Buninyong and District Historical Society Inc.

Reg. No. A0030085Y
Web Site http://home.vicnet.net.au/~buninhis
PO Box 98, Buninyong, Vic. 3353.


June 2007

Testing the new seat at the Lal Lal Falls Reserve
from left: members Ann Gooding, Pete Lumsdon, David Kimpton, Judith Lewis and Bob Skewes

Our next meeting takes place on Thursday, 21 June, at 7.30p.m. at the Court House History Centre. No guest speaker, but an opportunity for reports on a number of projects.


Erica Nathan, who was the guest speaker at our April meeting, has now had her book Lost Waters published by Melbourne University Press as an e-press edition. It is a fascinating social history of the West Moorabool catchment, including the communities of Bullarook, Bungaree, Warrenheip and Lal Lal. Erica's book is timely, addressing the fragility of Ballarat's water supply, just as much a problem in the 1850s as it is today. The story of how the Moorabool became Victoria's most degraded river began with gold mining, with saw mills cutting up the forests and miners cutting water races to take water from the creeks and springs for sluicing purposes. Later the timber workers and miners turned to farming, and entered into battle with the pastoralists over access to water. In more recent times battle has been joined between local residents and government. In between and balancing social, economic and environmental interests have been the landcare groups and catchment management authorities, which have focused public notice back onto our precious waterscapes. Erica's book is a most valuable contribution to the discussion of one of the most critical issues facing society.

The Buninyong and District Newsletter reaches an important milestone with its July 2007 issue. It commenced publication in July 1987, an initiative of the Buninyong Primary School Council under the guidance of Councillor Derick Leather. 400 copies were produced by a hard-working voluntary committee, and delivered to homes in Buninyong and Mount Helen. Thirty years later the free monthly newsletter is still being produced by the same voluntary committee, under the editorship of Ann Gooding and Karen Houlten, with Derick Leather continuing his role as leader writer. It is a remarkable effort, and over 30 years has provided a remarkable historical record of modern Buninyong's development.

The Old Court House. Ballarat's Heritage Adviser Mandy Jean visited the Old Court House in May with Beth Ritchie to discuss conservation and maintenance issues. Mandy helped secure a grant from the City of Ballarat to pay for a conservation management plan for the building, and we can now apply to Heritage Victoria for funding to undertake the required works.

Planning Matters

No news as yet on the Roadcom proposed 108 unit subdivision opposite Buninyong Golf Club.

The Canadian Valley Outline Development Plan. Is listed to come to Ballarat City Council for adoption at its meeting on 27 June. Let's hope it is adopted.

Considerable development is occurring around the centre of Buninyong this month. Plans have been submitted to Council for a new supermarket, and we negotiated with the applicants over proposed signage issues.

VicRoads are changing the profile of the roundabout, and installing a barrier along Learmonth St. to stop people crossing the road except at the pedestrian crossing near the roundabout. This work is ostensibly to improve safety, although the experience of members of our Society who frequently cross from the Town Hall to the shops has been that crossing near the Town Hall is actually safer and easier than looking out for traffic coming from three directions at the roundabout! These points were made to VicRoads, and also the need for barriers to be sympathetic to the heritage precinct.


April-June 2007

Camerons of Lal Lal

Donald Cameron, son of John and Jane Cameron of Lal Lal, born 1888, grandson of Donald Cameron. (Query from Queensland))

Cootes, of Scotsburn

James Coote arrived in Victoria from Ireland in 1848 with his family.

Jackson, William

Arrived in Australia in 1849 on the Andromache. Farmer at Mount Mercer by 1862And there till 1876, when he and his wife moved to Jerilderie, NSW, to a property called Fairlie Grange Query from Qld.

James, William , from Cornwall

Teacher at Hardies Hill in 1858. One of a large family with strong links to Methodist Church.

Mighell, Phillip

In the Buninyong area in the 1850s and 1860s - probably mining and possibly building miner's huts. His wife Naomi was buried at Buninyong in 1856.

Rose, Thomas and Sarah

Arrived Buninyong area 1856, Two children baptised at Holy Trinity Anglican church 1858 and 1860. (Query from descendant in NZ )


Edward and Maryanne Silvey of Yarrowee, their daughter Isabella married James Sutherland, from the local area. Both families were miners in the area.

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

Excursion to Lal Lal, Sunday 20 May.

A dozen members met at the Lal Lal Railway station to explore the railway history of Lal Lal, led by Mark Cauchi from the Melbourne Railway Historical Society. We began with the water tower and dam near the station, then traced the branch line opened to the Lal Lal Race Course opened in 1885.

We inspected the new information boards installed at the Lal Lal Falls Reserve where the Reserve Committee has been busy with a number of projects. The old pine trees have recently been removed, and the Committee has a plan for revegetation of the reserve with indigenous species. A new gas BBQ has been installed, with new picnic tables and seats and play equipment. The Committee's next project is to develop a walking track to the Moorabool Falls. Its efforts to re-open the walk to the foot of the falls have been frustrated by the demands of public liability, but the Committee has developed a short circular walk around the top of the reserve to the edge of the Bungal Dam. We followed this walk during our visit, and thanked Mark for sharing his knowledge with us. Mark is writing a history of branch lines to country race tracks, and La Lal will feature in his book.

An entertaining account of a visit to the Lal Lal races in the 1890s can be found in Norman Lindsay's novel The Cousin from Fiji. It recreates the experience of being packed into cattle trucks at the Ballarat Railway Station for the trip to the Lal Lal Turf Club, which had one of the longest platforms in Victoria.


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!
1st Sunday of each month Court House open from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
3rd Saturday of every month Buninyong Farmer's Market, , from 9.00a.m.
16 August Meeting of Buninyong and District Historical Society.
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