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Author: Public Record Office Victoria
How did the team at Bendigo Regional Archives Centre (BRAC) decide on Langston Street as the subject of their new exhibition? By closing their eyes and dropping a pen onto a map of Bendigo! The random nature of selection reinforces the idea that any given street in Bendigo will have a wealth of secret histories worthy of research. One of the curators, BRAC Archives Officer, Desiree Pettit-Keating says she hopes “that the exhibition will make people curious about the happenings in and around their own house or street.”
The team at BRAC have put in dozens of hours researching over 200 names connected to the street since its gazetting in 1866, finding interesting stories to bring into the light. Pettit-Keating shares a few of her favourites from the exhibition with us below.
“By a glorious coincidence the world-renown artist, Christian Waller (nee Yandel), for whom the Bendigo Art Gallery dedicated an exhibition late last year, spent time living with her sister in Langston Street in the early part of the twentieth century. She took art tuition here and as a 14 year old prodigy, presented a work to the Art Gallery, who accepted and displayed it. The whereabouts of the original is unknown but the gallery were able to provide us with a print of that work, "A Petition", which features as one of our objects.”
“One of the special pieces on display is a booklet written in 1893 by dentist and Langston Street resident, Percy Mole. His pamphlet discusses using gold in crown, bridging and bar work and features plates that are illustrated with (allegedly) gold leaf made from Bendigo sourced gold. The Monash University Matheson Library’s Rare Books Collection very kindly loaned us the only surviving copy we could track down for the exhibition. Percy was the first honorary dentist attached to the Bendigo Hospital, and was the first to open dentistry rooms for the hospital in Bendigo.”
“The Nagel family lived in Langston Street over a long period of time, from when Georg, a German national, arrived in the late 1860s. Georg was a founding member of the Deutscher Verein, a friendly society and library that operated in Bendigo and at one stage housed over 4,000 books. When he passed away, his son Ernest, the sports editor of the Bendigo Adveritser, moved into the home with his wife, daughter and twin boys. Both sons were talented sportsmen, and at the age of 13 were playing in the seniors’ side for the Bendigo United Cricket Club. Lisle Nagel went on to play test cricket for Australia and the Allen’s Sweets cricket card depicting him is one of our objects.”
“Langston Street in Fifteen Objects” opens today and runs until 29 October 2019 at Bendigo Library, 259 Hargreaves St, Bendigo. For more information visit the BRAC website.