ADHS Newsletter No. 195 AUGUST, 2001

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Items of interest -

August Meeting - The Story of the Mackereth Family. Members were pleased to welcome a number of visitors to our meeting held at the Court House on Sunday, 19th August, when Stuart Mackereth spoke on the history of his family. He divided his talk into three parts, the first being "Where did the Mackereths come from and who were they?", the second was about the Australian family, and the third dealt with letters written to the family in the latter half of the 19th century. The family’s roots seem to have been well established in the beautiful Lakes district of England, with the Mackereth name appearing in land rental records as far back as the 14th century in Grasmere, Ambleside and Troutbeck. The family prospered over the years, with some members going into medicine or the ministry, and others into brewing, and living across the north of England, some still with a connection to land in the Lakes district. The prosperity is evidenced by the generous legacies left to many family members in the will of Mrs. Alethea Watson (nee Mackereth) who died at Hedon, Yorkshire, in 1827. Thomas Mackereth, a son of the Rev. John Mackereth, who was a cousin to Mrs. Watson, managed Mrs. Watson’s brewery. He received the largest legacy from her will and established his own breweries at Hedon and Scarborough. In 1812, Thomas had married Mary Hetherington, and their family consisted of eight sons and one daughter, Alethea, who died at two years of age. In 1852, two of their sons, Edwin Horatio and Alfred Mackereth, left England to seek their fortunes on the Victorian goldfields. They went to the Castlemaine area but had little luck so Alfred returned to England where he took over his father’s brewery and hotel chain. Edwin Horatio persevered and was joined by his brothers Charles and Miles at Castlemaine about 1856. Sadly, Miles died there in 1858, only 34 years of age. Charles was in Clunes for a while before going north and joining in the Palmer River gold rush of Far North Queensland, and he died in Queensland in 1880. On 8th February, 1860, Edwin Horatio Mackereth married Catherine Heinz, from Nieder-Weisel in Germany. Edwin had just purchased land 2 km west of Avoca where, in due course, he built a home which still stands today. The property took the name "Hedon Farm" from Edwin’s birthplace and here he grew vegetables and fruit trees, later planting a half-acre of vines. Having some success with this venture, he gradually expanded the area under vines and became one of the district’s best-known vignerons, the wines of Mackereth and Sons winning many prizes. Edwin Horatio and Catherine Mackereth had a family of four sons and four daughters : Edwin (1860-1908), wine maker; Eleanor (1862-1920); Victoria (1864-1935), was a dressmaker and had a haberdashery shop in High Street, Avoca; Alethea (1865-1952), conducted the wine shop in High Street, Avoca, as a retail outlet for the products of the vineyard; John (1867-1960), taught music and singing in Melbourne but returned to Avoca to take over the vineyard on the death of his brother, Edwin, in 1908; Ada (1869-1917), a bee keeper; Alfred (1871-1964), a bank employee, who began his working life at the Bank of Victoria, Avoca; and Charles (1880-1908), who worked in the vineyard. Edwin Horatio Mackereth died in 1916, aged 88 years, and his wife, Catherine, in 1918, aged 79 years, both passing away at Avoca. Their eldest son, Edwin, married a Scottish lass, Sophie West, from Glasgow, and they had two children, Glen and Alethea. In Melbourne in the early 1920s, Glen took up an apprenticeship with the well-known electrical firm of Oliver J. Nilsen but was laid off when the Depression began. He returned to Avoca and worked for a time in the family vineyard before setting up his own business in High Street about 1927, where he made radios and sold electrical goods, serving the community well until he retired in the mid-1960s. Glen and his wife, the former Elma Miller, and their children, lived behind the shop in those years. On retirement, they moved to Melbourne, where Glen died last year, one month after celebrating his 97th birthday, Elma having pre-deceased him in 1992. Stuart showed us many excellent photographs of his English Mackereth ancestors and we envied him having such a fine collection. He concluded his talk by reading some of the letters written to Edwin Horatio and Catherine by their siblings which he had found at an aunt's home just a few years ago, bundled up in brown paper with the rubbish. These were fascinating to listen to, and also to view a quite lengthy one which was written in the old style, firstly across the page, then at right angles lengthwise, but, not having finished, the writer then proceeded to write over all that diagonally! Another lengthy epistle was to young Edwin Horatio and Alfred from their uncle, the Rev. Miles Mackereth, giving lots of advice on how to live their lives in a God-fearing manner as they made their way on the other side of the world. We thank Stuart for a very interesting talk and for sharing the family treasures of photos and old letters with us. Thanks - Again, we thank our Vice President Max Hobson for chairing the meeting and also Colleen Allen who acted as Minute Secretary.

Important Notice - Please note that Society e-mail enquiries should be directed to Colleen Allen at this point in time, at allencolleen@hotmail.com as shown at the top of this newsletter.

Next Meeting Day - Our next meeting day is Sunday, 16th September, when we will meet at the Goldfields Museum on Broadway at Dunolly at 2 p.m., in readiness for a walking tour of the very fine old buildings of that town with Ron Carless as our guide. There is ample car parking space in the street at the rear of the museum. We propose having a cuppa at a café at the conclusion of the tour, or you can take your own. A visit to the museum is also suggested; there is much of interest to see there, the premises now extending right through to the street at the back.

Looking Ahead - On Sunday, 21st October, we will meet at the Lexton Public Hall, situated on the Amphitheatre Road, and hold a short meeting in the supper room at 1.30 p.m. before attending the official opening at 3 p.m., by Cr. Neil Hamer, of the Federation Photographic Exhibition being organised by members of the Lexton Progress Association. A lot of hard work is going into the preparation of this exhibition, with several of our members deeply involved. Please note that this Exhibition will be open daily from 20th to 28th October.

On Sunday, 18th November, we will have our final meeting for the year at the Court House at 1.30 p.m., to be followed by a Christmassy afternoon tea. It has been suggested that we bring our ideas to the meeting for activities for next year, so that a programme can be drawn up.

New Members - A warm welcome is extended to the following new members:- Mr. Frank BRADY, of Ballarat, Vic., who is researching Thomas and Margaret CONDON and Arthur Edward BRADY. Mrs. Judith GREENAWAY, of Lakes Entrance, Vic., whose interests are HOWQUA, DERRICK, DAVIES, KINSEY, STRDI(Y), and KLEIN. Mrs. Patricia LESLIE, of North Curl Curl, NSW, researching the De Serre family. Mr. Stuart MACKERETH, of Mt. Waverley, Vic., whose interests are MACKERETH, MILLER, SMITH, BURKINSHAW and HEINZE. Mr. Stuart SMITH, of Elmhurst, Vic., who is interested in the Glen Patrick area.

Congratulations to Helen Harris, who has received a High Distinction for her Master’s Thesis, The Search for Miss Helen Hart. Helen wishes to thank all those good folk who passed on information of sightings of this women’s rights/temperance/gospel lecturer in her unceasing travels around the country. With seven years of study and research behind her, Helen is as busy as ever and is currently continuing her work of indexing information from records of the Infant Life Protection Act, which she spoke about after opening the extension to the Court House last November. The following is an explanation of what this Act was all about, and how researchers may find it useful.

The Infant Life Protection Act was passed in Victoria in 1890 and aimed to protect the lives of new-born children by forcing any woman who looked after young babies to be registered. These women (nurses) were known familiarly as ‘baby farmers’. Each woman had to be approved, to renew their registration each year, and had to advise each time she moved house. The Act was not strictly enforced, and cases of infanticide and child abandonment continued, so in 1898 the police department took over the management of the Act, and ran it until 1908. The police introduced strict controls and created a mountain of paperwork in administering the Act, but unfortunately surviving indexes to this material only commence in 1900. Helen Harris has been working through these indexes for some time, recording the names of all the women who became baby farmers. She has produced a fiche "Infant Life Protection Act (Vic.) Part I – The Nurses 1901-1908’ and has donated a copy to the Society. Copies are available from Harriland Press at P.O. Box 92, Forest Hill, 3131, for $25 plus $1 postage. While most of the women were inner suburban working-class mothers, some were relatives of the child, and some were country residents. Part II has also been produced. This lists those people who were investigated for failing to report the birth or death of an illegitimate child within three days, as required under the I.L.P. Act. This fiche, a copy of which has also been donated to the Society, is available for $10 plus $1 postage. Part III, a listing of all children taken in for caring by the nurses, is currently in production and should be released shortly. The Society thanks Helen for her donation of the fiche covering Parts I and II of this project.

S.S. Great Britain - The Royal Historical Society of Victoria is asking for information on the S.S.Great Britain. Professor Baz Kershaw, Department of Drama at Bristol University, is seeking contact with descendants of families who arrived on the Great Britain between 1852-1874. The Professor is designing a presentation incorporating highlights of shipboard experiences and life after arrival, to be included in a forthcoming programme of events on the ship. Full details of the project and Australian contact numbers for the Professor are to be found at the RHSV web-site, www.vicnet.net.au/~rhsvic If your ancestors travelled to Australia on the S.S. Great Britain, you may be interested in this.

War Memorial Plaques at Amphitheatre - A reminder that the unveiling of war memorial plaques for the district’s men who served in the 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 wars will take place at the Amphitheatre Public Hall on Sunday, 28th October, 2001, at 2 p.m. For more information, contact Mary Dridan, Bailey Street, Amphitheatre, 3468, or phone (03) 5466 2252.

Family and Local History Expo - This annual event presented by the Central Highlands Historical Association will take place on the weekend of Saturday, 27th, and Sunday, 28th October, the venue being the Australian Catholic University (Aquinas) at 1200 Mair Street, Ballarat, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Admission is $5 and there is off-street parking. This treasure trove of information will enable you to sort out your research at the one venue. There will be Internet and computer facilities, displays, talks and musical entertainment. Contacts are Gordon Dawe on (03) 5475 2041, Dave Evans on (03) 53315241 or Chris Stancliffe on (03) 5367 1342, postal address P.O. Box 2209, Ballarat Mail Centre, Vic. 3354, or find details at http://www.ballaratgenealogy.org.au

SNIPPETS FROM THE PAST ( All the items on this page have been taken from "The Avoca Mail", Wednesday, 8th November, 1967) "SHIRE DECLARED DROUGHT AREA - The Shire of Avoca has received the following letter from the Secretary, Premier’ss Department, in relation to the proclamation of the Shire as a drought relief area :- ‘Further to representations made on behalf of the Shire of Avoca to the Honourable the Premier, I am directed to advise you that during the present dry conditions the Shire has been declared officially as a drought relief area, as requested. ‘Concessions are available to residents of declared areas in regard to the cartage of stock fodder for drought relief purposes and for the cartage of stock out and back for agistment. ‘The Victorian Railways will concede a 75 per cent reduction in freight charges on fodder and a 50 per cent reduction on stock. The Transport Regulation Board will not make a charge for road transport permits.’"

"AUXILIARY THANKED – At a complimentary dinner tendered by the Lexton Football Club to members of the women’s auxiliary, the vice-president, Mr. E. White, made a presentation to the auxiliary secretary, Mrs. E. Herbertson, for services rendered to the club "At a complimentary dinner tendered by the Lexton Football Club to members of the women’s auxiliary, the vice-president, Mr. E. White, made a presentation to the auxiliary secretary, Mrs. E. Herbertson, for services rendered to the club. "Mr. White also presented a life membership medallion to the club trainer, Mr. Barr. "Other awards presented by Mr. White were: Firsts: Best and Fairest, H. Lockett; most consistent, D. Impey most determined, J. Jenson; best utility, M. Roxburgh; best first year player, A. Pritchard; most improved senior, J. Christie; best clubman, R. Fisher. "Reserves: Best and fairest, B. Augustini; most consistent, P. D. Casey; most improved, N. Dell; best utility, C. McCann."

"BOWLS RESULTS - Pennant - Midlands Division: Avoca Gold 74 defeated Carisbrook 68. Details: L. Lobb 29 defeated C. Taylor 17; E. Streeter 21 lost to R. Baker 32; J. Richardson 24 defeated G. Stewart 19. Avoca Red 71 lost to Talbot 80. Details: H. Morris 24 lost to W. Weilandt 30; T. Bradley 22 lost to Murphy 27; J. Joseph 25 defeated L. Grose 23. "Ballarat Division: Avoca 56 defeated Ballarat East 39. Details: A. Field 21 lost to R. Barnett 22; A. Stuart 35 defeated R. Carrigg 23. "Local Play - Saturday, November 4 (men’s rinks): G. Croft, J. Lusby, J. Summers, F. Mortlock (s). "On Friday morning last 25 bowlers from the Sunraysia Association challenged the Avoca Club in a social game of bowls on their homeward journey after a week of bowls in the Ballarat Association. The winning rink from Avoca comprised D. Leersen, W. Scott, W. Schmidt, T. Bradley (s), and were presented with a memento from the Sunraysia Association, whilst the winning visiting rink likewise received mementoes from the Avoca Club by the president (Mr. G. Croft). "At mid-day the visitors were entertained to a luncheon, which had been prepared by the local Associates. Mrs. S. Beavis (president) was presented with four spoons to be played for later, by the manager of the touring party. "Associates - On Tuesday, October 31, in the rinks play there were several rinks with two games each. "On Saturday, November 4 (pairs): Mesdames W. Carey and B. Jolly (s). "Hostesses for week ending November 18: Mesdames Lusby, Mortlock and Martin."

"GOLF EUCHRE - Winners of the euchre tournament conducted by the Avoca Golf Club on Thursday evening last were Mrs. J. Brereton and A. Redpath, while the minor prizes went to Mrs. H. Rodwell and W. Gollop."

FEDERATION - We continue the listing of names shown on the Electoral Roll who voted at the Victorian Federal Referendum in 1899 :- AVOCA (continued) SIMMONS Thomas I. Butcher STUDD William S. SMITH Frederick J. Station Master SULLIVAN John Labourer SPARKS George (Fells Gully) SPARKS William H. SUMMERS David STARLING James SWEET Francis Gentleman SWEET Frederick J. Clerk TANNER George Tailor THOMAS John Telegraph Operator TAYLOR Edgar P. Constable THOMAS Oscar F. TAYLOR James TREGONING William H. TAYLOR Robert A.M. Bank Manager TREVENA William USHER Thomas Constable WALKER Alexander WILTSHIRE John O. WARDLAW John WISE Frank G. WEBBER William Engine Driver WISE Harmer S. WHITLEY Alfred WISE Herbert S. WHITLEY James W. WISE James G. WHITLEY William WISE William WHITLEY William J. WISE, William Mac. O. B. WHITROW James Hairdresser WOLFE Alfred H. WILLIAMSON John Butcher WOLFE Charles Livery Stable Keeper WILLIAMSON William J. WOLSTENHOLME Henry WILMOT Charles WOLSTENHOLME John Compositor AMPHITHEATRE ALLAN Alexander ARMSTRONG Thomas BALDWIN Richard BIRKETT William Butcher BALDWIN Valentine BOWEN Albert BETTS William BREADY Thomas BIRD Henry BROCKWELL Charles H. CARDINALE Pietro COCKING Richard COCHRANE John COLLINS John COCKING James CORCORAN John DOWNIE David L. DROMEY Nicholas EGAN Daniel EVERETT George W. EGAN John EVERETT William T. ENNIS Thomas Storekeeper (To be continued)