by Tony Lambides-Turner
Coal Creek in 1974, on the Silkstone road,
The future home of historical buildings and many abode
To all Gippslander’s, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons,
Now the fight has just begun,
The history of this historic village must be told,
1967; Jaycee and Apex clubs the genesis; got involved
1969 Korumburra Historical Society, join forces, ally to the fight,
On overgrown piece of wasteland, on banks of Coal Creek, chosen site,
1972 work commenced, plans soon grew,
73 Sir Henry Bolte, Premier of Victoria, ₤70,000; grant, anew,
March 74; “Coal Creek Historical Park”, opened the door
First to arrive, Court House of 1899, from Bridge Street sure to be more,
Historical Society; with £750 made the call, saved from wrecker’s ball,
Then volunteers came from all walks of life
So many in costume their gift, gave the Park life,
On the great southern line, mining town’s stories are forever told
the discovery of ‘black gold’, coal; then onto state’s railway’s sold
When annual Coal Creek Literary Festival came around,
eight dedicated ‘Lawsonian’s’ from city did pound
From 2013 for 3 years straight, it became our major destination,
spreading the word of Lawson, poet of a nation
through literation, presentation and illustration anything goes
Free gifts of books to children of stories, poems even prose,
The Church one of venues, we in costume of the day
These precious memories will forever stay,
Early in October, important date to note
For writer’s gain, and renew friendships, or just promote
On Woodleigh station, closed 70’s, now where 2nd class passengers wait
Show your ticket, entry to Railway Museum through the gate,
For as red-rattlers, in sunlight gleam
With polished-brass, and upholstery lush green
Where once, steam-whistles would blow,
1892 first coal shipment to Melbourne
Now silent, K169 big engine, black loco, stands forlorn,
Mechanics Institute, once Kardella South Public Hall, shifted in 85.
Former school, church services and meeting room, once more alive,
Down the slope stands, Daisy Hardwick’s Music Studio,
former railway house of Koo-Wee-Rup,
Biggs Skin Store 1908, formerly Members Pavilion,
Leongatha Bowling Club, Lynch’s Barbers shop,
the Arcadia studio circa 1890’s and Coal Creek Cordial Co, with ‘Lyrebird brand©’ cordial, all share main street address,
Wrench’s Boot makers, Lands Department, 1910-1920 with nearby Printing Office complete with platen type, Guttenberg press,
Robert Boston’s Carriage Works, 1893 with jinkers, buggies, and big wheeled wagons, legacy lineage of Harold Boston; Keith, Roy and Douglas. The family works proudly on view,
Blacksmiths working forge, within Boston’s; from hand tools to horseshoe.
Korumburra Co-operative Butter Factory, big part of town’s industry milk and cream,
butter and cheese production, by wagon first accordingly
At rear of Courthouse stands Mining Museum; lamp candles, tunnel entrance, plenty on display
here weekly 200 tons of black coal, brought only 44 cents a day
Krowera church 1899; stands ever proud beside;
Jeetho’s No. 2690 (third) School room, once kids would crowd
There, hidden amongst the ferns, stands the lonely headstone, of a true character of Korumburra, of old;
one Arthur ‘Stag’ Garrard, nickname for outbursts of; “you give me the staggers!”
Strike-time, creates conflict with big-boss Benny McWilliams,
so he loaded coal in his barrow, walks,
2 miles from the ‘Sunbeam’ to Korumburra, and back,
his journeys proved, a smart attack,
True ‘salute to the past, George Bills concrete horse-trough, near Mine,
one of 700 placed throughout Victoria towns, between 1930 and 49.
For at B. H. Devlin’s with covered verandah, there’s plenty, and more
Here at the, families very own general store
As flying-foxcash-register, zings across the room,
we purchase, boiled-sweets, wire rat-trap? even straw-broom,
At Oliver Gilpin’s just one of a chain, next-door, where do we begin?
haberdashery, crocheting, frocks, flounces, feathers or pin
Kardella state school No. 3196, with verandah, sheltered place,
now The Pig and Whistle, café food and drink, ideal resting space,
On piles over a lake stands Band-Rotunda, as eager ducks and swan waddle along,
Concerts of Brass bands, where music flows, so many have heard their song.
Masonic Lodge, once Kilcunda Road State School of 1902.
$10 purchased from Department of Education, so all can now view.
Chemist with windows full of coloured bottles, pills aplenty, apothecary shop,
below Doctors surgery, with National bank on-top,
Mine managers home 1910, contents on open display supplied by our Historical Society, so creates; “atmosphere of a home of the coalfields” of 1890’s,
Wafts of smoke curl and drift up, as the scent of fresh damper, fills the air
from Wattle and Daub hut, nestled amongst tall remnant trees, proudly there,
60,000 trees planted here within the park, over the years, amongst remnant towering black butts, blue gums, as wild-tree ferns proliferate, beneath tall black woods, standing straight,
Nearby the Slab Cottage, houses wood-workings, grand
With farming tools, see how our pioneers tamed the land,
An overshot, Water-Wheel of old, turns, silently along
Farm and Bush land dairy farm, buildings, fences and stockyards, strong.
Aided by additional Government Grant, allowed Farm area more to create,
led to re-launch of Coal Creek in April 1998.
To get to view more of this wondrous historical park,
Just take the Bush Tramway, with its three station stops, Top, Middle & Bottom.
Powered by; a little Bundaberg Fowler engine, with puff,
From Queensland, in 96 sure enough.
There are others on this line, either working or on display,
Swapped over, sometimes, with diesels of their day;
Ruston-Hornsby, of England 48/49, with its colourful carriages, came from Sandhurst Town, up Bendigo way, about 94,
Or the Hudson Hunslett, of Leeds 95, of Port Kembla, late of Illawara Light Railway, in 2001, came through the door.
Now let’s not forget both boy and man, who created this plan,
First clearing the line, for future rail to shine,
Ballast and sleepers, laid, hard but slow, as along they go,
As shovels and pick-axes, flash in the sun.
Now the hard work has begun,
Swinging hammers, now dog and spike, through blood and sweat and tears,
Fighting back flies, enjoying hard earned beers,
They built a rail, that’s lasted the years.
Machinery shed, display farm machinery, ploughs, harnesses of old,
wagons, carts, disc-harrows, with many a tale of the land told,
Vibrations and sounds emit, as we step back in time,
Steam Winch room for Black Diamond coal-mine
With little Joinery-shop, with hand tools for both carpenter
Be it; wheel right, coach-builder or joiner,
Coal Creek emblazoned on Water-Tank, as Poppet Head, towers above it all
Hark! Hear yesteryear’s miner’s call
for this is our proud silent living-link with the past
In our hearts Coal Creek Community Park & Museum will forever last.
Ah! such Gippsland folks always with a laugh and a smile
Share with all visitors and city-folk, our nearby cousins, by a country-mile.