ADHS Newsletter No. 142, OCTOBER, 1996

  • Individuals featured in ADHS display: John Severino, William Buhlert, C G Schultz, Luigi Salvana, Dorothea Seegar, Robert and Harriette Weldon, Bennett Mockett, W M Wise, Harvey and Thomas families, Henry Lunn, Mary Borland, Alexis Louchard, Howqua and Ah Kin families.
  • A tribute to Elizabeth Mills.

The Society’s two-day display, held on l9th and 20th October as part of the annual Wool and Wine Festival, was based on the theme: Migration, Our Diverse Heritage, and gave a very interesting overview of the immigration programmes of yesteryear, conditions on board the sailing ships, etc. A large map showed the original maritime route round the Cape of Good Hope and the ‘great circle route’ which was adopted later and took the ships down into the Roaring Forties, thus halving passage times between Britain and Australia.

A bright array of souvenir tea towels illustrated the British backgrounds of the majority of migrants – English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish – but the exhibition quickly showed that there were many nationalities in the Avoca region in those early days of the gold rush. Individual displays gave the stories of some of them. These included John Severino from Portugal, William Buhlert and C. G. Schultz from Germany, Luigi (Louis) Salvana from Italy and his bride, Dorothea Seegar, from Denmark, Robert and Harriette Weldon, who came out on the Henry Gillespie in 1852, Mrs. Bennet Mockett (nee Horn), who was born in Edinburgh in 1829 and came on the Satellite a few years later, W. M. Wise, who was born in Cork in 1815 and arrived here in 1851, the Caddy, Harvey and Thomas families from Cornwall, England, Henry Lunn of Sussex, England, who came aboard the Standard in 1851 as an assisted migrant to Adelaide where he was required to work for two years before he came to Victoria and settled in Maryborough. His wife, Mary Borland, came from Ayrshire, Scotland, and arrived on the Shooting Starin 1858, whilst Alexis Louchard was born in Epernon, France, and sailed from London in 1853 on the Calphurnia and spent the remainder of his life in search of the elusive gold, truly a victim of gold fever. The Chinese population was represented by the Howqua family and Ah Kin.

That informative little booklet “Information for people leaving Great Britain 1854” was displayed alongside the folder of information supplied to the migrants of today. A colourful touch to the scene was added by a copy of the large Australian Citizenship Pledge with its bright illustrations of our native flora and fauna surrounding the wording of the pledge.

It was noted that most of our visitors were well rewarded for their attendance in one way or another. We are indebted to Mrs. Katherine Martin who brought along her computer and various records on CD-ROM and was thus able to produce family information very quickly for amazed enquirers, new to family research and the wonders of this computer age. There was even a surprise in store for Katherine herself when she found that she had known one of our visitors at school – but they had not seen each other for fifty years! One of our young visitors, Alicia Cain, became very interested when she discovered a photo of her music teacher in the Severino family display. Ray Severino is a well-known and popular musician in the area. Our roving photographer managed to capture both these incidents on film and the photos are excellent.

Special thanks must go to Wendy Taylor for obtaining, and returning to Maryborough, a set of the International Genealogical Index, loaned to us for the weekend. Grateful thanks, as always, must go to those who set up the display, the good cooks who baked goodies to supply refreshments as well as for the cake stall, those who served the tea and coffee and attended to the washing-up, and everyone who assisted in any way at all.

* * * * *

The Central Highlands Historical Association’s annual History Fair was held at Ballarat the following weekend, the 26th and 27th October, and some of the abovementioned exhibits were used on our Society’s stand, creating much interest for visitors. It was interesting to see how other societies interpreted the theme, Migration – Our Diverse Heritage, e.g. Ballan’s display featured those unpopular ‘migrants’ – rabbits, foxes, etc. Our grateful thanks is extended to Margaret and Harry Oulton and Colleen Allan for their sterling efforts once again in setting up the display, manning the stall and representing this Society over the two days. Jill Hunter and Dorothy Robinson attended and came away very enthusiastic about the History Fair. We hope their enthusiasm will stir an interest and response from others to come forward and assist in this annual event in the future.

* * * * *

Our next meeting will be held at the Court House on Sunday, 17th November, commencing at 1 p.m. It is felt this earlier start is necessary as we have a very full programme for that day. It is to be a Familiarisation Day to acquaint us with the Society’s holdings; Eulie Driscoll will tell us the story of James Law, the discoverer of gold at Barkly in 1858 and in whose honour a plaque is to be unveiled on Sunday, 15th December (Eulie has prepared a very interesting display to accompany her talk), and business will include discussion on the proposed Collection and Acquisition Policies for the Society which were published in the last newsletter. Those attending the meeting are asked to bring the last newsletter with them in order to have a copy of the policies in front of them. Members who wish to comment on the policies and who cannot be at that meeting are invited to send their written suggestions to the Secretary for consideration at the meeting.

It was approved at our October meeting that a charge of 20 cents each be made to cover the costs of tea, coffee, sugar and milk for afternoon teas. It is also proposed to draw up a tea roster for each meeting.

Members are asked not to forget our two raffles – tickets at 50 cents each are for a large hamper of goodies, whilst tickets for the special raffle offering four hours research in Melbourne repositories by Helen Harris are available at $l each. The lucky winners will be drawn at our Christmas get-together on 8th December at the home of Edna Jarvis, 123 Inkerman Street, Maryborough.

Dorothy Robinson, who is working on the history of the Avoca State School No. 4, advises that the school rolls have been indexed and this information is now available at the Court House.

Helen Harris has submitted the following interesting experience which happened on a recent holiday –

Recently Gary and I toured the Tamworth and Hunter Valley area of New South Wales, naturally visiting just about every cemetery, church and museum possible. As far as we knew there was no connection with Avoca in any of these areas. However, a visit to the former goldmining town of Nundle, near Tamworth, provided an unexpected link. The Nundle museum is housed in the former Town Hall and run by the local APEX Club. Among the many items displayed there are several parts from a wrecked airliner, and the tragic story is told on the wall above. The following is a brief extract:

The most dramatic event in the history of Nundle was the crash of the ANA DC-3 airliner Lutara in 1940. … the flight from Brisbane to Sydney crashed into Mt. Crawney, about seven kms south west of Nundle on the night of Thursday 3rd September. Thirteen people died. The plane flew south into bad weather… it is believed the radio range at Kempsey may not have been working, and the pilot tuned into what he thought was the Newcastle radio station. It is believed however that it was the Tamworth station, which was very close on the radio dial to Newcastle. The Pilot thought he was over Williamtown Airbase, but had instead flown inland and was near the mountainous range east of Tamworth, and 87 miles from the correct location. The pilot (Captain J. Drummond) headed, as he thought, out to sea from Newcastle to descend towards Sydney, but he was south west of Tamworth and descended through the darkness and snow, hail and rain until the aircraft struck the mountaintop. Two days later the wreckage was found; all but two of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition. The remains were transported to Tamworth and buried in the cemetery there. A subsequent inquiry exonerated the pilot and criticised Air Traffic Control methods of the Department of Civil Aviation and the standard of equipment. The hostess on the flight was Miss Brenda Margaret Wise of Elmhurst Victoria. Miss Wise had trained as a nurse at Ararat and Maryborough Hospitals before joining ANA. She was an experienced horsewoman.

While at Tamworth we spoke to the Tamworth Family History Group, and sold some of our raffle tickets to those members with Victorian research interests. We later went on to Sydney and stayed with Maxine Shaw, whose new B&B service was mentioned in this Newsletter some months ago. Maxine made us most welcome, collecting us from and returning us to the airport, cooking wholesome meals and generally acting as an excellent hostess. Her two cats even accepted us, condescending to sit on our knees as we relaxed after a hard day at the Mitchell Library. We can thoroughly recommend Maxine’s service to anyone interested in Sydney accommodation. Maxine can be contacted at 2 Cliff Avenue, Peakhurst Heights, 2210.

* * * * *

RHSV 1997 Calendar: Eugene von Guerard’s Australian Landscapes. The Royal Historical Society of Victoria and Geographic Data Victoria announce the release of their new calendar. The images have been exquisitely reproduced from an original set of tinted lithographs, which were drawn by von Guerard in 1866 and are now held in the RHSV Art Collection. Von Guerard first exhibited his lithographs at the Intercolonial Exhibition Melbourne of 1866 where he was awarded the highest distinction for his pioneering work in chromolithography in Vi

ctoria. This calendar may be purchased at the reception desk of the Royal Mint, Melbourne, or by mail order to the Secretary, Royal Historical Society of Victoria, Royal Mint, 280 William Street, Melbourne, 3000. The cost is $20 (plus $3 postage fee).


The Uniting Church in Avoca overflowed with more than two hundred people who attended the recent funeral of honorary life member Elizabeth Mills, who died on 13th October. It was a wonderful testament to a remarkable woman and showed clearly the love and esteem in which Elizabeth was held. Retired minister John Reeves gave the eulogy and told of Elizabeth’s life-long struggle against ill-health and her determination to take part in community life.

Already afflicted with asthma and diabetes, Elizabeth began to lose her hearing at 15 years of age and, by her mid-thirties, she was totally deaf in the right ear and had limited hearing in the left. This was accompanied by the nausea and loss of balance of virtigo. Undaunted, she learned to lip read, travelling to Bendigo weekly for six months to gain her Diploma for Better Hearing, after which she initiated and conducted lip reading classes in Maryborough for over twelve years. Both Elizabeth and her husband, Graeme, were on the committee of the Ballarat and District Better Hearing Association and, in September, 1995, Elizabeth was made a life member, a well-deserved award.

Elizabeth was a regular and committed member of the church and played the organ at Natte Yallock for many years, despite not being able to hear what she was playing nor what the congregation was singing, and new hymns were a nightmare. She also found meetings a nightmare but, as she said, “You can’t opt out of everything” and developed different strategies in order to cope. One of these was to go through the minutes with the secretary after meetings, in order to fully understand what had been discussed.

Besides her church activities and lip-reading classes, Elizabeth played her part in community life generally, being a member of the Maryborough Diabetes Group, Central Victorian Community Health, the Midlands Historical Society, the Avoca and District Historical Society, where she was made a life member in May, 1994, Mothers’ Club representative for the committee of the Maryborough Technical College, foundation member and treasurer of the Maryborough and District Disabled Persons Committee (now defunct) and delegate of this committee on the Maryborough Welfare Forum, and served six years on the Maryborough Hospital Board. Where Elizabeth could not be active in meetings of various organisations, she played her part quietly by cooking and supplying delicious goodies when required. On Australia Day, 1981, Elizabeth won the Citizen of the Year award for the Avoca Shire – and who could be more deserving! After the church service, the cortege wound its way to the Natte Yallock cemetery, where more people joined in the graveside service.

We extend deepest sympathy to Graeme, and to Isobel and Allan and their families. Elizabeth’s cheerful presence and practical solutions to difficulties will be sorely missed by this Society.

* * * * *

Pyrenees Tourism Association – At the recent elections held by the Pyrenees Tourism Association, the following people were elected : Mrs. Sue Slater, President; Tony Bruce, Secretary; Mrs. Jill Hunter, Board Member; and Mrs. Dorothy Robinson, who will represent our Society at the meetings of the Tourism Association.