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.

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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The tradition of the footlights at the Old Colonists lived on with the arrival of soprano Helen Gordon Cunard in 1925.

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Caroline Gladstone was ‘admitted’ into the Old Actors Homes in 1907 after the Australasian Dramatic and Musical Association (ADMA) had merged with the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria.

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Judge Robert Pohlman was a sober and somewhat reticent man who played a pivotal role in early Victoria. He was one of 20 prominent Melbourne leaders who formed the Association in 1869 and who then became its first President in 1870.

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When George Coppin established the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria, it was not merely about a social club for wealthy colonists. He was determined to help the pioneering colonists who were unable to provide for their old age.

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On a rainy afternoon on 1 July 1870, Judge Pohlman, George Coppin and J B Were travelled from Queen Street to North Fitzroy to lay the foundation stones of the first two cottages in what was then known as the Old Colonists’ Almshouses.

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Dr Ewen Downie succeeded his father, Taylor, as Rushall Park’s honorary medical officer. He introduced new initiatives to improve the welfare of the residents, including the system of daily visits, which still exist.

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Clara Murton was a pioneer of education with a fascinating background before she resided in the Old Colonist Homes in Rushall Park. A generous benefactor, Clara built and donated two cottages to the Association. She moved into her cottage in 1909.

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“I remember when I walked into the carpet bowls and the people greeted me and made me feel I had been here all my life,” said Bernard Pidd who, with his wife Jean, moved into Rushall Park after losing their home in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

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