ADHS Newsletter No. 191 APRIL, 2001

Items of interest:

  • Report on the Lexton Federation Celebrations held on Saturday, 24th March, 2001
  • Opening of the Avoca Golf Club accommodation (1909). Names mentioned – A M Comrie, A G Lalor
  • Avoca Ladies Bowling Club (1967). Names mentioned – Mesdames M. A. Beavis, Croft, Coates, Carey, Coghlan, J. Dawson; E. Dawson, Morley, Keith; Ennis, Elliott, Field.
  • Amphitheatre Table Tennis Dinner (1967?). Names mentioned – Mr. Tony Ennis, C.Tepper; Margaret Ward, P. Cocking, Helen Walsh, Merle Stevens and R. Keith. Mr. Bob Osborne, Mr. J. Rowan, president of the Livingstone Table Tennis Association, and Mrs. Rowan.

Annual General Meeting – Our A.G.M. will be held on Sunday, 20th May, at the Wesley Hall of the Uniting Church, Russell Street, Avoca, 12 noon for 12.30 p.m. Our guest speaker on this occasion will be the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, M.H.R. for Ballarat, who will speak on Federation.

As in recent years, this event will be a fund-raiser and members are asked to provide a casserole and a sweet for the luncheon and the $10 per head admission charge will go to the Court House Restoration Fund. It would be appreciated if those wishing to attend could notify our Secretary on 54 677 228 or by e-mail no later than the 15th May. This will greatly assist with the catering and the setting up of the hall, which will be done on Saturday, 19th May, at 2 p.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 with 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.

Remember that a society is only as good as its members make it. As all positions are declared vacant at the A.G.M., we would be delighted to hear from anyone who wishes to take an active part in our work.

To facilitate the work behind the scenes when memberships fall due each year (for the Treasurer, Membership Secretary and the Mailing team), might we suggest that you complete and return your Renewal of Membership form, with your cheque, just as soon as you have finished reading this newsletter. This would be much appreciated.

New Members – The Society extends a warm welcome to the following new members:

Chris HARVEY, of Devonport, Tas., who is researching the HARVEY family.

John and Shirley MILES, of Narrawong, Vic., whose interest is the MILES family at Avoca.

Robe to Bendigo Walk – Historic Re-enactment –Those intrepid walkers from Bendigo, who so recently retraced the migratory trek undertaken by the Chinese between 1857-1863 (see Newsletter No. 190), arrived in Avoca on the 11th April, as planned. They and their support crew enjoyed afternoon tea during their short sojourn in the town before moving on. A special vote of thanks to Colleen Allen was passed at our April meeting for the excellent display on the Chinese at Avoca which she created at the Information Centre as our Society’s contribution to this historic re-enactment.

Thank You – The Society greatly appreciates and thanks Dianne and John Halmarick for their kind donation of two very nice filing cabinets and two computers for the Society’s use.

Can You Help? – The Landsborough and District Historical Group has undertaken a special project to mark the Centenary of Federation. It is titled A Centenary of History in 100 Photographs – The History of Landsborough from 1901-2001, and will be displayed in the Barkly Room. The Group is seeking photos of the 1940s and 1950s up to the present day, of events in the area. They can be of any topic – picnics, weddings, concerts, sport, working on the farm, street scenes – anything that reflects the life and times in the Landsborough district. The exhibition is to be held in November-December. If you can help, please contact Tim Western, the Secretary of the Group, c/o Post Office, Landsborough, 3391.

Open Day at Kadina, S.A. – For those with a Cornish background, the Yorke Peninsula Family History Group will hold an Open Day on Saturday, 19th May, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the R.S.L. Hall, Cnr. Ewing and Taylor Streets, Kadina. Entry is $2. For further information, contact the Secretary, YPFHG, P.O. Box 260, Kadina, S.A. 5554, or phone Pat on (08) 8821 1075.

Census 2001 – Calling All Genealogists – Save Our Census – The census to be taken on 7th August, 2001, will be the first national census of Australia to survive for 173 years! But, the Government is only going to keep part of it. The Australian Bureau of Statistics and the National Archives will only retain on microfiche copies of census forms on which respondents specifically tick “YES” to Question 50. All others will be shredded.

This census will cost around $200 million of taxpayers’ funds. Let’s not waste it! We all know the enormous value of the English census records to our family history research. So let each of us talk to our family and friends on the importance of saving our Australian records for future generations and ask them to vote “YES” to Question 50.

The Australasian Federation of Family History Organizations invite you to be part of this campaign –


On 7 August 2001, Vote “YES”

to keeping your household census form in the National Archives of Australia,

so this data will be available for genealogical, historical and medical research by our descendants in

100 years time.

There are more than 100,000 genealogists in Australia.



You can learn more on web-site http://carmen.murdoch.edu.au/~affho/affho-07.htm

It is interesting to note that the 1828 Census of New South Wales, and the 1842 Census for Tasmania, are the only Australian ones to survive in full. Earlier musters from 1788 have survived – their value to genealogists is immeasurable.

The National Archives of Australia have also issued a very detailed account of how these census records will be handled, microfilmed and stored very securely for 99 years, being released to the public on 7th August, 2100. The issue of keeping returns for each census after 2001 has not yet been resolved, so the results of the 2001 census will have some bearing on what happens in the future. It is hoped people will tick the “Yes” box on 7th August and have their place in the Centenary of Federation Census Time Capsule.

(My thanks to Marj. Partridge and Ray Wigraft for bringing this information to our attention. Ed.)

Report on the Lexton Federation Celebrations held on Saturday, 24th March, 2001 – The Lexton Progress Association’s Federation Celebrations were a great success thanks to the many hours of research and hard work put in by many folk, including members of the Avoca and District Historical Society. The celebrations took the form of a Federation Sports Day, a Flower Show and an Old-Time Concert. The following report reflects the success and enjoyment of the day:-

Federation Sports Day – Alan Sandlant reported that the highlight of the day was the great enjoyment the children had in such old-style events as the egg and spoon races, sack races, potato-throwing and gum-boot-throwing, etc. The Federal Member of Parliament for Ballarat, Michael Ronaldson, entered into the spirit of the day by coming third in the adult sack race. The winner of the Sheffield Handicap foot-race was Carl Lewis, while the Women’s Open was won by Josie Baulch. Both received cash prizes, thanks to our sponsors. The Sandlant Family Federation Sports Aggregate Medal was awarded to Sam Hart.

Unfortunately, a torrential downpour of rain late in the afternoon put an end to the last few events on the programme. All who competed received a Lexton Federation Certificate, whilst winners and place-getters received ribbons. The Lexton Football Club put on a BBQ tea, which was appreciated all the more with the arrival of cold and damp weather.

The Waubra and District Horticultural Society’s 41st Annual Autumn Show was held at the Lexton Recreation Reserve as their contribution to these Federation Celebrations. The judges had a hard task deciding on winners in the many categories in this special show. People were lined up at the entrance to the Flower Show waiting for the doors to open. Margaret Clark reported that the highlights of the day included the good response of entries, very good participation by children, the wonderful display of craft, Jack Severino’s prize-winning 155lb. pumpkin and the lovely display of dahlias and roses. Spirited bidding took place at the close of the Show when Ken Murphy auctioned the fruit and vegetables, proceeds going to the Royal Children’s Hospital. Local M.L.A. Joe Helper went home laden with a box of first-class vegies purchased for a good cause. Peter Featherston was chosen best-dressed gent for the year 1901 while a very elegant Judy Martin won the best-dressed lady attending the old-style Flower Show.

Centenary of Federation Vaudeville Concert at Lexton Public Hall – Fantastic was the only way to describe this re-creation of old-style entertainment. The atmosphere was already set as you walked into the hall, with sheaves of hay and gum leaves decorating either side of the stage. The British and Australian Flags, together with crepe paper streamers brought together in the middle of the ceiling with the Federation logo of the map of Australia, completed the scene.

A full house enjoyed every item on the programme which was introduced by Master of Ceremonies Lindsay Johnson. After an excellent start provided by the children of the Lexton School, led by June Hamer, feet did not stop tapping all night. Graceful dancing from Stephanie Sandlant, accordian duets, and Fairies At The Bottom Of The Garden, plus recitations from F. Gallagher and E. Chiswell, added to the variety on the programme. Old-time favourites from the mouth organ band, the Cheesman brothers, Dean Palmby, Gayle Hart and the St. Andrew’s Singers, supplemented by comedy Dad and Dave sketches, ensured a great night’s entertainment.

Jean Johnson and her concert committee topped all this off with a delicious old-style supper, bringing to a close an unforgettable Federation Celebration.

(My thanks to Margaret Oulton for this comprehensive report of these outstanding celebrations. Congratulations to everyone on a marvellous effort, whether as an organiser or participant. Ed.)

Some Interesting Facts from 1901, the Year of Federation –

William Farrer released his early-maturing, drought-resistant “Federation” wheat.

Estimated population of Australia 3,824,913.

Tuberculosis caused 3,557 deaths during the year.

Old-age pension schemes introduced in Victoria and New South Wales.

Ping-pong became the “game of the moment”.

Revenue won the Melbourne Cup.

George Essex Evans won the prize for an ode to celebrate the inauguration of the Commonwealth.

Snippets From The Past – (All taken from “The Avoca Mail” of Wednesday, 20th September, 1967) –

“Opening of New Golf House – With the opening of the Avoca Golf Club’s new club house on Saturday next [23rd], the following extracts, taken from the ‘Mail,” dated December 7, 1909, may be of interest to local and district residents:-

‘The members of the local golf club assembled on the links on Saturday afternoon to bid farewell to Mr. Comrie (president of the club) and Mrs. Comrie, who have always taken an active interest in the game, but are now about to remove to Tarnagulla. As Mr. and Mrs. Comrie had performed valuable work in the interest of the club, members were anxious to show appreciation of such services.

Mr. A. G. Lalor, on behalf of the gentlemen members, presented Mr. Comrie with a handsome silver teapot inscribed: ‘As a memento of esteem from Avoca Golf Club to A. M. Comrie, esq., president, 4/12/09’. In making the presentation, Mr. Lalor spoke in flattering terms of the interest taken by Mr. Comrie, he being one of the originators of the club; also the work performed by him in putting down the links and keeping them in good order.

Mr. Lalor, on behalf of lady members, presented Mrs. Comrie with a massive silver cake dish inscribed: ‘Presented to Mrs. Comrie by the ladies of Avoca Golf Club 4/12/09.’ In making the presentation, Mr. Lalor referred to the valuable assistance rendered by Mrs. Comrie to lady members in teaching them many necessary points of the game.’

The above information has been supplied by Mrs. Clarke, of Tarnagulla, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Comrie, who intends to be present at the opening of the new club house, and have on display the presentations made to her parents, as well as golf bag and clubs presented to her father.”

(Note: It was Mrs. Clarke who photographed her father, Mounted Trooper Comrie, on horseback, and this excellent photo is now in our Society’s collection. Ed.)

“Avoca Ladies’ Bowling Club – At a meeting of the Avoca Ladies’ Bowling Club it was announced that play would commence on Tuesday, September 26, 1967. Names of players to be in by 1.15 p.m.; play commencing at 1.30 p.m. This season district pennant is to be played, the first game commencing at Avoca on Wednesday, 11th October, at 1.30 p.m. Ladies are asked to bring a plate to the men’s opening on Saturday next. Hostesses: Week ending Saturday, October 7: Mesdames M. A. Beavis, Croft, Coates; October 14: Mesdames Carey, Coghlan, J. Dawson; October 21: Mesdames E. Dawson, Morley, Keith; October 28: Mesdames Ennis, Elliott, Field.”

“Table Tennis Presentations – Australia produced a tremendous number of good sportsmen, which was mainly due to its comparative lack of professional sport, said Mr. Bob Osborne, speaking at the Amphitheatre Table Tennis Association presentation dinner.

Mr. Osborne said there were two reasons why Australia was top nation in tennis. The first was Harry Hopman and the second was that most European countries played on hard courts, and their players were not accustomed to the lawn courts at Wimbledon, in America and in this country.

He considered that the coming sports in Australia were bowls, which was rapidly becoming a young man’s game, surfing, motor racing and basketball, which had boomed since the Melbourne Olympics.

The association president, Mr. Tony Ennis, presented trophies won during the season.

Awards were: Men’s champion, C. Tepper; women’s champion, Margaret Ward. Members of the winning team: P. Cocking, Helen Walsh, Merle Stevens and R. Keith.

A welcome was extended to Mr. Osborne, and to Mr. J. Rowan, president of the Livingstone Table Tennis Association, and Mrs. Rowan, by T. Ennis.”