Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Via Catani Boulevard - 'pretentious' or 'one of the finest ever seen'?

Via Catani was the name given, at one time, for The Boulevard which runs between Heidelberg and Ivanhoe. It was, of course, named in honour of Carlo, who drew up the plans for the road. No less a person than Walter Burley Griffin approved the design of the  Boulevard, however some were less than impressed.

The first sod for the new road was turned on Monday, September 8 1913.This is part of a report in The Age of September 9, 1913 that tells us about this road - The ceremony, which took place yesterday afternoon ...was made possible by the patriotism and generosity of Messrs. P.E. Keam, Austin Sharp and F. Castella, who are interested in land extending for about three miles between Heidelberg and the city. These gentlemen have donated a strip of land 100 feet wide above flood mark, and have also given sufficient for a footway along the banks of the river itself. The spot where the first sod was turned yesterday is over a quarter of a mile from the water's edge, but the intervening land is liable to floods, and it would not do for a large sum of money to be spent on it. Where the land keeps high, the proposed road will run adjacent to the bank. Mr.Catani, the Government engineer, has prepared plans for the boulevard, which will include accommodation for carriages, foot passengers/bicyclists and equestrians, some what similar to the lay out of Alexandra-avenue from St. Kilda-road, but it will not be quite so elaborate. Read the full article, here.

1. A general view of the new Boulevard looking towards Heidelberg. 2. Entrance to the Boulevard from Lower Heidelberg Road.
Weekly Times, September 23 1916

As you can see from the article I quoted from, above,  there was discussion about the location of the road not being close to the river and on January 17, 1914 The Age had a hard hitting article on the Boulevard  [read it here].  It started by criticising the Government - both State and Local - for their dalliance on the matter.  It then criticised  the Government for failing to buy up land along the river that would have allowed a boulevard along the length of the Yarra -  In the year 1912 the Government, at the suggestion of the metropolitan members of Parliament decided that the first step to be taken was to secure the land along the banks of the river. Twelve months ago the Public Works department undertook to secure options on privately held land fronting the river. What the department actually did has never been disclosed, but as far as can be ascertained it has not secured any of the land it was municipal authorities, but other land needed for the scheme has been cut up and sold while the Government or its representatives were asleep. And all the while the market price of land in Toorak, Hawthorn, Kew, Richmond, Collingwood and other river suburbs has been steadily advancing and making the ultimate hand ling of the scheme so much, the more expensive.

The report then talks about the work in the upper reaches of the Yarra i.e. between Heidelberg and Ivanhoe The "boulevard" is supposed to embrace in a 100-feet strip a footpath 10 feet wide, a 30-foot roadway for carriages and motor cars, and a pedestrian track. In addition, river bends have been secured for the establishment or parks and picnicking reserves. Those are the achievements of the Government at a cost of less than £3000. 

The facts, however, are disappointing. The most astonishing feature of the thing is that the "boulevard" is not a riverside avenue at all. All that is now visible as a result of the expenditure of £3000 is a partially formed road and footpath, not along the river bank, but up on the hills. At one or two points it gets within 100 yards of the river, but for the greater distance it is between 200 yards and half a mile away. The new road runs from near Heidelberg-bridge to the edge of a Chinese garden. There it stops like the serial story, to be continued— on the other side of the garden. The Chinese, holds this land on lease, and the officials apparently did not think it necessary to arrange with him for the running of the road through his properly......

The road is resumed on the other side of the garden, and by an easy grade it ascends the hills, getting further away from the river, to a spot where it is proposed to connect with a short unmade road that runs into Lower Heidelberg-road. On the way the officials have diverted themselves by making some interesting curves, and contortions along the hillside, which are calculated to keep a motorist so busy looking for accidents that he will not notice that the riverside road is half a mile away from the river. There are three curves of 3½ chains diameter, with the hill slope on one side, and on the other side banks that hide the view of approaching traffic. At the Ivanhoe end the pretentious "boulevard" stops short at a post and rail fence, and all the rights of private property and the majesty and might of the law unite to prevent the officials from pulling down that fence so that they might reach a public road 40 or 50 yards away...... with extraordinary stupidity the officials have, actually placed themselves in the power of the owner of that land. .....

Of the chapter of bungles into which the short history of this road is divided the most striking of all is the choice of a hillside for what is supposed to be a river side boulevard. It is only by a severe stretch of the imagination — stretching in fact back to the flood of 1891— that any connection between road and river can be understood. Excepting at the Heidelberg end the thoroughfare will give frontages on each side to private property, and in the course of time this expensive "boulevard" will become merely a suburban street — with dwellings on either side— constructed and fenced by a complaisant Government free of charge to the municipality and to the owners of the property.

So you get the picture, The Age was not happy with this pretentious boulevard. However, the next week, the next week the paper had a reply from the Minister of Public Works, Mr Hagelthorn.
One of the complaints is that the road as surveyed is not a river road. A boulevard, such as is being constructed, cannot be satisfactorily placed on land subject to flooding, which occurs periodically more or less three or four limes in a year. In 1911 it was flooded, to a depth of 15 feet, in 1891 24 feet, and move than once every year it has been flooded from two to three feet. However, the road is primarily intended to be a pleasure drive, having easy access to the river at various points. Mr Hagelthorn also dealt his trump card with this statement Mr Catani's conception of this great boulevard has been approved by Mr. Griffin, the designer of the Federal Capital, who stated that the drive was one of the finest he had ever seen and if it were in Chicago it would be worth millions to the people. Read the full article, here

The Boulevard - A bend at Ivanhoe
Weekly Times, September 23 1916

The road was officially opened sometime in late 1915 or 1916, I haven't found an official opening date yet. The  local community were obviously well pleased with the work Carlo carried out on their behalf as at Heidelberg Shire Council meeting held Tuesday, August 20, 1918 the following took place - Cr. Keam, referring to the death of the late Mr Catani, said that in order to perpetuate his memory, he proposed that the Minister for Public Works be asked to name the boulevard "The Via Catani." An Italian by birth, Mr Catani did a lot for the beautification of the Yarra, and it would be fitting to name the boulevard after him.-Seconded by Cr. Hannah and carried. (Heidelberg News, August 24, 1918).  This name change was approved by the Department of Public Works in the September and Via Catani came into being. Sadly it seems to have been a very short term name - there are advertisements for land with frontages to Via Catani in April 1919, but that is the last year I can find a mention of the road being called that name. Perhaps the locals thought that the French sounding The Boulevard was more to their  tastes than the Italian sounding Via Catani. Interestingly, there was a letter to the Editor of The Argus on July 17, 1918 that suggested that the road should be renamed Anzac Boulevard as a lasting memorial to our brave boys. (Read the letter, here)

As for whether Via Catani or The Boulevard is just pretentious or the drive was one of the finest ever seen and if it were in Chicago it would be worth millions to the people, you can be the judge.

Advertisement for land in the Valley Vue Estate, with frontages to Via Catani.
The Herald April 5, 1919

I have created a list of newspaper articles on Trove about the Via Catani, access the list, here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Mr Catani eulogised

This interesting report of a meeting of the St Kilda Council, from the Malvern Standard of May 26, 1917 is, as the headline suggests, a eulogy to Carlo, who had just retired from the Public Service.  What we learn, inter alia, is that his work on the St Kilda foreshore was admired, that he had retained his juvenility notwithstanding the great work he had done throughout the State - that's a bit of an old fashioned way to say young at heart (or I think it is, anyway). We also find out that he had no interest in becoming the Mayor of St Kilda and that in 1879 it was his duty to plan out the Lower Esplanade. 1879 - only three years after he arrived in Victoria. Carlo also reveals that he could not see how any objections could he raised to the taking of sand for the work of beautification because the foreshores were just as much public property as the sun that shined to give us warmth. Apparently, not everyone agreed with that view and yes, it is hard for me to write that not everyone thinks he is perfect, but there you go. Finally, another thing we learn about Carlo is that he made reference to indecorum on the beaches, saying that while police efforts were put forward to put down soothsayers, so firm steps should also be taken to stamp out the indecorum referred to. Interesting that he equates indecorum on beaches with soothsayers, clearly he didn't approve of them as well.

You can read the article on Trove, here, and it is transcribed, below.

St Kilda Esplanade, 1875. Artist: Elizabeth Parsons. 
This is only four years before Carlo said he started his work on planning out the lower Esplanade in St Kilda; this view must be almost as he had seen it for the first time.
State Library of Victoria Image H36676/17

At the meeting of the St Kilda Council on Monday evening Mr. C. Catani, who recently resigned from the Public Works Department, was present by invitation. Another visitor was Mr. R. G. McCutcheon, M.LA.

The Mayor (Cr. Barnet) said it was the desire of the council to express appreciation of Mr. Catani's services not only to St Kilda, but the whole of the State. Mr. Catani had had a great deal to do in making Elwood what it was, and it was his mind that had also brought the beautification work along the foreshore generally. They all admired the great work he had done. It was admired not only by citizens of St. Kilda, Victoria, and from other parts of the Commonwealth, but from other parts of the world. From early morning till late at night Mr. Catani had given his time to beautifying the foreshore. It would ever stand as a monument to his handiwork. For 41years he had been connected with the Public Works Department, and during that time he had been associated with important works in other parts of the State. It was well to know that Mr. Catani would continue to act as a member of the St. Kilda Foreshore Committee. They all hoped that Mr. Catani would live long to continue the good work he had only commenced. They were proud of Mr. Catani, and were deeply appreciative of what he had done for St. Kilda.

Other councillors also added their quota of praise of Mr. Catani.

Cr. Love said Mr. Catani still retained his juvenility notwithstanding the great work he had done throughout the State. He looked forward to the time when Mr. Catani might possibly occupy the position Cr. Barnet occupied that evening as Mayor (Mr Catani smiled, and shook his head in the negative). Mr. Catani's fine work of beautification would stand as a monument to his memory.

Cr. Hewison spoke of Mr. Catani's strong individuality, which, he said, no doubt was the cause of his having such marked influence over his fellow members of the foreshore committee.

Cr. Sculthorpe said he would have liked to have seen more of Mr. Catani's handiwork at Elwood. Crs. Hart, Allen, Hughes and Pittard added their eulogies of Mr. Catani's work.

Mr. McCutcheon said he was extremely sorry that Mr. Catani had resigned from the public service. He had given magnificent service to the State, and during his long career in the Public Service he had gained the good-will and esteem of all with whom he had come in contact.

A summer day on the Beach at Elwood  - it looks about the 1930s. 
I cannot see any indecorum going on there, nor any soothsaying for that matter, but perhaps that type of behaviour only happened in St Kilda, not Elwood.
State Library of Victoria Image H32492/1216

Mr. Catani, in rising to respond, was received with applause. He said that he really did not feel worthy of all the kind things said of him, but he would not be human if he were not deeply appreciative of the kind sentiments expressed. It was because of private reasons (Mr. Catani said) that he had resigned from the Public Service. Becoming reminiscent, Mr. Catani gave some interesting particulars of the early days of St. Kilda, and said that it was in the year 1879 that it was his duty to plan out the Lower Esplanade. Even at that period he was inspired with the great possibilities that were in store for the Esplanade. Making reference to the sand question. Mr. Catani said he could not see how any objections could be raised to the taking of sand for the work of beautification. He hoped to see a foreshore drive from Port Melbourne to Sorrento. What had already been done was only a decoy duck. The Brighton Council say they want their beach left as it is, but the whole of the foreshores were just as much public property as the sun that shined to give us warmth. In conclusion, Mr. Catani made reference to indecorum on the beaches, saying that while police efforts were put forward to put down soothsayers, so firm steps should also be taken to stamp out the indecorum referred to (Applause.)

Mr. Catani was subsequently chief guest in the mayoral parlor.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Kiss by Lake Catani by Johnny Wade and his Hawaiians

We were lucky to come across this recording by Johnny Wade and his Hawaiians of A Kiss by Lake Catani. I already had the sheet music - the song was written by Reg Hudson - read about him and see the lyrics, here - but this is even more exciting!    We have made a digital recording of the record, you can access it by clicking on this link, here.

So what do we know about Johnny Wade? Not a lot, but I came across this book The Strat in the Attic 2: more thrilling stories of guitar archaeology by Deke Dickerson (Voyage Press 2014) There is a chapter on the book written by Steve Lees, The first Australian Startocaster, about the first Fender Stratocaster guitar in Australia, which was owned by Johnny Wade.  Johnny Wade was a cousin of Steve's dad, who was also a guitar player. Steve tracked down Johnny (real name Charlie Wade) who still had the guitar which he got in about 1956 from an American friend. (Fenders were not imported into Australia until the early 1960s), which eventually Steve bought from him. Amongst other things Steve also had this information about Johnny Wade - a major Hawaiian music star in Australia in the 1950s with over 70 albums to his the late 1950s or early 1960s Johnny Wade played guitar at  the Brighton Hotel where he had  a residency. 

I put his name into Trove to see what I could find out about him - he started getting noticed in 1939, where a paper described him as a 'Sydney singer.' The Cumberland Argus of May 24, 1939 described him as a young vocalist whose voice is said to bear a remarkable resemblance to Bing Crosby. The first mention I can find of  Johnny Wade and his Hawaiians is in December 1947 - in this advertisement from the Melbourne Herald where the band is listed as recording for Regal Zonophone along with three other Hawaiian bands including the Hawaiian Club Quartet. See the original advertisement here.

 The  Darwin newspaper, The Northern Standard, of  February 3 1955 has this short biography of Johnny -

Although he likes to specialise in Hawaiian music, Johnny Wade is well-known as a straight singer. He has sung in many A.B.C. shows - he made his radio debut at the age of 9 as a boy soprano in the A.B.C. Children's Session-and sang and played in the band at the Prince Edward Theatre, Sydney, for many years. 

With various groups, he has recorded numerous Hawaiian numbers. His present group was formed six months ago specially for a new series of recordings and for these broadcasts. Members are Django Kahn and Neville Kahn (steel guitars), Johnny Wade (Spanish guitar), Noel Gilmore (vibraphone) and Wally Wickham (bass) 

The Kahn brothers and Johnny Wade have been associated with Hawaiian music for many years they met at Sydney's Hawaiian Club which Johnny joined to learn the guitar after his voice broke.

In 1949, Johnny visited the home of Hawaiian music-Honolulu-on his way to America. He sang at the famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel with Bill Akamohou's orchestra, and at Don the Beachcomber's, a Waikiki night club. He intends to send some of his new recordings, to be released here in February, to the hotel and hopes to get an engagement for his group.

There is a  photo of the band on the National Film and Sound Archive website of  Johnny and the band  and they list the band  members as Eric Kahn, bass; Norm Scott, ukulele; Neville Kahn, steel guitar; Johnny Wade, Spanish guitar and vocals. The band is labelled as the Hawaiian Club Quartet - even though as we have seen in the advertisement from 1947, above, this was a separate band to Johnny Wade and his Hawaiians - so is the photo incorrectly labelled? or  did Johnny have two bands? I don't know.

Left to right Eric Kahn, Norm Scott,  Neville Kahn  and Johnny Wade. They have the photo dated as 1939,  I don't believe this date is correct, photo looks later than that, either way - click on this link here and you can hear the band play Aloha Oe.

I don't have any information about when and if Johnny Wade was married or when or where he died.

This is the record cover, I believe the record was recorded in 1949, as it is advertised as a 'latest popular song hit' in the October, see ad here, however we know that it was written in at least 1947.  Listen to the digital recording we had made of this record, here.

I have created a list of newspaper articles on Johnny Wade on Trove, you can access them here.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Issac Hermann for getting the digital recording of this record and Paul Caine for finding the photo of the band on the NFSA.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Gorge Road to Beechworth Falls

On October 19, 1908 The Argus reported that Mr. Catani, chief engineer of the Board of Works, recently inspected the Beechworth Falls, which include "The Gorge" and "Sphinx." The Government has agreed to a survey for a Road, and to subsidise the project to the extent of £200 conditionally upon the Beechworth Shire Council subscribing £100. The Ovens and Murray Advertiser of October 17, 1908  reported on  the willingness of the Government to send Mr. Catani, Chief Engineer of the
Board of Works, to survey the road to the Beechworth Falls, so whether Carlo just inspected the Falls or surveyed the road is unclear by the newspaper reports, but it is likely that he actually did both - inspected the area and surveyed the road.

The Sphinx, Beechworth - one of the attractions of the Beechworth area that could be viewed with the new tourist road to the Beechworth Falls.
State Library of Victoria Image H87.206/76

At first, the Beechworth Council did agree to provide the £100  The question therefore arose as to who was to provide the £100 - the West Riding, in which the road occurs, or the entire shire, which may indirectly benefit by it? It was a nice question. The council, after some discussion, and not without emphatic dissent from the members of the South Riding ultimately decided that the expense should be borne by the entire municipality, on the ground that the work was " national," rather than local in character. (Ovens & Murray Advertiser, November 7, 1908)

However a report in a later paper said that the Council had not availed themselves of the offer The offer had not been availed of by the council, some of whose members were averse to the spending of municipal funds upon such an object. (Ovens & Murray Advertiser, November 20, 1908). Perhaps to try to get some local enthusiasm going to fund the road at a joint meeting of the Beechworth Shire and the Progress Association held on June 30, 1911 the Shire President reminded the meeting that when Mr. Catani visited Beechworth he was greatly in favor of a road along the Gorge. It appears that this meeting may have borne fruit as from further reports in the paper it seems that the road must have been started around 1911, because the Ovens and Murray Advertiser of June 8, 1912 said that the plans and specifications for Stage 2 of the Gorge road had been approved by the Public Works Department.

The Gorge, Beechworth
State Library of Victoria Image H90.140/530

Two years later the council had another government grant - this time £175 to complete the Gorge Road. They just needed £75 to add to the grant. The Beechworth Progress Association was right behind this proposal and planned to run a series of picture shows in Queen Victoria Park in order to raise the sum of £75 (Chiltern & Howlong Times February 13, 1914) Once again, the Shire Engineer prepared plans for the road and a bridge across Reid creek. Was the road completed then? I don't believe so as in 1916, there was a public meeting, this time to raise  £50 in order to claim the Government grant of £100 towards the completion of the Gorge Road. Was the road completed then? No, you can understand, of course, that the First World War would have taken the Government and community focus off tourist roads and onto other issues, so it wasn't until 1923 that work seemed to have recommenced. In 1923, the Tourist Committee, a Government body that had £50,000 to spend for beautification purposes....This time the Council was given £1000 towards the completion of the Gorge Road as long as the Council could raise £600. (Benalla Standard, August 24 1923)

The Gorge, Beechworth. Victorian Railways photographer.
State Library of Victoria Image H91.50/743

Tenders were called for the completion of the road in February 1924, which was described thus -  for a road that when completed, will open up some of the finest scenery in the district. (Albury Banner February 29, 1924). The Gorge Road was finally opened by the Minister of Public Works, Mr G. Goudie, on May 26, 1926 - 18 years after Carlo first surveyed the road.

I have created a list of newspaper articles on Trove about the construction of the Gorge Road, you can access it here.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Carlo creates an underground grotto of palms and ferns for 'Ye Olde Englishe Faire'

Ye Olde Englishe Faire was held at the Melbourne Town Hall to raise money for the Red Cross on June 1st, June 2nd and June 4th (the King's Birthday) in 1917. The Faire was opened by the Governor, Sir Arthur Stanley, who was accompanied by Lady Stanley, the President of the Victorian Division of the British Red Cross. The Town Hall was set up as a (fairly ornate, see the photo below) English Village and various Community groups had a stall, housed in a typical English building such Bishop Sparrow's House, Ann Hathaway's Cottage and Chequers Inn. It is Chequers Inn that we are interested in. Read on and you will find out why -

'The Chequers Inn', partly in possession of the Lyceum Club, presented a most attractive appearance. Pickles, jams, tried recipes, and many other household wants were purveyed by the learned members at reasonable prices, also many dainties. Lady Spencer presided, and was assisted by Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Webb, and Misses Allan, Viv. Byrne, Marjorie Rollason, Doris Madden and L. Slaweska.

A corner of  'Chequer's Inn', or rather an enclosure off it, was given the Flowers and Plant Stall, designed by Mr. Catani and Mr. Cooper. These clever landscape gardeners had converted the enclosure into one of the most artistic bits in the Fair. It was like an underground grotto of palms and ferns, whose outstretching fronds were hung with myriads of pale pink and mauve petalled poppies, each fairy like bloom centred with a globule of electric light. Branches of orange tree, on which grew the tiny Tangye fruit, and branches of heather and heath formed arched outlines that framed the entrance and show windows. Within were grouped beautiful blooms, including some very rare roses. 

Mrs. W. W. Cabena and Mrs. G. F. Holder were in charge, and were assisted by Mesdames F. Gabriel, J. Giles, W. Edward, J. W. Swanson, H. Taite, and the Misses Queenie Preston, D. Holden, Jago, Barr, M. Pearce, R. Tomlins, F. Revel, G. Kerr, D. M'Kenzie, D. Ludbrook, Bonnie Gill, M. Hewison, Bloomfield, Len. Andrews and her sister, and Miss R. C. Ballantyne.
(Punch, June 7, 1917)

es, even though Carlo was a busy man concerned with all the matters the Public Works Department was involved in, he still found time to create a wonderful garden for a stall for a Red Cross fund raiser. I wonder why he was involved with this function? Did he have a connection to Mrs W.W. Cabena? This was Mrs William Whyte Cabena. William was a City of Melbourne Councillor for twenty years and was Lord Mayor in 1918/1919. According to his obituary in The Age of December 12, 1928 he was the grandson of Guiseppe Cabena, who left Italy owing to Papal persecution and settled in Ulster. his birthplace was Londonderry.  He died at the age of 75, thus born around 1853 which makes him the same age as Carlo. Mrs Cabena was born Mary Ann Raisbeck. So was it the Italian connection or was he connected to one of the others? I don't know.

Photos of the Faire - they are very elaborate stalls.
Weekly Times June 9, 1917

I have created a short list of articles on 'Ye Olde Englishe Faire' on Trove, access it here.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Carlo and the Sale Canal

As early as the 1870s there was agitation for a canal to link the town of Sale to the Thompson River. In 1885, Sir John Coode drew up plans for this canal and a swinging basin and William Thwaites carried out the survey work for the project*.The canal was to be one and a quarter miles in length. You can see the plans and a description of the work to be undertaken, in the Gippsland Times of August 12, 1885, read it here.  The Tender for the first stage was let in 1886 and for the final stage in 1888. The Leader of November 3, 1888 had this report about the canal works  -
The tender of F. G. Mattinson, for the construction of the final section of the Sale canal, was accepted on Thursday by the Minister of Public Works. The amount of tender is £16,750, and £13,675 has already been expended upon the works, which are designed to enable vessels to navigate the Thompson river up to the town of Sale. The canal, when finished, will be one mile and a quarter in length, 85 foot wide at the top, with a basin 1200 feet by 200 feet.There will be 10 feet of water in the canal at low water (See article, here)

The work was finished around March or April 1890. I can't find a report of an official opening, but there surely would have been one - Politicians both Local and State have always loved those sort of events. A crane was approved for the wharf and a railway spur line from the main Gippsland line was also built, opening in  September 1890.

It was in November 1890 that we have our first mention in the papers of Carlo Catani's involvement with the project. He visited Sale and it was decided that they would erect an eighty foot long wharf shed and extend the wharf another 200 feet. Another paper reported that Carlo said the Public Works Department will also lay gas and erect a lamp at the wharf.

Gippsland Times November 14, 1890.

Two years after the canal was opened there were demands for it to be extended to the Thompson River to provide it with a continuous flow of  fresh water for 'sanitation purposes' - it was called a scour channel. Another report said that Flooding Creek, the creek that goes through Sale had been had a fresh running stream through Flooding Creek before the canal works stopped its course, and he thought they were entitled have a stream of fresh running water instead of the insanitary dead water of the canal basin. (Gippsland Times January 13, 1896). 

To extend the canal, land had to be purchased from landowners and negotiations were mainly successful on this front except with Mr Luke Murphy, who refused the offers. Carlo visited Sale on a number of occasions to help with the  negotiations but as a paper reported  The price demanded by Mr Murphy was considered altogether too exorbitant, and Mr Catani said it could not possibly be entertained. (Gippsland Times October 5, 1892) In the end a new plan was drawn up that deviated around the Murphy property, but even these plans were not acted upon and the canal extension or scour channel never happened.

Steamer leaving Sale for Gippsland Lakes
Photographer: Hammond & Co. Studios.
State Library of Victoria Image H82.96/147

Another side effect of not having a scour channel was that the canal began silting up, as early as 1895 there were demands that the Public Works Department send up a dredge to clean out the canal.  There are various reports in the papers about Carlo visiting Sale to discuss the dredging requests. The dredge, Wombat,  worked on the canal in 1898-1899 to restore the official depth, which had been materially reduced entirely by the erosion of the banks. In carrying out the work the original slopes of 2 in 1 were practically obliterated, and the bottom width of the canal increased from 40ft to nearly 60ft. The Wombat was engaged hereat on this occasion for 16 months, at an outlay of £5,664. But the eroding and silting is not likely to be recurring on so extensive a scale, but some erosion will always be inevitable. (Gippsland Times June 10, 1909)

The erosion did continue and in 1910 the Council still had concerns with the erosion and the shape of the banks. Carlo wrote a report for the Council which said, inter aliathe Sale canal, so far as this department is concerned, is not an improvement scheme designed with the object of pleasing the eye, but is merely an excavation made for navigation purposes, and so long as it answers that purpose it matters little what final shape the banks will assume.  (Gippsland Times June 9, 1910)

Sale Steamboat Company - SS Omeo, passing the swing bridge, near Sale, c. 1910
The Swing bridge over the Latrobe River is about three miles from Sale. The bridge was opened in 1883, it was the first movable bridge built in Victoria. It was designed by John Harry Grainger (1854-1917) - the father of Percy Grainger, the pianist and musician. It is listed on the Victorian Heritage database, see the citation here. You can read more about the work of John Harry Grainger, here.

By 1913, there were reports that the canal was now only eight feet deep, and in 1914 Carlo reported that around seventy pounds had been spent on the Sale wharf but another 400 pounds was still needed to make the repairs permanent. (Gippsland Mercury January 30, 1914)

In December 1915 Carlo, along with the Minister of Public Works and various other official visited Sale  and the issue of dredging of the whole waterway between Sale and the Entrance was on the agenda  at summer level the depth of water in some portions was so low that even the small steamers of the Sale Steamboat Company bumped and dragged through mud. With the larger vessels - like the Queenscliffe - which regularly traded to Sale, the master had a very difficult matter to navigate through safely.

Carlo, who was introduced as an an old friend of the borough [of Sale] is reported thus -   Mr Catani in acknowledging the complimentary references to himself said that it was 20 years since he was last in Sale, and he was very much surprised to see that that vital piece of work, the scour from the Thompson River above the pumping-station to the Sale Canal, still unfinished. (Gippsland Mercury December 21, 1915)

And that is how it remained - no scour channel and continual siltation issues. At its busiest more than sixty ships used the port of Sale** and I don't know when commercial traffic stopped plying the Sale Canal - there is a report in a 1935 paper that the wharf was in a dilapidated condition and it was demolished in 1952.

I have created a list of article on Trove about the Sale Canal and the involvement of Carlo Catani, you can access it here. The full articles from all the quotes in this post can be accessed on the list.

*Engineer to Marvellous Melbourne: the life and times of William Thwaites by Robert La Nauze (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2011) William Thwaites (1853-1907) later became the Engineer in Chief at the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works. You can read his entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, here.

**Sale: the early years and later by O.S Green (Southern Newspapers, c. 1978)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A kiss by Lake Catani composed by Reg Hudson

Very excited to find that there is a Carlo related song! A Kiss by Lake Catani was written by Reg Hudson around 1947*. Lake Catani, on Mt Buffalo, in Victoria,was named after Carlo in 1911 in recognition of the work he undertook to open up Mt Buffalo as a tourist resort.

The song sheet and music of A Kiss by Lake Catani, recorded by Johnny Wade and his Hawaiians, you can read about them and listen to the recording, here.

Here  are the lyrics -

Underneath the moon by Lake Catani
When the forest trees were all a-glow
There you said you'd be mine eternally
That is why I love you so

I thrilled to your caress
When we kissed by Lake Catani in the moonlight
I never knew that I could care
The way I do till I met you

I had to answer yes
To your plea by Lake Catani in the moonlight
The magic of your fond embrace
Will always be a memory

The lyrebirds were calling, sweet music filled the air
Moon beams were falling and love was everywhere
You brought me happiness
With  a kiss by Lake Catani in the moonlight

My heart forever holds the thrill of stars above
We two in love

This is what I now about Reg Hudson - He was born Reginald William Schuetze to Gottleib  Wilhelm Schuetze and Mary Anne Hudson, on April 25, 1904 and obviously changed his surname to that of his mothers. According to an article in Smith’s Weekly of April 17, 1926, his father  played the piano at the first picture show to open in South Australia, and he could not read music. Reg realised that he could also play by ear and formed an orchestra called Harmony Four and played at dances. An early song was Mypolonga Moon in which Reg wrote the lyrics and played the tune to a friend who did the orchestration.  The  article claimed he could be Australia's Irving Berlin. He later worked with Maurice Sheard, who collaborated with him on A Kiss by Lake Catani amongst other works (The Mail April 2, 1949)

Reg became an advertising executive, had four children, married Rose Louisa Langham in 1933 and died January 9, 1967.

His songwriting could be summed up by this quote - My great ambition in life is to wean Australians away from their fondness for songs about Kalamazoo, Idaho, Indiana, Alabama, and other American places. Surely we in Australia can develop our own popular music. (Evening Advocate March 17, 1949)

Here's an incomplete list of his works  - I'll add others as I find them. Reg is, as you can see, a master of the lococantio** - songs about places or have place names in the title.
Mypolonga Moon (a town on the Murray, north of Murray Bridge)
All for the love of you
Just how I need you
Is everybody happy?
It can not be true
I've set sail for Innisfail
The Jacaranda time (about Grafton)
A Kiss by Lake Catani
I long to be at the Victor (Victor Harbour)
Vintage Song (for a Barossa Valley wine festival)
In the Valley of the Sun (Murray Valley) is this the same song as Sunraysia Melody - which was also written about the Murray Valley?
Pack up a dream and head for Hayman Island
There's someone waiting somewhere for you
Your love and my love

 I have created a list of newspaper articles about Reg Hudson on Trove, click here to access the list. 

* The first date I can find the song mentioned is in February 1947, when the Adelaide News talks about the song being featured on the All Australian Hit Parade. See article, here.

** loco=place + cantio=song  - we made this word up just to describe the songs that Reg Hudson wrote - songs about places or have place names in the title. I claim some credit, but it was really my fellow Carlo enthusiast, Isaac Hermann, that coined this phrase. If it's good enough for William Shakespeare to invent words, then it's good enough for us!