John, son of Friedrich Wilhelm and Johanna Eleonore (née Hermann) Rechenberg, was born on 26 September 1884 at Geelong.
He married Laura Olive Chapman in 1911. They had the following children:
John Stanley Chapman — born in 1912
Alan Keith — born in 1913
Dulcie Jean — born on 29 November 1914, married Jack Eric Hobbs in 1937, died on 31 July 2012, buried in the lawn section of the Geelong Western Cemetery
Theo Claude — born in 1919 at Geelong, married Jean Corkill McAlpine
John was a thirty one year old labourer when he enlisted for active service. He was wounded in March 1917 and returned to Australia a year later. After the war he leased land in Marshall under the Soldier Settlement Scheme adjacent to Sparrovale.
In March 1923 John received a red polled bull from the private herd of Senator Guthrie who had made six bulls available to returned soldiers settlers to encourage the breeding of good stock.
John was a South Barwon councillor, serving from 1927 until 1933 and from 1936 until 1949. His father, who settled in Grovedale in 1857, was one of the original blacksmiths in the district.
Cr Rechenberg conducted a meeting on Friday 31 May 1946 at St Paul's Sunday School Hall in Grovedale to discuss the possibility of erecting a United Services Memorial Hall at Grovedale. After many discussions it was decided at a meeting held in February 1948, to purchase the North Shore Recreation Hall, and have it erected on land at the Grovedale Recreation Reserve. It was built as a tribute to the men and women of the district who had served their country. They had raised more than £2000 towards the building of the hall. The State Government had granted £1000.
In June 1940 a branch of the Red Cross Society and the Australian Comforts Fund was established in Grovedale. This was the result of a public meeting held at the state school and attended by residents from Grovedale, Marshall and Mount Duneed districts. The meeting was chaired by Cr Rechenberg. The object of the branch was to produce the maximum of war work in the districts.
In March 1923 John received a red polled bull from the private herd of Senator Guthrie who had made six bulls available to returned soldier settlers to encourage the breeding of good stock.
John died on 13 December 1974 at Belmont aged 90 years and was buried in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery. Laura who had died on 28 July 1954 aged 77 was buried with him.
After returning from WW1, John leased land under the Soldier Settlement Scheme. This land was described as having only a small amount of really good land. The soil varied from a rich black marly loam in the centre of the property, down to a tight cold clay towards the southern end. The northern portion is a red and grey sandy loam. The great variety of soil enabled a fairly wide range of crops to be cultivated. Water is obtained from the Geelong Water Supply Department. The buildings and fencing are just fair to medium. Being old renewal will be necessary before many years. In 1938 land along the Barwon Heads Road was acquired by the Country Roads Board for the purpose of widening the road.
June is a descendant of two of the early families settling in Grovedale — the Hartwichs and the Winters. She is also a descendant of the Burvilles and Radfords that settled in Mount Duneed. She has a great story to tell about the evolution of the community and the effects of World War 1 on a settlement once called Germantown. Through marriage her family tree extends to a wide number of names that are well known to history buffs in the area. Anyone is welcome to attend this meeting and stay for a cuppa afterwards.
James Palmer was born about 1856. He married Eva, daughter of Frederick and Evangaline Withers, and had the following children:
Henry Wallace — born about 1884 at Port Augusta SA, died 1972 at North Geelong
Elsie May — born 1885 at Richmond
Minnie — born 1887, died 1888 at Newtown
Albert Roy — born 1889
Arthur Stanley (Stan) — born 1890 at Geelong, husband of Dorothy Irene (Dot) née Twitt, killed in action in France on 25 January 1917 (one daughter Dorothy (Bonnie) Jean born 1915 at Geelong)
James Reginald (Reg) — born 1893 at Geelong West, died 1977 at Coburg
Horace Leslie — born 1895 at Geelong, died 1978 at Ferntree Gully
Ivy Myrtle (Myrtle) — born 1898 at Geelong
Norman Clifford — born 1901 in Geelong
James died on 1 February 1922 at the age of 66 at his residence at Grovedale and was buried in the Church of England section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery. Eva died in September 1929 at St Kilda at the age of 72 and was buried with him.
The VFL consisted of six teams (Geelong, Richmond, South Melbourne, Carlton, Collingwood and Fitzroy) each playing the other three times. Teams had 18 players and no reserves. Collingwood were premiers and the leading goalkicker was Dick Lee of Collingwood. Richmond took the "wooden spoon". Players were amateurs with players paying their own expenses. Geelong donated profits to war funds.
100 years ago — a few items from newspapers and cemetery records:
King George V was monarch, Billy Hughes was prime minister, Gough Whitlam, 21st prime minister of Australia was born and three year old Sasanof won the Melbourne Cup.
The first plebiscite on the issue of military conscription was held; it was defeated. 25 April was officially named and widely observed as Anzac Day.
The Victorian Football League was feeling the strain of World War 1. Attendances were affected, only four clubs competed (Carlton, Collingwood, Fitzroy and Richmond) and teams were missing players. Geelong among many other teams, refused to play on "patriotic grounds". Fitzroy won the wooden spoon and the premiership in the same year, finishing fourth out of four and also winning the grand final.
Melbourne receives its highest annual rainfall.
The old Connewarre Presbyterian Church, at 1411 Barwon Heads Road, Connewarre is now used by the Geelong Aero Club. It has skillion roofed extentions at the front and back and a doorway near the rear of the body of the church which has been closed off. Originally the door probably looked like the one at St Cuthbert's Church of England at Marshall which was built 5 years earlier and in a similar style.
Connewarre Presbyterian Church was erected in 1916 on a block given by Mr D Polley on the corner of Staceys (then Lake) and Barwon Heads Roads, as it was decided that the old building was beyond repair. The architects, Laird & Buchan called for tenders in May and the successful applicant was Mr H Rose. The church was weatherboard on the outside with Californian redwood and beaverwood on the interior built in the Federation Carpenter Gothic style. It had a gable roof with skillion-roofed extentions each end and leadlight windows in the gothic style. The pulpit for the church had come from St Andrew's in Geelong. It would seat 100 people.
The church was crowded for two services held on 8 October to commemorate the opening of the church. At the morning service Mr RC Blyth, chairman of the Board of Management, gave a short address, then handed a silver key to Mr R Fuller sen., the oldest church member, who opened the church. The celebrations continued the following Tuesday with a tea meeting and concert. There was a large attendance and the sum of £22 was obtained. The total expenses of building the church amounted to £350 of which over £200 had been paid off.
In 1977 the church became the Connewarre Uniting Church, and about a year later it closed and was sold to the Geelong Aero Club.
150 years ago — a few items from newspapers and cemetery records:
The Grovedale station which was on the west side of Torquay Road had a platform on the south side of the tracks. This station was originally on the east side of Torquay Road but was shifted in 1913 to the west side of the crossing. It was named Germantown when it opened but was changed to Grovedale in 1916 when the suburb of the same name was changed during World War I. The station opened on 25 November 1876 and closed on 1 January 1954. The railway gates were closed at midnight and it was necessary to get the station master out of bed to get them opened.
The station also served as the local post office. When the station closed the post office shifted to a private house. Mrs Parrott operated the post office in the 1960s when it shifted to 291 Torquay Road. It was open in the mornings only and operated from a window which was opened when customers arrived. The first mail deliveries were made in the 1960s in a car. The post office then shifted to a shop in Peter Street and was operated by Des Coughlin.
The first post office at Grovedale was the Germantown Post Office situated at the store attached to Benari's Germantown Hotel on the east side of Torquay Road. Albert Benari was the postmaster from the time it opened on 20 January 1860 until his death on 27 May 1886.
A railway station in Boundary Road, east of Ghazepore Road, called Duneed was in the vicinity of the new Waurn Ponds station. This station opened on 25th November, 1876 and closed on 1st January, 1921.
Cobbin farm is a group of buildings in Grovedale owned by Geelong council. The house, originally named Pine Grove, was built in 1847 by Alexander Pennell, who purchased 508 acres of Crown land. This land stretched from Waurn Ponds Creek to Boundary Road. It was later purchased by August Hartwich in the 1880s. It is now used as a community house. The chapel was originally St Cuthbert's Church of England and was shifted from its site at Marshall. It often used for weddings.
He was also engineer at the Borough of Newtown and Chilwell for 25 years and while there he designed the Newtown Fire Station in Pakington Street. The station, which had a bell tower 40 feet high, was opened on 27 September 1884. To celebrate the opening of the new station, a dinner was held. He also designed the Prince Albert Bridge which crossed the Barwon River at the end of Shannon Avenue. The bridge was opened on 31 May 1889 at a final cost of £2,600 to which the government contributed £1,000. It had a span of 240 feet and piles 64 feet in length were driven deep into the river bed. At the opening the contractor, JW Tait of Western Australia, stated "The bridge is of sound timber and will last fully half a century." The bridge lasted until 1959 when repairs became necessary to prolong its life. In 1965 the road was re routed to less flood prone land and a new bridge was built 220 yards upstream. The Country Roads Board bore 80% of the cost and the two councils 10% each.
He was a committee member of the Geelong Permanent Investment and Benefit Building Society which began in 1867.
He died on 27 July 1890 at the age of 62 and is buried in the Church of England section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery. At the time of his death he owned two small farms at Germantown. These were sold in 1902. One of nearly 41 acres, was sold to Mr Andressen for £19/5/- per acre. The second, which comprised 18 acres, was purchased by Mr O Renzow for £21/15/- per acre.
On 6 September 1865 his son Robert Johnston Tuffs drowned at the age of 16.
Another son, John Robert Tuffs, born in 1866 at Grovedale, was the second engineer of the Shire of South Barwon from September 1890 to 1915 and the engineer of the Borough of Newtown and Chilwell from 1900 to 1921. He had wide experience at other shires. Living at Leigh Creek he became secretary and engineer of the Bungaree Shire Council about four years prior to his death on 12 August 1942.
He died while driving his car to Melbourne when he was overcome by a heart attack. He lost control of the car, which crashed through a fence and fell over a 20 foot embankment. The mishap occurred within three of four miles of Bacchus Marsh on the Ballarat side, in the vicinity of the Pentland hills. He left a widow and two daughters. He was buried at the Ballarat Cemetery.
An early map dated 1855 shows a park and reserve of 36 acres. In the north east corner of the reserve a block is reserved for a cemetery. In April 1863 the South Barwon Council wrote to the president of the Board of Land and Works to oppose the establishment of a cemetery in this location. The area had a Lutheran cemetery and most of the residents were of this faith.
TM Burke Pty Ltd began accumulating land in Grovedale in the 1950s. Development, when it took place, was to be as a satellite township with a green belt, in the area of Waurn Ponds Creek, to separate it from Belmont. Early in the 1960s the first and probably largest subdivision of this land was marketed. Karnn Street had its name changed to Highfield Drive after it was found to be confused with Karana Avenue and Kana Street.
TM Burke, a businessman and philanthropist, was born in Ararat in 1870. He contested the 1914 election as the Labor candidate for Corangamite but was defeated. He worked for the railways after leaving Ararat High School and then turned to real estate when he could buy land in the depressed market of the war years. He then subdivided and sold it on low deposits and easy terms in the immediate post war period. As a Catholic benefactor he bought Studley Hall in Kew and gave it to the Jesuits as a preparatory school for Xavier College. It became known as Burke Hall. His large donations helped to establish Corpus Christi College, Werribee. He was a member of all major racing clubs and an owner of successful racehorses. He died of cancer in 1949. His portrait hangs in the library of Burke Hall.
Geelong's first radio station, 3GL, transmitted from the block on the corner of Heyers and Bieske Roads from October 1938 until late in 1980. The aerial was 138 feet high. The Residents living close to this area found it caused interference with some radio stations, and also could be heard on the phone. In 1975 the Grovedale Progress Association wrote to the manager of 3GL informing him that residents were dissatisfied with this.
A mixed business operated from a shop built on the corner of Burdoo Drive and Heyers Road (lot 26). Mrs Sceney ran this business for many years. A pharmacy was later built next to this shop about 1970. In 1978 the two shops were demolished to make way for the new arcade style shopping complex. This shopping centre built by Hooker Developments contained sixteen shops plus a supermarket. The popularity of these shops suffered when the new Waurn Ponds centre opened. It was subsequently re-developed to give all shops access to the carpark to the north.
100 years ago — a few items from newspapers and cemetery records:
1915 was not a particularly good year. A monumental drought had caused the crops to fail, the wool clip to be low and the price of chaff to rise. The Great War was continuing longer than expected and the Spanish flu and meningitis epidemics were a constant fear.
Two soldiers who were buried at Mount Duneed Cemetery in 1915 both died of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis before they left Australia. They were Charles Henry Challis and Joseph Paul Lugg.
Born at Mount Duneed in 1878 Private Charles Henry Challis, who enlisted on 13 July 1915, a farmer from Connewarre died in the Bendigo Hospital on 10 September 1915 aged 37. He was the son of Harry and Sarah Ann (nee Porter) Challis.
His brother Private Edwin Challis, a foreman who lived at Connewarre was born at Mount Duneed in 1882. He was wounded in action on 14 June 1918. After re-joining his unit he died from injuries caused by an accident on a farm on 18 December 1918. He was buried at the Maubeuge Communal Cemetery.
A third son Private Sydney Gordon Challis, a farmer, enlisted on 17 April 1916. He was born at Mount Duneed in 1896 and was declared killed in action on 11 April 1917 by Court of Enquiry.
Private Francis Henry Challis a former farmer born on 8 December 1883 at Barwon Heads was a railway employee married to Elsie May and living at Sandringham prior to enlistment. He was declared killed in action on 12 May, 1917 by Court of Enquiry in the vicinity of Bullecourt. He had one son. He was the son of Francis Henry and Jessie Elizabeth Challis.
Private William Jacob Fuller, a farmer from Connewarre, was declared killed in action at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. He had been missing for nineteen months. He was the 25 year old son of Robert and Susanna (née McLeary) Fuller. He is remembered on his parents gravestone in the Presbyterian section of the Mount Duneed Cemetery.
Percy George Graham, son of John George Graham and Caroline Matilda née Vagg, was killed in action at Gallipoli on 2 May 1915. Before enlistment he was a farmer from Connewarre. He is remembered at the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula, Canakkale Province, Turkey and also on his parents headstone in the Methodist section at Mount Duneed Cemetery.
Charles Altmann, son of John Altmann and Louisa Wheelhouse (née Schneider) of Mount Duneed, was killed in action at Gallipoli on 29 November 1915 at the age of 24 years. His brother Alfred Altman enlisted in 1915 in Nagambie but was discharged in the following year as medically unfit after diptheria followed by post diptheritic neuritis affecting his sight and legs.
Rev George Allen Stewart
On 6 September 1915 Rev George Allen Stewart, aged 36 years, died of wounds at Alexandria. He was a Presbyterian Minister and Corporal in the 6th Reinforcements, 14th Infantry Battalion. He was the third son of John and Mary Stewart of Dhuliebeeil, Mount Duneed. He was buried at Chatby Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Alexandria, Egypt. On Sunday morning 10 September a marble tablet was unveiled in the Pyramid Hill Presbyterian Church erected to the memory of the late Corporal George Stewart, who was a previous minister of the church. The brothers of the deceased soldier Mr AM Stewart of Lake Charm and Mr J Stewart of Mount Duneed were present at the ceremony. His name was listed on the Mount Duneed State School Honour Roll.
Blog Created by:
Together They Served
Torquay Museum Without Walls
Births, Deaths & Marriages Victoria
Geelong and District Database
Geelong Cemetery Index
Australian War Memorial
Surf Coast Early Schools
Barwon Heads History