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February 2005 - The opening of the February Committee meeting of the Walhalla Heritage and Development League was postponed briefly in order to deal with some important and unexpected business without notice -- about a notice. Longtime League member and Walhalla cemetery trustee, Yolanda Reynolds (pictured below), dropped in with a surprise gift for our archives when she returned an old sign from the entrance to the town which had somehow made its way to the Traralgon offices of the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) , where it had languished in obscurity until she recently "liberated" it.

The signboard, hand-painted on a sheet of tin, and considerably faded over the course of many years, had once been positioned to welcome visitors to the town, presumably at the southern entrance to the valley. It reads as follows:

WELCOME
TO OUR GREEN VALLEY
and
may you, 'midst its quiet beauty,
find the rest and peace you seek.

Erected by the Walhalla Improvement League

L. Seear Writer 24-10-44

Astute inspection of the relic reveals a background painting of the main junction, including an immediately recognizable representation of the 1896 Mountaineer Brass Band Rotunda.

The Walhalla Improvement League was one of the earliest attempts to arrest the decline of the town's fortunes, and was the direct antecedent of what later became the Walhalla Heritage League, and more recently (in 2000) the Walhalla Heritage and Development League.

It was the Improvement League that sponsored the first of a lengthy series of "Back-To's", beginning in the late 1930's, and including the one shown here at Melbourne's Botanical Gardens on April 20th, 1945.

Click on the picture to see a full-sized image (but be warned that it's 168Kb in size).

The present-day Walhalla Heritage and Development League dips its collective lid in deference to our far-sighted founders of many years ago, and applauds the welcome return of this faded tourist landmark to the township.

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