The final meeting of the Dereel History Group for 2016 will be held on Saturday 26th November from 2pm to 4pm in the Dereel Community Centre.
Julie Donaghy has been following up information provided to her by local people, as well as doing her own original research. Many of the leads have proved to be elusive and in the article below, Julie reflects on why this might be the case.
The Ghosts of Dereel Town
By Julie Donaghy
The old local towns of Corindhap, Illabarook and Berringa still have their public historic recreation reserves, sheds, schools, Halls and churches. Some of these are on private property now, but the past is still there to admire and the buildings are able to be used. Dereel was first settled in 1852 and is the same age as these other local towns. However, none of the historic buildings stand in Old Dereel Town anymore!
So what happened to Dereel?
It looks like the people of the old town didn’t really take any pride in their town by selling off the public land and removing any public buildings that stood the test of time.
We had a Quadrille Hall, (Dance Hall) or did we really? This was the first public hall, or was it?
We had a Grandstand at the racetrack or did we? We don’t think so!
We had three hotels – the All Nations, Pitchfords and Doyles. All are gone and only chimneys remain.
We had a jockeys shed built in 1905! It was moved to the Dereel hall precinct in the 1930’s. It was also around a few years back and was moved to private property. It’s such a shame for it not to be around anymore.
We had a footy/cricket oval and a cricket club house, or did we? The club house was built in 1907.
We had three churches— or did we? (Catholic, Methodist and Church of England).
We did have two schools. The first was burnt down in 1906. The second one was built in 1908, and was sold off and moved to another town, in the 1945.
After this, the local kids had nowhere to go to school. The people of the town got together and had a building added to the back of the Dereel Hall so the local kids to attend school in Dereel. This was the old kitchen area. The Dereel School was officially closed on 3rd February 1970.
We had a Cemetery too, but no-one was dying to get in! Dereel people have buried their dead on their own private properties, or at the Rokewood cemetery. So, with no burials having occurred, the Dereel cemetery was revoked in the 1930’s.
So what happened to the old Dereel Township? Where did it go? There are so many questions; so few answers. Over the years of the 1900’s public lands were sold off and public roads have been turned into private property. Have you ever noticed all of the dead-end roads around here? Well, there are lots of them—and once upon a time they did continue and join up with other roads. Other buildings, were sold off or destroyed, like the historic Dereel racecourse Jockeys shed. It was there one day, gone the next! This was only a few years back.
Dereel should look like the old towns of Corindhap, Berringa and Illabarook—with even a touch of Rokewood about it, but it doesn’t. All we have are footings in the ground where buildings used to be.
The only thing still standing is the Dereel Soldiers Memorial Hall built in 1921.