2019 AGM notice

Society members will have received a notice of meeting for the 2019 AGM. Please add 4 November 2019, 3 pm to your diaries. The meeting is at the old Avoca courthouse, 85 High Street.

Can you help – perhaps you would be interested in nominating for the committee?

President’s Report to 2018 AGM of Avoca & District Historical Society Inc.

President’s Report to 2018 AGM of Avoca & District Historical Society Inc.

Edition 289 of “Pyrenees Pioneers”, the ADHS Inc Newsletter, contained a summary of most of our activities during the year, and I see no necessity to repeat that information. I can report that the “Digitisation Fund” now stands at $2,100 of which approximately $1,000 is committed to the 1869 Avoca Mail being uploaded to Trove. Hopefully this will happen before the end of 2018? This leaves approximately $1,100 which we can use as part payment for the “Scanpro” equipment previously mentioned, to replace the almost useless microfilm reader/printer and enable us to utilise the $6,000 we have tied up in microfilm of early newspapers, rate books, etc. To succeed in obtaining grants from various sources to defray most of the cost of the Scanpro, we need to demonstrate that we can fund a significant proportion from our own resources. It would be great if a few of our members could see their way clear to donate $500 each in the next few months.

A dozen or so members of Avoca U3A have been participating in a local history course conducted by myself since early October, and to date 3 of them have become members of ADHS Inc. The first three two-hour sessions were conducted at the Avoca Courthouse; last week’s session was an excursion to Percydale, including Daly’s Cottage; next week will be a tour of Avoca Cemetery, and the following week an excursion to Amphitheatre guided by Mary Dridan.

We welcome to the ranks of the ADHS Inc Committee Dr. Ron Southern, whose qualifications are in History and Archaeology. Several years ago Ron purchased the late Bob Robinson’s property in Vinoca Road, and has been busily renovating it and tidying up the extensive garden. I am delighted to say that Ron has developed a keen interest in the history of Percydale, and volunteered for the job of Curator at Daly’s Cottage. Readers of our Financial Statement in the penultimate edition of the newsletter will have noticed that during the past year we spent almost $2,000 on repairs to that historic edifice.
Thanks to all of the volunteers who have kept the ship afloat during the year; they know who they are!

The Courthouse will be closed from mid-December to the end of January, as has been the case in recent years. The last open day for 2018 will be 12th December, and the first for 2019 will be 6th February.

Tony O’Shea
2nd November, 2018.



President’s Report to Members at the 2017 AGM of Avoca & District Historical Society Inc.

President’s Report to Members at the 2017 AGM of Avoca & District Historical Society Inc.

We currently distribute our newsletter to 131 financial members, 4 Life Members, 3 Statutory bodies, 1 local newspaper and 33 other Societies. Fortunately the majority are sent electronically, with the proportion of the total sent that way increasing as time goes by, which reduces our expenses.

Digitisation of the 1869 Avoca Mail has been delayed due to budget cuts experienced by both the SLV and NLA. We have recently been pressing for answers about when it will happen, and is looking like mid-2018. They are no longer microfilming the old newspapers and then scanning to OCR from the film. They scan to OCR direct from the hard copy, and need to get a sufficient quantity in the pipeline to warrant bringing in a contractor with specialised equipment to do a large batch and upload it direct to Trove. They first need the conservation department to assess the quality of the hard copy, and repair any tears or folded pages, and this also takes time and expense. In the meantime ADHS Inc is holding more than $1,000 which has been donated by members for that purpose, and we welcome further donations to the fund.

Anne Young volunteered to take over from Denis Strangman “just in time” and has done a great job of re-jigging it in a now format, with a new URL: <avocahistory.net.au> which is easier to remember that the previous URL. It is operating satisfactorily, with ongoing “tweaking” happening regularly and increasing viewer statistics. We are also seeing an increase in paid research jobs, which keeps us on our toes!

Since being relieved of the responsibility for our website, Denis has been busy downsizing the contents of his residence with a view to moving into a retirement village, and has donated parts of his personal library to ADHS Inc., NLA and various worthy repositories.

We were sorry to learn recently of the death of long-time member Betty Beavis, and have been thanked by a number of members for publishing the eulogy delivered at her funeral in our recent newsletter. She was a great contributor to the collection and researching of our early local history, and publishing the results. ADHS Inc reprinted “Pioneers of the Pyrenees” which is still selling well. We recently had an order for 10 copies from the Avoca Visitor Information Centre.

Several years ago ADHS Inc erected a Memorial Wall in the old section of the Avoca Cemetery, to enable memorialisation of early citizens of the district buried in unmarked graves. This has been popular, with 13 bronze plaques affixed so far, together with a larger one explaining the purpose of the wall. We recently added nearby a 3-metre long aluminium seat with a backrest, facing north, to enable visitors to relax in view of the entire old section, across to the final repose of Henry Knott who donated the ten acre site upon which the cemetery was established in 1858. We ordered the seat on the internet from a supplier in central New South Wales, and it was installed by Simon Davidson and John Burnett at no cost using concrete mix materials donated by Steve & Tracey Gleisner.

The Op Shop / Garage Sale at 182 High Street continues to be our second-largest source of income, thanks to the efforts of Dorothy Robinson, Glenice Allen and Elizabeth Williams, and to Peter Howell’s generosity in allowing us to use the premises rent-free.

17th November, 2017.

New Moonambel book

The Solomon of Moonambel – Reynell Everleigh Johns – By Merri Hogan with Noreen McAdam


Opium, diamonds, the judiciary and taxidermists – a fascinating story of a colonial magistrate’s years in Moonambel

This latest book about the district is available through the Avoca and District Historical Society Inc. Download Order Form here.


Lamplough research

In 1998 Denis Strangman published an index of names associated with the  Lamplough Rush. He also made available an article on the rush to Lamplough that he first published in 1987.

With the creation of the new website the website addresses, the URLs, no longer work for the previous website. However the content has been migrated.

The Lamplough names index can be found at http://home.vicnet.net.au/~adhs/lamploughnameindex/ and the 1987 article can be found at http://home.vicnet.net.au/~adhs/article-the-gold-rush-to-lamplough-1859-1860/

A later article also written by Denis Strangman and published in 1989 in the Victorian Historical Journal by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria can now be found at http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/116585 – navigate to page 3. The Victorian Historical Journal has been digitised by the State Library of Victoria.


Neither Denis nor I have  found any images of Lamplough during the 1859-60 rush. This photograph from about 1920 of the Lamplough Post Office is in the collection of the Avoca and District Historical Society. The Society’s collection, most of which is not on-line,  also contains more information about people associated with the rush.

Anne Young
Webmaster for the Avoca and District Historical Society
28 May 2017

Our new website

As of 16 May 2017 we have a new website.

Many thanks to Denis Strangman who maintained the previous version for about 20 years

Some links have been broken in the migration. We will aim to fix these as soon as possible.

30th Anniversary Celebrations of the Avoca and District Historical Society – 18 May 2014.


30th Anniversary Celebrations of the Avoca and District Historical Society – 18 May 2014.

(Craig Wilson, Editor and Proprietor of Pyrenees Newspapers Pty Ltd attended and took many photographs, and has given permission for this one to be reproduced on our website.)
L to R: Beryl Maidment, Tony O’Shea, Cr. Ron Eason, Dorothy Robinson, Denis Strangman, Vicki Burge, Margaret Oulton, Jill Hunter, Helen Harris OAM, Graeme Mills, Mary Dridan, Sue Slater, Edna Jarvis, Cr. Robert Vance (Mayor, Pyrenees Shire).

The Committee and members of the Avoca & District Historical Society Inc were delighted that the Society’s 30th Birthday was attended by some 50 people, including many we had not seen for a long time. These included our Speaker, Helen Harris OAM (founder of the Society), our Webmaster, Denis Strangman from Canberra, and Margaret Oulton.   Mayor Robert Vance and Avoca Ward Councillor Ron Eason were also present, along with representatives from neighbouring Societies.   Our President, Cheryl Mallinson presented Denis Strangman with a framed “Life Membership” certificate, which included the following explanation:   “….. recognition of his work over the past two decades in maintaining the Society’s Website., which has been the major source of new memberships, paid research jobs, publication sales, etc., and as such he has made a major contribution to the fact that the Society is in such a strong position, financially and otherwise, as it reaches the Thirtieth Anniversary of its foundation this month.”

Helen spoke about a list of things which were newsworthy in 1984, the year of our foundation, and about the necessity to continue working towards getting more female representation in positions of influence in each level of government.    She also alerted us to the possibility of working with Trove to get the early Avoca local papers digitised in a form that rendered them more accessible, and searchable by key words, rather than reading every page on a film reader.  Helen believes that this will inspire many more people to use our archives to research their ancestry.  She made the offer to partly fund this process, if we decide to use it, and the Committee will no doubt discuss it at our next meeting.   Maybe other members may like to emulate Helen’s generosity.


Mrs Cheryl Mallinson, President of the Society, chaired the proceedings.