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On Monday evening at the courthouse the annual meeting was held. The election of office bearers was held and the committee for the coming year is as follows-

President                      Alan Burgess                54762367

Vice president              Derek Reid                   54762274

Secretary                      Dawn Angliss               54762006

Treasurer                      Janet Trudgeon 54762437

Committee                    Di Reid (research)        54762274

                                    John Neall                    54762207

                                    Brian Dieckmann          54752937

Public Officer               Derek Reid

Delegates to CHHA     Derek Reid and Gordon Dawe


Subscriptions are now due – single $20, family $35 plus $5 for postage if the newsletter is posted. Contact the secretary if you want it e-mailed. In the absence of advice we will continue in the manner you received it last year.

Instead of a guest speaker the format for the evening was one in that everyone had a chance to show something of interest and to speak for a few minutes about it. I t turned out to be a very enjoyable night with members and guests having some fascinating things to show. They ranged from a Joyce’s oil lamp, the army’s records rescued from the tip, photos, medals, coin collections, jewellery, and talks on William Aberdeen, the Strathlea school, the Maryborough Gaol and the travel diaries of Miss Adelaide Mackie. While supper was enjoyed in the magistrate’s room the articles were left on the table in the main room for people to have a closer inspection.


Due to the timing, we have to report on 2 excursions. The first was a visit to Castlemaine Art Gallery. Quite a lot of people decided to have a “free” visit and Peter Perry, the director, was agreeably surprised at the number of customers that gathered at his gallery. Peter gave us a short talk of some of the early works. He pointed to one that had been delivered by a lady, the picture wrapped in a copy of the Age and asked if the gallery might like it. However they were not usually acquired in that manner. He also pointed out two with links to Dame Nellie Melba – the connection to Castlemaine was that her father, David Mitchell, had investments in a gold mine at Newstead. Then Peter brought out the drawing by Alfred Randall. It was easy to write it off as a work of art but its significance is that it one of the earliest links we have to Newstead’s past. There were differing views as to where the hotel depicted was sited. Peter spoke of the forthcoming exhibition of the Venetian artists that the gallery is mounting for the State Festival and invited us to continue on to see the downstairs museum display. Our area is so lucky to have a gallery of such quality and the visit was much enjoyed.


A beautiful autumn day was appreciated by the band of people who took up the invitation to accompany John Lawton on an excursion to the Maldon area. The first stop was in Waterson’s Road where there is a memorial known as Charlotte’s grave. Further up on the hillside was the actual grave and John told us of the circumstances of her death in the early days of the district prior to the founding of a town cemetery. From there we travelled to a property with a hollowed base of a giant redgum, on the bank of the former course of the Loddon, that is reputed to be an aboriginal birthing tree. On returning to Maldon we made a stop at the tree that reported to be the oldest exotic in Maldon and there was discussions to what sort of tree it was. Our decision differed from that in the guide book and that it was a Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria araucaria)! A laneway was the unusual site of another early grave. This one was of a young mother and her 14 day old baby. Here a headstone had been erected to commemorate this early tragedy. Then on to the gardens where there are 2 oaks that were planted in 1863 to celebrate the marriage of Edward, Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra. This was the ideal place to set up the thermoses and have a picnic.


A suggestion has been made to go to see the Guildford Cemetery and we have decided to do so and to also see the Vaughan one. The date will be Monday May 2nd leaving from the courthouse as usual at 1.30.


The theme for 2005 is “150 Years of Local Government”. Include is a brochure describing the events. Newstead Society is mounting a display in our courthouse that will be open on May 14 and 15 from 2 – 4 pm. The official opening at the Market Building on Saturday 7th  May at 5.15 at the Market Building promises to be a lot of fun. It will be a re-enactment of the first meeting and I believe there will be a chance of seeing the one and only William Aberdeen in person!


Next meeting Monday May 16th at 1.30.

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