ADHS Newsletter No. 198 JANUARY, 2002

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Items of interest -

Happy New Year – With this first newsletter for 2002, we send New Year greetings to all our members and wish for you good health, good fortune and good luck and happy hours with your family research.

Annual Garage Sale – The Society will begin its activities for this year with the annual Garage Sale which is to be held on Saturday, 16th February, at the Court House, from 9 a.m. As this is our main fund-raiser each year, we ask for the full support of our members, whether in supplying goods for sale, or purchasing items at bargain prices, or helping with the pricing of goods or the setting up and dismantling of the stalls on the day. Donations of cakes, jams, pickles, etc., and produce will be greatly appreciated along with those household items for which you have no further use.

Should any of our Melbourne members have goods to be taken to Avoca for the sale, they should ring Margaret and Harry Oulton on 9596 2500 to make suitable pick-up arrangements. Our sincere thanks go to Margaret and Harry who yet again are offering this transport service.

February General Meeting – Our first meeting for the year will take place after the Garage Sale on the 16th February at the Court House commencing at 2 p.m.

Christmas Break-up – The Society wound up its activities for 2001 on Sunday, 19th November, when members enjoyed a happy time with a festive afternoon tea after the general meeting had concluded. It was regretted that some of our stalwart members were unable to be present at this function due to ill-health or family commitments. We express our grateful thanks to Max Hobson for again chairing our monthly meeting and to Edna Jarvis who acted as minute secretary.

Rally! Rally! - Have you made some New Year resolutions? We are hoping that there are those among you who have determined that, this year, they will take a more active interest in the work of the Society and thus make their membership much more meaningful. As can be seen from the previous paragraph and those two critical vacancies at the top of the newsletter, the Society is carrying on under great difficulties. For these past months, the Society has been drifting like a ship without a rudder and with no captain at the helm.

At the beginning of a new year, we are asking members who live in the wider Avoca area to give serious thought to becoming actively involved in the work of the Society. Ponder on what you have gained from the Society and its thousands of index cards and records which have aided your family history research. Have you thought of the hours and hours of work put into that indexing and recording - by someone; or the hours put into restoration of the Court House – by someone - so that those index cards and records would have a home! With the passing of time, many of our original enthusiastic members have passed away or do not enjoy good health. It now behoves other members to rally and fill the breach and so relieve the load on the very few loyal members who are endeavouring to carry on the Society’s valuable work. We ask that you give this plea your earnest consideration and contact Dorothy Robinson or Jan Burnett if you are prepared to help, or come along to our Garage Sale and general meeting on the 16th February.

Thanks to Wendy Taylor - This opportunity must be taken to sincerely thank Wendy Taylor for her outstanding contribution in so many ways to the work of the Society in recent years. Not only has she been a very competent Secretary, she has also put in many hours at the Court House assisting researchers, doing the necessary office/library work there as well as displaying her many skills on the computer to the Society’s advantage. Some months ago, Wendy undertook full-time employment and, understandably, is no longer able to assist us in those ways on a permanent basis. Wendy remains a member and assists us where and when she can. We look forward to having her actively involved with us again at some time in the future.

Had You Noticed . . there was no November newsletter? Your Editor offers her sincere apologies but knows you will understand this omission. It happened that, just as I was gathering together the material for that newsletter, my blood pressure shot up to a very dangerous level and I have to report that I have had a very close encounter with a stroke. Two months later, I am still affected by numbness down the left side and terrible tingling in the left hand, but very grateful to still be mobile and know that there was no damage to the brain. I am assured that, given time, these sensations will go. The interesting thing is that no-one rang asking where their monthly newsletter was!

Commemorative Plaques Unveiled at Amphitheatre - On Sunday, 28th October, over 200 people gathered at the Amphitheatre Public Hall for a double celebration. The first was the unveiling of two commemorative plaques to honour the local men who served in both WWI and WWII. These have been attached to the granite gate posts of the WWI memorial gates in front of the Public Hall. The oldest soldier present, Aubrey Neil, assisted Michael Ronaldson, MHR, in unveiling one of the plaques, whilst the youngest local child present, Harry McPhan, assisted with the other. The WWI plaque contains 59 names, 5 of whom paid the supreme sacrifice, and the WWII plaque shows 64 names, 3 of whom did not return. Our member, Mary Dridan, has spent 18 months researching in order to obtain the names of those who served in both the world wars, as the honour roll board was misplaced when the Public Hall was painted in 1968.

The Pyrenees Shire assisted the Amphitheatre Public Hall Committee in obtaining a grant of $1,030 from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs towards the cost of the plaques, the Avoca RSL gave a donation of $100, whilst Peter Stewart donated his labour and time to erect the plaques. With donations given on the day, the project has been fully paid for.

The second celebration of the day marked the centenary of the opening of the Amphitheatre Public Hall in late 1901. Mr. A. M. Barry, the then headmaster of the local school, was appointed secretary of a committee to raise funds for the erection of the hall, with a library to be included. Some of the books, including a set of Encyclopedia Brittanica, are still in the hall cupboard today.

The tender to build the hall was won by Mr. Whitby, of Avoca, at a cost of 159 and erection of the hall began on 15th August 1901, being completed by the end of the year.

Over the years, many events have been held in the hall and visitors were transported back in time as they viewed the many photos displayed of debutante balls, concerts and other entertainments, school photos, etc., as well as a collection of photos and snippets of information about the soldiers whose names appear on the plaques.

A beautiful afternoon tea was served and the many visitors, some of whom had travelled from places as far away as Mildura, Portland, Moe and Numurkah, had a wonderful day and went away with lots of memories to think about. Mary Dridan reports that many folk took the time to phone her after the event to say how much they had enjoyed the day. Mary extends her thanks to all those who loaned photos for the display.

An interesting little story was told about Charles Brockwell, who was born at Amphitheatre and joined up there, in WWI, at 16 years of age. When the Avenue of Honour was planted after the war, his name appeared on a tree, the fourth from the end. Many years later, he took his family to see the tree and found the nameplate hanging, ready to fall to the ground and be lost forever. So he removed it, took it home, polished it up, and kept it. His son brought it along to this special event of the unveiling of the plaques and has presented it to the people of Amphitheatre.

(My thanks to Mary Dridan for her assistance with this report. Ed.)

A Tribute to Fay Peck, 2.12.1924-18.11.2001 – Members of the Society were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Fay Peck on the 18th November, 2001, as the result of multiple injuries sustained in a car accident some two weeks earlier. We extend deepest condolences to her family on their loss of a wonderful wife and mother who was also highly regarded in the Avoca district for her great contribution to the community.

Fay was born in Sydney and lost both her parents while she was still a toddler. She was adopted by the matron of the hospital where she was born and brought up as Fay Thomson Bartlett. Always an outdoor girl, Fay’s interests were swimming, rowing and horse riding. She did her nursing training at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children but was unable to complete the final exams due to a long spell in hospital after an accident.

She met her future husband, David Peck, in Sydney on Christmas Day, 1942, and they married on 14th September, 1944. Settling at Archdale, just north of Avoca, Fay quickly adapted to being a farmer’s wife. They adopted four children, Roger, Wesley and twins Jennifer and Alison. Because of the closure of the Archdale School, it was decided to move to Avoca in 1955 so that the children could attend the Avoca School.

Fay’s many community interests included the Red Cross, receiving several awards for her services to that organisation, services such as organising the feeding of fire fighters, the provision of hampers for families who had been burnt out in the bushfires, finding housing and supplying clothing for them. The 1985 bushfires in the area were a great testing time. In the Scout movement, she served as "Akela" to the local cub group and later became a Scout Commissioner. She was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 1977 for her services to both those organisations. In 1984, she was the Avoca Shire Citizen of the Year.

Fay was well-known for the Rock Museum she set up at her home and her great interest in tourism followed on from this. She became involved with the Gem Clubs Association of Victoria in 1986 while they were working on a gem-stone display for the Canberra Bicentenary Gemboree and created the models now displayed in the diorama on show at the Avoca Tourist Information Centre. Other interests were local history and native flora and fauna.

In recognition of her great community spirit, Fay was chosen as an Olympic torch bearer on the Ararat leg of the Sydney Olympic Torch relay in 2000, for which she trained regularly by running along the Avoca River banks.

Fay was a devout Christian, gaining strength from daily Bible reading and prayer. She was very passionate about the things she believed in and was meticulous in all she did.

It was very fitting that the Pyrenees Shire Council and those present at the November monthly meeting honoured the great contribution Fay Peck had made to the community by observing a minute’s silence.

(My thanks to Jill Hunter and Jan Burnett for their assistance with this tribute to Fay. Ed.)

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

Mrs. Cheryl BRIODY, of Wendouree, Vic., who is researching BRIODY, of Lexton, and GALLAGHER and BOWE, both of Evansford.

Mr. John CRABTREE, of Oxenford, Qld., whose interests are VAUGHAN, JAMES,   RIPPINGHALL, CALDER, HUTCHISON and the Dunolly area.

Mrs. L. June THUNESTVEDT, of Turramurra, NSW, who is interested in William TEMPLETON.

Back-To-Talbot and the Yabbie Festival, 2002 – The Back-To celebrations will take place at Easter, on the 29th – 31st March, with the official opening at 2 p.m. on Good Friday. On the Saturday, there will be a street parade and a back-to-school, followed by a dance at night. The 14th Talbot Annual Yabbie Festival is to be held on Easter Sunday, with a concert in the evening. There will be much to entertain the whole family at this festival.

For further enquiries. contact Mrs. Betty Fleming, Scandinavian Crescent, Talbot, 3371.

150th Anniversary of Gundagai Floods - In June, 1852, the Murrumbidgee River flooded to some ten feet above its previous highest level, and the town of Gundagai in New South Wales was virtually swept away overnight with the loss of ninety lives.

Next June will be the 150th anniversary of this tragedy and the town of Gundagai is to commemorate the occasion on the 8th-10th June, 2002. A major part will be the presentation of a musical, Yarri of Waradjuri, - Yarri being one of the Aborigines who rescued so many on that dreadful night and the following days. Descendants of those living in the town at that time are encouraged to hold family reunions there and join in remembering those who lost their lives and the heroic efforts of the survivors.

For further details, contact Marcia McIntyre at 52 West Street, Gundagai, NSW 2722.

(From "Ancestor", journal of the GSV, September, 2001, in which there is an interesting article on pages 19 and 20 giving details of this tragedy.)

PROV Seminar Series, February – June, 2002. The Public Record Office of Victoria advises that they will hold four seminars for researchers in the coming months, as follows:-

* An Introduction to the Collections of Public Record Office Victoria and the National

Archives of Australia – Wednesday, 19th June, 2002, from 1.00 – 3.00 p.m., at the Melbourne Archives Centre, Level 2, 2 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, admission free. This seminar will  explore sources of genealogical information in the collections of the Victorian state and federal  archives.

Note: Bookings are essential for all sessions, as numbers are restricted.

Telephone (03) 9285 7926 to reserve a place. Where a fee applies, please send a cheque to confirm your booking. All cheques should be made out to Public Record Office Victoria and be sent to Clare Green at Public Record Office Victoria, P.O. Box 2100, North Melbourne, Vic. 3051.

                                                     * * *

Can You Help? – Barbara Hall, 8/35 Byron Street, Coogee, NSW 2034 (phone (02) 6994 6938) seeks information from descendants of convicts on the first five Irish convict transports – Queen (1791), Boddingtons (1793), Sugar Cane (1793), Britannia [2] (1797) and Marquis Cornwallis (1796).

Margaret A. Rowe-Keys, 39 Shady Grove, Nunawading, Vic., 3131 (phone (03) 9884 8996) or e-mail, is researching an immigration ship, Wilhelmsburg, which arrived in Port Phillip in 1853, carrying over 500 German and Danish passengers.

(From the Newcastle Family History Society Inc. Bulletin No. 154, Nov.-Dec., 2001)

FEDERATION – We continue the listing of names shown on the Electoral Roll who voted at the Victorian Federal Election in 1899 :-


ABBOTT John Miner KEYS Richard Farmer

BARTLETT George Miner MILNE Charles Plate Layer

BARTLETT Thomas Miner PARKER Walter Miner

CHADWICK Isaac Miner SANDERS William Miner

JENKINS Joseph J. Miner SMART John Carter


ERSKINE Alexander Farmer JONES William Labourer

FITZPATRICK Patrick Farmer McCANN Thomas Farmer

JANE Simeon Labourer NEAL John Farmer


BARKER Peter Farmer HUMPHREY Arthur Miner

CHEESMAN David M. Labourer JONES Edward Miner

CHEESMAN John Storekeeper MUIR James Jnr. Blacksmith

CHEESMAN John Jnr. Storekeeper OVENS John Miner

DRISCOLL George Snr. Farmer STEWART Alexander Farmer

HERD James Farmer STEWART Thomas Farmer

HERD James C. Farmer

HERD Robert Gardener



ACKERS George Snr. Farmer OLDFIELD Frank Teacher

ACKERS James Farmer POUNCEBY Robert Farmer

BRERETON George Farmer RAFFERTY Matthew Farmer

GRANT James Miner SKELLETT Septimus Miner

KENNEDY William Farmer VAN EVERY Augustus Farmer

McLOUGHLIN Thomas Jnr. Miner VAN EVERY Edward Farmer

McLOUGHLIN Thomas Snr. Farmer WEBSTER James Farmer

MEAGHER Merchant Miner WEBSTER James H. Farmer

MORRIS Richard Farmer WEBSTER John Farmer

MORRIS William Farmer WRIGHT Henry Miner


AH FOON Hotelkeeper LEYDEN John Farmer

AH HOON Carter LEYDEN Peter Farmer

DAVIS Daniel Farmer LYONS Philip Miner

DE GROUCHY John Miner LURSEN Frederick G. Miner

DONOHUE Patrick Miner PATEN Henry Hotelkeeper

EBELING Claus Farmer ROBINSON Arthur E. Labourer

(No. 2 Creek) ROBINSON William I. Farmer

HALL John Farmer SIMS William Miner

WALTERS John F. Miner

(To be continued)