Sunday, 2 February 2014

Diggers Rest - The Birth Place of the Melton Shire 152 Years Ago

Melton was proclaimed a Shire on 24th March 1871. The first meeting of the Melton Shire Council was held at the Monmouthshire Hotel on Saturday 8th April 1871 and chaired by Shire President Cr N Browne (from Plains of Promise, by Joan Starr)

The Monmouthshire Hotel was situated on the corner of Calder Highway and Vineyard Road, Diggers Rest. It has since been demolished.

Minutes From The First Melton Shire Meeting:
As edited by the The Bacchus Marsh Express, 15 Apr 1871

(Note the talk about the toll bridge that was being constructed at the Gap)

ORDINARY meeting of the Melton Shire Council,   held at the Monmouthshire Hotel, on Saturday,   the 8th April, at 11 a.m. Present-Councillors Browne (President), Clarke, Porter, Beattie, Baker, Ryan, Blackwood, and Minns

Correspondence:-From Crown Law Offices, stating that a portion of the Shire of Melton was proclaimed a £10 licensing district.-The Clerk stated that it appeared in the Gazette in a wrong form; should have been vies versa.

From Mr. A. Munro, contractor, asking for a committee to visit his contract and take it off his hands.

From Mr. John Barr, asking the Council to pay balance due to him to a transferable order, payable at the National Bank, Bacchus Marsh.

Proposed by Cr. Porter, seconded by Clarke “That the Secretary be instructed to write to John Barr, and inform him that his request is contrary to a resolution of: the Council, and could not be complied with." Carried.

The Clerk reported that Munro's contract was finished, but the fencing on the road was badly erected, Munro was two months behind his time, and was the cause of keeping an inspector one month longer than necessary, at l0s, per day.

Clerk reported that he had gone to Melbourne for the purpose of ascertaining the best means of recovering the rates owing on Knight's vineyard, and for which judgment was given in the Melton Police Court, with two guineas costs, but could   hear nothing of his whereabouts, and that the only course open to the Board was to take out a fraud summons, which would only cost the Board   2s. 6d. He had since ascertained that there was a bill of sale upon Mr. Knight's property, for   upwards of six months.

Proposed by Mr. Porter, seconded, by Mr. Baker - "That a fraud summons be issued against G. W. Knight, for amount of rates due on his vineyard." Carried.

In reply to Cr. Porter, the Clerk said he did not intend to make a final payment on Mr. Monro's contract until the fencing was completed to his b satisfaction. - In reply to Cr. Blackwood, he said that he visited the works nearly every day for the last fortnight, and that the embankment was not levelled nor the formation cleared to his satisfaction; as soon as that was done, as far as he was concerned, the work would be finished. - Cr, Blackwood thought it a hard case to keep the contractor waiting for a length of time for such a trifling affair. -Clerk said he need not wait, for as soon as he completed his contract he would give his certificate.

Cr, Porter said in reference to road at Mr. John McPherson's, it was very annoying to him, as he could scarcely pass without danger of upsetting his dray, and he would move that the Engineer get the work done at a cost not exceeding £5. - The President thought it would be best to let Mr. John McPherson do the work himself, and charge the Council as reasonable as possible, seeing that it was wholly for his own convenience.
Proposed by Mr. Porter, seconded by Mr. Beattie-" That the Engineer see Mr. John McPherson, and offer him a price to improve the road to his farm, not to exceed £5." Carried.

In reference to Mr. Munro's letter, asking for a committee to take the work off his hands, the Clerk read last clause of specifications, which prevented the contract being taken off hands until the Government Surveyor had passed the work.- Mr. Munro said that he had completed the work to the utmost of his ability, and could not do it any better, and if they would not pay him he could not help it. It was quite impossible for him to keep traffic off the bridge, as the fence across the road was repeatedly broken down in the night, and as the Engineer was constantly at variance with him it was not likely the work would be passed. - The President said that if Mr. Munro had any statement to make he had better send it to the Council in writing. - Cr, Blackwood thought that this would not be a difficult matter to settle, if the Engineer would meet with the contractor on the work and come to some amicable settlement. - Mr. Munro said he would prefer deducting the price of the fencing altogether, if they would settle with him and let him go. - Cr. Beattie said they had a committee of inspection, and he would move that they meet on the work and inspect for themselves, seeing it was a dispute between the Engineer and the contractor, Seconded by Cr. Ryan, - Cr. Porter asked if this was not contrary to Cr. Beattie's own resolution, who proposed that the committee should be appointed to assist the Engineer. - The President thought it would be better to appoint another committee, - Cr. Beattie, through the President, asked Cr. Porter to show how it would be illegal for the former committee to act. - The President said that his decision in all matters was final, and objected to an appeal to any other member of the Council. - Cr. Beattie, with all due respect to the President, asked the question before he gave his decision; he was always in the habit of bowing in submission to the chair.- Here a rather stormy discussion took place, which resulted in Cr. Beattie declining to take any further action in the matter, as his proceeding was considered illegal. - Mr. Munro submitted his offer in writing to deduct price of the fencing from the whole, and lot the Council got the work done to their own satisfaction, as he would rather forfeit the half of the price than stay any longer, as the original specification was altered by the Engineer, and he received no remuneration for the extras. – The President asked him to forward his claim in writing, and it would receive consideration. - Mr. Munro said the claim would be made through his lawyer. - A long discussion then took place, which resulted in the Engineer being requested to come to arrangement with Mr. Munro, and urge the Government to an early inspection.

Proposed by Cr. Porter, seconded by Cr. Baker-" That the Engineer be instructed to call for tenders for toll house and gate, the material to be of hardwood, according to plans submitted by him to the Council; to be erected at the Gap. The same to be received at the Shire Hall, Melton, on Friday, the 21st inst., and that a committee, consisting of Crs. Browne, Porter, Ryan, and Blackwood, be appointed to receive the amno." Carried.

An account was presented to the Council by William Davey, for work and labour done on Barr's contract. - It was decided not to entertain the claim until it should be ascertained whether the claim was good, - On the suggestion of Cr. Blackwood, the committee appointed for Friday, 21st inst., was appointed to deal with the
Clerk instructed to got an offer for a toll board, before the next ordinary meeting.

Tenders for invert arch at Kororoit Crook bridge:-McKenzie & Gibson, .~38 17s. 9d.-On the motion of Councillors Blackwood and Beattie, the tender was accepted.

Cr. Baker drew attention to the want of a drain on the upper side of Sunbury road, which would be a great benefit to the road, and eventually be a saving to the Council.

Proposed by Cr. Porter, seconded by Cr. Baker - "That plans be prepared, and tenders called for next ordinary meeting." Carried.

The Treasurer's guarantee policy was received, which demanded a weekly audit of the accounts. -Ordered to lie over till next meeting.

On the motion of Cr. Ryan the Engineer was instructed to call for tenders, at next ordinary meeting, for drainage on the lane from Newnham's to loar's.

Cr, Blackwood called attention to at discussion at last meeting, as to an agreement between the Council and the Clerk.-The President said the matter lapsed, and nothing further was done in the matter. - Cr. Baker said that as far as his knowledge went there was no agreement made between Council and their Engineer, further than the minutes contained in the minute book. -Cr. Blackwood suggested that an agreement should be drawn up between the President and the Engineer, and submitted for the approval of the Council. The President said he would be glad if Cr. Blackwood would draw out the agreement, and submit it for approval.

Cr. Blackwood gave notice that he would move, at next ordinary meeting, that for the future the expenses of deputations on the Council's business be paid. 

Accounts.  passed, £105 4s. 9d.

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