Buninyong and District Historical Society Inc.

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


Eucalyptus Viminalis, Nolan St, Buninyong.
Our oldest tree, has been registered with the City of Ballarat's Tree Strategy

August-October 2007

Our Annual General Meeting took place on Thursday, 18 October, at 7.30p.m. at the Court House History Centre. City of Ballarat Heritage Adviser Mandy Jean was our guest speaker, speaking on the identification and management of Buninyong's heritage assets.
David Kimpton was re-elected as President, Patrick Hope as Treasurer,
and Anne Beggs Sunter as Secretary.


Glencoe Lead

A lady came in to the Old Library and asked about the concrete structure on the corner of Eyre and Warrenheip Streets. Elizabeth Sharp-Paul subsequently discovered that the Glencoe Lead ran down Eyre Street beside the Union Jack Creek and was then piped. At one time it was known as McKenzie Creek. The concrete structure is an inspection hole. Can anyone add any information?

The Old Court House

Beth Ritchie put together an application for a grant for the Old Court House under the Heritage Victoria Grants Programme which closed at the end of August. Ballarat's Heritage Adviser Mandy Jean has been most helpful in the process.

Significant Trees

The City of Ballarat has been developing a tree management plan, and we took the opportunity to make a submission about some of our most significant trees in Buninyong. Most important is the ancient Manna Gum in Nolan Street. There is also the avenue of Elms in Inglis Street, planted as a war memorial avenue by the Buninyong Fire Brigade. Another war memorial avenue, much under threat from new developments, is the RSL Avenue on the Midland Highway near the Buninyong Golf Course. There is a significant group of exotic trees in Learmonth Street, in the centre of the township. These include the six rare Exeter Elms near the roundabout, planted probably in the 1920s. There is a single Chinese Elm in the same locality. There are a number of very important trees in the Botanic Gardens, which are protected, and a few very old Eucalypts beside the Gong along Forest Street. There are also some exotic trees in De Soza Park, planted to mark special events.

Planning Matters

Unfortunately, Roadcom's proposed 108 unit subdivision opposite Buninyong Golf Club was approved by the Ballarat City Council. Cr. Innes did manage to secure a minimum lot size.

The Canadian Valley Outline Development Plan. is listed to go to a Planning panel for resolution of objections in November. 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. The offensive yellow sign on the wall of the little shop in Warrenheip St. has finally been toned-down, after objections made in January! Another development of interest in Warrenheip St. is the re-building of Whykes's old grocery shop. The brick building was reportedly in a dangerous state by mid-year, and is currently undergoing extensive re-building.

VicRoads completed roadworks at the important roundabout in the centre of our township. After negotiation with the City of Ballarat Planning Department and Vic Roads, the barrier was constructed with due regard to the sensitivity of the heritage place.


July-October 2007 Biographical Queries


Thomas and Elizabeth from Kent, circa1852, with their five children. His occupation was a tailor. Thomas Birch settled at Cobbler's Lead, near Magpie, as did his son Thomas and grandson


William Harry arrived from Wales in 1854, and married Maria Griffith in 1856 at Buninyong They had 8 Children


Emily was teacher at the Whim Holes School in 1864. She migrated from Co. Cavan, Ireland, and secured a grant of £80 for the Wesleyan-sponsored school


Family of Durham Lead. Information sought on the marriage of Henry Davis Pearce and Mary Ann McGahn supposed to have married in 1888.


Rev. Arthur, Anglican minister at Holy Trinity, 1951. From one of his daughters


David and his wife Ellen, at Durham Lead from 1865 to at least 1877. He was a miner and a cordial maker, who moved to Albury with his family.

If you can help with any information, please contact the secretary, Anne Beggs Sunter, a.beggs-sunter@ballarat.edu.au.


Two recent queries about Whim Holes makes it useful to record a little of the history of a former gold diggings in our area.

Whim Holes was a former gold diggings just north of Enfield (Napoleons and District Historical Society marker, just off the main Colac road, at Hansons Road.)

It was named by a party of Canadians who opened up the gold field in February 1858, using whims. (James Flett, The History of Gold Discovery in Victoria, p. 329; Ballarat Star, 16 February 1858). Just to the south, on the headwaters of the Mount Misery Creek, the Little Hard Hills had been opened up by a party of Americans in March 1856. (Flett, p. 329; Age, 8 April 1856)

The locality incorporated hundreds of miners, timber workers and carters. There were stores, a school, a Wesleyan Church, blacksmith and a post office. The communities of Whim Holes and Little Hard Hills combined in about 1874 and adopted the name Enfield. In 1865 it was reported that Enfield had a population of 650 Europeans and 300 Chinese.

The Buninyong Church of England minister, Rev. Garrett Russell, established a denominational school at Whim Holes which opened on 11 January 1858 under the supervision of young Lawrence Kildahl. According to Vision and Realisation, the school building had been moved from Mount Misery, and the school was known as Little Hard Hills until 1859. This school closed n August 1862. (Vision and Realisation, Vol. 2, p. 670)

A new school opened on 12 September 1864, under the auspices of the Wesleyan church, as Whim Holes Common School No. 751, with the Irish-born Emily Leahy as head teacher. She obtained a grant of £80 for the school. The name changed to Enfield in 1878, when after the passing of the Education Act of 1872, the State purchased the property and built a new school to accommodate 60 scholars. Attendances declined with the drop in gold mining in the 1890s, and the school closed in 1935. (Vision and Realisation, Vol. 2, p. 682)

The Wesleyan Church opened in May 1864. Later in the 1940s another church was shifted here from Happy Valley, When it closed it was shifted to Sebastopol. (Napoleons and District; the first 150 years, p. 60)

Napoleons and District Historical Society, Napoleons and District; the first 150 years

Scotsburn Union Church gets a new lease of life.

During early October, there has been great activity at the little wooden church at Scotsburn. It was time for some tender loving care to be applied to the little church, which dates from 1884, when land was donated by the Scott family for a church that would be available for Protestant services. The lively congregation mustered a willing team of volunteers for the effort of re-painting the church, and the task was quickly completed. Good for another fifty years!

Anyone for Tennis?

This year the Buninyong and District Tennis Association celebrates its 75th birthday, and there will be a major celebration in November. In 1933 the Garibaldi Tennis Association began, with foundation clubs Garibaldi, Grenville, Scotsburn and Buninyong Methodists. Perc Pepper, school teacher at the Garibaldi School, took a leading hand in the formation of the association. In 1945 the association changed its name to the Buninyong and District Tennis Association. The competition expanded rapidly, and by 1970 there was a shortage of courts. With support from the Buninyong Shire Council, six new courts were built in Forest St. and opened in 1976, with much voluntary labour going into the project from the Association. An old army hut was transported to the platform of the former Buninyong Railway Station, and transformed into the Tennis Clubrooms.

Les George of Cambrian Hill, a long-serving committee member, is working with Peter Griffiths to put together a history of the association, which has played such an important part in the recreational life of country people since 1932. Les is putting together a CD-Rom of photos collected from all the member teams. Of the founding clubs, only Grenville is still an active participant in the association, operating out of its historic location that originally housed the Grenville, Hardies Hill and Mount Mercer Agricultural and Pastoral Society headquarters.

In 2007, on the 75th anniversary, there are 21 clubs registered with the Association.


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.
18 October AGM of Buninyong and District Historical Society.
Note: Memberships are due for renewal following the AGM.
Online Membership form

150th Anniversary of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Lorraine Powell, from Buninyong, has put a great deal of work into researching the history of the Ballarat Gardens. And the Buninyong Gardens, which are approaching their 150th anniversary. Drop into the Robert Clark Conservatory at the Ballarat Gardens to admire Lorraine's efforts, and see the original plans for the gardens, dating from 1859. Also download the podcast tour of the gardens from the ABC Ballarat website.

October is also a lovely time to visit the Buninyong Cemetery, to admire the efforts of the Buninyong Cemetery Trust, where our members are much in evidence - especially Judith and Lance Lewis who have been dedicated secretaries for the last few years, and have overseen the careful conservation of the cemetery registers, which are now stored in a safe after having been expertly rebound. Congratulations to Judith and Lance on their term of office. Another of our members, Frances Winnell, will take over as Secretary.

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