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Would you believe it, it is Market Day upon us again! Our March market will have a raffle again – not our annual big effort of the Christmas Hamper but a worthwhile prizes just the same. The winner will receive one of Giselle Neall’s fruit cakes, decorated for Easter with chocolate eggs. We don’t send books of raffle tickets to our members as we think that once a year is enough but we do need to sell tickets and if you can help it will be greatly appreciated. We urgently need helpers and things to sell on the day – March 20th 8.30 at Rotunda Park.


As our grant applications were unsuccessful we decided to fund the purchase ourselves. Derek Reid and Brian Dieckmann have been busy getting quotes and the big day has arrived. The courthouse now houses a new computer, scanner and printer. The total price was $1,648. We now have to have some lessons in using this whiz-bang equipment.


Carisbrook have approached us about having their March meeting in our courthouse and we are happy to have them. The format of the evening will consist of a short meeting of their Society at 7.30 on March 16th followed by a supper. Our members are invited to attend the meeting before we offer our hospitality sharing supper and conversation.


The concept was changed this year to be a flag lowering celebration in the evening with Liz Coady speaking on the early history and naming of Newstead. Food was provided through the auspices of Peter and Lil Skilbeck, Liz and Margaret Di Fiore and the report from those who attended was that the idea was most successful. Liz has devoted a great deal of time on her research on this subject and her speech was well received.


The March excursion has been planned to cope with possible high temperatures. We intend going to Maryborough to visit Worsley House. Good reports have been received about this interesting base for the Maryborough Historical Society. We will assemble at 1.30 on Monday March 1st at the courthouse to car pool to Maryborough. Members and friends are most welcome.

In April we are combining with Newstead Landcare on a Sunday to visit the pickpocket in the Rise and Shine area of Clydesdale. Mention is made of this site in David Bannear’s report on the mining sites of our area and David will be there to show us the adit, Chinese water race etc. Those of us who have been with David on other sites know how he brings the old remnants of mining to life and won’t want to miss this chance. Sunday April 4th  - keep it in mind. The exact details will be in next month’s newsletter.


PRO has notified us that the courthouse has been approved as a Place of Approved Deposit. That means that our facilities are deemed suitable to hold documents etc from government bodies in our area that are worthy of preservation but are not important enough to go to PRO itself. Representatives of our Society are going to Ballarat Fine Art Gallery to celebrate this event.


Cherie Lawton has been working at preserving our tapes in written form as well as interviewing members and saving their stories. Cherie has suggested that this service be extended at no cost to any of our members. So if you would like to make use of this offer, please do so. Those interviewed so far are impressed by Cherie’s qualities as an oral historian and the benefit to our Society does not have to be spelt out.


Since our last newsletter we have been given

o       A copy of  the CD from Margaret Di Fiore that she has assembled containing newspaper articles on the early days of Maldon. There are over 900 pages of these and the effort entailed is enormous.

o       A photocopy of a gathering in Rotunda Park on Hospital Sunday. There is no date but it would appear to be very soon after the rotunda was built in 1905. (From Colin Kirkpatrick)

o       A photocopy of an old autograph book containing many names connected to Newstead in the 1912 era. (From Janette Ford)

o       Photos from Theo Dredge of the Jim Crow dredge and the making of the road cutting at Joyces Bridge. (Could anyone date this please?)

o       From Doug Hamilton a CD of photos and history of the Hamilton family of Sandon.

o       Photos from Dave Clark of the deep waterhole on the Mia Mia creek where the ‘body in a bag’ murder of 1858 took place.

o       A family history of the Cocking family by Irene Cocking.

o       The bible from the Sandon Primitive Methodist Church from the Ashburn family.

We are grateful to all these donors and it is interesting to note that until we obtained the new equipment, we would not have been able to view the CD’s on our old equipment.


Now that the sewerage work is underway, negotiations are in progress with the council about the connection of water and sewerage to the courthouse site and the building of a toilet and storage facility.

Next meeting March 15th 1.30 at the courthouse

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