ADHS Newsletter No. 147 APRIL, 1997

Items of interest –

  • Description of Index to Candidates for the Victorian Police, Part Two: 1873-1893
  • Description of Home Papers Please Copy (Cohuna)
  • National Quilt register
  • Moonambel connection of Professor Peter Doherty
  • Description of Ararat Public Cemetery Guide – A Guide for Genealogists Searching Ararat and the Surrounding District Cemeteries.

Visitors to our Heritage Festival event, held at the Court House on 19th and 20th April, saw an excellent display based on the National Trust’s theme, Culture Down Under, which we interpreted through life on the goldfields. Entering the gateway in our new picket fence, visitors were greeted by Harry and Hannah, a miner and his wife, and their two children who were kept amused playing knucklebones (or jacks) outside their tent home. Around the tent were the many requisites for such a lifestyle – tall, narrow buckets for bringing the ore up from the bottom of the shaft (these had actually been used on the Avoca goldfields last century), a saw, pick and shovel, a lantern, etc. Inside the Court House, the exhibition covered all facets of life in that era, with photos, inquests of the tragedies of the times, information on mining companies throughout the district – Amherst, Avoca, Barkly, Caralulup, Homebush, Redbank, among others – and a colourful display of the Tolmer Gold Escort Re-enactment, which passed through the Avoca district in September-October, 1986. There were also interesting excerpts from Margaret Oulton’s book, A Valley of the Finest Description, and a chance to rest awhile to view an excellent video of the unveiling of the James Law memorial at Barkly on 15th December last year to mark the discovery of gold there in June of 1859. Another exhibit was of some of the tools of trade of the miners and also some excellent maps showing the various diggings throughout the district. One visitor, from another historical society, voted the display as “Magnificent” and those members who mounted the exhibition are to be congratulated on their efforts. It was a great pity that there were not more visitors to appreciate this interesting display and it was decided to leave it intact for the next few weeks for researchers visiting the Court House to view it.

Whereas Harry and Hannah had been catching the attention of passers-by on the Saturday as they stood at the front fence, on Sunday we found them seated outside their tent as they contemplated their future. They had received the offer of a less tenuous and rigorous life, that of ‘caretakers’ of a large garden, i.e., scarecrows. So it was that, at the close of the display, Harry and Hannah and their family were safely secured by their seat belts in Edna Jarvis’s car and transported to their new home. Many thanks to Edna for the idea for this light relief and the great effort she put into carrying it out, ably assisted by Margaret and Harry Oulton.

Grateful thanks go to all those who contributed in any way at all to the Heritage Festival effort – whether mounting the display, serving cups of tea, providing sandwiches, cakes and slices, and goodies for the produce stall, and assisting visitors with research.

We also thank a visitor, Mrs. Heather Durant, for the donation of an old scrap book containing articles from the Weekly Times of 1931 about the Avoca area – fascinating reading!

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Many of our members were in the audience which filled the Avoca R.S.L. Hall on the Saturday night to enjoy Geoffrey Graham in his one-man show as A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson in The Man From Ironbark. This show involves much audience participation. So it was that Graeme Mills found himself in the barber’s chair and, at the same time, discovered he had dramatic talents of which he was not aware as he assisted in acting out the poem, The Man From Ironbark, from which the show takes its name. Everyone went home that night feeling great after enjoying so much hilarity. The show is about to go on an extensive tour and we can only say, if it comes to your district, don’t miss it.

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Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Sunday, 18th May, 1997, at the Wesley Hall, Uniting Church, Avoca, 12 o’clock for 12.30 p.m. This event is to be a fund-raiser. The three-course luncheon will be provided by a group of our local members so that the $10 per head being asked will be a donation to our Court House Restoration Fund. The speaker on this occasion will be Mr. John Robb, a pioneer vigneron, who will relate some of his experiences of the early days of the wine industry in the Pyrenees area. We would urge you to support this fund-raising event by phoning Jan Burnett on 0354 65 3265 to say you will be attending. This will assist in our catering and the setting up of the hall.

Don’t forget our raffle at 50 cents per ticket, the prizes being a delightful doll in a carry basket, beautifully dressed in a pink layette, and a second prize is a very nice hand-knitted cardigan. The lucky tickets are to be drawn at the A.G.M. Please note that the Court House will not be open on the day of the A.G.M

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Notification of our Annual General Meeting is enclosed in this newsletter. It includes a nomination form for those wishing to become more actively involved, an appointment of proxy form for completion by those unable to attend the meeting, and a renewal of membership notice. Because of increased running costs like power, water, postage increase, etc., a recommendation is to be put forward at the A.G.M. for ratification that membership fees should be raised by $2, to $14 a single and $17 for a family. Membership fees fall due in May each year.

As we are an incorporated body, it is necessary to have a minimum of ten per cent of the membership present for the A.G.M.; in the case of our Society, this means a minimum of 25-30 people, including proxy votes. Members unable to attend are urged to forward their proxy votes to one of the current office bearers.

Remembering that an active society cannot function without active members, we ask that members give serious consideration to being of service to the Society by becoming a member of the committee.

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What a surprise awaited those good members who arrived for the working bee at the Court House on Saturday, 12th April, to complete the new fence! Not only were the post holes dug, but the posts were in and the rails in place, all ready for the pickets to be fixed on and given a final coat of paint. Special thanks are due to Dorothy and Herb Robinson who were responsible for the post-hole digging, etc. Their wonderful effort during the week prior to the working bee enabled the task to be fully completed that day and the Society expresses grateful thanks to each and everyone who assisted in this project. The new roof and the fence have given a wonderful lift to the appearance of the Court House. Graeme Mills is now making the gate and plans are in hand to get some filling for the area between the gate and the front door, before gravel paths are laid.

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Index to Candidates for the Victorian Police, Part Two: 1873-1893, compiled by Helen Harris, OAM.

During the latter half of the 19th century, thousands of men applied to join the Victoria Police Force. In the great majority of cases, these applications were unsuccessful and thus, in theory, the police department has no record of them. In fact, however, many of these applications were retained within police correspondence files of the period, and are now held at the Public Record Office of Victoria. This microfiche Index continues on from Part One, which covered the period 1851-1872. It lists all applications located in one series of police correspondence files dated between 1873 and 1893. The index contains the names of over 2,000 men as well as a few women who applied for clerical and domestic positions. In addition to this main alphabetical list, the set of four microfiche contains two cross-referencing indexes. The first refers to names of people mentioned within the letters, including family, friends and employers. Examples include some well-known individuals, such as Sir William Clarke. The second cross-reference is to various places from which the applicant wrote or in which they once resided, and includes topics mentioned by the applicants. Examples of these include: Army service, other police forces, bushrangers, reporters, hospitals, and countries and places such as Canada, Egypt and Bendigo. Local names which appear include Bucknall, Major and Walsh. The set of four microfiche costs $15, plus $1 postage within Australia, and is available from Harriland Press, P.O. Box 92, Forest Hill, 3131. The Society is grateful to Helen for her donation of a set of these fiche for our Family History Resource Centre.

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The Cohuna Historical Society has published two volumes of Home Papers Please Copy, an indexed collection of births, marriages, deaths and other relevant articles printed in the Kerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette. Volume l covers 1877-1884, volume 2 1885-1888 while volume 3, 1889-1891 is in production. Copies at $10 posted can be obtained from the Secretary, Cohuna Historical Society, Box 423, Cohuna, 3568.

(Thanks to Irene Macwhirter for this snippet from the Weekly Times of 26th March, 1997. Ed.)

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The New South Wales Association of Family History Societies Annual Conference, hosted by the Newcastle Family History Society Inc., and titled, ‘A Journey of Discovery’, will be held on 24th, 25th, 26th October, 1997, at Mayfield Ex-Services Club, Hanbury Street, Mayfield, a suburb of Newcastle. Cynthia Hunter, Hunter Valley Historian, will give the John Crowe Memorial Address; Ed Tonks – War Memorials in France and Belgium; Bruce Tyrell – Vigneron Families; Dr. Jonathan Silberberg – Genetics in Family History; Keith Johnson – Irish Research; Fiona Burn – Discovering Records in the Australian Archives; Graham Aubrey – Celtic Studies; Hunter Photo Bank – over 50,000 photos on database; and Researching other Races – Panel Presentation on Chinese, Indian, Pacific Islanders and Koori research – a very interesting programme.

Due to an international sporting event being held in Newcastle on this weekend, accommodation will be at a premium so early booking is advisable. Newcastle Tourism Ltd. are holding allotments for the conference – contact Cathy on either Free Call 1800 654 558 or Fax 049 296 732. Further details are available from the Conference Secretary, Newcastle Family History Society Inc., P.O. Box 189, Adamstown, N.S.W. 2289.

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The National Quilt Register is an Australia-wide project to create a register of quilts, and their stories, made in, or brought to Australia before about 1965. It covers quilts in Museums, Heritage bodies, community groups and private hands. The register will be published in electronic and print form to celebrate the Centenary of Federation. The project is enthusiastically endorsed by major museums (such as the Powerhouse, Museum of Victoria, National Gallery) who have registered their collections. The search covers all quilts (pre about 1965) from the roughly improvised functional ones to the elaborate finely stitched; skin rugs; aboriginal skin cloaks and immigrants’ quilts, the latter being especially important If you would like more details about this unusual but fascinating project, please contact Wendy Hucker, National Quilt Register, The Pioneer Women’s Hut, P.O. Box 192, Tumbarumba, N.S.W. 2653

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Australian of the Year has local connection. The 1997 Australian of the Year, Nobel prize winner, Professor Peter Doherty, is a great grandchild of the late Patrick and Catherine Doherty who lived in Moonambel.

Frank Doherty, one of the eight children born to Patrick and Catherine, also lived in Moonambel and learned the tinsmith trade from Mr. Hempseed, of Avoca, before moving to Queensland to set up business in Southport. Frank and his wife, Julia, had four sons. The youngest, Eric, is Peter’s father.

Julia Anderson, mother of local Avoca resident, Mrs. Lillian Chapman, was a sister to Frank Doherty, Peter’s grandfather, making Lillian a second cousin to the Australian of the Year.

(Thanks to Jan Burnett for this little article of local interest from the ‘Pyrenees Advocate’ of 7th February, 1997. The way your Editor works out relationships, Lillian Chapman and Eric Doherty are first cousins, therefore Peter is a first cousin, once removed, to Lillian. Any children of Lillian’s would be second cousins to Peter.)

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Thank You! Your Editor wishes to thank readers of the newsletter, both within this Society and from other groups, for the complimentary remarks which have reached her in recent weeks. It is always heartening to know that one’s efforts are looked forward to and enjoyed each month and your expressions of appreciation can only encourage me to press on as I complete my eleventh year in this position. Whilst I find the task a demanding and responsible undertaking (and a month goes by so quickly), I do enjoy the many contacts I make as a result. I am most appreciative of the support of our members and their assistance with contributions to help make our newsletter an interesting one.

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Ararat Public Cemetery Guide – A Guide for Genealogists Searching Ararat and the Surrounding District Cemeteries. This interesting pamphlet has been issued by the Ararat Cemetery Trust, P.O. Box 192, Ararat, Vic. 3377 (phone 0353 52 2670 (a/h). It gives a plan of the layout of the Ararat Cemetery and also contact people for other cemeteries in the district – Buangor, Cathcart, Crowlands, Elmhurst, Great Western, Lake Bolac, Mount Cole, Moyston, Spring Lead, Streatham, Tatyoon, Wickliffe and Willaura. This should be a boon to those researching in the area. The pamphlet is also available from the Ararat Genealogical Society Inc. , P.O. Box 361, Ararat, 3377, where Mrs. Marion McAdie is the Research Officer.

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9th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry will be held in Perth, 27th September to 1st October, 2000, the theme being Let Records Speak. Full details available from Keynote Conferences, P.O. Box 1126, West Leederville, W.A. 6901. Venue, University of Western Australia.

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The Fourteenth Annual General Meeting of the Avoca and District Historical Society Inc. will take place on Sunday, 17th May, 1998, at 12.30 p.m. at Wesley Hall, at the Avoca Uniting

Church. The guest speaker will be Mr. Ken Shewan, of the Shiplovers’ Society, whose topic will be Sailing Ships to Sandridge – a look at some lesser known sailing ships.

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 forward any special business must give notice to that effect to the Secretary, Mrs. J. Hunter, “Stronvar”, RMB 4342, St. Arnaud, 3478, by the 12th May, 1998. Nominations for office bearers shall be on the attached form (not reproduced) and must be forwarded to the Secretary by the same date.