The Sounds of Melton

Sound affects us in very powerful ways. It is one of many senses that helps us connect to and understand our environment. This exhibition explores some of the sounds that people would have heard in Melton in its formative years from the 1930s to the 1970s. 

The Sounds of Melton is on display in the Community Heritage area at Melton Library and Learning Hub from:
21 October 2022 to 28 February 2023.

Pieces in this exhibition have been temporarily loaned from the Barrie-Myers family. 


Fire brigade radio fighting a Diggers Rest fire in the 1970s

Melton’s first Fire Brigade was formed in 1935. Ernest Wesley (Bon) Barrie was named First Lieutenant, and later Captain Bon Barrie from 1955 to 1968. In 1966, the Fire Brigade's Mount Cottrell Group was formed. Bon Barrie was appointed Group Officer and Group Communications Officer. 

When two-way radio was introduced around 1955, the base set was installed in the Barrie home. This allowed all eight local Fire Brigade Groups to communicate and co-ordinate throughout the Melton Shire and adjoining districts. 

Fire brigade radio communications during a Diggers Rest fire in the 1970s

This 1970s recording of the local Fire Brigade racing to head off the eastern flank of a fire at Diggers Rest is extraordinary. Listen carefully and you can hear the domestic sounds at home base, with Edna Barrie and her grandchild in the background. When the recording started at the fire was well and truly underway. 

Note, that L.Y. was the code for the Mt Cottrell Group.

A troubled mind by Bruce Myers from Edna and Bruce Myers at the piano
Records made from Aluminium were created by Edna Myers and her brothers, Bruce and Max, in the late 1930s. They were pupils of their sister Marjorie, a talented pianist and local music teacher. 
Bruce Myers playing A troubled mind

Recording of an interview with Marjorie and Edna Myers

Sisters Marjorie and Edna Myers speaking about their musical performances at the Melton Mechanics in the 1930s. The concert was broadcast by the ABC.
Marjorie and Edna Myers interview

DJ Bon Barrie’s MegaMix of “78s

This is the list of songs from albums Bon Barrie had in his collection and played at community concerts.

It’s a hot, dry Spring evening. After a day in the hay fields you gather at the Mechanics Institute. Bon Barrie has set up the record player and brought his “78s. You can hear Mario Lanza reverberate as you approach. Step inside for some punch and relax with friends as you enjoy The Sounds of Melton.

Sounds like Growth, Progress and Community Spirit

Want to know more about the history of Melton? Check out our online library catalogue for more resources, or come and visit the Family & Local History collection at Melton Library & Learning Hub

Borrow or purchase a hardcover copy of Growth, Progress and Community Spirit from the library, or download the free eBook.

View more online items from the Barrie Collection