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Here we go again! The market (March 15th) is almost upon us so the usual arrangements are in progress. Giselle Neall is putting together an Easter raffle for which we will be selling tickets at 50 cents each. Giselle also makes a fruitcake for the stallholder with the lucky ticket. The usual food and drinks, cakes, produce, plant’s and white elephant things are being sought as well as offers of help on the day. Our last market was great and we are looking forward to another successful day.


As the water level is so low in Cairn Curran at the moment it has been suggested that we go looking to see if the remains of the old Cairn Curran homestead are visible. We shall start off by visiting the Joyces Creek cemetery where the wife of one of the Joyce brothers, of Plaistow, is buried. The day is March 3rd, leaving from the courthouse at 1.30 pm.


Since our last newsletter we have been grateful to receive several things of interest. Joan and Alex Culvenor have passed on to us from the family of Gwynifer McPherson, a handwriting chart that came from the Newstead School in the 1920’s. Meticulously made from brown paper with a wooden frame, it is remembered as being in Miss Tongway’s infant room. Accompanying it is a collection of samples of student’s handwriting put together at the request of the district inspector to send to Europe. The recently published book ”A Successful Failure” that has been put together from the 3 books Edgar Morrison wrote about the Aboriginal Protectorate at Franklinford has been donated to us as has also “volunteers to Veterans” which is the history of those from the Swan Hill district who went to fight in the Boer War. Our connection is the family of 6 bothers and a sister of the Butler family who went and who were born in Newstead. Thanks to the donors and the books are available to be borrowed. Late last year we bought 2 books connected with the Neale/Tully families of Captains Gully. They are ”Hunter – a history of the district to mark the 75 Anniversary of the Hunter Hall” and ”Shepherd’s Journey - A Tully Family History”.


Our September newsletter reported on the idea of having an evening in Newstead to remember our past. The steering committee has been busy and the night is coming to fruition. On April 12’” at the Newstead Mechanics institute starting at about 6- 6.30 an evening offering a meal, drinks, music and reminiscences by several local people will be held. The themes for the night have been set and they will cover the original occupants of the area, the Aborigines, our community and the dredge. Without giving too much away I can say that it is an exciting concept that Phil Butcher has come up with. We have some great talent and resources to call upon and it should be a wonderful night. The idea is to have a small and intimate evening, tickets will be quickly snapped up so I advise people to book early. Tickets will be on sale soon at $15 plus drinks. I shall be taking bookings on 54762006. (Dawn Angliss)


One of our members, Cherie Lawton has offered her services in the field of oral history that we have been delighted to accept. Our society has a collection of tapes that record interviews given to our group over the last 17 years. These need to be transcribed into the written word to preserve them and to make the valuable information they contain more easily accessed. For this there is a need to have a Dictaphone. We have tracked one down and will purchase it. As well Cherie has a list of people that she would like to interview. Cherie sees us being able to offer a service where we could offer to interview a family member and then present them with a tape of their reminiscences as well as a written transcript.


The society was presented with a collection of wooden crosses that in the past were used on days of remembrance to honour the local men who died in the wars. It was felt that they should be preserved. John Neall has undertaken this project and they are now framed and hanging in the courtroom. We are also collecting the information from the various honour boards in the district with the aim of putting a record together in album. The records we have are fragmented and there is a need to have a complete collection if any member is interested in this project we would be glad to hear from them.

The next meeting is March 17 at the courthouse; in the meantime the work goes on. On Monday mornings – with the all-important ”cuppa” at about 11 am! Everyone welcome.


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