See you there!
We are hoping that people are willing
to come out again after enduring
quite a long Covid hibernation.
This is our first photo competition since 'Capturing Character' in 2018.
So here is the flyer
calling for entries.
If you cannot download
the entry form below
please contact Jennifer.
Her details are on the poster
The Children in the Lock-Up
Back in 2003, the Moonambel Arts and History community, under the guidance of Jan Curtis and Merri Hogan, embarked on a journey
to last 18 years.
It was then that the community discovered that the lock-up at the original Moonambel police house was one of only five remaining portable police lock-ups in Victoria. At the time of discovery, it had been used for hay storage and as a chicken coop among other things. In 2003 Moonambel art and history community applied for and received a grant from Victorian Heritage to relocate the lock-up
to the Moonambel Common and then restore it.
Many years of research accessing original police records and the original Moonambel Police Charge Book from years 1883 to 1914 revealed 53 persons, including three children, were held in the lock-up. Under the guidance of Secretary, Jan Curtis, the research and development of the Historical Police Precinct continued.
Original sculptures of the children
were created by local artists Merri Hogan and Barry Fox and placed in the lock-up.
Over time these had become degraded and derelict. MAHG had taken the plight of the children to their hearts and decided they needed to have new interpretations made. MAHG Secretary, Jennifer MacKay, had seen photos of wire sculptures of ‘ghost soldiers’
in an English churchyard and with the suggestion from Merri Hogan
she presented to the MAHG committee the proposal for the new sculptures
to be made by Clunes artist Tom Ripon.
We assumed that was the end of a very sad story as the children were committed to the Department of Neglected Children.
Fortunately, Jennifer continued the story with the help of the Genealogical Society of Victoria.
She found a descendant of the eldest child
Edith Octive Dean. In finding this, it was also revealed that Edith Octive and Alice Louisa were sisters and the one year old Constance was a half sister.
On 20th May, 2021,Tom Ripon, the sculptor, and Eileen Ryan, the descendant, unveiled the sculptures in the lock-up. Eileen, with her sisters, Val and Marion, entertained the crowd with stories the sisters related of their grandmother, Octive (Ollie) and their Aunt Connie.
Alice had died at the age of 21.
The ladies had no idea of the plight
of their grandmother and dear Aunt Connie
all those years ago. This was something that was never mentioned and the circumstances of which Eileen is eager to explore.
We would like to thank Ann-Maree Richardson of the Genealogical Society of Victoria research team who helped Jennifer to trace the descendant of the eldest child,
Edith Octive Dean.
Also, we acknowledge the Pyrenees Shire for funding the project.
What a torrid time we have had over the last 16 months.
All thoughts of an exhibition were put on hold and are
still awaiting a safe time to put things into action.
So apologies for the length of time between blogs.
Although we are in strange times, we have continued
with the history aspect of our group by concentrating on
the installation of 'The Children in the Lock-Up'.
With the help of finance from the Pyrenees Shire,
we commissioned international sculptor Tom Ripon
to create images of the three children who were
detained in the police Lock-Up for their own safety.
Hard to believe you would be safer in a dark room
with no window and a solid door.
But times were harsh in Moonambel in 1896.
The lockup has been painted in preparation for the installation. More history on the incident has been discovered and we are hoping to have the formal opening in May.
We thank Merri Hogan and Barry Fox for the mannequins which have been in the Lock-Up for some time now. Unfortunately, time has been unkind to the figures and they became quite dilapidated. Hopefully the new figures will stand up to the elements.
President's Report for 2019/20 AGM
This is our ninth Annual General Meeting but also the seventeenth year since the first Arts Event with the inaugural Easter exhibition. Our aim is to bring art to the area for the community to enjoy. The history component of our agenda is also being addressed.
This year has been different due to the Covid-19 pandemic stopping all community activities since March.
Therefore, since our last Annual Meeting, we have only been involved in the following activities:
A trip to Clunes to approach Tom Ripon, a well known wire sculptor, proved successful so ways to finance the project via grants was started.
It took until July 2020 to gain a $4000 grant from the Pyrenese Shire. We are now engaging Tom to complete this project in the near future.
Unfortunately, all community activities are on hold for now but we have the opportunity to continue improving the Historical Precinct.
Projects on the go...
With our lack of ability to fundraise due to COVID-19 restrictions all events were put on hold. Our first event is this AGM with the second one to be a small service at the memorial for Remembrance Day in two day’s time.
We continue to work together as a resourceful team of dedicated volunteers. I look forward to the group being able to return to providing the community with art and history activities enjoyed by all.
Thank you to the dedicated team.
President's Report.This is our eighth Annual General Meeting but also the sixteenth year since the first Arts Event with the inaugural Easter exhibition. Our aim is to bring art to the area for the community to enjoy. The history component of our agenda is also being addressed.
Since our last Annual Meeting we have been involved in the following activities:
the art of directing a theatrical performance. This was the first performance without music for MCTC for a long time and was highly successful.
‘As we stood remembering at the commemorative ceremony held at Moonambel's Memorial last Sunday, it seemed to me to really capture the spirit we all hold deep within our hearts. I am one of many who were thinking deeply of a father, grandfather, great uncle, great aunty, brothers and sisters
who served way back.’
Wood carving, water colours, acrylics, oils, pastels, pencil, mosaic tiles, photography, linocutting, printing, torn tissue collage, glass and even rocks. The people’s choice winner was the possum carved by our local wood carver Barry Fox.
Our website mahg.org.au keeps our activities documented for all to see.
Market stalls, barbecue and Devonshire teas continue to be a drawcard when we have events staged at the Moonambel Recreation Reserve.
Projects on the go...
I repeat what is said in my previous reports as it still holds the true meaning of our small but dedicated group of volunteers…
‘Once again our small team of dedicated workers make our projects work. The creative members need the level headed art & history lovers to make these things happen and vice versa. We have built up a wonderful reputation in the Pyrenees district basically due to our respect of our team and supporters. Well done all.
Our future projects, whatever they may be, are almost guaranteed success due to this dedication and wonderful harmonious community team spirit. I thank you all.’
It wouldn't be a pantomime without the villains.
They were very skilfully played by some of the female members of the cast.
Graeme Akers (Minstrel & Song Writer), Maggie Barnes-Oake (Scenery Painter),
Phil Staynes (Trumpeter, Floosie & Stage Crew), Kaye Hutton (Agnes the Fairy and Villager),
Jan Curtis (Friar Tuck), Salli Argall (Sheriff of Nottingham), Jenny Mackay (Will Scarlett),
Robyn Akers (Babe Bart), Bernard Abadie (Maid Marion), Mick Matthews (Babe Lisa),
Adrian van den Bergen (King Richard I), Gillian Matthews (Trumpeter & Stage Crew),
Gwynn van den Bergen (Costume Designer & Maker), Steve Lane (Director, Lyricist &
Lighting/ Sound Technician)
Tony Wood (Carmen Geddit the Cook), Tanya Miles (Ruffian Reddie), Linda Phillips (Ruffian Ruff), Sanne Malkaer (Robin Hood), Marnie Reece-Wilmore (Little John).
John Argall (stage manager and photographer)
The cast and Crew would like to thank the Local Community for their continual support of the Moonambel Community Theatre Company.
Many know little of the colourful past of
the Moonambel Common.
It is used today for a variety of purposes
and acts as a focal point for many
The Moonambel Arts and History Group (MAHG) has, for many years,
worked towards developing this area
as it is a listed Heritage Police Precinct
which is included in the Pyrenees Shire Planning Scheme Heritage overlay.
It is recorded that on 10 December 1860
a Police Station at Moonambel
and Redbank was established …
’in consequence of an extensive goldfield
with a population of about 30,000
having been opened and two townships having been established at those places’.
The Police Station and lock up were erected in 1861 on the Police Reserve.
Early records describe two lock ups and a shed as being located at the Police Camp.
A Magistrates’ Court was then built.
Today, the lock up is more or less hidden
by the long fence running along
the western side of The Common.
MAHG discovered this is a rare timber
‘Early Portable’ lock up.
In 2003 we obtained a grant from
the Department of Sustainability and Environment- Historic Places
and had the structure repaired.
In 2009 we combed Police Historical Archives in Melbourne and unearthed the only remaining Moonambel Charge Book 1883 – 1914.
Over this time, we sought ways
to share this information with
the community and all interested in history.
We created a material 'mural'
with the details listed in the
Charge Book. We then sought grants to develop this idea.
It has taken many years to achieve what you see today.
The four panels include:
At last we have achieved what we aimed for all those years ago.
Our website was created December 2012. The History page lists activities from 2003 to 2012.
We will keep you informed as these projects develop and of any new projects which arise...