MURRAY DISTRICTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Located at the Old Schoolmaster's House, Edenvale Heritage Precinct, Pinjarra.
We are open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am – 3 pm, or by appointment.
The next General Meeting of the Historical Society will be held on Tuesday 27th October at 7.00pm in the Lesser Hall, Pinjarra Civic Centre. Cost is $2 for members and $5 for visitors, who are always welcome. Supper will be served at the conclusion of the meeting.
The theme of the meeting will be ‘lesser known facts about St John’s Church: the building, its personalities and its graveyard.’
Do You Know That?
Cantwell Park, the beautiful riverside park opposite Edenvale, was previously known as Bridge Reserve.
In 1913 it was a peaceful grazing ground for local cows and horses yet it also was used for dumping rubbish and by 1920 ‘was an eyesore to anyone entering the town’.
When Pinjarra School moved in 1921 from Henry Street to the new school on McLarty Road south of the Townsite, the head teacher was Mr A R Cantwell. Mr Cantwell had recently returned from serving in the World War. After moving the school to its new premises, (though he continued to live at the Old Schoolmaster’s House), Mr Cantwell encouraged his students to keep the new school ‘in excellent order’ with gardens regarded as a showpiece.
And under his guidance, with permission from the Murray Roads Board, the Pinjarra school students turned the bridge reserve into a park. They created flower beds and conducted agricultural experiments in finding suitable grasses and crops for the district. Boys could be seen carrying kerosene tins of water up from the river to water the young plants during the summer months.
Mr Cantwell also founded the Returned Soldiers Association in Pinjarra and was appointed its first President. Under his leadership the new RSA decided to turn the reserve into a memorial park to honour those killed in the recent War. The park was named Pinjarra Memorial Park and a stone memorial was unveiled by the Governor, Sir Francis Newdegate in July 1923.
Tragically, A R Cantwell was killed in a traffic accident in 1927.
A set of gates was erected at the park in his memory.
Today the Park is well named Cantwell Park in memory of a man who was a highly respected teacher and a dedicated member of the community. Apart from founding the Pinjarra Branch of the (now) RSL, he was organist and choir master at St John’s Church and a strong supporter of Fairbridge Farm School, During the 1960’s the Pinjarra War Memorial was moved to the new Civic Centre on Pinjarra Road. Today it stands proudly on the corner of Henry Street and Murray Street.
Follow our monthly articles in the Community Newspaper for more information about the history of Pinjarra and the heritage buildings of the Murray District. And we always welcome any stories or photos you are willing to share with us.
Visit us to view our current photographic display: Stories of West Murray.
Did you know that the stretch of Murray River – including the north and south banks – from Ravenswood to the estuary was known for many years as West Murray? The name Yunderup was universally adopted as late as the 1970’s.
For more photos and stories of the rich history of the Murray, look at our Website murrayhistory.org.au/home or visit us at the Old Schoolmaster’s House within the Edenvale Heritage Precinct.
You can also Like us on Facebook here.
Do you have an interest in the history of Pinjarra and the Murray Districts?
If you would like to become one of our volunteers, please advise Jill on 0408 846 567 or by email email@example.com
And we welcome new members.
For information about the Murray Districts Historical Society, its membership and its activities,
please contact our secretary Dawn Hodgkinson by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For assistance with research or general questions about local history, contact Merv Beacham on 0417 986 838, Penny Hoffman on 0407 422 771 or Val King on 0458 673 608