The Mirror News

Local author releases latest book

THE fourth instalment in the series is Dorothy’s latest offering, Along the Ridge and Beyond – a history of the families who pioneered the O’Grady’s Ridge area.

Twelve months in the making, Dorothy has written this book to chronicle the histories of the pioneering families of Boolarong – and also as a personal tribute to her ancestors, the Schmidt family.

“My grandfather came from Germany and became one of the original settlers of Boolarong in 1905,” Dorothy said.

“For the benefit of the descendants, who perhaps don’t know the history, I thought it appropriate to record it. Some members of the Schmidt family remained as owners of the original selection for over 100 years,” she said.

Dorothy began her writing career with Escaping The Flames, – a booklet which chronicled her recollections of the bushfires that devastated the Boolarong district in 1040, when Dorothy was just seven years old.

First 50 Years – the settlement of Wonga was the first in Dorothy’s series of books which all together span around 140 years of the history of the local district, beginning with The Early Years – The Settlement of Amey’s Track, (2011), which was closely followed by Between Two Rivers – the Settlement of Boolarong, (2012).

Along the Ridge and Beyond takes in the area from the west side of the south Gippsland Highway, to the area surrounding McGlead’s Road, Gardiner’s Road and O’Grady’s Ridge Road to the Fish Creek Road at Hoddle, covering parts of the parishes of Doomburrim and Wonga Wonga South.

Spanning approximately 70 years, Along the Ridge and Beyond begins with the establishment of O’Grady’s Ridge in the 1880s – the settlement from which O’Grady’s Ridge Road takes its name.

Now known for its stunning views of Corner Inlet and Wilsons Promontory, it was once a very different story, with the hardships of the difficult terrain causing constant difficulties for those trying to make a viable farm from their selection.

Along the Ridge and Beyond showcases the results of Dorothy’s countless hours of research, in both text, photographs and maps.

The subjects covered are many and varied, such as major landmark developments and the establishment of educational, social and sporting facilities and histories of the landowners and families who populated the area. These provide a personal glimpse into the lives of those who came before and helped make the area what it is today.

A great deal of subdivision and re-subdivision took place over the years, resulting in a number of challenges in Dorothy’s quest to chronicle the ever-changing landscape and development of the area.

As in any small settlement, the local school was of great importance. The Hoddle School / Hall was originally built in the early 1900s, but burnt to the ground and was rebuilt in 1910 – functioning as the main venue for church services, meetings and social functions up until 1948. The Doomburrim School (1902 to 1945) also features, with information and photos of students, teachers and the building itself.

Leaving no stone unturned, Dorothy has scoured the internet, the State Library (Trove), newspapers and has gleaned a great deal from local knowledge of those who still live in the district.

During the course of her investigations, Dorothy also came across unexpected pieces of information which make for very interesting reading in themselves, such as mineral lease applications, poems written by landowners, details of weddings, mineral lease applications and the establishment of a telephone service.

This book is sure to appeal not only to those living in the area, but also to those with connections to those who did and is bound to be a treasure-trove of information for anyone wishing to trace connections to the area.

Along the Ridge and Beyond is available now from Foster’s Little Bookshop and also from the Foster and District Historical Museum.

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