Buninyong and District Historical Society Inc.

Reg. No. A0030085Y
Web Site http://home.vicnet.net.au/~buninhis
PO Box 98, Buninyong, Vic. 3357


April 2009

Our Vice-President, Bob Skewes, revealed his engineering skills at the Festival, with his reconstructed Model T Ford bus (1924) replicating the Torquay-Anglesea bus of yesteryear

Our next meeting is on Thursday 16 April 2009, at 7.30p.m. at the Court House History Centre.

Guest Speaker will be Dave Evans of Ballarat, who will speak about gold mining accidents in our area. Dave has compiled extensive data bases of mining accidents throughout Victoria.


March - April 2009


The family were French, from Jersey. They arrived in the 1850s, in the same year as the Easons (circa 1855). Edmund Collas was a miner at Hard Hills. Edward Nelson married Charlotte Leburney. They had 10 children and he was a hotel keeper and storekeeper. In 1865 he had a hotel and post office at Hiscock's and in 1885 he leased the Crown Hotel in Buninyong for three years. Query from WA


The family arrived in the Buninyong area in 1855. George Eason settled at Scotsburn and had a wonderful orchard and market garden. William settled in Buninyong. Involved in local government, and descendants still living around Buninyong. Query from WA


Henry Harper and Amelia Boland were married in Calcutta, India, in 1847.By 1856 they were living at the River Leigh, when their son Harry's birth was registered at Buninyong. Query from Warrnambool.


Of Millbrook. Settled there by 1897, and Francis McGuigan served on Buninyong Shire Council from 1902 till 1916, and was Shire President in 1910. Query from Perth.

MALLET, Thomas Britten

In Buninyong 1865 to 1864, when he died. He was manager of the Trial Saw Mills, and his descendant from NSW is working on a history of the family.


John Meyers from Sweden arrived in Geelong in 1854 and married Ellen Liddy FROM County Clare. He was a bullock driver at Mount Buninyong when he died in 1860, at the early age of 32.. Query from Quensland.

TOPP, Charles

Cider, soda water and cordial maker of Inglis St/Herriott St. Very involved in the Buninyong Horticultural Society. Query from Melbourne.

If readers know anything about any of these names, and can help, please contact the secretary, Anne Beggs Sunter, a.beggs-sunter@ballarat.edu.au.

Rhubarb, Rhubarb!

We had an interesting email from Colin H Clayton, who is researching the history of rhubarb. He was inquiring about Mr Topp of Buninyong:

"Mr Topp from Buninyong grew rhubarb in the area about 1890.Apparently he developed or acquired a cultivar which grew all year round. Previous to this all rhubarb died off in the winter. It was an historic break-through and his rhubarb was exported to Europe where it still exists today."

This led to some research into Charles Topp in our files. Charles. Topp (1830-1902) purchased two blocks of land in Inglis St., in the block between the school and Herriott St., near Coleman's Spring, in 1863-1864. In the 1865 Directory he appears as cider manufactory, Warrenheip St. By 1869 he is described as 'cordial maker', Inglis St, and he continues to appear as such throughout the 19th century. He appears in the 1901-2 Rate record as Charles Topp, cordial maker, Herriott St.

His land was very fertile, close to Coleman's Springs, and Kerr's Jam factory. He was obviously growing fruits and vegetables on his land, because at his death in 1901 the Buninyong Horticultural Society pay tribute to his death.

Charles died on 27 February 1902, His first wife Ann died in 1873, aged 36, and his son Charles, aged 5, in 1874. He married again and his widow Jessie died in 1930, aged 90. All buried in the Presbyterian section of the Buninyong Cemetery. (Grave No. 214, Headstone)

A 1946 copy of Bunning's Home Gardener, refers to 'Topp's Winter' as a valuable Winter rhubarb. (p. 135)

If you can add anything about Topp's Winter Rhubarb, please contact us.

Gold King Festival 2009

The fate of the Gold King Festival was on a knife edge during 2008, as members of the Committee retired, and there was a struggle to recruit new members. But after some hard thinking, a new committee emerged under Chairman Roger Permasill, intent upon 're-making' the Festival, now in its 34th year.

The Committee took the revolutionary decision to move the Festival from the last weekend in February to the last weekend in March. The members were obviously NOT Climate Change Sceptics. After two extraordinarily hot Festival Sundays, it was a sensible decision. But would it be blessed?

Indeed it was! The weather for our 34th Festival must be the most perfect on record - calm. benign, sunny without intense heat, just perfect! The weather set the scene for the Festival Weekend.

The Festival opened, as ordained by tradition, at the Town Hall on Friday eveing, with the opening of the Art Show, circus acts outside, and the crowning of the Gold King/Queen. This year there were six most worthy nominations -Pauline Corcoran, Matthew Fammartino, John Schurink, Coral Whyte, Peter Innes and Cath Zala. The award went to Peter Innes, former Buninyong Ward representative on the City of Ballarat, and before that the last President of the Shire of Buninyong in 1995. Peter has been a great representative for Buninyong, as befits the descendant f our pioneer George Innes the legendry 'King of the Splitters'. This award gives the Buninyong community the opportunity to recognise Peter for his enormous devotion to our interests in Council. And thanks to Julie too, for all she had to put up with when Peter was away on incessant Council business!

On Saturday morning all attention was focussed on the grounds of the Uniting Church. What a hive of activity, perhaps in contrast to nineteenth century notions of Presbyterian propriety! But it was a fabulous community celebration, welcoming everyone to the fair, highlighted by the Billy Cart Derby, a great exercise in family solidarity, and entertaining to boot. My compliments to the members of the Buninyong Uniting Church Community.

Sunday morning dawned equally fair, for the Ecumenical Church Service at De Soza Park. This was a welcome opportunity for members of the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Scotsburn Union and Uniting Churchs to share in liturgy, and raise money for the Bushfire Appeal.

The Festival Committee ensured a lively entertainment program, with acts on stage at De Soza Park, but also the young buskers performing around town, and the remarkable University of Ballarat Performing Arts students doing their 'Alien Walk'.A festival atmosphere was also created by the scarecrows produced by children from our local schools, with prizes awarded to the best entries judged by Catherine King MHR

It was good to see the Ballarat Engine and Machinery Preservation Society back in De Soza Park with their colourful display of old farming engines. And thanks to the Buninyong and District Tennis Association, for providing a new attraction with its 'fastest serve' competition. There was an excellent range of community and commercial stalls, with something to interest all ages.

The Parade was again the highlight. This year Cathy Micich took on the daunting role of Procession co-ordinator. But following the retirement of long-time maestro Topsy Nevett, Cathy did a remarkable job. Our new South Ward Councillor Ben Taylor was given the difficult task of judging the best entries in the parade. Ben gave the Coxall award for the best community entry to the Buninyong State School, with its golden dragon. The Fisken award for the best overall entry went to the Mount Clear Scout Group.

Overall, a very happy Festival, and thanks to all the hard-working Committee members for making it happen.

Anne Beggs Sunter,

Another Hastie Story - an addition to our Gippsland-Buninyong Story

The early settlers of South Gipplands who came from Buninyong would have been delighted by the news that Annie, the youngest daughter of their Presbyterian pastor, the Rev. Thomas Hastie, was moving to the district in 1893 with her husband the Rev. J.G. Davies, to establish the Presbyterian church in the area.

The Rev. George Davies arrived at the Korumburra Railway Station on 27 May 1893. There was a large influx of population into the Korumburra area following the opening of coal mines and the arrival of the railway. He was met by George Matheson of Moyarra (formerly of Clarendon), and with him rode out to Moyarra in pouring rain to conduct a service the following morning in a log hut styled The Academy. It was attended by three men, including Matheson and Joseph Rainbow. (The Land of the Lyrebird, p. 407). It was an inauspicious start, much as his father-in-law had experienced in Buninyong and Shelford back in 1847.

The Rev. Davies had to organise the building of a church, manse, and Sunday school before he could bring his wife and three young children to live in Korumburra. According to his daughter Jeanie, he and his wife agreed to sell all their wedding presents to raise money for the Korumburra project. When Annie's sister Agnes was visiting her sister, she met the widower Thomas Langham who lived at Korumburra, and she married him in 1897. The Davies family were loyal servants of the Presbyterian church in Gippsland until 1901, when the Rev. Davies was called to St John's Church at Caulfield.


Thursday 16 April 2009Buninyong and District Historical Society Meeting, Court House History Centre
1-2 May 2009Buninyong Film Festival
2-3 May 2009Clunes Book Weekend
9-10 May 2009Ballarat Heritage Festival Weekend
16 May 2009Court House open & Buninyong Farmer's Market, 9.30am-1.30pm
Every second Monday morning at 9.00a.m. Cataloguing. We work for two hours, then take coffee at a local cafe. Helpers always very welcome!
3rd Saturday of every monthCourt House open & Buninyong Farmer's Market, 9.30am-1.30pm
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