Newsletter of the Avoca and District Historical Society Inc.

President: Mr. Graeme Mills, R.M.B. 2316, Maryborough Vic. 3465. Secretary: Mrs. Jill Hunter, “Stronvar”, R.M.B. 4342, St. Arnaud, Vic. 3478. Treasurer: Mr. Harry Oulton, P.O. Box 269, Caulfield East, Vic. 3145. Research Officer: Mrs. Jan Burnett, 92 Barnett Street, Avoca, Vic. 3467. Newsletter Editor:Mrs. Lorna Purser, 250 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125. Note: Please forward all correspondence to the Secretary.

Newsletter No. 161 JULY, 1998

“Show and Tell” was the theme for our meeting held on Sunday, 19th July, at the Court House when family treasures and everyday utility items of yesterday were on display. These included a metal cream skimmer, a wooden hand-made wool brand, a metal pleating frame, an ornate silver brush and comb set, a 100-year old china bread plate with the inscription Give us this day our daily bread, a Willow pattern cup and saucer that once belonged to the Twining sisters (of Twining’s tea), and a Prayer Book dated 1837. President Graeme Mills displayed two certificates presented to his grandfather, Thomas Henry Mills, by the Methodist Church of Australia in recognition of 50 years of willing and devoted service as a Lay Preacher. There was also a photo of Thomas Mills and his wife taken in 1953 at their Golden Wedding anniversary. Margaret Oulton combined the old with the new by showing one of the new plaques for the Heritage Walk which is to be officially launched on 23rd August. Our thanks to all who contributed to this interesting afternoon.

Our next meeting is to be held on Sunday, 16th August, at 1.30 pm at the Court House when members will busy themselves with index cards at a working bee.

The following is a tentative programme covering the next eight months –

20th September – Visit to Ballarat Public Record Office and Library

18th October – Display on Families and a talk by Bruce Osborn on the history of the

Maryborough Gaol

24th and 25th October – Display on Families at CHHA Family History Fair at Ballarat

15th November Heritage Walk at Avoca

13th December Christmas get-together at the Court House

The Court House will be closed December through to February, 1999

20th February, 1999 – Garage Sale

21st March – Visit to St. Arnaud Historical Society

18th April – Heritage Weekend

16th May – Annual General Meeting

We are seeking unusual family trees (in format) for display at the Families exhibition in October, such as a wheel, and would be delighted to hear from members who may be able to fulfil this request.

Jan Burnett and Colleen Allen have been kept busy in the past month with research enquiries and visitors, including a family from Durban, South Africa, interested in the BARNETT family.

On Sunday, 5th July, fourteen members of the Woady Yaloak Historical Society travelled over from Smythesdale to visit us at the Court House. Despite the cold, wet weather, spirits were high, and the visitors enjoyed their time with us,.looking through our card index system and records before our President, Graeme Ifills, took them by mini-bus to Homebush where they inspected the historic school and surrounding area. After lunch, the visitors enjoyed a tour of the historic sites round Avoca and the historic section of the Avoca cemetery. They were impressed by the story of the Crowliurst grave which relates to the death of a four-yearold girl at Percydale who was buried at Avoca. Her mother carved a tombstone on a piece of slate and wheeled the tombstone, in a pram, from Percydale to Avoca and placed it on her little daughter’s grave. Inscribed on the back of the tombstone are the words, Carved by her mother’s hand Some years ago, the Lions Club of Avoca refurbished the Crowliurst grave – a marble surround was added and a bronze plaque tells the poignant story of the tombstone. Afternoon tea and much talking was enjoyed back at the Court House before our visitors departed for home, everyone present agreeing that a good time was had by all. Special thanks must go to Graeme for conducting the tours in the bus, to Edna for the most welcome cup of hot soup at lunch-time, and to the ladies who provided such a delicious afternoon tea. Readers of the Pyrenees Advocate will have seen the two photos taken of this occasion and published on July 1 Oth – one of the office bearers of our Society, all looking smart in their maroon windcheaters with the Society’s logo in gold, and the other of the group of visitors from Woady Yaloak.

Restoration on the Court House proceeds. Removal of the paint on the outside walls of the Court House has now been completed, leaving a lovely red-brick facade. The next task will be to re-point much of the brickwork.

Sunday, 23rd August, will see the official launching of the History in the Pyrenees project which has been a joint effort by the Pyrenees Tourism Association and the Lexton Progress Association in conjunction with the Pyrenees Shire’s former Tourism and Economic Development Officer, Monica Cavarsan, and has been funded by Parks Victoria. Sue Slater and Margaret and Harry Oulton, members of our Society, have been responsible for the coordination of the project in their respective towns.

The major aims of the project were to update the existing Heritage Walk brochures and to provide accompanying signage. There are approximately 35 plaques – 25 of these in Avoca giving the original name of the building, the year it was built (if known), and other additional information which may be of interest to the observer.

The official launching will take place on Sunday, 23rd August, at 11 am at the Avoca Post Office when local member, Stephen Elder, will unveil the first plaque and Joan Hunt will speak on the background history of the area. Those attending will then do a shortened version of the official 1 1/2-hour walk before going to the Shire Hall for lunch and to view the display of old photographs of street scenes and buildings of early Avoca. After lunch, the action moves to Toll Bar Park at Lexton where the project will be launched at 2 pm and Joan Hunt will again speak on the history of the area. After a short walk round the town, the gathering will move to the Lexton Community Centre for afternoon tea at 3 pm. Lunch and afternoon tea will be available at a small cost. We encourage as many of our members as possible to support this event.

Lamplough on the Internet – The Lamplough goldrush of 1859-1860 attracted thousands of miners and a thriving township sprang up overnight, including hotels, schools and churches. It disappeared just as quickly when the gold ran out and miners moved on to more promising fields. Today, Lamplough is marked by a small road sign on the main highway. Our member, Denis Strangman, has made a study of the short history of the Lamplough rush and this was published in the journal Familia of the Ulster Historical Foundation (Vol. 2, No. 3, 1987, pps 3 -2 1) as The Gold Rush to Lamplough, near Avoca in Victoria, Australia, during 1859-1860 and a more detailed article appeared in the Victorian Historical Journal (Vol. 60, No. 1, March 1989, pps 3 -26) as A Forgotten Victorian Gold Rush: Lamplough via Avoca, 1859-1860. So, if you are looking for lost ancestors from Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales or other parts of Europe who might have been on the Victorian goldfields at that time, check out this Lamplough Name Index containing over 3,000 names and 6,000 source references on Website http://www.canberra.starway.net.au/~string/Lamplough.html Our thanks to Denis for his efforts in the study of Lamplough and for creating this index and sharing it to help family researchers.

Genealogists have been saddened to learn of the recent death of Marion Button after a long battle with cancer. Well-known in the Gisborne district, -Marion spent many, many hours indexing material of local interest as well as of a more general nature. She continued her work for as long as she could, despite her illness, with her last index not completed but decided to make available the work she had done on Some Asylums and Licensed Houses. A Licensed House was a privately run “asylurW’ but under the control of Government Mental Health and had to operate in the same way as Government-run institutions. The cost of this microfiche index is $10.50, including postage.

The index of The Argus Births, Deaths and Marriages, 1861-1865, follows the earlier one for 1846-1860, and includes many entries in addition to the normal BDMs, relating to such things as bigamy, domestic assaults, applications for maintenance, etc. etc. There are over 30,000 entries on this microfiche index and the cost is $35.00 (postage included).

The Argus BDM Index for 1846-1860 is still available at a cost of $30.00 (postage included).

The Button Index contains 608,519 entries, being all the surnames, names and other relevant common information from the 23 indexes produced by Marion compiled into one straight alphabetical index. It is not the indexes themselves but a “pointer” with some indicative information to look at a particular index/record. The 55 fiche cover the years 18401917, and subjects include BDMs, immigrants, criminals, lunatics, missing friends, publicans, tickets of leave, stock holders’ brands, cemeteries of the Gisbome-Macedon area, etc. and the cost is $50.00, postage included.

All of Marion’s 23 indexes are available from Westley Button, PO Box 540, Gisborne, Vic. 3437.

Members of the Gishorne Genealogical Group have produced two indexes on microfiche, as follows:

Gisborne Rate Books Index, 1865-1870, shows the name of the person paying the rate on the property and also the name of the owner of the property in this very busy period when there were many labourers, woodsplitters, etc., working on the railway line to Castlemaine. The cost is $12.50 posted.

Electoral Roll 1851 – Melbourne and Surrounds. This index covers the areas North Bourke, Bourke, South Bourke, Evelyn and Mornington, and Gipps, Lonsdale, La Trobe and Fitz Roy and also covers Bacchus Marsh, Yuroke, Pentridge, Campbellfield, Williamstown and Brighton, etc., on the two fiche. Cost is $10.00 posted.

These are available ftom the Gisborne Genealogical Group Inc., C/o Post Office, New Gisborne, Vic. 3438.

Wattle, the Australian Natives’ Association and Lexton. With the wattle in bloom, to cheer us on grey, wintry days, we are reminded of the association Lexton has with the wattle emblem of the Australian Natives’ Association. This organisation was known for its strong feelings of patriotism and nationalism and these were admirably expressed by Mr. David Scott, of Mt. Lonarch, who was a member of the Lexton Branch, when he submitted his suggestion that the wattle would be the ideal emblem for the Association.

In his letter, which was put forward at the Annual Conference of the A.N.A. in March, 1891, Mr. Scott cited the wattle as being uniquely Australian and grew throughout the country, the bark, timber, gum, leaves and flowers were all valuable commercially, it had great beauty when in bloom and yet was beautiful and ornamental all year round in gardens both large and small and grew quickly.

He further suggested that the form of the emblem should have a leaf of the silver wattle placed on the left-hand side, it being of the lowest value, a leaf of the black wattle on the righthand side, this being of greater value, with a leaf of the golden or broad-leafed wattle in the ceiitre, this being of the highest value. A spray of blossom should be placed on the leaves, leaving the stems to be tied in a suitable knot. He made the comment that, though the three wattles were different, yet they were the same, thus signifying the unity of the colonies in the Association.

In suggesting the motto “Unity, Peace, Prosperity” for the A.N.A., Mr. Scott stated that `Unity’ signified the three classes of wattle as being useful and valuable for the same purposes, and being grown in all colonies, and united in the emblem. ‘Peace’ because the beautiful tree is suggestive of both peace and profit to mankind, for it never has to be cut down as a valueless cumberer of the ground. ‘Prosperity’ because it is a source of much wealth and great prosperity to the colonies, and of the highest value in many branches of industry.” (The above item is based on an article which appeared in “The Herald” on Saturday, 14th February, 1891. My thanks to Margaret Oultonfor this interesting article. Ed)

A New Book – Jericho On The Jordan : A Gippsland Goldfield History by J. G. Rogers is being published as a special limited edition. It is the most comprehensive history published on the life and times of the Jordan Goldfield, situated near Wood’s Point in the North Gippsland ranges of Victoria. It covers the Argyle, Harbinger, McIntyre’s, Loch Fyne, B.B. Quartz and other mines and also towns and places such as Jericho, Red Jacket, Violet Town, Dry Creek, Victor’s Quartz, B.B. Creek Township and Loch Fyne. There are post offices, schools, churches, etc., etc. in this casebound book of 332 pages, with maps and photographs. It is available from J.G. Rogers, PO Box 866, Moe, Vic. 3825 at a cost of $45 per copy, plus $5 p&p in Victoria, plus $1 extra for interstate.

Sport at Natte Yallock – (From “The Avoca Free Press ” of 1st February, 1939)

“Natte Yallock Swimming Carnival – An interesting programme of events, both land and water, was staged at the ninth annual swimming carnival. Visitors were present from Avoca, Maryborough, Emu, Bealiba, Redbank, Moonambel, Amphitheatre and other places. Gate takings were £ 17. Mr. J. Aberton and Miss J. Rowley of the Education Department gave a demonstration of swimming and fifesaving.”

Football – (From “The Avoca Mail” of 12th August, 1930)

“Playing in the Barkly – Natte Yallock football match on Saturday last, Keith Emerson, a Barkly player, collided with another player and sustained injuries necessitating treatment by Dr. Colqulioun, to whose surgery he was conveyed. He was subsequently taken to the Maryborough Hospital where the x-rays failed to find any broken bones. He returned to his home and upon inquiry yesterday we were pleased to learn that he is progressing satisfactorily.

Fire, the Fire Brigade and Trustees of the Botanical Reserve at Avoca (from “The Age” of 28th November, 1912) ”

AVOCA – A disastrous fire occurred at 1 am on Wednesday at the premises occupied by Mockett Bros., general storekeepers, and owned by Mrs. Ebeling, of Elsternwick. The fire brigade, under Lieutenant Hempseed, was speedily on the scene. All efforts to extinguish the fire were unavailing, everything being entirely demolished. The loss is estimated at about £1500. There are insurances with the Guardian office of £250 on the building and £750 on stock.”

“AVOCA – Mr. W. M. Chellew has been unanimously elected captain of the Avoca Fire Brigade for the twenty-third successive year without opposition. – In consequence of the retirement of the Avoca shire councillors as trustees of the local botanical reserve, twelve candidates sought election for the seven seats, to be filled by the townspeople. A ballot taken at a public meeting resulted :- A. F. Paten, 29; J. H. Deeble, 22; 0. F. Thomas, 20; C. Wolfe, 20; J. C. Henderson, 20. H. F. Classen, 19; W. Brereton. 18;, Geo. W. Redpath, 18; B. D. Snell, 17; S. G. Mitchell, 15; W. R. Samers, 15; and W. Jepson, 11. Mr. Redpath retired in favour of Mr. Brereton, and the first-named -seven were elected.”

Inquest on Thomas Shiels ENGLISH (From “The Avoca Mail” of 16th July, 1870) “An inquest was held at the Percydale Hotel, Percydale, yesterday, on the body of Thomas Shiels English, late member for the Avoca division of the Maryborough Mining Board, when the following evidence was taken:

John Trenean deposed – The deceased lived in same tent with me; last time I saw him alive was on Thursday morning, when 1 left him in the tent; deceased did not come home on Thursday night, and on Friday morning I found, in a butter jar, the note produced: “My dear Jack – If 1 am not at home in the morning you need not expect to see me alive; 1 know 1 have lost the respect of all my friends, so that I am not worthy to live; you will find me in Clapperton’s dam; I shall bid you good bye, and God bless you, and may you never feel as I do this day. – Yours truly, T. S. ENGLISH. P. S. -Do you claim my dressing case and clothes, as 1 would rather you had them than anyone else.” After reading the note 1 went to the police and reported that I believed English had made away with himself, 1 believe the deceased was a single man, 43 years of age, and a native of Ireland; about two months since deceased asked me for some money as he wanted to go to Maryborough; I told him that I had not got any, and he then said that if he did not get 10s. he would cut his throat; but I thought he was only in fun.

John Young gave evidence to the effect that deceased had been drinking for some time.

Henry Wise was called and proved that the note produced was in the hand-writing of the deceased.

Henry Moor, a miner, deposed – The deceased was in my tent about six o’clock; he appeared to be quite sober and had some coffee; deceased left soon after, as he said to go home.

A witness was called who swore to finding a coat, waistcoat, a pair of boots and hat, on the embankment of Clapperton’s dam, the clothes of the deceased.

Constable Burne deposed to having the dam dragged and finding the body of the deceased, and having it removed to where it now was.

The jury brought in a verdict of temporary insanity.”

You know you are a genealogy addict when YOU are more interested in 1698 than 1998 and you think every home should have a photocopier and a microfiche reader.

Meetings of the Avoca and District Historical Society Inc. are held at the Court House, High Street, Avoca, on the third Sunday of each month (except January) at 1.30 p.m.

The Court House is open for research each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except on the third Sunday of the month, when the hours are from 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. because of our meeting. The Court House can be opened to members at other times by request. As well as free entry to the Court House, members receive a monthly Newsletter (except in December) and assistance ftom the Society’s extensive collection of material. Non-members pay $3 entry fee on each visit to the Court House, and $12 per surname for written enquiries.

Written enquiries should be directed to the Research Officer, Jan Burnett, 92 Barnett Street, Avoca, 3467. Please enclose a long stamped self-addressed envelope with your request.

Membership Fees: $14 single; $17 family.

Donations of $2 and over to the Court House Restoration Fund are tax deductible.