Uncovering the history of Toolangi and Castella

The Toolangi/Castella Bushfire Memorial.

By Jed Lanyon

A new local history project is taking place to explore all things relating to the Toolangi and Castella region.

The project started last year as part of Murrindindi Shire’s Toolangi-Castella Community Plan with support from the Toolangi-Castella Community House.

Local resident and one of the projet’s coordinator’s Bernadette Miller shared more about the history project.

“Our local group is looking keenly for any information readers might have to contribute… We won funding from the shire and then further funding from Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal (FRRR) which allowed us to expand the project,” she said.

“Keenly involved are a group of local residents from Toolangi and Castella, some with community connections across several generations and some newer to the area, as well as Taungurung representatives.

“The project has four aspects. We are filming interviews with a cross section of older long term residents, to preserve an oral history of the farming, logging, guest house and social history of the area. Three of these filmed interviews are now complete and a final one will be made in July.

“We are also collecting and copying some great historical photos and documents on three dates, at the Toolangi-Castella Community House.”

The first collection days took place in March and June at the community house and will again take place on Sunday 25 July, 10am-12pm.

“We encourage readers with any historic photos or documents, to bring them in on those days and they will be returned that same day after scanning. Collected material will be used for the local history website, which will be up in September. The website will also include some great history summaries and stories of the district,” Ms Miller said.

“We have an exciting exhibition planned at the C.J. Dennis Hall on the 16th and 17th of October, which will open with a Taungurung Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, live presentations on the rich history of Toolangi-Castella, excerpts from the filmed interviews and some fantastic visual displays. Toolangi School will hold a history week leading into the exhibition, to celebrate 125 years of the school.”

Ms Miller encourages interested readers to contact her on 0409 313 877 or docbernie@hotmail.com for further information.