ADHS Newsletter No. 181 MAY, 2000

Return to index page for Pyrenees Pioneers newsletter.

Items of interest:

Wesley Hall at the Avoca Uniting Church was the venue for the Society’s sixteenth annual general meeting on Sunday, 21st May, when those attending enjoyed a delicious three-course luncheon before the formalities of the day began. President Jill Hunter began her report by quoting a poem by an unknown writer which was found in a pamphlet put out by a family recording a minor part of their history, and is recorded in the foreword of the book, The Clapton Family in Australia 1852-1998, which was compiled and edited by Keith Sheldon-Smith. Most of us can relate to these words in our endeavours to trace that elusive skeleton in our family closet.

If you could see your ancestors

all standing in a row

Would you be proud of them, or not

or don’t you really know.

But there’s another question which

requires a different view.

If you could meet your ancestors,

would they be proud of you?

Some strange discoveries are made

in climbing family trees

And some of them, you know, do not

particularly please.

Lord, help me trace the ancient roads

on which my fathers trod

And led them through so many lands

to find our present sod.

If you could see your ancestors

all standing in a row

There might be some of them, perhaps

you wouldn’t want to know.

Lord, help me find an ancient book

or dusty manuscript

That’s safely hidden now away

in some forgotten crypt.

Lord, let it bridge the gap that haunts

my soul when I can’t find

The missing link between some name

that ends the same as mine.

The President reported that the Society experienced a number of highlights over the past year, these being the completion of the dressing of the exterior of the Court House; the Preventative Conservation Workshop run by the VCCCM; our Creative Memories workshop; the cemetery tours we conducted as part of the Avoca Petanque Festivals; and speaker Lis Allan, who enlightened us on medical terms commonly found on death certificates. Last month, we saw the unveiling of a plaque which has been set in place beside the historic lamp-post which was donated by the family of the late Evelyn May Holland, affectionately known by all as ‘Nana Holland’. Whilst it took most of last year to move the said cast-iron lamp-post from its home of the past 40 years, it was well worth the wait, and grateful thanks go to all those responsible for the move, which was no mean feat! It has to be said that this original street lamp has completed ‘the look’ of our Court House - in fact, it looks perfectly at home.

Continuing, the President said that a new endeavour to raise some vital funds was tried this year. This took place in March when an amount in excess of $600 was raised. This endeavour was the brain-child of Lily Mills, and was a parade of ‘Fashions Through The Ages’, which involved a tremendous amount of work - the ironing, the mending, the starching, the sorting of clothes, which model to wear what clothes, etc. This was a magnificent show of clothing from the late 1800s and included wedding dresses of some of our members. The show has created so much interest that we have been asked to show the parade at both Bealiba and Clunes. Our thanks to Lily for all the hard work put in to this effort, especially as she was suffering ill-health at the time.

The pièce de résistance of the year is the fact that we have been successful in gaining a grant from Business Victoria, with which to erect a much-needed extension to the Court House, which will give us more work space as well as kitchen and toilet facilities.

The President then thanked all the hard-working members for their special diligence and dedication to the Society throughout the year, with special thanks to Wendy Taylor for acting as Minute Secretary as well as handling our growing number of e-mail enquiries. She also extended thanks to everyone who has, in any way, made a contribution to the Society.

Jill pointed out that we are in desperate need of more active members who live locally and suggested that we have a membership drive, as it is the same group of folk who do everything.

In conclusion, the President wished the incoming committee and office-bearers all the best for the next twelve months.

The Treasurer, Dorothy Robinson, then presented the financial report, a copy of which is included in this newsletter.

Our Research Officer, Jan Burnett, reported that she had had a very busy year handling 100 letters, 48 phone calls and 26 groups of visitors, who came from as far away as New Zealand and Avoca in Ireland! The latter group were members of the Avoca choir, who were keen to see what Avoca, Victoria, Australia, was like.

Wendy Taylor, who kindly handles e-mail for the Society and keeps in touch with Denis Strangman, who maintains our web-site, reported that there had been some 8,000 visits to our web-site since it opened in September, 1998. The infomation available on our web-site includes the following: A consolidated list of names on unclaimed letters; Assembly Roll for the Avoca Electoral Division 1856-57; Deep Lead Mining Company Shareholders 1864; Avoca Gold Mining Association Shareholders 1864; Index to Inquest Material held by the ADHS; List of ADHS Holdings; Members’ Interests Directory; ADHS Pyrenees Pioneers newsletters from September, 1996; Photos of Court House and Avoca area 1999; Postal Directory for Avoca 1900 - Business People; and links to members’ web-pages and other groups.

The President then invited Daryl McLeish, the guest speaker, to take the chair for the election of office-bearers. He commented that the Society was a hard-working and viable group, with dedicated members, and congratulated all members for their efforts. The result of the election was as follows:

President Graeme Mills

Vice President Max Hobson

Secretary Wendy Taylor

Asssistant Secretary Lily Mills

Treasurer Dorothy Robinson

Public Officer Jill Hunter

Research Officer Jan Burnett

Newsletter Editor Lorna Purser

Publicity Officer Edna Jarvis

CHHA Representatives Edna Jarvis, Marj. Partridge, Graeme Mills

Harry Oulton then moved a vote of thanks to Jill Hunter, thanking her for her efforts for the Society over this last year, which has been a difficult one indeed, holding the position of President, without a Secretary, necessitating the sharing of these duties by Jill and Wendy Taylor (as minute secretary). Her efforts have been all the more appreciated knowing that Jill is deeply involved with other community commitments.

Our guest speaker on this occasion gave his talk the title of ‘Daryl McLeish’s Ramblings’ and what interesting ramblings they proved to be. Daryl has a long interest in his home town of Carisbrook and spoke without notes, all manner of dates and names and figures coming to mind in their correct order, as it were. We learned that the town of Carisbrook was named for Carisbrook Castle on the Isle of Wight. It was proclaimed the site for a township in February,1852, and became a municipality in 1857. The town was surveyed by Mr. Urquhart, one of the earliest surveyors, and the streets were mostly named for local farmers.

Carisbrook became a police district and had a policeman as early as July, 1851. This police district covered quite a large area and was frequently shown as part of the address on letters to pioneer folk, when in fact they lived many miles distant from the town of Carisbrook. Such addresses often lead researchers astray - they try to locate their ancestors in the town of Carisbrook itself, when they should be looking further out in the surrounding countryside. The old log gaol still stands today, with over 1,000 people visiting it each year. The gaol was designed with a cell for women prisoners but it was seldom used as such. Its general use in the gold-rush years was a lock-up for gold!

Carisbrook was never a shanty town - as it grew in those early days, solid buildings were being erected there, whilst Maryborough was yet a town of slab and calico buildings and tents. Of the three towns of Dunolly, Maryborough and Carisbrook, the latter was the first established town.

The first post office was established in 1852 - this shop still stands and we know it today as ‘Caroline’s Restaurant’. This post office served all those on the Maryborough diggings and became very, very busy coping with the miners anxious for mail from home.

There were 20 deep-lead mines in the area but these went into decline from 1910. The local people then turned to other occupations and poultry farms became popular, with two train loads of eggs leaving Carisbrook each week.

Pioneers mentioned in this talk included Thomas Chaplin (Lily Mills’ ancestor) and Henry Chalk and his successes, whilst prominent people included George Merrick Long, who was born at Carisbrook and later lived at Maryborough and became a Bishop; and Tilly Aston, who was born at Carisbrook, went blind as a child, was the first blind student in the state to matriculate, became a teacher, and later founded the Association for the Advancement of the Blind (now Vision Australia).

Lily Mills thanked Daryl for this most interesting talk and made a presentation on behalf of the Society.

Daryl was then asked to draw the lucky ticket for the raffle, which was won by Harry Oulton, the prize being a basket of Australian-made products. Congratulations, Harry.

Grateful thanks go to those folk who set up the hall and tables so nicely for the occasion, to the good cooks who supplied the lovely luncheon, to Lily Mills for her table decorations, and to all the willing hands in the kitchen - a great effort by everyone to help swell our Court House Restoration funds.

On the completion of the AGM, a short general meeting was held, when incoming President Graeme Mills expressed his thanks to those who had nominated and elected him for this coming year. He also thanked the incoming office bearers, especially Wendy Taylor. Graeme pointed out that we have a huge task ahead of us with the building of the extensions to the Court House and the raising of the necessary funds.

Dates for your diary - Saturday, 17th June, a display of ‘Fashions Through the Ages’, at the Avoca Court House, from 10 am to 4 pm., with a mini-parade at 2 pm. Admission $3, includes a raffle ticket and cuppa.

Sunday, 18th June - General meeting at the Court House at 1.30 pm, when the building extensions and fund-raising will be discussed.

Saturday, 24th June - Parade of ‘Fashions Through the Ages’ at the Clunes Guide Hall at 8 pm. Definitely your last chance to see this interesting and lovely collection. Enquiries to Lily Mills on 54 653 565.

Sunday, 16th July - Guest speaker Anne Young will tell us about Avoca during WWI.

Donations - The Society is grateful to the following members for their generous donations to the Court House Restoration Fund: S. Savige; A.E. Beavis; Mr. and Mrs. M. Church; J. Adams; N. Rowland; H. Beeke; E. McKechnie; Mr. and Mrs. G. Christie; M. Gray; K. Chapman; K. Hogan; K. Grumont; Mr. and Mrs. D. Birchall; Mr. and Mrs. J. Sargeant; D. Black; I. Macwhirter; I. Eldridge; N. Friend; C. McSwain; Mr. and Mrs. L. Smith; E.J. Chandler; H. Ellett; E. Graham; A. Hall; R. and M. Stavely; F.G. Glover; N. Edwards; A. Young; V. Garrard; L. Leersen; L. Bennett and L. Leyden.

Thanks - The Society acknowledges with thanks an interesting collection of blue prints of mines in the area from Natte Yallock to Lexton, which have been kindly donated by the Canberra Historical Society.

Reminder -Your subscriptions are due - Members are reminded that annual subscriptions are now due. If you have not attended to this matter, please refer to your April newsletter for a renewal slip and forward this with your cheque to our Treasurer, Dorothy Robinson, 27 Orme Street, Avoca, 3467. Our thanks to all those who have paid their subs so promptly.

New Members - A warm welcome is extended to the following new members:

Mrs. Elizabeth MILNE and Mr. Jules ABRAHAM, of East St. Kilda, Vic., whose interests are NIVEN, ABRAHAMS and WARNE.

Ms Nicole MURPHY, of Ballarat, Vic., who is researching MURPHY of Lexton, MEAGHER and SMITH of  Redbank, KAISER of Avoca, and HELLIAR of Avoca and Natte Yallock.

Mrs. Patricia O’CONNELL, of Werribee, Vic., who is interested in HANNETT and LOWE of Navarre, and BIBBY.

Ms. Joan HOLLOWAY, of Morningside, Qld., whose interests are BURKINSHAW and HENRY.

Mr. J. and Mrs. D. DOUGLAS, of Stewart Mill, Vic., who are interested in Ford’s Nursery, and want information and photos of old roses and old gardens in the Avoca area.

W. H. Ford’s Nursery at Number One Creek - Mr. Ford grew many types of flowers and fruits on this property; these included Hamburg grapes back in 1871, whilst in 1874, he was expecting to harvest four tons of strawberries. It is recorded that the folk of Avoca took great delight in going to Mr. Ford’s beautiful garden to enjoy strawberries and cream beneath the willow tree, surrounded by the beauty and fragrance of a hundred varieties of roses. In the 1870s, Mr. Ford advertised in the Avoca Mail that he had over six thousand rose plants for sale as well as fruit trees. He was also an exhibitor at a fruit and flower show held in Avoca in March, 1867.

Moonambel Primary School No. 1683 - The 125th Anniversary of this school will be celebrated on 3rd, 4th and 5th Novmber, 2000, and a book is being written by Merri Hogan on the history of the school and the community for the occasion. Merri would be grateful for any information to help this project along and is particularly keen to learn anything about Mrs. Annie D’Orival, who was the sewing mistress at the school from 1901 to 1927. She also seeks a good copy of the school photo taken in 1905. If you can help, contact Merri Hogan at Moonambel RMB 4322A, St. Arnaud, 3478, or phone (03) 5467 2204.

Booth Family Information - An interesting e-mail has been received from Ronald James BOOTH, who is keen to exchange information with any of our members researching that name. He has listed the births, deaths and marriages of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania and has some 127 family trees of the Booth name, which cover most states. He assumes that some of these are linked, if only he could find that link. He says that he has some wonderful history and many certificates, inquest reports and photos for some of these trees. Ronald can be contacted by e-mail at rjbooth@dragnet.com.au

New Release - Index to Unclaimed Letters in the Central Queensland District, December 1864 - December 1869. This Index to Unclaimed Letters in the Central Queensland District, Dec. 1864-Dec. 1869, was compiled from the unclaimed letter lists which appeared monthly in the Queensland Government Gazettes. The index contains over 14,000 names and gives details in many cases of people’s anticipated or known location, previous address, employer, occupation, business or ship’s name for passengers and crew. Letters were often sent to the addresses where immigrants were expected to be living or working at the time of the letter’s arrival. This index is available only on microfiche for $18, including postage, from the Central Queensland Family History Association Inc., P.O. Box 6000, Central Queensland Mail Centre, Qld. 4702.

‘Heritage and the New Millennium’ Conference - This conference is to be held on 3rd-5th November, 2000, at the Heritage Function Centre, Motto Farm Motel, Raymond Terrace, NSW, and will be hosted by the Newcastle Family History Society Inc. Keynote speaker will be Mari Metzke, Manager, Outreach Services, RAHS, Sydney, while Daryl Lightfoot’s topic is Statutory Separation - child immigration schemes, adoption, fostering, etc.; Dr. Bob James will speak on Friendly and Benefit Societies; Ed Tonks’ subject is Pits and Pubs of the Hunter Valley; Angela Pippen’s topic is Divorce Case Research; John A. Ramsland will speak on Sir Roden Cutler, and Dr. Gillian Turner’s subject is Genetics in Family History. For brochure giving full details, contact Newcastle Family History Society Inc., P.O. Box 189, Adamstown, NSW 2289. Closing date for early bird registration is 1st August, 2000.