ADHS Newsletter No. 144, JANUARY, 1997

Items of interest –

  • Commemoration of discovery of gold at Barkly
  • White family reunion
  • Stuart Mill children’s picnic day

As we begin another year, we send New Year greetings to all our members and hope you will find the Society’s activities during the coming months to be most interesting and exciting.

The first event to mark in your diary is the Monster Garage Sale to be held on Saturday, 15th February, from 9 a.m. at the Court House. We seek donations of goods, cakes and produce for this special effort and help is required for pricing the goods and the setting up and manning of the stalls. All assistance will be greatly appreciated.

It is important to note that our February meeting will be held that afternoon (15th February) commencing at 2 p.m., following the Garage Sale.

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Our Christmas get-together, held on 8th December, was a very happy occasion as we relaxed and chatted at the home of Edna Jarvis in Maryborough. Our sincere thanks to Edna for hosting this annual event for us in such pleasant surroundings. Two raffles were drawn that afternoon – Ray Wigraft drew the winning ticket of our special effort and the lucky winner was our member, Betty Beavis, of Warrnambool. Our congratulations, Betty, and we hope your prize of four hours’ research by Helen Harris in Melbourne repositories will be of great value to you in your research projects. Grateful thanks go to Helen, who not only thought up the idea but also undertook the organisation of the project, ably assisted by husband Gary Presland and daughter Penny Harris. Our sincere thanks to you all for your efforts. As a result, an amount of $336 has been added to the Society’s funds.

The hamper of groceries was won by our member Nell Rowland. Congratulations, Nell! This raffle raised the amount of $48.50 for our funds and we thank all those who donated such a nice selection of goods for this effort. A vote of thanks was passed to our Treasurer, Dorothy Robinson, for her work administering both raffles.

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During the meeting, some discussion took place on the raising of membership fees to assist the Society to meet its financial commitments. It has been suggested that a recommendation be put at the next Annual General Meeting that fees be raised to $15 for a single membership and $18 for a family.

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The Society was well represented on Sunday, 15th December, when about seventy people gathered at the Barkly Hall and then proceeded in convoy to the site of the discovery of gold by James Law and party in 1859. The unveiling of a bronze plaque on a memorial stone on the site of the claim marked the successful conclusion of the search for his great-grandfather by James Cochran Law. It was towards the end of October in 1992 when this great-grandson James Law visited Barkly, having obtained the death certificate of his great-grandfather, who died on 3rd September, 1910, and was buried in the Barkly Cemetery. Arriving in the Barkly area, he was attracted to a property where the Australian flag was flying and here he met Ted Gaffney. Ted later introduced him to Eulalie Driscoll. Both of these loclal folk were able to give him valuable information and re-assure him that he had indeed found the area where his great-grandfather had lived for so many years.

Graham Driscoll was responsible for selecting the rock for the memorial, which is set in concrete, as are some large pieces of quartz rock. An area of crushed quartz surrounds the memorial. The wording on the plaque, which was donated and unveiled by great-grandson James Law, reads as follows:

Near this stone is the site of

the discovery of gold

on 13th June 1859

by James Law and party

which led to the naming of Barkly

on 1st November 1861.

This plaque is placed here by

James Cochrane Law

great-grandson of James Law of Barkly


Jean Cochrane of Angas Scotland

The Australian flag which covered the memorial for the unveiling was the same flag which was flying on Ted Gaffney’s property in 1992.

Following this historic ceremony, those attending returned to the Barkly Hall for refreshments and to study the excellent display on the history of Barkly and James Law which Eulalie Driscoll had prepared.

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We extend a very warm welcome to the following new members of the Society:

Mrs. J. HEAPEY, of Hervey Bay, Qld., whose interests are RETALLICK, MANN, GILES and MORVELL.

Mrs. K. HOGAN, of North Geelong, Vic., who is researching HILDEBRAND and LEYDEN.

Mr. J. SEVERINO, of Lexton, who is a member of the well-known SEVERINO family.

Our Research Officer continues to be kept busy with enquiries and, during November, had three visitors, eleven phone queries and wrote five letters. Colleen Allan explained our Society’s activities and research facilities to a group of volunteers from the Pyrenees Tourism Association.

REUNIONS – The WHITE family. There will be a reunion of the WHITE family, from the Craigie and Alma districts, on Saturday, 8th March, 1997. The venue is the Anglican Church Hall in Maryborough and there will be a bus tour to Craigie and Alma at 2 p.m. For further details and book sales, please contact Dorothy Houlden on (03) 5441 2807 (Bendigo) or Edna Jarvis on (03) 5461 4080 (Maryborough).

Those members with a family background in Stuart Mill will be interested to know that this little town of 200 people, situated 21 km south of St. Arnaud, is reviving its old-fashioned children’s picnic day. Back in the 1860s, Stuart Mill had a population of 7,000 and the picnic day was originally run by the Oddfellows to raise funds for the Common School. It remained an annual event until the state school closed in 1963.

The Stuart Mill Progress Association has plans to revive this special picnic day, with old-fashioned races like the egg-and-spoon race, chasing the chook, and bowling at the wicket, among others. Sunday, 2nd March, is the big day this year and further information can be obtained from Brenda Box, the association’s secretary on (03) 5499 9267, or write to RMB242, St. Arnaud, Vic. 3478.

If you are planning a reunion in our area, please remember that we are happy to publicise the event for you in this newsletter. We have also been advised that the new newspaper, The Mercury, C/o Green Street, Carisbrook, will publish details of such functions.

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The Society wishes to acknowledge with thanks the donation of the book, AB OWEN, Son of Owen – The Story of the Family of William Bowen, by the author, Russell Bowen, a long-time member of this Society. William Bowen, his wife, two sons and a daughter, arrived in Melbourne in 1855 on the Ivanhoe and they later settled in Amphitheatre.

Grateful thanks is also extended to L. Finger, M. Boyce and K. Mander for their generous donations to the Court House Restoration Fund.

We are pleased to announce that the Society has received a grant of $5,000 from the Minister for Planning and Local Government under the Government Heritage Restoration Programme. This grant is for roof repairs to the Court House in corrugated steel. A grant of $1,500 from the Pyrenees Shire will cover the costs of a new picket fence. It is planned that the roof repairs and the fence will be commenced in February, Our next big project will be the provision of a toilet at the Court House and, to this end, we need an extra effort from everyone to make our Monster Garage Sale very successful.

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NEW INDEXES – Victorian Argus Court Reports Index, 1851-1856. This microfiche index has been taken from the Argus newspaper for 1851-1856. It does not include the Supreme Court as this forms another index, already available from the author. There are almost 11,000 entries on this index and the cost is $10.00 per set posted. Also available are the Argus Missing Friends Indexes, 1851-1853 (cost $50.00) and 1854-1855 (cost $40.00). Expressions of interest are requested as to the possibility of producing the Port Phillip Herald and Argus Passenger Indexes, 1840-1865, in one straight alphabetical index on CD ROM. Full details of all these items are available from Marion and Westley Button, P.O. Box 540, Gisborne, Vic. 3437.