Town’s treasure documented

Beaconhills College student and book illustrator Krisha Saravanan with teacher and historian John Waterhouse who put the book together. 160906 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Aneeka Simonis

THE ‘rich’ history of Pakenham has been brought back to life in a new children’s book detailing an iconic town mystery dating back to the 1960s.
‘The Toomuc Treasure’, written and illustrated by a teacher and a student respectively from Beaconhills College in Pakenham revisits the day the Wyatt kids found rolls of cash tucked away in an abandoned Gembrook Road, Pakenham home.
It was early May, 1964 when the children – out mushrooming – made the find.
They had rushed for cover in the abandoned home after a heavy downpour of rain, only to find a roll of cash hidden away in one of the rooms.
The home belonged to Zachariah Arthur’s widow Emily Arthur, who was likened to a witch, always dressing in black.
There are tales of her poking a shotgun out her window at kids in town, warning them from her property.
The cash finding was reported to police, who later visited the house and discovered a significantly larger stash tucked away in the home for years since Ms Arthur left for Melbourne.
The iconic tales and other historical moments in the town’s history were given new life in the book in keeping with local heritage.
Artist and Year 12 student Krisha Saravanan was invited to illustrate the 72-page book, written by teacher and historian John Waterhouse.
Mr Waterhouse walked into Krisha’s Year 11 art class last year and posed the question: ‘Who is the best artist in the room?’
Her peers pointed to her, and so started her creative journey illustrating the book.
“Each scene took about two hours,” said the student currently doing her Year 12 VCE exams.
Mr Waterhouse has been researching the Toomuc region since 1990s, and claimed there is still likely cash buried at the property to this day.
If you wish to purchase the book, visit:
Beaconhills College Shop & Main Reception ($20)
Pakenham – Cuppa Time Cafe, Great Australian Bakery, Roylaine’s Photos, Viale’s Restaurant, Robert Gordon Pottery, O’Riley’s Bead Shop ($25)
Berwick – Old School House Cafe ($25)

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