ADHS Newsletter No. 167 FEBRUARY, 1999

Return to index page for Pyrenees Pioneers newsletter.

Items of interest -

Annual Garage Sale

Our Annual Garage Sale, held on 20th February, was very successful, with over $600 being added to the Society's funds. Eager buyers arrived early to snap up the bargains amongst the 'trash and treasure' items and the excellent variety of fresh produce which was available. We have a band of very faithful, hard-working members who contribute so much time and energy on these occasions and grateful thanks is extended to each and everyone of you for your efforts which made this first event for the year so successful. I won't name names - each of you know the contribution you made. Many thanks, too, to those who donated goods, without which there would be no 'sale'.

Bus Trip to Donald

The next event on our calendar will be a bus trip to Donald on Sunday, 21st March. The bus will leave the Court House at 9 am, arriving at Donald at approximately 10.30 am. There will be a tour of the town's historic sites, including the old police cottage, the agricultural museum and the Court House museum. After lunch, we will visit the Donald Historical Society's archival building where we will have the opportunity to do some research. BYO lunch and please bring a plate for afternoon tea - tea and coffee will be provided. Cost is $15 per person. Please book your seat with Colleen Allen on (03) 54 65 3296 as soon as possible.

ADHS activities

The Society continues to be kept busy in many ways. Research enquiries are just one aspect of our activities, with phone calls, letters and visitors to our Research Officer, Jan Burnett, and visitors to the Court House, where Colleen Allen and Wendy Taylor give such excellent assistance. Recently, the Probus Clubs from Stawell and Ararat have enjoyed their visits to Avoca. On these occasions, Colleen has taken them on conducted tours of the area . In December, the students from the Natte Yallock Primary School visited the Court House and used our research resources to help build up a picture of their own family history which they will be submitting to the First Families 2001 project (see separate item on page 3).

Avoca, Iowa

Contact continues, via the Internet, with Avoca, Iowa, USA, with the children at the Avoca Primary School corresponding with their counterparts in America. Our children are most enthusiastic and excited with this link with children so far away. (How different is today's means of contact from the days of the Pen Friend Clubs of the schools of yesteryear!)

We sincerely thank Max and Valda Garrard for their kind donation of three sets of index drawers and Kevin Cherry for his donation of books for our library.

A very warm welcome is extended to the following new members of the Society:

Mrs. N. M. DAVID, of Nunawading, Vic., whose interests are DODD and TAYLOR.

Dr. John HAYMAN, of Avoca, Vic., who is looking into medical conditions, accidents and injuries on the goldfields.

Mrs. Elizabeth JACOBSEN, of Strathmore, Vic., researching the POUNCEBY and McCAHON families of Glenpatrick.

Mrs. Susan STAIN, of Dubbo, NSW, who is interested in the SCHOFIELD and EDMONDS families.

CHHA Seminar on heritage issues

The Central Highlands Historical Association is conducting a one-day seminar on Saturday, 17th April, 1999, for people interested in heritage issues affecting country towns in Victoria. The seminar will bring together planners, local councillors, heritage advisers, historians and community activists to clarify the state of heritage legislation in Victoria. The seminar will be held at Clunes, from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, and the cost of $25 includes a light lunch.

Issues to be covered include:

Further details from Anne Beggs Sunter, President CHHA, PO Box 98, Buninyong, 3357, telephone 03 53 417618, or e-mail a.beggs-sunter@ballarat.edu.au

Talks and Seminars Programme conducted by the Public Record Office of Victoria.

Between March and June, 1999, there will be a series of free talks and three seminars for which there will be a fee. The seminar fee covers attendance, workshop materials and refreshments. Numbers are restricted for all sessions so booking is essential. Phone Catherine Kesik on (03) 9369 3244 for Melbourne and Laverton sessions, and Maree Williams on 53336611 for Ballarat sessions.

Repton U.K.

Exchange Minister at the Anglican Parish of Maryborough. Father Julian Barker is currently on exchange from England, coming from the parish of Repton in Derbyshire, which consists of four villages. In Banter, the church newsletter of the Maryborough parish, of November, 1998, he gives a short history of Repton:

"Repton itself is a village with a population of around 2,600. It is also home to a well-known boarding school. There is, as they say, 'a lot of history' here. It was home base to the Saxon kings of Mercia and it was here that Celtic monks from Northumbria first brought Christianiy to the Midlands in 654 AD. The first stage of the crypt under the sanctuary was built as a royal burial chamber some time between 715 and 750 AD and, when the Viking great army spent the winter here in 783-4, they used the church as part of their fortifications. They also left behind their dead and, during my time at Repton, archeologists discovered the remains of 249 Vikings and followers under a mound at the end of the Vicarage lawn. The nave, tower and spire of the church are all 14th century. The roof and porch are 15th century. The Normans founded a priory here in about 1172 and, after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, its remaining buildings were taken over by the school when it was founded in 1557."

Before being appointed to Repton, Father Julian served as a curate on a large housing estate in the Midlands (Stafford), was Chaplain of Clare College, Cambridge, and a member of a team ministry in a group of eleven small country parishes in Norfolk, where he became Rector. With such an interesting background, his Maryborough parishioners are eager to hear more, and it has been arranged for Father Julian to give a talk on Monday, 15th March, 1999, at the Anglican Church Hall at Maryborough at 8.00 pm. Everyone welcome. Supper will be served after the talk.

First Families 2001.

This project is an initiative of the State Library of Victoria, funded by Multimedia Victoria as part of the Skills.net programme, and provides us with an opportunity to contribute to a record which very few countries, other than Australia, could compile. First Families 2001 is a database and collection of stories about the people of Australia, past and present, and could become the online Australian equivalent of the English Domesday Book of 1082. So, what is a first family? Your first family is the earliest person in your family known to have lived in Australia. Information which is essential - Names of your earliest known ancestors to have lived in Australia and names of their descendants all the way down to you. (Date of birth for people less than 75 years of age will not be shown for privacy reasons.) Stories about your earliest ancestors in this country, their occupations, places of residence, etc., are also being sought. It is advisable to get the full details of this worthwhile project by obtaining a brochure from the Genealogy Centre, State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne, phone 03 9669 9080, or pick one up at the AIGS Library at Blackburn, the GSV, your local genealogical group or local library. You can read more about it in your AIGS Genealogistof June, 1998, on page 52, then get busy preparing your family entry.

Amphitheatre Union Church

The Union Church at Amphitheatre - With the recent sale of this building, it is timely to look at some of the history of the Amphitheatre Union Church. When centenary celebrations were held on Sunday, 28th November, 1965, the then Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, the Right Rev. A.M. Dickie was in attendance and the service was conducted by the Rev. I. Neilson Whyte, B.A. (the then Moderator of Parish). The order of service on that occasion included some brief historical notes, as follows:

"There seems to be no doubt that Mr. Thomas Clapperton (Presbyterian) was the man who inspired the building of the Amphitheatre Church. This is revealed in the following brief points taken from letters Mr. Clapperton wrote to Mr. H. Spiers and other Trustees and interested friends of the Church.

September 9, 1864 (to Mr. Spiers) - discussed with the Rev. Smyth the building of a church and promising 100 (half!) towards the cost also 26 towards stipend (half the local quota at the time).

September 19, 1864 (to Mr. Spiers) - borrow from the bank if the people could not raise the money.

December 18, 1864 - ordered 'five tons of best lime ready for early use for the building of a brick church at Amphitheatre'.

March 25, 1865 (to Mr. Walker, school teacher and Trustee) - would make a free gift of a chamber organ to the Trustees of the church NOW being built on condition that an Anglican Service be held on alternate Sabbaths - the organ to be considered part and parcel of the building.

(April 13, 1865 - Avoca Presbyterian Minute Book records Presbyterian Services being held in the Amphitheatre School.)

May 20, 1865 (to a friend) - Rev. D. Galloway, Glasgow, to become resident Minister of Avoca, Amphitheatre and Bung Bong; recorded in the Avoca Minute Book. Amphitheatre joined Avoca Charge in June, 1864.

May 27, 1865 (to Mr. Spiers) - 'New building not more than third part finished.'

June 19, 1865 (to the Rev. Leatman, Rector) - promised 25 towards stipend of a Church of England clergyman.

July 3, 1865 (to Messrs. H. Spiers and Walker) - adamant that an Episcopalian Service be held on alternate Sabbaths 'in the Church just finished'. Evidence of opposition from the Presbytery of Castlemaine.

(November 21, 1865 - Avoca Presbyterian Minute Book records Amphitheatre congregation agreed to pay 75 a year towards the stipend, provided that another denomination could use their New Church on alternate Sundays.)

Although there seems to be no record of the actual date of union between Presbyterians and Anglicans, it is fairly certain that united services began either at the opening (no date recorded) of the new church building, or shortly afterwards. The property is owned by the Presbyterian Church."

In 1931, the Rev. Arthur Bell, the then Rector of St. John's Anglican Church at Avoca, wrote a booklet covering the early days of the various Anglican churches in the wider Avoca area. The following is his article on the history of the Union Church at Amphitheatre:

"The Church was built as a Presbyterian Church in 1862 and it was not till the year 1865 that the Anglicans were invited to hold Divine Service there. During those sixty-six years the spirit of unity manifested between the two congregations is a matter for congratulation and joy. Nearly thirty years ago Mr. H. Spiers, out of his own money, had built the Sunday School where much good work has been done by many teachers. It is to be noted that Mr. T. Ennis spent thirty-four years as Superintendent in the school and his son, William, then took up the work laid down by his father. The Quayle family and the Spiers have been well represented among the workers throughout the history of the Church. The stable was built out of funds provided for that purpose by Mr. J. Webster. Thirty years ago the building had to be extended another twelve feet to provide for the growing congregation. Mrs. Howell presided over the organ for ten years and only gave it up owing to ill-health. Mrs. Joseph Quayle, Mrs. Annie Spiers, Mrs. C.W. Quayle, Mrs. Ennis, Mrs. Le Levre and Miss Howell have also proved themselves to be faithful organists. Mr. Le Levre is at present Sunday School Superintendent and is doing splendid work among the children. The communion table was a gift from the Howell family and in memory of Mrs. Lusby. The hymn board is also a memorial to Mrs. Lusby and is the gift of her husband, Mr. Jack Lusby. The communion service was provided by several members of the congregation shortly after the Church was erected."

Back to Black Lead

Back to Black Lead - On Sunday, 28th March, 1999, commencing at 10.30 am, there will be a handing-over ceremony of buildings to the Napoleons and District Historical Society Inc. and a Book Launch. Lunch and afternoon tea will be available. Full details can be had by phoning (03) 5342-0616 or (03) 5342-0777.

(From Connections, Herald/Sun, Melbourne, 26th February, 1999)

Guides and Brownies in Avoca

Guides and Brownies in Avoca (from a souvenir booklet on Avoca published in 1974)

"After several years of recession, a Local Association together with Guide Company and Brownie Pack was reformed in Avoca in 1961. They have continued by the willing co-operation of workers over the years. At present we have sixteen Brownies and are prepared for useful citizenship.

At present the Cub Scouts (8-11 years) number about 20 boys under the leadership of Mrs. Fay Peck, and the Scout Troop (11-15 years) of 15 young men are led by Robin Nuttall. Robin also holds the position of District Commissioner.

The boys meet weekly in the recently renovated Scout Hall in High St., which is a converted cottage over 100 years old. They also take part in many outside activities such as weekend camps and nature hikes."