The Mirror News

Foster’s 150th celebrations begin

THROUGHOUT 2020 Foster’s community is proudly celebrating 150 years as Foster township, with a full year’s worth of activities to begin this Saturday morning January 18 with an exhibition opening and a book launch at the Foster Museum.

At 11 am St Kilda artist and landscape gardener Andrew Foster, the great-grandson of Police Magistrate William Foster of Sale, after whom the town is named, will officially open Foster 1870-2020 at the Museum in Main Street.

Foster and District Historical Society president Meg Rogers said the new exhibition features many artefacts and memorabilia on public display for the first time.

They include beautifully-preserved period clothing, photographs, documents and a succinct timeline of Foster, Australia and the world from 1870 through to the present day.

Then, Monash MHR and long-time Museum supporter Russell Broadbent will formally launch Pavements to Streetscape – Meandering Through The Mirror 1995 – 2020, a compendium of articles and events from the pages of the Corner Inlet district’s local newspaper.

Complied by Historical Society member and researcher Nola Taylor, with a forward, chapter introductions and a conclusion by fellow member Rosemary Francis, the book’s title pays tribute to an earlier publication about Foster’s founding and growth.

From Pavements to Palings – A History of Foster 1870 – 1995 In Three Parts was produced for the Foster Back-to held in 1995 to mark the town’s 125th anniversary.

Mrs Taylor said she “finally got my dining room table back at Christmas time after eight months of searching through piles of files of The Mirror going back 25 years!”

As the sesquicentennial edition of Foster and the surrounding district’s story, copies of Pavements to Streetscape will be available to buy at the Museum at a cost of $20.

Following the opening and the launch, district residents and visitors alike are invited to explore the Museum and its collection, grounds and buildings, including Crawford Hall where a montage of items from yesteryear Foster businesses and services will be on show.

See mementoes of the Great Southern Co-op. Co. Limited, Lang and Gleeson electrical contractors, OT Motors, the red light from outside Dr H.C. Wilson’s hospital on the corner of Main and Nelson Streets, and the Foster chemist’s first switchboard with its direct lines to hospital and doctor’s surgery. 

Listen to live music performed by Geoff “Dog” Sparkes, a descendent of Alfred Camp Sparkes, one of the five timber workers who found gold in December 1870, prompting a goldrush and the establishment of the town first known as Stockyard Creek in 1870.

In late-1884, following comments made by from Police Magistrate Foster that he couldn’t possibly hold court in a creek, Stockyard Creek suddenly became “Foster”.

Mrs Rogers said she thought it was “quite likely that some of my mining forebears got to meet Andrew Foster’s great-grandfather around that time!”

The Foster and District Historical Society began 46 years ago to preserve the rich and colourful history of the district.

“We’ve only got what the Museum has been provided with, and it’s important for people not to throw out things that may have historical value,” Mrs Rogers said.

“This Foster 150th exhibition throughout the Museum has been 12 months in the planning, and I’d like to thank the small band of dedicated members who have worked so hard to prepare for this significant moment in our town’s life.”

Throughout 2020 the Foster Museum will present a changing display showcasing the Foster 150’s monthly themes and coming events, such as the Foster and District Agricultural Show on Saturday February 22, 2020, and International Women’s Day in March.

Foster’s 150th “Milestone”

The Foster Community Association’s Foster 150 committee chairman John Davies said “it’s not very often in Australia that a small country town gets to celebrate its 150th birthday.

“It came to the FCA’s attention a couple of years ago that this particular milestone for Foster was rapidly approaching and so a group of interested and historically-minded members got together and formed the Foster 150 committee to start planning for it,” he said.

“We’ve held regular meetings to develop a year’s worth of activities involving the Foster district’s many community groups, sporting clubs and service organisations.

“Together we’re opening our arms to residents and visitors to come along and take part in the events being held each month during 2020 that will focus on celebrating the town’s history, agriculture, community, health, gardens, sport, arts, environment, food and wine, and education,” Mr Davies said.

 “We’ve been grateful to receive funding of $7000 from the South Gippsland Shire towards the Foster 150 celebrations and the FCA has contributed $2000, too, with some of the money going towards the cost of publishing our new history book.

“Now Foster’s 150th year is here, and people are interested, and we look forward to seeing the momentum build.”

Time capsule opening

A time capsule buried in Foster by the then Governor of Victoria His Excellency Sir Henry Winneke in 1977 will be opened at the Foster Museum on Saturday January 25, 2020 at 3 pm.

Sir Henry was assisted by the Shire of South Gippsland’s president Cr Tom Morgan when he buried the capsule in front of what were the shire offices in Pioneer Street. Members of Cr Morgan’s family will remove the bolts sealing the capsule.

Inside are nearly 250 letters and documents unseen for 43 years and their authors or their descendants are welcome to take home their contributions to the capsule.

College Centenary Reunion

• Foster Secondary College office manager and Centenary Reunion organiser Colleen Smith with a computer spreadsheet of students and staff who are coming back to school on Saturday January 25, 2020, and with the student enrolment and report register for 1925 to 1951.

Foster Secondary College is hosting its Centenary Reunion on Saturday January 25, 2020, with a 9.30 am assembly and a “Walk Through the Decades” from 10.30 am, class photographs during the afternoon and a Reunion Dance in the evening.

For more information about this event please visit and search Foster January 25, 2020 or phone the Foster Secondary College on 5682 2066.

Foster 150 Facebook page

Keep an eye on the Foster 150 Facebook page Foster Celebrates 150 Years for event details.

• Rosemary Francis and Nola Taylor with  their book  Pavements to Streetscape – Meandering Through The Mirror 1995 – 2020 to be officially launched by Monash MHR Russell Broadbent on Saturday morning, January 18 at the Foster Museum.

Hundreds to celebrate Foster Secondary College’s century

HUNDREDS of students, staff, parents and friends of what is known today as Foster Secondary College have already put up their hands to celebrate the school’s centenary on Saturday January 25, 2020.

Many more people with a connection to this much-loved 100-year-old local educational institution are expected to be present when the bell rings at 9.30 am on Saturday morning for a whole-school and many-decade assembly.

Originally known as the South Gippsland Shire Higher Elementary Memorial School when first established in 1919, with the Latin motto Nihil Sine Labore, meaning Nothing Without Labour.

This first name was soon shortened, by the locals at least, to Foster Higher Elementary School.

Its next title was Foster and District High School from 1952 to 1990, followed by South Gippsland Secondary College from then until 2016, when the school community returned to including Foster in the name.

Secondary school manager and organiser extraordinaire Colleen Smith said about 400 people had so far replied to the school’s “back-to” invitation, and that during this week and next she was anticipating “a big rush of bookings at the end”.

“More than 25,000 students have been enrolled at this school throughout the past 100 years and its diaspora is very widely spread, right across the world,” she said.

“There are students from this school over in Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, South America, Asia … quite apart from those who now live in every Australian state and territory.

“We have students coming back from Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, while the one from furthest away at this stage is from the Philippines,” Colleen said.

“One former student, Bill Walker of Mildura, who attended the school during the 1940s will be here, and he will be staying with me and my family for a week.

“Incredibly, I’d only just finished making the arrangements with Bill, when, two minutes later, the phone rang with another fellow 1940s student on the line, this time Bill Munro, whose parents ran a plumbing business in Foster in the early-1950s,” she said.

“We’ve been busy going through the school’s archives and bringing out all sorts of treasures; photos, records, reports, school council minutes, trophies, and they will be put on display around the school.

“One of the best things we’ve found is the Higher Elementary Memorial School’s enrolment and report register for 1925 to 1951.

“There are so many local names written in copperplate, such as Clavarino, Youl, Baldwin, Arnup, Crawford, Gardiner, Durston, Everitt, Farrell, Nicoll, Park, Pearl, Suckling and Paragreen, to name just a few, whose descendants went to the school, too, and who still live in the district,” she said.

“Some of the comments from the teachers are just as relevant today, too, like ‘late far too often’, ‘has made a very fair start’, ‘needs to take more interest in their work’, ‘one of our best pupils’ and ‘tries hard and we hope for better next year’.”

“A building within the school grounds along with a colour has been allocated to each decade, so people returning will be able to find their era easily,” Colleen said.

“When they arrive at the college everyone will be issued with a map of the grounds, and a dot to wear in their enrolment decade’s special colour, and staff will be given a silver dot as well.

“A gold dot will identify the 1940s and 1950s in the Resource Centre’s A block, with red for the 1960s in B block, light green for the 1970s in E block, and dark green for the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s in the Flexible Learning Centre,” she said.

“A professional photographer will be taking official photographs of the decades at specific times during the afternoon, so please make sure you are around when your decade’s picture is being taken.

“The South Gippsland Hospital in Foster is providing the catering on the day, which we appreciate very much indeed,” Colleen said.

“The Foster Secondary College Centenary Reunion Ball, with live music from The Grand Ole Factory Band, is being held in the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre on Saturday evening January 25, with tickets priced at $10 each at the door,” she said.

“Everyone is welcome to join in to mark our college’s 100th year in the Corner Inlet district community.” 


More helpers are wanted to assist with setting up the historical displays at Foster Secondary College on Friday January 24, to act as guides on Saturday January 25, the main centenary day, and to clean up afterwards on Sunday, January 26, 2020.

For more information about the Foster Secondary College Centenary Reunion, contact Colleen at the college on 5682 2066, 0409 905 397 or email [email protected].

To register, go to  or search for Foster January 25, 2020 on the TryBooking website.• Foster Secondary College office manager and Centenary Reunion organiser Colleen Smith with a computer spreadsheet of students and staff who are coming back to school on Saturday January 25, 2020, and with the student enrolment and report register for 1925 to 1951.


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