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.

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Location: Victoria, Australia

Monday, June 16, 2008


Members of Stratford Historical Society have recently had a richness of Significance Training.

On Friday, 30 May, three members joined about thirty other people at the Briagolong Mechanics' Institute for an inspiring Heritage Victoria Significance Forum. It was an added delight on the day to know that the Briagolong Mechanics' Institute and its contents (including the library) have been added to the Victorian Heritage Register

Then, on Saturday 14 June, we held our last training day, funded by a Community Heritage Grant from the National Library. This time we were joined by Linda Young from Melbourne, who led us through the process of assessing the Significance at individual items. Everyone came away quite inspired (is your writer using that word too much?) and ready to look at items in the collection in a different way.

When we reopened the Museum in 2006, one of our first exhibitions was "Personal Choices", where various members chose their favourite item for display. One of these was W.T. Dawson's Theodolite.


William Tennant Dawson (c.1820-1873) was an early Victorian surveyor, who was responsible for laying out St Kilda Road in Melbourne. After that he was the first District Surveyor for Gippsland, where he died in 1873. His family were on Roseneath Station near Stratford, where the theodolite was extensively damaged when the homestead was destroyed in 1921.

The theodolite is therefore very degraded, but this is part of its significant story. Was it the one Dawson used for St Kilda Road? Certainly it was responsible for bringing order to the European occupation of Gippsland. And its condition, although it diminishes its ability to represent theodolites as such, adds to the richness of its history.