ADHS Newsletter No. 178 FEBRUARY, 2000

Items of interest –


    • AGM 21 May: guest speaker Daryl McLeish on the early history of Carisbrook
    • Scanning of ADHS photographic collection in progress
    • Death of Margery Lilian Beavis


    • Moonambel Primary School No. 1683, 125 years of education celebration 3-5 November 2000


  • 1975 Back to Moonambel School report. Names mentioned: Russell Noblet, Noel Brain, Mr. Stan Kitson, Mr. J. Maunder and Mrs. Maunder, Mr. and Mrs. George Downing, Mr. F. Shevlin, Mr. J. Brennan, Mr. K. Dyane, Mr. B. Noonan, Mrs. Aimee Farnsworth (nee Crouch), Mr. V. Jacobs, Mrs. P. Slater (Meagher), Mrs. J. Driscoll (Hope), Mrs. G. Powers (Matthews). Mrs. Bernice Williamson (Worthington), Bill Castleman, Edith Punton (Bannister), Ern. Castleman, Bill Summerfield, William Gordon, Ruth Cudmore, Bert Bonsor, Jim Barker, Jim Castleman, Agnes Caffrey (Barker), Emma Loft (Hudson), Charlie Crick, Sid Bonsor, George Driscoll, Gladys Graham (Farnsworth), Annie Worthington (Hardy), Marge Hunter Elsie Brereton (Hardy), Eileen O’Neil (Daly), McGrath (Richardson, Edmond Anderson, Ivy Allgood (Morris), Emily Moody (Hope), Agnes Tinker (Hope), Albert (Mick) Farnsworth, Bert Bonsor, Mrs. Williamson, Mr. Crick Mrs. Jean Cudmore, Iris Farnsworth.


Garage Sale – Our annual Garage Sale was held on Saturday, 19th February, at the Court House, with a very successful result of over $800 to add to the Society’s funds. What a debt of gratitude we owe to the group of Society members who assisted, in so many ways, on that HOT, HOT day! We salute you all! Max Hobson was there early to erect the tarpaulin at the side of the Court House, with help from Keith Hunter and Graeme Mills. Margaret and Harry Oulton arrived from Melbourne with yet another load of goods for the sale (to go on the trestles made by Harry), whilst Edna Jarvis and Marj. Partridge set up the produce stall and refreshments area. Among the helpers on the stalls were Jill Hunter, Dorothy Robinson, Nell Rowlands, Margaret Hunter, Julie Allan and Ada Hobson, to name a few, and we sincerely thank one and all for their contributions to this fund-raising effort – those who did all that cooking of nut loaves, cakes, etc., jams and chutneys, or supplied fresh garden produce, those who had the task of pricing the goods, and to those who donated the goods and helped in various other ways. Special thanks to Graeme Mills who arrived with two evaporative air coolers, which were most appreciated! We were pleased to see Ann Irwin visiting from Melbourne and thank her for her contribution of goods each year for the sale.

We must not forget to thank the Avoca community for their support on this occasion. It was heartening to see such a crowd there very early in the day.

Our first meeting for the year was held that afternoon with 20 members present. The new parliamentary representative for Ripon, Mr. Joe Helper, was in attendance, to ‘listen and learn’, as he said. We did appreciate his effort to come on such a hot day. Jill Hunter and Graeme Mills showed him the family history research facilities in the Court House and explained our plans for the future, especially the need for an extension to the building to give us more storage space, and kitchen and toilet facilities. At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Helper said he had enjoyed his visit and the opportunity to meet our members and learn something of the work and plans of the Society.

Parade of Fashions Through The Ages – This event will take place on Saturday, 18th March, 2000, in the Avoca R.S.L. Hall, at 8 pm. Admission is $10 family, $5 single, with an Olde Time supper included, also light entertainment and lucky prizes. Tickets are available at the Avoca Bakehouse or at the door on the night. For enquiries, contact Lily Mills on 54653565.

Members are asked to contribute sandwiches, cakes, etc., for supper, please.

This promises to be an outstanding and entertaining evening, with some beautiful gowns to be paraded by local models Lily has some great ideas for the presentation of these fashions from the past. So do mark this date in your diary and come along.

Next Meeting – This will be a general meeting to be held on Sunday, 19th March, at 1.30 pm at the Court House, the day after the Fashion Parade.

April and May Meetings – A general meeting will be held at the Court House on Sunday, 16th April when plans will be made for the A.G.M., which will take place on Sunday, 21st May. The speaker at the A.G.M. will be Darryl McLeish, who will tell us about the early history of Carisbrook, a topic of interest to many family researchers. Have you noticed on marriage certificates of your ancestors how many couples had to go to Carisbrook to be married in those early days?

Improvements at Court House – Special thanks are due to the Shire, Trevor, Herb and Dorothy Robinson for their contributions to topping up the paths outside the Court House, after the ‘boxing in’ of the paths by Charles Peters. Trevor delivered a load of blue metal from the Shire, whilst Herb and Dorothy wheeled and spread 22 barrows full – no mean feat in the very hot weather we have had! But your efforts are much appreciated as we enjoy the results of your labours in the improved appearance to the grounds of ‘our home’.

Scanning of our Photographic Collection – Another of our members who is making a big contribution to the work of the Society is Murray Little. With his computer expertise, he has set up the scanning equipment and almost all our collection of photos is now done. It is understood that Murray plans to make up catalogues of these photos for researchers to peruse in the hope of finding an ancestor or two, and also to put it on CD-ROM. Our grateful thanks to you, Murray.

A Leaf Has Softly Fallen – The Society extends deepest sympathy to our member Betty Beavis and all the family on the death of her sister, Margery Lilian Beavis, on the 9th February at Warrnambool, after a long illness. A Thanksgiving service was held at the Avoca Uniting Church on 14th February, before the funeral proceeded to the Avoca Cemetery.

Margery was the eldest daughter of John and Lillian Beavis (nee Thomas), and was born at Avoca, growing up at Hillsbrae, her parents’ farm on the Percydale Road. She was educated at the Avoca State School, Ruyton Girls’ Grammar School and the Dandenong High School, where she matriculated.

At the age of seventeen, she commenced her nursing career at the Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. In 1944, while she was a senior trainee, Margery was chosen to specially care for a dying boy who had been admitted with osteomyelitis with septicaemia. This lad was the first civilian patient in Victoria to be treated with penicillin and Margery was able to share with the doctors treating him in the wonder and expectancy of this new drug and saw the dramatic improvement in the patient’s condition overnight followed by an amazing recovery.

Her training completed, Margery was invited to join the staff at the Children’s Hospital, finally working as a sister in theatre. She remained there until appointed as Charge Sister of the Children’s Ward at the Warrnambool Base Hospital, serving in that capacity for 29 years. In 1981, she resigned and was presented with a Life Governor’s Certificate.

During retirement, her interests included genealogical research and a study of colonial life in Victoria and of notable pioneer families. She greatly assisted her sister, Betty, with the research and publication of the local histories, “Pioneers of the Pyrenees” and “Avoca: The Early Years”.

New Members – The Society warmly welcomes the following new members –

Mrs. Jill GUTHRIE, of Glen Waverley, Vic., who is researching Samuel BLACKNEY, born at Avoca, 1861, married Catherine HIGHT (could be Caroline HEIGHT).

Mr. Wayne BARNES, of Capalaba, Qld., whose interests are Avoca, Percydale, Avoca State School No. 4, BARNES family, old historic buildings, Lamplough area and Maryborough.

Mrs. Catherine MURNANE, of Tullamarine, Vic., researching the MURNANE family.

Mt. Waverley Class 5c, c/o Douglas WEGENER, Mt. Waverley, Vic. is interested in Homebush. This group uses the old Lower Homebush School for school camps.

Mrs. Wendy HEASLIP, of Tewantin, Qld., whose interests are George TEMPLETON, Annie Christina McDONALD, William TEMPLETON, Mary MORPHETT, Hugh McDONALD.

(Note -Wendy Heaslip is a member of the Cooroy Genealogical Group in Queensland and has kindly offered to do local research for any of our members with interests in that area. Many thanks, Wendy, for this kind gesture.)

Donation to the Society – We thank Keith Sheldon-Smith and the Clapton family for the donation of the book, The Clapton Family in Australia, 1852-1998, which has been edited and compiled by Keith. It tells the story of Charles Clapton and his second wife, Sarah (nee Barrett). They and their son, Charles, arrived in Melbourne from Gloucestershire on the clipper ship Persian on 27th December, 1852, and proceeded to Belfast (Port Fairy), where they stayed for two years before moving to Avoca, which became their home for sixteen years and where four of their children were born. They then moved to Sandhurst (Bendigo).

An interesting fact is that Stanley Clapton, a grandson of Charles and Sarah, became a partner with Fletcher Jones, travelling as hawkers with their wagon, long before Fletcher Jones established his well-known men’s trousers business.

Though this book was produced just for the family in a limited edition, there are a few spare copies available if any members are interested in obtaining one. The cost is $35, which includes postage and it is available from Keith Sheldon-Smith at 24 Helen Road, Ferntree Gully, Vic. 3156.

Australians at War – The Great Search – For the Centenary of Federation in 2001, a new eight-part television documentary series, Australians at War, has been commissioned by the Federal Government and is in production by ABC Radio and Beyond Productions. This project is fully supported by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Australian War Memorial. Though much archival material is available and will be drawn on, The Great Search is now being undertaken to seek out items of wartime memorabilia still held by families, such

as letters, diaries, photos, postcards, etc., which show a personal view of the writer’s experiences in those momentous events. If you have something of interest, full details of The Great Search are given in a large pamphlet and Memorabilia Information Form which is available from Australians at War, The Great Search, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, PO Box 21, Woden, ACT, 2606.

Can You Help? Mr. Ian Brothers, Bridgewater, Grenfell, NSW 2810, requests information on the transport Mary Ann (2),which arrived in Hobart on 2.5.1822 and in Sydney on 20.5.1822. What became of the convicts (all women), their children, and the 38 crew members?

(From the Hawkesbury Crier, December, 1999, as published in the Newcastle FHS Bulletin No. 143 for Jan.-Feb., 2000)

The Port Stephens Family History Society, PO Box 32, Tanilba Bay, NSW 2319, asks for help with two projects. First, to trace families of the convicts who worked for William Caswell building Tanilba House in 1837, in order to inscribe their names on a plaque to be placed near the house. The other project is a Pioneer Wall on the Tilligherry Peninsula to commemorate those who lived in the area before 1939, i.e., in Lemon Tree, Mallubula, Oyster Cove and some areas of Salt Ash.

(From Lemon Tree, Dec., 1999, as published in Newcastle FHS Bulletin No. 143, Jan.-Feb. 2000)

Norfolk Island Museum, Kingston 2899, South Pacific (e-mail info@museum.gov.nf) is appealing for family history information to enable it to develop its research collection.

(From Relatively Speaking, Dec., 1999, North Queensland)

New Book – The Newcastle Pasturage Reserve (“The Commonage”) – A List of Applicants to Purchase, by Monica Gibbs. This book should prove invaluable to those whose ancestors settled in Newcastle, NSW, in its very early days. For nearly half the nineteenth century, “The Commonage” was home to thousands of Newcastle residents, mostly miners in the local collieries and their families who occupied modest dwellings, without paying rent or owning their land. In 1889, an Act of the NSW Parliament set up local hearings of the Land Board to examine over 1,000 applicants to purchase. The book outlines the history of “The Commonage” and includes maps of the suburbs now covering the area, a sample of the original plot map, a copy of a purchase document, besides a full list of applicants, their addresses, site improvements, value of the land and decisions of the Board. The book is of 72 A4 pages, soft-bound, and the cost is $15 per copy, plus $2 postage, and is available from the Newcastle Family History Soc. Inc., PO Box 189, Adamstown, NSW 2289.

Moonambel Primary School No. 1683 – Celebrating 125 Years of Education – Plans are being made to celebrate 125 years of education at the Moonambel Primary School on the 3rd, 4th and 5th November, 2000. The organisers are keen to hear from former students and

teachers and also seek general information and memorabilia concerning this school. Contacts are as follows :-

School telephone no. 54672223 Fax 54672341

E-mail – moonambel.ps@edumail.vic.gov.au

After hours telephone – Bob Farnsworth 54672303 John Argall – 54672221

A Report on the ‘Back to School’ at Moonambel in 1975, as reported in The Avoca Mail of 3rd December, 1975:

“Between 250 and 300 people signed the visitors’ book at the ‘Back to Moonambel Primary School’ celebrations last Saturday morning. People came from interstate, and all parts of Victoria to attend the ‘Back to School’. Combined with the ‘Back to Moonambel’ was a reunion of former Tanwood and Warrenmang school students.

Moonambel teacher, Russell Noblet, welcomed all visitors to the ‘Back to’ and asked them to form groups according to the decade when they started school. When they were in these groups, photographs were taken to mark the occasion.

District Inspector, Noel Brain, congratulated Moonambel School on the purchase of the overhead projector for the school from the money received from the Education Department to mark their centenary. He also congratulated the people of Moonambel on the community involvement and concern in supporting the school, saying that a new act of parliament to be passed will encourage more community activity in schools. Mr. Brain also said that the school, in its beautiful surroundings, and grounds was a great credit to the district.

Teachers who came back for the celebrations were Mr. Stan Kitson (1916-18), Mr. J. Maunder and Mrs. Maunder (1923-26), Mr. and Mrs. George Downing (1929-35), Mr. F. Shevlin (1953-55), Mr. J. Brennan (1947-53), Mr. K. Dyane (1963) and Mr. B. Noonan (1969-72). Mrs. Aimee Farnsworth (nee Crouch) was the last head teacher at Warrenmang from 1933-38; she also taught at Tanwood and Moonambel Primary Schools. Mr. V. Jacobs, a former teacher at Tanwood, came along also.

Women teachers who have worked as assistants at the school, and attended the ‘Back to’ were – Mrs. G. ? (Driscoll), Mrs. P. Slater (Meagher), Mrs. J. Driscoll (Hope), Mrs. G. Powers (Matthews).

In the group of former Moonambel students who had started school before 1910 there were 17 people. They were Mrs. Bernice Williamson (Worthington, of Melb.), Bill Castleman, 77 (Ballarat), Edith Punton (Bannister), 71 (Merbein), Ern. Castleman, 80 (Melb.), Bill Summerfield, 77, ? Bonsor, 71, William Gordon, Ruth Cudmore (Turner) 80, Bert Bonsor, 73, Jim Barker, 79 (Mittagong, NSW), Jim Castleman, 73 (Underbool), Agnes Caffrey (Barker), 75 (Merbein), Emma Loft (Hudson), 74 (Melb.), Charlie Crick, 87, Sid Bonsor, 74, and George Driscoll.

There was also a very large group of former Warrenmang students, including Gladys Graham (Farnsworth), Annie Worthington (Hardy), Marge Hunter ( ? ), Elsie Brereton (Hardy), Eileen O”Neil (Daly), and a member of one of the negro families who came during the gold rushes and who attended that school, . . .ty McGrath (Richardson). And Edmond Anderson, who enrolled at the Kimberley School in 1884, and Ivy Allgood (Morris), who also attended that school.

The only former students who came back to school dressed up were Emily Moody (Hope), Agnes Tinker (Hope) and Albert (Mick) Farnsworth, who came from NSW.

All the present students at the school received a commemorative pen.

A presentation was also made to the person who had travelled the furthest. This was Bert Bonsor, who travelled over 1500 miles from Munalundindi, on the Queensland border.

The two oldest former Moonambel pupils, Mrs. Williamson and Mr. Crick, cut the anniversary cake, helped by president of the Mothers’ Club, Mrs. Jean Cudmore.

The cake had been decorated by Iris Farnsworth and on top of the cake was a beautiful replica of the school building.

Present teacher, Russell Noblet, planted a gum tree to mark the occasion.

Inside the school were displays of photographs of school classes dating back to 1898 and photos of football, cricket and tennis teams from the district, and a photocopy of the school register from 1934 to 1975.

Some of those who attended the ‘Back to” celebrations said they had not

been back to Moonambel for 30-60 years.”

(Your Editor apologises for any errors and omissions in this article – it was a very poor photocopy from which I had to work.)