News & Events

Enjoying a hec of a life in Rushall Park

May 4, 2020

Not every family has a sixty-year-old car sitting in the front of their home, but then John and Lesley Grigg never thought the car would end up being viewed as a family heirloom that could not be sold.

The car, fondly known as ‘Little Hec’ after its original registration number, is a Morris Minor 1000. It was a gift from John’s late mother who bought it new in 1960, passed it on to John ten years later, and each of the Griggs’ five children had it as their first car.

The story of Little Hec, like many of the sights around Rushall Park, reveals much about the residents living in the heritage village. Everyone has their own story to tell, and all enjoy living and breathing the history around them.

John and Lesley moved to Rushall Park in 2013 having been on the waiting list for many years. It took a stroke to force John retire from the legal profession and to downsize from their home in Ivanhoe. It was the best move for the couple then, and remains the right decision now.

What attracted John and Lesley to Rushall Park were the gardens and old buildings. The chance to declutter was a bonus.

They live in a home in Henty Avenue which was built in 1926 which, as with all the avenues and streets within the village, has a story behind the name. The avenue is named after the Henty family, who were among the founders of the village and the Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria. Edward Henty was the first of two men in the Henty family to become involved when he became second President of the Old Colonists Association in 1871.

His brother, Francis, followed in his footsteps as President of the Association twice: from 1884 to 1885, and then from 1887 to 1888.  Louisa Henty, Edward’s niece, played her part in the life of the Rushall Park village too. Her annual gift of a Christmas pudding to the villagers was much appreciated, as acknowledged by the Secretary of the Association in 1898: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Yours is all gone.”

“We loved the cottage the moment we saw it as it was like our home in Mildura which was of similar vintage,” John said.

There has been no suffering a seven-year itch since moving into the village. John and Lesley keep themselves busy with the many different activities that residents organise. Walking and playing table tennis are two favourite interests for the couple.

For John, history is very important. Last year he made a major contribution to OCAV’s 150th anniversary when he researched and wrote Twenty Shillings in a Pound, a snapshot of OCAV founder George Coppin, who led an  extraordinary life and contributed greatly to the people of Victoria.

“It was a modest attempt to preserve some of the legacy of a great but largely unsung man,” John said.

The play, with a cast made up of residents and the partner of a descendant of George Coppin, was performed at the sell-out Rushall Park Garden Party.

The apartments are beautiful, with lovely, open and bright rooms, and a balcony for growing plants in pots. I am starting to make my apartment into a home.

– Catherine, Leith Park

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