impressions |

Gippsland the Lifestyle Magazine PO Box 862, Wonthaggi 3995 0404 301 333 | | Front Cover Image Aerial shot of Township of Maffra taken by Shannon Shumski

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions of Gippsland Lifestyle Magazine © Headlites Pty Ltd 2017 or its Editor. The Editor has the right to omit or edit contributions for style, space or legality concerns. The information contained in our published works has been obtained by Gippsland Lifestyle Magazine from sources believed to be reliable. However, neither Gippsland Lifestyle Magazine nor its authors guarantees the accuracy or completeness of any information published herein and neither Gippsland Lifestyle Magazine nor its authors shall be responsible for any errors, omissions, or claims for damages, including exemplary damages, arising out of use, inability to use, or with regard to the accuracy or sufficiency of the information contained in their publications. © 2017 Maffra Magazine Gippsland Lifestyle all rights reserved. No part of any Gippsland Lifestyle Magazine’s published work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher via email to:

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


By Lester Merlo I was born in Maffra immediately after WW2 and have an affinity with my home town which is apparently obvious to outsiders. One of my roles in life was as a member of the George Gray Centre Board of Management, as a result of an association via fundraising and involvement with their journey of assimilating their clients with the wider Maffra Community. Now in retirement I am in a position to promote these two institutions, the Town and the George Gray Centre to visitors to our home, Maffra. The George Gray Centre, was originally known as Kindalyn, an almost secretive institution which gave respite to families who had children with special needs. Their catchment area was across the Maffra Shire, one of whose patriarchs was George Gray, on his passing the community acknowledged his endeavours to both the town and the centre by changing the name of the centre.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Since that change a more enlightened approach from governments of all levels and across party lines has seen spectacular achievements for the clients and their families. Now recognised as a centre of excellence by all who have reason to be involved, from government to client, the level of comfort expressed in the normality of communication between ‘Maffra’ and the Centre in everyday contact. From their role in supported employment in hospitality and garden maintenance to their independent living, the profile of George Gray’s clientele is now one that is confident in its place in society, Maffra in particular.

Angus MacMillan discovered the Maffra area. The Osborn family, of the Southern Highlands in NSW, employed him to explore the Gippsland area for suitable pastures to settle. To conceal his selection from competitors, MacMillan was to refer to his choice in communications with the Osborn’s as Maffra, the name of their Southern Highlands property. ‘Mafra’ (Portugal) is known to be the inspiration for the original property’s title.

Anyhow, this is a documentary on the town that has prepared for this point in time with a lot of forethought, commitment and implementation. One that punches above its weight and has done ever since it came into existence in 1864.

The river is the Macalister. It has one of the largest catchments in the Victorian Great Dividing range.

The town, which was built upon a river crossing on the route to the Walhalla Gold Fields from Port Albert was originally named Police Flat.

Maffra is now a picturesque town nestled along the banks of the Macalister with its riverside park liable to inundation at the height of a flood. A copse of River Gums in the park gives an inkling of how the area would have appeared before European settlement.

Clock Tower

Macalister Park

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Macalister River

The local aborigines had both still and running water for hunting – prominent lofty sites for surveillance and rituals and they enjoyed a Mediterranean type climate. Two of the wetlands have been preserved – Bellbird Corner and the Macalister Swamp, over which presides an aboriginal ritual site. Maffra’s main retail centre – Johnson Street – is an avenue with side service lanes. These multiple lanes provide ample parking facilities, many of them well shaded. Carefully maintained lawns and gardens include many trees, some are more than fifty years old and one massive old Moreton Bay Fig is permanently lit after dark. Johnson Street is the venue for the Annual Maffra Mardi Gras parade – the culminating event of a six week fundraising effort that has led to many of the town’s sporting and cultural amenities. This event has been a feature of Maffra since 1958. In today’s dollars roughly 3million has been raised, and one of the latest projects to profit from the event is The Maffra Shed, home of the Gippsland Vehicle Collection.

A disused shed owned by Murray Goulburn was loaned to, then since purchased, by the body. Fifty thousand dollars was raised over two years through the Mardi Gras events to refurbish and upgrade the building. Nearby is the last vestige of what was once the grandest building in rural Victoria, The Sugar Beet Factory. This lofty storage facility was the smallest of the buildings that was the hub of Australia’s sugar production up until the 1940’s. Sugar beet was farmed heavily on the river flats from Briagolong to Bundalaguah a huge employer of labour and sustained the railway infrastructure that served the Boisdale and Briagolong communities. The old factory weighbridge and office have been relocated at the Macalister Park, housing the local Historical Society’s artefacts, photographs and records of all aspects of Maffra ready for display upon request. The regular opening on the first Sunday of every month coincides with the Johnson Street Market Day.

Maffra Primary School – 150 years old

Complimenting these tourist attractions is the Visitor Information centre, in what was the old Maffra Courthouse, which houses one of the most prestigious collections of gems and minerals gathered from around the world by the enterprising Pino Deriu. Pino gifted his collection to the citizens of Maffra as he was a great admirer of the town’s spirit. Maffra is built on the escarpment of an ancient uplifted seabed that divides the rich fertile flats of the Avon and the Macalister Rivers. The Avon is untamed and is subject to sudden, sometimes violent flooding. The Macalister has the Glenmaggie dam upstream of Maffra controlling its natural flows. The dam is regarded as a very efficient weir. It fills over the winter then supplies 200,000 megalitres (ml = olympic swimming pool) of irrigation water for the farming and domestic needs during the summer and autumn. Twice in 2007 the Macalister experienced a “one in one hundred year flood.”

Young’s Arcade


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Metropolitan Hotel Façade

They did not damage Maffra but caused severe grief to two of the neighbouring villages Newry and Tinamba. The irrigation system has allowed Maffra to remain the centre of the Gippsland dairy industry – at a time when milk factories, from up to 100 miles away, have closed. The Murray Goulburn group took over the Maffra factory in 1986, building a reputation for world class exports of milk powder, butter, casein etc. A dry processing plant incorporates the possibility of using wheat in products. Southern Rural Water has its headquarters in Maffra – although it controls water distribution from Warrnambool through Werribee to Mallacoota in the east. Included in its local history is Geoff Detheridge who designed and developed the Detheridge wheel – an accurate water delivery-measuring device. Essentially the wheel was a revolving three feet wide drum with eight vanes attached.

Each vane trapped 10 gallons of water (45 litres) before delivering it to the farm. As part of the federal/state governments water efficiency program the Macalister Irrigation District has now begun replacing the wheels and distributions structures with solar powered remotely controlled water measuring systems. While returning to an ancient measuring principle, the ‘clear drop’ weir, it has allowed the industry to monitor flows from afar and reduce the manpower necessary. From the central office in Maffra water levels are controlled – from the on farm delivery point right back to the Glenmaggie weir – a much more accurate system and less prone to problems from outside factors. Maffra has a population of approximately 5000 but services a wider surrounding population of about 7000. But that community enjoys sporting and cultural facilities well beyond what you would expect for a town of similar size.

Left - Allan McLean Wooden Statue in Victoria Park

Maffra Gymnastics has grown from being a small group using the Secondary College’s gymnasium to one that has outgrown two larger venues to now occupying its own wing in the substantial Cameron Sporting Complex Stadium. Recognising another municipal leader, Gordon Cameron. The state-of-the-art complex has held National and State championships for Junior and State Senior championships. The other occupant of the Stadium is the basketball club with two courts and associated administration, spectator seating and comfort facilities. The club has a great record of competition, at junior level, against city and regional cities from across Victoria. The club runs its own annual tournament and co-operates with neighbouring Sale when they run their tournament. The fact that Maffra has contributed heavily to its own facilities has led to a certain amount of independence by these agencies.

St John’s Anglican Church

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Maffra Lawn Tennis Club

The Cameron Complex is a 10 hectare site comprising three football cricket grounds, a Hockey field and is home to the Maffra Sale Motorcycle Club. The Motorcycle club host two annual commemorative road bike events and numerous MotoX events at their Newry track. They too have hosted National titles. The largest of the three cricket grounds has hosted many of the VCA Premier Cricket country rounds to the delight of the competing clubs. The neighbouring Maffra Golf Course has had its 50th birthday and boasts a links type layout with first class greens and undulating well grassed fairways. It is just over 6000 metres with a par of 72. A Southern Rural Water irrigation channel provides a hazard on two holes but gives the club a drought proof comfort for their reputation for course preparation. Our Lawn Tennis Club has ten grass courts and six synthetic ones and is maintained by its members with help from the golf course curator. They have staged an Easter Tournament for more than eighty years which rates four championship stars on the professional circuit. This is an outstanding community club continually updating its facilities to accommodate Maffra’s tennis families – from infants to octogenarians. Forty years ago a group of Maffra’s medical doctors built their own Squash courts within a minute of their surgery – establishing a popular pennant and recreational club at the same time. St Andrew’s Uniting Church


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Maffra Football Club

The club now boasts four courts – two of them with a rear glass wall for spectator viewing – and claims an annual date on the Victorian State Championship calendar. It is the only ‘member owned’ club east of Melbourne and attracts players from the city of Bairnsdale 65km away. Our Bowls Club lay two new synthetic greens in 2006 at considerable cost but they now see the club in an enviable position of being drought proof and rain proof at the same time. Events can be resumed immediately after a downpour. Set in the most picturesque of parks, the club has its’ own beautiful garden and well presented clubhouse. Providing year round activity for 120 members. Crackerjack is extremely popular in the town, all through the daylight savings period the club opens its doors to the public, the nearby Secondary College also makes use of the facility. In the 1880’s a stock route bisected the town – three chain road, wide enough to accommodate the needs of the cattlemen and their herds of that time. Today it is a delightful boulevard of spacious lawns and ancient trees that meanders through the town. It also accommodates the towns Croquet club green and the Fire Brigades ‘Demo’ track which hosts an annual regional, sometimes State competitions.

The Football Club - Maffra is one of only two Gippsland towns, from among a number of vastly bigger populated towns, which has always competed at football’s major league level. The courage of past administrations to persist in spite of the sometimes long lean spells is highly admirable. Those men are usually ex players willing to accept responsible roles within the club and their involvement at league level is unsurpassed. In the last years of the twentieth century the club broke with the usual procedure of importing players to enhance their chance of success and built the Best Clubrooms in Country Victoria – Tidy Town Award winner in 2000. This drew exciting young players to the club, along with retaining players who had progressed through the junior club led to an unprecedented period of success. In 2004 the town saw their football club awarded the VCFL Club of the Year. As such in 2005 they flew, mid season, to Auckland NZ to play against their national team: one of three such contests to this time. They were the first Australian club to have played the New Zealand Falcons. Culturally Maffra has fine old churches, two primary schools and a large Secondary College, which draws students from Dargo to Yarram, nearly 800 overall. A Municipal Band, a Dramatic Society, the Agricultural Society, a Rockhounds Club and three service clubs gives everyone a chance to be involved in the community.

Maffra Public Library & Artspace

Maffra Bowls Club

All ages are catered for, the young have two kindergartens, a commercial child minding centre a number of parent supervised playgroups and the aged have a number of ‘gated ‘ community accommodation through to a palliative care wing in the Maffra Campus of the Central Gippsland Health Service. Beside the 100 minute journey from Pakenham along the Princes Freeway there are some beautiful drives from Melbourne to Maffra. Possibly the best is through Yarra Junction and Powelltown, the Neerims to Warragul or Noojee and Willow Grove then along the foothills to Tyers and Glengarry. Best done over the course of a day to enjoy the views and the villages. An alternative or return route could be through South Gippsland to Leongatha, then Mirboo North, or Yarram then Tarra Valley certainly a day trip involved there. We hope this account of being involved in a dynamic community will encourage you to come and experience Maffra.

Johnson Street Johnson St Rotunda

St Mary’s Catholic Church

Victoria Park

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


ys alwa



Tangled in Food is a new small business that began as an idea over coffee, Aaron and Kellie have a combined 35 years of experience in the industry and have established themselves as a catering trailer with a difference. Along with our range of pre-packaged meals, which we are looking to expand to home delivery for the elderly we also cater for coffee, events, functions and meetings with diversity being our key attribute.

Kellie 0417 575 889 | Aaron 0407 985 769 |

Affordable Accommodation | FOX Sports | TAB facilities

2 Johnson Street, Maffra 3860 ph: 5147 1054


The Beautiful Township of Maffra



Monday - Saturday 11 am – 1 am Sunday 11 am – 11 pm

LUNCH Monday - Sunday 12 noon – 2 pm DINNER Monday - Sunday 6 pm – 8 pm

118-120 Johnson Street, Maffra (03) 51472200 4 Temple Street, Heyfield (03) 51483007 MAFFRA


Gippsland Real Estate operates offices in Maffra and Heyfield to service these towns and the surrounding district. The four directors of Gippsland Real Estate Pty Ltd boast a combined experience in excess of 90 years in the local real estate market. We have five Licensed Estate Agents, three auctioneers, two dedicated Rural Agents, three Property Managers with combined experience in excess of 25 years, support staff and receptionists. Gippsland Real Estate staff are motivated, highly trained and qualified. The company has an emphasis on staff training and bringing a fresh and innovative approach to real estate services.

We specialise in all facets of real estate including: • House and land sales • Rural sales • Property Management • Commercial sales and leasing • Industrial land • Developments • Owners Corporation Management We are members of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria and abide by its strict Code of Conduct and Professional Standards. We are committed to providing superior customer service delivered professionally, with honesty and integrity and always in the best interest of our clients. The team at Gippsland Real Estate has a thorough knowledge of the Maffra and Heyfield townships and surrounding district and contribute to a wide range of community and sporting activities through personal involvement and/or sponsorship.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Gippsland Real Estate is a passionate supporter of the local communities in which it operates. It places a great emphasis on contributing to the success of local businesses, groups, sporting clubs and charities. The following organisations are some that have received support by way of sponsorship, donation or personal involvement: Boisdale-Briagolong Football Netball Club Inc Cancer Council of Victoria, Maffra Branch Heyfield Bowls Club Inc Heyfield & District Museum Heyfield Football Netball Club Inc Heyfield Lions Club Heyfield Traders Association Lake Glenmaggie Community Rep. Group Little Jem Foundation Maffra Bowls Club Inc

Maffra Business & Tourism Association Maffra Community Sports Club Maffra Cricket Club Inc Maffra Croquet Club Inc Maffra & District Agricultural Society Maffra Fire Brigade Maffra Football Netball Club Inc Maffra Golf Club Inc Maffra Junior Football Club Inc Maffa Lawn Tennis Club Inc

Maffra Lions Club Maffra Municipal Band Inc Nambrok Football Club Probus Club of Maffra Relay for Life Rotary Club of Maffra Sale-Maffra Cricket Association St. Mary’s Primary School

Like us on facebook Pat Weatherley 0412 435 644

Brett Lanigan 0427 517 577

Lindsay Wigg 0427 471 088

Kevin Lanigan 0408 472 566

David Wadey 0429 483 007

Paul Bourke 0428 451 366

Tim Missen 0488 483 000

Maffra historical, picturesque & much more By Lyn Skillern

There is something very special about Maffra. When you enter the main street you cannot but think it has one of the most picturesque town centres in Gippsland. In addition to this it has many historical buildings and some beautiful tree lined streets. Maffra, like many Gippsland towns, has a fascinating history. Sited on the banks of the Macalister River, Maffra was one of the first areas of Gippsland to be settled by Europeans who came in and occupied the land of the indigenous people. The site of the town is in the land of the Brayakaulung Tribe of the Gunaikurnai people. Prior to the 1840s this was their territory. In January 1840 Angus McMillan’s party reached and named the Macalister River at a place downstream from the current town of Maffra. In the year that followed McMillan’s Bushy Park run and Lachlan Macalister’s Boisdale run were established. These two runs took up over 10,000 acres of land.

Town origins are always interesting and the reason for the location of a township is often lost in time. Not so with Maffra. The original "Mafra" was a sheepfold located on the Boisdale run south east of the present township of Newry. It had the same name as one of Macalister's properties in NSW. That property had been named after a town in Portugal where Macalister's regiment had been stationed during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1845, 640 acres on the Boisdale Run were set aside to be used as a native police reserve. This square mile later became the site of Maffra. When gold was discovered in the northwest area of Gippsland a river crossing was established on the native police reserve. This was where the road from Sale and Port Albert heading to the diggings crossed the Macalister River. As a result the township developed in the following way:


a punt service started to enable the river to be crossed easily


a tent hotel was established near the river crossing


the township was surveyed


the township was gazetted and the first town lots were sold


a Presbyterian Church was established


the township had a post office, two hotels, two stores, a butchers, twenty permanent residents and a public school


a Methodist Church was established


a Catholic Church was established


an Anglican Church was established and the existing primary school’s building erected



The Beautiful Township of Maffra

October 14th - the Shire of Maffra was proclaimed.

The Maffra Hotel ~ Courtesy Lyn Skillern

The Maffra Sugar Beet Factory Courtesy of Maffra Historical Society MDHS02184

As the centre of the new Shire the town of Maffra boomed. There were two cheese factories, a flourmill, banks, a courthouse, a permanent post office and very importantly, a newspaper, The Maffra Spectator. The town was a service centre for an agricultural hinterland producing beef cattle, sheep, pigs and a variety of crops. Horses were raised for the carriage trade and the Indian army. Further expansion in the area occurred when the railway came to the region. The branch line from Traralgon reached Heyfield in 1883, Maffra in 1886 and eventually linked into the main Gippsland line at Stratford. Local produce was now able to reach markets as far away as Melbourne and beyond. This successful agricultural area had one crop that is unique in the history of Victoria and that was the sugar beet. This beet has a root that is high in sucrose and is grown commercially for the production of sugar. Sugar beets are grown in cooler climates while sugar cane is produced

Sugar beets

in warmer more tropical areas. Approximately 20% of the world’s sugar comes from sugar beets. In 1871 the ‘Gippsland Times’ reported that there was growing interest in producing sugar beets in Victoria and Maffra was a place mentioned as a possible location for this industry. The best Sicilian sugar beet seeds were purchased to distribute among the farmers of Briagolong, Wa-de-lock and Valencia Creek and later the Department of Agriculture experimented in beet growing at Valencia Creek and Newry with excellent results.

Victorian government support was sought and a Sugar Beet Act was passed. In September 1896, the Maffra Sugar Beet Co was registered and later a syndicate of town’s people prepared to grow 300 acres of sugar beets. Thirty acres of land near the Maffra

-Sale Road and the railway station were set aside for a sugar beet factory. In June 1897 the foundation stone of the building was laid with great ceremony. The machinery for the factory came from Brunswick in Germany where beets had been grown for many years. The factory with a 145 feet high hexagonal chimney was completed in 1898. The Colony of Victoria’s first 500 tons of sugar were refined that year. However the venture was not a success due mainly to drought and the Victorian Government took over the factory in 1899. It lay idle until 1910 when plans were made to start the factory again. Farmers in the area produced sugar beets and by 1917 the factory made a profit. By 1919 it was evident that irrigation would help the sugar industry and the Glenmaggie irrigation scheme on the Macalister River was commenced. At first this scheme was to provide water to sugar beet growers. The factory was upgraded in 1925 and the sugar beet industry flourished for the next 20 years.

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Johnson St Maffra c 1932 Courtesy Maffra Historical Society MDHS03723

World War II was the beginning of the end for the Victoria’s sugar industry. The labour force needed was taken away, including many Italian workers who were interned. Dairying became more profitable and there was little interest in reestablishing the sugar industry. The factory was closed in 1948 and demolished in 1964.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

The wooden office was saved and moved 1km away to become the home of the Sugar Beet Museum. There is much more history to be discovered in Maffra and district and it is being preserved by an active Maffra Historical Society. The Wellington Shire Heritage Network has a brochure that

provides information on all the heritage groups in the Shire and there are walking tour brochures for Boisdale and Briagolong. All brochures, plus three books on the streetscapes of Maffra, are available at the information centre in the old Court House. The Sugar Beet Museum is open on the first Sunday of the month from 10 am until 2 pm. This delightful area has so much to offer those interested in the past.



DINE IN OR TAKE AWAY 72 Johnson Street, Maffra VIC 3860 Phone: 5147 1188

Dodge cars for sale in 1948


n McD

er Joh

broth Colin’s

Leaning on the car are brothers Naught (left) and Jock McDonald (right)

ninety years of business

Donalda Motors is a love story that became a business story over 90 years ago in Maffra. The business, now operated by third generation director Murray McDonald and his father Colin, sells and services motor vehicles, tractors and farm machinery. The company currently employs 29 people including Murray’s daughter Jemma. Murray’s grandfather John, who was known to everyone as Jock, started the business in 1926 with his brother Naughton, who was known as Naught. They were both motor mechanics from Melbourne and they came to Maffra to set up a mechanical workshop because Naught was in love with a girl who lived in the town. Naught had worked in Melbourne for a company that sold Rolls Royce cars while Jock worked for a company that imported Dodge cars. The family remained friendly with the importer so a little while later they added a Dodge car dealership to the business. “Dodge eventually became Chrysler Australia and then they were taken over by Mitsubishi, which is the dealership we have today,” Colin said.

By Wendy Morriss In 1946, his uncle Naught left the business and started his own in Lakes Entrance. Jock, who had two sons and a daughter named Jeanette, continued running the business at Maffra. His son John (now deceased) who was ten years older than Colin joined the business in 1948 and Colin started working in the business in 1957 when he was 16 years old. “I was always a mechanic,” Colin said, “and John worked on the sales side of the business. “During the war, horses faded out and tractors came in. After it ended, Dad could see the need for a tractor dealership in the area and in 1950, he started selling little Ferguson tractors and Standard cars. The business is still a Massey Ferguson dealership selling tractors and farm machinery, which are so much bigger now than they were then.” Colin’s son Murray joined the business in 1984. He started as a motor mechanic and now works in sales and operates the business with Colin. Colin’s wife Jennifer operates a tractor and machinery business they have in Bairnsdale.

Jemma & her grandfather Colin McDonald in front of the family business


First petrol pump in Maffra being installed in 1927

The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Jock M



Jemma, who is the second youngest of Murray’s four children, started working in the spare parts section of the business about five years ago at the age of 17. She now works in the office doing the paper work for tractor and farm machinery sales. “We sell a lot of tractors and farm machinery. It’s a big part of the business, more than cars really,” she said. “We have Murray Goulburn in Maffra so there are a lot of dairy farms in the area and vegie farms. We are a Massey Ferguson dealer but we sell other tractors as well.” The delightful fourth generation McDonald said she likes working in the family business. “Dad and I sometimes have different opinions but it’s really good. I enjoy it.” Colin said over the years, the business has employed several local people who started when they were 16 years old and stayed until they retired. He hasn’t retired yet and still enjoys being part of the business but said he doesn’t do as much work as he used to.

Murray McDonald

Many patrons like a relaxed style of dining

Boutique Wine & Food with Panache By Wendy Morriss


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Sarah Gray manager of Avon Ridge Winery and Restaurant

Avon Ridge’s attractive well-established vineyard, contemporary winery, restaurant and function centre is conveniently situated between the exceptionally attractive towns of Stratford and Maffra. It has a relaxing, country atmosphere and beautiful vista overlooking the Avon River Valley. Patrons and visitors to the winery are treated to meals prepared using high-quality, fresh Gippsland produce with their award-winning range of wines and unique, palatable ciders. The establishment is owned by the Gray family in Maffra and managed by Sarah Gray, a young intelligent woman with a friendly, welcoming manner. “My parents own the business so I naturally stepped into the position of looking after it,” she said. “Initially it was just a vineyard so I ran the vineyard and learnt how to grow grapes. I worked with our winemaker for a while and learnt a bit about making wines but then I left it all to him because I’d rather focus on the viticulture.” The four-hectare vineyard produces all the grapes used in the production of Avon Ridge wines – cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. They also produce a rosé and a sparkling blanc de blanc (sparkling chardonnay). In addition to the wines, the family business produces a small range of ciders that are apple, pear and apple, strawberry apple and passionfruit. “The style of cider is sweeter and

more like fermented juice than the beer style,” Sarah said. “It’s a nice sweet drink and our guests like that. The ciders are all made in Drouin using Gippsland fruit.” The vineyard, which is now more than 30 years old, was established by a wine maker on land originally indigenous titled Wa De Lock, so he named it Wa De Lock vineyard and he opened a cellar door and café/restaurant in Stratford that still exists. He eventually sold the vineyard to another winemaker who had the business for a few years before auctioning it in 2008.

“Dad came to the auction just on a whim,” Sarah said. “He was looking for land for farming pasture but he put up his hand to bid and bought a vineyard. It literally took him three hours and it’s snowballed from there, but it’s been great.” She said the indoor function and restaurant area was originally a shed that her father built to store the caravan, the tractor and some hay. “We had a few birthday parties and my cousin’s engagement party in it and then one of his friends daughters wanted to get married here. She wanted this venue so we thought right we’d better do it and what’s here now is what we did.”

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Avon Ridge range of wines

The building encompasses a very large area and is still the original size. The roller doors were replaced with glass doors and the kitchen and restaurant were built inside.

We’ve made it a relaxed style of dining with platters so they can choose an area and mingle. We have formal seating as well but many people prefer the relaxed style.”

When asked about the caravan, tractor and hay, Sarah said: “Oh dad built another shed at the bottom of the property. He still got his shed but just not where he originally wanted it.”

Practically everything for their delicious platters is made in-house including hummus, bread, lavosh and pickled vegies, and served with local meats and cheeses including Maffra Cheese, Tarago River Blue, and Gippsland Brie.

Sarah was still studying interior design at University when her father purchased the property. “It has little to do with hospitality or viticulture but in saying that I did have a hand in designing the space and our logos and labels,” she said. “We’ve grown over time, we started with just functions and weddings and had caterers come in and now we have a working restaurant open five days a week. We do breakfast and lunch and booked dinners. People love coming here because of the space. We have Sunday Sippers on the third Sunday of the month with live music and a lot of people come for that.” The winery, while featuring the large indoor space for functions and the restaurant also has a few lovely alfresco dining options, which are under a veranda, in the garden and on the lawn, all overlooking the vineyard. Sarah said she finds that most of the winery’s bookings are large or group bookings for occasions like birthdays, meetings or anniversaries. “In the restaurant we might have 20 people or more for lunch.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

She said many weddings are booked usually from October through to April. Through November and December when there aren’t weddings booked, the winery is booked out with Christmas functions.

A small bar near the entrance of the building

The boutique winery and hospitality business employs 10 full-time and casual staff. “We run with a pretty small team,” Sarah said, “but we are like family.” When asked if she thought her father envisaged what’s there today when he purchased the property she said: “No, not at all. I don’t know what he envisaged when he bought a vineyard, I think he just thought free wine. Then we starting making it and realised we’ve really got to do this. Initially we sold the wine wholesale but we were told to make any money from it, we needed to sell it first hand to customers as well, so we opened the function room and then the restaurant. We still sell our wines wholesale to some Gippsland restaurants and outlets and we have many visitors that come in for cellar door tastings as well.”

Full-time staff members Bec Cumming and Samantha Blackledge in the restaurant

Located in Maffra’s town centre on beautiful, tree-lined Johnson Street Our 18 accommodation units offer a comfortable place to sleep and relax with a mix of Executive Queen, Twin, and interconnecting Family rooms. Maffra Motor Inn is located within a short walking distance to cafes, pubs and restaurants with the Maffra Community Sports Club, a four-minute walk away, offering a full bar and excellent dinners. We pride ourselves on offering delicious and satisfying breakfasts using local produce and homemade options where possible.

184 Johnson St, Maffra 3860 | P: +61 3 5147 2111 E: For Bookings & more information visit Dave and Ange recently moved to Maffra from Ireland to run the Maffra Motor Inn. Ange grew up in Maffra and spent her childhood growing up in the motel as her parents Graeme and Faye owned the business. Dave was born and bred in Dublin and met Ange while they were both travelling in Mexico with friends. Dave then spent a year in Melbourne before they both moved to Dublin for the following 10 years. In Dublin, Dave was working as a Receiver at KPMG and Ange as Regulatory Manager for a pesticide company so the move to Maffra marks big professional and lifestyle changes for the family and they are enjoying spending more time with their two young boys. In recent months the motel has undergone various upgrades including installation of high-speed WiFi, Netflix-enabled TVs, new reverse-cycle air conditioners, fridges and microwaves as well as new bedding, linen and furniture. Many more changes are planned "but there are only so many hours in the day!"

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


L-R: Christine Richards (GPRT Committee of Management & Member of Maffra & District Landcare Network), Bob McLaren with Kye Whelan and Elly Carmen Lee (Community Facilitator – Maffra & District Landcare Network) Carol Whelan, Danielle Whelan, Beth Ripper (GPRT Committee of Management & Member of Maffra & District Landcare Network), Darren Watts with Jill from Maffra

Gippsland Plains The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail extends 67km from Traralgon to Maffra onto Stratford, passing through 5 small townships, in Central Gippsland, which are steeped in history. Many years ago trains ran in various parts of Victoria. We were the State with the biggest rail infrastructure in Australia, but over time this is not the case anymore and many of the railway tracks have disappeared. The last passenger service from Traralgon to Maffra was on the 7th July 1977 and the last freight service was on the 8th September 1994. Once passenger and goods trains were a significant transport option from Stratford to Traralgon using the route through Maffra. The now disused railway line has become the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail and the GPRT Committee, community-based volunteers, and Maffra & District Landcare Network have been building this project over the past 20 years. At the launch of the Trailblazers Trail Project in


The Beautiful Township of Maffra


April 2016, the students from Maffra Secondary College worked with these groups to maintain the Rail Trail whilst also researching historical sites.

Some of the best features of this trail are the beautiful views of the rolling Gippsland hills as you traverse it, which is predominantly flat and easy going. The Trail is an easy walk, jog, bicycle ride and you can take the dog for a stroll; also a safe saunter for families. The Trail is unique as visitors can connect to and travel by train to either end of the Trail. You can make Traralgon the start of your Gippsland Plains Rail Trail adventure. The first of three hills going down is just prior to the Burnetts Road car park. The views of the Great Dividing Range starts here - across the Latrobe Flood Plains on the reconstructed transom bridges then on to Glengarry with its historic buildings and the old railway crane and station. Next town is Toongabbie steeped in gold rush

history and on to Cowwarr and the next hill down with a magnificent view of the Alpine Country. On to Dawson Flora Reserve via a road diversion then to Heyfield and its great wetlands and interesting commemorative infrastructure on the trail mid town. Next its downhill again just prior to Tinamba with yet another fabulous view of Gippsland’s hills. You are now heading close to Maffra, entering into a pretty section of the Trail known as the Billabong Trail, where the Trail meets the Macalister River. The bridge crossing provides a wonderful view of the river on either side, and sweeping views across to Macalister Park, where you can stop and enjoy a break. Once in Maffra there is so much of interest, and you would benefit greatly from an overnight stay. Options include Maffra Motor Inn, Cambrai Back Packers Hostel, Maffra Golf Club & RV Park and Maffra Caravan Park. Dine-in options are Maffra Sports Club, Macalister Hotel, Maffra Golf Club,

Cafe' L'Attitude, Coffee House 138, Chopstix Chinese Restaurant, and Duart Reception Centre. Takeaway options in Maffra are many, and include Mr. Pizza, Maffra Fish & Chips, Maffra Hot Bake Bakery, Maffra Bakery, Richo's Pizza and Meg's Takeaway. The sites and attractions of Maffra will certainly keep you interested and entertained: the Maffra Motor Vehicle Collection and Museum is a must for any motoring enthusiast, the Pino Deriu Mineral Collection is alive with vibrant colours and Pingvin Booksellers, Antiques, Collectables and Ephemera will delight and surprise you. There's also the Maffra Sugar Beet Museum, the old Maffra Railway Station (not open to the public, but viewable from the road), Avon Ridge Winery, Macalister Park (more tin cows!), Macalister Wetlands Reserve, and historic Duart Reception Centre. Â Back along the trail you will find the old railway cutting for the Briagolong line and discover various sleepers, parts of old bridges, and platforms along the journey. At the Briagolong cutting an information board has been set up with some wonderful historical photos of the trains that once travelled up and down the line. Then the trail from Maffra to Powerscourt is flat, solid packed, and easily ridden. Powerscourt is named after the grand Powerscourt Homestead, which was built in 1850. Although no longer open to the public, this private residence is visible in the distance from the Maffra-Stratford Road. For a brief time in the 1990's, Powerscourt was

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Gippsland Plains RAIL TRAIL

operated as a fine dining restaurant and elegant B&B. Those who were lucky enough to dine and/ or stay there still talk of the majesty and grandeur of the ballroom in which the restaurant was housed. Although unsubstantiated, it is generally believed that the ballroom was added in 1894 by a farm labourer who had struck gold the same year and purchased the property. He added it to accommodate his daughter's 21st birthday gathering! The Rail Trail's Powerscourt section was once the site of another busy railway station and post office on the old Stratford to Traralgon line. Nothing remains of the station today, but it is your exit to delight in the wonderful wines produced at Avon Ridge Winery, just across the road. You'll love tasting some of their amazing wines while you relax on the verandah or in the beautiful gardens, both of which afford pleasing views of the vines and surrounding countryside. Oh... and better throw in a cheese platter with that! Reference Gippsland Plains Rail Trail Committee of Management and more Information can be found on: Photographs taken at the Maffra section of the Rail Trail


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Once again, the trail from Powerscourt is flat, well surfaced and easy to ride. Just a hundred or so metres from meeting the Princes Highway, the trail crosses Maffra-Stratford Road from the south side to the north Side. You can see the remains of two railway bridges here, and they are excellent photographic studies. The trail actually marries to Princes Highway at the Avon River Bridge crossing. A dedicated pathway for pedestrians and cyclists extends across the bridge on its northwest side. The pathway is protected by barriers, and is quite safe from traffic. Once on the Stratford side of the bridge, do a sharp U-turn to your left and continue down to below the bridge. You can now make your way under the bridge, and into Apex Park where the trail head is located. It is dangerous to attempt to cross the highway from the bridge itself, and we strongly recommend that this not be attempted. As mentioned already, the Stratford trail head is located at Apex Park. Services at the trail head include toilets, water, BBQ, sealed parking, children's playground, BMX track, the all abilities Stratford Arts Trail, caravan park and swimming (when safe) in the Avon River or in the adjacent municipal swimming pool.

Stratford has a strong arts and Shakespeare theme, and in Apex Park a section of the Stratford Arts Trail can be seen. However, for full details of the Arts Trail, head along Tyers Street to the Courthouse Theatre where Segue Arts Café is located. There you can get all the information needed to explore the Stratford Arts Trail, including a map and an MP3 audio presentation. Some of the sites you might encounter when in Stratford are: the Stratford railway station, Hobbies Plus (a dream world for the model train enthusiast), Turkish Magic, where magnificent Turkish rugs, runners, ceramic wear and leather goods, Apex Park (with its medieval themed playground), Avon River flats and the railway bridge to the east of Apex Park. From Stratford, you can easily make your way back to Traralgon (or beyond) on the V-line service.


Tues-Wed-Fri 9am – 6pm | Thursday 9am – 8pm | Saturday 8am – 12noon

Call for your appointment today Ph: 5141 1079 70 Johnson Street, Maffra 3860



84 JOHNSON STREET, MAFFRA 3860 PH: 5141 1066 The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Caricature Artist

Santa & Mrs Claus arrive on vintage Maffra Fire Truck

Salon Elan ~ Jamella & Brooke

Maffra SES

Avon Ridge Wine Stall

MAFFRA's ANNUAL CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL 2017 Friday, December 15 at 5PM to 9PM Johnson Street, Maffra 3860

Crowds enjoying the day

Overwhelming Success! Highlights from Maffra’s Christmas Festival 2016

Santa handing out presents to the kiddies


Duart Homestead Food Stall


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Tony Dawkins / Glenmaggie Wines

Music Entertainment

Maffra Municipal Band

Merungle Alpaca

Giant Mr and Mrs Claus on stilts

Lots of fun on the Jumping Castle

Classic Car

Street fares

Jenny McDevitt ~ Merungle Alpaca Stud

Members of Maffra Lions Club

Jester on Unicycle

Classic Car

Latest Tractors

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Marcus in his Maffra retail store – ‘Stobies Land and Surf’


The vibrant, friendly town of Maffra is about to be injected with 2.2 million dollars from the Wellington Shire Council for upgrades, street beautification and new infrastructure.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Maffra’s annual Christmas Festival

Marcus Stobie President of the Maffra Business & Tourism Association

Maffra’s annual Christmas Festival

MAFFRA BUSINESS & TOURISM ASSOCIATION Marcus Stobie, co-proprietor of Stobies Land and Surf retail outlet in Maffra, and president of the Maffra Business and Tourism Association is thrilled with the result and said, “This is a massive win for us.” He said the group had been working closely with the council for the last two years and the project is now signed off and the funds guaranteed. “We are still in the early stages but the Shire has made it pretty clear they want to get underway. We’ve discussed renewing the footpaths and precincts outside the post office and other areas in the town where more attention will be given to new infrastructure, more seating and new bins.” He said they’ve talked about making changes to the pedestrian crossings to make them safer but the big item discussed has been parking, the utilisation of car parks and what’s going to be more beneficial to the people in the town that use them. This could include provisions for parking restrictions just to maximise the turnover of cars parked. The MBTA have met with the council and given a presentation about other areas around the town that they feel needs some attention including the Port of Maffra, street signs, the renewal of bus shelters, tree planting, street scaping and beautification, and the improvements will be seen over the next two years.

“We are working to modernise and renew what is already there,” Marcus said. “We want to maintain Maffra’s natural character and charm with tree-lined main streets. There will however, be more consistency with the flow of traffic and in the landscape so it won’t look like bits and pieces that have been dropped over the years. We’ll also liaise with the Lion’s Club about revamping the rotunda with repairs to the woodwork and a new coat of paint.”

He said they’ve been offered four different treatment options for the footpaths with the final choice yet to be confirmed. “We chose a high-end finish because we know that with projects like these, you only get one crack at it every 20 – 30 years. We want to put in something that’s going to look good and suit the way the town will look in 10 – 20 years’ time.” After the community have been consulted, the plans will be presented at a few different locations around the town where people can see what’s being offered. There’s also a link online the public can go to for comment and more information. “We have pushed to get the project to this stage,” Marcus said. “It’s now a council issue and we are the conduit between the council and the community. We are grateful that the town has been given this consideration and the MBTA have enjoyed the process of working with the Wellington Shire. When the project is completed and the town is presented in the best possible fashion and up to speed, we’ll have more chance of attracting new businesses into the area.”

To boost the current commercial interest in the town, the MBTA have taken on building a website, titled ‘Visit Maffra’ and branding the town. “We wanted to give businesses another platform and connect the community not just the business community but also people who are visiting the area,” he said. “The site will also list community groups that many people don’t know exist and have an events page that will list everything happening in Maffra from the Christmas Festival and the Maffra Show to music and sports events. Another part of the website will replace traditional invoices for memberships with three tiers.” The site has been funded by the group’s membership subscriptions with a generous contribution from the Maffra and District Community Bank.

“We haven’t received any grants for this project, it’s mostly funded by our members and we want it to be a long-term piece of digital infrastructure the town has.” The website has been developed by Adam Vardy from Vardy Creatives and Morgane Cazaueon from Petite Visuals. He said that Adam and Morgane have done a fantastic job of the site; it looks great and is very user friendly. The concept of having a community website is not new but the MBTA also want to use the site to brand Maffra and they’ll produce merchandise. “Maffra is off the beaten track, it’s old-fashioned in its values but it’s also a progressive town. We wanted the branding to conjure up an image of a vibrant town that has a lot to offer and we want young people to feel connected as well and be able to keep them in the town.

“We know the challenges small businesses have and revamping the town centre and building the community website is our contribution to hopefully ensure that they succeed and new businesses are attracted to the town.” The MBTA are currently working on this year’s Christmas Festival, which is held annually so members of the community can catch up with each other and enjoy the festivities. It’s also a great opportunity for late night trading for local businesses. The festival features numerous street performers, lights in the town’s huge Morton Bay Fig tree, things for kids to do, free giveaways and plenty of stalls. According to Marcus, this year’s festival will be bigger than Ben-Hur with more entertainment, more food stalls, more people and Christmas cheer.

The Beautiful Township of Maffra



BrownWigg store in Maffra

BrownWigg in Maffra is one of several BrownWigg stores in the Gippsland region that supplies quality, affordable rural and hardware merchandise for the local business and farming community with staff that care about their success. The business was established in 2005 by Michael Brown and David Wigg. “We were both working in the same industry for Elder’s and I suppose we thought we could do as good a job or a better job,” Michael said. “When I first did work experience at Elders I really liked it and thought then I’d really like to one day start my own business doing the same thing.” David and Michael opened their first store in Sale and specialised in providing farm supplies, while Elders were also stock agents, wool buyers and involved in real estate.

A year later they set up their store in Maffra. Since then they have opened stores in Bairnsdale, Warragul, Yarram, Meeniyan and Traralgon.

Their range of harvest products covers all hay, silage and fodder storage applications, premium silage wrap, pit covers and tough plastic film.

Their BrownWigg stores stock a huge range of high-quality farm hardware products, from reliable, premium power and hand-tools through to nails, staples and all manner of fixings.

They also stock a full range of baler net to suit all sizes of baling machines, and baling twine that caters to the full range of on-farm specifications for small-square, big-round and big-square bales. David and Michael are Directors of the business and Michael is the General Manager.

They also stock a comprehensive range of safety gear from helmets, goggles and gloves through to respiratory equipment, with advice to make their customer’s workplace a continuously safe place to operate in for themselves, their staff, family, suppliers and clients.

While there are several corporate companies in Gippsland providing similar goods and services, BrownWigg is one of a few that is locally owned. They employ 47 local people throughout their Gippsland stores with six working at Maffra.

The stores also stock a range of quality, durable farm clothing and help customers select the right protective headwear and footwear for the job.

Photographs by Wendy Morriss

Michael Brown a director and the General Manager of BrownWigg


The Beautiful Township of Maffra



Cash Flow



Pund & Associates is a privately owned Full Service Accounting Practice based in Maffra, with a dedicated and professional team led by Chartered Accountant Brett Pund. Brett has over 20 years’ experience advising small to medium business in various industries. His expertise includes advice and implementation on all aspects of business establishment, succession planning, business improvement, financial modelling and business structures. PUND & ASSOCIATES ALSO PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING SERVICES: ❖ Taxation Return Preparation for Businesses and Individuals ❖ Self Managed Superfund Compliance ❖ Business Services & Advice ❖ Budgeting and Cashflow Preparation ❖ Employer Services (Payroll processing and advice) ❖ Corporate Affairs Handling

PUND & ASSOCIATES 1-3 Pearson Street, Maffra, 3860 | PO Box 651, Maffra, 3860 Ph: 03 5141 1605 Fx: 03 5141 1608 Em:

AUSURE INSURANCE BROKERS GIPPSLAND BUSINESS INSURANCE Business insurance selected specifically to suit the risks that your business faces each day. PERSONAL HOME & MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCES Home and motor vehicle insurances that are tailored specifically to your needs. FARM INSURANCE All your farming insurance needs. MOTOR VEHICLE FLEET INSURANCES Insurance to protect your fleet of vehicles and assist you to manage your business.




Ph 03 5147 1880

Ph 03 5143 9202 237-239 Raymond St

Ph 03 5152 3028

147 Johnson St Maffra VIC 3860

Sale VIC 3850

83 Main St Bairnsdale VIC 3875

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


a new era at MEWBURN PARK �


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

By Lisa Maatsoo

The eastern verandah of the main homestead will be available for small functions The Vardy family at Mewburn Park soon after John purchased the property in 1986

Upon arrival at Mewburn Park near Maffra, a stunning tree lined driveway leads to an opening that reveals the historic homestead. It’s a beautiful entry into the 390acre property, that still operates today as a dairy farm. The home is surrounded by beautiful landscaped grounds that extend to the old stables and old dairy located behind the house. The Alpine Ranges beyond create the perfect backdrop to the picturesque northern views over the remainder of the property. I was greeted at the homestead by Julia and Adam Vardy, who have recently moved into Mewburn Park with their young family Luke (3) and Mia (6 months). Adam is the youngest of three siblings who grew up on the property, with his parents John and Julie Vardy. As a boy living on the property next door to Mewburn Park, John Vardy’s childhood dream was to one day own Mewburn Park.

When the farm was listed on the market in the 1980’s, John took this opportunity to negotiate and secure a deal for its purchase. John and Julie always supported the concept of creating a boutique bed and breakfast / wedding venue. They gradually developed the gardens, planting additional trees on the site which now form an important part of the attraction of Mewburn Park. John was instrumental in helping Adam follow his passion to create a private event venue, but sadly he didn’t get to see this through. John passed away last year from cancer, but not before supporting his son Adam and daughterin-law Julia in the early stages of establishing Mewburn Park as a venue for weddings and events. Both Adam and Julia speak very fondly of John, and of how much he is missed. John maintained a constant optimism with all projects he was involved in, and his positive attitude

helped a great deal in working through difficult issues. Adam has great memories of his adventurous childhood spent on the property with his brother and sister. The Vardy’s love to fill the homestead with family and friends for special occasions, and they enjoy having kids running around bringing life to the old homestead. As Adam showed me around the farm including all his favourite locations, there is an obvious affection he has for Mewburn Park. Adam’s interest in history extends beyond his family farm. He has spent significant time sourcing and reading available references relating to Mewburn Park, but more generally he is passionate about raising the historical profile of the Gippsland region.

Julia and Adam Vardy

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Julia and Adam Vardy with their children Luke and Mia

In 1841, under the instruction of Lachlan Macalister and James McFarlene, explorer Angus McMillan was sent to investigate the grazing prospects of the Gippsland area. He reported that the plains were flat and mostly clear of thick bush, and there was a good supply of water – making the area ideal for cattle grazing. A pastoral run of 38,000 acres was selected and named “Mewburn Park”. The large station was leased and developed in 1847 by a sea captain from Norway called John Johnson Boe. After several years of leasing, Captain Johnson bought the property and in the mid 1850’s he built the original homestead, and later the stables. Since then, the home has seen several changes, including partial demolition and rebuilding of some sections. This also resulted a new addition to the original floor plan, together with other internal alterations. However, the large majority of the home remains original, built from the red clay bricks made on the property. Beef cattle raised on Mewburn Park provided an important supply for interstate markets. This also extended overseas to New Zealand during the Maori Wars when cattle and other provisions were shipped to the imperial forces. In the 1860’s under the management of Captain Johnson’s son who worked on Mewburn Park, the farm was sending 4000-5000 head of fat stock to Melbourne each year. Over the years, the Johnson family served as local members of parliament and on the local council. Consequently, Mewburn Park became an important estate in Gippsland not only for its commercial products, but also for its community and social focus. The original Church of England services for Sale and Maffra were held at Mewburn Park until the church was built on the Sale-Maffra Road. The homestead was utilised for Sunday School activities, and the station also hosted many social gatherings with many guests travelling miles to attend balls and similar functions. Ownership changes and subdivisions over the years saw a gradual decrease in the size of Mewburn Park. By 1903 the station totalled 5400acres and was owned by Harry Glassford, and by 1906 the property was reduced further to 652acres. In 1917 Robert Gilder purchased the property, and it remained in the Gilder family for 69 years before the estate of R. Gilder sold to John and Julie Vardy in 1986.

Julia and Adam are both graphic designers, who met in Melbourne when Julia was on a working holiday from her home in Germany. After several months of dating, they decided to move and settle in Julia’s home town of Dusseldorf. They spent a total of six years there, during which time their first child Luke was born in 2014. Their second child Mia was born in Australia in July this year. Throughout their time in Germany, they had many discussions about the idea of running Mewburn Park as a function centre. They made the decision to return to Australia in 2017 and thus began formal preparations to turn this idea into reality. Their lives are now extremely busy, juggling parenthood with the start of a new small business, and maintaining the homestead and surrounds. Over the last six months, Adam and Julia have been busy preparing the property for their first season of weddings and events, including the purchase of a clear view marquee. For smaller more intimate gatherings, the verandah on the main homestead will be available, overlooking the duck pond on the eastern side of the home. Several locations around the main house are available for on-site wedding ceremonies, including the courtyard of the old stables not far from the new marquee. Julia and Adam’s background in graphic design and hospitality will serve them well in their new business, as their creative flare already shows a mix of the farm’s rustic past with some modern design influences. There are also plans to renovate the old servant quarters attached to the main homestead into accommodation that will be available for guests at the property. Mewburn Park is now a fully licensed venue, with food available from a selection of Gippsland’s finest caterers. There is no doubt that the energy and ambition of the three generations of Vardy’s now living on the property will ensure the success of this new business venture. For your next special occasion, please give Julia or Adam a call to arrange an appointment. They would be more than happy to show you around the venue and sit down to discuss how they can help cater for your personal needs. Contact details can be found on their website. Photographs by Lisa Maatsoo Historic photos of Mewburn Park supplied by The Vardy family. These images date back to the early 1900's.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

The new clear view marquee is the main function space at Mewburn Park

Julia and Adam Vardy with their children Luke and Mia, now live on the property with Adam's Mum Julie

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Designer Cabinetry

By Wendy Morriss

Well-designed cabinetry is not only aesthetically pleasing but it’s also a lifestyle choice. We all have busy lives and anything designed to function well that makes life pleasant and easier is a worthwhile investment. Designer Cabinetry, a business recently established in Maffra is owned and operated by James and Sera Pleydell. They provide quality custom built and installed kitchens, vanities, wall units, wardrobes and laundry and office spaces for both residential and commercial premises. James is a trusted, local tradesman with more than 20 years’ experience in the cabinet making industry. The increasing demand for his work has instigated the opening of the couple’s full-time business. For 10 years prior to that, James built and installed cabinets from home around working in a full time job. Both James and Sera have renovated several houses and they comprehend the challenges associated with new projects, and embarking on the design of a new kitchen, bathroom or office space can be daunting. They can however, help make the process seamless and enjoyable for clients by designing and building exactly what they want to meet their lifestyle and needs, whether it’s country, traditional or contemporary.

They both understand the importance of balancing the design and functionality with the visual and work hard to meet the highest of industry standards on every project.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

James and Sera have worked hard to establish their family business, while taking care of their young daughter Sienna. They have employed an apprentice and while James designs, builds and installs cabinets, Sera takes care of the administrative tasks and customer service. She also has a flair and passionate interest in design and is studying for a Diploma with with the Mercer School of Interior Design Collingwood, in Melbourne, to complement the business by keeping up with the latest products and trends for their clients. James has lived in Maffra now for 20 years and attended the local high school. Jim better known to most as ‘Thunder’ from his days of playing football for Maffra and is a loyal Carlton supporter. Jim loves his football and spends most of his leisure time watching the footy, socialising with friends or out and about with his daughter Sienna and wife Sera. Jim can often be found in the afternoon in his shed at home, working on his next woodworking project.

Kitchens | Vanities | Wardrobes | Laundry Office Space | Wall Units | Residential | Commercial

11 Sale Road Maffra, 3860 | T: 03 5167 5677 | E:


By Geoff Watt

It's nice to know Gippsland has always supported disadvantaged groups in our community. A prime example in Maffra goes back nearly sixty years to 1957 when Sister Flora Johns drove the idea to develop a service for children with an intellectual disability. With the help of two teachers and a few other volunteers, a Saturday morning session with a small group of children began. From these humble beginnings the program has gone through much growth and change, having included at various times a Special Development School, an Independent Living Skills Residential Service, an Adult Training Service and even a Hydroponics Farm. All of these services impacted positively on the development of the George Gray Centre Inc. Support Services, which has just recently celebrated fifty years of service to the community.

and all of the programs are based on the individual needs of the participants attending. They currently cater for over one hundred and fifteen participants with a disability.

In 1987 a cafe was developed in Maffra and in 1991 a garden service work crew was also established, and it is these latter two that continue to shine today. They are invaluable as employment training programs and are complemented by two Disability Support Services for persons with a disability. One of the support services is based in Maffra at the George Gray Centre and one at their other campus at the Wellington Community Connect Facility in Sale. Both support services provide vocational, recreational and independent living skills programs

I was fortunate enough to take some time out of CEO Ian Hunt's busy day to have a chat and learn more. Ian has been CEO of the George Gray Centre Inc. for the past eleven years and is responsible for overseeing all services provided by GGC and is well supported by an excellent management team. I visited the lovely garden surrounds of Foster Place Cafe in Maffra where I met Ian for our chat.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

The Supported Employment Programs that I visited - the café and work crew - are all about empowering the participants by teaching them vital work skills and good work habits that will give them every opportunity to move into open employment.

The organisation and its history is a credit to the township of Maffra. The number of families and

individuals it has assisted and empowered over the past fifty years is incalculable. Ian explains that there is also a great holiday program for the participants who access interstate trips, bush camps and also day trips to places such as Melbourne and Sovereign Hill. Over the previous twelve months they have even had a couple of ship cruises for small groups. This program is one of many provided by GGC that puts purpose into the participant's days by getting them out into the broader community and experiencing new places and situations. Employees from the Café and work crews also have the opportunity to access the holiday program, the cost of which is very competitive against similar trips through professional travel companies, but has the added bonus of trained support staff accompaniment. Ian explains the process for staffing the Cafe, "Those in the Support Service Programs who wish to move into employment will be identified

and that feeds the staffing at the Cafe. When first entering the service they will complete a M.I.P. (My Individual Plan) and will tick their preferences for employment - it could be the work crew or the Cafe or it might be somewhere else in the community. The Cafe is staffed by a bank of twelve people with a disability over any given week and supported generally by about two Employment Officers." Skills such as cooking, food prep, cash register operation, table service, etc are all invaluable skills for the participants to learn. All employees interact directly with the general community, and of course in a cafĂŠ environment there are many times when 'the pressure is on' - so this is an amazing skill development program. Getting the right people into the job of Employment Officer is crucial to the success of the businesses,

"It's really important for the organisation that a person working in the industry has empathy for people with a disability, a respect for their skills and what they can achieve and have a strong work ethic. It's a terrific work environment we've developed here and all employees really enjoy coming to work and interacting with other staff and the community." The difference that working in the Cafe makes to all employees seems to be something of a great, untold story. I ask Cafe Manager Lou Regan if there is feedback from the parents, perhaps thankful their adult son or daughter now has a place to go and interact with the community - a place to learn and empower. Both Lou and Ian reply with a resounding "Yes". Lou elaborates on one in particular, "One girl that started when she was eighteen about three years ago didn't have a great relationship with her mum. She has matured incredibly working here and now has a great relationship with her mum. I've spoken with her mum who is really impressed by the way her daughter's whole attitude has changed."

One would assume that the Cafe would certainly take a lot of frustration out of the lives of the Cafe employees with a disability, who may have been sitting at home bored if not given the opportunity to use the skills they undoubtedly have. Another thing that the Cafe and work crew would give the participants is a social life. When you think about it, how many of our friends come from the places where we have worked? The Cafe is well supported by the local community as it has an extensive menu, good service and is popular with many young parents due to its outside secure play area. Manager Lou Regan seems to represent the passion and drive around this venture when she says: "I've got a vision for this place, I think it has a lot of potential. We've had some outdoor furniture especially made for children when they accompany their family to the Cafe and we are just in the process of painting them." It seems that there is a real pride in the Cafe. Ian further elaborates: "Our aim is to find the employees long term open employment. Obviously there will be some that may not attain the skills needed to move onto open employment but the interactions they have with the public and the skills they achieve make it a great avenue for personal development. We give all employees the opportunity to expand their skills, so their horizons are broadened." It is still hard for some whose disability may mean they need adaptive equipment and if it is not available to them, it can further restrict their transition into open employment. For example Foster Place Cafe will make an effort to provide equipment that will make it easier for someone with a vision impairment to operate a cash register, but if this is not provided for in open employment, their opportunities may be limited. But no matter what percentage end up going into open employment, the bottom line is that one hundred per cent of the participants that come through here have enhanced their work, social and communicative skills - and this enables them to be more active in their lives and in their community.

The other main employment program is the work crew, which is a contract gardening service. Ian elaborates, "The service originally focused on domestic lawn mowing and gardening and then after a time we had more equipment so we started tendering for larger contracts. Each tender is obtained on their merits, as is the continuing renewal of existing contracts." I was also lucky enough to speak to Glen Cater, the Manager of the work crews who told me, "There are four groups of three workers with a disability with each group supervised by an Employment Officer. They have around two hundred contracts both commercial and domestic over a rotating three week period." Glen spoke enthusiastically about the work ethic of those crews and mentioned that the greatest reward was seeing the sense of pride the workers have - saying "we mowed that". So if you are hankering for a great coffee and muffin, or perhaps something more substantial such as Gourmet Wraps and Focaccias, Nachos or Lasagna, this is the place. Where else do you go to enjoy a great meal and also assist persons with a disability to improve their opportunity for long term employment? Foster Place Cafe is the place. The Cafe also has a function room, which they can provide catering for birthdays, Christmas functions, etc up to 40 people. Local commercial enterprises also avail of the great catering services in the function room. Cafe Opens Tuesday to Friday 8:30 to 4pm Ph: 5147-1335 Ph: 5147-2221 Photographs by Wildwood Photography

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Maffra Gymnastic Club Incorporated The Maffra Gymnastic Club is a communitybased, not-for-profit organisation that has the aim of teaching and promoting ‘Gymnastics for All’, in an ‘inclusive’ setting catering for people of all ages and abilities. Maffra Gymnastic Club is a nationally acclaimed and award winning club which includes being named as a past winner of the National Club of the Year by Gymnastics Australia. This award was recognised as the most prestigious for General Gymnastics in the country, at the time. Maffra Gymnastics also won Gymnastic Victoria’s 2015 Gymnastic Club of the Year. The Maffra Gymnastic Club continues to work towards being a “fun, friendly and inclusive” club, where everyone feels welcome and has the opportunity to learn and develop their skills, confidence and well-being.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

In 2015, Maffra Gymnastic Club was awarded a Victorian Health Promotion Foundation Award in acknowledgement of the work being done in the area of ‘Building Health through Sport’ and community ‘inclusion’.

PROGRAM SESSION OPTIONS: PERMANENT PROGRAMS • Kindergym (18 months - 4 years) • Girls and Boys Recreation Classes • Girls and Boys Squad/Competition Classes • Adult Gymnastics COMMUNITY PROGRAMS • School and Pre-School Groups • Special Needs Abilities Groups • Club Fit – for Sporting Groups • Birthday Parties Maffra Gymnastic Club Incorporated Cameron Sporting Complex Morison Street, MAFFRA 3860 Telephone: (03) 5141 1211 e-mail: Photography by Imaginative Images


C&M Buslines has operated in Maffra and the surrounding area for the last eight years serving the school community and providing general charters for anything from sporting group outings to hen’s parties.

Their C & M Buslines fleet comprises buses carrying from 21 through to 61 passengers, all of which are serviced and maintained to a high standard to be in compliance for accreditation within PTSV (Public Transport Safety Victoria).

The business is owned and operated by Chris Boyle who has a wealth of industry experience after driving and working on buses for 36 years, and his wife Maryann who has driven buses for 15 years.

All C & M Buslines' drivers hold Driver Accreditation Certificates and are accredited through the Taxi Services Commission, which is important not only for their passengers safety but also reliability.

The couple work hard to maintain a high standard that’s professional and friendly. They enjoy providing the indispensable transport service for the community particularly the schools, where they have seen children grow up and then replaced by more young children, with some now being third-generation passengers. People in the Maffra community and the surrounding area with a need to get out and about or planning an excursion, can call Chris and Maryann at C&M Buslines knowing they will always get to their destination and back efficiently, comfortably and safely.

Accredited Drivers / Accredited Buses / Charters Anywhere Anytime School Runs / Weddings, Hens Nights, Sports Clubs Available for Charter 7 days per week C & M BUSLINES - MAFFRA Malmo Street, Maffra 3860 Phone: 5147 2473 | Mobile: 0409 014 147 | Email:

Maffra Primary School 150 Ye ar s of Memories

On Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th of November, Maffra Primary School celebrated their 150th anniversary. From very small beginnings in 1867 with a student population of 28, Maffra PS has grown to over 300 students, boasting modern facilities and beautiful grounds. The school has always been located on Church Street, with the current site being initially built with community funding. Like most schools in the late 1800’s, Maffra Primary had its share of storm damage, student evacuations, wandering cattle and relocation.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

In 1913 a large fire ripped through the Maffra main street with the school acting as a refuge for the town population. When Japan entered the second world war, Maffra Primary dug trenches around its perimeter to protect the students and staff from any potential bombing. Interestingly the girls’ bunker had timber slats over the top, the boys’ was open and the staff bunker was noticeably shallower than the students. Worryingly for the headmaster, they were not allocated a bunker, being expected to patrol around the edges and act as a potential target for the bombers.

The 150th celebrations was an excellent opportunity for ex students to reminisce about the wonderful times they shared at Maffra Primary. A highlight of the day was the cutting of the cake by our youngest current student and our oldest past student. This happened to be a lady who was a very sprightly 103 years of age. She shared with the large crowd her memories of the school including the times she got the strap for talking too much in class.

The good news for all of us is that although the buildings may have changed, staff may be different, and our expectations on students may have altered, kids are still kids. No matter what generation, students still come to school worrying about friends, what’s for lunch and who’s coming over on the weekend.

This hasn’t changed in the last 150 years and we hope it won’t for the next 150. Words and photos from Principal Matt Currie of Maffra Primary School

Duart is a Victorian Homestead built in1883 which has been converted to an Event Venue consisting of a warm character filled ballroom, and smaller Fig Tree room adjacent to the ivy clad veranda and terrace areas with two private rotundas and 160 year old Moreton Bay Fig tree which reigns supreme over the gardens.

It has a reputation for quality hospitality providing local produce and friendly customer service. Duart also offer an extensive off site catering service and can go as far east as Marlo or as far west as Warragul.

20 McLean Street, Maffra, Vic 3860 P: 035147 1985 Facebook

The Beautiful Township of Maffra



The year was 1937, the worst of the Great Depression had passed and for John and Graham Wilson and James Ronald "Ron" Seymour it seemed like a good time to buy a business. On the 4th of October, 1937, Wilmour Motors was formed in what is still the little town of Maffra. One year later, at the ripe old age of 25, Ron bought out the Wilson brothers and continued to run Wilmour Motors with his sister, Noreen. Things went well at Wilmour Motors and in 1953 the dealership packed up from its original premises and moved further down Johnson Street, the main stretch in Maffra, to their brand new purpose-built Ford showroom. The selling point for the land was that it had been used as a circus showground and promised "soil well-fertilised by elephants"!

Since then, John has never looked back and is glad he kept the business in the family. Assuming all goes well in the new car trade, he hopes one of his own three sons will continue the business in years to come. John has continued to build the business employing a friendly, knowledgeable and loyal team with one member of that team, the workshop manager Garry Berkelmans, who has been with him for over 40 years, which is considered a milestone in the service industry.

Workshop Manager - Garry Berkelmans reached his 40 year service milestone on 29 September 2015

Wilmour Motors boasts comprehensive workshop service as well as being an Official Ford Dealership stocking many different models in the Ford range. Now celebrating 80 years in business, you would think Wilmour Motors would be heading towards retiring age. But there are just too many happy customers at Wilmour Motors to consider giving the business away. Businesses like Wilmour Motors are powerful examples of the strength of small business. Supporting a local customer base are strong community ties built on long-standing historical relationships, and years of commitment and hard work. You can't buy that kind of loyalty and trust, it can only be earned. For more information visit

Wilmour Motors prospered as Ron built on a loyal local customer base. Through the war, and into the fifties, the small dealership delivered and serviced almost every Ford model from the early V8s, to Pilots, Twin Spinners and Customlines, until the release of the Falcon, and the modern era of cars which followed. As the years progressed, Wilmour Motors built a strong Ford brand loyalty in the Maffra region. In 1975, after nearly forty years of service to the people of Maffra and surrounds, a retiring Ron Seymour put out the call to his son, John, to "come home and take over the family business". John obliged, packed his bags, left the Ford factory in Broadmeadows and moved back to his home town.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

...the little dealer with the Big Heart!



163 Johnson Street, MAFFRA 3860 Phone: (03) 5147 1344 Email: LMCT 1986

SHOW DAY AT MAFFRA By Rebecca Twite October 28th saw families and enthusiasts to the Maffra Showgrounds for the annual Maffra Agricultural Show. The weather was thankfully co-operative with glimpses of sunlight peeking through at times. The agricultural displays and competitions were high on the to do lists of many, with crowds gathering for the equestrian displays front and centre on the showgrounds, as well as the Pet Parade which brought smiles to the faces of young and old with categories such as “most unusual pet” and “pet most like its owner”. Showbags, rides, games, live music and food were all in abundance as well as the more unique displays such as the Venom Wise display and Gippsland Veterinary Hospital high jump competition. A day of fun for everyone all thanks to the vast amount of community support and funding from all involved. Photographs by Ian and Velta Fellowes


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Deborah, Sonya and Nicole at Cafe

The George Gray Centre Inc. is a not for profit organisation recently celebrating 50 years of service to the Wellington Shire, providing both a day service and supported employment opportunities for persons with a disability. Over 125 participants attend the service. Its prime aim is to provide supports across a range of lifestyle areas including daily living and vocational skills, community participation, inclusion, employment and recreation. The supported employment component of the service is called Foster Place Business Service providing both a garden maintenance service and a commercially run cafĂŠ.

Foster Place CafĂŠ is situated in the small township of Maffra and provides hospitality opportunities to twelve employees with a disability. The cafĂŠ is situated in a beautiful garden setting and is a popular destination for many community members residing in the district.

Each day the employees are gaining valuable paid work experience learning to operate the cash register, food preparation and waiting on the many customers. The cafĂŠ is highly competitive with other cafes in the township and is well known for its excellent food and coffee and has been operating for nearly thirty years. The aim of the dedicated staff is to train all employees to a high standard, enabling them to consider a career in open employment in the hospitality industry. One recent employee, Riley, has recently achieved further employment in a local hotel. It is a happy workplace environment with a strong team approach and provides vital employment opportunities to persons with a disability who may otherwise never have that opportunity. By Leonie, Manager Foster Place

Tuesday - Friday 8.30am - 4pm 21 Foster Street, MAFFRA, 3860 Tel: (03) 5147 1335

Maffra’s Golf Club Has Everything

By Wendy Morriss

Maffra Golf Club, which is just 10 minutes off the Princes Highway, is more than a magnificent golf course and well worth a visit. The club’s relaxed, welcoming, friendly atmosphere and comradery is evident the moment anyone walks through the clubroom door.

Maffra’s beautiful golf course The golf course, established more than 60 years ago, is located in an attractive serene country setting with a view of the Great Dividing Range. For visitors travelling to the area and planning a longer stay, the club also has a recreational vehicle and caravan park with powered and unpowered sites and shower, toilet and change room facilities. The fees are low and visitors can enjoy the surrounding area, a round or two of golf, a walk through the golf course or a quiet drink at the club’s bar. Sue Horsford, who is club secretary, said what makes the club different to so many others is

President Rick Murray with two of his grandchildren


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

the friendliness. “The club is open to new members and visitors, everyone here is just so friendly and the bonus is the beautiful golf course.” She said a very experienced grounds person and many dedicated volunteers passionately maintain the course. The immaculate fairways and fast greens provide a challenge for serious golfers but also enjoyment for beginners and occasional golfers. “We also have a very active and supportive ladies committee who do a lot of catering and fund raising.”

The youngest and oldest member of the club in 2001 Laura Freeman with Athol Releh playing on the 18th green

Rick Murray, who is the club’s president, said everyone tries to make people feel welcome and they are proud of the history and of what people have achieved over time. Many members volunteer to work in and around the club, which everyone benefits from. “I don’t know what it is about the Maffra community but they really do get behind their sporting clubs and make them great.” For more information on Maffra Golf Club phone 0351 471 884.

Club President Rick Murray and Secretary Sue Horsford


Open to Members, Members’ Guests & Visitors Golf Lessons are Available with Professional Golfer, Trevor Pridmore 0417 376 699 - Bookings are Required RV Park - $20 per night Powered Site with use of Change Room Facilities Competition days Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday

Phone: 0351 471 884 Fulton Road, MAFFRA 3860

GIPPSLAND BREEDER SERVICING AUSTRALIA & BEYOND STUD & COMMERCIAL ALPACAS AVAILABLE Our primary breeding focus is fleece with an eye to good temperament, conformation & breeding ability We also stock a good range of the commercial range of alpaca garments and rugs

WHAT’S ON – Shearing September & October POP-UP SHOP July & December Other times, please contact us FIELD DAYS – Farm World & East Gippsland Jen & Peter McDavitt - 38 Sellings Lane, Maffra ph 0351 472444 | mb 0412 383 655 | em merungle


GIPPSLAND VEHICLE COLLECTION INC. Come and visit us at the Gippsland Vehicle Collection, and explore our outstanding display of more than 160 fascinating cars, motorbikes, machinery, historic vehicles and auto memorabilia.

Open Friday to Monday, 10am to 4pm and every day during school holidays. 1A Sale Rd, MAFFRA Phone: (03) 5147 3223 Our feature exhibits change every four months. For more information see


Hours Monday to Friday 9.00am - 5.30pm Saturday 9.00am - 12.00pm 114-116 Johnson Street Maffra Vic 3860 Tel: 5147 1973 Fax: 5141 1610 The Beautiful Township of Maffra


L-R Volunteers: Leigh Eames - Peter Balikoff - Bill Morriss

Like many great ideas in Australia, the one to form the Gippsland Vehicle Collection (GVC) came about over a few beers. The Grand Prix Rally had travelled through Maffra for the third time in a row and the Maffra and District Car Club had organised a display of cars to line Johnson Street. That night there was a function at the Maffra Hall and three men got talking. “We were saying it was a shame that all the great cars on show would be pushed back into their sheds and not seen again,” GVC Executive Member, Peter Quennell said.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

“One had just been to the Launceston Motor Museum and was very impressed with it. Yack, yack and a few more beers and we decided ‘we could do that’.”

A key feature of the GVC is that its exhibition isn’t static, but changes every four months, in line with three different display themes each year.

And do it they did. That conversation led to two years of “hard slog” that transformed a dilapidated, abandoned building into Maffra’s, and the wider region’s, premier tourist attraction.

“We do have permanent pieces, but it was important to us that the Collection be constantly changing, so it can remain as big an attraction for locals as it is for visitors,” Mr Quennell said.

Since then it has displayed over 3,200 vehicles, had over 100,000 people through its doors, held over 35 display days and provided immeasurable hours of nostalgia, memories, education, insight and laughs for members and visitors alike.

“We get such a great array of vehicles in here, you don’t have to be an enthusiast. We have some very rare, unique and otherwise special vehicles that the enthusiasts get very excited about. But our visitors get just as excited by seeing a vehicle that reminds them of going

By Kellie Willis

on Sunday drives with their grandparents, or visiting their cousins’ farm when they were kids.”

together to build this incredible asset and the connections they have forged has been something quite amazing,” she said.

But that is just one dimension of the GVC. “We can give you statistics on how many people have come to Maffra to visit the motor museum and what the economic value has been to the region, but the real story goes beyond that,” Executive Member Sue Lawrence said. “The real story is about a group of people from all backgrounds and walks of life, who would never have had any reason to know each other but for their vehicles. The way they have come

“It really is a strong community of people who not only work hard to support the Motor Museum but who provide the same support for each other when it’s needed.” “Most vehicle enthusiasts talk to their vehicles,” Mr Quennell added with a grin.

“But to have a whole organisation of people who share your passion is something quite powerful.” As much as the incredible array of vehicles on show, these volunteers form the character, allure and uniqueness of the GVC and make it a place to keep coming back to. Visit for details on upcoming displays and information.

The Beautiful Township of Maffra




644 Stratford Road, Maffra, Vic 3860 Telephone: (03) 5141 1544

BROWNWIGG SALE 19 Dawson Street, Sale, Vic 3850 Telephone: (03) 5144 4441

BROWNWIGG WARRAGUL 125 North Road, Warragul, Vic 3820 Telephone: (03) 5623 6911


YOUR FRIENDLY BROWNWIGG TEAM Holly Webb, Lana Grumley, Jim Reeves, Manager: David Phelan, Luke Heyne (not pictured)


BROWNWIGG BAIRNSDALE 133 Bosworth Road, Bairnsdale, Vic 3875 Telephone: (03) 5152 1313

BROWNWIGG YARRAM 191 Commercial Road, Yarram, Vic 3971 Telephone: (03) 5182 5148

BROWNWIGG MEENIYAN 110-116 Whitelaw Street, Meeniyan, Vic 3956 Telephone: (03) 5664 0265

BROWNWIGG TRARALGON 2-4 Standing Drive, Traralgon, Vic 3844 Telephone: (03) 5174 2955

The Beautiful Township of Maffra





The Beautiful Township of Maffra

In the mid 1960's a group of young local blokes gathered after work on Friday nights to participate in "time trials" on the back roads surrounding Maffra. With makeshift timing systems created by Ken Toogood using farmers’ fences/wire as part of the system - the events became very popular. So popular in fact, it was decided a formal club should be created. On the 18th March 1966, in Peter Medding's shed at Newry, the Maffra And District Car Club was formed.

With events such as motorkhanas, time trials, movie nights and social get-togethers, the Club secured and began working on land behind the Boisdale reserve to hold these events. The Boisdale Hillclimb Track was designed and constructed by Maurie Killeen, Fred Burgermeister, Noel Burley and "Spider" Anderson, along with other founding members over the next couple of years. The Boisdale Hillclimb Track held it's first race meeting on Sunday, 31st August 1969. From these humble beginnings, with highs and lows in between, the Maffra And District Car Club has gone from strength to strength. Improvements to facilities over time has also led to a kiosk and meeting room being constructed – a far cry from a single barbecue under a small lean-to right beside the track in the early days – and a toilet block, kids playground and a large trailer park area. Last year celebrating MADCC's 50th Anniversary, the Club now has over 250 members from all across Gippsland, with nearly a third of these being juniors. PRESIDENT – ANTHONY KOVCO

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


There are now second and even third generation family members racing both at Boisdale and other meetings around the state. Age is no barrier to the hillclimb, as 14 year old junior competitors race alongside those in their 70's! A big focus for some years has been to encourage junior driver participation. In 2005, the Junior Development Program was created by the Club as a means of introduction to safe driving skills aimed at those between the ages of 12 and 18. With backing from CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motorsport) and sponsorship from Penrite Oils, the JDP is a free initiative run by a team of volunteer instructors to give kids - some of which have never driven before - a chance to learn the basics of car control in a supervised, safe and controlled environment.


With only three of these events a year, there is usually no shortage of those wishing to participate. Many visiting competitors have praised the Club for it's welcoming and family-friendly environment, a sentiment shared by spectators enjoying free entry to all Boisdale events. With one of only a handful of gravel race tracks left in Victoria, the Maffra And District Car Club has certainly stood the test of time, and continues to attract both the young and young at heart from all over Gippsland to test their driving skills and race against the clock. Words and historic images courtesy of Maffra And District Car Club Photos taken at the Boisdale Hillclimb by Doug Pell


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Balikoff Automotive



Traditional Bakery since 1973 WE SERVICE AND MAINTAIN CLASSIC AND HISTORIC AUSTRALIAN VEHICLES We are a mobile mechanical service or by arrangement at a local workshop at cost. We can assist in locating difficult to find parts and services and our rates are very reasonable. Capricorn, I.A.M.E, CFA, SES and members of the Maffra GVC Museum receive a 10% discount off all parts purchased. For more information visit Phone today to discuss your needs.

Peter 0427 556 005

The Home of the Maffra Pie 1996 Gold Medal Winner

Bread | Pastries | Cakes | Salad Bar | Coffee

Monday to Friday 8.00am - 5.00pm Saturday 8.00am - 1.00pm

18 Foster Street Maffra, 3860 Tel: 5147 1832



Phone: (03) 5147 1668

17 Johnson Street, MAFFRA 3860

Mon-Fri 8.00am-5.00pm Sat 8.00am-11.30am The Beautiful Township of Maffra




The Beautiful Township of Maffra

The Maffra Fire Brigade has a very proud history of more than 100 years continuous service in the town – it celebrated its Centenary in August, 2014. And a couple of its members have been there almost that long. Former Captain Barry Bennett joined up in 1951 and has notched up over 65 years of active involvement. “In those days you turned up to a fire however you could – probably on a push bike, and there was no particular clothing or safety equipment,” he says. “During the winter you had football or badminton, in the summer you had cricket, tennis or the Brigade. There weren’t any other sports, so a lot of people used to participate.” “It is fairly infectious,” Mr Hawkins says. “Once you get involved, it’s hard to stay away. It all starts through a desire to help the community, to help people in trouble. And then you find yourself involved with this incredible team and organisation, actively helping out in the community, and you are hooked.”

Former Captain Ron Graham adds, “I came in through the fundraising activities. I guess what we come to do is our motto – ‘We Strive to Save’”. Apart from the vital service of fighting fires, the Maffra Fire Brigade plays other roles in the community, including fire equipment maintenance for various premises in the town; running the Fire Safe program in local schools, working with children from Prep to Secondary levels; running the smokehouse at Kid’s Day at the Maffra Show and other events; door knocking for the Good Friday Appeal; and inspecting and maintaining fire plugs around the town.

We’re just asking the community to have an input into keeping the town’s fire safety equipment in good working order.” The Fire Brigade has officially launched an ‘Adopt a Fire Plug Program’ another way the community can be involved where the resident can help by keeping the hydrant/fire plug near their property clear, to ensure adequate supply of water can be accessed by the Brigade. “We are also focusing on visiting the primary schools and kindergartens, talking to hundreds of kids over the year about fire safety,” Captain Giles says.

“The Brigade is slowly implementing a fire inspection round and promoting the concept of ‘Adopt A Fire Plug’,” Ex-First Lieutenant Ryan Wheeler says.

With the fire season in force it is really imperative to teach the community bushfire preservation and awareness. Captain Giles says, “We’ve got the CFA’s Mobile Education Unit, a giant bus arriving on the 15th December to the Maffra Christmas Festival, so people have access to more information”.

“We are encouraging residents with a fire plug outside their house to keep an eye on it, make sure it’s visible and report any defects to the Shire.

While the Fire Brigade is important to the community, the community is also imperative to the Brigade’s survival.

Back Row (L to R): Fire Fighter Ash Dickinson, Ex-Captain Ron Graham, Current Captain Dave Giles Front Row (L to R): Fire Fighter Phil Hawkins, Training Co-Ordinator Craig Gardiner

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


“We have been very lucky over the years that the town has really supported the Brigade in any fundraising we have done, and we certainly appreciate that,” Mr Graham says. “We have three vehicles that have been fully funded by the public through fund raising, all of them very well equipped. We are very fortunate with the support we get from the community.” And also fortunate in the support they get from each other. “It’s a family more than anything. You join with intentions of helping the community but at the end of the day, you develop a family,” Captain Giles says. “I started with the Brigade when I was at Maffra High, I’m getting close to 20 years with the Maffra CFA. You don’t hang around somewhere that long if you haven’t found something important.” Educating families on fire safety

“And some of us were born into it,” Hargreaves adds. “I’ve been going to competitions ever since I can remember – Dad was a part of the Maffra team. So you just follow in your father’s footsteps. It’s always been a part of who we are and I can’t imagine life without it.” For more information: W: F: Photographs by Lisa Maatsoo and photographs courtesy of Maffra Fire Brigade

Open Day at the Station

Mobile Education Unit Bus


The Beautiful Township of Maffra


By Doug Pell

James Clark and Andrew Bedggood

Port of Maffra is a haven for birdlife. It is also the playground for kayakers James Clark and Andrew Bedggood. I was asked to meet these keen kayakers while I was in town. They enjoy nothing better than hitting the water and having a paddle, all in fun of course. Andrew Bedggood is also the founder for one of Gippsland's major kayak events.

James Clark

The Sale to Sea Disability Kayak Challenge is on again on Saturday, 17th March 2018. Make sure you book for this event and you can do so by contacting Andrew on 0407 471 539 or via email at

Andrew Bedggood

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Powersc the story of a home By Kellie Willis

The “Powerscourt” sign swings stately from its sentry post at the property on the Maffra-Stratford Road, its presence indicating something special at the end of the gumtree-lined driveway. “Powerscourt” has been home to pioneers and their hired servants, and a much-loved fine-dining restaurant. Today, it is home to Paul and Helen Bourke and their family, who are thriving in their role as its owners and caretakers. One of the oldest properties in the district, William and Mary Power built the “Powerscourt”


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

homestead in 1859. They were known for topping the Melbourne Cattle Markets, breeding successful race horses and holding annual horse racing events, and they built a home befitting their status.

The family was looking to move from their dairy farm at Newry and Paul had just started a new career with a local real estate agent. He came home from his first auction and told Helen “Powerscourt” had been passed in.

Since then, “Powerscourt” has welcomed many families, with all making changes pertinent to the times and their individual needs.

“He asked if I wanted to go out and have a look,” Helen remembers. “I said ‘No, I don’t! It’s old and it’s cold … I’m not going!’”

The arrival of the Bourkes nine years ago marked a period of change and renewal – for the family and the homestead.

“But after we’d had a look, we went home and said ‘OK, it needs this and this.’ We thought we could give the property those things.”


After “a lot of budgeting and a lot of planning” they decided they could make it work, and next thing, the Bourkes and their eight children were moving.

They built decking off the kitchen/living area, and the northern wall is predominantly windows and glass doors that look out across this deck to the ornamental lake.

One of the first projects they undertook was renovating the kitchen/living area.

An octagonal gazebo was designed to complement the striking circular meat house located conveniently close to the kitchen. The Bourkes use the meat house as a storeroom and garden shed but originally, cattle carcasses would have been hung in the cool building until they were butchered.

“We squared it up and made it bigger,” Helen says. “We pulled out the wall of a bedroom and we converted the ensuite of that bedroom into the laundry, which was originally outside.”

Today, the property remains a cattle enterprise. “The farmland here worked well with our operation at Newry, so we’ve got people running the dairy and we rear all its replacement stock,” Paul says. “We cut hay and silage, rear the Friesian bulls and have a herd of Friesian cross Angus.” From the kitchen/living room back to the western end of the home are three outdoor bedrooms that were once servants’ quarters. “Those rooms are very plain, no fancy details,” Helen says.

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


But stepping from the kitchen/living room into the formal lounge you enter a world of intricate cornices and ceiling decorations, detailed stained glass windows, ornate fire places and a stunning 90ft by 20ft ballroom with 18ft ceilings. The ballroom was built by the homestead’s second owners, John and Rebecca Mills. Both were ex-employees of “Powerscourt” who made their fortune in gold. Not only celebratory, the ballroom was also a base for the Red Cross during World War I for sewing shirts, rolling bandages and knitting socks. The impressive stained glass windows along the length of the walls are a key feature of this room, and its outside doors open onto a wooden deck that was built by the Bourkes 18 months ago. A ballroom might not feature on many floor plans today, but with their large family, the Bourkes host Christmas lunch (last year they had 48 people) and have held several family functions including their daughter’s wedding. “And, I come into the ballroom with my morning cuppa now and again, when the sun is shining in, and just enjoy it,” Helen smiles. For all the implied grandeur, it is clear this is a family home – family portraits adorn the walls, just beyond the stained glass windows of the ballroom there is a well-used basketball ring and Helen tells tales of family cricket games by the lake, where you can only catch the ball if you dive into the water. While the Bourkes bring in professionals for the big jobs, Helen says she enjoys the challenge of doing the work herself. But it can take a lot of time and effort.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

She and her sister started painting the ceiling in one of the bedrooms, using two different coloured trims on the elaborate decorations and cornices. “It took us 10 hours to do one half of the ceiling! And that was just one coat!”

“You feel a sense of responsibility,” Paul adds. “It’s one of the oldest places in the district. Everything we do, we are either reusing or making the most of what is already here, and we match all our work to the features and styles of the period.”

Far from being daunted, Helen has taken the ongoing project in her stride. “I had never done anything like this before,” she says.

The three-car garage at the western end of the house is built from red bricks that previously paved the back yard. It complements the original building and features heritage cobelling and plinth brickwork.

“Now, it’s a passion. You can’t do a job in five minutes. Everything we do takes months of planning, consideration and research. Making sure it will work for us, but also honour the history of the building.”

When the Bourkes widened the veranda on the southern side of the house by double, they replicated the style of the veranda at the front of the house. And during the kitchen/living room renovation, the moulded ceiling decorations around the light fittings were made to match the other rooms in the house.

Wherever you go at “Powerscourt”, there are stories – those that belong to the Bourkes, and those that belong to its history. In a fantastically lit sunroom yet to receive the Bourkes’ touch, Helen shows how the building tells its story. “You can see from the patterns in the bricks that there used to be a window here, there was a chimney there, when this was an outside courtyard. And look,” she says as she points to a square cut out in the wooden floor.

“This wooden lid hides a concrete lid that covers a well. There used to be a windmill right here where we are standing!” “This will be one of my favourite rooms one day, but I’m still working out how to make the most of it.” When asked for her favourite features of the property, Helen doesn’t hesitate: “The wow factor, when you come in the kitchen door,” she says.

“Your eyes are drawn from the room to the view over the decking and the ornamental lake. That, and the dynamic cornices and ceiling decorations.” “When we came to “Powerscourt, we knew we could improve on what was here,” Paul says. “And it’s a big home, our kids can get married here, there’s room for the family to grow and for the grandkids. We just thought this was something special we could do for our family.”

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Powerscourt Revisited

Powerscourt Homestead was a wonderful setting for the Powerscourt Revisited Dinner to support the Stretton Park Aged Care Hostel Rebuilding Program. The Powerscourt Ballroom decorated for the evening

The Stretton Park Board of Management and Fundraising Committee are greatly indebted to Helen and Paul Bourke and family for generously opening their home for the evening and supporting our fundraising efforts. Over one hundred guests relaxed on the deck overlooking the lake and picturesque countryside, enjoyed drinks and savouries prior to adjourning to the beautifully decorated ballroom for dinner and entertainment by the John Gibson Trio and Sue Kewming.

Helen Bourke from Powerscourt, with Sue Lawrence and Helen Montague, Stretton Park Board Members, enjoying the evening

John Gibson Trio & Sue Kewming, watched by Louise Blencowe and Foster Cooke, entertained guests

John Little, Louise Stobie and Terri McMahon relaxing on the deck

The meal was prepared by Ballarat Chef, Peter Trotter, with Central Gippsland Health Services Staff roasting and carving the meats. The vegetables were donated by Boisdale Best Vegetables and Avon Ridge and Blue Gables Vineyards provided wine for the evening. Many local businesses and organisations donated goods and services. Maffra Secondary College students and Hannah and Rebecca Bourke waited on the tables throughout the night. Over $16,000 was raised during the evening through ticket sales and an auction.

Guests meeting on the deck area on arrival

Stretton Park Aged Care Hostel was built in 1977 following an identified need for residential support for elderly community members. It is a not-for-profit, incorporated, 42 bed facility with 19 independent units. It has a Board of Management and engages Central Gippsland Health Services to manage the day to day running of the facility. The facility prides itself on the personalised care it provides for the residents. Following the introduction of the Government's Aging in Place system and residents requiring more complex care and equipment, rebuilding of the facility is needed to meet these needs into the future. This will involve the building of two new wings and doubling of current room sizes, at an estimated cost of $6.5 million. It is anticipated that funds will be raised from Stretton Park, Government funding and local fundraising. Following the Powerscourt Revisited evening total funds raised locally is almost $80,000, a wonderful effort for Maffra & District. Contributed by Stretton Park Board Members

Foster Crooke and Peter Quennell enjoying the view


The Beautiful Township of Maffra




66 JOHNSON STREET, MAFFRA, 3860 PH: 03 5147 2129 Like us on

All Natural . Organic . Nutritious

HOURS: Mon-Fri 9.30AM-4.30PM Saturday 9.30AM-1PM | Sunday closed (depending) 20 Foster Street, MAFFRA 3860 PH: 0439 585 935 W:

Facebook The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Brothers and business partners Marcus and Ben Stobie

STOBIE’S Land and Surf By Wendy Morriss

A favourite destination for many consumers is Stobies Land and Surf, a unique retail Brothers Marcus and Ben Stobie are third generation owners who carry a large range of high quality street and surf wear for men, women and children. The popular traders are relaxed, fun loving and helpful. They offer exceptional service and enjoy providing their customers with an old-style bricks and mortar retail experience. “We love what we do,” Marcus said, “and we have so much support from our community. We see local characters who have been shopping


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

here for many years and there are always new and interesting people coming through the door. The younger generation coming into the town are great and we enjoy the challenge of keeping them happy and satisfied.” Marcus and Ben purchased the business from their father Geoff Stobie in 2006. His father Marcus Morton Stobie, who was known to everyone as Mort, purchased the business originally in 1952 from a man called Gordon Green.

Geoff said his father had previously served in the Australian Navy. He joined at the age of 18 and left when he was 40 and had a young family. He served part of that time on the HMAS Sydney and fortunately was taken off the ship two weeks before it sank. After leaving the Navy, Mort came back to his home town of Maffra and worked at Nestle for 12 months before purchasing the business. He ran the men’s drapery business as a sole trader and worked on his own in the store for 15

Ben, Geoff and Marcus Stobie

Marcus Morton Stobie during his naval career and the HMAS Sydney

establishment with an interesting history in Gippsland’s beautiful town of Maffra. years until Geoff came into the business at the age of 16 years. Sadly his father died in 1966 and Geoff who was then 19 years old was left to continue running the family business.

“In his day, it was a typical small shop that you could make a living from, a bit like the farms in the area then,” Geoff said.

“He used to have Akubra hats, which we sold all the time and work wear was huge. Farmers would come in and buy rubber boots, jungle green work pants, flannelette shirts and woollen jumpers. It was about a third of his trade. He also had a rack of suits and sports coats.” Around the same time, Mort’s mother Ivy Stobie ran a commercial knitting enterprise in the town. She operated four large knitting machines and had a man working for her. “She worked with those machines right up until she was 80 years

old,” Geoff said. “It was the only way you could get a jumper then that was a bit different like a school or football jumper. We’ve had people come into the shop years later and even recently they still have a jumper she knitted.” He said when he was 20 years old; denim jeans became available in Australia. They were Levi 501’s with a button up fly. After that jeans became very popular. Levi’s range of jeans increased and then other brands came in. He had one large area in the shop just for jeans and

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Geoff retired from the business at the age of 60. He said the reason he went into the business was because of his father and the only reason he stayed in it for so long was because he really loved it. Marcus and Ben were working in Melbourne. They came back to Maffra in their late teens and ran an electrical store. “I wanted to keep it going because I was into music,” Marcus said, “and Ben followed his girlfriend back to Melbourne. A few years later he came back and decided working in the shop with Dad was where he wanted to be. Meanwhile, the electrical business had become too competitive to continue with so we decided to move the business on. It coincided with Dad wanting to retire and I wanted to be part of the business so we decided to buy it from him and go into partnership.” He said they started with a yellow and pink cool surf store and traditional men’s wear shop but over the years, they’ve had to keep the business current and relevant and keep moving with the times. “During Dad’s time EFTPOS came in and he had to deal with that transition. He then had to face another challenge in the 80s when the large shopping complexes opened. “The challenge for us going forward is online shopping so we have to market ourselves pretty heavily. People now have the luxury of shopping everywhere and anywhere so we have to give them a reason to come here. If we just opened the door and hoped for the best now we wouldn’t succeed. We have to be very proactive.”

Their business partnership is strong. “Ben and I have always been close. We are flexible guys, we have a laugh, enjoy each other’s company and we don’t take things too seriously." "Ben was married when we took over the business. I think the most challenging time for him was during the first five years when I was single and probably not as reliable as he was in terms of turning up to work on time and turning up in the right frame of mind. But now we are both married with children and established here for the long term.”

sold about 200 pair a week to both men and women. A few years after the arrival of jeans, surf brands came in, which were extremely popular and the first one he stocked was Rip Curl. His work wear continued to sell well for another 20 years until dedicated work wear shops were established and the range extended to compulsory safety gear. Flannelette shirts however, remained very popular and still are today.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

In 1978, Geoff joined the Mensland Group and the store known as Stobies became Stobies Mensland. Then in 1984, after it became evident they wouldn’t be able to make a living from the small area they had, the store was extended to double its size. He said when he first took over the business, there weren’t any travelling sales reps. He had to go to Flinders Lane in Melbourne to buy stock but he could practically fill the store from that lane and everything then was made in Australia.

“When Dad first retired, there was a time when we both thought is this bloke ever going to just leave. He would show his face probably four or five times a day but then gradually he got used to retirement and started doing things he enjoyed. We call him ‘The Boots’; he’s the spare parts guy. He still calls in after 10 years and he helps us during the Christmas period when we are busy or when Ben and I need to go to Melbourne buying. He’s great to have around and it’s amazing how many older customers still come in and enjoy seeing him.”



0407 392 003


One of the stud’s male alpacas


Merungle Alpaca Stud in the foothills of Maffra produces superior quality huacaya alpaca breeding stock and magnificent, soft award-winning fleeces. By Wendy Morriss


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Jen charming her alpacas with some Lucerne

The stud was established in 1993 by Jen and Peter McDavitt, who have a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding alpacas and the alpaca industry. They run 160 animals on 65 hectares of their lovely 80-hectare property. Jen said they started with two males and then when better genetics were brought in from Peru, they purchased a few females and bred the numbers up from there. They don’t have any plans to increase the herd size. “We just breed the number we think we can sell for the year, so some of them are having an easy life and some aren’t but we are getting some fantastic fleece results. “We started with coloured alpacas. Some of the base females were fantastic colours but a lot of the well-bred males had white backgrounds so we’ve ended up with a predominately white herd. I’ve spent the last three years trying to get some colour back into the herd without compromising the fleece and eight of the last ten born are coloured, but the quality of the fleece is the ultimate thing for me.” Alpacas have the largest range of colours of any fibre producing animal. There are 22 natural colours with more than 300 shades from blacks, browns, fawns to silver greys, rose greys and white, which is the most predominant because it can be dyed in the largest range of colours. “You could even say they’re green because they have a nice soft foot that doesn’t destroy the landscape,” Jen said smiling.

The alpaca fleece is soft, durable and similar in structure and character to sheep’s wool so it’s naturally water repellent and fire resistant. It is however, lighter, warmer, not prickly and doesn’t have lanolin. It has a smoother scale surface than wool and breeders enhance the softness by selecting for finer fibre diameter similar to merino wool. “With our breeding we look at microns (fibre diameter), how even the fibres are and how they’re aligned,” Jen said. “The more even they are, the softer the fleece is and we look for optimum length for manufacturing.” Shearing at Merungle is carried out in September. The white animals are shorn first and then at the end of the day they shear the coloured animals so fibres aren’t mixed in the fleeces. Jen bags the fleeces individually, which she said is a bit labour intensive but it gives her the chance to go through each one and really assess them. “I take samples from them and have them tested for micron and then I skirt the fleeces, class them and send them off to either Alpaca Fibre Network Australia or Australian Alpaca Fleece Limited.” Alpaca Fibre Network Australia bale into very narrow perimeters to get premium fleece prices and they have different manufacturers they sell to. Australian Alpaca Fleece Limited send a lot of fleece to Peru to be processed that comes back to Australia as garments. Some fleece goes to

New Zealand and a smaller amount goes to a few Australian manufacturers. She said sending fleece to places like Peru to be processed would be a cost factor. The machines there are just used to process alpaca whereas machines in Australia are set to mainly process wool and have to be adjusted for alpaca. “I don’t know exactly how they do it but I do know there are differences in the way machines handle the different fleeces.” Jen occasionally sells a small amount of fleece to home spinners. She also purchases products from those who directly or indirectly buy their fleece and sells the products from the farm or at several local markets.

“The alpacas themselves are great animals,” she said. “They are very curious and intelligent. I don’t treat them as pets, I treat them as paddock animals but they’ll still come up and eat Lucerne out of my hand. “They are browsers so they’ll nibble at leaves. They love rose leaves but if they get into the yard they don’t destroy it like a goat would. They have a split lip and they can actually move each side independently of the other. It means they can be very selective with what they eat and quite gentle.”

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Jen outside the shearing shed with her dog

Some of their many show awards for animals and fleece Unlike sheep, alpacas only have one offspring a year and the gestation period is 11.5 months. There have been rare cases of twins born but few survive.

“Sometimes an alpaca will look at something in the paddock; it might be an echidna and look up at me as if to say ‘well, tell me, what is it?’ Once we watched an alpaca point at a snake on the ground while the others went around her and then she joined the herd, so they protect each other,” she said.

Products made by companies that directly or indirectly purchase their alpaca fleece

“They are used to guard livestock and generally they aren’t aggressive unless they’ve been badly handled. One I sent out was seen stamping on a fox with its front feet. Some can be difficult to handle sometimes but I find they are usually animals that have been treated as pets and you get the same with calves or sheep. I had to rear one last year and I made a big point of leaving her out with the herd so she’s an alpaca but I’ve heard of other people having them inside because they look like cute teddy bears, but they are a herd animal.” Jen and Peter have for many years, and still are members of the Australian Alpaca Association. Jen said the AAA website has a complete data base where the lineage of any animal that’s ever been brought into Australia can be traced. She said through their breeding program, they concentrate on improving the fleece and use the best males they can access. Due to the comprehensive data base now available, very few animals are being imported so they’ve all been bred in Australia. Their aim is to produce animals that will cut fleeces of about four kilograms and no more than 22 microns. “That’s the aim and we are getting there but there’s always something we are trying to improve.” Photographs by Wendy Morriss


The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Words by Ben Schofield Author of Wheel Life PETA MULLENS

ROWLEY BROTHERS Keith Rowley left, Max Rowley right

Keith twice won the Australian national road race title in 1947, by winning a sprint point 150 miles (240 km) into the Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic, and in 1950 by winning the first championship race over 125 miles (201 km) at Cronulla, NSW. Keith also won the Blue Riband for the fastest time in the Melbourne to Warrnambool in 1947. By 1949 the Rowleys were almost unbeatable with Max winning the Australian long-distance championship from second placed Keith before 50,000 spectators. In 1950 Max won the gruelling 510 mile (816 km) “Tour of the West” in NSW and then a week later the prestigious “Melbourne to Warrnambool”, taking both the line honours and fastest time from scratch.

Photo courtesy of Maffra & District Historical Society Inc

In the 1940s and 1950s the Rowley brothers were a household name when Max and his older brother Keith dominated the Australian cycle racing scene. Max won virtually every professional event in Australia, often with Keith taking the back seat to let Max cross the line half a wheel length in front. In 1939, when 16, Max sprang to prominence by winning the Sheffield Wheel Race and scratch event in Tasmania after having been a top Gippsland rider for several years. In 1940, he became the youngest rider ever to win the coveted Latrobe Wheel Race in Tasmania. A year later he was Victorian five-mile track champion. The war years intervened but when professional cycling got under way again, Max Rowley quickly showed what he could achieve. In 1946 he won the Australian long-distance professional road cycling championship raced over 301 miles (480 km) from Melbourne to Horsham. He won the Melbourne to Wangaratta and picked up a second Latrobe Wheel Race. The victories kept piling up and Max Rowley was soon seen in newspapers throughout Australia. When Hartley manufactured “Max Rowley” special bicycles, Max received two pound 15 shillings for each one sold. In 1948 Max Rowley was named Australian road rider of the year and was third in the Australian sportsman of the year title.

Max was second to Keith in the very first Sun Tour in 1952, after leading going into the final day. In the last stage, he could not keep up the cracking pace set by his brother who won and immediately announced his retirement, returning to sheep farming. Keith won in a time of 42hr 57min 55sec. He beat his brother by 49sec overall. Max continued racing with success until 1954 when he too retired to work his farm at Upper Maffra West. He still took his “Max Rowley” Sun Tour bike on regular outings around the district. Max Rowley served 15 years as a Maffra shire councillor, was Shire President twice, and served on many community and school groups over the years. Keith Rowley passed away in 1982. Max died in August 1987 just before his book “The Max Rowley Story: my golden years of cycling” was published.

Photo sourced from Peta Mullins Wikipedia

Peta Mullens was born in Maffra in 1988. She began with Latrobe Valley Cycling Club. As an Under 19 rider, she became National Champion in the Pursuit in 2006. She then first competed internationally at the Junior World Track Championships that year, coming third in the Individual Pursuit. In 2009, Peta became National Under 23 Road Race Champion. Peta is also an accomplished mountain bike racer, and showed this versatility by winning the 2012, 2013 and 2014 National Cross Country titles. 2014 was a highly successful year, with Peta coming 12th in the Commonwealth Games Mountain bike (Cross Country) event and 17th at the UCI World Mountain Bike (Cross Country) championships. In 2015 she became National Women’s Road Race Champion in Ballarat, and came second in the Criterium. EDITORS NOTE Peta signed with one of the leading Women’s professional cycling teams in Wiggle High 5. She turned her focus back to Mountain Track Bike Riding in 2016 but was unsuccessful in gaining a position in the Olympic team in Rio and was made a reserve athlete. After that disappointment she spent the next chapter with her focus balanced between the road and the MTB in 2017. Peta spent four months in the USA racing with the American registered UCI Women’s Team Hagens Berman | Supermint and claimed 28 podiums. Currently, Peta has returned to Australia and is looking ahead to the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Queensland in April in her home country of Australia, all of Maffra wishes you the very best!

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


KEN ROBERTS He‘art’ & Soul

By Ali Fullard

Entering Ken Robert’s large, airy studio is like entering an Aladdin’s cave. A kaleidoscope of colours and textures from canvases, rugs, bookcases and collected items, saturates the senses in seconds. This, and the homely feel are an expression of the creative talents of this talented artist, writer, community leader, avid gardener and nurse, who resides in the township of Maffra.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Ken’s home, a charming cottage, happens to be his childhood home and when he had a chance to purchase it he thought “why not?” It has been lovingly renovated, keeping many original items such as the kitchen sink from his childhood. Home life plays an integral part in his artistic journey. His family has long ties with the area. Ken’s parents grew up in nearby Boisdale. Ken spent his childhood in Maffra, getting an education at St. Mary’s Catholic School and Maffra High School. After leaving school, Ken worked in the office at Telecom (as Telstra was called back then) for 16 years until a redundancy initiated a change of career. He undertook retraining as a nurse in Bairnsdale. Working as a nurse in Aged Care at Maffra hospital, (where Ken was also born), has been his main occupation for the last 22 years. Ken also spent some time living in nearby Boisdale. SO HOW DID KEN BECOME INTERESTED IN ART? A trip to Greece while travelling the world when Ken was in his mid 20’s was the light bulb moment. Ken says: “I remember being in Greece, and looking at the blue sky and white buildings and thinking, “I want to paint that”.” Returning home, he started painting canvases using acrylic paint and the journey began! He says he is “self taught” and paints by “intuition with no rules”. He has continued to travel to many parts of the world but is always glad to return to his beloved area of Gippsland. Subject matter for his early works was the people, objects and landscape Ken saw in his daily life. An early portrait of his father shows his future interest in portraiture and love of raw colour in the systematic pointillist technique of applying colour to the canvas in small dots. Ken feels “totally connected” to this land. Ken also states, “Maffra provides all the inspiration I need. Family, people, places, environment are all around me and all I need.” However Ken feels his mum’s battle with throat cancer and 5 years of treatment was the main catalyst when he began to paint with a purpose. He was motivated to paint a portrait depicting her inner strength, and it was featured in a Cancer Council promotion. He also states about his mum, “How lucky am I to give the gift of recognition to the most important person in my life.” It got Ken thinking and led to him to speaking and recording the lives of 25 local women. The underlying common theme according to Ken is “ordinary women, doing extraordinary things in their community”. This series of portraits “Country Women Country Lives” in 2008 conveyed the strength and resilience of rural women, surviving life living in the environment, their achievements, or causes and issues such as displacement or abuse. This exhibition showed for a year in Gippsland and Melbourne. Ken states, “My country women exhibition, that I dedicated to my mum, came full circle after I donated money from all the sales to Gippsland Women's Health Service who then established a wig bank for women suffering cancer. It was a fitting result to close the cancer circle and honour my mum”. She passed away in 2010.

A series of paintings of local men, titled “Country Men”, concentrating on similar themes followed in 2010. An exhibition, “Portrait of a Country Town” in 2011, documenting local and Maffra scenes, such as the main street and iconic buildings, saw recognition and a positive response from the community. Speaking with, hearing and recording the stories of all these people led others to suggest to Ken that it should all be put together in a publication, so Ken embarked on his next venture. Being an aged care nurse also keeps Ken in touch with stories of Maffra’s past as he listens and goes about caring for the elderly. Without, in his words “any idea” he wrote, published, distributed and advertised his book,“Country Town Quilt”. The launch in 2015 by his cousin (then Senator) Ricky Muir, was a huge community event held in St Mary’s school hall where Ken began his education. The book was well received and has travelled across the country and around the world. Ken’s later artwork is environment based and sees him using the traditional motifs of gum leaves, gumnuts, flowers and birds. However that is where the tradition ends. They are depicted on large “in your face” canvases in a range of bright fluorescent acrylic colours. Ken states of these pieces, “They are fantasy pieces really. I don’t need to go away or walk out the door”. The line, form and shape combine to give a dizzying array of images in which the viewer can read into the pattern many images. Ken often uses facebook and has quite a following. As he works on a canvas, he often photographs the stages of work, and at times places these on facebook, and will often get a response such as “love the bird in the bottom corner”. He may not have intended to paint a bird but the pattern has suggested such an image. Often Ken will then highlight this and actually turn it into the suggested form. This willingness to be very interactive with his audience further shows that Ken is a being who really likes to connect with others and help give them a sense of belonging. Another theme that is appearing in his current work is “Mind maps”. Ken describes these as visual representations of thoughts and feelings. He says he paints them unconsciously and the results can vary from wild and bright works to sombre darker pieces, always different, always interesting. His artist journey is always fluid and ever changing. As an added venture Ken has designed a range of soft furnishings using specially printed fabric depicting images from his vibrant paintings. These quality items, such as cushions, scarves and a variety of bags and small home wares are beautifully sewn by local craftswomen. He continues to explore homewares using his photography to be transferred onto cushions and other items. A current favourite is the depiction of rusty corrugated iron on cushions.

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Ken’s work over the years has been exhibited at Bairnsdale, Yarram, Richmond, Sale, Maffra, Briagolong and Melbourne. He has the honour of being “the first male to exhibit at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre in Melbourne”. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR THIS CARING ARTIST WHO JUST LOVES HIS HOMETOWN? In April 2016 Ken says he “accidently” bought the 1921 former Uniting Church in nearby Boisdale. Much to the delight of the local community! He has negotiated the requirements of restoring a heritage building and is creating a residence/studio that gives new life to the building while respecting its past. His “accidental life” as he calls it now finds him an executive member of the Boisdale and district progress association, editor of “The Bridge” the local newsletter, member of the Boisdale garden club and on the committee to restore the Stables in Boisdale into a museum and community space. It’s safe to say the town has welcomed him with open arms!

He continues his community involvement being a member of Maffra and District Historical Society, The Cemetery Trust, and Maffra Motor Museum. Some years ago he purchased an XP Falcon from a local identity and has also found the time to restore it. Using social media Ken is keen to open the eyes of others to the beauty that surrounds them. He and his trusted dog Millie continually explore the known and unknown areas of Maffra and surrounds and post photos and information to hopefully inspire others to also visit. He is passionate about where he lives and is always out to share this passion with others. He is also currently working on his next book. Ken’s ability to take up a challenge, display resilience and a positive attitude, is a testament to his Mum’s legacy. Mob. 0437 109 562 or find him on Facebook “Ken Roberts Art” Updates and Images by Ken Roberts

KEN ROBERTS He‘art’ & Soul


The Beautiful Township of Maffra


MELBOURNE DEPOT 67 Star Crescent, Hallam 3803 P: (03) 9702 3961




Railway Place, MAFFRA 3860

P: (03) 5147 1752

E: The Beautiful Township of Maffra





The Beautiful Township of Maffra

remarried Mrs Emily Macarthur in Melbourne. He lived in the Albert Park townhouse during his later years and died there in 1911. “He was so well regarded when he was Victorian Premier that when he got off the train, local townspeople would put him on their shoulders and carry him up the hill to his Duart home,” Nathan said. “He ran sheep and cattle on the property. He was the local stock agent with ‘Allan McLean & Co’ offices throughout Gippsland and in Melbourne, and he had primary interests in the local sugar beet industry, which was very big until sugar cane took over.”

The lovely Victorian homestead known as Duart in McLean Street, Maffra was built in 1883 for the Honourable Allan McLean, a local stock agent and businessman who was also the 19th Premier of Victoria (1899-1900) and Gippsland’s first Federal Representative (19011906). The homestead, named after Duart Castle in Scotland, the seat of Clan McLean, remained in the McLean family until 1978 before being renovated and converted into reception rooms. The homestead and grounds are now occupied by a unique Gippsland catering and function enterprise owned and operated by Nathan and Natasha Smith who offer award winning hospitality featuring exclusive use of the homestead and grounds for functions, weddings and private dinner meetings. Nathan said Allan McLean also had a grand townhouse built in 1900 in Beaconsfield Parade, Albert Park also known as Duart. The house is still there today due to a concerted effort in the late 1900s by family members and the public to prevent it from being demolished for a development. Allan McLean and his wife Margaret Shinnick had seven children. Margaret died in 1884 and Allan

He said three generations of the McLean family have lived at Duart Homestead. One of the last residents was Loretto McLean who he said is still there in spirit. “We seem to have lots of spirits here but they are mainly good. We hear ladies talking, although we can’t make out what they are saying, we’ve had lights come on and cutlery fall off benches for no reason. Some of our guests have heard and seen unexplained things as well.” The homestead originally was surrounded by an immense area of grazing land that was sold off over the years. “I think running the farm in later years became more difficult and the land was sold to maintain the family’s affluent lifestyle,” he said.

A few family members who grew up in the homestead during the 50's and 60's have told us they had servants, maids and gardeners right throughout their life there. One of Loretto’s daughters told us that she and her sister used to fight over pressing the servant’s bell to watch the maid collect their dinner plates.

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


The homestead has double brick walls and in some areas they are triple brick. It has solid foundations and red gum framing through the roof, which was originally covered in galvanised iron. “For many years the roof was painted red so we replaced it with red Colorbond.” Nathan said. “Had we known then the original roof was gal, we would have used the same.” The home originally comprised 10 rooms with a three-metre hallway through the centre and there were maid’s quarters, stables and other outbuildings at the back of the house that are still in their original condition. The stables have a hayloft in the roof; there are two rooms with chimneys that were built for the stockman and bricks pave the floor where the horses were kept. Nathan said one bathroom inside the home serviced the entire homestead. “In the kitchen was a large wood-fired AGA stove and Loretto’s daughter told us the maid had a pulley system that she used to hoist the laundry above the stove to dry during winter. “There are four fireplaces in the homestead. The two we have operating in the ballroom are made of marble and were brought out from Italy in the 1880s. The only other two like it in Gippsland are in the court houses in Maffra and Sale. The same marble fireplace and coloured


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

parquetry floor tiles in the homestead and the specifically designed wrought iron lace work around the verandah are also in the Duart house in Melbourne. “An imposing part of the property at the back of the homestead is a 150-year-old Morton Bay fig tree that we are lucky to still have,” he said. “We were told that the property was once on the market for a long time before eventually attracting a potential buyer. Apparently just as the interested woman was about to sign the papers, she said the first thing she was going to do was cut down the tree at the back. Loretta apparently ripped all the paper work off the table and said ‘well it’s not for sale to you’, which saved out tree. It’s a lovely story and the tree is now on the National Heritage list and The Trust as well.” Nathan and Natasha thoroughly enjoy working at Duart while preserving its heritage and history. The couple have six daughters and live in a five-bedroom house around the corner. For more information: Phone 03 5147 1985 or 0414 968 231 Images supplied by Nathan Smith of Duart Homestead

OFFICIAL UNVEILING OF THE ALLAN MCLEAN PORTRAIT AT D U A R T H O M E S T E A D , M C L E A N ’ S M A F F R A H O M E 15th June 2016 Past Shire of Wellington Mayor, Cr Darren McCubbin

Unveiling by Past Shire of Wellington Mayor, Cr Darren McCubbin

Sue and Murray McLean

Grand Daughter, Margaret Morrison and Great Grandson, John Morrison

Patricia and Sue McLean

Great Grandson, Piers Morgan and Grand Daughter, Patricia Coutts

Allan McLean was born on 3 February 1840 at Oban in the Highlands of Scotland and migrated, at age two, with his family to Sydney, where his father Charles was offered management of the sheep-runs operated by Captain MacAlister in the newly discovered Gippsland. He grew up on a settlement and educated at home and at Tarraville School and graduated as a bushman. In 1865 he and his brother Norman took up a lease on the Lowland station near Sale and seven years later formed A. McLean & Co, stock and station agents in Maffra. Branches were

later established in Traralgon, Bairnsdale, Warragul, Mirboo and Melbourne. With the success of this enterprise he then became a councillor of the Shire of Avon in 1876, serving three terms in succession, as president of the Shire of Maffra. It was a likely process for him therefore to be selected for the Legislative Assembly for Gippsland North in 1880-1900 (becoming Premier of Victoria 1889-1900). McLean was always very conscious of representing the rural interest and he was involved in the development of the sugar beet industry at Maffra.

Allan McLean was then elected to the first federal parliament as the member for Gippsland in 19011906, and rose to Minister for Trade and Customs and Deputy Prime Minister in the Reid-McLean government. In 1906 ill-health disallowed him in following an active campaign. He died on 13 July 1911 at his Albert Park, Melbourne residence (also known as Duart) and buried in Sale. He was survived by his second wife, Emily Macarthur, and seven children of his first marriage to Margaret Shinnick (d.1884).

Unveiling ceremony was accompanied by bagpipe playing and viewing of Duart and McLean Memorabilia. Nathan and Natasha Smith of Duart Homestead Function Centre

The Beautiful Township of Maffra



Anderson’s Removals Maffra is a large family-owned business with an impeccable reputation that specialises in relocation and logistics operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

By Wendy Morriss

The fleet of trucks today

As well as servicing the entire Gippsland region, the company runs a twice weekly service between Melbourne and Gippsland for small and large assignments and a regular weekly service from Melbourne through to Queensland, servicing all regional areas throughout the east coast of Australia. The successful business is owned and operated by Allan Anderson (nicknamed Hank) and his wife Val who established it as a small enterprise almost 50 years ago. Allan said he just bought a truck. It was a 1965 Bedford truck and he did the driving, deliveries and maintenance while Val manned the phones, booked jobs and kept the books.

Drivers Chris and Keith, Allan’s brother Spider and General Manager Rod Verrill

Allan Anderson was inducted onto the Shell Rimula National Road Transport Wall of Fame in recognition of lifetime service and contribution to the road transport industry of Australia. August 24, 2013 Allan was born and raised in Maffra and his father Allan (Happo) Anderson ran a small fruit and vegetable retail and transport business supplying the district with fresh produce from Melbourne markets. Alan started working for his father in


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Allan’s first truck, a 1965 Bedford

his mid-teens and after he turned 18, he did the weekly truck run to Melbourne. When the need for furniture removal in the area became apparent, his father let him use the truck to move furniture between his weekly market trips until he purchased his own.

Rod said the company presently has a fleet of nine trucks, an assortment of trailers, container trailers and small vehicles such as packing vans and a small truck and they currently employ up to 20 skilled and experienced staff that are the backbone of the business.

“Relocation is one component of what we do and the other is storage and we have multiple options from warehouses to containers.”

The trucks and crew in 1994

His brother Kevin known as Spider, who retired after driving for the local milk factory for 50 years, pops in often to help out in the business. “Hank worked for Dad for many years,” he said. “After he bought his own truck, dad closed the fruit and vegetable business and worked for Hank.” Today Allan and Val are directors of the company and their son-in-law Rod Verrill, the general manager takes care of the day to day running of the business. He is assisted in the office by employee Melissa Bumpstead. “Melissa and I work in the office and we shift between jobs,” Rod said. “In terms of waving the big stick that’s obviously me but Melissa has a little stick that she can wave too. We take care of the logistics, bookings, accounts, payroll and administration so it’s the nerve centre of the business and we try our very best to run it as well as we can. I’ve been here for 15 years and Melissa has been working here for 10 years.”

He said the company does quite a bit of contract work for Toll Transitions, a large company that manages defence force relocations. “We are part of a nationwide panel and we tender for the price with other companies on the panel. There’s an RAAF base in Sale and we service them quite heavily in terms of relocations. It might be moving a member from Sale to somewhere else in Sale or they might be relocated to a base in Canberra, Brisbane or Point Cook in Melbourne. It’s not a core part of what we do but it’s a big chunk of it and it’s a year round contract.”

“The key component of what we do is customer service so regardless of where our clients are; we try to get a physical inspection done on site. If you called up and said I need to move from Swifts Creek to Scotland the average company would just do it over the phone but we actually do the big drive, we go out, do a meet and greet, work out the meterage and then provide the costs. I think part of the strength of the business success is customer service and the PR we provide as well. “There are bigger players in the game than us that don’t need to do these inspections but we need to do the leg work to get the work. However, through the course of doing that we do have return customers who will just call us directly for a price because we’ve moved them before or we’ve been referred by a friend. They’re not looking at other quotes, they just base it on merit, knowing we are going to give them a competitive price for their relocation and provide a good service.”

The company also does work for a few brokerage companies. “They tell us what needs to be moved and we either do a house inspection or they send us a brief of the job and we put in a price based on what they require,” Rod said. “The work varies from the Mum and Dad jobs through to corporates, sports players and all that cool stuff. We do overseas relocations as well. We have a few companies in Melbourne we use that export goods. We work out the volume and give them a call, they give us their price and we give a fixed price for the job. It’s reasonably easy to do because the network is already set up.

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


FAVOURITE SON Jeff Gieschen’s football journey has taken him to many locations, but Maffra still holds a special place in his heart. Words: Chris West


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

National Umpires Manager - Image supplied by The Slattery Media Group

When Jeff Gieschen first became widely known to Victorian football fans in his playing days with Footscray, he was dubbed by commentators as the “Maffra Boy”. It’s an association that he remains proud of today. “It is well over thirty years ago since I moved away from Maffra, but whenever I’m back there it feels as though I have never left. People still stop and say hello. It’s a very friendly town,” he says. Jeff was born at Maffra Hospital a couple of months prior to the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. He was the second eldest of five children of dairy farmers Vern and Beatrice Gieschen and the only boy amongst the siblings. “Our farm was four or five kilometres out of Maffra. I very rarely ventured into town as a small boy,” Jeff recalls. His primary school education was at Boisdale Consolidated, which required catching a bus each day. “The bus brought kids in from places like Briagolong, Tinamba, Newry, Valencia Creek and Lowalong, winding its way slowly around all the farming areas. It made for a long day. My sisters and I were the first kids on the bus in the morning and the last ones off in the late afternoon,” he remembers. It was watching local football in Maffra that began to bring Jeff in to town more as he grew up. His dad played for the Maffra Rovers in the North Gippsland Football League and he also had uncles and cousins playing for the higher profile Maffra Eagles in the more prominent Latrobe Valley Football League. Jeff developed a love of football from an early age, but the isolated life on his family’s dairy farm made it necessary for him to become heavily self-reliant in honing his skills. Having four sisters and no close neighbours, he admits to having been short of mates to kick the footy with in his young years. “I would often kick the footy for hours by myself at home,” he says.

Under 15s coach Max Rowley, who he describes as a local legend, and his first senior coach, Kevin “Cookie” Dore, who had played VFL football with South Melbourne. Several of Jeff’s teachers from Maffra High School also became team mates with him at the Maffra Eagles, including science teacher Ron “Dingo” Reed, maths teachers Geoff Sinclair and Leo McCarthy, physical education teacher Ron Lockland, language teacher Darryl McMillan and geography teacher Alan Evans. “I can remember about five teachers being at the club. It sounded strange when I would call out kick it here to Mr Reed, Mr Evans, Mr Sinclair or Mr McMillan when we were on the field, so they said I could drop the mister tag,” Jeff laughs. “Walking around school I felt pretty privileged being able to call my teachers by their first names or nicknames.” When it was first mooted that Jeff would be chosen to play seniors for Maffra at just fifteen, his father was concerned about his safety. “The coach Kevin Dore visited our house, sat at the kitchen table and personally guaranteed my dad that he’d look after me. My dad relented with Kevin’s assurances and I was ecstatic,” he recollects. “It was a very physical league with some fierce games, particularly so with the intense rivalry surrounding matches between Maffra and Sale.” In Jeff’s first senior game, a wild all-in brawl broke out between both teams. “It was as tough and rough as anything you’ll ever see,” he declares. “When the fight started, my team-mate Ian “Cocky” Banner, who was a pocket rocket and a tough little man, grabbed me and took me down to the far goal square and told me not to move. He came back to collect me about five minutes later when the fight was over. As a fifteen-year-old watching the ferocity of the fight, it made you learn to look after yourself pretty quickly.”

During his secondary education at Maffra High School, Jeff was regularly involved in school boy representative games in Melbourne. He greatly appreciates the sacrifices his parents made in taking him to the city for those matches. “It meant getting up at 4.00am on a Sunday and we’d leave by 4.30am. Back in those days it was a four hour drive, so 9.00am match starts made it challenging for all the country kids,” he recalls. In 1971, Jeff captained the Latrobe Valley schoolboys team to win the State Championship title, with the Grand Final being played at Morwell in front of around 5,000 people. As Jeff continued to showcase his talent, the big league of the VFL was beckoning and his home was to become Footscray, the club now known as the Western Bulldogs in the national AFL competition. “Back then, part of the Latrobe Valley League was zoned to Footscray and the other part to Hawthorn. I think it was anyone from west of Morwell went to Hawthorn and from Traralgon to Bairnsdale and further east to the border was Footscray,” he explains. Jeff was 17 when he was recruited by the Bulldogs. Another 17-year-old Gippsland youngster, Kelvin Templeton from Traralgon, went to Footscray in the same year. They became inseparable mates and lived together for a period of time, in and around Footscray. Templeton, of course, went on to become a Brownlow Medallist and enjoyed an outstanding career. When Jeff arrived in Melbourne in January 1974, he initially stayed for a brief period at the home of his Footscray coach Bob Rose and his wife Elsie in Glen Waverley.

Jeff also had to improvise, using a wooden structure that formed part of the walk-up for the cattle ramp as goalposts. “It was only about two metres wide, which I have no doubt helped develop my kicking accuracy, especially for goal,” he states. At the age of 12, Jeff started playing juniors with the Maffra Eagles. Such was his talent, he began playing seniors at 15 while still a Form 4 student at Maffra High School. Amongst the influential figures in Jeff’s early football development were his father, who always encouraged him to be his best, along with his

Form 4 Maffra High School 1972 photo of Jeff - 3rd from right top row

Jeff Gieschen - Footscray Football Club

Jeff with 2 of his boys – Playing Coach of Maffra Football Club

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


“Living with and being able to drive to training with such as legendary figure as Bob was very special,” he recalls. Early the following month, once Jeff commenced school at Maribyrnong High, he was billeted with the Blackwood family, who lived in West Footscray and later accompanied the family when they moved to Spotswood.


“Arthur Blackwood was a recruiter at the club and took me in with his wife Maureen and two sons Scott and Michael,” he says. “I spent four of my five years at the Bulldogs with the Blackwoods and we still keep in touch today due to our passion for the mighty Bulldogs.” In five seasons at Footscray, Jeff unfortunately wasn’t quite able to cement a regular place in the senior team. He played 24 senior games and more than 80 reserves matches. “I was always thereabouts on the verge of senior selection. My weakness was my lack of speed for my size. I could get away with not being that quick in the country, but not at the top level,” he concedes. Jeff was a key position player for Maffra, lining up in the midfield and at centre half forward for his home town club, but at Footscray was seen more as a half forward or half back flanker. At the end of his final season with Footscray in 1978, the club was looking to swap him to either Melbourne, Richmond or Essendon, but those potential moves all fell through. During his time at Footscray, Jeff had been preparing for life after football. In between his playing and training commitments, he studied for a career in teaching and completed a three-year course at Coburg Teachers’ College. Jeff was also in a serious relationship with girlfiend Karen Dunbar, a girl from Maribyrnong who he met while attending Maribyrnong High School. When his VFL career at Footscray came to an end at the age of 22, Jeff was offered the chance to come home to coach Maffra. “I had been getting a little homesick in Melbourne and would often catch the train back to Maffra on a Saturday evening after playing for Footscray and return to Melbourne on Sunday night,” Jeff says. “When the opportunity arose to go home to coach Maffra, there was an important decision to make regarding Karen and I. We would either have to continue our relationship from afar, or she could come with me. So I asked her to marry me and make a home together in Maffra.” Fortunately, Karen accepted his proposal and they were married in Melbourne. Jeff, in turn, accepted the offer from persistent Maffra Football Club president, Buck Linaker to return to the Maffra Eagles as coach for the 1979 season. “The decision to ask Karen to marry me turned out to be the best decision of my life,” Jeff states. “Karen has been a rock solid pillar of support for me throughout my career and has been a magnificent mother to my three sons and now three grandsons.” In hindsight, Jeff admits he was too young for the coaching role at Maffra at the age of just twentytwo.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Coach and players after a victorious game coaching Richmond Image supplied by The Slattery Media Group As Coach of Richmond Football Club - Image supplied by The Slattery Media Group

“I was coaching my old school teachers and my former coaches, but it was a great learning curve and we did have some success without winning a premiership,” he says.

“It was an exciting time to be at Geelong, with so many star players including Gary Ablett, Bill Brownless and Gary Hocking in the team,” Jeff says.

Jeff considers that he played some of his best football at Maffra in his early twenties and that going home probably robbed him of the chance to play more VFL football if he had pursued other opportunities at the top level.

At the end of his second season at Geelong in 1996 he received a call from Richmond and accepted an offer to become coach of their reserves team for the following year.

Back in Maffra, Jeff started teaching, firstly at Briagolong Primary, followed by a stint in Paynesville before finding his way to Maffra Primary.

“Robert Walls had the seniors at Richmond in 1997 and was fantastic coach. I relished the opportunity to work under and with him,” Jeff remarks.

He coached Maffra for two seasons, but found himself burdened by a considerable workload.

With just five games remaining in the season, Walls was abruptly sacked as senior coach in the wake of a heavy loss in Adelaide.

“I was coaching, working in teaching and helping dad on farm. It was a lot of responsibility, so with my football I decided to give away the coaching and just focus on playing.”

“Robert’s sacking was a real shock. I hadn’t seen it coming. The team hadn’t been performing that badly prior to the loss in Adelaide, but the expectations at Richmond were high,” Jeff reflects.

Jeff had four more seasons at Maffra as a player before being approached with an offer to coach Wodonga Football Club in the powerful Ovens & Murray league.

When the club hierarchy asked Jeff if he’d step in as caretaker coach, he initially declined.

“I was in my late twenties, more mature and much more ready for coaching. I jumped at the chance and ended up spending six years at Wodonga,” he says. Word of Jeff’s coaching prowess had reached the struggling West Perth Football Club. Officials from West Perth came to Wodonga to observe him from close hand. “I was recommended to West Perth by former Wodonga player Robbie West, who had been recruited to Perth by the West Coast Eagles,” Jeff explains. Jeff impressed enough to be offered and secure the senior coaching position at West Perth in the WAFL in 1992. “Coaching against the likes of John Todd, Mal Brown, Gerard Neesham, Ken Judge and Haydn Bunton Junior was great for my development. It accelerated my learning and understanding of coaching and the game,” he says. Jeff elected to give opportunities to younger players and under his coaching West Perth made a meteoric rise from the bottom of the ladder to the top within two years. “We had about sixteen players drafted to AFL ranks in a three-year period, which was quite an achievement,” he notes. Not surprisingly, Jeff’s results at West Perth caught the attention of AFL clubs. He fielded enquiries from Geelong and Essendon, before securing the role of assistant coach to Gary Ayres at Geelong for two years in 1995 and 1996. The Cats reached the Grand Final in 1995, but lost to Carlton.

“I couldn’t fathom why they would do that to Robert so close to the end of the season and what was to gain by the timing of it. I wanted the chance to think about it and talk to my family before reaching a decision,” he says. After due consideration, Jeff agreed to take on the caretaker role for the remainder of the 1997 season, with the understanding that there were no guarantees about the following year. Tony Free took over Richmond’s reserve team while Jeff stepped up to coach the seniors. Under Jeff’s direction, the Tigers lifted their performance and won four of their last five games. “At the completion of the home and away season, I went back to coaching the reserves for the finals and we ended up winning the premiership which was fantastic,” he says. On the back of his coaching efforts in 1997, Jeff was handed the senior job at Richmond for next two years despite his relatively low profile. Under his guidance, Richmond rose from 13th in 1997 up to 9th position in 1998, but slipped back to 12th in 1999. At the end of Jeff’s tenure, the Tigers were chasing Mick Malthouse or Kevin Sheedy as their next coach, both of whom had come out of contract. “They told me they were very confident that they were going to get Kevin, but he stayed at Essendon and Malthouse went from West Coast to Collingwood. I could fully understand the club’s position on wanting an iconic, high profile coach like either Kevin or Mick,” he says. Having missed their big fish, Richmond appointed Danny Frawley to succeed Jeff as coach. Although out of a job, it did not take long for Jeff’s career to take an unexpected new turn. “I had been approached to coach Woodville West Torrens in Adelaide, but my family weren’t really keen to go,” he recalls.

Jeff with Kevin Bartlett at KB’s 70th Birthday with Kevin Sheedy on left

“Then Wayne Jackson and Ian Collins from the AFL called me in and asked me if I’d consider applying for the position of National Umpires’ Manager. They convinced me it was a very accountable and challenging role. I could see there were a lot of similarities to looking after a footy club. You’ve got a team of umpires and everything that goes with that. You’re involved with every game, every week.”

In accepting the positIon, Jeff thought he’d only do it for a couple of years, but became very passionate about the role. “Andrew Demetriou became CEO at the AFL after Wayne Jackson and encouraged me to keep going. I ended up staying nearly 15 years, before finishing up at Christmas in 2013,” he says. From his time as National Umpires’ Manager, Jeff is most proud of changing the uniform and his achievements in fostering greater respect for umpires. “The uniform change was based on the “white maggot” vernacular, which I found quite unsavoury. I didn’t think that was very respectful. If we were looking for more respect for umpires, we needed to change that,” he remarks. Change did come, but in baby steps. Initially, Andrew Demetriou gave the green light to trialling red socks on umpires in one game. When that occurred without any problem, he then gave the nod to trialling an all red uniform. “Over a period of time we introduced a range of different colours which were designed to avoid clashes with player jumpers. The best thing was that basically the “white maggot” talked stopped, which was the primary motivator behind the change. It was fantastic,” Jeff states. “The other thing that we really worked hard on was respect for umpires around abuse. I was not an umpire-bashing type as a player and coach. Some coaches don’t notice the umpires, whereas some are obsessed and get pre-occupied with them.” The first time Jeff sat in the box and was miked up so he could hear the conversations between players and umpires on the ground, he was horrified by how many players swore at and abused the umpires. “Speaking to the umpires afterwards, they said the swearing and abuse was just something they had come to accept. I said to them that this is your workplace and we’re going to change this. “It was decided to clamp down and enforce the rules by paying free kicks and fifty metre penalties against players who were abusive towards umpires. The hope was that it would also filter down to community football and junior levels. We got great support from the coaches. We now have women umpiring football and thirteen and fourteen-year-old boys and girls umpiring. Would they have done that twenty years ago? I doubt it. “On the whole, I think 99.9 per cent of the football community has embraced the spirit of respect for umpiring. That’s enabled us to grow numbers, make it a more attractive and enjoyable workplace,” he observes. Jeff also was proud of the performance of the umpires, especially in finals and grand finals where there were extremely close matches between Sydney and West Coast, Collingwood and Brisbane, St. Kilda and Geelong, St. Kilda and Collingwood and Hawthorn and Sydney. “The games were fierce and tight, but the umpires did an outstanding job under a lot of pressure,” he notes. Having left the AFL, Jeff now works for himself as a consultant and management mentor to several clients in football, as well as the educational field, general industry and business.

The Beautiful Township of Maffra



Son Jarrod, Grandson Jack, Jeff Gieschen supporting Western Bulldogs

All of his work is part time, including his role as Head of Coaching for a sports academy at a school in outer south-east Melbourne. “I have a much better work/life balance now and can pick and choose what work I take on,” Jeff explains. Jeff and Karen have three adult children - Jarrod, 35, Nick, 33 and Rhy, 29. Jarrod works as National Sales Manager at Mazda, whilst Nick is a player manager at JLT with several high profile footballers in his stable and Rhy is Talent Manager at the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup competition. We moved around a lot as a family in our footy journey, but it’s been great for the kids growing up. They’ve had some unbelievable experiences and I don’t think it’s hurt them in the slightest,” Jeff says. “I am extremely proud of my three sons and their families and we remain a very close knit family unit. Despite our constant moving around to pursue my career, that did not distract them from their schooling in developing excellent life skills and behaviours.” The two eldest boys have both become parents in recent years. Jarrod has Jack, who is nearly three, and Harvey who is seven months old, Nick has Leo, who was only born a month ago. It’s great that I am able to spend lots of time with them. Jack comes to the football with Jarrod and Rhy.” Although Jeff spent periods coaching at both Geelong and Richmond, he still supports Footscray, or the Western Bulldogs as the club is now known. “It’s where you play that your roots are deepest, I think,” he suggests.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

“There are still people at the Bulldogs who were at the club when I was there.” Jeff was overjoyed when the Bulldogs finally broke their premiership drought in 2016. “It was incredible to see and I was thrilled for the Tigers as well this year,” he says. “If someone had suggested the Bulldogs and the Tigers would win consecutive premierships a couple of years ago I would have laughed at them. It has been surreal, like a dream come true for my two clubs to achieve the ultimate success after so many years in the wilderness.” But as much as Jeff has connections to the Bulldogs and Richmond, he will always be regarded as a favourite son of Maffra. In the course of playing 150 games with the Maffra Eagles, he won the Best and Fairest award on seven occasions, the first of which was at just 15 years of age. “I have nothing but outstanding memories of my playing and coaching days at Maffra and the town itself, he remarks. “It’s a beautiful little place. I’d describe it as peaceful, picturesque and friendly. Maffra has retained its charm. A stand-out feature of the town is its leafy main street. It has a great community feel to it. “The location is wonderful. You’re at the doorstep of the mountains, but you’re not far from the sea. Being a keen fisherman myself, you get the best of both worlds in this region. You have the Gippsland Lakes and the saltwater streams, plus also freshwater streams and Lake Glenmaggie and creeks and rivers up along the mountains.”

JEFF GIESCHEN Jeff still has family members and many close friends in Maffra.

“Two of my sisters - Sue and Sandra - are still there with their families and the other two aren’t far away in other parts of Gippsland. Fiona is nearby in Sale and Karen lives in Leongatha. I don’t get back to Maffra quite as often as I’d like, but every time I do I find it very relaxing and it always feels like home,” he says. Photographs supplied by Jeff Gieschen, The Slattery Media Group

The Shoe Shop Maffra

Supplier of Leading Brands for All Ages MAFFRA SHOWCASE JEWELLERS

Monday - Friday 9am-5pm Saturday 9am-12noon

121B Johnson Street, Maffra 3860 TEL: 5147 3360

Mon-Fri 9.00am-5.30pm Saturday 9.00am-12.00pm 109 Johnson Street, MAFFRA 3860 Phone: (03) 5147 1972


H OU RS: MON – W ED: 9 AM TO 5 P M TH U RS AND FRI : 9 AM TO 5 .3 0 P M SAT : 8 .3 0 AM TO 1 P M 1 0 9 A JOH NSON S TREET, MAFFRA 3860 M: 0 4 3 8 4 5 4 3 6 8

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


By Olivia Skillern

The Jolly family’s dairy farm is just a short drive from Maffra where the local football and netball club are an integral part of the community. Although local sport plays a major role in their lives, the younger members of the family have been spreading their wings playing at elite levels in their chosen sports. In January 2017, there was great anticipation within the Gippsland football community for the inaugural AFLW season after Sarah Jolly was drafted to the Melbourne Football Club. It was an amazing feat for the girl from Gippsland and many were watching to see how she went. But Sarah is not the only Jolly to show significant sporting talent with siblings Emily and Tom also lacing up the boots to play football locally. There is also gymnastics for Emily, and Tom plays the little-known sport of Polocrosse at the highest level. With sport being a mainstay for regional communities, the Jolly family is leading the way in showing where sport can take you. Sarah’s move to the AFLW to play for the Melbourne Demons was a huge step from the Gippsland Galaxy women’s side but on asking what it was like Sarah does not hesitate to say, “it was a lot of fun”, quickly adding that “it was very tough though”. The standard was obviously the best it can be, so it was a big jump up from what I was used to. But it was good to have a preseason training with the group to get yourself up to speed.”

Sarah training at the AFLW Melbourne Demons Image by AFL Media

Playing in the AFLW allowed Sarah to experience football at the highest level with not only a wonderful environment but also with the professionalism that comes with elite sport. She was exposed to a range of benefits from trainers to physiotherapists to doctors alongside top coaches and players. In addition, it was an amazing atmosphere with Sarah playing her first game in front of 10,000 people, a huge change from the local football she was used to. This debut came after a solid preseason and Sarah played in Melbourne’s round two clash against Collingwood. It was a successful start with Melbourne running out 19 point winners and Sarah kicking her one AFLW goal for the season. This start continued when Sarah backed up the following week in their 14-point win against the Western Bulldogs. Despite being omitted the next game Sarah was selected once again in round five against Greater Western Sydney, a game Melbourne lost by just five points. This unfortunately was Sarah’s last game for the season and for the Melbourne Football Club as in May 2017, Sarah was delisted. Tom Jolly representing Australia Image courtesy of Shannon Gilson


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Sarah and Emily both playing for the VWFL Gippsland League Image by Arj Giese Photography

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Although this was disappointing, Sarah has not let it bring her down and she continues to strive towards playing football at the top level again. Sarah made the move to Melbourne where she played in the 2017 VFLW season for the Victoria University Western Spurs. Sarah had been encouraged to join the Spurs as the coach there was Debbie Lee, who she knew from the Melbourne coaching team. There were also other Melbourne girls in the team so it was an easy transition from the Gippsland team she was used to. 2017 was a successful year with Sarah featuring regularly in the team’s best players and goal scorers. Although disappointing to not make finals the strength of Sarah’s season was highlighted by the honour of being named on the forward line in the VFL Women’s Team of the Year. It was a great honour and somewhat of a surprise although Sarah does feel that she was one of the best in the position she was named in. After the success of her VFLW season, Sarah looked to the second AFLW draft in the hope of being picked up again. Despite her successes with a smaller draft that boasted strong new talent, Sarah was unsuccessful. Although still disappointed Sarah understood that it was a tough draft and is setting her sights on the next draft where two more Victorian AFLW sides will be entering the competition and more places will be available. In the meantime, Sarah continues to be positive and will play in the VFLW and learn more and more. With some exciting developments in the women’s VFL competition the VU Western Spurs VFLW side have become part of the Western Bulldogs Football Club creating a stronger connection between the AFL and VFL sides. The chance to play as part of a top club again is something Sarah is looking forward to. Watching her sister play at such a high level is a thrill for her sister Emily, the oldest of the Jolly siblings, who also plays football.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

After Sarah started to play for Gippsland Galaxy in 2015 Emily offered to fill in if they needed someone as she thought it looked like fun and wanted to give it a go. When she was called on to help out despite the cold and pouring rain, Emily loved it and ended up playing every game after that, qualifying for finals and being a part of the 2015 East Division premiership side - even kicking the final goal in the Grand Final. From here the Galaxy side made their way into VFLW Division 3 where they again went on to win the flag with the Jolly sisters being integral members of the team. It was after her strong performance here that Sarah was spotted and went on to play AFLW. In the winter, Emily played VFLW in 2017. Emily continued playing for Gippsland however the side changed its identity becoming part of the Traralgon Football and Netball Club and changing their name, and colours, to the Gippsland Maroons.

“We actually have a club to go to which is pretty cool. The last two years we didn’t have club rooms or any real supporters as we were just new to it all. So we played under Traralgon, we were called Gippsland Maroons, and we wore their colours.” In her time playing football, Emily’s dedication to the team has led her to become Vice-Captain in 2016 and 2017 and a really important team member. 2017 was a tough year for the local team with it being elevated to Division One, just one below the VFL. This was a big step up from where they had started and with the loss of some of the stronger players from their previous years meant the level was difficult with the team finishing the season with three wins sitting in sixth place out of the seven teams. Despite football being Emily’s sport of choice these days, this was not always the case.

By her own admission, when she was young she would never kick the football with Sarah and Tom in the backyard, preferring to do cartwheels and handstands instead. From the age of five to 17 Emily was a keen gymnast being involved in the Maffra Gymnastics Club. She competed at a high level throughout the state and began coaching at 15, and earning the honour of becoming a life member at the age of 23. Today, although not as involved in the club due to other commitments Emily likes to help out where she can. Emily also played netball for Maffra Football and Netball Club where Mum, Di is a coach as well. It is also where the youngest of the Jolly siblings, Tom, plays football. Like his sisters, Tom takes to the football field throughout winter playing locally for the Maffra Football and Netball Club. He was a member of the club’s 2015 Gippsland Football League premiership side as well as a part of the 2017 side which, in a nail-biting grand final, was defeated by Leongatha by just one point. From here Tom is hoping to go back next season and get back on top. Tom’s local football feats are impressive but it is in the little-known sport of Polocrosse that Tom has made a name for himself at the highest level. As the name implies, Polocrosse is a combination of polo and lacrosse. Or as Emily describes it, “rugby on horses”, as it can be very rough.

Played on horseback, each rider uses a cane stick, made up of a polo stick shaft to which is attached a squash racquet type head with a loose twisted-thread net, in which the ball is carried. Coming from a Polocrosse family at a young age Tom, with his sister Emily, joined the local club in Yarragon, where the family first lived. After moving to Maffra, the family joined the Sale Polocrosse Club where Tom continues to compete in the A Grade competition. The team has won a few championships throughout Victoria over the last few years. It was at these competitions that Tom’s skills were identified and he was selected to play for Victoria in 2016 for the national championships in Albury. From that he was selected to play for Australia, the only Victorian representative in the Australian Under 21 team to tour South Africa in July 2016. The competition in South Africa was strong with South Africa being a top Polocrosse nation but after falling short in the first test Australia went on to win the two final tests taking out the series.

Many of the extended family play Polocrosse with the Jolly name being quite synonymous with the game. So it really is a family affair for the Jolly’s and something that will no doubt continue into the future. Having one member of a family competing at the highest levels is something many families can only dream of, but the Jolly’s have shown that sporting talent runs in the family. With a strong determination to be the best, it is no doubt we will be seeing the Jolly name more and more over the coming years. Sarah playing for the AFLW Melbourne Demons Image by AFL Media

A real highlight of Tom’s trip to South Africa to represent Australia was that his parents, Phil and Di, accompanied Tom, and his father was able to catch up with fellow Polocrosse players he had played against in a past tour when he himself had represented Australia. These friends also had sons playing in the Under 21 competition. Not only have Tom and Phil played for Australia but also Ron Jolly, Tom’s grandfather, represented the country.

Tom Jolly representing Australia Image courtesy of Shannon Gilson

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Maffra Football The Maffra Football Club began in 1877 and to this day it is one of the oldest clubs in Gippsland, with an extensive history and an amazing successful record of 21 Premierships which almost reached 22 after the exciting Grand Final with Leongatha as the club lost by one solitary point, in what many people said was the best Grand Final for 40 odd years.

I witnessed a game that was played with great skill, physical assertion and mental capabilities of the utmost from every player and from the coaching staff.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Although Maffra lost the Grand Final, they had every reason to hold their heads high as this was a battle and we all know that there can only be one winner, but to coin a well used phrase, there were no losers in this game, this was a win for grass roots country football played at it’s very best on a warm and humid day at the Ted Summerton Reserve in Moe on Saturday 23rd September 2017. There are many characters in football, and I was told about Wayne Butcher the Senior Coach, and with a small degree of trepidation I arranged to take a photo of Wayne before the Grand Final.

He did look understandably stern, and fair enough too.

As mentioned this Grand Final had the lot, and Maffra were a considerable amount of points behind at the first break, but they fought back and nearly won, as the nervous faces in the Leongatha crowd were testament to this. Wayne’s coaching was magnificent, his players walked through the wall for him, they literally crawled to the finish line and when it was time for Wayne to give his speech at the end of the game he was magnanimous in his praise for Leongatha Premiership Coach Beau Vernon and for his own players.

& Netball Club It would have been gut wrenching for Wayne, but he spoke admirably, and I have no doubt that this club is in the right hands, further grand finals and flags will ensue for this great traditional Gippsland club.

Prior to the Grand Final, on the netball court the Maffra Eagles Under 17’s won their first premiership against Traralgon.

I would like to thank the Secretary of the club Joh Gaw for her assistance with this article and for the extra photos from local legend Slammin’ Sam Crothers, his facebook site is worth a look! There is only one thing more that I can say…

1904, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1914, 1920, 1921, 1926, 1935, 1938, 1946, 1948, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2016.

Go Eagles for 2018 in football and netball.

Netball Premierships

Photos and words by Doug Pell

This was a magnificent victory for the team and the future begs well for the club.

Senior Football Premierships

A Grade: 1990, 2000, 2001, 2002 C Grade: 2010 U/17: 2017 U/15: 2009, 2015, 2016 U/13: 2014

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Brett Lanigan

Recognition Board

A History of the Maffra Cricket Club by Allan Evans

MAFFRA CRICKET CLUB Last year the Maffra Cricket Club celebrated 150 years as a cricket club, we have re-produced the photos given to our magazine by Brett Lanigan for this special edition.

SMJCA Under 16 Premiers 2006-07

I recently visited the Maffra Cricket Club and I have produced some photos to go along with the celebratory photos of last year. MAFFRA CRICKET CLUB CURRENT CLUB OFFICIALS President: ......................... Paul Durrant Secretary:......................... John F McLaverty Treasurer: ......................... Ian Horne Head Groundsman: ........... Kevin M. Lanigan Results Co-Ordinator: ........ John F McLaverty Vice President:.................. Bradley S Coridas & Brett T Lanigan 1st Grade Captain: ............ Brett T Lanigan 2nd Grade Captain: ........... Andrew Higgins 3rd Grade Captain:............ Craig Sellings 4th Grade Captain: ............ Alistair P Hicks Coach: ............................. Joshua S Davis Happy Club

Rhonda Magnuson - Nathan Magnuson

John McConnell - Terry McConnell - Ray Brideson - Kevin Lanigan


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Paul Durrant - President

Maffra Cricket Club rooms

150 + 1

Maffra Cricket Club 1st XI Premiers 2011-12

Life Members Board

SMCA Premiers 1991-92 C Grade premiers 1989-90

Kirsty Hewlitt - Taylah Ballinger - Meagan Carmody - Debbie Lanigan - Kellie Davis

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


MAFFRA BASKETBALL Maffra Amateur Basketball Association (MABA) was established in October 1958 with committee meetings being held in the old Nestles building and basketball being played in the Maffra Memorial Hall 2 nights a week. MABA’s strong committee and volunteer base is led by long standing honorarium Yvonne Higgins who has been the president since 1987. Fiona Whelan, another long standing honorarium has been Treasurer since 1989 and Rebecca Mair has been Secretary since 2005.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Over the years, MABA has had many junior players selected to represent Country Victoria State Teams – from Jack Hunt, U16 in 1975 and Leanne Gallatly, U18 in 1981 and 1982 to more recently Sam Whelan, U18 in 2015 and U20 in 2016 and 2017. Other junior representation over the years includes selections to: Jamboree, Southern Cross Challenge, Australian Junior Country Cup, Identified Athlete Program and National Intensive Training Program.

AMATEUR ASSOCIATION In 2008, the Maffra U14 boys created history by being the very first team from the Association to make it to the U14 National Club Championships held in Darwin where they finished 12th out of 24 teams vying for the title. The U14 girls qualified for the National Club Championships in Darwin in 2011 after demolishing quality teams to win the Victorian Country State Championships where they finished 8th. MABA has had teams enter the Victorian Junior Basketball League, which is a state wide competition and provides the highest level of junior competition in Victoria. The VJBL serves as a benchmark for excellence in competition and is the premier competition for junior teams. In 2012 Maffra’s U16 boys won the VJBL Division 1 Title defeating Bendigo. Words and photographs supplied by the Maffra Amateur Basketball Association

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


BRINGING THE GOODS Wherever Barry Bedggood’s transport business has taken him over more than four decades, the road always leads home to Maffra. by Chris West

Barry Bedggood

Barry Bedggood and son, Craig


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Working hard for his family and the local Maffra community has been a way of life for Barry Bedggood.

“I went out to drive for Maria, but the stress of everything was too much for her and she sold me her truck.”

Barry was born at St. David’s Hospital in Maffra sixty six years ago in September 1951. The hospital may be long gone, but the same can’t be said of Barry. He has continued to live in and around the town all his life.

As a result of that transaction, Barry had become the owner/driver of his first truck at the age of 24. The rest, as they say, is history.

His childhood was spent growing up on his family’s dairy farm in Boisdale, although he remembers always being more interested in machinery, tractors and trucks rather than farm animals. Barry attained the majority of his education at Boisdale Consolidated before transferring to Maffra High for his final three years of schooling.

Barry initially based himself out of Boisdale and built his transport business up fairly quickly. Much of his business in the early years involved transporting truckloads of old railway sleepers to landscape supply yards in and around Melbourne. Within the first two or three years Barry had purchased two additional trucks and began to take on other drivers to support his growing operation.

“One third of our business is Gippsland to Melbourne and back on a daily basis, loading both ways, and the other two thirds is interstate freight coming down to Gippsland or Melbourne. We travel daily to Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and the eastern seaboard,” he states. Barry’s trucks are mostly carrying timber products and general freight. “The timber mill provides the backbone of our work,” he says. Not surprisingly, the move of State-owned VicForests to cut the log intake at the Heyfield mill from 130,000 cubic metres down to 80,000 cubic metres is a cause of some concern for Barry.

After leaving school, Barry began working for the Bank of New South Wales, an institution which later merged into the bank now known as Westpac.

“As the business expanded I got to see a lot of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales while I was out on the road. I also did occasional jobs across to Western Australia and Queensland,” he says.

“I spent eighteen months at the bank, but the indoor life was not for me. What I really wanted was to be outside,” he says.

Barry moved his business into Maffra in 1980 and the following year he registered Bedggood's Transport as a company.

“It will impact on our business in the future, along with the closing of the Carter Holt Harvey mill at Morwell,” he adds.

Barry tried his hand at a few jobs, but the one he found the most satisfying was driving trucks carting gravel.

The premises Barry secured in Maffra at 6 Station Street is where the business remains based to this day. Bedggood's Transport also has a second depot at Hallam in the outer south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, which was established in the mid 1990s.

Despite some ups and downs over the years, Barry says Bedggood's Transport is busier than ever at present.

“It’s still a very solid growing business. We’re up to 23 trucks now and 36 trailers,” Barry says.

Barry’s eldest son Craig is the company’s Operations Manager and will take full control of the wheel whenever his father retires. Previously, Barry’s eldest daughter Lorelle spent over 15 years working in the business and may become involved again in the future. Barry also has a younger daughter Jemma and son Sam who have both lived interstate in Queensland for over a decade and have no involvement with Bedggood's Transport. His partner of over 20 years, Jill is also happy to be free of any commitment to the business.

“When I was twenty, I got a job over at Heyfield driving a semi-trailer carting woodchips from the saw mill to Australian Paper at Maryvale. I did that for four years,” he recalls. At the start of 1975, Barry finished that job and began driving for a woman named Maria Higgins, who had recently become widowed as a result of a tragic accident. “Maria’s husband was one of two people killed when a fuel tank on a truck exploded in Heyfield at the end of 1974,” he remembers.

Bedggood's Transport currently employs a team of 33 staff members across its two locations. “We try to draw as much of our workforce out of Maffra as we can,” Barry explains. The business model Barry applies with considerable success relies on a combination of interstate freight and transport between Gippsland and Melbourne.

“That of course means a lot less loads going out the front of the mill,” he notes.

“The business is always steadily attracting new clients and Maffra is a good place to be based.”

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Maffra Community Sports Club façade showing the new verandah

Away from his considerable work commitments, Barry has also shown a passion for helping the local community to prosper. He served on the Board of the Maffra Football Club for nine years and this connection led to him getting involved with the Maffra Community Sports Club from its inception in the mid 1990s. Barry was on the founding committee of the Maffra Community Sports Club. He served as Treasurer for the first seven years and was President for five years. At present, he continues his contribution as a general Committee member. The Maffra Community Sporting Club was formed as a result of the Maffra Chamber of Commerce, led at that time by President, Geoff Stobie, bringing together the Maffra Football Club, Maffra Bowling Club and Maffra Golf in an endeavour to create a unified body which could use its combined clout to operate a licensed premises with poker machines. At the time, Maffra had three hotels, none of which had poker machines. The town was losing trade, as people instead drove to Sale to seek this form of social entertainment in their leisure time. Along with the Maffra Chamber of Commerce, the local football, bowling and golf clubs recognised the need for them to be able to compete on a level playing field. “Each of the individual sporting clubs had previously made enquiries about getting poker machines in their own right, but Tabcorp wouldn’t approve them without a main street location,” Barry explains. “Tabcorp would only entertain coming to Maffra if they formed a community type sports club and found a site on a main street.” With the encouragement and support of the local Chamber of Commerce, progress was made quickly. “Within two months from our first meeting, we had formed the club and were totally independent,” Barry recalls. “The Golf Club dropped out early on but the Football Club and Bowling Club kept driving the initiative. The role of the Chamber of Commerce was to help bring the clubs together under a single banner and to support the project. Under Geoff Stobie’s leadership, they were instrumental in doing that. “By early 1996 we had a Committee comprising four delegates from the Football Club, four from the Bowling Club and Geoff as Chairman being neutral. We became an incorporated body in March 1996.”


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

Maffra Community Sports Club Lounge part of the upgrade

The Committee of the Maffra Community Sports Club identified Morahan’s Hotel on Johnson Street in Maffra as a suitable location for its premises. The hotel was struggling at the time and following a lengthy period of intense negotiation with proprietor Frank Morahan and his son Dean, agreement was reached on establishing a lease arrangement before later purchasing the freehold on the property when the club was up and running.

“Our aim was to offer local people a nice venue where we could create a club atmosphere that is more friendly and welcoming to women and families,” Barry says. The Maffra Community Sports Club opened its doors on 14 November 1997, with poker machines in place from day one. It had taken just over two years from the first meeting organised by the Chamber of Commerce in August 1995 to bring the vision to life. The venue has benefited from ongoing improvements and upgrades during its 20 years of operation, most recently with the creation of a new upstairs dining and function rooms and the reinstatement of a verandah. These works were completed in May 2016 at a cost of close to $3 million. According to Barry, a restructure of the Board which took place during the second half of 2016 has been a positive development for the Club. “Things are going really well. Our current President, Terry McConnell and fellow Board members are doing a great job and we also have a younger and fresher management team in place now,” he says.

As original founders, both the Maffra Football Club and Maffra Bowling Club receive a significant annual contribution. “They are the heart and soul of the club and the people that drove the project from the start,” Barry says. The Maffra Community Sports Club has become an integral part of the town that Barry is proud to call home. “Maffra has been good to me. It’s a fairly conservative town but a very friendly place. It’s nice and quiet and people will always talk to you,” he remarks. “I’ve had my business here or close by in Boisdale for the past 42 years. Little has changed I guess, but unfortunately as you get older you start losing too many friends.” Eighteen months ago, Barry and his partner Jill moved into a new house in Maffra that was constructed by a local builder. “The house is in town, close to the depot. We’ll spend the rest of our days here, apart from when we travel,” Barry states. “I’ve been to America, China and all over Australia, but Maffra is as good a place as anywhere,” he insists. When it comes to bringing the goods to Maffra, whether in business or through his community service, Barry Bedggood keeps on delivering for his town.

A fundamental objective of the Maffra Community Sports Club is to distribute proceeds to any individual or sporting club in the area who have a worthwhile project or event that they wish to undertake or compete in. “Applications are assessed on a needs basis. Every applicant with a sporting story to tell is considered and judged on its merits,” Barry explains. “There is a bit of a focus on infrastructure. We believe one of the best ways of spending money is helping to build facilities that are going to stay for a long time,” he adds. In its 20 years, the Maffra Community Sports Club has distributed more than $1.6 million in grant payments to a host of grateful beneficiaries in the local area.

Bedggood’s Transport fleet






Large bore poly welding, tanks, excavation, pump sales and servicing, pivot irrigators, bike shift irrigation, flood irrigation systems, drainage and effluent systems and fixed irrigation spray systems. Expertise in boiler making, pump technicians, licensed poly welders and poly/steel fabricators. Custom design expertise. Ability to weld poly sizes from 32mm up to 1,000mm



Maffra Poly & Pumps started by Michael Gray in 1999 as an extension to Tinamba Engineering, is a Family run business by local Gippslanders for the last 17 years. Maffra Poly & Pumps are traditionally experts in the Irrigation and farming sector, whilst also covering the industrial, commercial and residential sectors. Proudly supporting the local Gippsland Community.


For a Quote Contact: Lot 1 Station Street, MAFFRA 3860 P: (03) 5141 1648

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


Maffra, Millie & me When I was growing up in Maffra my family always had a dog. They were always “bitzas” and they were always long lived. I remember Susie, our part Dachshund, lived until she was 21. Midge, who I shared with my parents for 16 years became a “minder” for my Dad in his last years and was a great companion. It was a sad break of that final link with him when Midge was at the vet after multiple fits and had to be put down. I vowed that I would never again have another dog. After a lifetime I decided I would be free of the responsibility and the tie of having a dog to look after. Well, that didn’t last long at all. After a month or so my conviction began to wane and before I knew it I was trawling through the internet and the ‘Gippy’ looking for a pup. I put out a call on facebook looking for a Jack Russell pup. It was only a day or so later that a friend responded that she had a 15 month old little Jack Russell that, in the mix of her farm dogs and hunting dogs, could benefit from having one on one attention. On my first visit Millie came trotting up to me and as soon as I picked her up she snuggled into my arms. A week later she came home for a “trial” stay and of course I was hooked! She fitted like a glove.


The Beautiful Township of Maffra

She has definitely become an intrinsic part of my life. In fact she has improved it in ways I never could have imagined. I felt guilty that she was stuck in the backyard while I was at work so I decided to take her for a walk every day. I never suspected this would open my eyes like never before.

I’ll never forget one of our first walks. We crossed busy Powerscourt Street on dusk in late winter. I walked along the footpath that I had once trodden daily on the way to Maffra High School many years before. We crossed over to the grassy expanse of the park at Mafeking Hill which, as a boy, I had always called Maffra King Hill.

What began as a chore has become a life changing daily celebration. Suddenly I wasn’t dashing around town from place to place. I was meandering along, or more so “Milleandering” along. Instead of me taking Millie for a walk she was walking me to places I knew but that had slipped off my radar.

The name originated from a bonfire on top of the hill in 1900 to celebrate a victory at Mafeking in South Africa. As Millie and I climbed through the towering gums to the top of the hill I suddenly saw a sight that I had never before witnessed. In the calm early evening the view from the top was magical. The sun was setting and a stillness

cloaked the town. Millie sat beside me as I stood basking in this peaceful moment. I had taken for granted what a lovely place Maffra was. That winter evening I opened my eyes anew to the real beauty that was all around me. Millie and I continued walking that day, down the deserted fire track, past the timeless Croquet club and the Guide Hall, marooned in its grassy island. I walked up the middle of the hill at Boisdale Street and was surprised at the growth of the avenue of gums planted there. I had never noticed them before.

I had previously painted a series of paintings featuring their elegance and beauty. The texture and contrast of the bark on these trees are truly beautiful. How many people walk by and not notice this at all? I loved the design of the winged eagle hovering above the labyrinth and the corrugated iron cows forever corralled in their post and rail paddock. Our walk continued to the bridge over the Macalister River, across Johnston Street then back along the river to the “wetlands” which locals still call the swamp. The paths and boardwalks give great access to the views and birds around there. We climbed up to the top of Princess Street for the walk home.

We ambled our way home along McLean Street and into Victoria Park with its sculptures, ducks and native gardens. Millie started me on a journey that night that continues today. The riverside park is another great destination that I had hitherto taken for granted. My earliest memory of it was from visiting Nanna Moran’s house along River Street. Still there, it’s now a sad shadow of its past. Nanna had a blooming garden with beer bottle edged pathways and a small bridge that crossed onto River Street. Opposite her cottage the once unkempt scrub along the Macalister River has now been transformed into an adventurous and fun parkland. It was here at the river that the town originally used as its first swimming place. The new Maffra Memorial Swimming Pool opened in 1960 near the site of a former large Chinese market garden. As Millie and I walked across the footbridge at the grandly named “Port of Maffra” I was entranced yet again by the magnificent stand of river gums in the park.

As a boy, my cousin and I would ride our bikes out there and explore. It was like a wild bush paradise on our doorstep. Now, with Millie leading me, I explored again this place that I hadn’t visited for 50 years. What a revelation! I had just never bothered to go there. A dedicated band of volunteers have spent years restoring the now fenced off reserve to become a wonderful public space. There are tracks, open sunny glades and even a small pebbled beach. The access is great and once inside you have multiple options of different paths to take. The views towards the ranges are stunning. The combined vista of farmland, bush, mountains and sky is breathtaking. All this was on my doorstep and I have never taken the time to visit. The added point of interest is the sad tale of Eliza Amey. If you walk through Bellbird corner and follow the road to join up with the Newry road you will find the gravesite of Eliza Amey who drowned when she was 12 months old. It’s 150 years since her tragic death on her family’s property.

Probably my favourite awakening has been my reintroduction to Bellbird Corner. It’s a couple of minutes drive out of Maffra on the Newry road but it could be a world away. When I was very young the road at Bellbird continued through, across the now abandoned bridge, and out the other side to eventually meet up with the Newry road again. I remember being with my older sister in her mini as she played car chasey with her friends. They used to whip around the curves at bellbird evading capture and out the other side.

Because her death predated the Maffra cemetery, she was buried in a corner of her family’s farm. Two pieces of bark from a gum tree on the side of the road were used as a makeshift coffin. The “coffin” tree is still there just around the corner from her gravesite on the Newry road. Over time the farm was sold and eventually the grave forgotten. When the story was recalled later in time the location of the buried bark coffin was revealed using ground penetrating radar. The grave site was fenced off and a memorial placed there on the roadside. This sad story was remembered and Eliza’s memory lives on. As I walked with Millie I began to share my rediscoveries on facebook. Others, like me, needed a gentle reminder of the beauty and splendour in our own backyard. It has spurred me on to continue to explore, near and far, the wonders and magnificence of Gippsland. I love where I live! Words and Photographs by Ken Roberts

The Beautiful Township of Maffra


MAFFRA COMMUNITY SPORTS CLUB ...more than just a club! Friendly staff, cold beers, TAB and numerous televisions with Fox Sport, make Maffra Community Sports Club the ideal venue for a great evening! Conveniently located in the heart of town, the club caters for locals and visitors alike.

Monday to Thursday 10.00am - 11.00pm | Friday to Saturday 10.00am - 12.00 midnight | Sunday 10.00am - 10.00pm

Captain Johnson’s Bar and Bistro Lunch Dinner

12.00pm - 2.00pm 6.00pm - 8.30pm

Member’s Lunchtime Specials For a quiet drink or a great night out, and with delicious food, Captain Johnson's Bar has it all. A wide range of beers on tap plus all your favourites, at wonderful Maffra Sports Club prices.

The Top Paddock Restaurant Wednesday - Saturday 6.00pm - 8.30pm Reservations required The Top Paddock is available for booking for private functions. Contact the friendly staff of the Club for more information.

122-126 Johnson Street Maffra Vic 3860 Tel: 5141 1566 | Fax: 5141 1944

andersons removals maffra








1300 MAFFRA (623 372) A: 18-20 Malmo Street, Maffra, Victoria, 3860 P: 03 5147 1184 E: