ADHS Newsletter No. 151 AUGUST, 1997

Items of interest –

  • Descriptions of new microfiches: Argus Passenger Index 1866-1868; Personal Notices in the Mansfield Newspapers, 1901-1920; Index to The Creswick and Clunes Advertiser, January – December, 1862; Burials in the Keilor Cemetery – 1856-1952; Index to the Illustrated Australian News, 1870-1871
  • Australian Natives’ Association, Avoca Branch, Banquet 1886
  • Death of Samuel E. Scrase, Lilicur, 1891

Trip to Bendigo – The thirteen members who set off by bus from Avoca at 8.30 a.m. on Sunday morning, 17th August, were not deterred by an unfavourable weather forecast. With our President as the bus driver, we were enthusiastically looking forward to a great day and that is how it turned out. We picked up three members in Maryborough and had a good trip across to Bendigo. Our first stop was the cafe at the Central Deborah Gold Mine where we partook of refreshments before boarding the Vintage “Talking Tram”. We listened to the informative commentary as we sat back and enjoyed a trip through the city, passing many interesting historical buildings. This tour included a visit to the Tram Museum where, after a short introduction to the collection by the tram driver, we were encouraged to look through the trams at the depot. He did request that we refrain from ringing the bells on the trams, but neglected to say that, in most cases, the bells were activated by a foot pedal. Needless to say someone, who shall remain nameless, did the inevitable!

On our return to the Central Deborah Gold Mine, some of our group put on hard hats, complete with miners’ lights, and descended 61 metres underground to be taken on a guided tour. They were able to see early mining equipment and, on their return to the surface, viewed machinery and buildings which had been preserved from the gold-mining era.

We then boarded the bus for – you guessed it – McDonald’s. For those of us who do not frequent the ‘Golden Arches’, this also was an experience of historical significance or should I say hysterical significance! Some who ordered coffee and a ‘big Mac’ were surprised to receive fries and a big Coke as well. A great learning experience for some of we oldies!

Our next stop was the Golden Dragon Museum and Classical Chinese Gardens. Here we enjoyed an excellent exhibition of the history of the Chinese community in Bendigo. The museum also houses the world’s longest Imperial Dragon – Sun Loong, over 100 metres long – and the oldest Imperial Dragon – Loong. The display was enhanced by volunteer attendants at the museum, a number of whom were direct descendants of Chinese who had journeyed to Bendigo during the gold rush. They shared with us their own families’ experiences as we toured the museum.

Our final visit was to the former Bendigo Post Office, a beautiful building which has been restored. It now houses an information and interpretative centre supplying current and historical information through the use of computers and hi-tech displays.

We boarded the bus about 4.30 p.m. to begin the journey home, stopping at Kangaroo Flat for a short break and some light refreshments, then continued back to Avoca via Maryborough. The on-bus raffle was won by our Secretary, Jill Hunter, the prize being a book, The Landboomers. Finally, our thanks to Graeme Mills for a safe and happy trip.

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Our next meeting is to be held at the Lexton Community Centre, Sunraysia Highway, Lexton, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, 21st September. We have invited members of neighbouring historical societies to join us for this meeting when we will celebrate 200 years since the arrival of Merino sheep in Australia. The guest speaker will be Alastair McKenzie who will speak on The Development of the Merino over the last Fifty Years. There will be a historical display including run plans of our area and also a display prepared by the Lexton Landcare Group. A special exhibit will be a pen of Camden sheep descended from the original flock. The talk will be followed by afternoon tea and an opportunity to view the displays.

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Progress at Avoca Court House – Our grateful thanks to Herb and Dorothy Robinson and our next-door neighbour, Eddie Gane, for building the new fence on the north side of the Court House.. These hard-working people were able to use the remainder of the corrugated iron from the Court House roof to create a new side fence. Rails and some posts came from next door while Herb supplied the remainder of the posts. Our talented Treasurer, who so capably looks after our financial affairs, is also a budding exterior decorator, having painted the corrugated iron fence.

Herb has also been working on the Court House windows, replacing the putty, then painting the windows and surrounds with three coats of paint, thereby preserving our building and saving our Society a considerable amount of money.

(My sincere thanks to Margaret Oulton for the foregoing reports. Ed.)

Before you receive this newsletter, a working bee will have been held at the Court House to rebuild the back fence to the property and we thank those stalwart members who have contributed their skills, energy and time to this project. We are also indebted to the Victorian Producers Co. (V.P.C.), stock and station agents, for their generous donation of a new gate to complete the project. This kind gesture is greatly appreciated by the Society.

The Central Highlands Historical Association Inc. will present its Annual History Fair at the Army Ranger Barracks, Curtis Street, Ballarat, on 11th and 12th October, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. As a member society of this organisation, we will have a stand at the Fair, where you can meet our members Wendy Taylor, Colleen Allan, Jill Hunter and Dorothy Robinson. The interesting theme this year is Law and Order and will feature displays, records, photos and research advice; Devonshire teas will be available. The entry fee is $2.

This Society will follow the same theme of Law and Order for its two-day display to be held on 18th and 19th October at the Avoca Court House when Cath Martin will be in attendance with her computer, B.D.M’s, etc., to assist new researchers to get a head-start with their family history via the CD-ROM.

Since our Open Day held in July, it has been most encouraging to receive letters and comments congratulating the Society and its members on the many hours of work they have put into the indexing of records, newspapers, etc., for the benefit of researchers. We would hope that our October display will find more ‘satisfied customers’ leaving the Court House similarly impressed with our holdings and our work.

Another date for members to note is Saturday, 1st November, when this Society will host the

quarterly meeting of the C.H.H.A. to be held at Lexton.

Please note this is a final reminder to complete your Members Interests form (in capital letters, please) published in the June newsletter and return it to our Secretary immediately.

We are now exchanging newsletters with many historical and family history societies throughout Australia and we wonder if any among them have put all the information they hold on to a computer data-base. If so, we would be most interested to hear from them as to how they went about it, with any helpful hints they may have which could assist us as we consider putting our many local and family history records on to computer.

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The Bundaberg Genealogical Association Inc. recently launched Lone Graves, Volumes 1 and 2; these books include photos, obits, death notices and information supplied by relatives and the public on lone graves on properties, stations and old burial sites no longer used as cemeteries. Each volume costs $25 plus postage and the books are available from the Association at P.O. Box 103, Bundaberg, Qld., 4670.

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New Indexes Available – Argus Passenger Index 1866-1868. This microfiche index forms part of an ongoing project to index Shipping Intelligence columns in the Melbourne Argus Newspaper. Probably because gold had been discovered in New Zealand by this time, there are many passengers listed as travelling both from and to New Zealand. There are approximately 47,500 passenger entries on this index and the cost is $45.00 posted. Available from Marion and Westley Button, P.O. Box 540, Gisborne, Vic. 3437.

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Personal Notices in the Mansfield Newspapers, 1901-1920. This microfiche is not an index but a full transcription of all the Personal Notices featured in the newspapers which were microfiched for the years 1901-1920 by the Mansfield Historical Society and The Mansfield Courier. These notices do not only cover events that occurred in Mansfield but as far away as Western Australia and covers the period of the First World War. Available from Angela M. Evans, 14 Musk Court, Westmeadows, Vic. 3049. The cost is $20, including postage.

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Index to The Creswick and Clunes Advertiser, January – December, 1862, indexed by Susan L. O’Neill. This is the third set in a series, containing over 40,000 entries, taken from the microfilm copies of the Creswick and Clunes Advertiser which are available to be read at the State Library of Victoria and at the Creswick Historical Society. The cost of this Set Three is $30, including postage. Please make cheques payable to Susan O’Neill but send orders to Angela Evans, 14 Musk Court, Westmeadows, Vic. 3049.

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Burials in the Keilor Cemetery – 1856-1952 – The records contained in these two fiche have been taken from the Keilor Cemetery Register, which was transcribed in full. Gaps in the early years were covered by death certificates which stated the deceased was buried in the Keilor Cemetery. The monumental inscriptions were taken from selected tombstones in the cemetery, covering ALL pioneer graves plus others connected to these pioneers. There are over 40 pages of full transcriptions. The cost is $15, including postage, and is available from Angela Evans at the address given above.

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Angela Evans has been very busy – also available is an Index to the Illustrated Australian News, part 1870-1871, at a cost of $15, including postage, and from the same address.

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From The Avoca Free Press, 4th September, 1886

The Avoca Branch of A.N.A. celebrated their first anniversary on Wednesday evening last with a banquet at the Avoca Hotel. There was a very large attendance, visitors being present from Maryborough, Timor, and Stawell Branches.

Mr. W. W. Harris, president, occupied the chair, and Mr. J. Lusby, ex-president, the vice-chair. Apologies were read from Mr. G. F. Peacock, President of the Board of Directors, Mr. C. Wainwright, of the Ballarat Branch, and Mr. W. Wheat of the Board of Directors. After the usual loyal toasts had been duly honoured, the chairman presented a past president’s certificate to Mr. Lusby and conveyed the high appreciation of the lodge to his untiring endeavours in promoting the success of the association. Mr. Lusby, who seemed greatly moved by the consideration of the lodge, said he had felt the many kind things showered on him to be more than he deserved, but he would never cease doing his level best to help in the onward movement of the Australian Natives’ Association. Mr. J. F. Paten proposed the Australian Natives’ Association and commended the youth of the colony for their successful efforts to establish some society which would bring them together to discuss and consider the future of this grand young colony, which he and others had brought out of its infancy and troubles to be now set sailing in the calm placid sea of prosperity.

Mr. J. F. Dudley, of the Board of Directors, responded to the toast and said he fully concurred with the last speaker in his remarks as to the old pioneers of the colonies. They might rest assured it was no desire of the Australian Natives’ Association to either forget or neglect the great work of the founders of the colonies. They would always pay them marked respect in all their meetings, and would, he felt certain, never forget the country of their birth.

Mr. H. H. Wettenhall, M.L.C., who was present by invitation, also spoke to the toast, and said that although it was well known that politics were not allowed in their lodges, yet it was one of the best sciences the youth of the colony could take up and study. What is better than a study of the great power of political economy in evolving people from barbarism, and worse than apathy when watchfulness of every popular movement is imperatively necessary in the interest of public liberty.

Mr. Barr, president of the Maryborough Branch, next proposed the Avoca Branch, coupled with the names of its president, Mr. W. W. Harris, and Mr. P. Leonard, its indefatigable secretary, and said it was highly gratifying to see how all the lodges that had been formed in the colony during the last twelve months flourished, and that Avoca was no exception. It had fully borne out the hope on which it was founded, and would no doubt continue to grow and be the means of cementing the Australian youth together in one great and firm bond of national brotherhood.

The president, having thanked them for the kind manner in which his name was coupled with the toast, mentioned that he deeply regretted the absence of the great moving spirit, and in fact, the very organiser and founder of the Avoca Branch, Mr. A. F. Paten. He would take the opportunity, however, of conveying from those present the hearty and feeling appreciation they had of his labours.


Mr. T. Leonard, in reply, read a short résumé of the progress of the lodge from its formation, which evidenced its splendid outlook for the future.

Mr. A. Ebeling proposed the Sister Branches and our visitors, and stated that this interchange of members from one Branch to another was a great good, as it opened up their minds to wider views, and led to a pleasant feeling of friendship existing between the Branches,

Mr. J. Hussy, on behalf of the Timor Branch, thanked them for the pleasant way in which he had been entertained, and assured them he was astonishedd at the rapid increase and surprising power of the lodges. Of course, the time must come when we will all be Australians but we can never afford to forget the men who did the hard work of making the colony.

Mr. E. Snell, snr., on behalf of the old pioneers, said he was glad to see the young men coming so well to the front. He knew there was a good deal of surplus energy in them, and this wanted either keeping down or being piloted in the right direction. Mr. G. Pinch, President of the Avoca Shire, also expressed his pleasure at the great success the Association had attained, and hoped it would continue to move in the same direction.

Mr. C. Forbes, who proposed Kindred Societies, said that he felt a friendly rivalry always against the other societies, not of any jealousy, but of the slow and surely growing enormous octopus-like powers of the Australian Natives’ Association, which in fifty years must dominate the whole of Australasia. Mr. O. Wiltshire responded on behalf of the Oddfellows and thought there was room enough for all the friendly societies in Australia. Messrs. Wm. Bailey, on behalf of the Forresters, and A. J. Barbat, on behalf of the Rechabites, also responded.

Mr. M. Blackburn, who proposed the toast of the Press, expressed his great belief in the powers of the Press to found a national character, and stimulate the youth of the colonies to further their grand scheme of federation. It was a trite saying “that the pen was mightier than the sword” but there could be no doubt that more good would come to the colonies through the agency of the pen, as represented by the Press, than all the pomp and glory of military life. Mr. McHugh, of the Avoca Press, responded.

The intervals between the toasts were pleasantly filled in with some good songs, capitally rendered by Messrs. Dudley, Campbell, Lord, Arnold, Cooper and Barbat. The usual vote to the chairman, with the singing of the National Anthem brought a decidedly pleasant evening’s enjoyment to a close.

(See Newsletter No. 113 of March, 1994, re background of the A.N.A. Ed.)

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From The Age, Friday, 18th September, 1891 ACCIDENTALLY SHOT, Avoca, Thursday.

A shocking accident occurred at Lilicur this afternoon, by which Samuel E. Scrase, aged 26 years, lost his life. He had left home at midday for the purpose of shooting eaglehawks, taking with him a double barrelled gun. He intended being home for dinner in half an hour. As he did not return, his sister went to look for him, and found him about a quarter of a mile from the house, lying on his back quite dead. He had got through a wire fence, and was bringing the gun through when the wire caught the hammer and one barrel was discharged in his left side, causing instant death. Deceased was greatly liked throughout the district. He was a prominent member of the Australian Natives’ Association and of the Mounted Rifles.

A magesterial inquiry was held before Messrs. Pinch and Wise, J.P.’s, when Dr. Johnson certified that death was the result of an accident. A verdict was given accordingly