was a very wintry day but with some modifications to the program the excursion
to the Aboriginal Protectorate at Franklinford went ahead. At 1.30 those
assembled gathered in the warmth of the courthouse and it was pleasing to see
several people from the wider community interested in joining us. Geoff Morrison
whose father Edgar had written the original 3 booklets now combined in “The
Successful Failure” told how his father thought that the story of the
Protectorate should be told and his efforts to research its history. Edward
Stone Parker who was appointed in 1839 as a magistrate and protector of
aborigines over a quarter of what is now the state of Victoria faced a mammoth
task. His family of six sons was increased when a daughter was born on the way
to establishing his headquarters, eventually centred at Franklinford. His
overseer was Augustus Robinson whose previous experience in Tasmania seemingly
fitted the requirements as Protector and whose acquaintance with John Franklin
and his wife when Governor of Tasmania, resulted in their visits to the area and
the naming of Franklinford and Mount Franklin. Edward Stone Parker’s wife died
and he remarried, with six more children being born. The research that Edgar
Morrison has done shows that Parker had the welfare of the aborigines as his
primary concern and but for his efforts their story would be an even more sorry
one. By 1843 the government was abandoning the Protectorate system and the
adjoining landowners were pressing on the borders of Franklinford for more land.
In 1851, the remaining aborigines were shifted to Coranderrk near Healesville
although Parker successfully applied to lease some land and continued to care
for forty aborigines.
Our assembled group had two people with more than the usual amount of interest in the subject. Bev Olney has recently discovered that her great-great uncle was Charles Judkins, who was the teacher at the Protectorate. One of Janet Trudgeon’s ancestors was involved in the icy search for Sir John Franklin who disappeared on his attempt to find the north- west passage.
tea was taken in the warmth of the courthouse before those who wished carpooled
to Franklinford where we visited the lagoon, the site of the Protectorate, the
site of the Protectorate school and finally the cemetery. This was established
when a little four year old girl, the daughter of the overseer Bazely died.
Three aboriginal women and the first Mrs Parker followed her. Today there is an
impressive monument to the Parker family. Don Morrison, a trustee of the
cemetery was able pass on lots of its history to the intrepid lot who braved the
trip to Yapeen with Max Kay is planned. We will be shown Mopoke Gully where an
old water wheel worked, the remains of an old store and possibly finish up by
going to the site of the Strathloddon Hotel and the store held by the Dolphin
family in Guildford. The date is September 8th leaving from the
courthouse at 1.30.
month we intend to visit the sites of the two dredges that worked in the
to the efforts of Brian Dieckmann, we have a photo of the illustration of
Sutherland’s Biscuit factory that was in the upper room of the Pioneers and
Old Residents in Castlemaine. Also donated to us is a framed photo of the finish
of the Newstead Cup in 1954. This comes courtesy of the Newstead Racecourse
Committee and we have researched the Echo to get the write up of the
date is the 13th of September at 7 pm and the venue is our lovely
courthouse, which will be warm and welcoming! BYO food and drink and enjoy an
evening together to celebrate our year’s achievements. (For our out of town
members, note that our local motel “Whispering Gums” is achieving high
ratings…and we’d love to have your company!)
our next excursion is to Yapeen, a few quotes from “A Century of Schooldays”
by Ray Bradfield produced to commemorate a century of schooldays of S. S. Yapeen
may whet your appetite.
area opened up as William Campbell’s Strathloddon Run. On the discovery of
gold friction arose. The land now belonged to Frederick Taylor who tried to
prevent mining taking place on it. On
June 11 1856 when another dispute arose in Mopoke Gully, Captain Bull rode out
and persuaded Taylor to replace his watchmen with constables. However mining
began thee and in 1857 Bradfield gives a great quote describing the diggings on
Diggings are equidistant between the easterly fencing of Taylor’s Paddock and
the middle crossing of the Loddon, nearly a quarter mile from the latter. The
roadway takes you through the beautiful park-like scenery of the paddock and as
the rush is approached, the clink of hammer and anvil arrests the ear and guides
the stranger to the object of his search. Presently some monarch of the
vegetable world comes toppling down with a crash and succumbs before the
stalwart arms of the axe-man, and now a gleam of tents, and snowy heaps of sand
is caught between the interstices of the trees. A few minutes more and we are
among the industrious crowd, which viewed from a neighbouring elevation seems
like a teeming anthill on as sunny day…Some 300 – 400 men are hard at work.
Here is a party marking out a fresh claim, and there a group engaged in cooking
their midday meal round a burning log which will supply them with fuel for the
is one who has just broken ground and it seems by the vigour of his blows, as if
he were determined to ‘go down’ ten feet by night, and there a little knot
of four lately arrived and tired by the long march to the field of operations
have thrown themselves down on the grass and are resting on their swags.
rattle of windlasses in motion, the whirr of multiplying wheels attached to the
fanning apparatus – the hoarse roar of the blacksmith’s bellows, the barking
of dogs and the occasional vociferations of their owners. All contribute to
present the visitor with a stirring picture of life and energy and to remind him
of scenes which formerly were common but are of too rare an occurrence today.”
at the other end of Strathloddon it was at last being made possible for a
township to grow. In April 1858, over 500 acres of the station lands were to be
sold at auction by Mr Taylor who “as any prudent Scotsman would, determined to
sell-out and return to the auld country”.
his fellow Scot William Aberdeen, “the Lord of Balmoral” has resold a great
deal of his land for mining purpose.
Hopkins Wilson was another colourful early resident. He was a professional
scribe and for the old-timers in the area, “ he would read letters for
sixpence and write one for a shilling”. “Despite the reports of the
affluence of Aberdeen, a report from the paper in March 1860 seemed to hint at a
temporary shortage of the ‘ready’. Aberdeen’s hayshed, lately the property
of Mr F Taylor burned down….It was certainly true that ‘Boss’ Aberdeen had
his ups and he and his downs.
the land sales a spate of building set in, mostly at the western end of the
township. The Balmoral was on the main road, near the present railway crossing
and did not have a long life, being burned down April 1861…There were many
other stores and hotels of course all along the main road, the Telegraph road,
as it was sometimes called, and up Mopoke, German and Donkey Gullies, Brown’s
store in Mopoke was one of the earliest places of business in Pennyweight..
was not until 1861 that Yapeen was proposed as a name for the township.”
diggings consisted of shallow diggings and puddlers, and there were several
large parties of Chinese working. As well there were successful quartz reef
mines such as Mr Sam Scotson in Mopoke Gully, the Woods brothers at Champion
Reef, a French miner, Godfroi, opened up the Frenchman’s reef and the Golden
Lead Mine (Mein’s).
seemingly, and hopefully, permanent reminder of the golden past are the massive
masonry abutments of the Mopoke Water Wheel. This 60 foot diameter wheel, which
formerly supplied the power for a quartz crushing battery, must have been an
impressive sight, when at work…But gradually the stream of gold dwindled to
become a mere trickle. The bucket dredges in Campbells Creek and the various
sluicing plants in the gullies and hills…temporarily boosted gold production
but Yapeen became the small community of primary producers and private residents
which it has been for a long time now.”
photos included are also from Ray Bradfield’s book and they come with the kind
permission of the Bradfield family.
©2004 Newstead & District Historical Society
Web Design: Brian Dieckmann Page last updated: 20 December 2008