A scrap book, found in a second-hand bookshop in Birregurra, detailing much of Warrnambool's early history has been presented to the Warrnambool and District Historical Society (W&DHS).
Western Victorian Association of Historical Societies president Michael Menzies bought the book, while browsing in Birregurra about about five years ago.
He later realised it was compiled by Edmund Vidler, who played a significant part in Warrnambool's early history.
The book, which he presented to the Warrnambool group on Saturday, features south-west news clippings and letters to the editor, providing a timeline of Mr Vidler's role in the region from 1906 to1909.
Mr Menzies said Mr Vidler, a journalist and author, advocated for Warrnambool to have its own factories, mills, a progress association and a direct railway line to Ararat.
"It's really interesting to see how someone came in from out of town and he said 'Start making the most of your resources," Mr Menzies said.
"Get yourself a dairy factory, get yourself a woollen mill - you're shipping bales off to be processed and you're sending out the dairy product'.
"He was saying there should be a dairy factory and of course Nestles turned up a few months later and the harbour and the railway development.
"It's significant for Warrnambool's history because he really did shake the place up a bit," Mr Menzies said.
"He really did wake-up Warrnambool and get it to make some progress and get some more industry and improve the rail connections from the hinterland to the port."
IN OTHER NEWS
Mr Menzies, who is also the Geelong South West Rail Historical Society president, said while Mr Vidler had historic connections with the Geelong Art Gallery, the scrap book was "far more relevant and he's more significant in Warrnambool because of what he advocated for in the early part of the last century".
W&DHS president Janet Macdonald said it was a timely presentation as members were currently working with the Warrnambool Family History Group to prepare a book about the city's Pioneer Board, which she said "was very much the brainchild of Edmund Vidler's time in Warrnambool".
The 114-year-old Pioneer Board is pride of place at Warrnambool's History House and features 204 of the city's earliest pioneers.
Ms Macdonald said the scrap book would help the group fill in some gaps in Warrnambool's history.
"We know he (Mr Vidler) didn't really get on with some of the people here and it gives you much more of a picture why. He was too radical for them," Ms Macdonald said.
"We're eager to learn more about the man from reading his letters to editors of newspapers and other material he collected, now contained in the scrap book," she said.
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