ADHS Newsletter No. 173 AUGUST, 1999

Items of interest –

  • Future meeting plans.
  • Fashion Parade (“Fashions Through the Years”) March 2000.
  • House and Garden display in November during Pentanque Festival.
  • CHHA proposed travelling exhibition.
  • 150th Anniversary of Lexton Presbyterian Church 7 November.
  • First National Family History and Heraldry Fair Beechworth 24 September – 3 October.
  • New Church at Moonambel (1879). Names mentioned: Messrs Adams, Wills, Glover, Borbridge, Murdoch, Broughton, Crick, and Restall, Bishop Thornton, Rev. J. Aubrey Ball, Miss Sweet.
  • Trotting match (1880). Names mentioned: D Minahan, Mr Mullin. Robbery (1872). Charles Field, William Rodgers

The attention of members arriving at the Court House for our meeting on Sunday, 15th August, was quickly drawn to the appearance of the brickwork, which was then being re-pointed. The work has now been completed and has lifted the overall appearance of the exterior of the building quite dramatically, giving a very pleasing effect. This stage of the Court House restoration has been funded by a grant from Parks Victoria which the Society received earlier this year.

A Preventative Conservation Workshop will be held at the Avoca Court House on Saturday, 11th September, from 10 am to 4 pm, and is being run by the VCCCM (the Victorian Centre for the Conservation of Cultural Material). We have been informed that the VCCCM has contacted other groups in the wider Avoca area, the cost for the day will be $25 (or $20 per VCCCM or Museums Australia member) which can be paid on the day, and bookings are essential with Jan Burnett on 54 653 265, with a maximum of 15 people in the group. There will be handouts of basic conservation information as well as the particular topics covered on the day. The programme is as follows – 10 am – Registration; 10.15 am to 12.30 pm – Conserving our Collection; 12.30 – 1.30 pm – Lunch; 1.30 – 3.30 pm – A Case Study; 3.30 – 4.00 pm – Discussion. Morning and afternoon tea will be provided but those attending are asked to BYO lunch, with tea and coffee being available.

This workshop on “Everything you ever wanted to know about Conservation but were afraid to ask!” will demonstrate how to protect collections and thus preserve our heritage for the future by understanding and addressing the issues of conservation. The workshop will focus on the factors that cause deterioration of artefacts and then assist you with some low tech, affordable ways of addressing these issues. The Old Avoca Court House will be used as a case study. Those attending are invited to bring an artefact along for appraisal and discussion.

The next meeting will be held at the Court House on Sunday, 19th September, at 1.30 pm, when those of our members who will attend the Conservation Workshop will discuss what they have learned and how to apply it to our collection.

Bus Trip to the Public Record Office, Laverton. Members are keen to have a day at the Public Record Office, Laverton, and a booking has been made there for Saturday, 25th September. To book a seat on the bus and obtain further details, please contact Jill Hunter on 54 672 211.

Looking Ahead – Tentative plans for the months ahead are –

17th October – Planning display to be held during the Petanque Festival, based on the theme of House and Garden.

20th-21st November – Display at Court House on House and Garden.

12th December – Christmas Break-up at the Court House.

19th February – Garage Sale from 9 am at the Court House. Meeting at 2 pm.

18th March – Fashion Parade – Fashions through the years – Heritage Festival.

19th March – Meeting

16th April – Meeting

14th May – Annual General Meeting.

Fashion Parade in March, 2000 – To mark the centenary of Federation and as part of next year’s Heritage Festival, the Society proposes to hold a parade of Fashions through the Years. It is to be held at the RSL Hall, High Street, Avoca, on Saturday evening, 18th March. A committee has been formed to organise this event, the members being Lily Mills, Jill Hunter, Dorothy Robinson, Wendy Taylor, Edna Jarvis and Marj. Partridge. Our endeavour is to cover fashions through the years and we seek the assistance of those who may have some period-style or turn-of-the-century costumes they would be happy to lend for the occasion. Please contact one of the committee members if you can help.

House and Garden Display – The Society will hold a display at the Court House on the theme of House and Garden on the weekend of 20th-21st November, as part of the Petanque Festival.

This is the theme of this year’s CHHA History Fair and Family Expo which will be held at Ballarat on the weekend of 6th-7th November at the Ranger Barracks, Curtis Street.

Those members with a love of gardens might be interested in the colourful and informative pamphlet, Spring Gardens Calendar 1999, which is available from the Visitor Information Centre, PO Box 655, Ballarat, 3353, and gives details of the many garden attractions to be visited in the wider Ballarat area over the next few months.

Thanks – The Society wishes to thank Murray Little for his expert assistance with the setting up of a computer at the Court House for the scanning of photographs for our collection.

Win an Acid-Free Photo Album – The Society is currently raffling an acid-free photo album. Tickets are available for $1 each, and the draw will take place at our Christmas break-up on December 12th.

CHHA Proposed Travelling Exhibition. The CHHA announces that it has been successful in obtaining a $4,000 Regional Touring Incentives (RETI) grant with which it proposes to create a travelling exhibition, The Golden Lens: photography of the goldfields, as a celebration, in the year 2001, of the 150th anniversary of the discovery of gold in Victoria through the use of CHHA member society photographic collections – the collections of Victoria’s Golden triangle. The plan is to create an exhibition which can be easily transported from one venue to another. No doubt we will hear more of this as the plan develops.

Celebrations at Lexton Presbyterian Church – On Sunday, 7th November, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church will mark 150 years since the first Presbyterian service was held at Lexton. There will be a church service at 10.30 am followed by a light luncheon to celebrate this special occasion.

Mining Accidents in Victoria – David Evans, of 439 Main Road, Ballarat, 3350, is seeking details of reports in publications of mining accidents in Victoria. He requires name of publication, date, page, etc., and would appreciate any help members may be able to give him.

Pioneer Families of Costerfield – Anne O’Connell (nee Bradley), of 3/51 Weeroona Avenue, Bendigo, 3550, seeks help for the book she is compiling, Pioneer Families of Costerfield. The format of this book is to be a 2 – 3 page chapter on the earliest settler of each family, whence they originated, their family, occupations, etc. With the permission of contributors, their name and address would also be printed to enable further contact with other researchers. The following names are a short list drawn from the 250 plus which Anne has to date:

Ashworth; Babidge; Benson; Bischoff; Braden; Bradley; Brady; Clelland; Cochrane; Coster; Dalziel; Devanny; Erwin; Esler; Field; Folwell; Fogarty; Harris; Harrison; Haslem; Hellwege; Icke; Jackson; Kendell; Lesine; Martin; McKenzie; McLeod; McNichol; Merryfull; Miller; Milne; Morley; Moodie/y; Newton; Oldfield; O’Neill; Parker; Robinson; Salts; Townsend; Trounce; Walsh; Wrathall; Young; Youle. Anne can be contacted by phone on (03) 54 412 242 or e-mail oconnell@iaa.com.au

Convict Ships Sugar Cane and Speedy – Merrilyn Minter, 237 McCaffrey Drive, Rankin Park, NSW 2287, is currently working on two indexes. They are for the convict ships Sugar Cane (arrived Port Jackson from Cork, Ireland, 17th September, 1793) and Speedy (arrived Port Jackson from London, 15th April, 1800). Speedy brought Governor Philip Gidley King, his wife, Anna Josepha, and daughter, Elizabeth, as well as others who were to figure in Australian history. If you have any information on convicts or free persons who arrived on either ship, Merrilyn would appreciate contributions to supplement her research. All information provided will be acknowledged in the text. (Newcastle FHS “Bulletin” No 140)

First National Family History and Heraldry Fair – This fair offers a variety of activities over the period 24th September to 3rd October, 1999, and is to be held at the Beechworth Campus of the La Trobe University, Albert Road, Beechworth, 3747. There will be market stalls; re-enactment groups; trade exhibits; films and books; medieval feasting, and an exhibition of heraldry, “Known by Arms”, from the Public Record Office of the United Kingdom. The Community and Family History Programme and Workshops include two book launches, Family History Comes to Life, by Peter Cuffley, and Ten Victorian Women, which is a revised edition of a book first published by the Public Record Office of Victoria in 1983. Lectures include Researching Your Family Traditions, by Eleanor Pugsley, From Scotland to the Goldfields, by Warren Ellem, Alex Tyrell and Susan McLean, Italian Families in Victoria, by Dr. Ilma O’Brien, Maria Viola and Peter Ellis, while the workshops are Calligraphy by Geoff Ford; Family History Writing by Hazel Edwards, Computing for Family Historians, by Faye Guthrie and The Art of Book Binding by Vincent Drane. For full information contact the manager at the Campus Information and Convention Centre on tel. (03) 5720 8020 or e-mail cicc@latrobe.com.au

The Occupation of Spinster – A researcher on the Internet remarked that her curiosity was piqued because the occupation of all 71 females on board the Robert A. Park was listed as spinster, including the five who were obviously wives and mothers.

An interesting reply followed:- “Spinster was an occupation! It referred to one whose work was to spin yarn. The growing of flax and all the manufacturing steps to produce cloth were a thriving cottage industry in Ireland, particularly the northern counties.

On the fragments of early census returns which survive, it is often the younger unmarried women and girls in the household who are identified as Spinster. This appears in the column marked Occupation whereas their marital status was identified in the column headed Condition, and was usually expressed as Not married.

If a woman remained unmarried and did not therefore move on from spinning many hours a day to running a household and bearing children, she remained a Spinster and, in time, it evolved into a term used for women who remained single beyond the usual age for marriage. In the case of the Robert A. Park, they may have continued that occupation after their marriage or, perhaps, faced with the need to identify an occupation, they used the one they had had before marriage, not considering being wives and mothers as a legitimate occupation.

(From “Computer Corner”, “Maitland Reminiscences”, Vol. 1, No. 2, June, 1999)

OPENING OF THE NEW CHURCH AT MOONAMBEL – (From The Avoca Mail of 11th March, 1879) “An event which has been looked forward to with a considerable amount of interest occurred at Moonambel on Sunday last, namely, the opening of the pretty little church there by the Right Rev. the Bishop of Ballarat, and we are pleased to be able to say that, owing to the excellent management of the committee, the arrangements made for the event were most successfully carried out. We have before given a description of the building, and of the persevering and liberal efforts made by the residents of the neighborhood in erecting it, but we may say that the good old ideas of “direct giving” and of worshipping in a church which is free from debt have in this case been kept in view as much as possible. In the first place, when it was decided to build the church, the bricks required were generously given by Mr. Adams, J.P., of the Mountain Creek station; others tendered contributions in various kinds of material, or performed services to forward the work in the way of labor, carting, etc., while all gave according to their ability the money required for the erection of the building – and we should add here that this generous aid was given equally by members of all the religious denominations represented at Moonambel. Affairs having been so far advanced, the contract for the building was let to Mr. Broughton, a local resident, who has well performed the work entrusted to him. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs. W. A. Adams on the 18th September last amidst much rejoicing, in the presence of a large congregation of people, and the event was celebrated by a liberal treat to the children of the neighbourhood. On Boxing Day last a fete was held at Moonambel in aid of the building fund, which was highly successful, and realised a gross sum of nearly £80. As a result of the efforts made, and of the generosity displayed by the people, we are pleased to hear that the church is now almost if not quite freed from debt. A great deal of the credit due for this satisfactory state of affairs belongs to the following gentlemen, who have acted as members of committee:- Messrs. Adams, Wills, Glover, Borbridge, Murdoch, Crick, and Restall.

The opening service took place at half-past four p.m. on Sunday, at which hour the church was completely filled, and some persons could not gain admission. The service for the day was read by the Rev. J. Aubrey Ball, incumbent of the parish, and Bishop Thornton then preached an impressive sermon from Psalm IV, 6, “There be many that say, who will show us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.” In the course of his address the Bishop stated that although the church had been vested in the Church of England authorities, the building would be at the service of other denominations if they required it. A collection was taken up at the end of the service, and amounted to over £8.

Yesterday afternoon the members of the Moonambel Church Committee met the Bishop, the Incumbent of the parish, and Messrs. Goodshaw, Batchelor and Worsley (representing the Guardians at Avoca) to arrange for conducting the services of the new church. After some discussion it was arranged that divine service should be celebrated at Moonambel by the Rev. J. A. Ball one Sunday evening in every month.

A lecture in aid of the church fund was given by the Bishop in the State school, Moonambel, last evening, when there was a very good attendance, and Mr. Adams, J.P., occupied the chair. The subject was, “Church heroes of olden time,” and introduced interesting anecdotes concerning Athanasius, Chrysostom, St. Bernard and others, with moral and spiritual lessons drawn therefrom. There was a very good choir, Miss Sweet, of Avoca, presiding at the harmonium.”

Snippets From The Past – From ‘The Avoca Mail’, 18th June, 1880 “A trotting match for £10 a side took place at Carisbrook on Tuesday between Mr. D. Minahan’s Paddy and Mr. Mullin’s Vagabond. The last named had a start of 600 yards but the race was won by Paddy. “

From the Victoria Police Gazette, 11th June, 1872. “Stolen from the dwelling of Charles Field, Avoca River, near Natte Yallock, on 24th ult., a cheese about 7lb. weight, 20lbs. apples, a knife and fork with rough bone handles, a butcher’s knife, a spring-balance, a silver chain, a £1 note, 2 shillings and other sundries. William Rodgers, an old offender, residing in the locality, suspected.”

From “The Avoca Mail”, 18th June, 1880. “According to a report in one of our exchanges, a swagman on the Tarnagulla road has performed a neat trick to supply his needs. Seeing a baker’s cart approaching in the distance, he jumped into a drain at the roadside and commenced a show of clearing it out. The cart in passing was then hailed, and the good-natured baker was induced to supply the man with bread on the supposition that he had got a few days’ work on the road. It is needless to say that as soon as the cart had passed the roadworks were stopped as suddenly as they were commenced, and the loaf remains unpaid for.”

From the same column in that same paper, the following report indicates how edgy our ancestors were when the Kelly gang was active and roaming the countryside:-

“Another scare has occurred at Kellyfornia. A few days ago the bank manager at Corowa was returning from Chiltern with a lot of money in his pockets and proportionally fearful of ‘the Kellys,’ and when near Christmas Town he says he met four men ‘heavily armed’ riding two abreast. He says he tried to look unconcerned, and was probably as successful in doing so as a drunken man trying to look sober, and then galloped off as fast as he could while the four supposed Kellys proceeded to ‘hold a conference’ under a tree. The ‘circumstance’ has been reported to the police and some indignation has been expressed because Superintendent Hare has sent only two men to inquire into the matter instead of turning out the whole available police force of the district and the black trackers to hunt down the four ‘heavily armed’ travellers. But perhaps Mr. Hare knows what he is about. The Kellys would not be so foolish as to parade themselves in procession on a public road ‘heavily armed’ and they would not require to ‘hold a conference’ when a rich bank manager was in their neighbourhood. Probably the four men were a party of station hands with a gun or two between them, and seeing the evident funk of the solitary horseman, they may in their turn have taken him for one of the gang fleeing from justice.”

YORKSHIRE ROOTS – A happy thought for those with Yorkshire roots: “Never ask a man if he comes from Yorkshire. If he does, he will tell you. If he does not, why humiliate him?” Canon Sydney Smith, Scholar and humourist, 1771-1845. (From “Maitland Reminscences”, Vol.1, No. 2, June, 1999)