Toodyay Historical Society


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Left: Donegan’s Cottage, headquarters of Toodyay Historical Society 

 

 

The History of Donegan’s Cottage

1901 James advertised a cottage in North Newcastle, occupied by his son, William James Donegan (Bill).

Bill and Margaret Reardon (Maggie) had married in 1890Their first child, Douglas William, died at birth in 1892. 

They raised their five surviving children in Donegan’s Cottage:

  • James Roy (Roy) b. 1893,
  • Gertrude Ellen (Gertie) b. 1896,
  • Wesley William (Bill Junior) b. 1900,
  • Harold Francis b.1905
  • Kathleen Mary b.1909. 

1910 Lot 19 and part of Lot 23 were transferred to the Crown, probably for the new Bolgart railway line across part of the Showgrounds behind Donegan’s Cottage. The remainder of Lot 23 containing the cottage was transferred to James Donegan’s son Bill.

Bill was the caretaker of the Showgrounds until his death in 1954. The cottage and part of Lot 24 were left to his son Harold, an employee of Industrial Extracts Ltd, who had married Blanche Leeder in 1941.

There were further alterations to lot numbers over the years, and in 1977, the front part of Lot 23 became Lot 201.

1981 The Toodyay Shire Council bought Donegan’s Cottage to extend the Showgrounds. Harold Donegan was granted tenancy until his death in 1993. Blanche had died six months before him.



Coming Events

2019

Upcoming Events 

 
February 2019
 
Wed  20 Feb, 7pm:
 
THS Meeting, Drummond House 
 
Sat 23 Feb, 7pm:
 
Event: BBQ in Duidgee Park
 
March 2019
 
 
Wed  20 Mar, 7pm:
 
THS Meeting, Drummond House. Feature Speaker: Desraé Clarke, oral history interview with the Principal of Toodyay District High at the time of the 1993 school fire.
 
Sunday 31 Mar, 2.00pm:
 
Event: Visit to Bilya Koort Booja Centre for Noongar Culture and Environmental Knowledge, Northam, 2.00pm, followed by riverside stroll and fish'n chips picnic tea. Contact Secretary for further information.
 
April 2019
 
Sunday 14 February, 2pm (check venue): 
 
AGM, 2pm, (probably Anglican Hall - check closer to date): Guest Speaker: Len Leeder on 'WA Railways on the move, 1960s to 1990s'.
 
Wed  17 April, 7pm:
 
THS Meeting, Drummond House 
 
No end of month event planned at present.

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 THS Snapshots  

2018-2019 events
 
Christmas Party
The old Wicklow Shearing Shed was a popular venue for the THS 2018 wind-up - thank you to Margie Eberle and the Shire of Toodyay. 
The night included a delicious feast, background music supplied by Joe Edgecombe, the launch of Beth Frayne's new volume in theToodyay Chronology series and a tricky quiz devised by Bob Frayne.
 
 

Historic Connor's Mill

In October, members  viewed the new Coorinja Winery display, shared a sumptuous spread, caught up with friends and listened to Beth's lively stories of  the building when it was the Powerhouse generating Toodyay's  electricity in the first half of the 20th Century. 

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The Edison Phonograph returns to Toodyay
In September, Richard Rennie entertained a capacity crowd in the Toodyay Library. We heard about Professor Archibald's remarkable demonstration of the Edison Phonograph in the Newcastle  Mechanics' Institute on Sept 3 1891. We were also able to listen to a genuine cylinder being played on an Edison Phonograph.
 
 
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The Great Ride 

Carmel Charlton charmed the crowd in the Toodyay Memorial Hall in September, with her presentation on an epic WWI trek involving the 10th LIght Horse. 

Butterly Cottages
 Association History
Dr Robyn Taylor presented a fascinating talk at the June THS meeting on the fundi
ng, building and ongoing history of the Butterly Cottages for local retirees in Toodyay. Very few Australian towns can boast such accommodation run by an independent volunteer body. The Committee's fundraising and organisational success over the years has been phenomenal.
 
Lost Images of Toodyay Rediscovered
At the movie afternoon in June, an enthusiastic crowd thoroughly enjoyed the introductory feature, a short film from the Eastern Goldfields Historical Society. It told the fascinating story of the completion of the Trans Australian railway, with many wonderful images.  
The main feature was a film made by Rick Mason, who was involved in the exciting rescue and identification of a wonderful recently-discovered collection of Toodyay-related glass negatives in the collection of Robert Faust, who was manager of the Toodyay CLub 1911-1931. Members were able to view a display of copies of some of the prints from these negatives during afternoon tea.

Nursing at Toodyay

The July meeting was enlivened by a real treat: Desrae Clarke's Oral History interview with former Toodyay nurse, Agnes Cook. Agnes described with great good humour the very basic living and nursing conditions which existed at Toodyay Hospital in earlier years, around the 1930s-1940s.

Historic York

A very cheery group of members enjoyed the recent Historical Society visit to York, which included a fascinating tour of the Residency Museum. After a picnic lunch in the museum grounds we explored the wonderful new ANZAC display in the York Town Hall. 

Moondyne Festival

This year's Moondyne Festival in Tooday was a great success, in spite of the changeable weather. Our Historical Society stall was popular. Visitors enjoyed studying our display on Moondyne Joe. Others were keen to make  inquiries about their own Toodyay ancestors.  

E.L. Mitchell: the photographer who shaped Australia

Joanna Sassoon, special guest at our AGM in April, gave a fascinating talk on her recent book about E.L.Mitchell, the boy from Yorkshire who became a commercial photographer, much in demand. 
Mitchell moved to W.A. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work was often published in Western Mail features and the Battye Library holds large numbers of his works, which have tremendous value now for historians.
He was a superb photographer. Toodyay Historical Society has obtained copies of 19 wonderful images of Toodyay and surrounds, c.1920, believed to be the work of Mitchell.
 Jenny Edgecombe showed copies of these Toodyay images at the April general meeting. These included iconic local buildings such as  Masonic Lodge, Gaol and St Stephen's,St Philip's Church and rare shots of what were probably Yock Lunn's orchard and  Coondle School.

 

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