Power and the people

Sue Thompson. 200586_06

At its recent meeting the Yarra Ranges Heritage Network paid me the honor of electing me its new chairman following the sudden passing of our previous chairman Phil Garland. Not many people outside the historical community know of the existence of the network which was formed in 1995 by all the history groups throughout the Yarra Ranges Council.

Its objective was and still is, to bring together history and heritage related groups in Yarra Ranges to discuss and support any projects and issues the members may have and to also liaise with and provide historical information to Yarra Ranges Council staff.

Currently there are more than 15 member groups and together they have achieved much. It was through their lobbying that a part-time heritage officer was employed. The members also succeeded in having heritage separately recognised and promoted within council’s cultural services. More recently, thanks to a council grant, the network published the shire’s first heritage guide. The guide listed a selection of historical features from most towns and areas and was distributed to various outlets. It proved very popular and is now being updated ready for a re-launch.

On February, 16, 1872 the Shire of Lillydale was created and became the first municipality in the region. Healesville, Upper Yarra and Ferntree Gully – later Sherbrook soon followed. For a council to be created in those days, 100 people from the area had sign a request via a petition to the Victorian Government. People power at its best.

To celebrate that occasion, members are working on an exciting project: Power and the People 150 Years of Local Government. It will be up to each network group to develop its own display demonstrating how throughout the years local government has worked with and supported the people of their area to create the wonderful diverse communities we enjoy today.

We’ll let you know what is happening in the next few months but hopefully 2022 will be a time for us all to celebrate our heritage, revitalise ourselves and our communities and put Covid and its effects behind us.

Members of the Yarra Ranges Heritage Network are: Healesville and District Historical Society, Friends and Relations of Gulf Station (FROGS) National Trust Gulf Station, Lilydale and District Historical Society, Monbulk Historical Society, Mont De Lancey, Mooroolbark History Group. Mt Dandenong and District Historical Society, Mt Evelyn History Group, National Trust: Dandenong Ranges Branch, Running Rabbits Military Museum, Save the Dandenongs League, Sherbrooke Foothills Historical Society, Southern Sherbrooke Historical Society, Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society – Upper Yarra Museum, Yarra Glen History Group and Yarra Ranges Regional Museum.

Contact Sue Thompson, Lillydale and District Historical Society. Phone: 0475 319 884, email: infor@lilydalehistorical.com.au website: lilydalehistorical.com.au