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



Thursday, 17th October, at 8.00 p.m., Court House History Centre.
Business: to receive annual reports from the President and Treasurer, and elect new officebearers.


At our AUGUST MEETING, the guest speaker was Erica Nathan, a local resident who is undertaking her Ph D at Melbourne University in History and Environmental Science, looking at the West Moorabool Catchment. She spoke of her research, and especially about the beginnings of Beale’s Reservoir on the headwaters of the Lal Lal Creek in 1863. At the time there were many timber companies and water companies in the area, and there were serious disputes with the new Water Commission.

Of particular interest to our area was mention of the Lal Lal Waterworks Association, which was supplying water to miners in the dry areas towards Morrisons. The company had taken out a lease to be able to use water from the Lal Lal Creek, but the building of the reservoir challenged their operation. The shareholders, including Archibald Fisken, took the matter to the Supreme Court and over 15 years fought for compensation, which was at last forthcoming. The Ballarat Water Commission initially cleared all the people from the area, then gave them residence and cultivation leases of 20 acres, which brought human activity back to the area.

We have applied for a City of Ballarat Community Grant to help us set up a computer system to manage our catalogue and biographical information.

Municipal Strategic Statement and Heritage Study

Your President and Committeee members have been busy over the last two months responding to two very important City of Ballarat investigations - the revision of the Municipal Strategic Statement, and the Ballarat Heritage Study, which includes Buninyong. We have taken pains to stress the importance of protecting the village feeling of Buninyong, by protecting surrounding green belts and bushland ridges through environmental overlays. We are also seeking recognition of the unique role of Buninyong in the pre-gold history of the region.

CHHA History Fair was held on the weekend of 5-6 October. Our display represented the beginnings of education in Buninyong, focussing on the Bush Boarding School opened by the Presbyterian Church in 1848, and the opening of the Buninyong State School No 1280 in 1874.

The Buninyong Roller

In last month’s newsletter we featured a photo of the Buninyong roller. Thanks to the information of two keen local members, Frank Loudon and Ian McGillivray, we can add more information to this lovely photo.

Gardens Association Visit

In November the Buninyong Gardens will be visited by members of a big Garden conference, being hosted by the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Beth Ritchie has been working on facilitating a visit to the Buninyong Gardens by the group.


Stewart Skewes OF Ballarat recently gave our President a small parcel of items to add to our collection. This included a cheque from the Buninyong National Bank from the 1920s, a photocopy of a letter from his grandmother Mrs Watkins, which recalls her youth in Buninyong, photos taken by Emma Watkins circa 1900, a program for the LaL Lal Turf Club meeting in 1918, and a Buninyong Methodist Sunday School attendance ticket. See attached article about Emma Watkins (nee Porter)

Bob Skewes, our member from Bell Brae, sent us a detailed list of the people in the photograph of the opening of the Methodist Manse in 1933. The Skewes family members have been great collectors of historical material relating to Buninyong.

Alan Parkinson of Meredith gave us a blank cheque for the Buninyong National Bank from about 1918.


HARDACRE. Wendy Stewart in Western Australia is researching the Hardacre family. Her ancestor Thomas Hardacre was apparently a storekeeper in the Buninyong area in the 1860s. His mother Jane (nee Brayshay) died in Buninyong, as did several children. The family moved to Apsley in 1871-2

MOYLE Margueritte Stubbs from Rockhampton is searching for information on her Moyle ancestors, who left the Buninyong area for Rockhampton in about 1873 to establish a meatworks.

FANNING The Beaufort Historical Soceity wrote enquiring about Martin Fanning, who operated the Mount Clear Toll gate for many years.

COPPERWAITE AND TAYLOR families, at Mount Doran in late 19th Century.



17 October 2002 – AGM.

3 Novermber 2002 – Court House Open, Village Market Day, Buninyong.

17 November (Sunday) – Excursion to Dolly’s Creek. Depart from the Carriers’ Arms at Clarendon, corner Midland Highway and Lal Lal Road, at 1.30 p.m. Wear walking shoes. Bring a thermos for afternoon tea in the bush. Duration approx. 3 hours.

19 December Christmas Meeting. Old Library. 8.00 p.m.



This great photo came to us courtesy of Dave Evans of the Ballarat Historical Society. It is a beautiful photo of the Buninyong Shire’s road roller. It was most probably purchased at the direction of Shire Engineer C.C. P. Wilson in 1915.

Ian McGillivray gave us some more information about this road-working machine, made by Jelbart’s of Ballarat. Jelbart’s first engine was made in 1909, an internal combustion engine of vertical design. In 1910 the design changed to horizontal two-stroke principal and continued for the life of the factory.

The Jelbart brothers came from Goroke to establish their Dana Street factory. At first castings were made at White’s Eagle Foundry, but in 1915 they moved to Mair Street, and used Cowley’s Eureka Ironworks to produce road and footpath rollers and tractors. The engines operated on crude oil, and delivered exceptional fuel economy. Jelbart’s produced their rollers until 1932, when the Depression brought an end to production.

Cowley’s made steam rollers and a steam traction engine.

Frank Loudon of Sebastopol says that the driver was Robert Blackham, and that the machine was oil driven. He said that Tom Lower also drove the machine during the 1930s.


This beautiful old wooden pail was presented to us by David Senior, in memory of his late wife Lea. It came into David’s possession from the late Mrs Selwyn Scott of Scotsburn.

It is quite possible that it was brought to Australia by Andrew and Celia Scott when they travelled from Scotland to become the first white family living in the district. The Scott’s took up the run Mount Boninyong in 1839, and the family still works the same land today.

Pail – an open cylindrical or conical vessel with a hooped handle for holding or carrying liquids. (Chambers Dictionary). What was this pail used for? Perhaps storing grain or feed? If you have any theories, please tell us.


Emma WATKINS (1882-1972), photographer of Buninyong

Emma Porter , daughter of John Porter, was an amateur photographer who took a number of photos around Buninyong at the turn of the last century. See photo of her father's home 'Fernbank', Hastie's Springs Picnic, and Buninyong under snow c 1900. (originals with her grandsons, Stuart and Bob Skewes) She married a Watkins, and was also known as Emma Watkins.

In this issue we reproduce one of Emma’s valuable photos of Buninyong around the year 1900. This one shows a picnic at Hastie’s Springs, enjoyed by members of the Buninyong Methodist Church, of which Emma was an important member. This photo is very special. It is the only view we have of the Spring in earlier times, hinting that it was a place of recreation at the end of the nineteenth century. It is one of the aims of our Society to restore Hastie’s Springs to its former beauty.

Letter from Emma Watkins to her grandson in 1970.

' Glad to know you got the photos safely. ..I really don't know the date of father's arrival, but it is interesting I was the eighth child in the family and father was 21 years of age on arrival and married the next year. Mother was already in Victoria, had been here about five years, came with her parents, her father contracted Typhoid fever on the boat and died a fortnight later. Grandma was a dressmaker but Grandpa was a cabinet maker and would have done well in the new colony. They had ventured out on the recommendation of friends who had settled in Melbourne. T

here was no Education Department in Victoria when they arrived. Father was a certified teacher and was employed by the Church in Victoria. Eventually, when the Education Department took over, father was transferred.

I can tell you about the early Watkins family also. Your Great Grandfather came out at the age of three with his parents. He was the eldest of a family of 13 - 10 sons and 3 daughters, from Wales. Grandfather selected an amount of land 3 miles from Buninyong at a place called Green Hill. They farmed this land and my father was appointed to Green Hill as a school teacher.

There was a Methodist Church at Green Hill at that time.. The Watkins family were musically endowed and beautiful singers and played piano, organ and violins.

My second eldest brother was a teacher who opened the High School at Suva for white children. He was appointed by the Victorian Education Department.

I was born 3 miles from Avoca at a place called Homebush. It was a mining settlement and we came to the Ballarat district when I was five years old.'

John Porter began teaching at Oakleigh after his arrival in Australia in 1864 at the age of 21, and married Harriet Gould (from Ipswich) the following year. He then went to the Green Hill Methodist School, and then to Homebush School, near Avoca. From there he was appointed Head Teacher to Napoleons in 1887 until his retirement in 1894.

He purchased the 'Fernbank' property of 5 acres on Allotment 12 on 31 January 1891, from John Dane who purchased the property in 1851. He sold the property to his relative Phoebe Skewes in 1924. He ended his life at the old Railway Hotel, which by then was called 'Cloverbank'.

He became Secretary to the new Buninyong Butter Factory, which was close to his home 'Fernbank', in Lal Lal Street. He was a small man with a bushy beard, and took a leading role in the Buninyong Methodist Church, including Sunday School teacher, trustee, choir member and Superintendent. He died in 1925, aged 82.


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