Posted by John Mason on Mar 24, 2021
I attended Kingston Council last Monday to re-present a repaired gavel and block that my father had presented in 1963 at the opening of the Moorabbin Town Hall.
This is my speech on presentation….
22nd March 2021
City of Kingston
Re-Presentation of Gavel and Block from the former City of Moorabbin.
Monday 22nd March 2021
Mayor Staikos and Councillors:
In 1961, Moorabbin Town Hall did not exist. Its present site housed a collection of buildings which included the old Shire Hall, a Baby Health Centre where I had been weighed and measured by Sister Saddington, and a Band Hall where my father learned to play the cornet in the City of Moorabbin Brass Band, and where I tried but failed failed to master that instrument. Council, after several years debate, decided to knock it all down and build a Town Hall. It was designed by Bates Smart McCutcheon, and, after a tender process the contract to build it was entered with C D Mason Pty Ltd, our family company headed by my father Colin (CD) Mason, a long term resident of the City.
During the demolition process, a red gum stump from under the Baby Health Centre was saved, and from it Dennis O’Leary, foreman of our company joinery shop crafted a gavel and block. Following Completion of the Town Hall and at the opening ceremony on 23rd May 1963, the gavel and block was presented by CD to the then mayor of Moorabbin Cr Ken Hodgson. Following the absorption of most of Moorabbin into Kingston, the gavel was displayed at the Kingston Offices in a glass case. An enthusiastic councillor was demonstrating it and broke the handle. It was returned to me by then Councillor Ron Brownees, and I arranged for it to be ‘re handled’.
I am please now to be able to re-present it to the Mayor and Council of Kingston in the hope that it will be preserved as an historical artefact, or even used to control rowdy Councillors. I also discovered a photograph of the original presentation to the Moorabbin Mayor in 1963 and have mounted that along with some interpretive text which will assist potential viewers understand its history.
The gavel and block is made of red gum, and is carved with the City of Moorabbin arms; a chook, cow, cabbage and house which represented the district produce when the Shire was proclaimed in 1861. I have pleasure in handing it to Mayor Staikos today, precisely 58 years from the original presentation in 1963,….and thank him and councillors, particularly Wattle Ward Councillor Jenna Davey-Burns for the opportunity of making this presentation.
John Mason OAM
Presenting the gavel and block to Kingston Mayor, Steve Staikos
The original presentation in 1963 by C D Mason to Mayor Ken Hodgson, with MLA Murray Porter (later Sir)