Sunday, November 29, 2009

When Oakleigh was awash with Queens!

Queens, tiaras, gloves at the ready, silk stockings and starched lace hankies daintily tucked into a glove or sleeve.
Yes, Oakleigh was flooded with Precious Princesses who were Queens-in-waiting aspiring to the title of Queen of Oakleigh back in 1932 during the Back To Oakleigh Reunion ra ra celebrations.
Oakleigh even boasted a town hall in those days - imagine!
How very forward thinking of them as Oakleigh can now only point to it's Art Nouveau Mechanics Institute (which suffered several fires resulting in the loss of umpteen valuable records) and former council offices (which suffered a fire resulting in the loss of umpteen valuable records)...can you see a pattern here, boys and girls?
But I digress.
At the Reunion Ball the Mayor J. Marriot - one of THE Marriots who settled Bentleigh and Gardenvale, naming many streets after their many children - crowned Miss Grace Medbury, of the uber-gorgeous (still-intact)Edwardian-style 'Merry Glen' in Atkinson Street, Oakleigh (built by architect and builder Walter Ambrose Medbury, the Queen of Oakleigh's father) as Queen of Oakleigh.

 Merry Glen

Walter A. Medbury also designed and built the Oakleigh Courthouse, the Camberwell Courthouse, numerous churches, houses and civic buildings far and wide throughout the Fair Land of Victoria.

But getting back to the pomp and circumstance of the Queen of Oakleigh...!
In total £812 was raised by the gals who hoped to hold sway over many minions in Oakleigh, not a shabby sum when you remember the Great Depression still held a tighter control over more than just the immediate suburb.
The Back to Oakleigh festivities also consisted of cycling, foot races and a carnival at the recreation reserve, kiddies going nuts around a Maypole (in November?!), musical and spoken amusements, fireworks on the oval, Scout troops led the way marching from the railway station to the reserve and special church services were rife with all monies gathered hither and yon by the hopeful Princesses to go towards erasing the debt of establishing the aforementioned recreation reserve.

This was not the first time Oakleigh had been graced with a Royal flush...but that is another story for another post!


  1. There's been far too many fires resulting in the loss of umpteen valuable records. If you ask me someone's trying to hide something....

  2. LOL, River.
    We might wonder and speculate and point fingers but it happened over the period of 100 yrs so we've either got the world's oldest pyro or The Powers That Be are just plain careless ;)

  3. Malvern Town Hall, flood, records destroyed. MMBW, can't recall, but records destroyed. I have a family connection to the Marriots. I did not know they were so well known or in high positions.

  4. Oh, er, the Marriots were very well known, Andrew.
    I should tell the tale of the Marriots trying to outlaw the Sunday picnics in the wilds of Bentleigh ;)