ADHS Newsletter No. 216 February/March 2004

Items of interest -

Report on our Annual Garage Sale - Special thanks go to all our members who worked so hard for this event under very hot and trying conditions. Thanks to all those who provided, and transported our wonderful array of stock which has continued to be sold in the weeks since the Garage Sale by a few of our very hard working members. Thanks also go to Jon Allan for donating the load of firewood for our raffle which made $122.00 and was won by Ray Thomas. The final total proceeds of the Garage Sale was $ 1,627.50

A small sample of the wares on offer at the Garage Sale (Photo by Tony O’Shea) Only available in hard copy version.

Grant for Court House - Members were delighted to learn that the Society has received a grant of $20,000 to carry out works at the Court House. This funding is through the Public Land Management Historic Places programme of the Department of Sustainability and Environment, and follows a study done by restoration architect, Peter Kerr, last year.

Work to be done to this historic 1858 building includes replacing flooring in three sections of the building, the creation of adequate ventilation under the building, and the repointing of bricks. As this work is due to commence in April, members have been busy removing everything from the Court House building in readiness.

Closure of Court House - Because of this works programme, it has become necessary to close the Court House indefinitely. Members and researchers should therefore take note that Court House records will not be available until further notice. However, limited research may still be done by writing to our Research Officer, Jan Burnett.


Prospective buyers Frank & Loris Hynes with Wendy Taylor in charge of proceedings at the recent Garage Sale. (Photo by Tony O’Shea) Only available in hard copy version.,


April Meeting - Because of the temporary closure of the Court House, please note that our next meeting will be held at the Visitor Information Centre, 122 High St., Avoca, on Sunday, 18 April, at 1.30 p.m.

New Members - We warmly welcome the following new members:-

Angela Woolley, Northern Territory, who is researching Fordham, Cummings, Richardson and Andrews;

Nardia D Ryan-Taylor, Lakes Entrance, who is researching Burns and Sims;

Carmel Fitzgerald, Woodend, who is researching Edward Sheehan and Eliza Murray;

Dale & Reisha Johnston, Buninyong, who are researching Matthew Johnston, Licensed Victualler "Horse & Jockey" Redbank 1871 - 1874 and then

"Shamrock Hotel" 1874 - 1895;

Rod & Yashmin Beaumont, Tyabb, who are researching Thomas & Johanna Quinlan from Homebush 1871 - 1899;

Beth Hodgetts, Landsborough;

Jane Harding, Coolum Beach QLD, who is researching Charles & Ellen Plant (nee Boyne);

Acquisitions -

1. "The Economic & Comprehensive English Dictionary" W & R Chambers -Inscribed Samuel Gibbs, Fiddlers Creek, September 1st 1866 donated by L Bradley;

2. Two photos under glass from M. Henderson;

3. Some photos and newspaper cuttings from The Victoria Hotel, Avoca.

Understanding about first cousins, second cousins and cousins once removed - Many folk have difficulty in understanding these relationships. Perhaps the following simple explanation which appeared in the "I’d Like to Know" column of the Scottish magazine The People’s Friend of 15 November 2003, will help them.

First cousins share the same grandparents. Second cousins share the same greatgrandparents. Full cousins are those who descend from a common ancestor and share the same number of generations. "Removed" cousins are those who descend from a common ancestor but differ in the number of generations as yourself or another member of the family. The number of times a cousin is "removed" depends on the number of generations "away" they are.

As an example, your aunt’s son is your full first cousin (same generation as you). Your cousin’s son would be your son’s second cousin ( same grandparents) and your cousin, once removed (different generation).

(Item contributed by Lorna Purser)


Visit to Stuart Mill and St. Arnaud - On Sunday, 21st March, 16 members gathered at The Old Malcolms Inn at Stuart Mill, where lunch was enjoyed in the historic setting of this old building, erected in 1868 by James Malcolm. The first brick building in the township, it was originally the Commercial Hotel and General Store, later becoming a store and post office, and a regular coach stop. Many babies were born here in today’s little sitting room, with a local midwife in attendance. Neglected for many years, the buildings and gardens have been lovingly restored by Ray and Aileen Hewitt who now run the premises as Tea Rooms and B & B, with 4-star accomodation.

Arriving at the St. Arnaud Information Centre, we were met by our guide, Heather Pritchard, dressed in colonial costume. Gold was first discovered in the area in 1854 but this was kept quiet for some time before the New Bendigo rush began in March, 1855.

A township was surveyed in 1858 and the town’s name changed to honour the French leader, Field Marshall St. Arnaud, of Crimean War fame. Street names also reflect the colony’s patriotism of the time.

Proceeding along Napier Street on a walking tour, Heather pointed out the many fine solid buildings of the town, many of which are adorned with lovely, locally-made, cast- iron lace work. Buildings of note were the old Post Office(1866), the Crown Lands Office (1876 and now the Information Centre), the Court House (still in use today) and the gaol at the rear, the Shire Offices, the Town Hall (1869), an original miner’s cottage with a garden designed by Peter Cuffley, the Botanical Hotel made of local wire-cut bricks and situated opposite the Queen Mary Botanic Gardens, and the first fire station, the fire brigade being formed in 1874. On display in this building is the original fire cart, complete with its set of leather buckets and short ladders, and models dressed in the uniform of the day. Note that this early model cart was drawn/pushed by man power rather than horse power!

We were then privileged to visit the old convent, which is now a private residence. In 1901, five Irish nuns of the Sisters of Mercy came from Ballarat and established the St Francis Xavier’s Boarding School, catering for 30 pupils and growing in numbers to 60 pupils over its 80 years. The present owner is gradually restoring the large, high-ceilinged rooms to make it a home. The chapel is just as the nuns left it whilst the large classrooms are just that - very large indeed.

The tour concluded at Love’s Cottage, the town’s oldest remaining miner’s cottage. It was built by John Tyson in 1868, with assistance from his friend, William Thompson. They gathered flat stones from a nearby mine and placed them in layers to form the walls. Original floors were of packed earth, later covered with floor boards. The cottage was cement rendered in 1945.

John Tyson sold the cottage in 1896 to Robert and Eliza Love. After their deaths, their son George and his wife Ethel lived there until George died in 1934, aged

37, and Ethel continued living there alone until her death in 1985, aged 87 years. She willed the cottage to the National Trust.

Back at the Information Centre, we thanked Heather for giving us such an enjoyable and informative time, and took our leave of this very attractive town. Next stop was The Old Malcolms Inn at Stuart Mill to again enjoy the Hewitt’s hospitality and a welcome Devonshire tea before heading home after a most enjoyable outing.

(Item contributed by Lorna Purser)

" Making Tracks"- Castlemaine Historical Society Inc. presents a seminar on aspects of 19th Century transport in the Goldfields.

Date: Saturday, 1st May 2004

Cost: $50, includes Morning and Afternoon Tea and Lunch

Location: Former Court House, 7 Goldsmith Crescent, Castlemaine

Seminar begins 9 am and finishes at 3.30pm

Bookings are essential (numbers limited) through CHSI, P.O. Box 655, Castlemaine 3450 or Phone (03) 5472 1425

Topics & Speakers:

"150 Years of Cobb & Co." - Heather Nichols;

"The Mounted Police, Gold Escorts, and Cobb & Co." - Ralph Stavely;

"The True Story of the Design of the Melbourne, Mount Alexander, and Murray River Railway" - Brian Harper;

"Tangled Traces of Cobb & Co. and Coaching in Castlemaine District" - Alleyne Hockley.


The Twentieth Annual General Meeting of the Avoca and District Historical Society Inc, will take place on Sunday, 16 May, 2004, with a luncheon at the historic Victoria Hotel at 138 High Street, Avoca, 12 noon for 12-30 pm. Cost approximately $15.50 per head. Members should please phone Jill Hunter on 5467 2211 by 12th May to say they will attend.

The speaker at the A.G.M. will be Denis Strangman, from Canberra, who created and maintains the Society’s excellent Web Site. Denis’s talk will cover the Lamplough gold rush of 1859-60, and the Lamplough Name Index he compiled in 1986 whilst doing research for his story on the history of the Lamplough rush which was published in the RHSV Victorian History Journal of March, 1989. Through this index, Denis has interesting contacts with descendants of people involved with that rush. Thus, the index has been the means of "putting some flesh on the bones" of those miners and tradespeople of the gold rush days at Lamplough.

It is important to remember that a Society is only as good as its members make it, especially the executive; all positions are declared vacant at the AGM and nominations for these will be welcomed. As it is important that we have a minimum of 10% of our members present in person or by proxy at the AGM, it would be appreciated if those members who cannot attend would appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf, should the occasion arise.

The business of the Meeting shall be to receive the Reports of the President, Treasurer

and Auditor, to confirm the minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting and to elect office-bearers. Any member wishing to bring forth any special business must give notice to that effect to Mrs Jill Hunter, "Stronvar" 9 Hunter St Moonambel VIC 3478 by the 30th April, 2004. Nominations for office bearers shall be on the attached form and must be forwarded to Mrs Jill Hunter by the 30th April, 2004.


More of the treasures for sale at the recent Garage Sale. We even had the kitchen sink! (Photo by Tony O’Shea) Photo only available in hard copy edition.

New Book - "John Bowen’s Hobart ~ The Beginning of European Settlement in Tasmania" - by Phillip Tardif.

In 1803 a young naval officer, John Bowen, was sent with 48 soldiers, settlers and convicts to the Derwent River. This is the story of that settlement.

256pp. Full refs. & index. Paper Pub. 2003 $29.50 + $7.50 post

from Library of Australian History, PO Box 795, North Sydney NSW 2059

New Reference CD - Rookwood Cemetery Transcriptions on CD-ROM

Over 236,000 monumental inscriptions, transcribed and published by the Society of Australian Genealogists. This major new reference CD allows searches not only by last name (including phonetic and wild cards) but by first name, year of death and inscription. Each record shows the full details transcribed, as well as denomination, section, row and plot number. Nearby graves also listed.

Rookwood Cemetery opened in 1868 as the Sydney Necropolis. It is the largest cemetery in Australia, and is still in use.

Published 2003 – Windows 95 & higher - $66.00 + $2.50 P&P

from Library of Australian History, PO Box 795, North Sydney NSW 2059


Annual subscription to Avoca & District Historical Society Inc.



Telephone No:...................................................(BH) ...............................................................(AH)

eMail address:......................................................................................................................................

Membership Category : Single $17 Family $20 $.........................

Donation to Court House Restoration Fund $.........................

(Donations of $2.00 or more are tax deductible)

TOTAL $.........................

Please forward renewal subscriptions to: Mrs D. Robinson 27 Orme St., Avoca VIC

Written research enquiries should be directed to the Research Officer, Jan Burnett, 92 Barnett Street, Avoca, Vic. 3467. Please enclose a long, stamped, self-addressed envelope with your request. Membership Fees: $17 single; $20 family. Donations of $2 and over to the Court House Restoration Fund are tax deductible.

Reminders: The Court House is CLOSED until further notice, to enable renovations to be carried out.

The April meeting will be held at the Avoca Visitor

Information Centre, 122 High Street, Avoca.

The May AGM will be held at the Victoria Hotel,

138 High Street, Avoca.

For details, consult inside pages of this newsletter.