Lamplough name index


Looking for lost ancestors from Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales or other parts of Europe who might have been on the Victorian goldfields during 1859-1860?

Check out this index containing over 3,000 names and 6,000 source references.


(Click on the highlighted character to go to the entries for that letter)



This name index was collated in the course of researching the gold rush to Lamplough, near Avoca, in Victoria, Australia, which took place during late 1859 and early 1860.

Lamplough was one of the later gold rushes in 19th century Victorian goldmining history. It attracted thousands of miners. A thriving township sprang up overnight, which included hotels, billiard rooms, schools and churches, and just as quickly when the gold ran out the miners departed Lamplough and moved to the next promising location – nearby Mountain Creek, Kiandra in NSW, and even the fields in New Zealand.

Not much was left behind, except my ancestors and a few other families. Gradually, services were concentrated in nearby Avoca and Lamplough faded until today it is marked only by a road sign on the main highway.

My interest was prompted twelve years ago by the appearance of the name Lamplough on an ancestor’s birth certificate and when I looked in the usual sources I found only occasional references to the town and the rush.

I then embarked on a research journey exploring every possible source in the National Library of Australia and other locations. At the time I was working on Senator Brian Harradine’s staff in the nearby Old Parliament House and so I use to spend lunch hours and spare time (not much was available!) scanning microfilm of old newspapers in the National Library’s Newspaper Reading Room. Occasional holiday trips to Melbourne included quick forays to Avoca and the State Library of Victoria.

Every time I came across a name I noted it down.

Retirement, access to the Internet and the purchase of some useful OCR (Optical Character Recognition) scanning software led to a decision to place the content of the paper version of the index on the Web for wider access.

The research resulted in an article “The Gold Rush to Lamplough, near Avoca in Victoria, Australia, during 1859-1860” which appeared in the journal Familia published by the Ulster Historical Foundation (Vol 2 No 3 1987 pps 3-21) and later, a more detailed twenty-four page article in the Victorian Historical Journal (Vol 60 No 1 March 1989 pps 3-26) “A Forgotten Victorian Gold Rush: Lamplough via Avoca, 1859-60”.

The first article can be viewed at:

and for those who are interested it provides an outline of the rush.


A quick word about sources for those who want to explore further. When you see this link on an alphabetical page:

Click to go to abbreviations page

it will take you to the page which identifies the full title of the source abbreviations e.g. MADA = the Maryborough and Dunolly Advertiser newspaper.

The very common UL = Unclaimed Letter.

Some people have asked me if these letters still exist. They do not and unfortunately they have gone the way of other items that end up in the Post Office’s Dead Letter Office. However, the firm link of an unclaimed letter in this location to your ancestor does give a possible clue to their whereabouts at the time of the rush.

Lamplough would have been mentioned in the major newspapers of the day and in news sent back to relatives in the UK, Ireland and elsewhere. By the time someone wrote to them they might have moved on to the next big rush and hence the unclaimed letter. On the other hand, I know that names appeared in the UL lists even though the person was active and present in the town – perhaps they hadn’t got around to waiting in the queue to collect their mail: 91,296 letters went through the Lamplough Post Office in 1860, making it the eighteenth most popular postal location in Victoria for that year!

I am hopeful that some of the reference sources might assist other researchers and genealogists who are trying to trace ancestors at other goldfields locations in this period. Once you put a location under the microscope it is amazing what you can turn up.


Under the guidance of Helen Harris and other Society officials the Avoca and District Historical Society has amassed a huge card index system which records many names associated with the gold rushes to the area. This indexing has been going on for years and if I attempted to correlate the Lamplough Index with the Society’s card index system it would probably result in a fifty percent increase in the size of the Lamplough Index. However, it is possible that many of the names in my Index are not duplicated on the cards and the converse applies – many references on the cards may not be in my index. So, if you want to ‘exhaust’ all possibilities contact the Society via email to


My interest in the Lamplough rush continues and therefore I would welcome the submission of any corrections, amendments, or additional information, which I will consider for inclusion in the index.


Those who have looked at more than one alphabetical page will realise that each letter has a separate page and I have simply altered the relevant section of the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) e.g.

My experience is that Internet Service Providers often change their Web addresses. For the moment the index is parked on the VICNET site at:

[As of May 2017, while our Internet Service Provider, the State Library of Victoria, remains the same, because we have moved to a WordPress site, the web addresses that worked so well for nearly 20 years are no longer active. The letters T, U and V are now at : and the name index is at]

If all else fails, try my postal address at:

Denis Strangman

10 Carrodus Street

Fraser ACT 2615


And trust that it does not result in an “unclaimed letter”!


While undertaking the Lamplough research I was fascinated by the career of goldfields lawyer, Maurice Travers McDonough, (check out the entry in the “M” page) who appears to have been a bit of a cheerful rogue. He died in 1861 at nearby Back Creek (Talbot).

Although I am not related to McDonough I would like to track down his career with a view to preparing another research article for publication. There is strong circumstantial evidence that McDonough was Victoria’s first law graduate which of itself makes him worthy of a detailed biographical study.

If you have any material related to McDonough’s career I would be interested to hear from you and, also, I would be interested to hear of stories where the Lamplough index might have been useful in your own research.

I can be contacted at:

Email :

Denis Strangman

8 July 1998