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

April 2005 Newsletter

Our next meeting takes place on Thursday 21 April at 7.30 p.m. in the Old Library.

Our guest speaker will be Jennifer Hazlewood, who is researching the Ballarat Mechanics Institute as part of her Ph D studies at the University of Ballarat. Jennifer will explore the Cultural Role of the Mechanics Institute, especially its role in giving young women career opportunities.



Narmbool On 2 April 2005 Janice and Weston Bate celebrated their 50th Wedding anniversary with friends from Ballarat. It was a lovely night, where Weston presided with his slide show of the family history. He spoke glowingly about what has been provided in terms of environmental education at Narmbool. The new building has been carefully blended into the landscape, and will enable school groups and others to spend time at the property and learn about the environment and our Aboriginal heritage.

Weston and Janice spoke of the joy of spending a night at Narmbool, and being able to observe the stars with their children and grandchildren. Their joy reminds me of Judith and John Bailey of Clarendon, who have been working for years on building their stone Observatory, which is almost complete. The moral of the story is - get out on a clear night and glory in the Southern Skies. If you want some assistance, visit the Ballarat Astronomical Society, open every Friday evening, in Magpie St. Ballarat.

Farewell to the Akers. On 6 March Peter and Yvette Hiscock tendered a farewell party to Mary and Alan Akers, who have moved into Ballarat. Mary spoke about her involvement in the Buninyong Festival Art Show, the Leisure Centre and the Historical Society, whilst others paid tribute to her work for Sovereign Hill and the University of Ballarat Council. Mary will continue as a member of our Society.

Farewell to the Goldings. We say goodbye to the Golding family, who are returning to Melbourne after spending a number of years in Buninyong. They surprised us all back in 1998 when they moved a house from Webster St. to Eyre St. and proceeded to restore the house and create a lovely garden around it. Daniel Golding was one of the members of the Buninyong Blues, a jazz group comprising talented young studentrs from Mount Clear Secoondary College, and Frank became President of the Mount Clear Secondary College Council. Liz Golding directed her artistic talents to a series of sketches of Buninyong's buildings, and Frank has been an active member of our Society, contributing a memorable address on his childhood experiences in the Ballarat Orphanage in the 1950s. Frank's book based on these experiences is published this month. We wish the Goldings the best of luck and thank them for their great contribution to Buninyong.

The Buninyong Film Festival takes place again on the first weekend of May at the Buninyong Town Hall. The Festival Committee has been responsible for providing the Town Hall with an excellent sound system and screen. It opens on Friday 6 May at 7.30p.m. with two films from the 1920s, including live piano accompaniment, followed by the famous supper and a late night zombie movie. Check the web site at www.vicnet.net.au/~filmfest or telephone 5341 2266.

'Garfellen', Eyre St, a contribution to Buninyong from the Goldings



DAVI(E)S, James Kensington

Born Tasmania 1834, came to the Ballarat area and married Mary Randall at Christ Church, Ballarat in 1859. By the 1880s, James was a mine manager at Hiscocks. He died in 1893, and is buried with his family at Buninyong.


From Queensland, a descendant of George Egerton, one of the first white settlers in the district, who took up the Bungal(l) run on the Lal Lal Creek. George was tragically killed in 1854 and his only child, Francis, was left an orphan soon after when his mother died. However there are many Egerton descendants in Queensland, where Francis headed when he grew up.

HOOKER, James and Mary Anne nee Collins

Living in the Scotchman's Lead area between 1859 and about 1880.

McNEIL, Thomas

Born in Scotland 1802, he arrived at Geelong in 1857, and came to Buninyong, accompanied by a little girl, Sarah Hislop. Sarah married in Ballarat in 1867 and lived at Creswick, whilst Thomas died at Buninyong in 1879, afed 77, listed as a labourer from Mount Side. (Query from Lyn at West Wyalong)


Laurence Middleton had a hardware shop and petrol bowser in Warrenheip St. in the mid-twentieth century, in the shop that is currently a florist. Query from Lake Macquarie, NSW

ROBERTSON, Alexander

Came to Buninyong from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in about 1853. Family landed at Geelong in 1852. Alexander was a carpenter, and arrived with his wife Dorothy Stoker and three children. Six more children were born in Buninyong between 1854 and 1865. Dorothy died in 1877, and Alexander in 1898, and they were buried at Buninyong.


photographer, who visited Buninyong during 1853, working as a surveyor's assistant. Became a famous photographer. Query from his great, great grenddaughter in Chilliwack, British Columbia, via email

TUCKER, Mark Thomas

Posted to the Salvation Army in Buninyong in 1894.. The first reference to the Salvation Army in Buninyong comes in the Buninyong Telegraph of 14 August 1885

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'Garfellan', a recent addition to Buninyong's heritage.

A conundrum facing the consultants conducting Ballarat's Heritage Study was the problem of how to deal with houses that are moved from one locality to another.

Throughout the history of the Victorian goldfields, weatherboard houses have moved according to shifts in population. As gold mining declined in the early twentieth century, many houses were moved to Melbourne and Geelong, where the population was steadily growing.

Churches, too, joined in this relocation, as small country towns declined and congregations dwindled. We are all familiar with the movement of portable classrooms around the state, reflecting declining and growing enrolments.

Some of these fine nineteenth century villas have found their way into local country towns, presenting a challenge when it comes to describing the heritage values of a locality.

A case in point is the lovely house 'Garfellan' in Buninyong. It appeared suddenly in 1998, when it was moved from its original location at 119 Webster Street, Ballarat. The house had been built in 1911 for Robert Baird, solicitor. The house was designed by the local architect Percy Richards, who was responsible for many fine Federation-style houses in the district.

By the 1950s, the house had been acquired by Queen's College (then located in Mair Street on the site of what is now Aquinas College). It was used as accommodation for teaching staff at Queen's College, one of whom was Buninyong identity Derick Leather, who lived there with his family in the early 1970s. In 1972 Queen's merged with Ballarat Grammar and moved to Wendouree, and the old school complex became Aquinas College.

The villa residence was used for a time by St. John of God Hospital, and it was sold in the 1990s. So in 1998 the large house was moved in three pieces to Eyre Street in Buninyong, and was rapidly transformed into a showpiece by its owners Frank and Liz Golding, who have lavished much care in the restoration of the house, and have created a lovely garden to enhance it. Now it gives the appearance of having always been an integral part of historic Buninyong. Webster Street's loss is Buninyong's gain, and 'Garfellan' now makes a major contribution to the streetscape and to the sense of Buninyong as a township with a rich architectural heritage.



Anne Beggs Sunter

In November 1892, the Buninyong Butter Factory was registered as a co-operative, and commenced operations in the old court house complex on the edge of the Botanic Gardens. (Courier, circa 21 Nov 1892) The Wallace and Millbrook Butter Factory commenced as a co-operative in February 1893. Joseph Vernon of Mt. Mercer was the founding chairman, with Henry Noack Manager from 1893 till 1916.(Ballarat Star, 14 April 1916, p. 6) The Factory advertised for a Secretary at 26 pounds a year in the Buninyong Telegraph of 30 December 1892. John Porter got the job, after his retirement as a school teacher. He lived at "Fernbank', very close to the factory.

The Buninyong Telegraph of 22 June 1894 mentions that sufficient shares had been sold at Napoleons and Elaine for the erection of a creamery at each of these places, and that tenders would immediately be called. The Telegraph of 6 July 1894 reports that tenders are being called for the erection of creameries at Lexton and Evansford, and also for extensive alterations and additions at the factory, and that tenders have been accepted for the erection of creameries at Napoleons and Elaine. Mr Brimacombe was the successful tenderer and Mr Kinsman would complete the brickwork.

Local farmers took their milk to the creameries to be separated, and the cream taken in to the factory with the skimmed milk taken home by the farmers to feed to their calves. By about 1910, farmers began to acquire their own little farm separators which meant they then had the responsibility of keeping the cream in good condition until the cans were picked up and taken to the factory.

Young Walter Noack worked at the factory, and knew the local farmers who sent in their cream, including Dan Prunty of Clarendon. Clarendon had a Cremery on the main road beside Williamson's Creek. The creamery at Yendon was managed by F.J. Anderson, of Buninyong, in January 1900 (Buninyong Telegraph, 5 January, 1900)

Waste disposal was a problem, mentioned in the Buninyong Telegraph of 24 December 1897. Two large pits had been constructed to receive waste, but were not being used, with offensive smells coming from a drain from the factory.

Around May 1908 the old building was declared unsuitable, and the decision was taken to move to a new location on the corner of Cornish and Forrest Sts., where a two storey brick building was erected near the present pre-school site, which was very well placed to take advantage of the railway.(Courier, circa 7 May, 1908) Cream cans came by train from Learmonth, Waubra and Burrumbeet, and were unloaded at the siding.

George Eason of Scotsburn was closely associated with the Factory, and was a Director of the co-operative. In 1899 he was listed as owner/manager of the Yendon Creamery Co. In 1919 and in 1922 the Rate Book shows that Eason was the Director, and the Net Annual Valuation was 40, with 3.10s paid in rates. He was the tenant for "factory and land" in the 1925-6 Rate Book.

In about 1924, the Directors of the company decided to replace the long-serving secretary John Porter with a new man, a Mr. Black. Doug Watkins was the grandson of John Porter, who got a job at the factory on leaving school in the 1920s. His first job was at the factory, and he recalled that nearby there was a shed where they sold groceries and produce. When the cans of cream came in the customers sent in an order for groceries and they went back to the farm in the empty cans. (Doug Watkins, 1984, Reminiscences)

In 1926 it was taken over by the Wallace Dairy, which expanded rapidly in the post-war era, realising that only large, sophisticated dairies could take advantage of export markets. (Courier, 5 Sept 1925, p.7, see also N. Godbold Victoria: Cream of the Country, Dairy Industry Association of Victoria, 1990.)

Doug Watkins recalled that Cr. Wes Sobey stored grain in the old factory for some time. During World War Two the building was taken over by the Army, who used it as a storage for barbed wire, which was carried on the train to and from Ballarat.

Some time soon after the war, the building was burned down, and because of sawdust in the cavities of the walls, the fire smoldered for weeks.

Later, as Buninyong expanded in the 1960s, a Pre-School and Infant Welfare center was built on the site and the only reminder of the Butter Factory are photos and some documents in our collection, and the collection of Stuart Skewes.

The Wallace and Millbrook Butter Factory and Creamery, which began in 1893, served the district until February 1994, when the company finally closed down, with the loss of many jobs in the area.

It is amazing to consider the change from the beginning of the twentieth century, when our Shire was dotted with creameries and butter factories, and 2005, when our dairy farmers now send their milk daily by tanker to Warrnambool, the nearest butter factory to Buninyong!

Three Times Blest by Peter Griffiths contains some history and photos relating to the dairy industry in the Buninyong area. Below is an advertisement from around 1910.

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16 April Pat Hope is leading a walk from Mount Buninyong to the centre of Ballarat, for Great Dividing Trail Association
21 April General Meeting, 7.30p.m., Court House History Centre, Guest Speaker Jennifer Hazlewood on Mechanics' Institutes
1 May

Sunday Market and Historical Society open.
First of a series of afternoon concerts at the Buninyong Brewery at 1.00p.m.

6-7 MayBuninyong Film Festival at the Buninyong Town Hall
16 JuneGeneral Meeting, 7.30p.m.


Reminder: Have you renewed your membership for 2004-5?


Membership Renewal

Reg. No. A0030085Y

Dear Member,
Your annual membership subscription was due from the October Annual General Meeting. Your subscription provides the following benefits:

  • opportunity to promote the study, recording, collection and preservation of the history and heritage of the area covered by the former Shire of Buninyong.
  • regular mailing of newsletters (six times a year)
  • regular meetings (six times a year)
  • excursions
  • free access to the Society's research collection of documents, indexes and photographs
  • opportunity to participate in cataloguing workshops
  • opportunity to be a volunteer guide at the Court House or the Old Library.

We value your commitment to the Society, and would appreciate receiving your subscription as soon as possible.

Please detach this section and return with your subscription to The Treasurer,
The Buninyong and District Historical Society Inc, P.O. Box 98, Buninyong, Victoria, 3357.

I wish / do not wish to renew my Membership Subscription for the year 2004-5


$25 Ordinary members
$35 Families
$20 Students and pensioners
$20 Corresponding members/Associates





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