Elaine Brogan has always had a passion for history and heritage. Since moving to Sunbury two and a half years ago, Elaine has been doing her bit to preserve local heritage. She speaks with Serena Seyfort.
What’s your connection to Sunbury?
When I became a widow, I looked at retirement villages and chose one in Sunbury that allowed me to keep my little dogs with me. I moved here two and a half years ago.
I also have relatives at Riddells Creek, Gisborne and Mount Macedon, and a sister lived off Elizabeth Drive in Sunbury for 15 years. So I’m familiar with this lovely part of the world.
What do you like about the area?
The fresh air, the friendly people – it’s just like a little country town, which I come from in Gippsland originally. It’s a beautiful environment to live in. And I think we’re very lucky to have the train service into the CBD.
Do you have a favourite place in Sunbury?
Jacksons Hill; and I love the Nook; down at the river Jacksons Creek. And I love Rupertswood.
Tell us about your love of history.
I’ve always wanted to know about why, how and when since I was a kid. I just love history and heritage and I know that there’s a hell of a lot of that out here and it needs to be protected.
An Order of Australia medal was bestowed on me on Australia Day in 2015 for my work for over 30 years in the western suburbs of Melbourne trying to protect and make known our beautiful heritage and history.
How are you applying this passion to your new home town?
I recently joined Sunbury Residents Association, mainly because of the major, major housing developments that are planned for the valley. I feel strongly about the Jacksons Hill area. Many years ago, when I was on Red Cross Appeals committee during the nurses strike, I was a volunteer up at Caloola (former Sunbury mental hospital).
I’ve been to the community meetings about Jacksons Hill and I wrote my own submissions to the Victoria Planning Authority..
They want to put all this housing in and there’s not enough water. There’s not enough infrastructure for the people that are here now, let alone tens of thousands more.
You only just need to drive around Sunbury now and the roads are clogged. The green wedges – the hills around Sunbury which were meant to be kept as open spaces – are slowly being infringed upon with housing.
Parking down the shopping centre here in Sunbury is become worse. Unless you go down first thing in the morning, it’s impossible to park.
I know that the council recently decided to move Sunbury Visitor Information Centre from the Old Courthouse … the Old Courthouse would make a great historical society museum.