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This Saturday, March 2, our society is hosting the quarterly meeting of the Central Highlands Historical Societies at the courthouse. It will be interesting to meet members from the other societies in our area and they have asked that after the meeting finishes, we show them how we are indexing the Mount Alexander Mail and Newstead Echo on Filemaker.


The March market will be on March 16, at Rotunda Park. We are raffling a cake surrounded by Easter eggs, as we did last March Market Day and tickets are available from the courthouse. As usual we are appealing for support to help on the day, for things to sell and of course, getting folk to come and support all the stalls, particularly ours! We sell sausages, hamburgers, cold drinks, tea and coffee, cakes, produce, and white elephant things. Our November market was a bumper one and it will be hard to keep up the standard... but we shall try.


A new batch of booklets are available, same price - $10 for ”The Thomas Martin Letter”, ”Early Days of Newstead” and ”The Newstead Cemetery”. During the production of this batch, it was discovered that the last lot of ”The Early Days of Newstead” had a page missing. Check if you are missing page 24,25 which tells the sad story of Kirby. We have printed replacement pages and can supply them, with our apologies.


Recent research has been leading us in the direction of Strangways. So next Monday afternoon, leaving from the courthouse at 1.30pm, we will head for Strangways to see the school, the house that was built by David Johnson and then perhaps seek out anything about the Hard Hills School. All welcome. Two further excursions are planned. On April 8 we will go to Charlotte Plains and on May 6, to the Buckland’s property at Rodborough. John Lawton is arranging to have guides at each of these places.


The landscaping and drainage around the courthouse, funded by a grant of about $3,000 has seen a great change. The embankment on the east of the courthouse was made more suitable for mowing, gravel sloped away from the walls that took the water into spoon drains. Topsoil was also brought in to surround the gravel area. All that was needed was a couple of inches of rain so that the gravel could be compacted and the grass seed sown. Well, we got the couple of inches, in the form of a violent storm two days later and to our dismay, the water that rushed down the street gutters had diverted across our new work when the gutters couldn’t take the torrents! Since then we have held a working bee with the contractor, Bryce Collie and repaired the damage. We are still awaiting the rain, gentler this time, to complete the job. The other grant from Parks Victoria, of over $4,000 was for restoration of the roasting kilns at Thornhill reef mine off Demo Track. We were delighted when Scott Male reported that the work was almost completed. Inspection showed that the kilns are ready to last another 100 years, DNRE have cut down the trees that were causing damage to the kilns, poisoned the stumps and fenced off the deep shaft. This is an important mining site and it is a credit to Derek Reid for taking on this project.


Work is still being done on the sandstone footings around the courthouse. Mortar to restore the footings is now being worked on with a wire brush and spirits of salts to achieve a good visual effect. Shelves have been put up in the porch near the security room to house the maintenance equipment.


Three members, Janet Trudgeon, Di Reid and Dawn Angliss took part in the Summer School run by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria for 3 days during January. The theme was the history of land and buildings by looking at the collections of primary source materials held at Public Records Office Victoria and the National Archives of Australia, the manuscript and newspaper collections of the State Library of Victoria as well as diocesan and institutional archives. It was a marvellous 3 days.


On March 23, our society will participate in Newstead on Show Day by having a display of photos in the Community Centre on the theme of transport. The courthouse will also be open for visitors – 54762006 for details.

Thanks to President Alan Burgess for being host to a group of senior citizens from Bendigo who were shown over the courthouse last month.


Saturday March 2 CHHA meeting at courthouse at 9.30.

Monday March 4 1.30 at Courthouse - excursion to Strangways.

Saturday March 16 Market Day at Rotunda Park 8 am.

Monday March 18 1.30 pm Meeting at Courthouse.

Saturday March 23 Newstead on Show.

Coming up

Monday April 8 Excursion to Charlotte Plains

Monday May 6 Excursion to Bucknall’s Rodborough.

April 15 8pm Courthouse - Annual Meeting.

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