ADHS Newsletter No. 158, APRIL, 1998

Items of interest –

  • Calendar change 1752
  • Newspaper references to: Joseph West (1868); John Bourne (1876); C Sanders (1902); Mrs Ratigan (1874).

On Sunday, 19th April, on a lovely autumn morning, 17 members of our Society met at the Avoca Court House. We boarded the bus at 8.15 am with the Coach Captain (President Graeme Mills) making sure we left on time as we had a busy day ahead of us.

Arriving at the Langi Morgala Museum, situated in Queen Street, Ararat, and home to the Ararat and District Historical Society Inc., we were greeted by Mrs. Muriel Harrop and other members, who had specially opened the Museum for us at 9.30 am so that we could include it in the early part of our tour. The name of the museum is derived from two Aboriginal words, ‘Langi’ meaning ‘home’ and ‘Morgala’ meaning ‘yesterday’, thus ‘the home of yesterday’, which is very apt. The building was built in 1874 for Michael Byrne Carrol, the architect being Alexander White, the first engineer of the Ararat Shire.

We spent over an hour viewing the wonderful collection of maps, mining equipment, books, dressed figures, furnished rooms, the history of Ararat in photographs, and articles of interest including the Mooney and Charles Best collections of Aboriginal artifacts, stone tools, weapons, etc. Murals, showing early mining scenes, are the work of local artist, Stan Kelly. Railway equipment and photos, a blacksmith’s shop, a gig and buggy and various farm implements can also be seen.

When gold was discovered in 1857 by Chinese on what is known as the Canton Lead, a big rush began and the population swelled to 20,000 in the short space of two weeks. So Ararat was born.

A welcome cuppa was enjoyed on arrival at J Ward before beginning our tour with Allan Smart as our guide. This bluestone building was opened as the Ararat County Jail on 10th October, 1861, with 21 prisoners and a staff comprising the governor, a matron, senior warden and three turnkeys. Three hangings took place here, two in 1863 and the third in 1884. In 1886, the jail was closed and the building handed over to the Lunacy Department to be re-opened in 1888 as J Ward. This institution for the criminally insane could house 28 inmates and remained as part of the Aradale Mental Hospital until 1991 when it was closed by the State Government. Such a sad place! Although most of us found spending an hour and a half visiting this complex very interesting, I think we were ready to move on. A visit to McDonald’s for lunch provided some light relief and we then prepared for the afternoon trip to Stawell.

On arrival at the Pleasant Creek Court House, home of the Stawell Historical Society, we were met by Dorothy King, their research officer, and Carmel Loats This building was the original Court House for the Pleasant Creek area, this being the early name for Stawell. In 1880, a new Court House was built and this original building became a police barracks. About 1912, it was sold and became a private home for 60 years. It was then acquired by the Stawell Town Council in 1973 and was restored. In 1982, it became the home of the Stawell Historical Society Inc. The members of this group have set up the building as a museum and research centre.

Dorothy and Carmel took us on a tour of the town and the gold mine, which .is operational and very deep.

While the first discovery of gold was made in 1853, near the Pleasant Creek Court House, it was not until 1857 that the rush really began. The first buildings of the fledgling town were made of canvas and wood but more solid buildings of brick and stone were erected once the rich quartz reefs were established. Full-time mining ceased in the 1920s.

On returning to the Court House, we enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea and were given the opportunity to delve into the Society’s research facilities. We all admired the attractive suite of buildings which houses their historical records collection.

We returned to Avoca via Landsborough and Moonambel, travelling through welcome steady rain. On arrival back at the Court House, sincere thanks was expressed to Graeme for an enjoyable and safe trip.

(My thanks to Margaret Oulton for her assistance with this report. Ed.)

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Sunday, 17th May, 1998, at the Wesley Hall of the Uniting Church, Avoca, 12 o’clock for 12.30 pm. 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. This was a great success last year and members are keen to do the same again this year.

The speaker on this occasion will be Mr. Ken Shewan, of the Shiplovers’ Society, and his topic will be Sailing Ships to Sandridge, a look at some of the lesser known sailing ships which came to what is now known as Port Melbourne.

We would urge you to support this fund-raising event by phoning our Secretary, Jill Hunter, on 0354 67 2211, by the 12th of May, to say that you are coming. This will assist in our catering and the setting up of the hall.

Don’t forget our raffle at $1 per ticket – there are four prizes to be won, the first being a boxed set of crystal, long-stemmed wine glasses, kindly donated by Graeme Mills. 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.

Notification of our Annual General Meeting is enclosed in this newsletter. It includes a Nomination Form for those wishing to become more actively involved in the Society’s work, an Appointment of Proxy Form for completion by those unable to attend the meeting, and a Renewal of Membership notice. Membership fees fall due in May each year and are $14 for singles and $17 for a family.

As we are an incorporated body, it is necessary to have a minimum of 25-30 people present, including proxy votes. Members unable to attend are urged to forward their proxy votes to

one of the current office bearers.

Those who went on our recent bus trip will have observed Colleen Allen wearing the maroon polo shirt and windcheater, with gold writing, which has been chosen as our “official uniform”. The windcheater has long sleeves whilst the polo shirt has short sleeves and a collar. An order has been placed for a supply of these garments and it is hoped they will be available at the A.G.M.

Personal Pars.

The Ballarat Gardens made the perfect setting on Saturday, 28th March, for the marriage of our President, Graeme Mills, to Lily Johnstone (nee Chaplin). Lily’s matron of honour was her daughter, Sheryl Carr, while Graeme’s life-long friend, Ian Harrison, was best man. Our congratulations and best wishes go to the bride and groom for many happy years together.

Deepest sympathy is extended to Marj Partridge and her family on the death of her husband, Harold, after a battle with a rare form of cancer. Harold was always positive and optimistic and well-known in the Maryborough district as a taxi-driver. In retirement and throughout his illness, he mastered the computer to assist Marj. with her family history research.

New Members. A warm welcome is extended to the following new members:

Nellie ANDREWS, of Wentworth, NSW, who is researching Esther LITHGOW, who married

Dean JAMES, and also Alexander LITHGOW

Mrs. Kathryn O’REILLY, of Maldon, whose interests are the LEYDON and DALY families.

Mrs. Jan WALLDEN, of Katandra, Vic., researching Eugene, Claude, Charles and Margaret CALNAN, John and Mary CUMMINS, and Johanna CUMMINS.

Correction. Wendy Taylor has kindly pointed out an error in the list of inquests published in our last newsletter. The reference to James Condrick should, in fact, be James CONDICK, clearly shown as such on the actual inquest papers. We apologise for this error in transcription which may have confused researchers of that name.

Looking Ahead – On Sunday, 21st June, our meeting will feature the ever-popular “Show and Tell” and our July meeting on the 19th is to be a working bee.

Family Reunion. Calling descendants of the BURGE family. A reunion is planned for Sunday, 1st November, 1998, at the Natte Yallock Hall, from 10 a.m. For full particulars contact Patricia Lewis, 98 Brassey Street, Maryborough, 3465, or phone her on 0354 61 3084.

The State Committee of the RHSV will meet in Castlemaine on the weekend of 20th-21st June at the former Court House, 7 Goldsmith Crescent. The meeting on Saturday, 20th June, will commence at 10.30 am and members of societies affiliated with the RHSV are welcome to attend and to join in discussions on issues affecting societies throughout Victoria.

On Sunday, 21st June, from 10 am, the State Committee and the Castlemaine Historical Society will conduct a forum with four noted historians who will share their views on the influences which have moulded Australia and Australians:-


lst session Dr. Stuart Duncan – Australia – A Geographer’s View

2nd session Dr. Richard Broome – Imagining Aborigines


3rd session Professor Weston Bate – Regionalism in Australian History

4th session Associate Professor Don Garden – Australian Environmental History

The cost to attend this forum is $25, which includes lunch, morning and afternoon tea. Sessional rates can be negotiated. For further particulars and to confirm your attendance at this event, contact Alleyne Hockley on 0354 72 1425 or John Sigley on 0358 62 2230.

Family History and Genealogical Showcase Day is to be held on Saturday, 11th July, 1998, from 10 am to 4 pm, at the Cultural Hall, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 33 High Street, Yarraville. This event is a free community service to the people of Western Melbourne and will feature displays, demonstrations and family trees, CD Roms, photographic restoration, Internet On Line, Italian records, Vietnamese records, war and military records, PRO, St. Catherine’s House, among many other aspects of genealogy. For further information, contact Ann King on (03) 9743 1354.

Boer War Database. Pam McFadden, PO Box 20, Ladysmith 3370, South Africa, is compiling information on the Boer War 1899-1902, hoping to build up a database of every soldier’s grave and every Boer War veteran’s fate. If you have ancestors who served in the Boer War, contact Pam at the above address or fax. 00 27 361 27881. (From Bulletin 132, March/April, 1998, of the Newcastle Family History Society.)

If your ancestor was a Brushmaker, you may like to contact Mr. Ken Doughty, The Society of Brushmakers’ Descendants, 13 Ashworth Place, Church Langley, Essex, CM17 9PU, England. (From Bulletin 132, March/April, 1998, of the Newcastle F.H.S.)

Calendar Change 1752 – A change was required when England changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. Eleven days were lost, causing consternation to the masses and resulted in many riots. The author of the article was scanning through the St. Botolph without Aldgate baptism records at the Guildhall in London. Wedged in the list of baptisms after the 2nd September, 1752, is the following entry:

“According to an Act of Parliament passed in the Year of our Lord 1751. The old style ceases here and the New takes and Consequently the next Day which in the old account would have been the 3rd is Now to be called the 14th so that all the intermediate nominal Days from the 2nd to the 14th are omitted or rather annihilated this Year, and the month contains no more than 19 Days.”

(From Newsletter No. 55 of June, 1997, of the Geraldton Family History Society, WA.)

The Wonders of Digital Imaging of Photographs – Did you hear about the person who wanted a photograph of an ancestor restored? The technologist was asked if he could restore it without the hat on the subject. He agreed and asked the customer, “What was the hair colouring?” The reply was, “I don’t know, but you’ll see that when you take off the hat.”(From Newsletter No. 1 of 1997 of The Southern Peninsula Genealogical Society Inc.)

Local Snippets From The Past – From the Victoria Police Gazette, 3rd December, 1868:

“About the 18th November, 5 panes of glass were maliciously broken in the Schoolroom at the Mountain Hut, Glenlogie, Avoca district. Joseph West, contractor, had left the work for a few days, and on his return, found the windows broken and the door key taken away.”

From the Victoria Police Gazette, 8th February, 1876:

“During the night of 3rd instant, an attempt was made to set fire to a brush-fence and grass paddock situate at Lamplough, the property of John Bourne. A firestick was thrown into the paddock, about 15 ft. from the fence, but owing to the stillness of the night and a heavy dew, only about a rod square of the grass was burnt.”

From the Avoca Free Press, 13th September, 1902:

“Mr. C. Sanders offers a reward of £5 for the conviction of the thief who stole about 70 sheep from his property at Warrenmang recently. If strayed, 6d. per head will be paid to the finder.”

From the Avoca Free Press, 20th June, 1874:

“£2 REWARD, LOST, between Mountain Hut and Amphitheatre, on Thursday, the 28th ult., a ROLL of NOTES, containing £23. Whoever finds and returns it to Mrs. Ratigan, Mountain Hut, shall get the above reward.”