150 Years Stories

150 Years of Stories

Many people and events have made up OCAV's 150 years. We would like you to meet some of the people and find out about the events that helped shape the organisation.

Ian Rollo Currie’s name appears in each of OCAV’s four villages. The influence of the Victorian grazier at OCAV began in 1962 and continues today.

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Tragedy actor Gustavus Vaughan Brooke (1818-1866), was a friend and partner of founder George Coppin. As a tribute to the relationship, the G V Brooke cottage was built and opened by the Australasian Dramatic and Musical Association in 1876.

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Theodotus Sumner and his wife Sarah were two of the Association’s most generous philanthropists, with a deep interest in Rushall Park.

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Over 1,000 Victorians flocked to the Association’s ‘Meadow Party’ for an afternoon of boomerang throwing, Punch and Judy Show, performing dogs, and champagne. The fete was attended by the Governor of Victoria the Earl of Hopetoun. Three new cottages were ‘promised’ to be built and endowed immediately.

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Actor George Coppin knew only too well the hardships that many actors faced in early colonial times. Just as he saw a need to provide homes for ‘necessitous old colonists’ so too did he see the need to set up an asylum for ‘decayed actors.’ The Australasian Dramatic and Musical Association was founded in 1871.

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As a charitable cause, the ‘asylum for decayed actors’ was not popular with potential donors. After protracted legal negotiations, the land, three homes and five actors were transferred to the care of the Old Colonists’ Association. Nevertheless, Coppin’s vision to provide homes for actors, musicians and performers lives on today with broadcasters, musicians, actors, and artists living in Rushall Park and the other three villages.

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Garry Wilson, one of OCAV’s youngest ever residents, had the childhood most kids could only dream about. He lived in a quaint old village, rode his bike through the winding streets every day after school and feasted on the scones and cakes the locals fed him and his brothers.

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Ann Timbrell is not a well-known name today but back in the 1860s she was a pioneering silk grower in Victoria. She fell on hard times after her husband died, and moved into Rushall Park.

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There’s nothing like a good cup of tea and vanilla slice to bring a community together. The kiosk at Rushall Park has been doing a sterling job for almost fifty years.

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Louis Lawrence was a colourful personality which perhaps was why he was chosen by George Coppin to be one of 12 trustees for the Australian Dramatic and Musical Association.

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For someone who wants to be a history academic volunteer Liam Nixon is getting some invaluable grass roots learning at OCAV’s Leith Park village.

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