June Magazine

Published quarterly our magazine ‘HISTORY MATTERS’ is packed full of local history and stories from the district. History Matters is distributed to all members of Torquay Museum Without Walls.

S2016 02 TMWW Magazine Junetep inside our current issue of the magazine featuring stories the Joseph H Scammell shipwreck at Pt. Danger, Pioneers – streets of Torquay, Maie’s Amazing Memorabilia, Mt. Duneed Reserve, Spotlight on Corangamite. Get issue two here:

June Magazine





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The wait is almost over….


Corangamite swung back to Labor in 2007 when Darren Cheeseman claimed it with a 6.6% swing. He became only the third Labor candidate to win and the first for over 70 years. When Cheeseman won a second term in 2010 he became the first labor member to win a second term -albeit with the narrowest of margins.

Sarah Henderson, a lawyer, and former television journalist won the seat back for the Liberal party in 2013 with a 4.6 % swing. She has served out her term and will contest the seat again today.

In just hours we will learn what the future hold for Corangamite.

When James Chester Manifold became the very first member for Corangamite the total voters equaled 5415.

When Gratton Wilson, for the free trade party first wrenched it away from the Manifold Protectionist party in 1903 it was with a massive 35.2% swing. James Scullion first won the seat for labor in 1910 with a 29.4 % swing

There were 40,000 voters in the electorate when the Liberal party took hold with Geoffrey Street in 1936.

Corangamite is a big electorate , covering 7000 square kilometres and with the growth in the coastal regions, the areas south of the Barwon and redistribution of boundaries there will 100,000 people casting votes today. By days end we will see who will have the honour of serving the people of Corangamite for the next three years.

No matter who is elected they should remember there is history of dedicated and impressive members over the past 115 years… I wish them luck.



Long serving members

In 1966 Anthony Austin Street began his 18 year career as the member for Corangamite. The son of Geoffrey Street, in the first Fraser ministry he became the Minister for Labor and in Malcolm Fraser’s second term he was Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations and he went on to hold a cabinet post as the Minister for Foreign Affairs .

Tony Street was followed by the longest serving member for Corangamite, Stewart McArthur a sheep farmer from Camperdown who held the post for 23 years and served over 10 years as government whip.  He was unseated when, after more than 60 years Corangamite swung back to Labor under Kevin Rudd in 2007.

Photos:  Anthony Austin Street with young John Howard at the swearing of Malcolm Fraser’s Fourth Cabinet

Fergus Stewart McArthur


Tragedy strikes Corangamite

Geoffrey Austin Street won the seat of Corangamite in 1934 for the United Australia Party  and later the liberal party and would serve for the next 6 years.

Street was a war hero,  having been wounded at Gallipoli and going on to serve in Belgium and France .He was awarded the Military Cross. Returning from war he bought a farm in the Western District and took to farming with gusto, becoming a champion sheep breeder and serving on the local council. Somewhat reluctantly recruited to politics by Robert Menzies he was hardworking and intelligent and in 1938 became Minister for Defence and later for the Army and repatriation.

In August Geoffrey Street and 10 other including three members of the Australian Cabinet and the chief of staff were aboard a plane that crashed near Canberra and were killed instantly. This was a severe blow to the government and robbed Corangamite of a popular, mature and loved political leader.


geoffrey Austin Street                                                             Geoffrey Austin Street

Spotlight on Corangamite-a swing back to Labour

Corangamite swung back to the Labour party for the second time when Richard Armstrong Crouch was elected in 1929. Crouch a lawyer and the son of a miner from Ballarat had first served the Parliament in 1901 when at just 32 he was the member for Corio -the youngest member in the house at the time.

Couch had commanded a battalion at Gallipoli and was a wit and a radical who opposed conscription. His political career was short lived and after one term he was defeated and decided to forsake politics for philanthropy travel writing and, as member of the Royal Victorian Historical Society he encouraged Australians to take a greater interest their history.

He is perhaps most remembered for initiating the avenue of busts of Australian Prime Ministers in the gardens at Ballarat and bequeathing funds for maintaining the collection. I wonder how many of the many tourists who visit the beautiful Botanical Gardens in March each year for the Begonia Festival would know that the instigator of the “Prime Ministers walk” was indeed once the member for Corangamite.


Richard Armstrong Crouch  Member for Corangamite 1929-1931


The Country Party wins Corangamite

Chester Manifold won the of Corangamite seat back from James Scullin in 1913, this time standing for the Commonwealth Liberal party. The CLP was a merger of the two non- labour parties ( the Protectionist and the Anti Socialist party) . Manifold retained his seat at the 1917 elections but following his death in 1918, a bi election was called.   William Gerrand Gibson, a farmer from Lismore, became the first member of the Farmers Union Party ( later the Country Party) to be elected to the Federal Parliament defeating Scullin on preferences . He went on to become the longest serving member to date , holding the seat for the next 11 years.

He pressed for regulated wheat and dairy prices and He was Postmaster-General from 1923 to 1929, and encouraged the construction of telephone lines, the extension of roadside mail deliveries and the building of post offices in country districts. He also encouraged the development of radio broadcasting. In 1928, he was appointed Minister for Works and Railways,

Gibson was defeated at the 1929 elections and returned to farming. He won Corangamite back at the 1931 elections. At the 1934 elections, he was elected to the Senate and he remained a senator until he retired in 1947,

Seems like he too, was a fellow who worked hard at representing the people of Corangamite



William Gerrand Gibson



Turning up a surprise in Corangamite

Corangamite was certainly a marginal seat in its early days and digging around in its history has turned up a few surprises The third member for Corangamite was none other than James Scullin, who would go on to become Australia’s ninth Prime Minister in 1929,



Scullin the son of Irish immigrants, a devout Catholic, non smoker and non drinker grew up in Ballarat seemed to have been cut from a different cloth than his predecessors. He was involved in the Australian Workers Union. At the  1906 Federal election he was the losing Labor candidate to Alfred Deakin for the seat of Ballarat.

In 1910 Scullin won his first election as the Labor candidate in Corangamite , when Andrew Fisher led the Labour party to victory

Scullin had worked to establish the labour movement in Corangamite even though its rural character meant it was not considered a seat naturally sympathetic to Labor. His campaign focused on increasing the powers of the Federal parliament and issues such as defending a white Australia, higher import duties and the introduction of a land tax. Scullin was as an impressive and formidable parliamentary debater. He spoke on a wide range of issues over the three years of his term, By the end of his first year in parliament he had a reputation as “one of the most ardent land-taxers in the Labor party and had spoken frequently on breaking up “the land monopoly which has for so many years retarded the growth of this young country.”  Although he was well regarded in his district and hard-working and ardent, Scullin suffered the fate of many Labor members in rural districts in the 1913 election  He tried and failed to reacquire the seat at the 1918 Corangamite bi-election.


A Young James Scullin 1910





Election time -part 2

The second member for Corangamite was John Gratton Wilson, a first generation Australian and the son of an English tent maker. He was educated at Wesley College Melbourne and went on to study medicine at the University of London . He purchased a farm near Warrnambool and opened a medical practice.
JG Wilson served four years as a Captain in the Medical Corps during the war.
He won the seat of Corangamite in 1903 as a member of the Free Trade and Liberal Association and won a second term in 1906, but by then the Free Trade Party was re named the Anti- socialist party and advocated for the abolition of protectionism.
He was defeated in the elections held in 1910.


John Gratton Wilson, Corangamite, Torquay History
John Gratton Wilson

Election time Part 1

Its Election time!!!!
The seat of Corangamite was created in 1901 (at the time of Federation). Corangamite is named after the salty Lake Corangamite and is an aboriginal word meaning bitter…..
The very first member for Corangamite was James Chester Manifold . James was one of three Manifold brothers who were pastoralists in the Western District. His property ‘Purrumbete’ near Camperdown was a centre of dairy farming and he helped found the Camperdown Cheese and Butter factory. Reckon he would have a few things to say about he plight of the dairy farmers and the “butter wars”.

Manifold served from 1901 -1903, but he held the office for a second time defeating the sitting member, future Prime Minister, James Scullin, in 1915.
He seemed a pretty decent sort of bloke and was described as broadminded, straightforward and having the interests of the people of Corangamite at heart. He died at sea in1918 while working for the Government reporting on military camps and hospitals and investigating rehabilitation schemes. News of his death reached his only son while he was serving on the western front at Ypres.



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