Steiglitz State School - Good News

Update - October 2017 - THE SCHOOL IS MOVING!

The new site for the old school is in Regent Street - uphill from the little white church, hard up against Cooper's Orchard.  The school will fit in behind the beautiful old peppercorns at the front of the orchard.

Parks Victoria will incorporate the unused piece Government road into the Steiglitz historic site once the road closure is complete. 

Why that site?

  • The school will sit lower then on other sites...a major concern for a building so much taller then other wooden structures in town. Meaning it will now blend in, rather then stand out.

  • Creates a little 'village green' feel with St. Paul's Church.  Not only great for BtS events, though perfect for future needs to pay for itself...through wedding/party hire.

  • Maintains the pattern of distance between existing town buildings.

  • Site isn't prone to flooding

  • Whatever toilet/water infrastructure is eventually installed, won't threaten Sutherland's Creek.

  • Gives the School a chance of bushfire survival.

  • Placing on an old road, it won't be covering a historic site.

  • Easy to protect from future vandalism.

  • It was also the only site which allowed the school front to face the road, and the doors to face St. Paul's...it just works!

Giant THANKS to each & every one who played role throughout this BtS goal.  

Attending meetings, passing on contacts, supplying water to the thirsty masses, keeping others in the loop, constantly supporting everyone, writing letters, making endless phone calls, turning up at the oddest places, digging up valuable information, inspiring us, and so much more.  

 

Update - 2 March 2017 - The site survey is scheduled for completion very soon and we will be looking at siting and orientation.


 

Being part of any community has both benefits and pitfalls.

18 January 2017 was at the top of my ‘benefit’s list.    It was amazing! 

The seed was sown 7 years ago, when the Back to Steiglitz Association (BtS) discovered the historic Steiglitz School was at risk.  The only way to save it was relocation. Though ‘how’ to get that achieved was a massive problem.

The years between then & now, have taken us on a frustratingly long and tiresome journey.  Our first member to take up the challenge (Chris Kempers) kept at it for 3 years.  Though being tossed from one government department to another left her dizzy & disheartened, so she quit.

I took up the challenge next.  Four years on, my head felt bruised from all the brick walls I kept banging into.  Like Chris, I began to feel as if my efforts were futile ... this school was never getting moved.

Until about a year ago, that is.  That was a year like no other ....  and one topped off with a cherry-of-a-day on 19 January.


After all these years,  at 10am on 18 January - Golden Plains Shire (GPS), Parks Victoria (PV), BtS, National Trust, CFA, various Doctors & Professors and numerous locals all met at the Bert Boardman Recreation Reserve.

Our collective aim?  To find three possible relocation sites for the Steiglitz School…in the heart of Steiglitz itself!

You should have seen us all.  Led by GPS wonders -  Greg Anders and Jill Evans, we armed ourselves with maps, hats, sensible shoes, great big grins, and icy cold water (thank you Joanne Burns of GPS), then set off.

A quick look at said school was a must, for many had never met this grand old dame in person.  Some, like Lyn & John Pierotti (National Trust), imagined it the cute little cottage many schoolhouses of that era were.  Whereas, built to cater to a bustling gold rush town,  the Steiglitz School is actually huge.  So, after a moment of awed silence and appreciation, photos and measurements were taken.  Then our convoy headed back to ‘town’…ready & rearin’ to find that perfect spot. 

With a population of 7 (total of Steiglitz residents when everyone’s home), our band of 30 strong was a sight to behold.  En masse we’d stop as each new site was suggested.  Without comment, someone’s long strides would measure it out, quickly followed by someone else, either Chris Smith (PV) or Dr Justin Oakley (Monash Uni), pulling out an ancient map or two. Around which we’d quickly huddle, eager to discover whether this site was a viable option.  

Local Steiglitz-ites, Colin Smithyman, Phil Dickson, Peter Sharp and myself, added our knowledge about which buildings had once stood there.  Dale Aston & Tim Waller (GPS) mixed in relevant surveying or permit points.  Maude CFA members, Ralph & Kathy Nordin, were a wealth of fire knowledge & considerations.  Topped off by Stuart Lardner with a touch of PV’s perspective. 

At one point a large mullock heap in the centre of town offered Paul Roser (PV), Maude local Dr Gray (Deakin Uni), Kathryn Oakley, and Steiglitz locals Bill & Roz Speirings, the perfect viewing point to discuss the lay of the land.  While Cooper’s Orchard offered another perspective for our Maude, She Oaks, Steiglitz Community Planning Group reps (Alan & Pauline Tournier) and animated BtS members, Kathy Mar, Sue Roden, Gill Dickson, Chris McKenzie and Jack Boardman.  And although my husband, Terry, said he was talking with the other BtS members, his stained hands make me think he’d momentarily snuck off to enjoy Mrs Cooper’s mulberries!

Apart from one old hippy in the mulberry tree, thinking back on what we must have all looked like, the term ‘poetry in motion’ comes to mind.  Sounds daft I know, though this was a very special moment indeed.

At no other point in the 7 years had all these groups come together, or even come close to working as smoothly as we all did that morning.  Suddenly, we were as one.  What, for years, couldn’t be decided upon, was nutted out in minutes.  There’s no other word for it apart from ‘incredible.’

So incredible I really felt the need to share it with all of you.  For this is not just a BtS achievement, it’s a community achievement.  Many of you reading this right now had a hand in making such a special moment happen.

Our GPS CEO, Rod Nicholls…what can we say about you Rod, besides - you’re a priceless asset.  Having a CEO who loves his community as much as you do, has been a rare gift indeed.   A giant ‘thank you’ for all you’ve done.  Ex-Mayor Jenny Blake…there’s a touch of your special magic in there too Jen.  Then there’s our wonderful Dr Fiona Gray…you really got the ball rolling last year when you wrote a paper on the school’s plight.  We love you so much Fi we’re considering increasing our official Steiglitz population to 8…lol.  Parks Victoria…your recent support for this has been both vital, and so encouraging for we who had almost given up.

Though there’s also many more who own a part of this accomplishment.  All those who signed our petitions.  Those who attended BtS fundraising events each year.  Strangers who, after reading an article on the school, spread the word amongst their friends.  And then there’s the very special individuals, like young Thomas Welsh.  

Thomas, a Grovedale lad (and newest BtS member), seems to have taken the BtS under his wing.  For while most young boys would be playing outside during their holidays, Thomas was helping our plight by ‘sending letters to politics to save the school’, as his Christmas card told us.  Brilliant!

Before I go, I’ll share one last little snippet.

Our favourite relocation site was one with a rather smile-inducing twist.  Turns out Steiglitz residents had been trying to get this very same school moved into town more than a hundred years ago.  We found their original petition.  Guess where they wanted it moved to?  Yep!

With ridiculously happy Steiglitz grins,                                                                                            

Lindy Allinson and the Back to Steiglitz Association.

P.S.

If you’d like to keep up with exciting School developments, get involved yourself, or even become a BtS member and keep an eye on our website for progress and more info -   www.backtosteiglitz.org.au/steiglitz-state-school

 

More info on competition

The aim - to sew a pennant…in one hour.

Yep, you heard right, you have one whole hour in which to create your bunting masterpiece!

Though don’t panic, for it can all be pre-cut beforehand, at home.

To make it fair, each pennant is to be a uniform size…12 inches by 14 inches.

Your Steiglitz design can be on one side.  It may be pinned in place only…no tacking allowed.  

In keeping with the Olde Worlde theme, no iron on, or glue to be used please.

All hand-crank machines will be pre-threaded. You may re-thread a machine if you want to use another colour, though it is to be done within your one hour sewing time.

When your hour is up, attach your name, then hand your finished pennant to the judges.

USING A HAND CRANK SEWING MACHINE

A group lesson can be arranged (at no cost) for anyone a little unsure of their abilities.  The lesson would possibly be at 9 am on the morning of the event.                                                      

Ring Lindy to discuss and book a place.  

Keep in mind, both hosts (Judi & Wayne of Sew What) assure us these machines are easy to use.

SAFETY

Everyone knows, no matter how careful we are, sometimes accidents happen.                                                  

In order to minimize any mishaps during this competition, spectators will be kept out of the sewing area.                                                                                                                     

Remember, a free lesson is on offer if you’re worried about using these sewing machines.                  

It’s also helpful if you have a clear plan in mind prior to sitting at the machines.  Know what you want to do, work within the safety guidelines required for operation of these machines, and everything should go smoothly.

 However, if an incident does occur due to human error, please know neither the Back to Steiglitz Association, nor Wayne & Judi McKail of Sew What, will be held responsible.  

CHILDREN

There are no age restrictions in this wonderful competition.                                               

However, all minors wanting to enter need a responsible adult to accompany them.                                          

That same adult will take responsibility for the safety of that minor throughout the entire hour of sewing.

AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THIS COMPETITION

Fun! Fun! And more fun!

That’s right.  We, the Back to Steiglitz Association, and Judi & Wayne McKail, INSIST you enjoy yourselves when participating in this weird & wacky competition.

It’s essential.  No ifs, buts, or maybes about it!

WHAT IF YOU’RE THE WORST SEWER IN THE WORLD?

Love the idea of this competition? Though your sewing skills leave much to be desired?              

Wayne & Judi have thought up something for you too.  

They have a quirky old machine embroidery machine.  So, for a gold coin donation, you can purchase one of the pre-cut pennants and have it personalized.  You can then watch as Judi adds it to the longest length of bunting ever created on a treadle & crank sewing machines in Steiglitz!  

If what you’ve just read has your cheeks hurting with all the smiling, then  fill out this entry form.

Remember, not just teams can enter.  Perhaps you’re a family whose sewing skills cross generations.      

If so, enter as a team!   

Have you seen this trophy?

Silly Billy Award

The Back to Steiglitz Association is seeking the whereabouts of our magnificent, locally hand-crafted trophy.

Each Festival, winners of our ‘Old Fogies’ (or Silly-Billy) Billy cart race get their name etched into the back of this beautiful piece of history.  After which they have two whole years to relish their reign…with the help of our awesome trophy.  

Then, and although we understand this is heartbreaking for some, it must be returned to our loving care.  For the next Champion eagerly awaits!

With our Festival fast approaching we’re beginning to panic.  How can you crown a new king if you can’t locate the crown?

This problem has never arisen before.  Though somehow, we neglected to record the last ecstatic winner’s name (pictured).  Meaning, we now know not where our beloved trophy is!

So if this unique piece of art has pride of place in YOURS or your mate’s shed, then please contact me asap.  For without it the Steiglitz Billycart Race just won’t be the same.

With earnest appreciation,

Lindy Allinson  5281 9390 

Steiglitz State School

The Back to Steiglitz Association has been trying to save part of Australia’s heritage - an irreplaceable school building.  


Steiglitz is described in a 2013 Heritage Report as ‘one of the most important early gold rush towns in Victoria.  Amongst the best ghost towns in the country, it’s also the last town in Victoria without electricity.  Over 60,000 tourists enjoy its serene bush setting annually. Steiglitz boasts a handful of historic buildings, one designed by renowned architect Henry Bastow.  

However it's school is missing and could be relocated back into the Steiglitz community.  

Once beautiful and larger than a normal school for that time -  to cater for a bustling gold rush town, this schoolhouse as seen above in around 1890s has been neglected so long it’s now derelict.   

The Back to Steiglitz Association is keen to use their resources and raise the funds required to relocate the school - if and when a location has been identified and approved  

............ and time is running out for this building. 

This school is part of their community.  

 

Historical authorities agree with BtS - this building is special.  Their detailed management plans, academic papers, and reports confirm the importance of this town.  Filled with facts, figures and citations, their expert opinions add weight to the worth of every building in Steiglitz - especially its school.

Presently in an isolated location where it was moved to in 1980, it is continuously vandalized.  BtS believe the school won’t survive where it is.  It is on land owned by the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning  - and the school building was gifted to BtS a few years ago on one proviso; it be moved.  

BtS began searching for a new site.  Everyone jumped on board – Shire, Engineering Consultants, local land owners, a renowned Doctor of Architecture, even politicians.  

Dr. Fiona Gray, Deakin University’s Faculty of Science Engineering and Built Environment, in her July 2016 paper focuses on this very school and discusses the difficulties faced when protecting historic buildings.  How complications, such as cost and planning, can make custodial inertia an easier option then conservation. Dr. Gray asks whether this plays a role in the severe state of disrepair seen in many historic sites today.  Posing an interesting question: should such custodial neglect be viewed as a form of demolition? 

However although a site was found in about 2013 it appeared the hurdles were not yet over until some real progress was made on 19 January 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Plains Arts Trail

The Back to Steiglitz Art Group is featuring in the Arts Trail 2014 - at St Paul's Church.  A great opportunity to visit historic Steiglitz town.  Suggs Blacksmith Cottage will also be open for afternoon tea break on your travels. 

See flyer for full Arts Trail program.  Experience open studios & creative spaces in a diverse rural setting. Annual Art tour & weekend adventure in March, between Geelong & Ballarat.

What's New?

More GREAT news on our old School building - 18 October 2017

 

Airing of the Quilts and Back to Steiglitz Reunion 2017 on Saturday 7 October a GREAT SUCCESS!

 

Recognition for a job well done!

A certificate of Recognition was recently awarded at the 2017 Golden Plains Shire Australia Day Awards   - see more

 

Steiglitz State School - Good News 18 January 2017

After 7 years, a location for the old school has been found.

The Back to Steiglitz Festival was held on Sunday 23 October, 2016 - another GREAT DAY in Steiglitz.

Historic Places Investigation Final Report - 31 August 2016

Sugg's Blacksmith's Cottage at Steiglitz features on the cover of the newly released report by the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council.   Back to Steiglitz Association is included in list of proposals received. 

STEIGLITZ SCHOOL - in the news!   August 2016

See Dr Fiona Gray's article about the Steiglitz State School,  first published  in the Royal Historical Society of Victoria News July 2016 and Steiglitz State School.

"La Mama theatre takes over historic Steiglitz homestead to stage Uncle Vanya"  in the Melbourne Age on 8 April 2016  

Airing of the Quilts and Back to Steiglitz Reunion - Sunday 25 October 2015

2014 - Our Special Sewing Competition!

Judi & Wayne McKail being passionate treadle sewing machine enthusiasts made us an offer.  Since Steiglitz (and our Festival) is about the colonial goldfield experience, what about a sewing comp?  One centred around something every Aussie colonial woman valued as much as gold – her treadle sewing machine.                      

This is how it worked – individual competitors (or teams) made a Steiglitz-inspired apron, on a beautiful old treadle cabinet sewing machine (no, it’s not BYO machine, Judi & Wayne supplied them!).  The event was in two sections – cutting/preparation, and sewing.

All entrants ended up creating a unique apron to keep.  The bonus being, two lucky winners also received a fully restored, antique treadle cabinet sewing machine each!                            

Great News 2014 - Silly Billy Trophy is found!

Our fabulous ‘Silly Billy’ trophy is back.  Thanks to the article & photo in the terrific Bannockburn Newsletter, we had a call from the Morris family where their grandson had recognised his Grandad’s (Lenny Morris) face amidst its pages.

They described how Lenny is absolutely chuffed to be now known as the ‘wanted man.’

He has the trophy polished & his name engraved, ready to hand back to us...though "only for a brief time" he says. For he’s also busy putting the finishing touches to what he describes as his winning billycart.   He firmly believes that at 70 years of age he’s gonna be reclaiming his title!

Our new Facebook Page

Please LIKE our new Facebook Page and keep an eye out for all the latest information on what is happening in Steiglitz and the preparations for our wonderful Festival as well.  

trophy wantedWANTED - Festival trophy back please!

Please check out this article -  Old Fogies (or Silly-Billy) billy cart race?  as we are eagerly looking for the last winner of this prestigious trophy so we can get it back for the Festival in October.

Bridge to be repaired!

Recent strong winds resulted in our beautiful historic wooden bridge being badly damaged and it will be restored appropriately thanks to the Golden Plains Shire quick response to our letters - wonderful!  Check out Facebook page - with pic.

Images

A Community Celebration – The Back to Steiglitz Festival - Sunday 23 October

The next Back to Steiglitz Festival is planned for October 2018.  

The 2016 Festival was again a great success.

As aptly quirky as the little ghost town itself, there’s something to delight everyone: gold panning, a blacksmith, Stalls, kids games, country baking, guided walking tour, musicians, engines, lace making, raffles, a BBQ, historical displays, the famous action-packed Steiglitz Billy Cart Races, and more!

With free entry, and prices that won’t break the bank, there was something for everyone plus  helping the Back to Steiglitz Association (BTS) do what they do best – save the town’s historic buildings from tumbling down and disappearing forever.

Though this Festival isn’t just a fundraiser for Steiglitz. Or simply a reunion.  It’s a real coming together of groups from many different towns … a reflection of our wider community.  And by attending you’ll be showing your support for all those families who make this such a great place to live.

Some of us may be lucky enough to not realize how much that can mean.  While others know that the smallest gesture of community support can make a world of difference.

For more about our previous Back to Steiglitz Festivals

  • Buy a snag and help the Maude CFA. 
  • Yummy scones and jam will mean the Anakie PFA can give their kids a better education.
  • Entering the Billy Cart Races will be broadening the horizons of local scouts and cubs. 
  •  Enjoying high tea at Peppercorn Place Café will be supporting a wonderful woman building up her tiny business. 
  • Visiting the Steiglitz Historical Society’s Museum will inspire their volunteers to keep up all their hard work. 
  • And enjoying mouthwatering home cooking from Sugg’s tiny blacksmith’s cottage will enable the BTS to finish painting St. Paul’s Church.
  • Volunteer for a 2-hour shift and share any ideas you have to assist our small group and the success of the Festival.

So come on everyone, let’s all get behind this terrific little event, and do what country people are famous for - supporting our neighbours. 

Get involved  -.  More information about the Festival as well as forms and information for stalls and billy cart entries can be downloaded - see right.   Send us an email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or ring Lindy on 5281 9390

Back to Steiglitz Festival is put on by a group of volunteers.  We’ve been around a long time, and are about much more than raising money.  We’re about socializing, learning & sharing skills, fun, respect, friendship, and above all lots and lots of laughter.  Become a welcome member of this award winning association!

About us

The Back to Steiglitz Association is a local volunteer group with an aim of repairing and maintaining the town’s historic buildings.  our events including The Back to Steiglitz Festival support these projects.  

 

 

Our latest, and possibly biggest, project is saving the Steiglitz Schoolhouse – currently derelict and in danger of being lost forever.  

See What's New?  for the latest including Dr Fiona Gray's article "Steiglitz State School" which was first published in the Royal Historical Society of Victoria News July 2016.

 

JOIN US as a member - and be part of the fun. 

Please complete this membership form and email it to us.  

You can pay the princely membership fee of $2 a year in cash at the Festival or we can email you with bank details when we receive the form.  

 

Back to Steiglitz Association is an Incorporated Association

 

Back to Steiglitz Association

2704 Steiglitz Road

Steiglitz Township Vic. 3331

 

Reg A0023728J          ABN 75098845628