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

April 2004

Our next meeting takes place on Thursday 15 April 7.30 p.m. in the Court House History Centre. Our guest speaker will be Fred Cahir, who will speak on Black Gold, illuminating what happened to the Aboriginal people in this area when gold was discovered. This is the object of Fred’s studies as a Ph D candidate at the University of Ballarat, where Ian Clark is his Principal Supervisor. Please join us for what should be a fascinating talk.

We were sorry that at the last moment, our February Guest Speaker Vicki Johnson, Heritage Adviser for the City of Ballarat, suffered a migraine, and was unable to join us. We all want to hear Vicki, and we have invited her for our June meeting.

Visit to Narmbool

On Sunday, 2 May, at 1.30 p.m. Mary Akers and Peter Hiscock will host our visit, which will involve a guided tour of the historic homestead, and a walk around the property to understand its role as an environmental education centre for school children. This magnificent property, which takes its name from the original squatting property settled in 1839, was gifted to Sovereign Hill by Robyn and Andrew Ferry. According to Ian Clark, the word ‘Narmbool’ is an Aboriginal word of the Wathaurung tribe, meaning ‘kidney fat’.

In January 1839 the Scottish settler Hugh Niven took out a lease of 22,842 acres, Portland Bay No. 261, with 100 cattle and 8,000 sheep (P. Griffiths, Three Times Blest, 1988, p. 5) Niven was killed in an accident riding to Geelong in September 1839, and the lease was taken up by Charles Williamson, solicitor of Melbourne. He gave his name to Williamson's Creek.

Narmbool was opened up for selection in 1866, and many families settled in the area. A school was opened at Burnt Bridge, and there was a Narmbool Cricket team, made up of young men from the area that competed for many years in the Buninyong Cricket Association. The Buninyong and District Historical Society has a set of notes on the area, entitled Burnt Bridge to Mount Mercer.

If you would like to join in our May excursion, RSVPs are essential. Please submit to our April 15 Meeting, or else contact Anne Beggs Sunter on 53417618.


Ballarat Municipal Strategic Statement and Heritage Study

The draft has finally been adopted by the Ballarat City Council, and forwarded to a panel for comment. We were happy with the statement for Buninyong, but concerned about Mount Helen and how natural heritage will be conserved – for example the green belt between Buninyong and Mount Helen. The Buninyong Ward Residents Group have done a great job under the leadership of Neville Lowe in putting forward the key concerns of Buninyong residents. It is at least reassuring that Council has set aside funds in the next budget for an Outline Development Plan of the area.

Mt. Helen’s last remnant of bushland – saved!

After a long battle, community activism had a victory at the Ballarat City Council meeting on 28 February. Council decided to reject the Roadcom application to allow an 87 lot subdivision, on the grounds that it would ‘detrimentally impact on the landscape character and biodiversity of the area. The subdivision also failed to satisfy the purpose of the vegetation protection overlay.’ Our Councillor Peter Innes moved the motion to refuse the application, and Cr. Liz Sheedy seconded the motion. Both councillors spoke powerfully to the motion, and carried the vote comfortably. There was cheering from the large public gallery made up of members of the Buninyong Ward Progress Association, Ballarat South Landcare and members of our Society.

Canadian Valley Outline Development Plan

One of the reasons Peter Innes gave for rejecting Roadcom Development was that there was no outline development plan to guide the future development of the Mount Helen area. There are enormous pressures on the area, with high demand for new housing developments on the one hand, and a precious environment to be protected on the other hand. There are also pressures to further develop the Technology Park, and also pressures for a new highway.

Hence the Ballarat City Council has advertised its intent to produce a Canadian Valley Outline Development Plan, to guide future growth in the Mount Clear, Mount Helen and Buninyong areas. This is a tremendously important project, and Council has advertised for three community representatives to serve on a steering committee to advise the consultants who are appointed to carry out the study. A public meeting is being planned to consider Buninyong’s position. Please come along. One of the planks we have fought for is maintenance of green belts between Buninyong and Mount Helen, and between Mount Helen and Mount Clear. We want to protect the bushland surrounds of Mount Buninyong, and protect Canadian Creek as an environmental corridor for fauna. If you have strong views, come to the meeting, or relay your views to Derick Leather.

This is very important for Buninyong’s future.

Glossy Magazine promotes Buninyong’s heritage

Thanks to Neville Lowe, a glossy lifestyle magazine Victorian Lifestyle did a feature story on Buninyong. Michelle Coxall of Buninyong Books wrote a lovely essay on what is special about Buninyong, and our own Derick Leather featured in the editorial and in the photo section. Great to see Derick’s dedication to the Buninyong community being recognised again. We must thank Neville for his hard work in promoting Buninyong’s tourist assets, which has a spin-off for our Society. How lucky we are to have people like Michelle Coxall and her beautiful book shop. We thank Michelle for helping us to acquire a rare copy of the Rev. Thomas Hastie’s Sermons, published in Edinburgh in 1877. The book was a gift from Adele Lorensene of Ballarat. Another great asset to Buninyong is Anise Restaurant, in the former Whykes’ Butcher shop. The food is superb, and the service from Tina is warm and attentive.

The old Geelong-Ballarat road

The Bairds from Meredith have been doing some research on the original highway from Geelong to Ballarat. They have discovered the remnant of the old cobbled road just south-east of Meredith, and what appear to be ancient survey marks on a very old Eucalypt beside the road. They are working to have the road recognised as an historic site.


March – April 2004

We continue to get a steady stream of email enquiries from various parts of Australia, and overseas.

Sometimes – not very often – we receive a kind letter of appreciation from someone pleased with the information they have gained from our resources. Three such letters arrived recently. One from a member of the Scott family of Durham Lead, who sent copies of birth, marriage and death certificates and a family tree. Another from the descendant of Thomas Mallut, who was a manager for the Trial Saw Mills in the 1850s. The third came from Mildura, from RozVouillaire, sending details of the GYMER (sometimes Guymer) family. The miner David Gymer died in November 1856 when he fell into a waterhole at Roger’s Gully, which appears to have been near Black Lead. Thank you to these family members for their contributions to our records. They are much appreciated.

MANKEY, Tobias

Peter Ruddock is researching his ancestors who were on the Scotchmans Lead goldfield in the 1860s. Tobias Mankey, of Wesleyan religion, later selected land at Cargarie.

BRADSHAW, Edward Buller

A descendant, Mary Schoorman, sent us some excellent photocopies of documents relating to this nineteenth century Buninyong pioneer, and also some photos. The following is a beauty: the most important intersection in Buninyong, and capturing a group of businesses in a view not seen before. Notice the weigh bridge, then the butcher’s shop – note it is single storey, before the Whykes family built their double storey shop. Then there is Parson’s Saddler, then the Melbourne, Collingwood and Fitzroy Cheap Grocery, then the National Bank. On the other side of the road is the Buninyong Hotel, and a substantial brick building beside it in Warrenheip St. My guess is that the photo dates from the 1880s, because we think Whykes built their double storey butcher shop in the early 1890s. Whatever, it is a fascinating addition to our photo collection.

Learmonth St., Buninyong, late nineteenth century, photo from Mary Schoorman.

On the subject of photos, thanks to Frank Golding for putting together a very good outline of copyright in regard to photos. Basically copyright resides with the photographer, regardless of who owns the actual copies of photographs. Frank suggests we institute a contract with clients making an agreement about what shall be done with copies taken from our collection. We will review this at our next meeting.


15 April 2004
Bi Monthly Meeting. Guest Speaker Fred Cahir on Aboriginal Presence on the Goldfields
1 May
CHHA Quarterly Meeting at Buninyong, 9.00a.m. for morning tea.
2 May
1.30 p.m. Tour of Narmbool. (RHSVs essential to Anne, tel. 53417618.)
7-8 May
Buninyong Film Festival, Buninyong Town Hall. A feast of good cinema, food and fellowship.
See the Film Festival website for program details and bookings
13 May
Gold Museum Society tour of Buninyong, hosted by Neil, Derick and Anne.
17 June
Bi-monthly meeting, 7.30p.m. Guest speaker Vicki Johnson, Heritage Adviser.
1-3 October
CHHA History Expo, Aquinas Campus, Ballarat. Theme ‘Eureka, 1854 and All That’


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