The connection between Peter Cowden and Matthew Flinders


Peter Cowden
Peter Cowden was an esteemed member, guest speaker, researcher and past committee member of the Bellarine Historical Society.  Peter, who grew up at Portarlington where his father was a local policeman, was a keen writer who regularly contributed articles to the Bellarine Times – the Newsletter of the Bellarine Historical Society – often through talking to many about the district’s history (from the October edition of the Bellarine Times).

The Historical Society was not the only Community group that Peter was involved in.  The Bellarine Rail Trail was another passion which Peter fulfilled as an active member of the Friends of the Bellarine Rail Trail.

From the Friends of the Bellarine Rail Trail web site:

Peter joined our group in April 2006 and immediately involved himself in all our activities, including a stint as treasurer, whilst also specialising in publicising our environmental improvements to this very valuable community asset.  This encompassed writing newspaper articles, taking photographs that became a digital archive, developing and then presenting ‘Power-Point’ presentations along with guest speaking roles at various community clubs.  He also energetically managed our webpage – all these extra efforts taking place after he had attended our weekly working bees that have seen, since our inception in 2002, over 86,000 trees, shrubs, grasses etc. (including 50 different species) planted on the train between South Geelong and Drysdale, along with 34 reg-gum seats and 13 picnic tables built and installed.  A team effort, where the efforts of each individual are greatly appreciated.

I remember the last time I saw Peter – we were rostered on together one Sunday earlier this year to open the Museum at the Bellarine Historical Society.  Peter was there at opening time to check if I could manage on my own – he wasn’t feeling well but didn’t want to let me or the Society down.  That was the sort of man that Peter was.

Sadly Peter died on 29 July 2016 and is sorely missed by both societies as well as other community groups in which he participated – as well of course by his family.

Matthew Flinders R.N.So what is Peter’s connection with Matthew Flinders?  Peter was a passionate historian and was determined to make people aware of the importance of Matthew Flinders – in particular his visit to Port Phillip Bay in 1802.  Anne, Peter’s widow, has given her blessing for the Bellarine Historical Society to continue with Peter’s Matthew Flinders project.

Peter could not believe that ‘locals’ knew so little about Matthew Flinders and his visit to our region.  Hopefully a series of blogs might help progress Peter’s project to make people ‘aware’.

So let’s start with a simple poll in which you can participate – do you know the answer for the fourth one?

Do you enjoy the Antiques Roadshow?

bellhsfIf so, you won’t want to miss this special event at the Bellarine Historical Society!  Come along and bring your bottle(s).

What: Free Bottle Appraisal and Valuations

When: Sunday 14th February, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Bellarine Historical Society, Old Court House Museum, 11 High Street, Drysdale Vic 3222

Details: Bottle Valuations Event and contact details.

About: Paul and David Bruce, well respected collectors and traders in antique bottles, will appraise and value your bottle(s).

Cost: No charge however a gold coin entry donation would be must appreciated.

The Bellarine Historical Society will also be supporting the 2016 Festival of Glass in Drysdale on Sunday 21st February.

Reminder – Geelong Heritage Centre closes TOMORROW

New Geelong Library & Heritage CentreTomorrow = Wednesday 23rd September 2015 at 5.00 pm – that’s the last chance you’ll have for a month or two to access the services, library, microform, and archives of the Geelong Heritage Centre.  The next access you’ll have will be in the wonderful new Geelong Library & Heritage Centre in Little Malop Street.

Don’t sit back and think you can email the centre to order copies – it won’t be happening as they have a massive job moving the collection [and items currently stored remotely] into the wonderful new building.

And if there’s something you just must have – why not visit some of the local history and family history societies?  They have wonderful collections – documents, manuscripts, images, oral histories – an absolute treasure trove and you probably have no idea of their extensive collections!

Have a look at these societies – you might be surprised at just how many there are!  And they’re open at different times on different days.  For example – you can visit the Bellarine Historical Society on Sunday 4th October and search their wonderful collection or just browse and absorb the terrific museum collection.

And of course don’t forget the Geelong & District Database – more than 1.63 million entries for people and places in our region.  There may be page references in local books that you can access through your local library or inter-library loan.

And while we’re talking about the library – if you use the new Geelong Library Catalogue you can search through the 2,471 Heritage Centre images online!

When and where was this photo taken?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Bellarine Historical Society presents Our Boys at War – a tribute to the local lads and indeed all soldiers that served in the First World War.

The Society has prepared a display in the Old Court House Museum to remember the centenary of the battle for Gallipoli.  Working in conjunction with the Drysdale RSL, the Historical Society is creating a ‘walk into the trenches’ display with memorabilia, photos, written articles and an audio/visual display pertaining to WWI.  [This photo was taken in the entrance to the Old Court House Museum in the last few days.]

Following a very moving RSL ANZAC Day remembrance service at the Cenotaph in Drysdale, a very special memento of Gallipoli will be moved into the Museum next door and the display will then be open to the public.  We hope that the whole community will take the opportunity to visit and remember those sacrifices so long ago.

The Museum will be open for this special display from 10:00am – 4:00pm both Saturday 25th April and Sunday 26th April, then the following 1st Sunday of the month in May, June and July between 1:30 – 4.:30.  We would also welcome contact by any schools or groups that would prefer a private visit during weekdays.

BendigoBankThe Bellarine Historical Society and the Drysdale RSL acknowledge the sponsorship and support of the Bendigo Community Bank for this project.

Further information can be obtained by phone Bob (0425 844 429) or Lynette (0417 133 177).