You see, I decided to share it on the ‘I grew up in Clayton/Clarinda’ Facebook group I belong to, thinking it might be of interest. I enjoy reading the posts on the group’s page and had recently shared a post which received many likes, many comments. So, with new-found confidence, I shared Andi’s ‘Lost Melbourne’ post, clicking ‘Share’, then ‘Share with Group’, then selecting ‘I Grew Up in Clayton/Clarinda’. After writing an introduction I pressed the ‘Send Post’ button.
Little did I anticipate what would happen next.
Likes and comments appeared very quickly, all positive. I was chuffed!
Then I noticed a thread developing in which people were questioning the statement in the post from ‘Lost Melbourne’ that the house was ‘the fifth house built in Clayton c1935.
David P commented, “… My dad has the original town plan from 1927, so I think that there were more houses before this house. The document says ‘Come to Clayton Heights, you can see the sea’… It shows the whole of Clayton near where the police station is now, shows where the train station is, has everything to do with Clayton not Clayton North…”
Carol D … “My mother was born in Clayton in 1924. When I was young in the late 40s there were many homes well over 15 years old”
Kerrie B confirmed … ”Your family home predated 1935”
David P added, … “My grandparent’s house did too … Gone now though…”
More people entered the discussion, identifying other houses which would have been in Clayton before 1935.
Kerrie B joined in again, “…I lived in Kanooka Grove. 42 Kanooka Grove would have dated from the 1910’s, 12 Browns Rd dated from at least 1900, probably earlier. A little further away, Hourigan House dated from the late 1800’s. There were also Californian bungalow-era houses dotted around. Where we were was always called Clayton. Given the age of Clayton North Primary (originally called Clayton Primary School), there was housing there in the 1900’. The house you’re showing is probably the 5th in a particular development’.
Not only was the list of examples of houses existing before 1935 lengthening, I had a number of other examples to share myself. I found myself agreeing with Kerry’s hypothesis…
The following day, after checking for new likes and reading through the comments again, I became quite concerned that incorrect information was on Museum Victoria’s website and linked websites such as ‘Lost Melbourne’ and could remain there.
I checked to confirm that the information with the image of the house on the Museum Victoria website also stated that the house was the fifth house in Clayton. It did.
I felt I had to do something to validate legitimate concerns expressed in the group!
Locating a ‘Got a question? Send us an enquiry’ button next to the image, I sent an online request asking for the description be reviewed in the light of the discussion on the ‘I grew up in Clayton/Clarinda’ Facebook page and included a ‘cut and paste’ of the content of my post.
Only a day or so later, I received an email in response from the museum:
Enquiry – Negative #76636 – Clayton Negative
Thank you for taking the time to contact us at Melbourne Museum regarding the 1935 Clayton image.
Our curator has asked that we thank you. She has said that she has updated the record with corrected information about the development of Clayton and the likelihood that the house was the fifth in a new development.
Museums Victoria Public Information
Success! I’ve checked - the caption on the Museums Victoria website has been amended…
‘House in Clayton around 1935. It was recorded as being the fifth house built in Clayton, likely referring to the fifth house in a housing development rather than in the entire suburb, which by 1935 already had a long history and many older houses. Clayton had been a productive rural area with market gardens from the 1850’s, and township had developed after the arrival of the railway and a station on Clayton Road in 1877. By 1933 the census recorded that Clayton had 103 residents.’ https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/772889 (accessed 22 August 2020)
A great improvement!
My final task is to let the ‘I Grew up in Clayton/Clarinda’ Facebook group know that I forwarded their observations to Museum Victoria and that the information about the photograph has since been altered to convey a more accurate picture of the early history of Clayton to future researchers.
I have lots of projects to work on during lockdown, some I’ve been hoping to finish for a very long time.
Unlike the ongoing projects on my To Do list, ‘Negative #76636 – Clayton Negative’ arose spontaneously during lock-down – and is the one I’m finalising ‘right here, right now’. Then it will be on to my –
(Update: There are now 74 ‘Likes’ and 46 ‘Comments’ on Andi’s shared post on ‘I Grew Up in Clayton/Clarinda!)
August 23, 2020