Stratford Historical Society and Museum

News from the Stratford Historical Society and Museum, in Stratford, Gippsland, Victoria. We are open Tuesdays from 10am to 3pm, and the fourth Sunday of the month from 2pm to 4pm. Our postal address is P.O. Box 145, Stratford, 3862.

Location: Victoria, Australia

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Sad News

The Society is deeply saddened to announce the death this morning of our very much loved vice-president and life member, 
George Parker.

George has led the team that totally restored our museum, built the shed, extended the shed, fenced the grounds, and maintained and fixed whatever needed fixing. And more.

With time, I am sure we can attempt to write just how much George meant to us, but all we can do now is be sad that he has lost his long battle. Sleep well, George.

Our love and thoughts are with his wife Judy, and their family.

Stratford Sentinel all up on Trove

Exciting news is that the Stratford Sentinel and Briagolong Express is now online though Trove - the National Library website for old newspapers. 

The whole run is there, from 1911 to 1916 at 

This means you can now read the paper, and get a wonderful insight into life in early Stratford and Briagolong. 

 The 1914-1916 section was funded as part of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. The Stratford and District Historical Society, with assistance from the Briagolong CRG, Briagolong Lions and Briagolong Senior Citizens. The total cost for 1911 to 1913 was just over $1,500. 

For a simple search – yes, you can search it – just put a word in the box at top right, and click on “limit to issues of this title”. 

 For a more advanced search, click on “advanced search” at top right. Then, for example, put Briagolong in the “all of these words” box, click on “search headings only” and scroll down through the papers and click Stratford Sentinel and Briagolong Express. It is also helpful if you click on “Article” and sort the last box to “By Date, Earliest first”. That way you get all the Briagolong reports, and you can follow things in order. 

If you want to see what crime occurred in teh area (and all sorts of other things) put the words "Stratford" and "court" in the "all of these words" box - but without the talkies.

 Thanks to all who helped with the funding. 

The other local papers that cover Stratford already on there are the Gippsland Guardian (1855-1868), Gippsland Times (1861-1954), Maffra Spectator (1882-1920) and Gippsland Mercury 1914-1918.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Beautiful Horse Photographs

We are still organising to upload photographs of our most excellent Horses to Horses last Sunday for History Week.

But in the meantime, we very much appreciate the work of Debbie Woods, who has loaded some stunning photographs onto her Flickr set, that you can see HERE.

Thanks Debbie!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Horses to Horsepower


Following our highly successful day last year, Stratford and District Historical Society, again presents Horses to Horsepower

This will be held Sunday 20 October 2013 at Pine Lodge Reserve, Llowalong Road, Stratford, from 10am to 4pm. 

The displays and demonstrations of Gippsland farming practices of yesteryear will include working horses ploughing and harrowing, display of harness horses and restored carriages. The vintage tractors will also be returning. These are complemented by demonstrations of working yard dogs, with cross cut sawing and wood chopping, sheep shearing (blade and modern) wool spinning and heritage knitting. 

A feature will be hand milking and cheese making demonstrations. 

Morning and afternoon teas will be available, plus a light lunch and BBQ, all in a relaxing atmosphere to reminisce. Entry is $5 a head with primary students free, for a wonderful, family-friendly day. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

We are Excited!

We are Excited!

The Stratford Sentinel and Briagolong Express (1911-1916) has started to appear on Trove.

Yes, we know this is a very short post. We are too busy reading.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Miss Alice Mitchell and her sewing machine

Alice Maggie Mitchell was born 1891 at Stratford, Gippsland, Victoria, the daughter of James Mitchell and Lucy nee Elston. Her father worked as a labourer.

Alice Mitchell lost three brothers during World War I - one at Gallipoli in 1915, then two in one day in France in 1916, and her fiancee. Despite that she stuck to a target of making a number of items for troops each week. Each week, for the duration of the war, she knitted two pairs of socks, and made a flannel singlet, a shirt and a pair of pyjamas.

Although undocumented, she presumably repeated a similar task in World War II.

Alice joined the Australian Red Cross in 1914, when it was first formed, and was formally recognised in 1974 as one of its longest-serving members. She spent all her life in Stratford, working as a dressmaker, and never married.

Alice's machine, a 1909 Singer she inherited from her mother, on which she sewed for the troops in two world wars, was bequeathed to the Stratford and District Historical Society after her death in 1980.

We have the photograph below in our files, of Miss Mitchell being presented with one of several Red Cross Awards. The woman on the left, making the presentation, is unknown.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Two New Exhibitions

We have two new exhibitions ready for visitors. 

The first is "Christening Gowns and More (Inspired by the Birth of Prince George)". We have three christening gowns in our own collection, plus a petticoat for one, and assorted bonnets and bootees. Augmented with some stunning modern silk knitting according to patterns of  about 1912, our very own baptismal font, and items on loan, we have an exhibition "Fit for a Prince".

The second exhibition is a wide ranging look at our collection to see how people were "Keeping Warm in Winter." Items range from the coat made from a blanket in the 1940s, when fabric rationing was in force, through our range of early heaters to a number of hand-knitted blankets and other personal apparel.

Both exhibitions will remain in place until December. Our one of early lamps and lighting be remaining for a short time longer as well.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

National Family History Month

August is National Family History Month, so we are celebrating by bringing out our 1918 cloth embroidered with the signatures of many local people. It was compiled for the Methodist Church, but many other people are included. You can find a full list of the names HERE.

As part of the month, we will have a special day, from 10am to 3pm, on Tuesday 27 August, where we waive research fees for the day, and have people ready and waiting to help you find your families in the local records. Of special interest are our indexes to grocer's records for the 1880s and 1890s where you can find what your family ate (or drank!), and the school rolls from the 1890s onwards.

If that does not grab you, how about checking out the indexes to payments to the local Nightman's clients in the 1930s and 1940s?

Or, failing everything else, you can list your interest in your families, in case someone else contacts us asking about them.

Entry by gold coin donation.