ADHS Newsletter No. 217 April/May 2004

Please take note that our Correspondence Secretary’s address has changed in recent months; some people are still sending mail to the old address.

Items of interest:

- AGM and talk on Lamplough

Report on AGM

The Society celebrated its 20th birthday and Annual General Meeting on Sunday, 16th May, with a luncheon at the Bistro of the Victoria Hotel at Avoca. This historic setting was originally built in 1860 as a ballroom and later became known as the Victoria Theatre, with many notable visiting artistes entertaining the locals there in those early days. President Stuart Smith welcomed a happy band of 55 members and friends to this function, and extended a special welcome to the local MLA Joe Helper; Shire President David Clark and his wife Peta, and their baby son; Cr. Chris Goodman and his wife Bridget, and to our guest speaker, Denis Strangman.

After the luncheon, the founder of our Society, Helen Harris, OAM, was given the honour of cutting the lovely birthday cake, which was made by Jill Hunter. Helen recalled the very first meeting of the fledgling Society, held in the Avoca Fire Brigade Hall, when the group had no money and no premises. She thanked members for all the hard work they have contributed over the past twenty years to make the Society so successful today. Helen was also called on to draw the winning ticket for the raffle, a basket of goodies donated by Lorna Purser. This was won by Barbara Hutchinson, from the Echuca Genealogical Group. Barbara told us she has never won anything in her life before, so we congratulate her on being lucky this time. Our Minute Secretary, Edna Jarvis, then read the minutes of that very first meeting of the Society. Those who attended on that occasion included Helen Harris, Peg and W. (Bill) Harris, Laura Leersen, Annie Bennett, H. I. Robinson, Eulalie Driscoll, Bev. and Ivan Redpath, Ron Carless, Helen Hellsten, Ian Burnett, Noel Tunks, Shirley and Sue Hicks, Phyllis Collison, Daryl Symons, Liz Harrison, Elva Barker and Marie Reeves, with Joan Hunt presiding.

The President then presented Irene Macwhirter with a Certificate of Appreciation for her services to the Society for over 14 years of maintaining the mailing list, printing out the address labels and mailing the monthly newsletters, a task which has been quietly and efficiently carried out behind the scenes. Irene was also made an Honorary Life Member of the Society, congratulations, Irene! In responding, Irene thanked Kendra Grumont and Lorna Purser for their support and assistance over the years.

Presenting his report, President Stuart Smith gave the highlights of the past year' s activities in

which members have been involved. These included witnessing the return of the restored wagon and dray to Toll Bar Park at Lexton, which created great interest amongst local communities as the wagon, drawn by magnificent Clydesdale horses, travelled across country from Maldon to Lexton. Members enjoyed a tour of Amphitheatre's main street with Mary Dridan; lunch with Len and Betty Fleming at Talbot before visiting the Talbot Museum; an interesting talk by Angus Watson on "Lost and Almost Forgotten Towns"; a very pleasant Christmas party with entertainment from a local singing group; the Garage Sale on a day of 41 degree heat, but with a very good result; and a very interesting trip to St. Arnaud.

Continuing his report, the President said that under a new public records initiative, the Public Record Office Victoria has approved our Society as a POD (Place of Deposit), one of 14 community groups which can be called on to store records of historical significance which are often of a more temporary nature and of local rather than state interest. Certificates were awarded to these approved groups at a function at Ballarat in March, when Helen Harris accepted the certificate for the Avoca Historical Society Inc.

As from the beginning of this year, the Society has welcomed Elizabeth O'Shea as the new newsletter editor. Elizabeth is settling in well and is being assisted by her husband, Tony, with his

computer expertise. The President reported that the Court House is now closed until further notice so that renovations can be carried out on the building. The Department of Sustainability and Environment has made available a grant of $20,000 so that parts of the flooring, which are in a very dangerous state, can be replaced. The Department' s policy is now 'preservation' rather than 'restoration' of buildings, and they have provided a supervising architect to oversee the work. Attention is also to be given to improving the ventilation beneath the flooring.

A grant of $10,000 has been given for work to be done to preserve the old lock-up gaol at

Moonambel, which is one of the few remaining buildings of its type in the State. The President expressed his grateful thanks for the wonderful support given to the Society by local traders, wineries, etc., in supplying goodies for the very successful Christmas hamper raffle held last November. Concluding his report, the President thanked the committee and members for their support during his term of office and for their various valuable contributions to the on-going work of the Society.

The Treasurer's report was then presented by Dorothy Robinson, followed by Edna Jarvis, as the CHHA representative, giving a report of the activities of the Central Highlands Historical Association Inc., of which we are a member Society. Our Research Officer, Jan Burnett, reported that, whilst the Court House is closed, she can only do limited research for members. During the past year, Jan has answered 72 letters, dealt with 49 phone calls, and assisted 27 visitors. Of the 20 new members who have joined our Society in that time, the majority have come via our excellent web-site on the Internet.

Cr. Chris Goodman then took the chair to conduct the election of office-bearers for the coming year, with the following result:

President Tony O’Shea

Vice President Max Hobson

Minute Secretary Edna Jarvis

Correspondence Secretary Jill Hunter

Treasurer Dorothy Robinson

Research Officer Jan Burnett

Publicity Officer Edna Jarvis

Public Officer Jill Hunter

CHHA Representatives Edna Jarvis and Marj. Partridge

Newsletter Editor Elizabeth O’Shea

The guest speaker was our member Denis Strangman, from Canberra, who spoke on the short-lived Lamplough gold rush of 1859-60, and the Lamplough Name Index he compiled whilst researching this period of our history. Denis's article, A Forgotten Victorian Gold Rush: Lamplough, via Avoca, 1859-1860, is a valuable addition to the history of the area, it being the only known in-depth research of that event. It was first published in Ireland in 1987 and, in 1989, by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria in its Victorian Historical Journal..

Denis began his talk by explaining events in his background which have brought him to where he is today. He studied at Sydney University, researching politics and writing for the student newspaper, then working for various parliamentarians (mainly DLP senators) before being appointed as secretary to Senator Brian Harradine, a position he held for 16 years, retiring from that position in 1992 and from the Commonwealth Public Service in 1996. He began serious history research at the Mitchell Library in Sydney in 1986, which led to the story of the Lamplough rush. In 1998, he and his family went to Ireland and were thrilled to meet up with distant Strangman relatives in Co. Cork.

Denis set up the Society's excellent web-site in 1999, and has continued to maintain it. About 100 people visit the web-site each week. He is involved in the research and writing of biographies of former DLP senators for a book, The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate, soon to be published by Melbourne University Press, and is Chair of the recently formed Brain Tumour Australia Inc., set up to give support to people who have a brain tumour, and their families, and to advance research into the condition. When Denis's wife was diagnosed with a serious brain tumour in 2000, he set up a web-site, Marg 's Journey, which has given help and support to people world wide in a similar position. Sadly, Marg. died in June, 2001.

The rush to Lamplough began at the end of November, 1859, following the discovery of gold by Welsh brothers, John and Daniel Owens. News spread quickly and, overnight, miners travelled

through the forest from Back Creek (now Talbot), Mountain Hut, Amphitheatre, and other places, the population swelling to 3,000, and continuing to grow quickly in the following days to 20-30,000 in January, 1860. Reports indicate that it was hot and dusty with a street "more than half a mile long, the structures on either side being shanties, and there is nothing but grog! grog!", as one correspondent wrote. Thus Lamplough earned the alternative name of "Shanty Rush". Conditions quickly became more settled with the establishment of a police camp, a Warden's office, a post office and local newspaper, the Lamplough Advertiser, no copies of which appear to have survived. Several doctors practised in the area, including Drs. Laidman, Slater and Trenery, the latter being charged with malpractice in 1861. Though church services were held by the various denominations, no buildings of a permanent nature were erected, the Catholics being the first to erect a chapel in March, 1860. It was built of iron with a canvas roof.

The Lamplough rush ended as quickly as it began. On Sunday, 9th December, 1860, there was much activity as tents and shanties were dismantled and packed, and a great exodus began to the next rush at Mountain Creek (now Moonambel), leaving a population of about 600 behind. Among these was the Strangman family, who remained there for eighteen years before moving to New South Wales.

Whilst doing his research of this rush, Denis compiled a data-base of the names of every person mentioned in newspapers and records, no matter how fleeting their connection with Lamplough. In 1999, Denis created this Society's excellent web-site, which now consists of some 365 pages, with links to other sites, making it a very valuable research tool for those seeking their family history in the wider Avoca area. This web-site includes the story of the Lamplough rush and the Lamplough Name Index, and Denis has had many contacts from descendants of people listed on that index. Each of these contacts has given information about their ancestor, so "putting flesh on the bones" and bringing the index to life, and Denis related some of these stories. This study of Lamplough shows the connections of the rushes to Back Creek (Talbot), Lamplough and Mountain Creek (Moonambel). Such in-depth studies of other rushes would show how this great wave of humanity moved from one locality to another in the search for that elusive fortune, and would thus assist researchers in tracing the movements of their ancestors. Denis made the point that apart from getting information from records, oral history is very important, and older senior citizens should be interviewed, so that their stories are recorded. He did add that, in his mother's case, she only told the enquiring nieces and nephews what she wanted to tell them and what she felt was all they needed to know! Denis is still wondering what it was that she didn't tell!

Stuart Smith thanked Denis for a most entertaining and informative talk and made a presentation to him on behalf of the Society. Our member, Belle Reeve, and her daughter Elaine, brought along a lovely painting of the Lamplough School No.1239, which created much interest. Belle attended this school and told us that the teacher and his family lived in the left-hand part of the building, with the school-room and entry porch to the right. A school functioned at Lamplough from 1873 to 1949.

The above Report on the AGM was contributed by Lorna Purser.

Welcome to New Members:

We welcome Mr Kenneth Webb of Bacchus Marsh who is interested in the names Webb, Goltz, Bendall & Dowie.

Mrs Jeanette Morris of Irymple who is researching the Squires Family

Mr John Bird of Bulleen who is researching George Yates

The new Victorian Archives Centre (VAC) Reading Room at 99 Shiel Street, North Melbourne, opened to the public on 13 April, 2004. This is a joint facility between the Public Record Office Victoria and the National Archives of Australia. It is easily accessible by train, tram and bus and there is a free car park from the Macaulay Road entrance. A handy map with all public transport details is available on the PROV website Opening hours remain unchanged, i.e. Monday to Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm. Records must be ordered before 9.30am for collection at 11.00am; ordered before 11.30am for collection at 2.00pm; and ordered before 2.00pm for collection at 3.30pm. Records ordered after 2.00pm will not be available until the next morning.

Central Highlands Historical Association Inc.~ Ballarat Expo 2004 1854: Eureka and all that ! ! ! !

Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 October 10am - 4pm Lecture Friday 1 October at 8pm at ACU Aquinas Campus, 1200 Mair St, Ballarat - 150 years of Railways in Victoria - For more information: Phone(03) 5331 2847 or (03) 5368 9388

New Fiche available: Mildura Law Courts Index & Court Cases 1889 to 1910 available from The Secretary, Mildura & District Genealogical Society Inc., PO Box 2895 Mildura VIC 3502 with payment of $25 & $1postage & Handling.


(1) A photo of an early Maryborough school, Queen’s College, and a list of students, has been received from Noel Jess.

(2) A framed certificate & photo of Helen Harris OAM accepting our P.O.D.certificate from PROV.

Donations made to the Society since December 2003 R. Denholm, K. Chapman, R & Y Beaumont, R. Bowen, C. Fitzgera1d, B. Reeve R. Bundy, H. Ellett, F. Glover, Lower Homebush School Assn, Mr & Mrs M. Church, J. Adams, M. Brown, E. Chandler, R. Carless, N. Edwards, A Smith, L. Wilson, K. Grumont, M. Gray, G. & A Young, N. David, F.Anderson, L. Huddle, N. Eastman S. Savige, Mr & Mrs G. Christie. N. Andrews, Mr & Mrs D. Birchal1, L. Leyden, B. Sterk, N. Rowland, A. Ha1l, L. Finger.

Next Meeting - Our next meeting will be held on Sunday, 20th June, at 1.30 p.m. at the Senior Citizens, High Street, Avoca, when John and Frances Madden will bring along their display of old artefacts, farm implements and tools, and explain how they were used in a bygone era. It is understood that Frances will also bring her lovely collection of dolls to add interest to the day.

July Meeting - On Sunday, l8th July, at 1.30 p.m., we meet at Worsley Cottage, 3 Palmerston Street, Maryborough. Final plans will be made at the June meeting but, because of the time of year, a tour of this historic cottage, now the home of the Maryborough-Midlands Historical Society, seems like a good idea. This group is now working towards full accreditation as a museum and many changes have taken place in recent times, with each room of the cottage having a different theme. There are also outside displays and an award-winning cottage garden to be seen.

Congratulations are due to two of our members who have recently received special awards. We
congratulate our founder, Helen Harris, on receiving the inaugural Frances Brown Award for her
services to genealogy. (Frances Brown was, for many years, known for her work in the genealogical
section of the La Trobe Library at the State Library in Melbourne.) This recognition is well-
deserved, as Helen goes on her 'merry, indexing way', continuing to contribute to this Society and to
genealogy generally, as she sifts through records at the PRO.

We also congratulate our Correspondence Secretary, Jill Hunter, who has received a "Shine On" award from Rotary International. These awards are made to people who, despite having a disability, make a very worthwhile and outstanding contribution to the community . Jill survived a horrendous accident in 1977, when a truck ran a red light and collided with her car. With determination, she recovered from life-threatening injuries and, despite losing the use of her left hand, she is active in many local organisations and very deserving of the award.

(Annual financial statement deleted because of size. Available from Correspondence Secretary.)

Meetings of the Avoca and District Historical Society Inc. are held at the Court House, High Street, Avoca, on the third Sunday of each month (except December and January) at 1.30 p.m.

The Court House is open for research each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except on the third Sunday of the month, when the hours are from 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. because of our meeting. The Court House can be opened to members at other times by request. As well as free entry to the Court House, members receive six bi-monthly Newsletters each year and assistance from the Society' s extensive collection of material. Non-members pay $3 entry fee on each visit to the Court House, and $12 per surname for written enquiries.

Written 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 June meeting will be held at the

Avoca Senior Citizens Clubrooms

at 1.30pm Sunday, 20 June 2004.

For details, consult page 4 of this newsletter.