John Sutcliffe and the Sutcliffe Building

For the last week I have been walking around in a different Korumburra after a talk I went to put on by the Korumburra Historical Society. I met John Sutcliffe in the narrative that historian Keith Cook laid out over the period he spoke. Sutcliffe was a pioneer in the Drouin, Warragul and then Korumburra districts. John Sutcliffe was the owner builder of this building which accommodated three shops (including 25 Commercial St). John Sutcliffe was the owner builder of this building which accommodated three shops. The shop on the west end was occupied by F. Weichardt as a Bakery in 1892. W. Henderson was the occupier of the middle shop, while Williams the tailor had his business in the third shop. Now it is occupied by an accountant, a sport store and Grow Lightly.

John Sutcliffe was born in Yorkshire in 1841, one of nine children and immigrated to Victoria in search of a better life in 1863. He ended up in Crossover, at the goldfields near Jindivick and began a career as a hotelier, mail carrier and developer. He married twice and had five children. He died in Korumburra at the age of 53 and was given a lavish funeral with 1000 people lining the streets before his casket was placed on the train and he was buried in the Kew Cemetery.

Among his legacies are the Sutcliffe building (pictured above) and the Austral Hotel (completed in 1894). Recently I went through Drouin and caught a glimpse of the old Sutcliffe Family Hotel (now the Drouin Family Hotel). How different it is to see these old buildings now that I have heard a bit of history.

The Austral Hotel (1894) as it is now

ou can also see the amazing story of Korumburra’s history as it was captured on film through a collection of photographs on display at the Korumburra Library.

well worth seeing if you get the chance

Advanced Microbial Compost Making Workshop

 

 

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Gerhard Grasser has devoted his life to promoting and teaching a structured holistic approach to soil health management. He led us for the compost workshop which was held at a property in Loch on Saturday May 4 and it was absolutely outstanding. It was divided into two sections, a presentation by Gerhard on the science of compost including the differences between thermopilic compost, fungal compost and vermi compost. He also detailed the unique features and benefits of custom made compost and explained the microbial army in compost to help improve soil and plant health.

This was followed by a practical session on building a hot compost heap with help from all the participants. This compost pile will be turned 3 to 5 times in the next six weeks, and will have the temperature measured regularly. The idea is to turn it each time before it gets to 70 degrees, and after it stops attaining that temperature it is left for a month to mature. We had lots of fun and learned valuable knowledge to put to use in our own gardens and farms.

When the compost was turned for the first time five days after it was made, we were delighted to see the presence of mycellium showing that we had the right conditions for the production of high quality compost.

There will be a follow up workshop by Gerhard on Saturday June 15th, 9:00—12:30 at a property in Loch (address provided later). Again it will combine theory with outdoor practice, turning compost into compost tea. We will also have the opportunity to see soil life under the microscope. Cost $35, includes morning tea. Tickets available soon.

Opening of Solar Array at the State Coal Mine

On Friday May 3 Grow Lightly was well represented at this event in Wonthaggi. There were many people present to celebrate this project which had been five years in the making.

The project by the Energy Innovation Co-op is called Old Energy, New Energy and demonstrates the transition from coal to renewable energy. The old black coal mine was operated by the State of Victoria from 1909 to 1968 and produced almost 17 million tonnes of coal for Victoria’s industries and railways. But now, again with the help of the State government (which gave the Energy Innovation Co-op a grant to realise their dream), the old coal mine is now a tourist attraction to show people the history of coal which can also demonstrate the power of a new energy source solar power with battery storage. For those who love figures they are: 100kW solar PV system and 40+kWh battery storage system. The renewable energy project launched on site is expected to become a template for the roll-out of renewable power generation to other tourism sites in Victoria. Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio officially opened the system. Income provided to the Energy Innovation Co-op by the sale of electricity to Parks Victoria, will contribute towards the Southern CORE Fund (Community Owned Renewable Energy) to enable further projects to be established. As part of this you are invited to a community consultation. Grow Lightly will attend the event in Korumburra on Sunday May 26 between 12 noon and 4. Lunch and afternoon tea is provided. Venue will be notified in the Grow Lightly newsletter next week.

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